Free and legal MP3: Deer Tick (gruff but lovable quasi-Americana)

“Easy” – Deer Tick

For a band with roots in Rhode Island, this one has something of the big, lonesome prairie about it, provided that you put a garage somewhere in the middle of that prairie and plugged a guitar or two into it. We’ll need a drum kit too. And a carton of cigarettes.

After the spaghetti western surf rock of the rumbly introduction, the immediate thing that will impress you (or, not) about “Easy” is the roughened—well, okay, strangled—tone of front man John Joseph McCauley III. Perhaps an acquired taste, or perhaps something you won’t want to hear for more than three or four minutes at a time, but I urge you to ride this one out because the thing that ultimately gives this song its power is, I think, the juxtaposition of McCauley’s sore-throated rasp and the urgent poise of its simple, well-crafted music. Listen to how the galloping verses leave you aching for resolution and how well the rock-solid chorus delivers it: an uncomplicated melody perched upon a flowing guitar line, everything shot through with the deep-seated authenticity of folk music, along with a shot of un-self-conscious ’70s southern rock.

Deer Tick began in 2004 as pretty much just McCauley, supported by a variety of side musicians. The band became a duo in ’07, and has evolved since then to a full-fledged quartet, now based in Brooklyn, like everybody else. “Easy” is the lead track off Deer Tick’s second album, Born on Flag Day, which will be released next month on Partisan Records, also based in Brooklyn. MP3 originally via Partisan, now via Better Propaganda.

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