Alt-Nation: Gimme Some of that Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll!

Belly

Belly

Belly was the last (and possibly only) Rhode Island band to grace the cover of Rolling Stone magazine when their second record King came out in 2005. Belly mixed guitar-fueled power pop and ethereal indie rock to perfection, scoring big hits with tunes like “Feed the Tree” and “Gepetto.” News of Belly’s reunion after a 20-year hiatus took the internet like wildfire earlier this year. Shows sold out and excitement bubbled over with the announcement that they plan to record new material. There was only one thing missing: a hometown, or at least home state, show. This didn’t seem right so I started digging and noticed The Café at The Parlor Newport had a weekend listed as “Secret Show Weekend.” Now I’m not going to tell you that Belly is playing two secret shows at The Café at The Parlor Newport but … shush, Belly is playing two shows at the The Café at The Parlor Newport.

Belly will rock The Café at The Parlor Newport on July 8 and 9.  This show will likely sell out so keep an eye on Facebook.com/makingascenenpt for a link to purchase advance tickets.

Dinosaur Jr. – Give A Glimpse of What Yer Not (Jagjaguwar Records)

Few original lineup reunions have been as successful as when Dinosaur Jr. first got back together in 2005. Since then, they have released two solid records with a third one, Give A Glimpse of What Yer Not, coming this August. Dinosaur Jr. has always been like the bastard child of ’70s Crazy Horse Neil Young and the Ramones. Throw in touches of Sonic Youth, Black Flag and The Stooges as pivotal role models and you pretty much have their blueprint. Dinosaur Jr. proves that formula still works on Give A Glimpse of What Yer Not. Tunes like “I Told Everyone” and the lead single “Tiny” are chock full of singer/guitarist J. Mascis’s supersonic guitar sorcery and infectious hooks.  Mascis may come across as the most aloof front man in rock ‘n’ roll, but maybe that is just because he’s among the busiest. In addition to Dinosaur Jr., Mascis keeps busy releasing solo records and playing with his other bands that include Sweet Apple, playing drums for Witch and the Iggy and The Stooges cover band that he played with at Deer Tick’s Newport Folk Fest after-party last year.   Bassist Lou Barlow contributes a gem with “Love Is…” that has almost a romantic shanty narrative over the backing track of classic Dinosaur Jr. “Good to Know” jumps out of the speaker rocker that sounds like vintage You’re Living All Over Me with cleaned-up production. On Give A Glimpse of What Yer Not, Dinosaur Jr. sound as hungry and as inventive as ever. Besides being my birthday, Bastille Day commemorates a prison riot that became a revolution. There isn’t any louder way to ring Bastille Day in than catching Dinosaur Jr. blasting away at The Met.

Dinosaur Jr., Martha’s Vineyard Ferries and Gay Mayor will make your eardrums bleed with joy at The Met Café in Pawtucket on July 14.

Richie Ramone

As those who know me know, I love the Ramones. They are my Beatles. It’s an absolute tragedy that all the original members have passed away and didn’t live to see the mainstream acceptance the band has that eluded them during their career. Richie Ramone played an integral role in reinvigorating the band when he joined in 1983. The Ramones were coming off a couple of mediocre albums when Richie’s songwriting helped bring them back to their roots on the Too Tough to Die record. Unlike other Ramones drummers, Richie contributed with both songwriting and backing vocals. Richie wrote some killer tunes for the Ramones like his lead vocal turn on the B side “Can’t Say Anything Nice,” “Humankind” and “Somebody Put Something in My Drink.” The latter is the best song I’ve ever heard about being roofied. Richie dropped out of the music business for years after the Ramones to the point that the band had royalty checks for him and had no idea where to send them. Richie re-emerged in recent years playing shows with his own band and releasing a solo album, Entitled, in 2013.  Entitled was a mix of new versions of tunes he wrote for the Ramones like “Smash You” and “I’m Not Jesus” and newer rocking compositions in the same vein like the fantastically infectious “Criminal” and “Into The Fire.” I caught Richie in 2014 at Dusk and it was a memorable show that any Ramones fan would love.

Richie Ramone, The Gobshites, M.O.T.O., Thee Icepicks and Jenn Lombari will rock Firehouse 13 on July 15.

The Neighborhoods

The Neighborhoods are legends in their own right and even members of the Boston Music Awards Hall of Fame. I’m not big on Hall of Famers because it tends to be popularity-driven, but I like The Neighborhoods. It’s tough to come up with a power pop song closer to perfection than The Hoods’ “Prettiest Girl.” The Neighborhoods mixed the energy of punk rock with the hooks of Cheap Trick.  I first saw The Neighborhoods at Club Babyhead around 1991 when the band was on their last legs before going on what would turn out to be an 11-year hiatus. Thankfully after this column hits the interwebs, I’ll only have to wait 11 days to catch The Neighborhoods again. Get there early for Two Guys and Another Guy who are coming straight outta Newport to hit you with some classic old school hardcore punk. It’s the perfect way to spend a July night hanging above the ocean.

The Neighborhoods and Two Guys and Another Guy will rock the Ocean Mist on July 16.

Email music news to mclarkin33@gmail.com

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