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In Defense of Fort Useless

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Album Review

It's not uncommon for kids who cut their teeth on punk rock to embrace the relative sophistication of indie rock with the passage of time, but the Unsacred Hearts have turned this formula on its head — Dave Siegel and Travis Harrison left indie rockers Cold Memory to try their hand at something more fractured and aggressive with the Unsacred Hearts. Still, this isn't your run-of-the-mill punk band, and the Unsacred Hearts' first full album, In Defense of Fort Useless, is smart and eclectic stuff beneath its frantic, sloppy surfaces. There's a country undertow struggling to rise to the surface on the homage to lost love and boozing, "Whiskey in the Fridge"; banjos and a trombone prop up the rickety melody of "Will You Be Coming Back to Me"; the drums and distorted vocals on "Teenage Palace Daydream" suggest someone in this band has been listening to Captain Beefheart; an acoustic guitar and a boogie-friendly rhythm lifts up the tale of a luckless waitress in "Slinging Drinks at the Pink," and you suspect that Joe Willie actually loves the gal he's singing about in the sweet and stripped-down "1000 Hot Babies." "Blues for Dave" and "The Bellevue Stomp" are unreconstructed hardcore rants less than a minute in length, in case anyone was questioning the Unsacred Hearts' punk credibility, but overall this is a band struggling to say something and find some new angles within the framework of fast, loud, and snotty, and In Defense of Fort Useless manages the neat feat of being pretty smart while acting kinda dumb; who knows where they could take this strategy next?


Formed: 2003 in New York, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Hailing from New York City, the Unsacred Hearts play a rough-and-tumble mixture of old-school punk, '60s garage rock, raw blues and down-and-dirty R&B that's won them an impressive reputation on the Big Apple's underground rock scene. The Unsacred Hearts were formed in late 2003 by a pair of longtime friends, guitarist Dave Siegel and drummer Travis Harrison, both of whom had recently left the indie rock band Cold Memory. Siegel and Harrison invited another friend to sing with the group, Joe Willie...
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In Defense of Fort Useless, The Unsacred Hearts
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