Goodbye, Killer (2010)

Goodbye, Killer (2010)

Track Listing:

  1. bechamel
  2. jacqueline susann
  3. we love the stage
  4. the loving kind
  5. something for you
  6. goodbye, killer
  7. the great depression
  8. newport news
  9. f***ing and flowers
  10. the end of faith
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Goodbye, Killer by Pernice Brothers is Joe Pernice’s first band album since 2006’s Live a Little. In several weeks-long bursts of work over the course of a couple of years, in between writing a novel, recording a soundtrack for said novel, touring on both, and doing real-life things, Joe, his brother Bob, and long-time collaborators James Walbourne (Pretenders, Son Volt, Peter Bruntnell) and Ric Menck (Matthew Sweet, Velvet Crush) holed up in an attic in Boston and recorded these 10 Pernice originals.

Goodbye, Killer should appease Pernice fans from all walks of life. It includes the full on rock 'n rollers "Jacqueline Susann" and "Bechamel," signature pop songs "The Great Depression" and "F***ing and Flowers," the Scuds-esque "Newport News" and "The End of Faith," and two AM radio would-be classics "The Loving Kind" and "Goodbye, Killer." Pernice refers to the undeniably show tune-y number "We Love the Stage," as his "homage to vaudeville, indie rock and learning to love betting against yourself." (Whatever. Pernice's manager just hopes it"s the first song in the musical he and Walbourne are going to write, because she"d love to lose a lot of money producing musicals too.)

Goodbye, Killer is a versatile album that"s trademark Pernice.

It Feels So Good When I Stop (2009)

It Feels So Good When I Stop (2009)

Track Listing:

  1. Used to Like That Song (book excerpt)
  2. Found a Little Baby
  3. I Go to Pieces
  4. I'm Your Puppet
  5. Right Down There With Pat Boone (book excerpt)
  6. Soul and Fire
  7. Chevy Van
  8. Tell Me When It's Over
  9. Chim Chim Cheree
  10. Black Smoke (No Pope)
  11. That's How I Got To Memphis
  12. Todd Rundgren's Fault (book excerpt)
  13. Hello It's Me
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It Feels So Good When I Stop (Novel Soundtrack) is a companion piece to Joe Pernice’s debut novel It Feels So Good When I Stop. The book was published August 6, 2009 by Riverhead Books, a division of Penguin. According to Pernice, “Though the book is not explicitly about music, there are quite a few cover and fictional songs mentioned, so I thought it would be a cool idea for me to record some of those songs and release them, as a soundtrack album to the novel.”

Performed by Joe Pernice, Peyton Pinkerton, Mike Belitsky, Bob Pernice, with James Walbourne and Ric Menck.

Recorded and mixed by Bob Pernice. Mastered by Mark Allan Miller at Slaughterhouse. Original cover art by Gray 318.

Live a Little (2006)

Live A Little (2006)

Track Listing:

  1. Automaton
  2. Somerville
  3. Cruelty to Animals
  4. Zero Refills
  5. Microscopic View
  6. How Can I Compare
  7. B.S. Johnson
  8. PCH One
  9. Conscience Clean (I Went to Spain)
  10. Lightheaded
  11. High as a Kite
  12. Grudge F*** (2006)
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Live a Little is the sixth recording by The Pernice Brothers, and it marks as much a return to form as it does a departure from what came before it. For one thing, there’s the reunion of Joe Pernice and producer Michael Deming, who worked on the recordings of Joe’s previous band, the Scud Mountain Boys, as well as the very first Pernice Brothers record, Overcome By Happiness. This one has strings and horns, which have not been part of a Pernice album since OBH. But, and this is a mighty exception, it’s much more of a rock record than that was, representing the running of big fat analog tape while sweaty guys played on well-crafted instruments through amplifiers and pounded on sweet, old, drum kits. Oh, and it marks a return to New England, having been recorded in Connecticut, which one of the band members used to disparage as nothing more than the state in his way when he wanted to travel from Massachusetts to New York. He’s now grown to pay it the respect it deserves as a rock mecca, hiding in plain sight.

