Alt-Nation: New CDs and a Chance to Do Some Good


Dave Lamb Fundraiser and Benefit Show

It was just a few weeks ago in this space that we were hyping Fits of Reason, the excellent new release from Brown Bird. I did an interview over the phone with Dave Lamb from the band, and he seemed excited to hit the road on what seemed to be destined to be Brown Bird’s biggest tour to date. Then life threw the band a curve as Lamb fell ill and had to be hospitalized for several days in Houston with complaints of fatigue and a shortness of breath. Lamb was told he was severely anemic and had to undergo several blood transfusions, which I’m told he is thankfully responding well to. Lamb is back home in Rhode Island recovering and working with his doctors to plot a path of treatment for a return to health. As of yet, there has been no diagnosis.

Like many musicians, Lamb has no health insurance. With medical bills mounting and no end in sight, an online pledge site has been organized where you can donate as much as you want – no amount is too little – to help defray some of the cost of Lamb’s mounting medical bills. As a working musician, Lamb has no means of income while he is off the road recovering. It only takes a minute and you can make your pledge right here: www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/brown-bird-needs-your-help/60153.

In addition to the online pledge campaign, Joe Fletcher organized a benefit concert to help with Lamb’s medical bills at the Columbus Theatre. The benefit for Dave Lamb of Brown Bird will take place June 7 at the Columbus Theatre in Providence. The show will feature performances by Joe Fletcher & The Wong Reasons, J.P. Harris and Smith & Weeden. The show will run from 7 pm to 11 pm and advance tickets can be purchased here: joefletcher.brownpapertickets.com/ 

Charles Bradley – Victim of Love

There aren’t many musicians who release their debut album at the age of 62 and then go on to tour the world in a sequined jumpsuit.  It doesn’t sound like a good idea on paper. Then again, not many musicians are nicknamed the “Screaming Eagle of Soul.” Charles Bradley’s story is an inspiration for the ages. All that would be secondary

if he didn’t deliver the bacon, and Bradley does again with his second solo record, Victim of Love. Bradley is like a cross between the soul of Otis Redding and the energy of James Brown. Victim of Love kicks off with an R&B jam in “Strictly Reserved For You” that relays Bradley’s message of love. The redemption of “You Put The Flame On It” is set over a soul-infused doo-wop beat. “Love Bug Blues” has a James Brown feel, but Bradley’s voice is always all his own.  “Confusion” has a 60s psychedelic stomp as he takes on the state of world with lines like “leaders like to talk the talk, too afraid to walk that walk.” Victim of Love is a must-have for fans of 60s R&B, soul and just all around the real deal.  Also check out the film about Bradley called Charles Bradley: Soul of America. 

Iggy & The Stooges – Ready To Die

It is almost unfair that when a legendary rock band reunites, their new work is always judged by how it compares to their classic records. It is never okay to say, “Hey, this is a good record.” Ready To Die is the second album since Iggy & The Stooges reunited. Anyone expecting the second coming of Raw Power with the reunion of James Williamson (taking over for the late Ron Asheton on guitar), sure, they’ll be disappointed. “Burn” has a looping guitar feel similar to “Gimme Danger,” but lacking the latter’s intensity. “Sex and Money” has an upbeat Funhouse-era Stooges groove that works. “Gun” works as a rocker over a patented Williamson riff. The title track is the strongest as Iggy sings about

overcoming depression. Iggy doesn’t have anything lyrically going here that will ever be quoted alongside the words to “Search and Destroy,” but then again, was he really ever known for his lyrics other than maybe being nihilistic? It isn’t really surprising that Iggy has a song “Dd’s” with the chorus “I’m on my knees for those double d’s.” What is surprising is that this is a Stooges album with three ballads. It may not be Raw Power, but Iggy and the boys still bring enough mayhem to the party to merit picking up this new biscuit.    

Bow Thayer and Perfect Train Wreck – Eden

To be called “the best artist to come from New England in recent years,” as Bow Thayer recently was by American Songwriter, is pretty heady praise. I don’t know how one can qualify that given the different genres in music, but one thing that can’t be denied is Bow Thayer’s talent. His new album, Eden, has been described as “modern mountain music.” That isn’t too far off. Tracks like “The Tide” have an early 70s Dylan meets bluegrass feel. “12 Inch Steel” is a banjo-driven Americana thrash. Thayer and his band, Perfect Train Wreck, hit it out of the park on “Inside Joke,” which is a smooth blend of rock and soul along with the ever-present banjo. What I like about Bow Thayer and Perfect Train Wreck is there is no road that they won’t travel down. They’ll be at Local 121 this Thursday, and it’s a really special opportunity to catch a band with this caliber chops in a real intimate venue! A chance you’ll no doubt fondly remember when these guys blow up and graduate to larger venues.

Bow Thayer and Perfect Train Wreck will be performing at Local 121 in Providence on May 23. 

Dead Confederate

Dead Confederate does a decidedly psychedelic take on indie rock by drenching it in atmospheric guitars. The band fuses alt-country and grunge to create something that goes beyond the limits of either genre. Dead Confederate come to town touring behind a new album, In The Marrow, that has been getting rave reviews. I know it is Memorial Day Weekend and everyone has a million things to do, but I strongly recommend checking out Dead Confederate when they come to Fete this Saturday.

Dead Confederate, Roadkill, Ghost Choir and Mean Creek will be at Fete on May 25. 

Odds and Sods

Denver Boot, The Autumn Hollow, Tyler James Kelly (from The Silks), and The Pixels are at The Parlour on May 23. Mechanical Process, Woozy, Gravesideservice, and Three Year Plan are at Simon’s 677 in Providence on May 24. Cue up the “guess who’s back, back again, tell a friend” from Eminem’s “Without Me” as Spogga returns from New Orleans to play The Spot on Saturday May 25. Spogga will be going on around midnight with a full band. The Agents, Cradle To The Grave, and Atlantic Thrills are at The Met Café on May 31. Northern Lands celebrate their debut CD release with The Mallett Brothers and Viking Jesus at the Met on June 1. The National come to Lupo’s on June 4.

Email music to mclarkin33@gmail.com.

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