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FASTER & LOUDER, CLOCK STRIKES TEN, ALL MOD CONS
Church, Boston, MA 8/7/09
Yes, it’s all locals covering bands from elsewhere, and yes, I’m repeating some comments from other forums, but the whole thing was too apeshit to go unmentioned. It’s being billed as “LP Tribute Night,” and All Mod Cons kick it off by nailing (understatement of the year) the Jam’s classic of the same name. Granted, they’ve been a Jam tribute since 1989 and could do it in their sleep, but their utter respect for the stuff beams through every note. (Their site says, “But see us today, we think we may be finally getting good at it.” Gents, I saw you in your early days, and you nailed it then, too.) Plus, they’ve got the moves, the suits, the accents, the Rickenbackers, all that. Close your eyes, and you’d swear you’re at a Jam show. Open them, and you’re still not sure. 99.9 percent perfect (and Jam-approved). All they needed was some rain, eel pie, and worse teeth.
Clock Strikes Ten, with members of the Rudds, Jenny Dee & the Deelinquents, the Neighborhoods, and Dirty Truckers, take on Cheap Trick’s In Color, and it’s another full-on headfuck. They’ve only done Trick sets a few times, but you’d never know it. Of course, we’re dealing with a singer (John Powhida) who’s known to pull off Prince, Lulu, Hall & Oates, and even Michael Jackson tracks in his other bands, and it’s anything but camp. Rare is the cover (or set’s worth, for that matter) that isn’t diluted, half-assed, or self-serving, but as much fun as these guys are clearly having, they’re in NO way fuckin’ around. The songs roar and soar, with a precision tighter than Betty White’s mudhole. The real kicker comes with the post-set addition of “Dream Police,” wherein the band actually plays that orchestral instro break, and aces it. (Cheap Trick themselves employ a tape of this in their shows.) I told you they weren’t fuckin’ around.
Ordinarily, I think some things are sacred and shouldn’t be touched. The Dictators’ Bloodbrothers LP is one. The first band I ever saw at the Rat, and it changed my life. Don’t be messin’ with that, y’know? I’m aware that the Faster & Louder guys, from Johnny & the Jumper Cables, Unnatural Axe, the ’Hoods again (two of ’em this time), Gang Green, and many more between them, fully share my perverse reverence. But as accomplished as they all are, how good could this really be? Well, if you’d told me THIS fuckin’ good, I’d have never believed it. Beyond faithful, beyond deadly, beyond channeling, and beyond reason. The killer material itself is almost upstaged by the urgency it’s delivered with. The attention to detail alone (tones, fills, everything) is staggering. And like the real thing, they’re funny as hell too. They thoroughly reaffirm why I fell in love with it all in the first place. And this goes for all the bands tonight: it ain’t nostalgia when the shit was timeless to begin with. (Joe Coughlin)
JENNY DEE & THE DEELINQUENTS, EJ LABB
Middle East Downstairs, Cambridge, MA 7/10/09
It’s always a dull summer until that one indisputably great movie opens—something of such rich artistic depth that it justifies not only your own existence, but that of the universe itself. Jack Hill’s The Big Doll House, Roger Corman’s Wild Angels, Inoshiro Honda’s Monster Zero. And you never forget where you were when it first came along. In the case of EJ Labb, I musta been on Mars, ’cause she’s been kicking around for the last five to seven years! Late for the party again—that’s me. Sporting full instrumentation plus a DJ, the EJ Labb band successfully cross-breed rap with rock ’n’ roll, which is nearly a revelation to yours truly—seemingly a million bands have attempted this and failed. Labb’s secret is in side-stepping the dreary grunge and metal that most use as a base and going for high energy, fast tempo stuff. About half the time, EJ’s vocals hover between normal rap style of speaking in rhythm and full-blown singing. This band is a real panic. Me dig ’em.
