Alt-Nation: New Disc and Shows to Check Out

Scott H. Biram – The Bad Testament (Bloodshot Records)

On The Bad Testament, Scott Biram unleashes a collection of rollicking outlaw country fuzz stompers for these troubled times. The opening plea of “Set Me Free” is filled with yearning to return to the rambling ways of the road.  “Red Wine” is a slow honky-tonk number featuring plenty of guitar pyrotechnics by candlelight. “TrainWrecker” lives up to its name with a furious punk rock pace set to a simple amphetamine-fueled single drum beat. What would an outlaw country record be without a prison song? Biram delivers with the bluesy “Long Old Time.” “True Religion” is a barroom gospel chant while “Hit the River” and “What Doesn’t Kill You…” takes The Bad Testament back up and out on a bluesy hillbilly crescendo.

Neutrinos – Surf Cult EP

The Neutrinos drew universal raves at their recent release show for the Surf Cult EP for sounding better than ever.  These guys remind me a lot of The Queers spiced up with an extra topping of surf rock guitar. Despite the comparisons, I’ve got to say The Neutrinos had Dusk jumping more than the actual Queers did when they played the same venue a year and a half ago. “Surfer Girl” mixes the verse from The Trashmen’s “Surfin’ Bird” and the beat that could have been taken from the Love Songs for the Retarded album. “Smoothie Stand Runoff” is another surf rocker with a cool use of foreboding guitar riffing. “Pizza Party” comes barreling full steam as a mosh pit stomper, as is the breakneck closing instrumental, “Highway Robbery.” The Neutrinos are next in action at Dusk with Jacuzzi Boys and Party Pigs on March 18.

Quick Hits:

I caught Holy Diver at Dusk a few months back and they were boat loads of fun. I forget just how fun those classic Dio numbers like “Rainbow in the Dark” are. Holy Diver pull off these tunes, which is no easy feat considering the tremendous vocal range of the late Ronnie James Dio. Teazer was on that show a few months ago doing a set of Van Halen tunes, but for this show they’ll be doing their own heavily influenced by ’80s hard rock tunes. Teazer are usually money for throwing in a few covers as well.

Holy Diver (Dio Tribute), Demolition Boys, and Teazer rock Dusk on March 3.

This is heavyweight show in terms of local rock ‘n’ roll that offers a little of everything. The bands go from the train in vain rock of Pyramid that could at any moment veer off the track to the slick post-punk of Beta Motel. The grungy Pod-era Breeders sound of Tall Teenagers and the ever sonic boundary busting of Baylies Band anchor this bill.

Lust for Life 2: featuring performances by Pyramid, Beta Motel, Tall Teenagers, Baylies Band, and Even Twice rocks Aurora on March 3.

After apparently having enough fun in a successful original lineup reunion a few months ago, Route .44 is back for more. Route .44 mixes swing jazz into rock ‘n’ roll that owes a tip of the cap to the band Morphine. This time around, Route .44 singer/guitarist Ian Lacombe will be doing double duty as his other band Consuelo’s Revenge will be kick- starting the party. Consuelo’s Revenge has a more organic, up-tempo, haunted folk by the campfire vibe.

Route .44 and Consuelo’s Revenge rock the Parlour in Providence on March 4.

Although I’ve never listened much to Regina Spektor, I’m excited for this Russian-born, classically trained pianist to come to town.  Spektor is someone I’ve had my eye on for years based on what I read, hoping that she hits up this area. She is touring behind last year’s Remember Us to Life record.

Regina Spektor hits Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel on March 6.

Michael Graham has been kicking out the jams both as a solo artist and more recently working with a new band and has a new EP that just came out a few months ago. Graham is heavily influenced by the likes of The Jayhawks, early R.E.M., and The Replacements. Goldfeather is a Brooklyn-based indie folk act that works in elements of classical violin and bluegrass into their dense sound. Goldfeather has a new record, Patchwork Quilt, out now that you can pick up at this show. This should be a special show for lovers of indie rock.

Jubilee Gardens, Michael Graham, Goldfeather, and John Faraone will cut it loose at AS220 on March 8.

I was handed this flyer earlier tonight, so I’m just going off that. JL James used to play for the Sweet Release, which is band that kind of did a ’90s alternative rock thing that based on the presentation, people told me reminded them of The Stooges.  The Stooges are like a sacred Indian burial ground to me, so nobody should tell me any band sounds like them because I’m sure to be disappointed. I’m excited to hear what James has up his sleeve next. Nate Cozzolino is one of the busiest musicians in town. He does a residency every Monday at Firehouse 13 and has his band Nate Cozzolino and The Lost Arts that is worth checking out. See what going old school and printing a flyer and handing it to me can do, kids? You just might get your show mentioned.

JL James, Nate Cozzolino, Jillian Kay, Nolan Driscoll rock Dusk on March 9.

Co/ntry are a duo from Montreal who make a stop in town on their east coast tour heading down to the SXSW festival in Austin. The added bonus of the rare Triangle Forest show should be enough to get the dance floor jumping. Triangle Forest have been around for years winning WBRU’s Rock Hunt in what is (hard to believe) already a decade ago. Triangle Forest gets it done with electronic rock that is made for shaking one’s ass on the dance floor.

Co/ntry and Triangle Forest rock AS220 on March 10.

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