Breaking: Deer Tick

Who: A Providence, Rhode Island quartet of scruffy, hard-partying pals whose wild roots rock is far more world-weary than their ages suggest (nobody in the band is over 23).

Sounds Like: New album Born on Flag Day is stocked with dark songs for tough times — ragged Chuck Berry grooves and punk-country riffs are topped by frontman John Joseph McCauley III's Winston-stained howls about alcoholics, gold-digging women and poverty-stricken couples who can't foot their bills.

Vital Stats • The group's 2007 and raucous live shows have earned them fans like Jenny Lewis and NBC's Brian Williams, who interviewed them for the debut of his online music-chat show BriTunes. "That was weird," McCauley admits. "But he was a cool guy." • As a teenager, McCauley escaped his bleak blue-collar neighborhood (populated by drug dealers and shady types) by diving into Hank Williams and Nirvana records. Instead of heading to college, he convinced his parents to let him pursue rock full-time. And he's embraced the hardships of his new lifestyle with gusto: "Now I get paid to lay around, do drugs and get drunk." • McCauley says Deer Tick's songs ring true because they're about real Americans and real life. "Life here is touching, sweet and sometimes really sad. I like to write about that."

Get It Now: Click above to watch footage of "Straight Into A Storm" from the band's recent gig at Washington, DC's 9:30 Club.

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