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Raygun Cowboys

Raygun Cowboys

The Cowboy Code

Stomp Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

When I think of Calgary, Alberta’s Raygun Cowboys, the first image that pops to mind is a larger than life, ten gallon hat sporting beef baron ready to sink his teeth into mouth watering Alberta-raised Angus steak.  In other words, it’s an image of a gut-bursting, Canadian cattle-ranch iteration of a late-career Elvis Presley.  While a curious imagery for sure, such a description is intended as an unlikely compliment to the country-infused, brass-based take on genre-bending psychobilly that is Raygun Cowboys.  

Their fourth full length, The Cowboy Code, combines a deep and confident country drawl with equal parts thumping upright bass and full horn section.  Vocalist Jon Christopherson’s deep, commanding baritone leads the charge amidst a backdrop of speedy, punked-up tempos.  Opener “It’s Coming Down” is a particularly rambunctious aural assault, with plenty of thumping and bumping that combines a smattering of influences from The Long Tall Texans to The Creepshow.  The guitar is quick landing, and various instrumental solos are forceful and snappy.  The track serves as a welcome initial shot of adrenaline, even if the general atmosphere cools off quickly thereafter.  

Subsequent tunes thump away at varying tempos as inspired by different genres.  Those like “Don’t Want You Anymore” and “One More Time” fuel their tank with anthemic “woah-oh-oah” driven choruses, while dusty saloon stompers like “Storm’s a Brewin” feed off heavy 50’s rockabilly rhythms.  And of course, all this happens under the support of the full brass section, with a particular shout-out to the strategically and skillfully inserted saxophone solos that just add that personalized, unmistakable Raygun Cowboys touch.  Perhaps one of the most unique applications of the brass section has to be the 80’s movie-inspired tune “Robocop.”  Those familiar with the iconic blockbuster will instantly succumb to nostalgia as the rolling bass and front and centre horn blasts emulate the memorable movie theme.  With their own twist of humourous commentary and movie sound-clips, Raygun Cowboys make an unconventional inspiration an undeniable album highlight.

Raygun Cowboys are a rare breed even within the narrow confines of their niche.  As The Cowboy Code demonstrates, Raygun Cowboys’ rich combination of brass meets psychobilly remains a unique Canadian prairie export well worth the cost of import.  The band’s last big refinement took place with 2015’s Heads Are Gonna Roll, and while the latest offering only offers minor tweaks to the now well established formula, The Cowboy Code is exemplary of a band that are clearly masters of their trade.

Tours: Gutter Demons / The Raygun Cowboys

Gutter DemonsQuebec psychobilly mainstays The Gutter Demons have announced that they will be heading West with Raygun Cowboys for a short tour in support of their upcoming new full length this December.  Their fourth LP will be titled Unfinished Business which is due out December 4, 2015 via Falsetto Music Agency.  

Tour dates are below.

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Video: Raygun Cowboys – Heads Are Gonna Roll

Raygun CowboysWestern Canadian psychobilly act Raygun Cowboys has premiered a new music video.  The video features the title track from their Stomp Records debut, Heads Are Gonna Roll, released back in April.

Watch the video below.

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Raygun Cowboys

Raygun Cowboys

Heads Are Gonna Roll!

Stomp Records
By

Rating: 4/5

 
 

 

 

For most, Edmonton, Alberta’s Raygun Cowboys will likely need an introduction, but once you hear the quintet’s unique brand of ten-gallon-hat psychobilly meets swanky brass flavoured tunes it’s not something you’ll soon forget.  With influences ranging from The Creepshow and Tiger Army to Mad Caddies and The Resignators, wrapping one’s head around such a concoction really only comes from experiencing the roughneck party first hand.  As it turns out, their latest full length, Heads Are Gonna Roll! is as good a place as any for an initiation.  

At their core, Raygun Cowboys play for the pulse pounding thrill of the rockabilly-brass hybrid.  Tracks like opener “Heads Are Gonna Roll” let the upright bass lead the way with a flurry of horn injected, ear-grabbing chorus lines.  The effect succeeds in part due to the 50’s rock n’ roll nature fitting so well alongside the big band, dancehall swing that it historically emerged from.  “Don’t Know Why” and “You Were The One” offer up likeminded, toe tapping calls to get those hips shaking down at your local dancehall by picking up the pace with that iconic, super catchy, bass slappin’ action.  Others like “On The Shine” further pick up the punk n’ roll pace with sweeping vocal harmonies.  

But as “Bitter Shame” makes clear, Raygun Cowboys have since branched out from their innovative beginnings to further broaden their bag of tricks.  The track lays low, injecting the album with an atmospheric, heavy hanging, distorted country twang akin to that of Nick 13, Joel Kaiser and  The Long Tall Texans.  “Twin Falls” follows suit, exploring a Willie Nelson-style country road sound complete with harmonica and female duet.  Similarly, “In These Walls” further reveals the surprising depth of which Raygun Cowboys are capable.  The inclusion of a slow stroked fiddle taking the place of the horns will beg comparisons to Murder By Death, and the vocal call of traditional First Nations chants are hauntingly atmospheric.  It’s yet another example of Raygun Cowboys infusing the unexpected to evoke the thought, “why hasn’t anyone done this before?”  

Heads Are Gonna Roll!’s only weakness emerges in some of the safer, midtempo rockabilly pieces.  For instance, “Nothin’ Left To Lose” and “Until Next Time” bare the prototypical resemblance to the neo-rockabilly stylings of Hellbound Hepcats (who are great in their own right, but not what you’d want alongside Raygun Cowboys’ dynamism).  Compared with the roughneck riffs driving “Drinking Through The End Of The World,” the straightforward, midtempo approach loses some steam.  A song like “Movin’ On,” in which an intimate acoustic startup slowly evolves piece by piece into a bass heavy country trotter, and eventually a full band, brass embracing psychobilly charger just fits the Raygun Cowboy mould so much tighter.

As far as psychobilly goes, you can’t get much more out of the box then Heads Are Gonna Roll!.  And after nearly fifteen years of honing their sound, Raygun Cowboys really do know how to turn heads with their undeniably catchy brand of brass meets psychobilly tunage.  Don’t let the obscurity of it all deter you, jump in and join the boot stomp’n party – or heads really are gonna roll!

Exclusive Album Stream: Raygun Cowboys – Heads Are Gonna Roll

Raygun Cowboys

On April 21st, Edmonton, Alberta’s psychobilly act Raygun Cowboys are set to release their fourth album, Heads Are Gonna Roll!, through the ever growing STOMP Records out of Montreal.

The eleven track album follows their 2012 Self-Titled album and picks up right where the likes of The Creepshow and Tiger Army left off.

We’re pleased to host an exclusive full album stream of the record right here, give it a listen below!

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Raygun Cowboys Join Stomp Records; Announce New Full Length

Raygun CowboysStomp Records has announced that Western Canadian psychobilly act Raygun Cowboys has joined their roster.  The Montreal-based label plans to release the brand new album, Heads Are Gonna Roll, on April 21, 2015.

A Canadian tour with The Resignators will follow.  Tour dates are below.

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