Support Local Journalism, Join the SA Current Press Club.

Music : Current choice 

Organ grinders

“I’m so original, baby/just like everyone else.” So sings Kirk Rawlings, guitarist for the Memphis quartet Organ Thief, on the group’s frequently exciting debut album, Orphan Teeth. It’s the kind of smart-ass gamesmanship you’d expect from a band that actually titled a song “Sound of Sarcasm,” but it’s not altogether unwarranted.

Organ Thief might not qualify as original (what does, in a post-modern world of cut-and-paste pastiche?), but their mix of influences, and the skill with which they incorporate them into their sound, makes theirs a highly idiosyncratic presence on the underground-rock scene. At times, as with the side-saddle art-funk of “Psychochauffeur,” they recall the rhythmic gymnastics of early ’80s King Crimson. On the driving “Marcus Aurelius,” they suggest what might have happened if Talking Heads and Television had simultaneously occupied the stage of CBGB in 1976. With the aforementioned “The Original,” they even take an ironic shot at polyester pseudo-jazz, a la “Riders on the Storm.” They offer no consistent sensibility, other than a compulsion to tweak song-form conventions for their own jaded purposes.

Organ Thief
The Stock Market Crash,
Sunnydale Ohio

Tue, July 4

Limelight Music and Drinks
2718 N. St. Mary’s

Organ Thief can do a credible facsimile of punk rock when they’re so inclined, and they’re not above the occasional hint of sophomoric, novelty-song humor (note the wordless, groaning vocals of “Seasick Sing-a-long”), but they’re at their best when they let bassist Tom Arndt (a graybeard ringer who’s been playing in bands since 1967!) go all rubbery and they collectively explore the complex calculus of oddball time signatures. At moments like that, they’re even more original than everyone else.

- Gilbert Garcia

Support Local Journalism.
Join the San Antonio Current Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the San Antonio Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 8, 2021

View more issues


Join SA Current Newsletters

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2021 San Antonio Current

Website powered by Foundation