Made the 2005 Best list : If early Dylan had found himself sitting in the studio with Ryan Adams, something like this may have resulted. Excellent, country-blues tinged genius at play, captured perfectly – with enough madness and spikiness to recall greats like Creedence Clearwater Revival, Leonard Cohen and the Violent Femmes at their best. For anyone who prefers Johnny Cash to punk, this is how the White Stripes should sound.
A band that cribs its name from a James Joyce story are always going to attract a certain level of disdain; but get past their clever-clogs appellation and there’s a deeply wrought cask of oak-lined Americana-blues. Sounding like the missing link between wailing Jack/monged Meg and Ol’ Dirty Beard Banhart, songs like ‘You Losin’ Out’ and ‘Fail Hard to Regain’ are stomping rackets that have the demeanour of a hard-drinking song and the heart of a hopeless romantic. Stating their influences as ranging from San Francisco punk-rockers Operation Ivy through to backcountry stalwarts in the mould of Skip James and Clarence Ashley, Two Gallants understand just how much bite to add to their Southern-stew without it losing its distinctive texture; a sweat-blues gumbo that could have just as easily emerged from New Orleans or Seattle. Throw down! – Boomkat
San Francisco’s gritty bards deliver timeless stories of desperation on stunning debut. Pulling their name from a James Joyce story not only speaks to Two Gallants’ ambition, but to their lived-in, timeless sound. These folk-punk troubadours, Adam Stephens (guitar/vocals/harmonica) and Tyson Vogel (drums) began their journey in 2002 playing impromptu gigs outside San Francisco’s public transportation terminals. The band’s desperately emotive debut, ‘The Throes’, is the stuff rail riders and Kerouac would have rave about, delivered in a drunken Pogues-meet-Dylan-on-amphetamines mess of wonder. Songs like "My Madonna" and "Nothing To You" highlightStephen’s ability to craft rustic tales of life at the bottom of America’s food chain, heavy on the drinking and heavy on the regret. Pour a drink and try to keep your tears out of it. – Aaron Kayce / Paste (4 stars)
I first saw Two Gallants in my kitchen about two years back, which is not an uncommon story. A lot of folks first came into contact with this band in their kitchen or a friend’s kitchen or on a corner somewhere in San Francisco. And that’s proper, since this is the most homespun band to come along in a good while. The finger style guitar that propels the melody makes one think of Elizabeth Cotton or Mississippi John Hurt, people who’ve been dead a long while, people who were genuine folk musicians. What I mean by folk musicians is that Cotton and Hurt didn’t learn to play off records. They learned to play from folks in their community. Folk music is from the folks, not from the machine. And the Two Gallants have tapped into that sap of genuineness. – Read Collin Ludlow-Mattson’s article about Two Gallants in SF Mesh magazine — ‘Here They Come To Save The Day’
Hey, it’s two good-looking dudes from San Francisco that’s sound exactly like backwoods-ugly dudes from Nebraska (in the best possible way). Think Springsteen playing ‘Nebraska’ style business for the rest of his days (isn’t it nice to forget about that Hanks AIDS’ stuff?) and, instead of the Conan O’Brien guy, he drafted the dude from Cro-Mags to keep the beat. – Vice magazine (7" review – rating = 9)
CMJ 2005: Bands On The Run
The Two Gallants proved to be another of the sort of band one hopes to discover at CMJ, something with obvious staying power. A guitar and drums two-piece that applies heavy volume to a blend of country, folk and blues in a manner reminiscent of the early work of "No Depression" genre pioneers Uncle Tupelo, they’re from San Francisco, though their Americana sound suggests the South or Midwest. It’s no surprise they’ve just signed to the highly successful Nebraska independent label Saddle Creek. – Tricia McDermott / CBS news
CMJ hangover post : Two gallants was definitely the best show i saw. i could watch them over and over and over and over again. i saw them in april and was pretty much transfixed despite the fact i didn’t know any songs at the time. seriously, if i make a list of best shows of ’05 – they might be #1. they’re like neil young/kurt cobain/alt rock goodness. – Daily Refill
CMJ Weekend : on Friday were Two Gallants. They put on one of the best performances we saw all week. With just drums and a guitar with Adam Stevenson’s distressed voice, they played a set of contemporary Dylanesque Americana that was remarkably articulate and precise. From everything we heard this week, these two are the most likely to go on and stand the test of time. –Gothamist