Speaking of Dig ’Em (the Sugar Smacks frog), me dig ’em the Deelinquents’ fashion statement: Powder green jackets! A major contribution to the local music scene, courtesy of a post-prom blow out sale at Mr. Tux! Okay, by now you should already know the score: Jenny Dee and her crew of all-stars are mixing a splashy/energetic cocktail of R&B and soul inflected rock with an added ’60s girl group ambiance—none of it is painstakingly accurate in its retro authenticity, though the marvelous “Let Me Go” is pretty darn close. With the right people involved, this is can’t miss stuff… and these are definitely the right people. Regular guitarist Tony Goddess is deelinquent tonight, but the rest of the band is here and in top form. In what is quickly becoming standard strategy, the band closes with their cover of “Shake Some Action,” which quite frankly devastates everyone—anyone else could cover this song and you wouldn’t blink, but the Deelinquents’ version is magnificent and inspired. (Frank Strom)
The Middle East, Cambridge, MA 8/7/09
At approximately 10:05 PM, Varsity Drag appears in front of an enthusiastic yet comparatively small audience for The Middle East downstairs on a Friday night and launches into a pleasing opener titled “Summertime.” In typical fashion, the band wastes no time in offering up a more-than-fair dose of youthful energy, to an otherwise smaller audience. What makes this set exceptionally unique is the fact that aside from the opener and “Skinny Ties,” from their debut album For Crying Out Loud, the set list consists of mostly newly written songs performed live for the first time. The impromptu performance plays out as if the band had performed these songs over the past few years. Ben Deily’s guitar, along with the perfectly stirred bass performance of Lisa Deily and Josh Pickering’s drumming churn out “Galaxies,” “In this World” and “Richard’s Gone,” which according to the band’s in-between-tuning banter, is to be recorded the following day for their forthcoming new album. Ben Deily’s vocals sound as fresh as they did back in 1988 when co-fronting the Lemonheads and to the delight of the fans who were around during those days, the band ended the evening with a flawless version of “7 Powers.” Truly a great performance, even if most of the city were glued to the Red Sox/Yankees match-up. All I can say is, you missed a memorable one. Maybe next time. (Rob Watts)
THE CURSES, THE DOOM BUGGIES, YOUNG TREMORS
Cantab Lounge, Cambridge, MA 7/18/09
While Young Tremors are new to me, the presence of Radio Knives’ Alan on bass and Black Mosettes’ Robert Gamp on guitar lets me know this is gonna be serious business. One song in and they’re already living up to their name, erupting in some very angry sounding noisy chaos! After the first couple of tunes, they smooth out considerably and sound more focused. Yeah, they do remind me ever so slightly of Radio Knives—both work in heavy-duty hard rock of the 1970s variety—but Young Tremors are somehow more funky about it. And while they’re most definitely not doing ’70s style funk, nonetheless I keep expecting them to break into a “wacka-wacka” sounding guitar! Never happens, but pretty groovy regardless.
Now Doom Buggies are one of those bands that have been around for years, yet I’ve never actually seen ’em before. You know they’re cool if only for the fact that they’ve got a pun name that even I don’t feel compelled to make fun of. Hell, I even know what a Doom Buggy looks like… and Big Daddy Roth drew it! I am of course expecting a dose of surf (instro or vocals), but instead it’s more hard rock—this time in a darker, murkier vein. It’s very impressive and played by folks that know their business backwards and frontwards. If that isn’t enough, they cap the set off with special guest star Kenne Highland tackling a cover of Real Kids standard “Do The Boob.” Real Kids covers are tricky stuff—you’re competing with the unique, distinct, and appealing voice of John Felice, and that’s a battle few mortals can win. To his great credit, Kenne pulls it off decisively. Kudos and bravos all around!
