The QUAKER CITY NIGHT HAWKS deliver the gritty, greasy rock n’ twang goods on their new album EL ASTRONAUTA, straight outta Fort Worth! Highly recommended for fans of ZZ Top & “Beggars Banquet!

“Good evening from Fort Worth, Texas.” Those are the first words of out Sam Anderson and David Matsler’s mouths on El Astronauta, The QUAKER CITY NIGHT HAWKS‘ electrifying debut album for Lightning Rod Records, and it’s the only introduction you’ll need. Over a viscid, bluesy slide-guitar, the band transports you to the sweltering Texas heat, a “land of oilfields, iron nightmares, and fevered dreams.” That song, “Good Evening,” plants the band’s flag firmly in the sand, simultaneously celebrating the pride of home and acknowledging the ominous clouds that hang over it, all while perfectly setting the stage for the raucous journey through time and space that follows.

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The Night Hawks—Anderson and Matsler on vocals and guitars, Pat Adams on bass, and Aaron Haynes on drums—are a Southern band, to be sure, but it’s not the South we’ve come to expect from our rock and roll. Equally influenced by ZZ Top and science fiction, they write of landscape both familiar and foreign, of a people working to shed their past but still burdened with its repercussions even in the distant future.

Eras collide in every aspect of the record, from the title—which merges Texas’ Spanish and Mexican roots with its role at the center of the modern space race—to its pop art cover, depicting a classic hot rod from the 70’s that’s been modified into a spacecraft hovering over an exotic desert landscape. Songs like “Mockingbird” play out as a classic-rock road warrior’s tale souped-up for the 22nd century, while “Liberty Bell 7” re-imagines current-day border issues through the eyes of a “space coyote” smuggling illegal immigrants on and off the planet. The track, which was engineered by Centromatic’s Matt Pence, is actually named for a real NASA mission from 1961.

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“This whole record sums up that feeling when you finally start to realize that you’ve been surrounded by bullshit,” adds Anderson with a laugh. “It’s immense and depressing at first to understand that things aren’t the way people told you they would be growing up, but coming out the other side, you see everybody else is in the same boat. We’ve been lied to for a long time, but now it’s time to figure it out and move on and do something about it.”

For the Quaker City Night Hawks, that means getting onstage and singing their hearts out every night. This isn’t the South of their fathers, nor is it the America they’d been promised growing up, but we’re all in it together, and maybe, by the time souped-up hot rod spaceships are cruising between planets, we’ll have learned a lesson from the original Night Hawks onboard the Quaker City and put aside our differences long enough to make life just a little better for everybody.

“EL Astronauta” is available now on CD & vinyl LP at Horizon Records!

 

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