The best barroom rave-up band you never heard.
Tommy Castro and the Pain Killers play a rave-up brand of bluesy rock, with plenty of squalling guitar and clever lyrics, a la Too Slim and the Tail Draggers or just about any thoroughly awesome band you ever caught playing in a bar on the wrong side of midnight. Album opener “The Devil You Know” hits the ground running, all swagger and sly lyrical winks and six-string ass-kickery. It’s the strongest tune in the set, with Castro’s wide-open throat mirroring his unleashed guitar.
But there are plenty of nuggets to savor: the chirping organ of “Second Mind”, the sweet slide guitar of “The Whale Have Swallowed Me”, and especially “Two Steps Forward”, with its harmonica skronk and badass riffs. There’s a good range of moods and approaches on display, but it all adds up to a rocking good time. Say hello to your newest undiscovered guitar hero.