sound check

March 3rd, 2011 |
By Michael Swanger

Smokin' Joe Kubek and Bnois King

"Have Blues Will Travel"

Alligator Records

I've said this before, but it is worth repeating, that the Texas tandem of guitarist Smokin' Joe Kubek and singer-guitarist Bnois King is the best one-two blues punch since Buddy Guy and Junior Wells, and their new album, "Have Blues Will Travel," confirms that. Kubek's smokin' fretwork and King's savvy vocals take center stage, but the less obvious (yet equally important) keys to their success are the intricate interplay of guitar parts and observational songwriting. Kubek and King have a knack for writing modern, serious and humorous blues tales like the commentary on the opposite sex of "RU4 Real?" and "Sleeping With One Eye Open," as well as the foreboding "Shadows in the Dark," the digital age ditty "My Space Or Yours?" and the self-evident "My Guitar." CV

(Smokin' Joe Kubek and Bnois King play Friday, March 4 at 9 p.m. at All Play. $12.)


Dropkick Murphys

"Going Out in Style"

Dropkick Murphys

Whether you agree with the title of the Dropkick Murphys' new album depends on your opinion of their steady distillation of classic punk rock and Celtic folk music. If after 14 years and seven albums you haven't tired of their arse-kicking energy and party anthems, then you'll belly up for another round of the band's intoxicating sound. If you've had enough of these drunken Irish bastards, you'll see this album as a 45-minute last call. Personally, I like it when a band sticks to its roots, as the Dropkick Murphys do on "Going Out in Style." They play with the same punk energy that has allowed them to sell three million albums over the years on rowdy tunes like "Memorial Day," "The Hardest Mile" and "Peg O' My Heart," with guest Bruce Springsteen. CV

(The Dropkick Murphys play Friday, March 4 at 8 p.m. at the Val Air Ballroom. $25.)