This week’s Friday First features the full-length album Meet Me In Cognito from co-presenters of our own The Holy Smokes Festival, the Bushwick-based bluesy rockers The Bottom Dollars. Friday First is a weekly column premiering brand spankin’ new releases from local, national, and international bands.

The Bottom Dollars have been on a serious career track with their rock-solid sound and can-do attitude for five years, and with the release of Meet Me Incognito, they’ve finally made their dreams come true. This album, which has much sharper hooks, grudgier guitars, louder rhythms, and a more defined direction is a step up from the more thoughtful and soft (albeit beautiful) sound they perfected on 2012’s Good News, Everyone! and before that, the pop-laced Halycon Days EP. The LP is stamped with an “EXPLICIT” label and dives deep into the fears and obsessions of modern rock’n’rollers-  cigarettes, anarchy, struggle, drugs, matters of the heart, all the while riddled with curses and sinister rhythms that bring to mind running from the law, or perhaps an ex-lover, under a full moon (“Devil’s Night”). The finetuned sound of Meet Me Incognito came together with the golden touch of multi-platinum engineers John Siket (Sonic Youth, Phish, The Replacements), Fred Kevorkian (The White Stripes, Iggy Pop, Ryan Adams), Owen McGreehan (Viking Sound Productions) and David Brandwein.

Fans of The Bottom Dollars’ softer side, don’t worry. They may have cleaned up their sound, but that doesn’t mean they don’t let their country, alt, and bluegrass roots shine through beautifully. Songs like “Pieces” and “Six Twenty Six” are so damn feel-good that you’ll be tempted to pull out a lighter and wave it in the bittercold NY air. The album, all in all, is a fun and enlivening listen, and a doorway into a rock’n’roll utopia.

If you just can’t get enough of the record, you’ll be amazed at their live set (believe us- we hosted a festival with them!). Catch the guys on the road sometime over the next two months– they’re playing pretty much everywhere, including SXSW!

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