Pop & Hiss

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Thomas Function’s Southern garage rock hits the Five Star Bar tonight

October 23, 2009 | 11:53 am


When Thomas Function played Gonerfest 6 in Memphis a month ago, the band held down an afternoon slot in the rain-slick rear courtyard of the Buccaneer Lounge. Under a muggy, overcast sky, the Huntsville, Ala.-based quartet fought negligent soundboard conditions and lousy acoustics to deliver a heartfelt set of inspired garage rock. Currently in the midst of a grueling seven-week national tour, Thomas Function is due to hit the stage of downtown's Five Star Bar tonight, which most likely will be a much better showcase of its talent. Audiences can expect to hear material from the band's recently released sophomore full-length, "In the Valley of Sickness," on Fat Possum Records, with a few choice cuts from its debut effort, "Celebration," from Bomp's Alive imprint.

The band is just one of the current crop of Southern rock acts (along with Jay Reatard, King Khan, Jack Oblivian and Black Lips) currently raising eyebrows with a rigorous work ethic (six seven-inches and two albums in less than three years) and a forthright, stripped-down approach to garage pop music. Its sound is as effervescent as Champagne bubbles but grounded by a rock 'n' roll grittiness that takes its cues from such influences as keyboard-laced '60s garage, country rock and glam -- with a healthy dose of punk rock decadence tossed into the mix for good measure. Respectful of its forebears, Thomas Function is at the same time unafraid to dish out a sound that is unabashedly new and fresh.

Get an idea of what to expect from this clip of Thomas Function performing “Filthy Flowers” from its debut album:

-- Jason Gelt

Photo: Thomas Function. Credit: Fat Possum Records