If rock music is all about transience, how can a song born decades ago still rev up the engines of romance? "Tangled Up in Blue", for instance, is a tale of fading love, but the power and significance of the song itself is timeless. Rock ‘n’ roll is often an expression of youth or youth’s passing, but when music (or any art) endures, its magnetism is only amplified with the passage of years. For that reason, and because the best songs are usually pinned by the listener to some quintessential moment, the classics become classic. Passion is a fleeting feeling, but the best art will evoke that feeling with every exposure. So when youth produces a work of such force, when the raw or supposedly naïve artist comes up with something universal, critics and fans rejoice. We want to latch on to a beautiful thing before its green genius withers under the glare of success. Such is the case with Two Gallants’ debut The Throes. The San Francisco duo responsible for this gut-wrenching musical tragedy both just turned 21, yet somehow their musical hindsight extends far beyond recent memory and taps into a rusty vein swollen with grief, heartache and violent desperation. – Pitchfork Media (rating : 8.5)
On this San Francisco duo’s debut, childhood pals Adam Stephens and Tyson Vogel channel early-twentieth-century blues, folkies such as Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, and current indie punk-and they play all the instruments. Highlight: the brutally witty Irish-folk-flavored title ballad. – Rolling Stone (***)
The Violent Femmes are a fondly remembered band for many. With spiky, short and mostly acoustic rock, played primarily by a three piece band, their biggest problem was listenability – a whole album grew to be tough work. Two Gallants, two 21 year olds, who provide all the drums, guitar, vocals and harmonica, fix that in one sweep on their remarkable debut. For anyone who prefers Johnny Cash to punk, this is how the White Stripes should sound, like a less bluesy Black Keys. The sound is raw and exciting, made by two men who’ve known each other since they were 5 – every move is anticipated, every venture supported by the other. If early Dylan had found himself sitting in the studio with Ryan Adams, something like this may have resulted. Excellent, country-blues tinged genius at play, captured perfectly – with enough madness and spikiness to recall greats like Creedence Clearwater Revival, Leonard Cohen and the Violent Femms at their best. ACE rating 9/10. – Mike Rea / Adult Contemporary (UK)
This Bay Area duo have been nicknamed ‘The Blacker Keys’ by the US press, but their lo-fi, rough-hewn folk reels with a deliciously absinthian aftertaste and a bluntly poetic charm that marks these Two Gallants of a different feather. With a voice as sharp as the teeth of a saw and a richly romantic but unsentimental worldview colouring his lyrics- mostly bitter wisdoms and sour arguments sung with a winning absence of mercy- singer/guitarist Adam Stephens recalls Jack White, or the Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle. The booze-fuelled strums and intricate, chiming melodies evoke a warm tone, which only hones the bite of couplets like "The lost cause of nerves runs away with my words/And I’m gay as a choirboy for you." A gloriously passionate, valorous, booze-stewed stumble; their next will be recorded for Saddle Creek, home to Bright Eyes. -Stevie Chick / Mojo (4 star rating)
Gruff sounding troubadours toting guitars and harmonica racks tend to get typecast as Bob Dylan soundalikes. Yet for this young duo from San Francisco, the comparison is legitimate. The Throes, is refreshingly ungarnished garage-folk, and as with Dylan, storytelling is paramount. – Julie Simmons / Harp
Two Gallants’ debut CD release, The Throes, is so earthy you might have to dust soil from it before sliding it into your player. It is a contemporary blues-based folk (which in this case, shouldn’t put you off) record, and it’s the work of two 21-year-old artists (not "artists" in any casual sense, but explicitly) from San Francisco. First of all, Adam Stephens and Tyson Vogel are storytellers (they take their name from the sixth story in Joyce’s Dubliners). Their material harkens back more specifically, though, to the authorial territory of Raymond Carver and Richard Ford, writers who early in their careers were branded "dirty realists" — a term they grew to distrust, but one which neatly describes such blues-folk rebels as these. Two Gallants tell brutal tales of faded prospects and broken promises, of wrecked romances and lives departing along twisted tracks; these are stories of a grave and inevitable disappointment, and from where youth gathers such bleak histories, one might perhaps best wonder another time. There’s an unforced literacy at work here, and in the music, a barely tempered urgency. (…) This is distinctly an American music. It takes its lead from American backcountry blues.
