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Winter Hill

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Album Review

Seven years after Miss Derringer released their debut album, the band has gone through a few changes — while singer Liz McGrath, guitarist Morgan Slade, and bassist Sylvain de Muizon remain at the core of the band, a number of drummers and lead guitarists have passed through the lineup since then, and the group's sound has lost much of its mutant country twang, with a more straightforward rock sound dominating their third album, Winter Hill, with a faint but clear pop influence making itself felt on "Drop Shot Dead" and "Don't Leave Me Now." But McGrath has also gained significant skill and confidence as a vocalist since Miss Derringer's early days, and she and Slade are still sharp and literate lyricists, spinning tales of love, death, booze, and bad choices that cut deep and don't pull any punches for all their intelligence. The lead guitar work from guest artist Lightnin' Bill Woodcock is clean and straightforward, and suits the songs well, while the rhythm section is rock-solid and capable of pushing the music forward while lending this music a palpable undertow of menace. Though the photos in the booklet for Winter Hill suggest this band has gotten deeper into shtick since we last heard from them (note to McGrath and co.: ditch the costumes, they do you no favors), from a musical standpoint Miss Derringer are playing better than ever and coming up with material that's more mature without losing touch with their dire and dirty original vision; they sound as if they're not running out of ideas anytime soon, certainly not as long as human nature remains fundamentally flawed.


Formed: Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Performing a dark, lean blend of blues and country sounds fortified with a punk attitude, Miss Derringer is an L.A.-based rock band let by a pair of musicians-turned-artists, Liz McGrath (a painter and sculptor who previously sang with the band Tongue and edited the 'zine Censor This) and Morgan Slade (a photographer who plays guitar and writes much of the group's material). Rounding out the group are guitarist Mark Miller (formerly of Los Cincos), bassist Sylvain de Muizon, Julio Bell (ex-Bobsled...
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Winter Hill, Miss Derringer
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