There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
On the Graverobbers’ latest release, Toast of the Town, the band resurrects the sounds of early-’80s Austin. “I was a real big fan of bands like the LeRoi Brothers and Rank and File,” says Karl Straub, the Northern Virginia quartet’s singer/songwriter/guitarist. “This sounds weird, but I always thought the music those guys put out was real “heavy,’ even though it wasn’t metal.” The CD’s first cut, “Pluto Water,” which opens with Straub’s tube-screaming guitar and Matt Cook’s uptempo snare-and-cymbal crashing, would fit nicely on albums by any number of the cow-punkers who flocked to the Texas capital during its musical heyday. And although Straub is a local product, his twangy delivery and phrasing have a decidedly Southwestern feel. “I’ve heard people tell me that about my vocals,” concedes Straub. “I guess I got it from listening to Lefty Frizzell.” Dave Pera, who plays bass on the album, has switched to rhythm guitar to accomodate a new ‘robber, bassist Jimmy Gray. (In keeping with the Texas theme, Gray is a former bandmate of Kelly Willis, the one-time D.C. rockabilly queen who migrated to the Lone Star State and became a fixture on the Austin scene.) The band’s next gig is Feb. 18 at Iota in Arlington. Toast of the Town is sold at Graverobbers shows and is available at the Alexandria Tower Records outlet or by mail ($15, includes postage) from P.O. Box 16370, Alexandria, VA 22302.