– John Davidson / Pop Matters
The Throes, plays like a haunted course in American musicology, harking back to the murder ballads of Skip James, the outlaw country of Merle Haggard, and Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter’s wild frontier balladry. The attention paid to narrative detail raises Stephens’s lyrics to poetic heights. He paints a vivid, rustic mythology of petty crime, vagabond longing, and hungover regret, where modern urban coexists with antiquated pastoral. These songs stand at the door of that continuum where the timeless words of Dylan and Guthrie reside. – SF Bay Guardian
If rock music is all about transience, how can a song born decades ago still rev up the engines of romance? "Tangled Up in Blue", for instance, is a tale of fading love, but the power and significance of the song itself is timeless. Rock ‘n’ roll is often an expression of youth or youth’s passing, but when music (or any art) endures, its magnetism is only amplified with the passage of years. For that reason, and because the best songs are usually pinned by the listener to some quintessential moment, the classics become classic. Passion is a fleeting feeling, but the best art will evoke that feeling with every exposure. So when youth produces a work of such force, when the raw or supposedly naïve artist comes up with something universal, critics and fans rejoice. We want to latch on to a beautiful thing before its green genius withers under the glare of success. Such is the case with Two Gallants’ debut The Throes. The San Francisco duo responsible for this gut-wrenching musical tragedy both just turned 21, yet somehow their musical hindsight extends far beyond recent memory and taps into a rusty vein swollen with grief, heartache and violent desperation.
When songwriting this evocative is paired with playing so dynamic, especially in an acoustic setting, Dylan comparisons are inevitable. Given Two Gallants’ guitar and drums lineup and rustic blues-based repertoire, many might cry White Stripes as well. There are better analogies, though: More narrative than abstract, Adam Stephenson’s lyrics are closer to Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter’s romantic Old West allegories, luckless sagas of trains and booze and double-crossing lovers. Meanwhile, Tyson Vogel’s shifting thoroughbred pulse on drums is less Meg White then Patrick Carney of The Black Keys. That The Black Keys’ and Two Gallants’ debut releases were both released on Alive Records is no coincidence; both embrace a hardened revivalist style that owes a lot to the dark Delta legends. But the mug-swinging sea shanty bluster and jailbreak urgency Two Gallants add to indie rock’s newfound blues idolatry are purely original, and make The Throes an electric, unforgettable listen. There’s a modernizing of old styles here– the album begins with a frantic garage-rock rearrangement of the 1930s Reverend Robert Wilkins track "You Losing Out". The gutsy "Nothing to You" opens like an angry country blues rant but tosses in some clever quips: "My kind’s been around forever/ Yet I claim to be one of the few/ And the lost cause of words walks away with my nerves/ ‘Cause I’m gay as a choir boy for you," and then later, "I followed you into the party/ That no one invited me to/ But I got so drunk and retarded/ I fell down the stairs and I fell into you."
Forgoing conventional verse/chorus/verse structure, these songs build a creaking work song practicality and archetypal power. "Fail Hard to Regain" contains almost no repetition, but Stephenson’s reedy voice tears into the subconscious and lodges mercilessly like a tick. It’s the albums most raucous, ballsy composition, Stephenson’s harmonica and guitar perfectly punctuated by Vogel’s storming percussion, and yet with speaks in stanzas reminiscent of a whiskey-soaked Dylan Thomas poem: "’Twas on a dark March evening, southbound I did ride/ My head was out the window when I found her at my side/ Asked where I was going to, I told her from where I came/ For the jails in which I’ve done my time, I fail hard to regain." That soulful Pogues-style urbanizing of down-home bumpkinism, combined with an unbridled, youthful vigor, balances the album’s startlingly troubling themes. "The Throes" tells intimately of a vicious, abusive relationship; accompanied by cello, "Crow Jane" is a haunting version of a traditional murder ballad covered by the likes of Skip James and Nick Cave. Like a course in musicology these songs bring out an incredible richness of history, telling stories based on the half-truths and legends that bring the ghosts of long dead musicians and musical styles into new light.
