The South sure does seem to be rising again. Drive By Truckers and Lucero kicked open the door for rock with a Southern tinge to it and a gang of bands like the Dexateens and Ninja Gun have run through with amps blazing. We sure need do it, especially up North. Ridiculous Polyanna bands like Gaslight Anthem have taken everything genuine about the genre and sullied it with crappy YouTube video posturing and sleeve tattoos. I've said it before and I'll say it again: if you have more videos than singles, you really need to re-evaluate why you're in the rock game.
Ninja Gun are on Suburban Home, which even as recent as a couple years ago would have seemed at best an anomaly and at worst an impediment for an up-and-coming rootsy band. God bless Drag The River, they fostered the post-Gamits paradigm shift over at SH and opened a lot of younger eyes to music that wasn't strictly pop-punk. They also kick a shit-ton of ass. After some shows with the DTR kids, they got in touch with SH head honcho Virgil Dickerson and eventually hashed out a deal to release Restless Rubes through the Colorado label.
Teaming up with Dickerson seems to be a good move for Ninja Gun. They don't come too much more respected on the indie label scene, plus Virgil has a gift for seeing the forest for the trees. Realizing that a lot of people aren't exactly rolling in disposable income for bands they haven't heard of, both SH and the band seeded the Net in the usual places with a zip file of the new record to get a bit of a buzz going. It's a smart move that really seems to be paying off.
And well it should! Ninja Gun have decent songs with big hooks that should appeal to punks and alt-country fans alike. And they write about what they know. It's kind of refreshing to have a roots band with a pig farmer rather than a graphic designer at its helm. That experience makes songs like "Front Yard Fighters (Kitchen Kissers)" so much realer, rivaling songs like Patterson Hood's Bulldozers And Dirt for painting a picture that's simple and true. Drive By Truckers have written entire records about what they call 'The Southern Thing', hopefully exposing more sheltered fans to the fact that reverse racism and classism are still racist and classist, even if you do go to a liberal college and vote for Obama.
Ninja Gun take the hookiness of Big Star and Teenage Fanclub and mix it with a healthy dose of V-Roys and Star Room Boys to make a tasty julep of rock delight you'll order by the pitcher. I was sort of on the fence about Restless Rubes at first spin, but it's grown on me like kudzu in the weeks since then. Singer-guitarist J. Coody appears to write most of the songs, but Ninja Gun really feel like a band, and a damn good one at that. These Valodosta boys are no stranger to a hook or a 'woo-ooh' harmony and they have no qualms about using them. That makes every song on Restless Rubes a sing-a-long. You'll need stronger fortitude than I have to not spin this record all day long.
Ninja Gun is doing a month or so of road dates in October and appear to need some help in getting some shows, so check out the MySpace and help the boys out. You probably won't be seeing them on the Warped Tour any time soon and for that you should thank them. Give a little back and buy Restless Rubes from the kids at Suburban Home.