The lonely steppes outside Pendleton, Ore., can inspire vaguely apocalyptic musings. Set in a stretch of brown country west of the Blue Mountains, there's an Army installation not far from town where chemical weapons were once stored. The Hanford nuclear site is only about 100 miles to the north and the Wildhorse Casino Resort off I-84 is pretty much always busy.
In this landscape the quirky, faintly doom-struck folk-rock/sock-hop of James Dean Kindle and The Eastern Oregon Playboys is right at home. Literally.
The track "Welcome to Desolation," from the Pendleton-based band's forthcoming album Roaming Charges May Apply (spring 2017), aptly sums up the feeling: "Leavin' pieces of rusty farm machinery out in the field/ Unsolicited bar fights tonight while the daylight steals/ Poison in the reservoir/ Gettin' high off your own supply/ Watchin' flocks of coffin birds fallin' out of the toxic sky."
With jangly electric guitar and pulsing organ, it's evocative of the Doors' dreamy, dread-filled sound but with a hint of country twang that turns desolation into elation.