Lyrically, it’s another masterpiece, and if distinctions must be drawn, perhaps this one’s a bit more literary, where last year’s Discover a Lovelier You was somewhat more cinematic. “PCH One” probably could have been a Scud Mountain Boys song, and “Grudge F*** (2006) was a Scud Mountain Boys song (without the 2006), but instead of the gentle, almost lazy, plaintive plodding of the original recording, the Pernice Brothers version out-Badfingers Badfinger and that’s good. You can feel its pain. It also has the trademark Pernice geography obsession. There are eleven very excellently crafted and executed new songs in all, plus the aforementioned “Grudge,” which is indeed a stunner.

Joe Pernice began his recording career in the mid-90’s with the Scuds, in Northampton, Massachusetts. In addition to his Pernice output (Overcome By Happiness, The World Won’t End,Yours Mine and Ours, Discover a Lovelier You plus the live album/DVD Nobody’s Watching/Nobody’s Listening) and his three Scuds records, he has also recorded under the name Chappaquiddick Skyline and released a solo album called Big Tobacco. He has two books out: Two Blind Pigeons is a collection of poetry and Meat is Murder is a critically-acclaimed novella published as part of the 33 1/3 series by Continuum Books. He is an accomplished television star, having made a 45-second appearance as a troubadour-wannabe in a 2006 episode of The Gilmore Girls. Ashmont Records is a small indie label co-owned by Joe and his long-time manager Joyce Linehan, based in Dorchester, Massachusetts, which is known (artistically) for being the birthplace of Norm Crosby, Ray Bolger, Donna Summer, the Wahlberg Brothers and Joe Pernice’s grandmother.

It also boasts the world’s largest piece of copyrighted public art, the controversial painting (informally called the “Ho Chi Min Memorial Gas Tank) by Sr. Corita Kent on a giant gas tank. I’m not making that up.

Discover a Lovelier You (2005)

Discover a Lovelier You (2005)

Track Listing:

  1. There Goes the Sun
  2. Saddest Quo
  3. Snow
  4. Sell Your Hair
  5. My So-Called Celibate Life
  6. Dumb It Down
  7. Discover a Lovelier You
  8. Say Goodnight to the Lady
  9. Amazing Glow
  10. Subject Drop
  11. Pisshole in the Snow
  12. Red Desert
  13. Amazing Glimmer
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Discover a Lovelier You is the fifth recording by The Pernice Brothers, their fourth for their own Ashmont Records, and the 10th album overall for Joe Pernice in his various musical incarnations. Picking up where Yours Mine and Ours (2003) left off, this one has 12 artfully crafty Joe Pernice originals, evoking and inspired by transportation catastrophes, George Harrison, O. Henry, Duran Duran, Claire Danes, Michelangelo Antonioni, Ennio Morricone and other fascinating Italians, non-Italians and mise-en-scenic situations. Despite all the outside influences, Pernician flourishes abound. These are Joe’s best songs to date, wellexecuted and tight, and all things being relative, that’s good. And as if that weren’t enough, there are two waltzes.

Discover was recorded in Brooklyn, New York; Holbrook, Massachusetts; Los Angeles, California; and Toronto, Ontario making it an international affair. It was produced by Joe Pernice and longtime collaborator Thom Monahan, and features most of the band that toured on Yours Mine and Ours, including Peyton
Pinkerton, Patrick Berkery, James Walbourne and Bob Pernice. Guest appearances include Blake Hazard, Ricci Bonanno and Ric Menck.

Joe Pernice started his recording career in the mid-90’s with the Scud Mountain Boys in Northampton, Massachusetts. In addition to his Pernice Brothers output, including their first live album and DVD released in late 2004, and his three Scuds records, he has recorded under the name Chappaquiddick Skyline and made a solo record called Big Tobacco. Ashmont Records is a small indie label, based in Dorchester, Massachusetts, which is known (artistically anyway) for being the birthplace of Norm Crosby, Ray Bolger, Donna Summer and the New Kids on the Block. The label is co-owned by Pernice and his manager.

Nobody's Watching / Nobody's Listening (2004)

Discover a Lovelier You (2005)

Track Listing:

  1. Water Ban
  2. Working Girls
  3. Our Time Has Passed
  4. Crestfallen
  5. Monkey Suit
  6. She Heightened Everything
  7. Sometimes I Remember
  8. Clear Spot
  9. Wait to Stop
  10. Grudge F***
  11. Talk of the Town
  12. Flaming Wreck
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Welcome to the Pernice Brothers’ first DVD and first live album. This two disc set (one CD and one DVD) is sort of a chronicle of the year 2004 in the land of Pernice.

