Thirsty for a little Southern musical comfort, amateur swamp-grunge variety? This conscientiously rustic Athens, Georgia duo of Ben Reynolds (electric guitar, vocals, percussion) and Brant Slay (vocals, harmonica, percussion) may not be authentic anything, but their brief debut LP’s carefully cruddy sound (produced by Michael Stipe and John Keane) and rudimentary performances do convey the backporch feel of a couple of boys singing, stomping and banging out rough tunes with raw spirit (and an echo chamber). If White Dirt could kick up anything besides a little atmosphere, there might be a reason to recommend it.
The full-length 8 Track Stomp, produced separately by Stipe and Chicago blues legend Willie Dixon, fits more songwriting effort into the duo’s minimalist clatter-and-strum fantasies and comes out substantially more invigorating. Slay’s yip’n’holler vocals find a real home in “Night Time (Ain’t Got No Eyes),” the Stonesy “Superior” and Dixon’s “Moving So Fast”; the restrained pop of “Cold Blue” shows the Puppies in a captivatingly pretty light. Now there’s something to stomp about.