History From Below
This San Diego foursome's rhythm section was in an emo band called Noise Ratchet; as Delta Spirit, they've embraced rootsiness but maintained that gloomy emo urgency: It's no surprise that their second disc opens with a mordant evocation of 9/11. Frontman Matthew Vasquez wraps his harried croak around folk rock that recalls darkest Bright Eyes, raining doom like a black-hatted backwoods preacher with images of blood and chains. The murder-stuffed "Ballad of Vitaly" pushes rustic miserablism to an extreme. But they've kept some of the noise from their youth: "Bushwick Blues" is a great punk-rock addition to the canon of lost-in-NYC songs.