Sometime between the Buggies’ breakdown and the Curses’ set-up, the moderate-sized Cantab crowd vanishes! Those few remaining huddle up to the bar and prepare to ignore the Curses as best as possible. The band is visibly befuddled by the situation—they keep batting out the riotous punk rock tunes but only about three of us are making with the encouragement! Like how aerodynamically unsound bumblebees can fly, this is one of those phenomena that science can’t explain. It’s a crying shame, as the Curses are giving a fuckin great performance. Only one misstep (to my ears) is a wanky-wonky rendition of Nick Lowe’s classic “Mary Provost”—grade-A material for sure, but I don’t think it really suits this band. After approximately 40 valiant minutes, the Curses give up the ghost. What can I say? This isn’t a real rock ’n’ roll town… [copy ed. note: I was there. I left. It was so stupidly loud it was painful.] (Frank Strom)
HIGHLAND MOORE, SIMON RITT
Third Life Studio, Somerville, MA 7/18/09
Keyboard vixen Rachel Lee of Black Mosettes and Thee Psych-O-Daisies is celebrating a birthday milestone at Third Life Studio in Somerville’s Union Square. Rachel and friends have put out a great spread of free food and spirits including homemade blackberry pie from Rachel’s own kitchen.
It is always cool to see Simon Ritt of Daughters/ Two Saints/ Darlings fame. Simon spent his wayward youth backing up none other than Dolls/ Heartbreakers guitar bad boy, Johnny Thunders. Simon’s tenure with JT was not without repercussions. In fact, one of the highlights of the set is the Thunders penned “In Cold Blood.” I also dig Simon’s rendition of “Hank Williams.” Although only one song of six is an original, Simon inhabits each and every number like they are all his. The way he sequences them works perfectly and he does some brilliant seques. His original lament “(Why Don’t You) Come Back” leaves me cravin’ more…
The next band up is Highland Moore featuring legendary Kenne Highland and Jody Moore, whose effervescence is no doubt a contributory factor to her luring Kenne out of retirement and back into the scene. We all know what a treasure Kenne is and Jody’s golden glow makes the perfect foil for him. There is no way Kenne is going to let an opportunity pass to pay tribute to the recently departed Sky Saxon of the Seeds. He opens the set with “Can’t Seem To Make You Mine.” Kenne has a skill at getting right to the heart of a song. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Soon Highland Moore are throwin’ down their smorgasborg of garage/ country/ blues. “You Can Be Free” is a gorgeous, uplifting love anthem. “Broke Folk,” “Poor White Trash,” and “Redneck, White Trash, Blue Blood” all underscore the joys of growing up on the wrong side of the tracks. “She’s a Darlin’” features some go-go dancing by the stunning Jan Long. “Happy Birthday” is sung for Rachel and it is all over too soon for yours truly. (Nancy Neon)
THE COFFIN LIDS, MUCK & THE MIRES, LYRES, TRIPLE THICK
Church, Boston, MA 8/1/09
Great googly moogly! Get a load of this line-up! Conclusive proof that modern-day saints do exist, in the form of Church booker Tim Downie, who is clearly booking for a target demographic of me specifically. He’s even prettied the place up with new décor, meaning the Ghouls Night Out girls over at the pool table (another home run with the target demographic).
How can Triple Thick be opening? Shouldn’t they be headlining? While this band is certainly no nostalgia act, they definitely take me back to the days of my youth, when we were huddling by the cave fire, hunting the mastodon and worshipping our fearful pagan gods. Masters of the garage rock form (non-1960s style), they bring a really vital primitive/savage element to the mix that borders on artistic impressionism, and those are generally not terms I think of with most people doing this genre. It’s a really special quality exclusive to Triple Thick, and I’m glad they’re still raging against the storm.
Wha th—?!? How can Lyres be playing second? Shouldn’t they be headlining? Masters of the garage rock form (definitely 1960s style), Lyres are one of the few major contributions New England has made to that great big bellowing beast called rock ’n’ roll. The rest of the country can’t call us timid, ponderous, pseudo-intellectual pussies—all thanks to Lyres! And if you need me to tell you they fuckin’ rawk, you must be living a sad empty existence. Why aren’t you here tonight?
