Steal This Music Column

Bad Animal gets back to work and a bunch of new local records are coming out.

Bad Animal. Sit. Stay.

Shawn Gallagher, a bespectacled Casio-whiz and fine wearer of vintage sweatshirts, came to Knoxville shortly after the release of Bad Animal's 2005 debut The Hunted. According to the story, Gallagher left Tallahassee, Fla., to pursue his dream of wrestling at Green Acres Flea Market on Alcoa Highway.

"I had a tryout match," he says. "I didn't get the job, but I just stayed around here."

His songs, from "Not Perfect" to "What's a Boy 2 Do" to "Why You Trying 2 Stop Me From Dancing," all feature virtuosic runs on a weatherworn Casio SK-1. It's plastic DIY electro-pop at its most ironic, at times reminiscent of an 8-bit video game.

It's been nearly six months since Gallagher last stepped on stage in Knoxville, but with six new songs, he says he's ready to get back in front of an audience. Expect to hear "Go Back to Where You Came From," "Dance Explosion," and a cover of Wham!'s "Last Christmas."

"It's awful. It's so bad," Gallagher says. "I'm trying my best, but I just can't get it. I like it, but I don't think anyone else will."

He adds: "We might have some T-shirts for sale."

The Italian web critics at www.indiepop.it gave The Hunted a glowing review—at least we think they did. Loosely translated, the Italians wrote that the album "has a retrogusto bitter that does not let to sweep up from beats."

Bad Animal's coming-out-of-retirement show will also feature two of Gallagher's favorite bands, Ear Pwr and Jensen Sportag, on Saturday, Dec. 15, at Pilot Light. Show starts at 10 p.m. $5. (Kevin Crowe)

Thank God for Whisk-Hutzel

We first heard the news of a Whisk-Hutzel LP in 2006, but it didn't pan out as soon as we would have liked. This witch's brew collective of musicians and artists keep the Old City aflutter with dirty, grimy rock ‘n' roll. It's ugly, but it's lovely, too.

Amid much celebration, the long-awaited Whisk-Hutzel compilation Music to Steal To will go on sale on Wednesday, Dec. 19, at Pilot Light. If all goes according to plan, this will be a long, eclectic night, featuring Divorce, Black Sarah, Jose P. Orchestra, The Cheat, Andy Pirkle, Girl Party, DJ Pigeonhole, Fecal Japan, Dirty Knees, and the Whisk-Hutzel flagship band Fistful of Crows. We're told that things will kick off at 9 p.m. (K.C.)

They Just Keep Coming

Cutthroat Shamrock is technically a Sevier County band, but as often as they play in Knoxville, their new CD The Wake is worth a mention. The disc, recorded at Don Coffey's Independent Recorders in the 4th and Gill neighborhood, has a couple of traditional tunes—the barreling "South Australia" and the drunken a cappella sing-along "The Wild Rover" tacked on the end as a secret track—but the bulk of The Wake is made up of the band's punked-up take on traditional Irish music. Cutthroat Shamrock will celebrate the release with a show at Barley's on Saturday, Dec. 15.

The Dirty Guv'nahs kick off their debut full-length, Don't Need No Money, on Downing Oklahoma Records, with a double-shot of Stones/Faces boogie ("Get Together" and "Get Down Mama") before sliding into the Allman-esque "Eli," punctuated by a slow, dirty slide guitar. That should give you an idea of the band's sources, and what they sound like—if you need more information, you can check out their release party for Don't Need No Money at Preservation Pub on Friday, Dec. 14.

Greg Adkins is not having a CD-release show this month, but his new album, the independently released Chase the Western Sky, is worth tracking down. It's a pristinely produced and performed folkie album, centered around Adkins' unadorned voice and deceptively simple songwriting and filled out by a full complement of fiddle, pedal steel, dobro, and harmonium, and, on "Someday," the warm hum of a Hammond organ.

Also, local post-punkers Woman will release a 7-inch single this week, available for $3 only at a release show at Pilot Light on Friday, Dec. 14, with It Is a Code. The single, "Open Letter" b/w "Black Black," was recorded in January by Woman bassist Damion Huntoon at Paragraphland Studios. All proceeds from the $3 cover will be donated to Pilot Light. (Matthew Everett)