James Joyce was in his early 20s when he finished the short story of shiftless, dissolute youth that Two Gallants take their name from. Dubliners, the collection in which the story appeared in 1905, would later be hailed a literary masterpiece. Suffering only in its somewhat understated production, The Throes could be considered a masterpiece of new American roots music. It’s a heavy emotional investment, a struggle of the most fulfilling kind. There’s a lot to learn from these young bards, as much as they’ve learned in their short lives. When brilliance arrives so early it’s always that much more profound. – Jonathan Zwickel, July 7th, 2004 / Pitchfork Media (rating : 8.5)
How a pair of 21 year olds can construct a record so bluesy, so bare, so downright brutal and so full of tortured experiences is beyond me. But SF natives, Adam Stephens and Tyson Vogel, evoke such a world…an old western world filled with crumbling lives, thwarted pursuits and unending despair. Released last spring, the duo’s debut is literate and direct without burdening with pretension. "Crow Jane" is a searing confession of living through past shame: ‘Cause it makes no difference which way I smile. / I ain’t good lookin’ from a quarter mile. / Once had a woman call me angel child. / My reputation keeps me on trial.’ With only guitars, drums and a harmonica (as well as Stephens’ unique, twangy voice) The Throes is raw, emotional storytelling. Little wonder knowing that the pair took their name from the sixth story in James Joyce’s Dubliners. – B.W. Liou / The Owlmag
Eprouvante (et parfois très comique, pour peu qu’on apprécie l’humour gothique) plongée dans les bas-fonds de la white-trash (violences domestiques, pendaison ou ivrognerie), la poésie détraquée d’Adam Stephens se joue dans cette grande tradition du storytelling qui, de l’Irlande aux Appalaches, de Raymond Carver à James Joyce, a fourni à l’imaginaire quelques-uns des antihéros les plus obsédants. C’est d’ailleurs chez James Joyce, dans Gens de Dublin (chapitre "Les Deux Galants"), que ce duo faussement ploucard et authentiquement lettré (ses histoires forment des petits scénarios que ne renieraient pas Tom Waits ou Jarmusch) a emprunté son patronyme. Musicalement, guitare et harmonica ont suivi les mêmes fascinants cours d’histoire, autant assidus que dissipés. Car si les Two Gallants connaissent à l’évidence par cur les ballades déglinguées de Robert Johnson, les pulsions malades de Leadbelly ou les chants sacrés de Leonard Cohen, ces deux blancs-becs de San Francisco n’en font qu’à leur tête de pioche avec l’héritage, qu’ils salissent et détournent à des fins honteusement personnelles. Sorte de White Stripes privés d’électricité et de couleurs, ils s’écrient : "I love my country but I fear your mother" ("J’aime mon pays mais je crains ta mère"). Ne serait-ce que pour ces mots, ils méritent l’amour, déraisonné. Le revival années 80 continue donc. Et on parle ici des années 1880. – Jean-Daniel Beauvallet / Les Inrockuptibles (France)
Two Gallants mesh together Tom Petty, Flogging Molly and Bright Eyes to make an always-rollicking and fun style of music. In fact, the beginning track of "The Throes, " ‘Your Losin, Out’ has the retro-rock feel down, with Two Gallants making a track that sounds like Jet should sound like, if Jet weren’t one of the least-talented bands of the last twenty-five years. The down-home sound of Two Gallants, especially in the distinct, almost nasal delivery of Adam, makes for an album that is realistic, as opposed to the computer-generated monstrosities of popular music. Two Gallants really have no idea of time on this disc, as the tracks that adorn the ending of "The Throes" are as strong as those that have started the disc out. The noisy nature of the track typically would indicate to listeners a band that sometime loses control of the monsters that a band has created, but Two Gallants have been able to so completely dominate and control the music that is placed on "The Throes" that everything has a purpose. The slower ‘My Madonna’ begins a wind-down to a disc that is perfect at all levels but I ask, where is there to go from here? – James McQuiston /NeuFutur
San Francisco’s Two Gallants are one helluva band to see live precisely because you aren’t quite sure what you’re seeing. Is it alt-country? Is it garage-blues? Is it punk? Is it Irish folk? One thing you’re sure of is that singer Adam Stephenson and drummer Tyson Vogel are almost disturbingly talented. The duo rhythmically duel with each other, creating both angry and heartfelt drunken tales that make you want to stomp your boot on the floor and raise your beer towards the skies. Stephenson’s lyrics find inspiration in both Bob Dylan and James Joyce (the band’s name was taken from Joyce’s Dubliners). This music is poetry. – Oh My Rockness
