Bloody Jug Band’s “Coffin Up Blood” is a Big Surprise
Now how much hope do you think I gave a CD entitled Coffin Up Blood from an act called “The Bloody Jug Band” going in? Yeah, not very much. I could just anticipate the band’s back story as I wrestled off the cellophane packaging: “Local punk band facing a dwindling scene has an epiphany at a Goddamn Gallows concert to get into roots music, trades in electric instruments for acoustic ones and joins an endless parade of ‘underground roots’ bands already taxing an anemic fan base.”
“All of this has been done before,” is what I said to myself starring at the cover. Parody is reigning and creativity is lagging. What can we gain from yet another Gothic roots band?
Well if it’s The Bloody Jug Band, the answer is “a ton.”
Forget the heavily death-infused concept, what The Bloody Jug Band has accomplished is releasing one of the most creatively-spellbinding albums in recent memory. Its funny. Its dark. It never takes itself too seriously. It is as engaging as any album I have listened to in years. You can’t stop listening to it, and when you’re not listening to it, you crave it. Think it’s all been done in roots music? Listen to Coffin Up Blood and prove your ass wrong.
Like a proper jug band, they build out from a washboard, washtub bass, jug, and percussion. So many bands try to move forward with the jug concept, but rarely have the rocks to see it through, eventually relegating the “jug” portion of the band to window dressing while guitars dominate the scene. Here though, the guitars, mandolins and such all are added on top of music that at its core is very rhythmic, very percussion and vocally-based. What is so curious to the ear though is how sensible the music is. Its a jug band, but I can hear influences ranging from as far away as David Byrne and Annie Lennox. This music isn’t just wicked, it is wickedly catchy, and for beginning as a jug concept, it is strikingly well-composed and shows remarkable depth in approach.
The best part of The Bloody Jug Band is the vocal play between the male and female singers “Cragmire Peace” and “Stormy Jean”. The threads they weave, the amount of space and depth they create in their harmonies as they float and dance with each other is like watching a tantric mating dance from the animal kingdom. They are perfect for conveying the treasure trove of wit and dark humor at the Bloody Jug Band’s core.
The band also calls upon contrast to elevate their music. Like in the song “Blacktooth Growl” whose beginning reminds me of an old Listerine commercial from the 90’s yet whose subject is very dark, or the song “Reaper Madness” that has catchy pop folk arrangement…and is about The Grim Reaper. Don’t let the imagery and words from The Bloody Jug Band fool you. There’s a lot of brightness and playful humor to their music that they use to counteract the darkness and create deep engagement and interest by stimulating the mind. You could take this same music, change the lyrics around at it would probably sell very well in the mainstream. In some ways it’s almost a shame some of these song structures are wasted on dark sarcasm, but they’re only wasted on the closed-minded.
And though this album is dominated by dark sarcasm, two very serious songs, “Moon Bathing” and “The Pain” (showcasing Stormy Jean) are two of the best tracks on the album, uplifting the entire project beyond a gimmick to something that can offer serious substance. After all, the Halloween one-liners could wear out eventually.
I could sit here and write forever on how good this album is, but make no mistake I am fully aware how many people will be turned off before even listening because of the dark verbiage and imagery, and others that may be attracted to it for those very reasons that may be turned off by the popish feel of some of the songs. Listen to me, it is your job as an enlightened music listener to put aside whatever prejudices and listen to this album with an open heart to unlock the tremendous enjoyment it can convey.
At the same time, because of both the accessibility of the music and the artistic approach of the dark subject matter, Coffin Up Blood could be an excellent gateway album to people outside of the Gothic roots world. I could see this album going viral in certain circles, or becoming sort of a cult classic.
They do everything right here. When it looked like we were at a creative dead end, The Bloody Jug Band opens up brand new doors, band new avenues, and challenges both the listener and other artists. We needed this album, which means you need this album.
Two guns way up!
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July 8, 2012 @ 11:12 am
They will be playing with The Kidney Stones, The Mud Flappers, and about 18 more local Florida bands at Will’s Pub and 5 stages along Mills Ave. here in Orlando for Southern Fried Sunday on July 15th to benefit The Mustard Seed of Central Florida. The Mustard Seed is a not for profit organization who provide furniture, clothing, and other essential items to families and individuals who have suffered tragedies such has house fires, storm damage, ect. that leaves them with nothing. There are also going to be car and bike shows, pin-up girl contest, free BBQ, tons of other vendors.
