Up and Coming Indie Artist: Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders
Album: Junkyard Rhythm- Release May 21st, 2011

Alex “Crankshaft” Larson, once a one-man-band from Minnesota, has upped the ante by adding members to his ensemble. The Gear Grinders are a combination of many musicians from around Minneapolis, including pianist Bruce McCabe, Javier and the Innocent Sons’ Javier Matos and Page Burkum, kazoo (wazoo) and shouting master Kevin “KP” James, and saxophonist James Wallace.

The result? Junkyard Rhythm. I have to say, this album is a breath of fresh air. This blues-driven rockabilly album gained my admiration by the end of the opening title track. “Junkyard Rhythm” is a really cool instrumental that definitely lives up to its title. You can hear what sounds like metal grinding, drumming on what seems to be car parts, blues-a-billy guitar, and even a little harmonica. All of the songs are built upon the concept of the “workin’ man”, which Crankshaft has captured amazingly well. It really fires up the imagination and is highly relatable.

Some of my other favorites from this album include:

“Solid Gone”: Though I’m not sure what it means to be solid gone, it sounds kind of badass. This one is for the girls with the big sunglasses and a little bit of attitude.

“The Curse”: I really enjoyed this song, it speaks to the pessimist in me. Solid blues abound in this number and Larson has a gift for clever metaphors and similes. My favorite line has to be “When they load me in the back they’ll have to tow the hearse”. Now that is some incredibly bad luck.

“Neighbor Boys”: First off, it has a kazoo. That right there should be enough for you to want to hear it. With a saloon feel to it, “Boys” is high energy fun. Toe tapping and singing along are recommended.

What I really liked about this album is that it doesn’t stick to the standard “rockabilly” formula. Junkyard Rhythm is unique in its context as well as its blues textures and mix of up beat and laid back tempos. Song content range from bad luck, to wishing for snow so you can earn a buck, to kids being out of school for the summer, to the dreaded phantom ring of a cell phone, to even sexy innuendos.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 


Written by Lindsey Pickett

Agree or disagree, it’s all gravy baby!

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