Muck & The Mires are on third? Shouldn’t they be headlining? I dunno if you’ve noticed or not, but Muck and the gang have been slowly building themselves into one of the other few major contributions New England has made to rock ’n’ roll. Apparently the rest of the world is already hip to that fact, as these guys (and girl) keep getting international gigs. In fact, they’re off to Canada next week, but luckily we’ve got ’em for tonight. I’m always impressed with this band’s productivity—it’s like they refuse to coast on the grace of their sizable back catalogue of material. Tonight they’re sporting no less than four new songs, and I hear rumor of another full-blown album coming (that’s #6, I think). Like they say, Muck never sleeps.
Are the Coffin Lids headlining? If not, shouldn’t they be? It’s a sorry statement for the local music scene that the Coffin Lids have only played a few shows since the Abbey closed up shop. I’m tempted to use that “masters of the garage rock form” thing again, and tonight’s set certainly backs it up. The sound and stage are great here in Church, making this a terrific showcase for Mike, Jay, Melissa, and Matt. For their part, they put in a supercharged performance of all the favorites (adding one new song to that list as a bonus prize). Not to undersell the rest of the band, but I’m starting to think they should charge a separate admission just for bombastic Coffin Jay, who’s practically a show unto himself! (Frank Strom)
BIRDSONGS OF THE MESOZOIC, GOLI
Johnny D’s, Somerville, MA 7/30/09
As I walk in Johnny D’s I notice there’s an opening act I didn’t expect. Goli rings a bell, but I can’t place who is in the band. It turns out to be two of the lovely ladies in Flutter Effect. We’ve got Vessela Stoyanova on electric marimba and melodica, and Valerie Thompson on cello. Valerie handles the lead vocals and between song banter with a confidence and playfulness that reminds me of Amanda Palmer (Dresden Dolls). This is stripped down, very well played music that evokes worldly experiences (a Paris café, an Arabian fair, a 1920’s cabaret). “It’s Not that I love You” brings a smile to my face as it swings with a Jacque Brell style. “Ghosts” confirms a Dresden Dolls comparison. And a Paul McCartney pretty love song is offered because Goli’s love songs are so sad. Valerie admits. “It’s not that we’re bitter and jaded, we’re just unfortunate.” Musicians who can perform this well are far from unfortunate, and so are the audience members who get to experience their show.
The original Birdsongs of the Mesozoic (minus Martin Swope—the same man who didn’t show for the Mission of Burma reunions) is wrapping up its Triassic Tour. This unique instrumental jazz/classical/rock quartet first stood its hind legs in 1986. It uttered a sound unlike other creatures of its time. Sometimes quirky, but more so gutsy intellectual, these keyboard-driven compositions push the limits of musicianship with unexpected time changes, close to impossible morphs of rhythms and densely layered melodies. There’s dissonance abound, ancient drum machines, and enough accidental noise slathered about to keep me guessing what is written and what is improvised. The hardest thing to convey about this band is the sound that they generate. The best thing I can come up with is that these tunes seem to have grown out of little stories—like, the pterodactyl wakes up and is still dreaming, then he traipses around the jungle observing nature, then he brutally pounces on a small dinosaur for breakfast. Besides banging and playing keyboards the band also bangs on drums, as in “Beat of the Mesozoic part 1” and at the end of the night on “Treassic, Jurassic. Cretaceous” when other talented Boston icons beat the drums with sticks and chains. Tonight is as big and as important as the Burma reunion. You just can’t get this kind of talent together for the small price of admission that is asked. (T Max)
THE SPRAINED ANKLES, BLACK MOSETTES, KILLER ABS, MURDER WEAPON, COROLLA DeVILLE
Cantab Lounge, Cambridge, MA 8/6/09
Thanks to the kindness and good humor of bookers Steve Ricardo and Mickey Bliss, I was permitted to put together this birthday show for myself. A lotta headaches for sure, but it’s either this or sit at home staring at the walls!
