In the early 1980s, St. Louis restaurant and music club Blueberry Hill sold its own house beer called "Rock & Roll Beer." The yellow cans, which cost $3 for a six-pack, came with the on-can slogan, "I sold my soul for rock & roll." On the side of the pop-top was a drawing of a biker, cigarette hanging loosely from his mouth, Brando-style motorcycle cap with winged eyeball insignia perched on his head and a can of beer in his hand.

In the early 1980s, St. Louis restaurant and music club Blueberry Hill sold its own house beer called "Rock & Roll Beer." The yellow cans, which cost $3 for a six-pack, came with the on-can slogan, "I sold my soul for rock & roll." On the side of the pop-top was a drawing of a biker, cigarette hanging loosely from his mouth, Brando-style motorcycle cap with winged eyeball insignia perched on his head and a can of beer in his hand.

When Atlanta guitarist Rod Hamdallah, who plays under his own name and with the Legendary Shack Shakers, saw the can, he drew a sketch of the biker and thought it might work for the cover of a four-song EP by new band the Gartrells, a side project he started with Jared Swilley of the Black Lips, Jared's younger brother Jonah and drummer John Kang. (The Swilleys and Kang also play together in Atlanta band Douglas' Street Team.)

"I tried to make it my own way - kinda sloppy," Hamdallah said of sketch, which is also an apt description for the Gartrells' music: rough-hewn, vintage rock 'n' roll done in the band's nascent-yet-singular style, combining the members' love of old rockabilly, the Cramps, R&B and garage-pop.

Though each musician stuck to his instrument of choice while quickly laying down tracks for the EP (Hamdallah and Jonah on guitar, Jared on bass and Kang on drums), in a live setting, the band switches instruments from song to song while also taking turns on lead vocals. The Gartrells will do just that when the band opens for King Khan & the BBQ Show on its first tour, which stops at Ace of Cups on Tuesday, Nov. 29.

"Songs I write usually have to do with either me leaving town or the girl leaving town," said Hamdallah, who penned leadoff track "Been Thinkin'" on the self-titled EP (available on Bandcamp). The gritty, two-minute garage track is obscenely catchy and a way for Hamdallah to spread his wings artistically.

"Everyone influences each other and inspires each other. ... 'Been Thinkin'' is so different from what I [usually] write, but I've always wanted to write stuff like that, and I've never done it live," he said.

While leaving town provides inspiration for Hamdallah's songwriting, his out-of-town escapades are only temporary jaunts for tours with the Shack Shakers and other bands. Atlanta has been his home since he was 13, and he has no plans to leave.

"I think Atlanta will always be cool, no matter what they do," he said. "If they build too many buildings or whatever, it doesn't matter. It'll always have a cool vibe."