DRUG CABIN: YARD WORK + WIGGLE ROOM
On these two albums, L.A.’s Drug Cabin have found a sound that makes all the sense in the world—it’s the pedal-steel and fingerpicked guitar of the Byrds circa Sweetheart or Notorious Byrd Brothers built in to the sharp and understated funky-pop of Ned Doheny, whose capability for wit and agility are all over these albums. So call it “Easy Glider”, and let’s take our time to swim through these two releases with the Drug Cabin partners Nathan Thelen and Marcus Congleton and able new support players like bassist Eugene Owens, drummer Sheridan Riley and pedal steel player Frankie Palmer. Yard Work is maybe more the rocker album, with “Jesus” the single for a reason:“I came to party / I pray to Jesus / I have a good time / I’m outta my miiiiiiiind!” (If the Minutemen’s “Shit From An Old Notebook” turned into Doheny’s “Get It Up For Love,” well … that’s this.) Songs like “Hollywood,” “Goldenwall” and closer “Sapphire” just bubble along with cryptic (and not as cheerful as they seem) lyrics and nimble little harmonies and light-on-their-feet beats, while songs like “California” and “Powder Moon” (there’s gotta be a subliminal connection to Neil Young in that one?) are sad but never heavy, thanks to a rhythm section that knows just how hard to hit and pedal steel that practically makes the songs levitate. Wiggle Room’s opener reminds me (probably unfairly) of Avi Buffalo, but then slips easily into a vibe of its own with songs like “Wonderful,” which works in a little Bob Neuwirth cosmic-cowboy sentiment, or the happily fractured closer “Space Program.” Releasing these two albums (basically) at once says to me that Drug Cabin was having too much fun to let this sound go, and listening to these two albums at once proves that I’m right about that, I think. These songs are smart, particular, impeccably put together and Drug Cabin is probably too polite to make a big deal about how good they can be—so guess that’s my job, right?
DRUG CABIN ON MON., APR. 20, AT THE HOTEL CAFÉ, 1623 CAHUENGA BLVD., HOLLYWOOD. 7:30 PM / $10 / 21+. HOTELCAFE.COM. GET TICKETS HERE! YARD WORK AND WIGGLE ROOM ARE AVAILABLE NOW FROM 401K MUSIC.