By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
There's nothing quite like catching a band before the buzz builds. Poised but never polished, the Albuquerque-based Sin Serenade has a swell batch of dusty new songs just waiting to win over familiar fans and new converts alike. Just how sinful is the rootsy, countrified Americana served up by this trio, featuring singer/songwriter/guitarist Lucky Donohue, upright bassist/singer/songwriter Antonia Montoya and new drummer Maghan Texas?
Things can get downright dirty when the cool, retro-looking Donohue gently draws you in with one of his Johnny Cash-inspired ballads before suddenly blasting out an X/Minor Threat/Queens of the Stone Age punk-rock kinda thang. It's a sound and style Donohue likes to call Garage Americana, and who are we to argue? The band's 2005 self-titled debut EP introduced to us one bad-ass, lo-fi rumble of sweet noise, with gritty songs such as "Tractors Dig Me" and "Oxen Promenade" sounding a bit like Alejandro Escovedo twangin' with the Knitters under a moonlit desert sky.
Of the recently finished recording for their forthcoming full-length release, perhaps the most anticipated is "Roadkill Rose." Thematically based on the group's journey through the Mojave Desert last summer—one without air conditioning, mind you—the unfolding anxiety, shattered nerves and obstacles galore provide some dark humor. But heck, no one ever said life on the road was a slice of heaven, right?
"It's always fun to play, even the time we shared a bill with all metal bands," says Montoya. "We love hecklers. . . . If anyone's giving us shit, we just feed off that and try to win them over."
Sin Serenade with the Irish Brothers at the District Lounge, 223 W. Chapman Ave., Orange, (714) 639-7777; www.thedistrictlounge.com . Tues., 10 p.m. Call for cover. 21+; and with Bang Sugar Bang and the Prix at Alex's Bar, 2913 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach, (562) 434-8292; www.alexsbar.com . Thurs., Aug. 16, 10 p.m. $3. 21+.