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Bonnie and the Beard

Cascavel
Self-released

It's a shame the HBO series Carnivàle was canceled in '05, because Bonnie and the Beard's new album, Cascavel, would have made an excellent soundtrack for the gothic dust bowl of romanticized madness. Thick with a whiskey-and-humidity aesthetic, Cascavel is an appropriate release for the relentless triple-digit afternoons we've been experiencing lately. "Dice and Bones" delivers an ominous weight in its dark, bouncy rhythms, displaying both the band's sophisticated gift for creating complex moods through instrumentation and singer Megan Fong's commanding pipes (she moans a bluesy vibrato not unlike Fiona Apple's). "Sweet Devil Whiskey" is full of Tom Waits-y sin and sweat, the perfect complement to mint juleps and Southern romance.

 
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