Loaded with trans-fats, soaked in cheap hops, and good for you in that way you know ain't no damn good for you. Given that Dollar Store's self-titled debut album (2004) was widely described as a slab of greasy roots rock, Money Music should be labeled "extra-greasy," which is to say, extra good, so keep the sonic Wet-Naps handy, you’re gonna need them. The album was recorded in two days and sounds like what the sessions were--four musicians, thoroughly enjoying themselves, pushing tempos and volume levels along the way. Thumbing their noses at self-obsessed bands who spend months in the studio and enough dough to build a pyramid in order to foist another polished dud upon the world, Dollar Store prove that rock n’ roll imbued with genuine energy and dynamism trumps indecision and overdubs every time.
Guitarist Tex Schmidt's leads (think of the ragged energy of the Replacements combined with Scotty Moore’s cool) and Waco Brother Alan Doughty's manic bass are anchored by Joe Camirillo (Hushdrops) hitting the drums with straight forward authority. The simple, effective set up of a good rock band. Vocally, "Deano" Schlabowske seems to have hit the sweet spot between his gruff beginnings in his noise-pop outfit Wreck and the more anarchic, roadhouse-informed style he adopted in the Waco Brothers.
In theme, Schlabowske's songs are a blurry stagger through a company town- a ghost utopia where the jobs have gone away, the drinks are too expensive and most are in debt up to their (blue) collars. Along the way he touches on music biz woes, the celebrity obsessed, scrap metal collection as a career and laments signing the "dotted line on the lost highway". Not exactly chipper stuff but, hey, have you looked out your window lately? But Deano and the gang paint hard times with a thick coat of joyous noise-–you can’t get too depressed.
Dollar Store’s return to the stage and studio has been slow and rough. A car accident that left Camarillo's head sticking through the sunroof of his old Volvo put the band out of commission just as the new album was completed and the permanent addition of lead guitarist Schmidt (from the German rockabilly punks The Roughnecks) was starting to gel. It's almost two years later and Joe has completely recovered from the kind of rehab that Britney and Lindsay could never make it through- though he did shave his head in the process.
In a music world where computers are used to sweeten every harmony, remove every noise, tune every note and sand down every rough edge, Money Music is, above all, real. You can hear, see and taste everything beautiful and ugly in their world. Enjoy in moderation. Or, better yet, skip the moderation.
"At its core, Money Music is a relentless rock album, combining rockabilly energy and gunning guitarwork on songs like "Wasted Away," where the guitars nail down go-for-glory riffs that are later dismantled and twisted apart. Songs pounce from the beginning while others stretch with introspection.Mark Guarino Daily Herald
"Money Music is a rollicking affair, its Southern-fried licks and foot-stomping choruses perfectly conjuring wild weekend nights at a sweaty dive bar." Andy Downing Chicago Tribune
Money Music raises the stakes, with sharper hooks, better textures and an uptempo roots-rock base somewhere between today’s Bottle Rockets and yesterday’s Jason and the Scorchers. James Porter Time Out Chicago
"At first listen, Dollar Store may sound like your garden variety no-frills rock band. But listen again. The frills are there, just dressed down in workingman’s clothing and approached with workmanlike precision..and Schlabowske has a knack for writing songs that imbed themselves in your brain and quickly sound like familiar old friends." "The Scene Magazine