When Jesse Elliott let us know that he and his mighty band These United States would be rolling through the Austin area for a handful of SXSW shenanigans, well...we knew we better hop to it! We of course have been following the trajectory of this DC/Kentucky based ensemble for the better part of the last three years. The idea of throwing them up on our stage in front of our cameras was just too tempting to pass up. So we made some calls, squeezed some arms, and wouldn't you know? The band delivered, giving the rustic confines of the Scoot's old, slightly dilapidated indoor beer bar a hearty shake to the tune of a batch of rowdy, southern tinged rock and roll songs.
Sick, tired, torn, and frayed, These United States let no dust settle under their soles this spring as they made the pilgrimage from DC to Lexington, KY just 9 weeks after the release of their debut album, sights set on a rock-and-roll reformation. The result is Crimes, TheseUS's sophomore album, recorded in six short days at Shangri-La Studios, and out to the world September 23.
One part Rolling Thunder Revue, one part banged-and-bruised balladeering, two parts just plain strange, Crimessees the band hitch an American folklore ride down diverging tracks from A Picture of the Three of Us at the Gate to the Garden of Eden's trembling psych-folk tendencies. Bandleader Jesse Elliott's casual croon careens more often towards a yearning yelp - desperate times, you know? - as his merry gang of Obviously Five Believers vamp all piss and vinegar, hoot and holler, multi-instrumental mischief and sly saloon smiles.
In place of Picture's lovelorn protagonists, Crimes supplants the classic characters of a world gone wicked: bad men in boots and boats, all-too-able Cains, wolves in fresh-shorn sheepskin, sold-out sirens of the seashore, knife-wielding big-talking drunk drinkers, Moriartys, don Quijotes, Samuel Clemenses, and all manner of disillusioned Appleseeds in between - with the occasional dogged optimist thrown in for good measure, of course; even the world itself can't be all bad all the time. As self-effacing as they are scathing, though, Crimes' critiques are ultimately an empathetic eye towards the sins, schemes, devils, and delusions that bind us all. Dreams, in other words.
Hot off pressing the '08 flesh from Paris to Portland and Glastonbury Fest to SXSW, These United States will of course continue their mad march to - well, any sea that will have them - in support of Crimes. - buzznet