A transportation disaster en route from Salem and faulty AAA service should have sidelined Corolla DeVille, but nothing can keep these broads away from this important career-making show! Now if only there was an audience to hear them (it’s just me and the other bands). Their style is really a mixture of classic Boston area hard rock/garage/punk sounds (fitting right in on bills with Lyres, Real Kids, Classic Ruins, etc) and are particularly strong in the guitar and drum areas. I’ve never heard them sharper or better rehearsed than tonight—objectivity is admittedly difficult here, but I swear this is their best set ever. Plus I get my “Terry Go Round,” so I’m happy…
Due to a cancellation and some cross-communication, we accidentally wind up with a fifth band—Murder Weapon, who drove all the way from Maine. It’s a trio of very young guys (guitar, drums and upright bass) dishing out fierce psychobilly with a heavy punk undercurrent. We finally start drawing a crowd, and it’s immediately obvious that I’m not the only one surprised by how good this band is. Murder Weapon is loaded with the sort of energy that makes us elderly guys feel really old and tired by comparison! Before the show is through, they end up with some more dates in the area (check the Midway listings).
As previously noted, with Michelle bound for the west coast, this is the second to last show for Killer Abs. And, boy, do they ever make it count! It’s their usual selection of hits off the punk rock jukebox (“Love Love Love,” “Jet Boy,” etc) but played with more vigor and excitement than the band had previously hinted at. Yup—like Corolla DeVille earlier, this is the best performance I’ve ever heard from Killer Abs. I dunno what’s gonna become of this band (or the related act, the Whynots), but if they are leaving us, they’re taking a lot of FUN with them.
Another Black Mosettes set, and again I’m struck by how they noticeably improve with each performance (which is a real statement, given that they were sweet to begin with). While they are still doing a lot of (choice) covers, a good chunk of their set these days is devoted to their expanding catalogue of originals. The favorite one at the moment is “Please Don’t Make Me Suffer”—a wonderful bluesy-pop confection that makes misery entertaining as hell. Black Mosettes is a very eclectic band and as a result, it seems that even the hipper local rock mavens don’t know what to make of them. A little R&B, a little soul, a little disco, a little new wave—what’s not to understand? Reserve the Deserving To Be Heard By A Wider Audience award for these guys.
Last up at bat are the Sprained Ankles. Tonight they’re working with a brand new drummer and fill-in background singers (substitute Brides of Tankenstein), but it’s no hindrance—the new guy and girls come off like old pros. Meanwhile Drew, Loggy, and Henry are up to their usual standard of excellence/silliness. With a new album to draw from, they’re really charged. More commendable is their productivity—they’ve got an album of fresh material, but still turn out new songs like “Living Dead” and “Hospital.” Best of all, much of what they do mixes in a nice 1950s flavor, which you don’t often hear in punk rock. Gives it an extra zing!
Before I vamoose, a friend leans in and says it must be gratifying that the show drew a respectable sized crowd. Nope—that was a relief. The fact all the bands delivered their best performances on this show—that is gratifying! (Frank Strom)
Dark Lady, Providence, RI 8/3/09
Providence’s own Midnight Creeps headline tonight with support from the glam power-pop band the Greatest Hits (Seattle). The show is presented by the now somewhat infamous Providence based collaborative Paint it Pink—a booking duo that has been near selling out venues (mainly gay bars) with the “hip and in” RISD students and Oneyville warehouse crowd. They mainly do large scale Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday night shows, which is a miracle in any city!
Midnight Creeps show that even a Monday night gig can get busy. After the first few chords, I look around and notice the crowd has literally doubled to about 50 or more people. The ’Creeps play their set with a large backdrop screen projection of John Waters’ 1979 film Polyester. Just off a U.S. tour, with Chicago-to-Providence based band M.O.T.O, this is their first hometown show in a while. Lead vocalist Jenny Hurricane goes down on the floor with the mic in their new song “Sleeping with Razor Blades.” They do a couple heavy covers—“Silly Thing” by Sex Pistols, and they kill with Iron Maiden’s “Run to The Hills.” One of my new faves is a song called “What’s Your Name?”—where Jenny questions the identity of a past one night fling inside CBGB.