The live album was recorded in January 2004 at the Mercury Lounge (in the place where the team that lost the American League pennant to the Red Sox is from) over the course of two nights, and the live band lineup includes Joe Pernice, Bob Pernice, Peyton Pinkerton, Thom Monahan, James Walbourne and Patrick Berkery. There are 12 tracks. Thom Monahan engineered, which is really fascinating as he is the band’s bass player as well. He also mixed.

The DVD is a veritable potpourri of eye candy, including live footage from the band’s various tours, interview footage from XM Satellite Radio and Air America, backstage and van shenanigans, etc. It also contains videos for “Weakest Shade of Blue” and “Baby in Two” from the Yours, Mine and Ours album. These videos were made by students from the Raw Art Works Real to Reel film program, a non-profit arts program in Lynn, Massachusetts. Altogether, it’s about an hour’s worth of stuff. It was directed and edited by Christopher "chief" Najewicz.

Yours, Mine & Ours (2003)

Discover a Lovelier You (2005)

Track Listing:

  1. The Weakest Shade of Blue
  2. Water Ban
  3. One Foot in the Grave
  4. Baby in Two
  5. Blinded by the Stars
  6. Waiting for the Universe
  7. Judy
  8. Sometimes I Remember
  9. How to Live Alone
  10. Number Two
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Since my partner(and by partner I mean business and not life. God, life partner is one of those expressions that’s creepy to say. There are a bunch of them in the English language. If someone ever decides to write a dictionary of common words and expressions that are creepy to say, let me know. I’ll contribute. On second thought, I’ll litigate. It’s my idea.) Joyce Linehan and I started Ashmont Records a couple of years ago, one of the jobs I’ve absorbed is writing the press releases for the upcoming albums. I know Jack shit about writing press releases (re: The World Won’t End, Big Tobacco). I know it. Joyce knows it. You know it. Still, I’ll get an email from her asking me to "write something" for the album or for the web site. No wonder the record industry is such a mess. People like us polluting the hallowed ground. I hereby confess: Ashmont Records ruined the record industry. Just to add insult to injury, we’ve decided to release the third and latest album by Pernice Brothers, called Yours, Mine and Ours.

Like a lot of people post 9/11, I contemplated changing my life drastically. Rock musicians (myself included) can lend themselves to being a bit too self-involved, and the times seemed to ask more of people. In the end (to make a long and familiar story short), it was all about rediscovering the joy in things, and hanging on to them for dear life. Which is what I did. Therefore in June 2002, I rounded up the group of usual suspects (Thom Monahan, Peyton Pinkerton, Mike Belitsky, Laura Stein, Bob Pernice) and we recorded in the secluded Vermont summer-house of a benevolent cancer surgeon. It might sound Big Pink, but we had satellite TV, high-speed Internet and a restaurant-quality kitchen. It was more like Big Pinkerton. (See my cooking video starring Peyton at pernicebrothers.com. To give you a hint of the sound of Yours, Mine and Ours, for months the working title was Pretty in Pinkerton. Ah, what’s in a name?)

In the Fall, we finished recording overdubs in historic Brooklyn, and we selfishly exploited the talents of our old friends Mike Daly, John Crooke and Ben Wheelock. Warren Zanes (the Rookie) and April March were more than generous with their vocalizing. (Their infant son can be heard during the coda of track 3, something like, "These people are all lunatics. I buried Paul. Where’s my #*&%$#@ milk?")

Anyway, I’m very happy to announce Pernice Brothers’ new album Yours, Mine and Ours. (The other "blind mouse" at Ashmont Records, Joyce, is more relieved than happy I’d bet.) The record may share its title with a breezy, feel-good Doris Day motion picture (maybe I’m confusing it with With Six you Get Egg Roll, a close runner-up), but to quote the colossal talent that is Rip Torn, "This ain’t that."

