Old 97's, May 14, Knitting Factory 

Stayin' Alive

A band able to keep it together for 20 years is kind of an anomaly, and that accomplishment should be lauded. Alt-country rockers Old 97's are celebrating in the way they know best: touring behind a new album.

It is that touring life that informs Most Messed Up (April 29, ATO Records), 12 no-holds-barred, rowdy tracks that unearth the unsurprising truths of life on the road for this quartet.

Even from song titles like "Let's Get Drunk and Get it On," "Wasted" and "Wheels Off," it's pretty clear what story Most Messed Up is trying to tell, and like the Old 97's albums before it, it does a damn good job telling it.

If you don't know Old 97's, this is a good album with which to make introductions. And for a second date, see the band live, especially the engaging, hip-swaying, sweet-voiced frontman Rhett Miller. They're the kind of band you can imagine having a beer with--just be prepared to party.

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