Required Listen: Egyptr

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There was a time when small college towns spread across the middle of the country were all vying to be the next Austin.  That is, a detached, strong, musical enclave able to suck in the best of the best from miles around to form a musical scene.  I always found the comparison rather sucky.  For those of us who grew up on the outside of the outside of -- that is, outside the I-95 and 101 corridors -- the coasts loomed large not as beacons but as places from which we had to distinguish ourselves.  So, saying that a place wanted to be the new Austin was about as crappy as saying that we wanted to be the new Brooklyn, LA, or DC.  Local music became the life-blood for those who hailed from Louisville, Tulsa, Omaha, and even smaller metro areas like Fayetteville, AR -- the homebase of Egyptr.

Composed of the two gents from Fire Don't Care, Steve Ragle (drums) and Sam King (bass), Egyptr's epic rhythm section is capped off by the geometric guitar work and vocals of Zack Wait.  Their debut is exactly the sort of thing that a band with no allegiance to a coast should be:  inventive, nostalgic, and ass-kicking.  "Women in Arkansas" sounds like what would happen if the Minutemen were raised on southern rock.  Opener "The Heat Just Above Zero" begins with a swirl of poetic rambling before launching into a crunchy doom-laden groove and taking musical left hand turns all over the place.  For those of you who miss the days of post-punk drippiness, this is your record.  Egyptr is intricate musicality pumped out of your speakers like a missile.

We shouldn't be nostalgic for days of yore or cry over boarded up all-ages venues.  Bands like Egyptr show us why all that stuff was important in the first place.  It's about the music.  And, more importantly, the music where you're from.  The delight (and trouble) these days is that with a click you can be from anywhere.  So take a moment, be from Fayetteville, AR and let Egyptr pop your ear drums.


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