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Release date March 20/19 (Bandcamp)

I remember being repulsed by Neil Young's vocals the first time I heard him. To me they sounded like out of tune warblings from an untrained fella who had no right to be stepping up to a mic. However, something kept drawing me back to his music, and lo and behold, I came to love his vocal embellishments, warts and all. What once was odd became something I enthusiastically embraced.

I bring this up now because I had a similar reaction to Dar Stellabotta's voice. On initial listen I thought, wow - too bad about those vocals. But, just like the Young experience, the music kept drawing me back for more listens and the vocals began to grow on me, to the point where it sounds perfectly suitable and charming now.

Musically, Stellabotta runs a one-woman show, strumming on a cigar box guitar while thumping along on a kick-drum. Strong wiffs of bootleg booze and campfire come off this release, a downtrodden blues rumble with nine tales of rejection. This is low down, bottom-of-the-barrel blues that sounds like authentic ramblings of a woman who doesn't seem to be enjoying life.

While on paper this may sound like a self-inflicted slice-to-the-throat listening experience (especially for someone who almost exclusively listens to aggressive music), in actuality it is a strangely captivating experience. After visiting an 'Herb Lady', hearing about a 'Stripper From WV' and taking in a 'Marry A Rich Dude' life plan, you'll find yourself hypnotically stomping your foot along with the rumbling slices of the tough life.


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