Thursday To-Do: The Moaners | Rock Candy

Thursday To-Do: The Moaners

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"Brainwash"

THE MOANERS
9 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.

There's an open letter on the website of the Moaners' record label, Yep Roc, where the Chapel Hill indie-rock duo spend a lot of time reflecting on their time in Mississippi recording their latest record, “Blackwing Yalobusha,” at Blackwings Studio in Water Valley, where R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough and other North Mississippi greats recorded. The duo, Laura King and Melissa Swingle, write, “We wanted to capture the atmosphere of the blues and the feeling of the South, Faulkner's South, O'Connor's South, but play with the form and take it somewhere new.” Before you get all “Carpetbaggers!” on the ladies, consider the “play with the form” bit. Indie rock, like most rocks, has occasionally, often egregiously, been blues obsessed. There's a small helping of Jon Spencer's career, the Black Keys and the White Stripes, but if you dig too much deeper, the well gets barren pretty quick. So, bravo to the Moaners, who sound an awful lot like Sleater-Kinney if Kenny Brown were playing guitar. Swingle, who spent a fair number of years leading the band Trailer Bride, plays a pretty mean slide guitar, alternating between dirty, feedback-laden runs and more hypnotic atmospherics. King isn't a slouch either; she plays spare enough to let the groove take the lead and, when the song dictates, rambunctious enough to get the kids bouncing. Local new-wave rockers the Reds open.

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