Exclusive Premiere: Crooks, ‘Toe to Toe’
Crooks are so country they're almost alternative. The Austin outfit certainly play a brand of bona fide country that's alternative to much of the glossy pop-country being churned out today. It's country-noir – hard-drinkin' Hank Williams Sr. ditties that are modernized, spit-shined and propped up against a jukebox filled with Social Distortion.
Frontman Josh Mazour says there's a good reason for that. He started out playing in post-punk bands post-punk bands in the vein of Hot Snakes and Drive Like Jehu, but discovered country in a roundabout way through Nirvana's Unplugged in New York. “The vulnerability and honesty of Kurt Cobain’s songs sent me down a path of searching for true songwriters, eventually leading me to guys like Townes Van Zandt and Hank Williams," he said. "Once I got there, I discovered the more playful side of things, like Billy Joe Shaver and Marty Robbins. I like my songs to sit somewhere in the middle.”
This week, the band drop their new album, Wildfire, which was produced by Danny Reisch (Okkervil River, White Denim) and Diffuser is proud to exclusively present a track called "Toe to Toe." Mazour told us the song is about an incident he was a part of involving a car accident and road rage. "I was hit on Congress Avenue in Austin, and the whole thing just escalated really quickly," he said. "The next thing I knew, the guy and I were out of our cars and yelling at each other in the middle of the road; the kind of thing where you know it's going to end badly, and there's an audience of annoyed people in their cars watching. I decided to get back in my truck and let the whole thing go. But when I did that, the guy ended up accidentally hitting my truck again, in a blind fit of road rage."
Mazour said things from there got out of hand quickly. "I never ended up getting any money to fix my truck. So I just wrote a song and made the best of the bad situation. In the end, I think I came out on top on this one."