One Track Mind: Hickoids, "Bennie and the Jets" (2011)

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The Austin, Texas-based Hickoids, a shambling, couldn’t-give-a-sh–t group of cowpunk nutjobs, cover their share of oddball Anglophile items on the new Kicking It With the Twits, out on Saustex Media in San Antonio.

There’s the Stones (“Have You Seen Your Mother …”). Eno (“Needles in the Camel’s Eye”). The Move (“Brontosaurus”). Mott the Hoople (“Whizz Kid”). The Who (“Pictures of Lily”). Their liner notes helpfully label this ten-gallon-hat of DIY glam rock as the Hickoids’ “little tribute to the sexually deviant rock ‘n’ rollers of the British Isles.”

Nowhere is their jagged brilliance writ larger, though, than on a throat-shredding disassembly of the Elton John-Bernie Taupin hit “Bennie and the Jets.” Davy Jones works over his electric guitar, even as Scott Lutz adds this what-the? pedal steel — all while vocalist Jeff Smith sounds like he’s singing somewhere between a bloody-knuckled fight and a nervous breakdown.

It’s not for nothing, after all, that the locals call Smith “the Thin White Duke of Hazzard.” Completely weird, memorably fun.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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