Taking their name from a hundred-year-old James Joyce short story about a pair of lowly hustlers, San Francisco duo Two Gallants have re-emerged from hiding with their heaviest effort to date, fourth album The Bloom and the Blight.
Singer/guitarist Adam Stephens and drummer/ guitarist Tyson Vogel first appeared with a run of ramblin' folk rock records in the mid-noughties released through beloved Omaha indie label Saddle Creek, but they quickly burnt themselves out with their hectic schedule.
"We had been touring for years pretty much non-stop, and whenever we were home from touring, we'd be recording or working on new stuff," Stephens recalls. "We didn't really take a full break, we just started doing some other stuff and then both of us got a little bit more involved in what we were doing than we anticipated. So it just took a little while to get back into it."
After reconvening in early 2011, the band made headlines after Stephens was involved in an incident with police at a show in Houston, Texas. Stephens and several fans were tasered by authorities investigating a noise complaint.
Perhaps this led to the fury of the songs on The Bloom and the Blight, but Stephens also credits the grunge and punk music the duo listened to when growing up for their rawer blues sound.
"When we were both 12, we started playing guitar mostly because of Nirvana but also there's a band called Steel Pole Bath Tub, that we were pretty strongly influenced by," he says.
"Local Bay Area punk bands like Operation Ivy and NOFX, that was the kind of stuff that we were listening to when we were like 12 or 13 that got us playing music in the first place. The only real conscious thing about the new record is that I didn't want to get involved with seven-minute-long ballads like on previous outings. Things are more concise on this one."