-Joe Pernice / 2003

Australia Tour EP (2002)

Discover a Lovelier You (2005)

Track Listing:

  1. Dimmest Star
  2. All I Know
  3. Flaming Wreck
  4. Cronulla Breakdown
  5. Bryte Side
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This is a US-reissue of an EP that was available on the Joe Pernice & Peyton Pinkerton's 2002 Australian tour. It contains alternative versions of previously released songs, recorded live in Brooklyn in January 2002.

The World Won't End (2001)

Discover a Lovelier You (2005)

Track Listing:

  1. Working Girls (sunlight shines)
  2. 7:30
  3. Our Time Has Passed
  4. She Heightened Everything
  5. Bryte Side
  6. Let That Show
  7. Shaken Baby
  8. Flaming Wreck
  9. The Ballad of Bjorn Borg
  10. Endless Supply
  11. Cronulla Breakdown
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A lot of things are funny. There’s my favorite joke about the two racehorses commiserating over cocktails in a bar. There’s the joke about me walking out of a record contract to start a label with my partner. And through my valium haze, I can’t help but recognize the humor in the situation I’m in as I write this. If what they say about tragedy and comedy coming infinitely close to one another, then by Jesus, I’m not sure if I’m going to wet my pants for laughter, or fear.

I’m in a plane right now, London to Boston, about 45,000 feet over the black Atlantic Ocean and it’s bumpy as all hell. (That’s about eight miles high. Try jogging it sometime.) The wings are flapping like mad in the chop, and I’m certain one or both will snap off before my eyes. My seatbelt is so tight I’m on the doorstep of suffering from acute deep vein thrombosis, but that seatbelt is the only thing keeping me from chipping a tooth on the ceiling. A couple minutes ago, an unsipped, double bourbon spilled onto my lap, and if I had the flexibility, I’d suck the wet spot. Oh, to be young again. (Don’t quote me on this, but I believe the airline I’m flying also owns a record company that passed on my new album. This comforts me a little, for I believe they must know something I don’t, and I pray they’ve carried that enlightenment into the realm of aviation science. I think they discovered the space age alloy, Unobtainium, and I’m hoping this plane is made entirely of it.)

I was going to use this "quiet time" to decide the final sequence of the new Pernice Brothers album. To paraphrase a famous cartoon character, "Album-Shmalbum." I’m just hoping I don’t survive a crash landing in frozen Greenland and have to fight-to-the-death the Scrapfordshire Boys Choir seated near me for a bag of peanuts and an insulated, kid sized blazer with crest; I see myself reflected in the eyes of the first soprano and look alarmingly similar to a rotisserie chicken with a five o’clock shadow. I ask him for a cigarette and he snarls.

There’s a song about me dying in a plane crash on the new record, and this delights me to no end; I figure if this bird goes down, some smartass should be able to parlay the coincidence into enough cash to outfit generations of Pernice’s and beyond with the latest and most sophisticated of orthodonture. To my family...I leave... corrected teeth.

The plane just dropped about five hundred feet in a second, and a red-faced flight attendant, picking herself off the floor, readjusting her skirt, is hoping we didn’t see that we all saw. Captain Morgan slurs over the intercom, saying we’re in for more rough air ahead. The British Farinelli in seat 35D is whispering something in the ear of his doppelganger as he stares me down. The world won’t end...

-Joe Pernice / 2001

Big Tobacco (2000)

Discover a Lovelier You (2005)

Track Listing:

  1. Prince Valium
  2. The Pill
  3. Bum Leg
  4. Pipe Bomb
  5. I Still Can't Say Her Name
  6. Undertow
  7. I Break Down
  8. Hard To Take
  9. Second Semester Lesbian
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After four years and five albums with my old label, I decided it was definitely time for a change. You can fill in all the details surrounding the split, as many of the musician/record company struggle cliches apply. Rather than get bogged down in the negativity, I approached my co-control freak friend, Joyce Linehan, about starting a label together. If my memory serves me correctly, Ashmont Records was born over mediocre Chinese food in Braintree, Massachusetts. Literally, the next day, I called Thom Monahan, producer of five of my six albums, and told him I wanted to make this record, Big Tobacco, asap. When he stopped laughing, he said, "let's do it." We excitedly kicked around ideas, at which point I slipped into the conversation the fact that there was just about no money involved, which was more than he had anticipated. God love him. He unwittingly paraphrased a famous pedophile whe he said bands are like sharks: you move forward or die. If we had our way we would have recorded in Sweden during the dark months, but Joyce's credit card was dangerously reaching its limit. We did the next best thing: held up in a house in New England. Dark at 7am. Dark at 4pm. We pretended we were quarantined with a disease, not so serious that we couldn't track. Big Tobacco should be subtitled, "I'm just a carrier." Besides members of the Pernice Brothers (Thom Monahan, Peyton Pinkerton, Laura Stein) we got some great help from Mike Daly of Whiskeytown, David Reid from Sea of Cortez, Gordon Zacharias from Fan Modine, Matt Hunter from New Radiant Storm King, Jeremy Smith from The New Harmful and Anne Viebig from Tappan Zee. Hopefully, when we've been cleared by our army of learned physicians, we'll come and play some of these songs for you.

