As independent record labels go, five years is a lifetime. Half a decade and over 70 releases after a late-night drunken tirade against the music industry gave it life, Chicago's Bloodshot Records has proven itself to be perhaps the most important Americana-no Depression-alt-country heap.
The label has always prided itself in merging punk and country in the most unholy of matrimonies, and Down to the Promised Land proves the marriage works. Within the two-disc set's 40 tracks are excellent rock tunes from the likes of the Yahoos, the Waco Brothers (doing the Who's "Baba O'Riley"), aggressive cowpunk from the Roughnecks, and Trailer Bride, straight-up honky tonk from the Cornell Hurd Band and Nora O'Connor, and speedgrass from folks like the Meat Purveyors and Split Lip Rayfield. But the biggest moment? Without a doubt the Unholy Trio's low-fi cover of Public Enemy's "Bring the Noise," complete with strains of "Dixie" thrown in for good measure.