Music

Tommy Castro and the Pain Killers: The Devil You Know

The best barroom rave-up band you never heard.


Tommy Castro and the Pain Killers

The Devil You Know

Label: Alligator
US release date: 2014-01-21
UK release date: 2014-01-20
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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.

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