Emerging from a resurgent country-rock scene in the San Francisco Bay Area that’s too young to remember the Olde Joe Clarks, The Buckets or Richard Buckner’s The Doubters; Two Gallants first album The Throes is an excellent working definition of what "alt-country" can mean to a new generation of singer songwriters: respectful of tradition but constantly striving for something completely original. The remarkable thing about The Throes is its ability to feel dated and new at the same time. Each song carries a built in tension fueled by the music’s conscious pull away from the traditional elements they are based on. I’m not talking about the use of craftily employed electronics or looped effects butting against acoustic instrumentation. The Throes is far more subtle than that, Two Gallants too literate and clever. At its best The Throes sounds like an unearthed relic of a different time that somehow manages to fit into the here and now. "Fail Hard To Regain" starts out with a harmonic intro that would sound completely at home on a T-bone Burnett movie soundtrack before becoming a pounding drumbeat and distortion laced guitar jig that echoes the punch of cow punk bands like Rank And File and The Long Ryders. Singer Adam Stephens has a penchant for antiquated language (he likes "ye" and "twas" a bit much) but still manages to make it work to his favor. His songs are very much part of the storyteller tradition that reaches back to western murder ballads and the outlaw style of Merle Haggard. – Peter Funk / Stylusmagazine
The Throes is nothing short of exquisite. Soulful, blues-driven songs unfurl dark folk narratives of tragedy, loss, and regret. Warm-toned guitar and a bright pleading harmonica overlay elastic-tight drums and spacious cymbals. Adam’s vocals ache out over the tracks, alternating between raspy vigor and quiet tenderness. Tyson sings here and there, compounding the intensity at key moments. They litter their songs with tempo changes – an oom-pah waltz slides into a scrambling chorus and back, followed by a song that builds with haunting steadiness to a lament-ridden denouement. Taken together, the effect is both unsettling and entirely satisfying. On stage, the Two Gallants surpass any expectations. Adam performs with an fervor that could blister the paint off the walls, spitting out lyrics like bitter-tasting fruit. His furious blues-inspired guitar picking and Adam’s warm rolling drums fill the room with a despondent beauty and passionate rawness that eludes recording. Their live set easily wins over unsuspecting listeners who, ears scalded and faces glowing, stay for just one more song. – Imaginary Jessica / Three Imaginary Girls
SF-based duo Two Gallants is young, but its songs seem to spring from old souls. Adam Stephens and Tyson Vogel clearly look to timeless songwriters like Bob Dylan for inspiration, but they infuse the tracks on The Throes with very slight Irish influences and a healthy dose of punk energy. – The Onion
ROOTS & AMERICANA
Listening to pioneering jazz pianist Jelly Roll Morton in the tour van. Thanking John Fahey, the iconoclastic, eccentric guitarist who married traditional finger-picking styles to a host of unlikely genres, in your CD liner notes. These are activities one would associate with a 46-year-old roots-music artist. But a pair of 23-year-old bucks? Yup. Yet it makes sense if you do the math, says singer-guitarist Adam Stephens, one half of San Francisco duo Two Gallants, as he and drummer Tyson Vogel sail along the highway with Jelly Roll banging away in the background. "We see each other pretty much every day," Stephens says of Vogel, his friend since kindergarten. "We’re becoming the same person." And 23 plus 23 does equal 46. Actually, these clues don’t seem so odd once you’ve sampled the Gallants’ 2004 debut, The Throes (Alive Records). Critics have likened the duo to folk-rock giants such as Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, but upon closer inspection, the former comparison seems to stem primarily from Stephens’ facility on harmonica, and the latter to a knack for penning cheery couplets like, "It ain’t no difference which way I smile/I ain’t good lookin’ from a quarter mile." To these ears, Stephens’ voice recalls John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats at his most unhinged, while the ferocity with which Two Gallants render their compositions conjures the devil-at-my-heels clamor of blues-punk greats the Gun Club circa 1981's Fire of Love.
