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Head cheese 

Lucero began as an alt-country lark by a couple of basement punks in Memphis. Their four albums trace an arc from trad country to country-punk, highlighted by their latest, Nobody’s Darlings. Produced by Jim Dickinson (Rolling Stones, Replacements), the album is the band’s best — it heads further into tattered country rock following the trajectory of 2003’s That Much Further West. They’re led by singer-guitarist Ben Nichols, whose cocktail-enhanced vox has a dusty howl that tenders a down-but-not-beaten resilience. Nobody’s Darlings mines a blue-collar desperation highlighted by the slow-burning “Noon as Dark as Midnight” and “Bikeriders.” Gearing up for Lucero’s second big tour this year, Nichols offers his monomanias as he gets his touring “game face” on.

5. Sunday morning coming down: “I’m back on the road again ... The nights are long and the morning comes too quickly.”

4. Filthy Lucre: Gas prices are completely insane. It’s a lot harder to make money.

3. I Heart the Knitters: I got to see the Knitters a couple nights in a row in Memphis, and we actually opened up for them in Nashville at the Americana Music Conference. John Doe’s a pretty cool guy and Dave Alvin’s an amazing guitar player.

2. Lost in Translation: We’re going to Japan not long after Detroit, and I’ve never been out of the country before. We don’t blend in that well with American society; going to a different culture like this, we could easily get lost.

1. Pamela Des who? I guess the last thing is just what’s on every guy’s mind — women. We’re just getting started [on the tour], but I figure with Orlando and Atlanta, it should be a good tour.

 

Appears Wednesday, Sept. 21, at Alvin’s, 5756 Cass, Detroit; 313-831-4577. With Chris Mills and Limbeck.

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