It’s important for a band to have a solid name, one that provides a sense of identity, a visual hint of what to expect musically.
Smashing Pumpkins embodies this ideal. Imagine hundreds of turtles emerging from the sea in a full-mooned frenzy to lay eggs on the beach, but forced to crawl over a person lying on shore. Trampled by Turtles sounds more like some slow torturous death than a five-piece bluegrass band from Duluth, Minn. But maybe the name fits. For some, listening to yet another bunch of ex-punkers going “organic” and playing something akin to bluegrass is a slow tortuous death. Despite Uncle Tupelo comparisons, Trampled by Turtles — acoustic guitar and bass, banjo, mandolin and fiddle — don’t measure up. Sure, they are lyrically strong and whip up a lot of twang mixing Appalachian-style ballads with breakneck speedgrass forays, but real bluegrass musicians pick fast and precise while this crew just plays fast — an endearing quality, perhaps. TxT, however, has good taste in covers, including The Pixies “Where is My Mind?” Black Francis might be appalled at the high-pitched tenor and washed-out twang of his song, but it’s a cool choice — and might make that slow death just a touch more bearable. —Glenn BurnSilver
(This preview appeared in the Dec. 8, 2011 Phoenix New Times.)