BEST OF 2016

MAGNET’s #11 Album Of 2016: Drive-By Truckers’ “American Band”


It’s been an annus horribilis of Nasty Women and Bad Hombres, aggressive groping and building a wall and making them pay for it, birthers, election rigging and Rosie O’Donnell nightmares. And look at the mess we’re in. In this spring, summer and fall of our collective discontent, the Drive-By Truckers have created the perfectly postmodern soundtrack for our election-year anger and regret, a ringing, distorted, guitar-dominated album brimming with frustration, wounded pride and stories pulled from across this great, pained land of ours. In a year marked by protest music from artists as commercially prominent as Kendrick and Beyoncé, the Truckers have somehow managed to pull the best record of their two decades together from out of the cloudy clusterfuck that is the USA circa now: a country divided by suspicion, fear and existential dread, with its camps given a voice as loud as the slogans in which they’ve been trading for the past 24 months. “Made it back from hell’s attack in some distant bloody war/Only to stare down hell back home,” sings Mike Cooley, his red-eyed and true-blue colors shining through the darkness. A modern American masterpiece.

—Corey duBrowa