Enough with the triangulation; let’s get down to specifics. One aspect of the Gallants’ artistry that distinguishes The Throes is a willingness to write from viewpoints other than the masculine first person. The harrowing epic "The Train That Stole My Man" could have sprung from the seasoned pen of Dolly Parton or Loretta Lynn, while the title track finds an omniscient narrator detailing a gruesome scene of domestic violence in close quarters ("He’s got the kind of love that never shows"). "A lot of modern songwriting falls into a kind of repetitive voice," Stephens laments. He credits growing up in the liberal environs of S.F. as one key influence of opening up the Gallants to telling stories from other perspectives. "And also, just reading a lot of modernist authors," he adds. "That’s a big technique a lot of them used… [a man] writing as a woman, describing her family life, or writing as a Southern black man, even if you’re a wealthy white man from up North. So it’s kind of a combination of those." The band–who perform Tuesday, December 21, at the Crocodile–also display a gift for stretching their compelling songs out over seven and eight minutes, without descending to the mind-numbing repetitiveness of, say, "American Pie." Is there a trick to sustaining the listener’s interest for that long? Nope. "It’s more our inability to write a short song," admits Stephens. Themes of loss and heartbreak also recur throughout their work, but we’ll skip the analysis of Two Gallants’ abandonment issues. Besides, they always have each other. – Kurt B. Reighley / The Stranger
Although Two Gallants are barely old enough to get in the door at the clubs they play, their music reflects deep Americana and blues roots as well as cited influences ranging from backcountry musicians Skip James and Clarence Ashley to local punk rockers Operation Ivy. The childhood friends, who cribbed their band name from a James Joyce story, play songs with dark, complex lyrics that pack an emotional impact surpassing many of their indie rock elders. – San Francisco Flavor Pill
The debut album from San Franciscan duo Adam Stephens and Tyson Vogel offers an appealing collection of good ole’ folk and country candy-coated with just enough pop to become addicting. Vocals reminiscent of Buddy Holly meet a grungy honky-tonk rock sensibility on tracks like "You Losin’ Out" and "Two Day Short Tomorrow," while slower, more anthemic numbers like "Crow Jane," "Train That Stole My Man" and the album’s title track conjure up comparisons to Jeff Buckley, Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. Sparse yet capable musicianship lays down solid beats (in waltz time just as often as the standard 4/4) for compelling melodies and strong, powerful vocals. It’s a notable start for the pair heralding an irresistible new music scene in Northern Cali. Grade: B+ – Lisa Y. Garibay / Meanstreet
Interview for The Sentimentalist (Acrobat)
Interview for Law Of Inertia (Acrobat)
Two people, some guitars, a drum kit. Also a harmonica. Man, this set-up is the new Beatles. Fortunately, Two Gallants has the songs to make this already hackneyed approach sound fresh. Drawing more from folk than blues (though that’s in there as well), Adam Stephens and Tyson Vogel’s tunes strip naked the boys’ emotional soul, even if the details don’t jibe with real life. "Fail Hard to Regain" and "Nothing to You" could be about anybody in the last 200 years-or the next 200-but the feeling behind them is timeless. – Michael Toland / High Bias
Employing a direct, simple folk style, the powerfully literate duo uses drums, guitar, harmonica, and voice to invoke a tattered, reckless world where men lose their nerve, children leave home, women are struck barren, and train whistles cut through more than just fog. With the release of the Two Gallants’ debut album, ‘The Throes’, comparisons to great modern folkies like Dylan will be difficult to avoid, as much for the distinctive vocals of Adam Stephens as for the poetic prowess of the pair, comprising Stephens and Tyson Vogel, who, despite the fact that they are just old enough to legally imbibe, have already constructed their own myths and matched them with artistic force. Unforgiving songs like "Fail Hard to Regain" and "Train That Stole My Man" possess all the urgency and violence of an old-fashioned miners’ strike song, yet they remain intimate tales of personal betrayal textured by old grease and apron strings; ballads like "Crow Jane" and "The Throes," which chronicle the anguish of love affairs, take on nearly archetypal significance. – Silke Tudor / SF Weekly
Two Gallants are channeling 60's rock/folk at times, with a Johnny Cash edge of bitterness, and a definite punk attitude (the Man in Black had this as his second trademark! As punk as it gets) Two Gallants are good at their truly alt-country trade, and can only get better if their youth doesn’t take advantage of them. –Bitemezine
Typically I would not consider two guys playing music to be a band, I would call that a hobby. But in the case of Two Gallants, I’m willing to make an exception. Rarely have I heard a band as original and innovative as Adam Stephens and Tyson Vogel’s Two Gallants manages to be. Now I don’t typically write reviews, it takes an album that I truly deem amazing to get me to rave. This album, entitled The Throes is a captivating, start-stop rollercoaster ride of emotion and lyrical ingenuity. Bob Dylan, Bluegrass and more modern Punk influences shape themselves into 53 minutes of amazing music (...). This album gets an 8.1 out of 10. The highest grade I’d give any album out so far this year. – Pat / Knifeparty
"One of the most interesting albums to cross the Atlantic in recent years."
