This album came to me in a hand-decorated envelope from my hometown of Lubbock, a truly terrible place to have a band. So I gave Diamond Center a pity listen. Imagine my surprise when Claws and Flaws turned out to be one of the best albums I’ve heard this year. Frontwoman Brandi Price’s countrified voice carries across layers of Kyle Harris’s guitar distortion, creating noisy cowpunk via Loretta Lynn heehaw on “Cry Baby,” then crying foul over plodding xylophone and spaghetti western strings on “Not Fair” with enough innocent energy to convince you it’s the first time the complaint’s been lodged. But best is nine-plus-minute centerpiece “Waterside,” in which atmospheric slide guitar solos and echoing effects strand Price on a dusty plain, imploring her baby to return home until her desperate “answer my plea” becomes the chilling “how do I plead?”
— Jeremy Martin
Diamond Center opens for S.A.’s own Druggist Friday, September 12 at the Warhol. Go to myspace.com/thewarhol for more info.