Alt-Nation: Suck and Wastelands. And Music, too

Brrr! Winter is finally here. I miss the old days when it would begin in December and then that one warm day in February came like a beacon of hope that winter was waning. Now we just get three months of suck in the wasteland between fall and spring only to get walloped in February. Speaking of suck and wastelands, how about these presidential primaries? I don’t know who is more annoying — the candidates or their supporters. If you need me, I’ll just blasting Alice Cooper’s “Elected” all the way through election night.

Black Oil Incinerator – Built In Space (Academia Tapes Plus)
Black Oil Incinerator are releasing their studio debut, Built in Space, which is the follow-up to 2014’s Live at Dusk. Black Oil Incinerator assaults your senses with a battery of effects-riddled guitar compositions, including studio versions of four tunes from Live at Dusk as well as seven new jams. Built in Space kicks off with “Bricks,” which sounds like a post-punk reimagining of David Bowie’s “Heroes” with a lesser chorus. “Huge Bruise” is a fuzzed to the rafters roll the bones punk rock. “Bus Stop” comes off as a No Wave take on a Queens of the Stone Age. Black Oil Incinerator teeter between more rocking numbers and the space fuzz numbing jams. The best of the latter are “Make New Friends,” “Honey Strings” and “Supersonic,” which teleport you to a dreamy darkness. Some of Built in Space reminds me of a more stoner rock version of Six Star General, like a bridge between Hawkwind to early The Jesus and Mary Chain. If you are looking for vocal harmonies or really anything lyrical, Black Oil Incinerator are probably not your thing. Black Oil Incinerator’s strength is the music birthed between the fuzz and space that when played loud enough, catapults you.

For Built in Space, instead of doing the traditional CD release, Black Oil Incinerator in conjunction with Academia Tapes Plus are jumping on the cassette resurgence brigade and doing a cassette only release with a download code. I’ve not gotten into the cassette resurgence because I’ve never thought cassettes sounded particularly great. I do have a lot of cassettes from growing up in boxes and have pondered getting a tape player over the years, so will Built in Space be that record that drives me to take that plunge? Probably not, but it does come with a download code. There will be a limited run of 50 copies of Built in Space available at the show and at local records shops, including Olympic Records, Armageddon Records and Analog Underground. For those into cassette tapes, Academia Tapes Plus has done a lot of cool stuff. Check them out at to order Built in Space and other cool releases.

Black Oil Incinerator will celebrate the release of Built in Space with two sets playing the album in its entirety at Dusk on February 19. Woozy and Tiny Pills will also be performing.

Pixels –Hello (P.O.P. Records)
Pixels will celebrate the release of their EP Hello, which hasn’t arrived as this issue goes to press, but there should be a review online next week. Pixels are local garage rockers who take their cues from bands like Velvet Underground and Luna. If dreamy, straight-forward primal rock ‘n’ roll is your bag, you’ll probably dig the Pixels.
Pixels celebrate the release of Hello with a show with Future Generations, Von Donovan and Little Tomb on February 26 at Dusk.

Scott Hamel Memorial Show
The outbreak of death in rock ‘n’ roll is not limited to international icons as we have lost one of our own with the passing of Scott Hamel. Scott has played in numerous bands over the years and has been a part of the scene for a long time. I got to know Scott a little while he was playing in one of his more recent bands, Sounder. I always found him to be a good guy and a delight to run into. Some of his friends are staging a memorial show that features a little of everything. The King Sick-A-Billy Trio will be dishing out a mix of country and rock ’n’ roll. A Dying Breed will be there to provide a fix of metal, hardcore and punk. Swan Point will kick off the night with a set of jams influenced by the likes of Ween and T. Rex. Rest in peace, Scott.

Scott Hamel Memorial Show featuring performances by The King Sick-A-Billy Trio, A Dying Breed and Swan Point will rock Firehouse 13 on February 20.

Moving & Grooving
Long time Thayer Street mainstay Stereo Discount Audio & Video is moving across the river to East Providence on March 1 after 30 years in Providence. For fans of the vinyl resurgence, Stereo Discount is the best as far as getting turntables, receivers and speakers. They do repairs and are there to give you advice on what is the best equipment to meet your needs. I hear the new store at 279 Taunton Ave in East Providence will be bigger with onsite parking.

Bonus Tracks:
Check out Monument Thief, Jets Can’t Land, Tall Teenagers and Feng Shui Police at AS220 on February 19 for some serious indie rock mayhem.

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