Punk rock’s influence over pop culture and all of western music grew exponentially in the 2000s, and this season it’s having a hand in giving country fans a bit of the attitude that they’ve missed in the genre for decades back via Get Hammered, the latest LP from Jesse & The Hogg Brothers. The self-proclaimed first family of Texas cowpunk is back in the spotlight this May with what could be their most diversely-appointed album to date in Get Hammered, and while it’s got all the trappings the group’s fans expect out of a Hogg Bros. LP, it feels a bit more accessible to the casual country listener than past releases have.
The pastoral parts to this album, found predominantly in “America,” “Love buckets,” “Onion Ring,” and “Black and Blue,” aren’t lost in the chaos of the other material in the tracklist, but instead feel a little more noticeable because of the juxtaposition here. I think there’s a lot to learn about a group of musicians through the contrast they’re willing to put onto a record, and if there’s any truth to this statement it gets a heck of a lot of evidential support from content like Get Hammered – an LP literally centered on the duality of its artists.
There’s no getting around the passion seeping through the play in “Texas Hammer”/“The Hammer,” “Cream Gravy,” and “We’re All in This Together,” and whether these songs were performed acoustically as opposed to electrically, I think they still would carry the same heavy tonal presence they do in this instance. That’s all compositional muscle coming from Jesse & The Hogg Brothers, and I would even go so far as to say that this is probably the most conservative flexing they could have done in a new record given what they’ve been known for in albums like White Trash Meth Lab.
Cutting instrumental corners wasn’t something this group ever considered when recording Get Hammered, and that’s clear listening to “Wait a Minute,” “Biker Ann,” and “She’s Done Gone to the Gittin’ Place” alone. The collective push these players create when they’re firing on all cylinders is left entirely intact and unaltered in the master mix, which invites both atonal noise and residual veracity where there would otherwise be nothing but unutilized space – or worse yet, synthetics. Jesse & The Hogg Brothers don’t have any room for that kind of B.S. in their music, and this is indisputable in their most recent studio offering.
There are a lot of exciting records out in alternative rock this year, but of the cowpunk LPs I’ve been spinning this spring, Get Hammered is far and away the most complete and the most enthralling. In all thirteen of these songs, Jesse & The Hogg Brothers go off like no other bands in their scene have in ages now, and although they’re going to have to work just as hard in the future to maintain their place in the underground hierarchy, this is confirmation that they haven’t lost their edge in the past year at all.