Keep on Movin’: New Year, New You: Resolve to end your music dry spell this year

I’m already toward the end of my annual “go though an exercise routine for two weeks and pretty much give up” cycle. Enough with having a “dry January;” instead of giving up substances, food or a sedentary lifestyles, why not focus on ending your music dry spell and go experience some quality local tunes?

Fine. – F L E S H // V E S S E L

The year is off to a strong start with the first full-length from two-piece alternative rock band Fine. F L E S H // V E S S E L features an organic, paired-down sound and a lot of energy from this self-described “queercore” duo. With only guitar, drums and vocals, Fine. shows that you don’t need much more than a few distortion pedals and great songs to totally kill it.

Many of the songs thoughtfully examine themes of body image, mental health, self-doubt, self-care and the slog it can be to just get through the day. Fine. F L E S H // V E S S E L brings these issues right to the forefront, and doesn’t bury the message in metaphor.

“What to do” laments, “This cruel body is my home/cruel body is like a throne … the validation I thought it needed kept me dark, kept me defeated.” The whole album considers how strange the concept of a body is — this weird vessel in which we move through the world.

The best moment comes at the end of the record. “Salt Stain” is a slow, building tune with an epic climax. Following the track is a sparse, acoustic version of the same song, which is great for totally different reasons. I love when bands repurpose their songs, and sometimes the alt version ends up better than the original. I’m definitely hoping to hear more from Fine.

F L E S H // V E S S E L can be purchased at: wearefine.bandcamp.com/album/f-l-e-s-h-v-e-s-s-e-l

Ravi Shavi – Blackout Deluxe

Ravi Shavi has become well-known for their brand of garage rock, and specifically awesome, bombastic performances fueled by frontman Rafay Rashid’s rock ‘n’ roll swagger. On Blackout Deluxe, the band provides the type of music the Rhode Island rocking public has come to expect — quick garage rock injections that go straight for the jugular. Look to tracks like “Riding High,” “Radical” and “Dance Around.” Listen to these on your morning commute, and you’ll end up in the ACI for driving 90 miles an hour on Route 10.

Other highlights are “Permanent Damage,” which seamlessly alternates mid-tempo stomping with more rock, and “Midnight,” featuring a Talking Heads new wave style sound. The album doesn’t break a ton of new ground, but it’s straight-up, love-it-or-leave-it rock music that’s worth a listen if you’re looking to put some pep in your step.

Check out Blackout Deluxe at: ravishavi.bandcamp.com

Also look for local legends Deer Tick’s new album of b-sides, Mayonnaise, out on February 1. So far, they have released a Pogues cover, “White City,” and a few pretty solid originals.

FMH — 10th Annual Freakfest

The 10th edition of FMH’s metal and punk mini festival will be emceed by Motif’s own Crimson Al-Khemia! Headlining is political punks Anti Flag, Scissorfight, Thy Will Be Done, Patient 0, On Your Deathbed, Sky Swamp Orange, Lusus and more.

Sat, Jan 19; Doors 12:45pm

Alejandro Escovedo — Narrows Center for the Arts
Escovedo is a bit of a cult hero in the alt-country community, building a devoted following from decades on the road. He started in the seminal San Francisco punk group The Nuns before heading back to Texas to join up with Rank and File, who mixed rock and country, helping to define the “cowpunk” genre. After that, he formed True Believers with his brother Javier, which was around for much of the ’80s, and since then has had an acclaimed solo career.

Thu, Jan 24; 8pm

Ted Leo — Columbus Theater
In a similar vein, Ted Leo is a true original who we’re lucky to count as a local (see “Lonsdale Avenue” from 2017’s The Hanged Man album). Ted’s a no bullshit class act, and his performances bring a ton of energy, even when it’s just him and a guitar. Supporting Ted is excellent local rock band 123 Astronaut, as well as The Maxims.

Fri, Jan 25; 8pm

Andy Shauf/Haley Heynderickx – Columbus Theater
This is a characteristically awesome bill at The Columbus. Andy Shauf is an indie songwriter straight outta Saskatchewan whose chilled-out, orchestral music packs a punch. Shauf’s 2016 release, The Party, is an incredible concept album with sketches about party attendees and their small town lives from one wallflower’s point of view.

Portland songwriter Haley Heynderickx is gaining some traction after last year’s debut I Need to Start a Garden. Her music abounds with folk fingerpicking and introspective, surrealist lyrics.

Wed, Feb 13; 8pm

Also worth noting: 

Max Creek at The Met on Jan 25

Night Surf, latewaves, Planet Mercury, Set The Record Straight, and Cavalier (US) at Alchemy on Jan 26

Wax On, Grizzlies, and Mail Culture at AS220 on Jan 26

Zoink Zulag and The Galactic Shag at The Narrows on Feb 7

J Mascis (New Date) at The Met on Feb 14

Los Duderinos, The Moonbees, Lovehandle at ASKEW on Feb 15

Martin Sexton with Chris Trapper at the Greenwich Odeum on Feb 17

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