Thanks in large part to longtime friends Bright Eyes, Cursive and the Faint, Saddle Creek Records has reached a point where they can easily break a band based solely on their affiliation with them. And so when they decide to go outside that social circle and release a record by a mostly unknown San Francisco duo named Two Gallants, one has to wonder why. Give their debut, What the Toll Tells, a listen, and you’ll understand. They combine folksy flourishes with punk-rock drumming and a fondness for traditional Irish music, making for a unique and instantly captivating sound. The lyrical imagery sometimes hints at a Dylan fixation and the tone of the vocals bears repeated similarity to Cat Stevens. Emotional yet far from whiney, ragged as all hell yet totally tasteful, incredibly tough yet brimming with hooks, Two Gallants make it clear why just about anyone would love to have them as part of their gang.