I am from the big, big city (New York) and have never really been a small town type of guy. Sure, I lived in a podunk in New Hampshire for a year which was pretty isolated and anxiety-inducing in its own way. That being said I have no earthly idea what a Turkey Vulture is. Maybe it’s like the psychotic and scary Fisher Cat I heard so much about and never saw up North. Well I looked it up, they kind of look like the Skeksis from The Dark Crystal, is protected by federal law, (thanks Wikipedia) and found out it is a very real, mean ass bird, that is a scavenger (not a shock), but also feeds on the dead. So we are talking one serious bird. Turkey Vulture the band, is also very serious.
The ‘Boxer’ single starts off with a sludgy riff that made one expect Jucifer or Weedeater style sounds to come pouring out of the speakers. The band faked us out with some metal-punk riffs, fuzzed out guitars, tight drums, intricate bass lines, and some super catchy hooks. Vocally Jessie May (Owl Maker) assumes the vocals here and has the badassness of a Kim Deal at the top of her game in Pixies or The Breeders. What a lot of people don’t understand about singing is sometimes it’s not just the voice and the song, but the right voice matched to the right words. And when the words are as powerful and have meaning such as the death of the American Dream, the fakeness and rampant consumerism and money chasing hamster-wheel of our culture, there is a lot of power in that delivery. Drummer Jim Clegg (Lobsterface) holds it down by playing with a lot of feel and well-timed accents.
The real surprise was an incredible cover of Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’. Dolly is a national treasure and ‘Jolene’ is one of her masterpieces, so when I first saw the track listing, it gave me pause. Sure, covers are cool, but so many bands just do a rote re-do of a song they love and then add nothing to it. This version reimagined the mournful track as a Psychedelic Punk jam, almost a little bit Hardcore on repeat listens to the agrro riffs and beats. I didn’t know I needed this cover in my life, but I am glad to have it. Fans who buy the single on Bandcamp will be treated to the hilarious bonus track ‘Bee Avenger’.
Apparently, there is already new music in the works from this two-piece group, and if this first taste is any indication,
8 / 10