This is a hard working band that is not short on true real life stories of blood, sweat, and tears. Their next big move is a British tour in support of Germany’s Garden Gang and TV Smith. (DJ Matthew Griffin)
THE MIGHTY MIGHTY BOSSTONES
Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, Hampton Beach, NH 8/15/09
When the Mighty Mighty Bosstones went on a hiatus in 2003 that lasted nearly four years, it was a kick in the gut. How can the Bosstones go on hiatus? Shit, the Red Sox can’t go on hiatus; none of the major institutions in this fair city can just go on a four-year hiatus, but the Bosstones did just that. Following 2002’s Hometown Throwdown, they played just a handful of dates in 2003, then the band packed up the suits and went home, or more accurately, spread throughout the country joining or starting other bands. Singer Dicky Barrett even got an announcer gig on The Jimmy Kimmel Show. It really seemed like it was all over. Then, out of nowhere, after four years, the band announced that there would be a 10th Hometown Throwdown at the Middle East at the end of 2007. Tickets were as sought after as a Red Sox/Yankees box seat. After another Hometown Throwdown in 2008, they have done some short stints on the road.
Fast forward to present day Hampton Beach. It’s fun to see the age range and how it literally goes from youngest to oldest, starting at the stage and going all the way back to the tables and chairs. (I’m about three-quarters the way back.) The usual chants of “Mighty Mighty Bosstones” fill the hall as the speakers blare the Edwin Starr anthem, “War.” The Bosstones hit the stage with the same fury as they always have, with Dicky Barrett announcing, “We are the Might Mighty Bosstones from Boston, Massachusetts.” The first chords of “I Want My City Back” hit the air, and the band is as tight as ever. They aren’t short of hits, blowing their way through 1997’s “Rascal King” and “The Impression That I Get.” The set is very ska laden, as opposed to the more punk rock influenced tunes that have appeared on their last couple of LPs. With covers by the Clash (“Rudie Can’t Fail”) and the Angry Samoans (“Lights Out”), this is a very well rounded set, touching on all of their albums and genres. “This next song, will be on an album we have been working on,” Barrett announces to a loud applause, “…since 2002.” The new bouncy ska tune would have fit nicely on the 1997 hit album, Let’s Face It. Although I’m standing in this big ballroom, they still manage to give me the feeling like this could be T.T. the Bear’s in 1995, with Bosstone Ben Carr still a dancing machine with only brief stops in between songs. (Even after all of these years I still don’t know how he does it.) With a new album in the works and hopefully shows to follow, it’s nice to be able to say we are glad they are back. (Michael Kane)
JADA TRINGALE, BLACK NUMBER NINE, THE BRISTOLS, JODY SANDWICH, ALIZON LISSANCE, HIGHLAND MOORE
Boston Gets A Grip Record Release Party
The Wonderbar (formerly Bunrattys) Allston, MA 7/19/09
Of the 19 artists performing Aerosmith covers on the CD, six play today with more than 200 old musician friends and fans re-connecting in a long-gone rock ’n’ roll bar. The show starts with Highland Moore—Jody Moore (Jody Sandwich) with Kenne Highland, long known as the “white John Lee Hooker,” sharing vocals and playing guitar. In the audience listening to this performance is John Felice from the Real Kids: a legend watching a legend onstage. If this had happened in New York City it would have been reported in Rolling Stone magazine. The band’s roots rock sound, showcasing Ken’s soulful vocals sets the upbeat tone for the day.