July 8, 2012 @ 11:14 am
More info here.
Honest Charlie's Productions
July 8, 2012 @ 12:25 pm
Listening to this album now.. Typically I wouldn’t have given this much of a glimpse due to the name and cover but man this is really good.. The girl’s voice sounds very familiar but I just can’t place it yet.. Good stuff dude.. Thanks for the heads up!
July 8, 2012 @ 5:26 pm
The girl is their ace in the hole. I keep thinking Annie Lennox when I listen to her but that only seems partially right. You’re right, her voice has something familiar about it where you warm up and latch on to it immediately.
July 8, 2012 @ 2:57 pm
Ok Triggerman, I’m buying this album without listening to it based on your recommendation. You’ve turned me on to some great music and although I don’t always agree with your reviews, this one is over the top. Way beyond your usual two guns up. We shall see (or is that hear)?
July 8, 2012 @ 5:26 pm
Please report back.
July 8, 2012 @ 3:18 pm
Listened to the samples and bought it instantly. Just what I needed, actually. Thanks for the heads up.
Jake the Teen Sensation
July 8, 2012 @ 5:12 pm
Nice AC/DC cover 😉
July 8, 2012 @ 5:42 pm
July 8, 2012 @ 6:49 pm
Your still a straight shooter in my neck of the woods. The subject somewhat macabre but the music absolutely right on; haven”t really heard enough of the lyrics to know what I think, however, I can tell I will be listening again and again, Thanks Triggerman.
July 9, 2012 @ 4:30 am
good stuff. ‘the pain’ being my favorite track. personally, i’d let her sing more leads. lovely voice.
July 9, 2012 @ 5:39 am
We appreciate all the Kind words and JUG-ly Support. If you get bored, check out the BJB’s Latest Music Video for ‘Chained to the Bottom’ – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgxdun1sRw0
ps – Find us on Facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/bloodyjugband
July 9, 2012 @ 9:28 am
Just listened to the sound clips…great stuff! I will definitely be buying this one.
July 9, 2012 @ 10:08 am
This is what I’m talkin about. This is looking to be one of my favorites of the year. Just to put things in perspective, I also enjoy Honky Tonk Hustlas, Goddamn Gallows, Phantom of the Black Hills, Pine Box boys, and just a little TPB/Lonesome Wyatt. Plus, Rob Zombie is one of my favorite artists of any genre so the “gothic” themes definitely don’t bother me. It might not be for everybody but it’s definitely for me. Great find.
July 9, 2012 @ 5:28 pm
I like it, it’s like listening to an acoustic “Nashville Pussy” (real band name, they’re even listed as one of Bloody Jug Band’s influences on their own website), it’s real mean, real tuned down, and above all, REAL.
July 10, 2012 @ 3:43 am
One of my biggest complaints with most stuff in this vein is is that there’s usually no vocal melody of any kind, and no actual singing, just a vocalist shouting with a crappy voice. Thank god for Stormy Jean! What a great voice!
July 10, 2012 @ 6:10 pm
Cool! I like this alot. They remind me of a more accessible Those Poor Bastards: a bit lighter. Yeah, that female vocalist sounds a heap like Annie Lennox!
DJ Otis Badass
July 18, 2012 @ 2:57 pm
I’ve been playing the hell out of the Bloody Jug Band on my radio show. Been getting a great response. Good stuff!
October 31, 2012 @ 4:58 pm
That is good. And that signer does have that Annie L thing. Love it.
December 4, 2012 @ 11:26 am
Awesome album. I love the niche they’ve made for themselves by being a jug band. Great vocals and guitar. And they have an amazing music video. Can’t wait to hear/see what they do next.
November 5, 2013 @ 9:39 am
Man, how could I survive without SavingCountryMusic? I never would have found Boomswagglers in a million years, nor would I have ever found the Bloody Jug Band. Thanks for the spot on picks Trig, and a big thanks for the web site. I am so disenfranchised from today’s music (all genres) and you’re hard work is appreciated. To everyone else try this album!
November 5, 2013 @ 10:16 am
Thanks for reading Blackwater!