Une fois le disque en action, surprise, c’est une espèce de folk-punk égaré dans le delta du Mississippi avec réminiscences Dylan à droite et à gauche. Le duo est constitué d’Adams Steven (guitare acoustique, chant, harmonica) et de TysonVogel(batterie et chant) et ose même l’intervention d’une violoncelliste sur un titre. Sur la photo du livret, il semble qu’ils aient le même marchand de fringues que John Fogerty. La première écoute laisse une sensation oscillant entre confusions des styles et gros point d’interrogation. Avec les paroles sous le nez, la deuxième est radicalement différente. Ce duo sait raconter les choses de la vie avec la même intensité qu’un vieux bluesman ayant vécu 90 ans de galère. Une fois compris l’importance des textes, même la musique devient autre. Ici, toutes les notes jouées sont là pour renforcer l’atmosphère et non pas pour vendre la soupe. Sans vouloir trop cirer le socle de la statue, ce disque est certainement un des plus intéressants qui ait franchi l’Atlantique ces dernières années. – Geant Vert / Rock & Folk (France)
Two Gallants have risen on the passion of their delivery and the depth of their lyrics, inflicting emotional scars of lost love and shattered innocence on awestruck audiences across the country. While Tyson Vogel keeps a shifting, dynamic pulse on the kit, guitarist Adam Stephens’s voice crackles like an exposed wire sort of a reedy, California-drawled Shane MacGowan with less liver damage. Their visceral, stripped-down punk folk blues is wincingly potent, totally unique, and something this city should be very proud of. – San Francisco Bay Guardian
Two Gallants made the cover of West Coast Performer – June issue
Democratic art is a theme with Two Gallants. Just one example is their website, which takes a lot of pressure off the music journalist, for there you can find not sample mp3s, but videos of the band doing what they do best – performing. Of course the videos don’t capture entirely the noise and energy of a Two Gallants show. Nor can samples do justice to their new album, ‘The Throes’, out this month on Alive Records. But both are superior to the impotent exercise of labeling the most beautiful, authentic, accomplished, and original release in recent memory. – West Coast Performer / June issue
Two Gallants’ sound is distinctly their own. (…) It’s hard to believe a couple of things about this record. The first being the fact that all this full sound is coming from a duo instead of a traditional four piece. Obviously that’s all you need when that duo is Adam Stephens on guitar, harmonica and vocals and Tyson Vogel on the drums and backing vocals. The second thing is the musical and lyrical depth of these songs (…) Biting tales of lost love, suffering, violence and anguish flowing as poetically as Dylan with the story-telling style and occasional melodical flair reminiscent of Cat Stevens. Sometimes when I listen to a record, my mind starts to wander and I can’t keep my attention focused on the lyrics, however, this record kept me paying attention so that I wouldn’t miss the next great line. They just kept coming… "…cause it ain’t no difference which way I smile. I ain’t good lookin from a quarter mile." – from Crow Jane "I awake on the floor with my country at war and I wish I could care but my liver’s too sore. If liquor’s a lover you know I’m a whore." – from My Madonna. – Nick Murray / Just Add Noise (rating : 8.7)
It’s a precociously classic album. Where else can you hear a man barely in his twenties pen such lines of suffering as "and i’ll wake up on floor with my country at war / and I wish I could care but my liver’s too sore / and if liquor’s a lover, you know i’m a whore… " ("My Madonna"). And "Crow Jane," an extended, achingly simple and poetic ballad containing one of the best musical turns of phrase in recent history: "it ain’t no difference which way I smile / I ain’t good looking from a quarter mile." – Adam Greenblatt / West Coast Performer
The more you listen, the more you realize they are the perfect compliment to the sparse drum/guitar combo that mysteriously carries the thickness and volume of a full rock quartet. But it isn’t really rock they’re playing. It’s this odd jelling of backcountry-blues, one-guitar folk, and old punk. Imagine Bob Dylan, coked up, with distortion pedals. – Vinnie Baggadonuts / Taste Like Chicken
Local folk-punk duo Two Gallants represents the S.F. scene’s changing of the guard, so to speak. These barely drinking- age youths’ unique style is a clever throwback to both the poetic sentiments of the flower- power generation and classic Americana but with a young, punk-rock sensibility and a smart, give-it-to-you-straight quality that’ll surely speak to fans of the harder stuff. – SF Examiner