Call it cowpunk. Call it grange. Call it bash-and-twang. Whatever you want to call Dollar Store's boisterous brand of country rock, you can't deny the band's punk-fueled fury and revved-up roadhouse energy. It would be simple to see Dollar Store as merely a merger of frontman Dean Schlabowske's other bands -- he's the guitarist for alt-country rabble-rousers the Waco Brothers and former leader of the industrial-noise rockers Wreck -- but that would be an easy answer.
Dollar Store harks back to the wild-eyed days when bands such as the Blasters and Jason & the Scorchers threatened to bring country to rock and roll, and vice versa. Their self-titled debut (recently released on Bloodshot Records) is stocked with robust countrified rockers, from the album opener, "New Country," to the closer, "Little Autocrat." Schlabowske also shines when he slows things down; the eloquent, working-class tale "Beyond Our Means" stands up with the best of Dave Alvin (who also guests on the album). Live, he's aided by bassist Alan Doughty and drummer Joe Camarillo -- two old Waco comrades -- as well as German roots-rock guitarist Tex Schmidt. Come out and see how they reinvent Cher's dance hit "Believe" as Americana.