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Black Holiday in Mexico City

(Shut Eye; US: 30 Oct 2007; UK: Unavailable)

The title of this debut EP from Georgia quartet Hayshaker isn’t especially evocative of the music they make. “Black Holiday” and “Mexico City” happen to be two of the disc’s seven songs, but this indie rockin’ Americana band are only occasionally dark-hued and never do they sound like mariachi or rock en español. Instead these three dudes and one lady call upon the approaches of everyone from Neil Young to Wilco to Cracker and, yes, even some of the sootier strains of gothic Appalachia found on the records of 16 Horsepower. From acoustic folk to driving rock, Hayshaker kick it Southern style on Black Holiday in Mexico City, all to generally fine effect. Betrothed band leaders CC & Laurie Rider sing nice harmonies on the quiet “Mexico City”; gritty guitars and a whompin’ rhythm section step to the fore on “Dirtkick”; and “In the Snow” is cowpunk grunge a la ‘90s Meat Puppets. The band fuse Hank Williams to Wilco’s rockin’ side on the EP’s best tune, “Laurie’s Song”. The CD certainly isn’t hurting for variety. On the flip side of that coin, Hayshaker could stand to balance their folk and rock together more often, as they do on “Laurie’s Song.” Their songcrafting is good enough to promise good things for the future of the band.


Michael Keefe is a freelance music journalist, an independent bookstore publicist, and a singer/guitarist/songwriter in a band. Raised on a record collection of The Beatles, Coltrane, Mozart, and Ravi Shankar, Michael has been a slave to music his whole life. At age 16, he got a drum set and a job at a record store, and he's been playing and peddling music ever since. Today, he lives in Oregon with his wife (also a writer, but not about music), two cats, and a whole lot of instruments and CDs.

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