This debut EP from Chapel Hill quartet Pagan Hellcats mixes bluesy rockers and rootsy ballads, drawing primarily on the late '60s rock of The Band, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. The singular exception on this 30-minute outing is also its best track. "True" sounds like Replacements of Let It Be vintage. A ragged country twang, marked by pedal steel, opens singer/ guitarist Dave Rutter's litany: "There are highways because we just can't stay in place . ... There are guitars because we just can't leave 'em alone. ... They make last call, just so we could all give up drinking." The chorus—"They're selling songs of love because they just don't know who to send them to"—squarely suggests that commerce and trends often triumph for lack of heart. A mostly engaging, if somewhat overlong, start.
Pagan Hellcats releases In the Pasion with a $5 show at The Cave Saturday, Aug. 23, at 7:30 p.m. Blag'ard and Hate Prose take the 10 p.m. slot.