Girl Haggard: Drunk, Broke, and In Love

They sing about pinball, three-ways, and chicken fried steak. They sing about applying for jobs at Building 19. And they occasionally sing about hangovers, because they constantly sing about drinking. In the large, Girl Haggard dedicates its impressive Country and Eastern (75 or Less) to the n’er-do-well’s life. It’s an attitude that nicely suits the band’s aggressive alt-twang. Singer Mandy Allan is up front with her wailing; she has a voice that conflates Exene Cervenka and Olive Oyle, and I like it a lot. Behind her, the guys grind away, slapping shuffles around, or drilling Ramones riffs into the floor. You can’t treat a tune entitled “Hungover/Pissed Off” with kid gloves. You know how you get to thinking when you’re killing time in the gin mill. Existentially, there’s a big shrug in the middle of the tunes, positing an unasked question: “what do we do now”? Not even their “Providence and Bourbon” puts its finger on the answer. Maybe ordering another round will help.

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