Guts n TeethFat Wreck Chords
By Bobby Gorman
A new Fat Wreck Chords signing is always a pleasure. They’re a label that has stayed consistently strong throughout their history and have launched the careers of countless punk bands. Lately though, their signings have generally been them picking up a band that already has a solid following and a few releases under their belt (more often than not, those releases were released on Red Scare Industries). It’s been a while since they’ve pulled a completely unknown band out into the limelight.
Their foray back into those unknown signings has begun with Old Man Markley – and a better showcasing of Fat Mike’s ear to the underground there could not be. For Old Man Markley are the prefectFat band without being remotely similar to anything you’d expect to hear from the illustrious label.
Instead of the signature skate-punk or pop-punk or the so called “Fat sound”, Old Man Markley are a unique and novel genre mixture of bluegrass punk. Think Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band only with more decipherable vocals and a stronger Fat punk leaning. Because yes, this still sounds like a Fat release all the way down to the production; but there’s something more here.
Featuring nine members, eight instrumentalists and vocal duties split between a total of four members, Old Man Markley have a large soundscape backing them. First and foremost they’re a bluegrass band, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they do it well. From that basis, they spice it up and add some punk rock elements to it; and everything works in harmony. From the hard hitting opener of For Better, For Worse to the straight out female led, 1940’s styled saloon cut of Do Me Like You Do, Guts n’ Teeth is a unique sonic escape offering new sounds with every track. There’s the soulful acoustic title track with lyrics like “And after all underneath/ Ain’t we all just guts and teeth?/ Ain’t we all just reflections? / Moving in separate directions;” the country influenced song about songs in Song Songs (think Yesterday’s Ring with clean vocals) has such a simple lyrical topic that you can’t help but ask why you haven’t heard a theme like this before, and In A Circle Ground Round is a straight out hoe-down.
No other band has come out of the woodwork with such a unique and fresh sound in a while. Sure, it won’t be for everybody; but those looking for an escape for the mundane and unafraid to try some new styles shouldn’t hesitate to check it out. I’ve seen them being referred to as an American version of Flogging Molly; and that’s pretty accurate. Flogging Molly takes their Irish folk tradition and sprinkle in some punk, Old Man Markley have taken the American bluegrass tradition and sprinkled in some punk.