- Joe Pernice / May, 2000

Chappaquiddick Skyline (1999)

Discover a Lovelier You (2005)

Track Listing:

  1. Everyone Else Is Evolving
  2. Solitary Swedish Houses
  3. Courage Up
  4. Two of You Sleep
  5. Breakneck Speed
  6. Theme to an Endless Bummer
  7. Up in Michigan
  8. Hundred Dollar Pocket
  9. Nobody's Watching
  10. Knights of the Knight Vol.1
  11. Leave Me Alone
  12. Kidney Shaped Pool
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The name may change from project to project, but what's remained the same from the Scud Mountain Boys to the Pernice Brothers to now Chappaquiddick Skyline is the heartwrenching beauty of Joe Pernice's melancholy pop — marrying rapturous melodies with a poetic grace virtually unmatched among his contemporaries, Pernice's confessionals cut almost unbearably deep, giving voice to the yearning and isolation most of us struggle to suppress. Largely eschewing the lush string arrangements that buoyed the Pernice Brothers' classic Overcome by Happiness, Chappaquiddick Skyline instead favors a simple, pastoral approach, which amplifies the stark desolation of Pernice's songs; likewise, his ghostly whisper of a voice suits the material perfectly — the intensity and intimacy of the moments he captures are much too great to be detailed in anything more than hushed tones, like secrets passed from ear to ear. Reeling from one heartbreak to another, the record's bitter honesty never wavers, documenting an inner turmoil that even the gauziest songs can't soothe; though informed throughout by a growing alienation which climaxes with an unexpected but wholly appropriate cover of New Order's "Leave Me Alone," Chappaquiddick Skyline is ironically enough a work of immense warmth and solace as well, tapping into themes of pain and loss so universal that it's oddly comforting to hear them articulated with such eloquence and evoked with so much understanding.

-Jason Ankeny (All Music Guide)

Overcome By Happiness (1998)

Discover a Lovelier You (2005)

Track Listing:

