That out of the way, the Turbines could be lumped in with "roots rock" while transcending it. First, John Hovorka wrote a lot of memorable tunes – not too elaborate, but they stuck in your head, and I think he realized that the "roots" of most of his peers were industrial and not "western" or "folk." His pre-Turbines band Noise Pencil did a Rust Belt ode called "Weirton, West Virginia" which wouldn't sound out of place next to Pere Ubu. Second, they had a killer guitarist in Jack Hickey, who was able to distill all the good twangy stuff about guitars and the crank it up (especially live) so it didn't sound merely retro. And on their second (and last) album Magic Fingers & Hourly Rates, they actually managed to capture their live sound (see a few paragraphs down this page), which is something that was hard for a lot of Boston bands of the era to do on 80s-indie recording budgets.
None of this stuff is on CD, so I digitized all that I had (two albums, a single, and two compilation cuts I had already taken care of a while ago), and it fits all one CD. Sic transit gloria rock bostoniensis.