Next up is keyboard/vocalist Alizon Lissance (ex-Girls Night Out, the Lovedogs) joined onstage by eminent six-stringer Steven Paul Perry—a long-time fave with early Rick Berlin bands. Alizon’s cover of “Home Tonight” is emotionally powerful and fully charged by the change in gender delivering the song’s message.
Jody returns with Jody Sandwich and delivered a cool bar-band rock ’n’ roll set featuring their cover of “What it Takes” where Jody sings like she wrote the song and is experiencing an emotional epiphany.
In a highly anticipated moment, the Bristols treat the packed house to five songs that rock the club. They include a killer version of “Season of Wither” and an AC/DC cover as well! Seeing the Bristols regroup and perform live onstage for the first time in more than nine years is truly tremendous. “We don’t consider this a reunion,” Kelly grins to the audience mid-set, “it’s just been a long time between gigs.”
Black Number Nine continues the electric atmosphere with a short set of straight-ahead high testosterone rock ’n’ roll led by the growling guitar of Charlie Leger (ex-Unattached and the Fighting Cocks) and his powerfully pounding brother Tom Leger of the Brooklyns. They later back up singer Dez and guitarist Nikki Stone, late of the Boston Brats for a few more tunes.
Ending the night is Medford’s Jada Tringale, who raps “Back In The Saddle” and spits good rhymes for a few other songs before ending the night.
Some of the stars seen in the audience: Mike Dreese (owner of Newbury Comics), Mark Parenteau (WBCN DJ), Upton Bell (legendary TV commentator), Miss Lyn (Boston Groupie News), Karen DeBiasse (Girl on Top), and soundman extraordinaire Dinky Dawson. And how can a local show be called great unless well-known scenesters/artists Jay Allen and Jeebs show up? And they did. (AJ Wachtel)
THE LEFTOVERS, THE ASMATICS
Middle East upstairs, Cambridge, MA 8/18/09
The Asthmatics from Manchester, New Hampshire, open up the show here at the cozy Middle East upstairs. There seems to be the average crowd of a about 40 people here to witness the opening band and it’s a shame there aren’t more. The Asthmatics blast through nearly a dozen songs in their 35-minute set. The three-piece band has a Lucero feel to them with a little less alt-country and a little more of the Replacements “Sorry Ma, I Forgot to take Out the Trash.” With a full length on the way, the Asthmatics are a band I’ll be sure to keep tabs on.
Portland, Maine’s the Leftovers play catchy pop/ punk with the emphasis on the pop. If this were a different time, I could see Dee Dee Ramone having the Leftovers in mind when he wrote “chewing out a rhythm on my bubble gum.” The Leftovers split their set pretty fairly between their 2007 release “On the Move” and their brand new release “Eager to Please.” The Leftovers have an Elvis Costello meets the Wonders from “That Thing You Do” feel to it. With songs like “Telephone Operator” and “Untouchable,” it’s one catchy, pop-punk love song after another. Their cover of Sam Sham and the Pharaohs “Wooly Bully” seems the get the semi-lethargic, Middle East crowd to move around a bit. “Sam would want you guys to dance to this, but he is probably dead,” quipped Leftovers singer, Kurt Baker. (That was the only mistake the Leftovers made all night, Sam the Sham is alive and kickin.’) Throw in a cover of the the Beats “Walking Out on Love” and it’s a near power-pop riot! (Michael Kane)
Tavern at the End of the World, Charlestown, MA 8/13/09
The crowd is decked out in their fancies for Streight><Angular’s CD release party. The friendly bar includes Walter, who at 70, might take up guitar like Hendrix. Streight><Angular’s music is light pops and snaps with hidden lips that will kiss you even if you’re at the back of the room looking for a little love. These guys, and whichever girl has the tambourine, will take you far away in your mind and your shoes. It’s quirky, light-hearted good acoustic stuff. It’s like when the rain stops—Streight><Angular is there—they’re fresh musical superheroes. Their CD didn’t give me any venereal disease and I played it until it skipped. (Emily Smith)
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