Music News

Thee Shams

Fat Possum Records, based in Oxford, Mississippi, originally devoted itself to the marketing of blues at its roughest -- music much truer to the spirit of the genre than the slick, tidied-up stuff being peddled by too many so-called roots companies. More recently, the folks behind the firm began applying this philosophy to the rock market by signing inveterate primitivists who have more in common with labelmate T-Model Ford than is obvious at first blush. That's certainly the case with Thee Shams. Formed in Cincinnati five years ago, the group is anchored by brothers Zachary and Andrew Gabbard, whose approximation of vintage garage rock on Please Yourself, their delightfully nasty new disc, is astonishingly accurate. Atop the sloppy rhythms of bassist Chad Hardwick and drummer/harmonicat Keith Fox, the Gabbards use a Hammond organ, an electric piano and lots of bone-cutting guitar to eviscerate a dozen brief but satisfying songs. Thee Shams, who'll appear at the Larimer Lounge alongside Bad Wizard and the Witnesses, may not sing the blues, but they're very much in keeping with the Fat Possum tradition. Even when they're cooking, they keep things raw.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts