For the recording of their sophomore album Gold Fever, San Diego-based dirty-blues twosome Little Hurricane skipped the studio and rented out a 19th century apple-packing house in an old gold mining town. For two weeks, singer/guitarist Tone Catalano and drummer/vocalist C.C. Spina hunkered down with vintage equipment borrowed from a friend who once recorded with legendary bands like the Grateful Dead and Deep Purple. Sweating through a midsummer heat wave in their air-conditioner-free surroundings-and often visited by tarantulas, turkeys, deer, and other local creatures-Little Hurricane quickly found their new album taking on a swampy yet ethereal vibe that slyly captures the spirit of the weirder, wilder corners of Southern California. The follow-up to Home wrecker (the debut album Little Hurricane self-released in 2011), Gold Fever busts open it's predecessor's rootsy blues-rock with an Americana-influenced sense of storytelling, a disarming ease with breezy melody, and a broader sonic palette. At turns stark and lushly textured, the album draws much inspiration from Tone and C.C.'s frequent getaways to the desert and their shared love of Salvation Mountain, the Salton Sea, and "all those places where kooky people go to escape the rest of the world," according to C.C. Also essential to Gold Fever's sonics were the acoustics of the recording space itself-located in Julian, California, the house was built from foot-and-a-half-thick stone and crammed with thousands of books left behind by it's author-owners-as well as Little Hurricane's use of analog equipment. Formed in 2010 and fast recognized as a killer live act, Little Hurricane devoted two years to the creation of Gold Fever. While the album has a heart on sleeve honesty that's deeply intimate, Gold Fever also delivers a slew of songs huge in sound and scope. Little Hurricane builds off their dirty-blues dynamic for nearly every track on Gold Fever, but infuses each song with such unexpected and inspired touches such as the ghostly effects of "Summer Air," the swell of strings on the otherwise frenetic "Sorry Son" (a gut-punching number about C.C.'s brother and his struggle with addiction, written from her parents' perspective), the horn-soaked soul of "Boiling Water," the snaky groove of "No Man's Land," and the handclap-backed strut and growl of "Grand Canyon." Throughout Gold Fever, C.C.'s drumming shifts from thundering and frantic to crisp and razor-sharp, while Tone's guitar work encompasses lead-heavy riffs, bluegrass-style twang, and gorgeously understated soloing. And although Tone serves as Little Hurricane's main vocalist, C.C. lends her honeyed yet earthy vocals to songs like the spooky, swaying "Breathe," the sultry stomper of a title track, and the slow-burning but anthem lead single "Sheep in Wolves Clothes." the commitment to organic, unadorned sound is evident in the Little Hurricane's live experience, which has graced major festivals like Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits in recent years. The stripped-down but amped-up two-piece dynamic also goes a long way in maintaining Little Hurricane's beautifully brutal energy, even on the more intricate and melody-soaked arrangements heard throughout Gold Fever.