Published Mar 14, 2012Playing as part of Oklahoma's SXSW state showcase, hard-rockin' three-piece Pretty Black Chains were a breath of fresh air from the hipster overload already gathering. Until recently a four-piece, their new sound was more about fuzzed-out, uncomplicated and unapologetic '70s rock than their old Strokes wannabes vibe. Like a more Southernfried, pared-down Black Angels, with some great basslines worthy of Gallon Drunk and the requisite psychedelic Sabbath-y riffage, Pretty Black Chains worked remarkably well with their new lineup. Guitarist, and now lead vocalist, Derek Knowlton looked the part with a feather hanging on the neck of guitar and full-sleeve tattoos. At one point, the bassist switched to keys and tambourine, allowing Knowlton to show off some of his best guitar work. It all became a set of simple, good rock'n'roll with a great groove and some subtly syncopated cymbal and tom work.