New stuff from TEXAS-based label, Saustex!!

Just the Two of Us
Saustex Media, 2012
Reviewed by Kent Manthie
Churchwood are back. After a much-heralded self-titled debut CD, they’re back with this special edition 7 inch vinyl record. But, don’t worry if you don’t have a turntable: when you buy the 7 inch, it comes with a card that you can use to download all four cuts on the vinyl edition to your PC, thereby making it accessible to those who lack a turntable (funny how 30-40 years ago things would be the other way around – everyone would have a turntable and the bonus downloadings would’ve been seen as a real novelty.
On this release, entitled Just the Two of Us, Churchwood comes at you with their brand of full-tilt punk-rock/psychobilly. If you want a comparison, well, think of a cross between The Cramps and The Blasters.
Lone Star Music calls Just the Two of Us “Dangerous, foreboding, in-your-face…” and this Austin, TX-based band is expanding its reach, slowly but surely. The tracks on this EP are infectious, mutations of Southern white-boy blues; in fact, I’d say that it is even rawer and more savage than their eponymous, full-length debut CD, in that vein, another blurb is worth mentioning: the Santa Fe, New Mexican writes, in regard to this EP that “[Churchwood] take the essence of primitive blues and mutate[s] it into something new…” and also, Punk Globe calls Churchwood the “Crazy, thinking man’s blues band”.
Churchwood’s music is an olio of sounds, rich in influences and traits. You can hear some of their crawling out of the Mississippi Delta blues sounds and infusing it with psychobilly, sludgy rock ‘n’ roll (Melvins, Mudhoney, etc), even Captain Beefheart seems to be an influence as well.
Lead singer Joe Doerr is not just a crafty songwriter, but is also a published poet! In Churchwood, Doerr is accompanied by terrific musicians with talent: the trippy abandon with which twin guitarists Bill Anderson and Billysteve Korpi bend, crunch and make their guitars moan and cry do great justice to the wrought out lyrics of Joe Doerr, swirling around his edgy voice, both paralleling him and complementing his voice. Of course, Churchwood wouldn’t be Churchwood without the incredible rhythm section: drummer Julien Peterson and bassist Adam Kahan both lend a booming background that keeps the time alive and also, occasionally riff out on their own.
20 years ago Bill Anderson and Joe Doerr had played together in a couple legendary Texas bands, Ballad Shambles and Hand of Glory. So, what’s been going on in between for all these years? Well, as was mentioned, Doerr got his poetry thing finessed and is now published and takes delight in penning more and more when he can. As for Bill Anderson, he rambled back and forth, jamming in such diverse-sounding bands as The Horsies, The Meat Purveyors and Cat Scientist. And – he also sat in on some sessions with the legendary Daniel Johnston. So, these guys are no youngsters and no Johnny-come-latelies either.
As for this new EP, it’s got four tracks on it: four mean, lean raw, bones: “Message From Firmin Desloge”, “Metanoia”, “Weedeye” and “Rickshaw Rattletrap”.
From the get-go, Churchwood let loose and play like there’s no tomorrow, with reckless abandon and fueled-up fervor. But don’t let that belie the fact that these cats are intelligent. They are not just some dumb hicks from down South, no they’ve got a good handle on the bohemian, hip literary references and the like, e.g., “Rimbaud Didley” and “Ulysses”, both from their debut. So, let’s hear it for these Austin dudes who not only can bring the house down, but get pleasure from less destructive means as well. –KM

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