Singer/guitarist Ricky Gelb — younger brother of Giant Sand man Howe Gelb (who drew the front cover of Low Max) — leads this Tucson, Arizona group, playing dryly dramatic Southwestern rock in the wake of bands like Green on Red and True West. Low Max’s six-song debut has a few rough spots (like pitch and tunings) that need work, but it gets enough juice from Gelb’s affecting vocals and sturdy songs (not to mention Johnny Macarchick’s energetic guitar strivings) to make its mark.
Rolling more acoustic guitar into the mix, Spitzbube has a loose, folky feel — a bit Dylanesque in spots — that doesn’t always encourage Gelb’s best singing or Macarchick’s most purposeful playing. Still, the rambly and reflective songs make their points with plenty of personality. Dan Stuart of Green on Red guest sings on “You Used My Name”; Howe Gelb plays keyboards on “Don’t Know Why.”