  1. Crestfallen
  2. Overcome by Happiness
  3. Sick of You
  4. Clear Spot
  5. Dimmest Star
  6. Monkey Suit
  7. Chicken Wire
  8. Wait to Stop
  9. All I Know
  10. Shoes and Clothes
  11. Wherein Obscurely
  12. Ferris Wheel
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Overcome by Happiness is more than simply a pretty, mellow pop record. It's a bold, often dramatic revamping of Pernice's artistic sound and vision, a gigantic leap from his work with the Scud Mountain Boys, the Northampton, Massachusetts-based quartet who quietly carved out a unique place in the ever-growing pantheon of neo-country outfits such as Uncle Tupelo, the Bottle Rockets, Son Volt, and Wilco. But where the three albums recorded by the Scuds -- the 1995 Chunk-issued Pine Box and Dance the Night Away, now available on Sub Pop's reissue The Early Year; and Massachusetts, the group's '96 debut for Sub Pop -- were minimalist-country constructions presented with few frills and even fewer overdubs, Overcome by Happiness is a relatively lavish effort adorned with sweeping orchestrations, plaintive piano fills, and soaring horn work. The twelve songs, all Pernice originals, transcend the boundaries of alterna-country and span the stylistic gamut between his traditionalist work with the Scuds and the melancholic power-pop romanticism of the Raspberries, Big Star, and Runt-era Todd Rundgren. "It is definitely more of a pop album than a country or Americana record," admits Pernice, "but this is the record I wanted to make." That's why, in the summer of 1997, Pernice left the Scud Mountain Boys. "I think we went as far as we could go stylistically and it became very limiting," Pernice says of the split. "It was just time to move on. I'm not knocking that kind of traditional country music we were doing, but for me it was getting a little boring. I was thinking that a lot of the songs I was writing at the time [of the Scuds' breakup] were suited for things like strings and piano. Really, I just wanted to expand the sound a bit and try different instruments and to really indulge myself, which I couldn't do in the Scud Mountain Boys." After debuting the Pernice Brothers in January '97 with a Sub Pop single, Pernice gathered together his guitar-playing brother Bob and some friends from area bands (including New Radiant Storm King guitarist Peyton Pinkerton and, from the Lilys, bassist/producer Thom Monahan, drummer Aaron Sperske, and pianist/string arranger/producer Mike Deming) and headed to Hartford, Connecticut's Studio .45 to lay down tracks for Overcome by Happiness. A stylistic departure that bristles with a sense of discovery and liberation, Happiness moves gracefully from lilting pop gems such as "Crestfallen" to the lover's kiss-off "Clear Spot"; from the pulsating riff that propels the wistfully cynical title track to the gloriously beautiful "Wait to Stop," a string- laden weeper that is something of a throwback to the complex studio concoctions of Brian Wilson's best work with the Beach Boys. Overcome by Happiness, with its conspicuous lack of country leanings, is an astoundingly brave move for someone so critically adored by the alternative set. It is both a gorgeous and lyrical album. Say hello to the Pernice Brothers.

Scud Mountain Boys - The Early Year (1997)

Discover a Lovelier You (2005)

Pine Box:

  1. Silo (Pernice)
  2. Reservoir (Pernice)
  3. Glacier Bay (Desaulniers/Pernice)
  4. Peter Graves' Anatomy (Pernice)
  5. Freight of Fire (Pernice)
  6. Sweet Sally (Pernice)
  7. Oklahoma! (Pernice)
  8. Don't Know How to Tell Her (Pernice)
  9. Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves (Stone)
  10. There Is No Hell (Like the Hell on this Earth) (Desaulniers/Pernice)
  11. Wichita Lineman (Webb)
  12. Please Mr. Please (Augustus)
  13. Down in Writing (Pernice)
  14. Closing Time (Pernice)

Dance the Night Away:

  1. Freight of Fire (Pernice)
  2. One Hand (Pernice)
  3. Letter to Bread (Pernice)
  4. Television (Pernice)
  5. (She Took His) Picture (Pernice)
  6. Where's the Playground Susie (Webb)
  7. Combine (Pernice)
  8. Blood and Bones (Pernice)
  9. Silo (Pernice)
  10. Sangré de Cristo (Pernice)
  11. Kneeling (Pernice)
  12. Fiery Coffin (Pernice)
  13. Helen (Bonanno)
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Pine Box and Dance the Night Away were the Scud Mountain Boys' first two albums. Released on the tiny indie Chunk Records, neither album received wide distribution, so when the group signed with Sub Pop in 1997, the label negotiated for the release of the double-disc set The Early Year, which featured both albums plus a handful of rarities.

Scud Mountain Boys - Massachusetts (1996)

Discover a Lovelier You (2005)

Track Listing:

  1. In a Ditch
  2. Scratch Ticket
  3. Penthouse in the Woods
  4. Grudge ****
  5. Big Hole
  6. Van Drunk
  7. Lift Me Up
  8. Liquor Store (Desaulniers)
  9. Ride
  10. Holy Ghost
  11. Cigarette Sandwich
  12. Massachusetts
  13. Glass Jaw
  14. Knievel
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Though frequently compared to the likes of Palace Music, Wilco, and Son Volt, the Scud Mountain Boys have one up on the competition: they are just as frequently referred to as the "real deal." These denizens of Massachusetts's Pioneer Valley are not a "neo-country" band, nor are they indie-rock pretenders; they just write really good, really poignant traditional American songs. There is no historical irony in their music, just great songs and a true commitment to a style of music that many Americans (and certainly a great number of "country" fans) have forgotten.