For Fangs and Twang, it’s a monstrous weekend.
The Ypsilanti roots rock and bluegrass trio will sing countrified tales of the Swamp Thing, Godzilla and Ogo Pogo during their “Spirits & Chasers” album release show Saturday at Ziggy’s with the Jim Roll Band and Child Sleep.
They’re also hoping for a little monster mashing on the dance floor.
“We’re going to play the new album in order and pull out some older stuff, but we also plan to have some line dancing throughout the night,” said Joe Bertoletti, bassist and vocalist for Fangs and Twang. “We need to see some grooving and moving out there.”
Fangs and Twang fans will have a ghoulishly good time as Billy LaLonde (drums, vocals), Andy Benes (guitar, vocals) and Bertoletti bring their new musical behemoth to life.
Last Saturday, the band dropped their third and latest release, “Spirits & Chasers,” a seamless seven-track country odyssey packed with famous monsters, personal adventures and ghosts of times past.
It’s a beastly brilliant follow-up to 2017’s “High Fives All Around,” which drew monster-heavy inspiration from books, movies, comics and regional urban legends.
“‘Spirits & Chasers’ feels like a step forward, but very much building on the previous record. It was less about having to write all monster songs and more about writing Fangs and Twang songs,” Bertoletti said. “We’ve been playing together for almost five years, and we have three-hour sets now, so everything feels more natural and tighter.”
Fangs and Twang recorded “Spirits & Chasers” over two unseasonably warm December days with Jim Roll at Willis Sound. The band invited Loren Kranz (organ, piano, vocals), Mark Wallace (fiddle) and Colin Murphy (fiddle) to provide a holistic and traditional bluegrass sound to the album.
“This record has a lot of the lovelorn theme, but it’s kind of upbeat, too,” LaLonde said. “I think all the people we had play on the record added a lot to it, and they took it up a couple notches.”
One of those notches includes Fangs and Twang’s latest single, “The Ballad of the Legend of the Saga of Swamp Thing,” which features LaLonde’s country growl mixed with space rock elements, Pete Townsend-ish guitar licks and playful lyrics – “Come hell or high water/I’m in love with the high king’s daughter/Like a lamb to the slaughter.”
“When I moved to Ypsi with some friends in 2001, we would mess around in the basement, read a lot of comic books and play video games. At the time, we started the song about the Swamp Thing, but it never got finished,” LaLonde said.
“Years later, I’m a monster man, and I realize I should really pull those Swamp Thing lyrics back out. Now, it’s become one of the more hard-rocking tunes on the new record.”
After resurrecting the Swamp Thing, Fangs and Twang breathe new life into “Godzilla,” a bluegrass-fueled cover of the Blue Oyster Cult classic filled with fast fiddles, crunching guitar chords and dynamic organs. It’s also affectionately known as “Bluegrass Oyster Cult” as LaLonde calls it.
Next, they head to Canada to investigate “Ogo Pogo,” a monster living in British Columbia’s Okanagan Lake. The Great White North monstrous tale features a mix of country guitar fused with fiddle and organ solos as well as catchy lyrics – “I love the Ogo Pogo/Don’t go baby, don’t go/Sink, swim or let you go/I love the Ogo Pogo.”
“It came as the riff, and we liked how it sounded, so we picked the monster and wrote that part of it,” Bertoletti said. “Then, we realized it would be a great line dance. We’ve done the line dance, but we didn’t make it official until we played in Bay City last month. People line-danced, and we decided that was our goal for the record release party.”
As for the album release party, Fangs and Twang hope fans tear up the dance floor (in lines, of course) and enjoy a triple musical creature feature with the Jim Roll Band and Child Sleep.
“We just want people to bob their heads and get down,” Bertoletti said. “We’re stoked to have Jim be a part of it, and we’re friends and neighbors with the folks from Child Sleep.”
Fangs and Twang Record Release Party with Jim Roll Band and Child Sleep
8 p.m. Saturday
206 W. Michigan Ave. in Ypsilanti