If you haven’t heard of Two Gallants and you live in the Bay Area it’s time to turn over that rock you’ve been living under. Actually, if you haven’t heard of them at all you might want to check your pulse to make sure you’re not a zombie. These two “gallants” are Tyson Vogel and Adam Stephens and they like their bluegrass rock rough and dirty. They also seem to hate genre labels; it’s hard to pin down their sound in any song.
Stephens’ vocals have been compared to Jack White laced with Connor Oberst and The Georgia Satellites meets Sebastian Bach of Skid Row. Their new album The Bloom and the Blight leaves previous tinges of folk and alt-rock at the door. This record is their first in five years. With it they’ve passed through a new threshold of indie metal grounded in good ol’ (hardish) rock and roll.
At times it’s a bit difficult to work one’s way through Vogel’s all-encompassing, immensely crashing drums and Stephens’ intense lyrics about trials of the past. American West myths and truths are familiar themes for Two Gallants, but The Bloom and the Blight really doesn’t refrain from releasing any anger and catharsis. Even though it’s been a while since we’ve heard from the band (in part due to a horrific van accident involving Stephens in 2010), it’s important at this point in their career for them to put an album like this out into the ether. Vogel and Stephens don’t hold back, they play their respective instruments as hard as they want and take liberties they well deserve.
This album is the closest they’ve come to capturing the experience of their live shows. “Halcyon Days” and “Songs of Songs” hit the front of the record like a skirmish. Stephen’s vocals clear above his feedback-filled guitar chords and Vogel’s exploding percussion. Songs like “Decay” and “Winter’s Youth” are downright gorgeous with cathedral-like sounds between delicately simple guitar picking and Stephen’s stripped down singing — think church hymn. The single “My Love Won’t Wait” is a sassy grunge rock ballad.
Two Gallants is all over the place on this record but with a new sense of maturity. San Francisco, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you to see them at The Fillmore on Saturday, but I wouldn’t want you to miss these guys at home. I can say with confidence this show is worth a cancellation of your other Saturday night plans.
San Francisco is the last stop on the tour before Vogel and Stephens head to Australia. Two Gallants perform at The Fillmore on Saturday February 2, 2013. For tickets and more information, visit thefillmore.com.