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Quintaine Americana
Dark Thirty
Curve of the Earth Records

The 20th century made a hard charge to kill the Southern man and the 21st is gonna finish him. But with guys like Quintaine Americana around, playing their off-road rock 'n' roll, fermented in a Mississippi twang with a heavy dose of old-school Boston punk, it's gonna be fun to watch 'em go down swinging.

I'm not talking about some Coors-drinking, hip-hopping pussy from Michigan. I mean the kind of assholes who drink, smoke, screw and play too loud, too much and too often, and do it with dignity.

Quintaine Americana's Dark Thirty is like a night with a bar band that wears cowboy boots made by Timberland. They just got into town to crank their amps up to 11 and drink long-necks with double shots of Kentucky bourbon. These guys are gonna take over your saloon and cover it with sweat, sawdust, spit, cigarette butts and broken glass.

The album starts off with "Hitchhiker in Black," a giant wall of V-12, fuel-injected guitars, a bass line chuggin' towards West Texas and drums kickin' like a set of rusty pistons.

The tone is set. "Bad Enough" accelerates the vicious stampede of sound and picks up the pace. Back-to-back bass and guitar breakdowns demand another round from the bar, shots of Jim Beam with a Lone Star chaser. Properly lubricated, the rhythm section continues the march during "Then One More," and it's on; "And another and another in me, then one more."

It's midnight. The band goes into "Set Me on Fire." It's the best song of the night. Robert Earl Dixon and his band are the meanest fuckers in five counties and they know it and want somebody to make 'em prove it. The guitar cuts to a tight chorus and back to a mean six-string lead; Robert Earl's raspy snarl falls out of the antiquated speaker like a rattlesnake's slow, desperate search for water. "Set me on fire you son of a bitch/ I like when it's painful." The night's getting dangerous, mean and raucous. The smoke above the bar isn't going anywhere. The Southern boys are getting' that feeling.

The first riff of "Hogs" hangs out alone by the side of the bar and it's startin' to get ragged. Robert Earl is feeling the booze, the guitars start to fight it out, but the rhythm section keeps chugging on into "The Sky."

The beer, bourbon and weed are starting to get toxic — it's the beginning of the end. The ladies are ready to go home and teach the boys a lesson with their hips. But you can see in the tobacco spit on the floor that something bad is gonna happen first. "Blast Away" ends with a threat: "If all you want's a fightin' man/ Give me the gun, I'll blast away." It's on. Beer bottles, bullets, blood and teeth are flying, bones and glass are breaking and everyone's running. The bartender ducks under the bar.

But the men of Quintaine Americana keep going and they take the crowd with them. "Holes" murmurs promises about a brief moment of salvation and relief for the damned; "I want to fill them/ I want to crawl in them all/ I want to climb up your legs/ And crawl in your holes." Hips are thrusting, sweat is dripping off the ceiling. "She Lets Me Ride" tumbles off the stage and out the door.

Laid out, bleeding inside his right ear and from the lip, Robert Earl's hung over like a broken bronco. His head reverberates in the bass-line of "Next to Go," heart beating intermittently with every strike of the drum, the dual guitar attack conspiring to envelop him in white noise and douse him in diesel fuel. He's crashed into a wall of hurt, hate and shame. Covered in bile, shit, piss and regret, he begs for relief from his fate; "God's cleaning/ You're not needed/ Are you surprised?/ Baptized?"

A cough of spit and blood hits the pavement and cues the return of the V-12 bass and guitar combo on "Something Went Wrong." The stomp and swagger are back, a band born without regret.

Dark Thirty isn't for everyone, but if you need a little danger to get your drink on, give Quintaine Americana a call. They will always be playin', drinkin' and fightin' somewhere, somehow.

by Matt Landry

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