Lovers Lane
In The Flesh

Post script

| May 22, 2012

That schoolchildren aren’t mandated to learn cursive has the irrational class believing that the art of letter-writing will disappear with it. Keeping faint hopes alive, PS I Love You are in town, as are Shovels & Rope.

Much like Titus Andronicus a couple years ago, PS I Love You‘s Death Dreams (Paper Bag) manages some blistering indie rock that nevertheless evokes summer. The difference is Paul Saulnier‘s swooning vocals, which make Brian Ferry sound like Lemmy. Of course, that’s when you can hear him. The deafening whirr of Saulnier’s guitars and Benjamin Nelson’s multi-car pile-up of a drum technique returns from last year’s Meet Me At The Muster Station. With a performance this intense, the best you can hope for is some subtle changes in shading, and PS I Love You have refined themselves to accomodate just that. (Wednesday@Schubas with Army Girls and Cuff The Duke.)

If we can’t have a full round of sloppy-drunk Hayes Carll and Cary Ann Hearst duets like “Another Like You,” a complementary pairing of Hearst and Michael Trent will have to suffice. Calling themselves Shovels & Rope, the two give a spirited homage to the days of Loretta & Conway or Dolly & Porter while circling that country legacy with a jug of gasoline. O’ Be Joyful (Dualtone) is consistently harder than most country rock (think Pistol Annies meets The White Stripes), but the key to surviving the album’s gritty (not faux-authentic) slapback tone are changeups like “Lay Low” and closer “This Means War.” (Friday@Subterranean with The Kernal and Robert McShane.)

— Steve Forstneger

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