Sign up for our free newsletter

Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.

These days, the term “roots rock” usually conjures up the image of a bunch of aging bar-band hacks playing tired, bloated versions of blues and country standards. With any luck, Boston’s Tarbox Ramblers can help change that perception. On its self-titled debut, the quartet turns rustic country traditionals (think Harry Smith) into swaggering, punk-tinged, downloadable campfire songs for the indie-rock generation. Less kitschy than much alt.country, and largely minus the minstrel-show tendencies of fellow revivalist Jon Spencer, the Ramblers energize their charming violin-and-acoustic-bass mix with rhythmic X-meets-R.L. Burnside guitar propulsion. Although vocalist Michael Tarbox lacks range and often rushes the tempos, his refreshingly earthy drawl will never be confused with the beer-commercial-style overemoting of so many of his peers. The Ramblers perform with ex-Six String Drag member Kenny Roby and the New Electric Combo at 9:30 p.m. at IOTA, 2832 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. $8. (703) 522-8340. (Steve Kiviat)