Of all the bands playing Southern-fried indie rock - and they're a dime a dozen, whether you're out in the cornfields or roaming the concrete jungles - Deer Tick's near the top of the heap.

Of all the bands playing Southern-fried indie rock - and they're a dime a dozen, whether you're out in the cornfields or roaming the concrete jungles - Deer Tick's near the top of the heap.

John McCauley sings with a scratchy, Van Morrison drawl that would sound disgusting if he didn't back it up with masterful songwriting. Thankfully, the songs on his breakthrough War Elephant have enough emotional heft to handle such heavy affectation.

The album feels comfortably broken-in, flowing flexibly from lazy folk tunes to rock-your-soul psychedelia and back. It's enough to inspire eager anticipation of Deer Tick's upcoming release Born on Flag Day, and their even more imminent gig opening for former Drive By Trucker Jason Isbell at Rumba Cafe.