Rangers – ‘Texas Rock Bottom’

Posted by on May 31, 2017

texas rock bottom

I’ve been stuck on Rangers’ Texas Rock Bottom for months, self-released on Joe Knight’s Bandcamp late last summer. Since then my “quick review” turnaround was further truncated by the existential burden of realizing that this is the 50th Anniversary of the “Summer of Love” and Monterey Pop Festival, a recollection that rushes back during each encounter with Knight’s masterful songwriting. When I was young and discovering my tastes in the early 1990s, the Summer of Love and the life of hippies seemed so far away, a distant universe that could never be replicated or that I might never even wrap my mind around. So, my dread now is the realization that I may be beyond contextualizing the music of my youth alongside current developments. Maybe I’m just old.

Whatever else, Knight adroitly compartmentalizes and compacts the laid-back apathy of the mid-1990s into nine action-packed tunes. I imagine them in the vein of what might happen if you left Sunny Day Real Estate baking on the beach or rounded out the edges from more polemical grunge or pop. Knight weaves these sentiments with snappy, clean or slightly overdriven guitars and steady backbeats, both of which allow his vocal performances to shine. The release description wraps them all up as “grubby americana detournements and decompositions.” In any event, Texas Rock Bottom is a high-bar for a whole spectrum of decade-hopping generational music.

Stream Texas Rock Bottom below, and order on cassette via Knight’s Bandcamp or on CD via Doom Trip Records.