On Dixie Dirt

Dec. 27, 2008
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I've long held a soft spot for singer-songwriters and bands who build unsettling dirges around Nirvana's terse, bluesy chords and slow-burning angstScout Niblett, Young People, Family Tree-era Bellafea, pre-self-parody Cat Powerso I was thrilled late last night when WMSE introduced me to another entry for my too-short list by playing Dixie Dirt's "Long Distance," a 9-minute, clench-fisted torch song that evoked Chan Marshall at her most pained while building to a thundering, cathartic payoff. Great song.

This Knoxville band, as it turns out, is a little less great than the song suggestedjudging from the handful of tracks I've hunted down online, where the band has hardly any presence, the group can be a little longwinded, and at times as forgettably trashy as their name. At their best, though, they do tension right. One of their few YouTube videos is for a song called "Boulevards," which lacks some of the flair of the track WMSE spun last night, but still has a jittery intrigue and satisfying payoff:



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