Track listing: Atomic Power, Beth Israel, Mississippi Queen, StareListening to these demos by Young Mike Brick and the Music-grinders should compel you to see them perform live. Although this disc was recorded live, poor sound detracts from the rootsy charm of these songs. This is music that deserves to be heard loud and in person. Better sound and a little tightening musically would also make for a fine recording.
The cover of The Louvin Brothers' "Atomic Power" is a wickedly fun romp, sung with perfect sardonic delivery by Mike Brick. A fantastic sing-along song, it makes you want to jump out of your seat and dance. Another standout is the well-written "Mississippi Queen," the strings adding to the plaintive undercurrent that runs here and there throughout it and the other original songs.
Alex Carlson's mandolin, the acoustic guitar and quiet, laid back vocals of "Stare" bring Morphine's "In Spite of Me" to mind. Brick's lyrics seem to capture every nuance of an alt-country, bluegrass-influenced band living in New York City: "he was from the east coast but he called your parents 'y'all'…" "Beth Israel"'s simple yet lush arrangement would benefit from a higher budget production but its melancholy warmth and the street-weary poetry of the lyrics are touching and effective nevertheless.
Despite its lack of polish, this music is full of heart and displays true songwriting and performing talent.