The Debts "On the Banks of the Big Muddy," and Noah Sterba and the Cocktails "Chooglin' with the Cocktails" (Unread Records)

Folky Nebraska low fidelity duo The Debts have a helluva quality tape here. Titled On the Banks of the Big Muddy the album is The Debts (Dane Sybrant and Kevin Shaw) ripping through originals on a dusty and chipped 4-track. These are sturdy songs though, not the kind of fragile Daniel Johnston style, but more like Lomax went traveling 'round Omaha the past spring and found two guys singing and playing just for the thrill. They happened to record their music. The artifact exists. Find these midwest musings and pop them into ye old boombox.

Chooglin' with the Cocktails is one of the most fun tapes I've had the pleasure of reviewing. Like the Holy Modal Rounders jamming with Brian Jonestown Massacre, Noah Sterba and crew are flying high. Some drunk hit record on the machine and failed to tell the band. This is whacked out freak music. Jams begat songs and vice-versa with allusions to Bob Dylan as an added bonus. The electric guitars are garage...the acoustic guitars are comfortably quaint. Unread Records is a great label and, dear readers, that is no joke.