The New Year Brings New Music

White Dynomite make a big impression visually on their debut self-titled CD before one even pops the biscuit in. Between the retro-styled cover, which comes off as a cross between Sticky Fingers and maybe a random 70s AC/DC, and the insert CD photo of the band members in white suits, combined with calling the band, album, and two songs White Dynomite, a mythical kind of aura is created. White Dynomite jump out of the gate at you with the first version of “White Dynomite.” The song acts like a wrestler’s theme music in terms of being there to psyche up the listener with the refrain “Are you ready? Are you ready? Let’s go! White Dynomite!” This type of gimmick usually fails, just not here. White Dynomite attack, armed with a heavy 70s punk artillery that harkens back to groups like the Stooges, New Bomb Turks, and the Dead Boys. “Cuz I Said So” has a molten “Raw Power” tempo, but the added guitar riff puts a different spin on it that keeps it unique. “Don’t Tell Me (That I Need a Doctor)” is more infectious than the super flu that vocalist Dave Unger sings about catching. “Black Light Woman” is a sexy jam that comes off as a Doors tune played by the Stooges. “High When I Die” is a straight up Black Flag style thrash if they sang about such things. “Go Fast, Be Violent” has a dirty 60s garage feel, but one gets the feeling that the adjoining house was condemned. “Watery Grave” is ethereal as White Dynomite get as far as having a detox punk ballad. White Dynomite will rattle your bones, but mostly they just make you want to rock out and jump around.

White Dynomite are coming down from Massachusetts for what promises to be a hell of a show with M.O.T.O and the Midnight Creeps. Usually, I write a paragraph alone on M.O.T.O. because their front man/guitarist/mastermind, Paul Caporino, is pretty much a genius when it comes to writing catchy two-minute punk rock anthems. This is THE punk show for January for people who like that stuff and demand quality tunes.

M.O.T.O., Midnight Creeps, and White Dynomite, and the Jethro Tides Band will be at Firehouse 13 on January 19th

Nymphidels – A Band in Places

Nymphidels keeps things basic as far as being a two piece with Jess Moroney on vox/guitar and Pat Flanagan on drums. They did go a little unconventional in terms of packaging their debut EP, A Band in Places, by eschewing the traditional CD release and putting it out on a wristband package that contains a USB flash drive that has the tunes and a lighter for that extra spark. The five-song A Band in Places kicks off with “Nauseous,” which has the Nymphidels sounding like a two-piece jam band based on the funk guitar riff. Given the tendency of jam bands to have seven or eight members, depending upon if a member of the audience wants to come up and play backup bongos, the stripped down presentation combined with the song being under five minutes here works in the Nymphidels’ favor. “Womb” is a catchy ditty that reminds me of early Juliana Hatfield with a refrain about returning to one’s mother’s womb after having a bad day. “Wake Up” is reminiscent of a lo-fi 90s pop rocker in the vein of a Velocity Girl or a Small Factory. I think “Running Out” is why a cigarette lighter was included in the package, being that it is a jangling power ballad, albeit more indie rock than Cinderella. The hook laden “No Turning Back” is a winner, closing out the EP with a bang. Nymphidels had the misfortune of timing their EP release show on the same evening that a snowstorm shut down most of New England. To their credit, on a night when most things were cancelled, they trudged on to the show despite even getting into a car accident on the way there to play for the brave few able to make it through the storm. This qualifies them as warriors in my book. There was talk that was unconfirmed at press time about restaging the show at The Apartment on a Thursday toward the end of January, but they’ll definitely be at Firehouse 13 in February, so check them out.

Nymphidels, Fall & Bounce, and SexCoffee will be at Firehouse 13 on February 7th.

A Celebration of Dru Greer

The Providence music community lost one of their own in the passing of Dru Greer around Christmas time this year. I did not have the opportunity to know Dru, but even in never meeting him, he affected me. I received a friend request from him on Facebook about a year ago, and he had all these extraordinary photographs of these places he’d explored, like a closed underground bowling alley and deserted jewelry mills that I’d marvel at. Dru also meant a lot to the local music community as one can tell from the lineup that has been assembled to pay tribute to his life. Viking Jesus will be there with their kind of trip-hop meets the Beatles melodies sound. King Sickabilly and his recently reassembled Sasquatch and The Sick-A-Billys will provide the psychobilly thump. Jay Berndt & The Orphans, who are one of the best new bands in town, specialize in churning out a mix of country and rock ‘n’ roll.   Consuelo’s Revenge is another exciting new band that has a little more of a blues meets Tom Waits feel.  There also will be acoustic performances by Jon Tierney, Josh Willis, and many more.  It is sad that such a momentous show had to come together for the passing of someone so young, with a young daughter.  I’m sure Dru’s spirit will be alive and smiling in the room watching his friends rock the house in his honor. Rest in peace, Dru.

A celebration of Dru Greer, featuring performances by Viking Jesus, Sasquatch and The Sick-A-Billys, Jay Berndt & The Orphans, Consuelo’s Revenge, Jon Tierney, Josh Willis, Daniel Chase, and Juxo and Benny will take place at the Spot Underground (now located above ground on Richmond St.) on January 11th.

Northern Lands

Northern Lands are another rising local band that has really emerged in the last year or so. As far as style, think straight up rock ‘n’ roll in the tradition of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Cracker, and even Springsteen and The E Street Band. Northern Lands write catchy songs and stamp their own touch when they occasionally throw in a cover or two. Northern Lands have been working on their debut for a number of months now and hopefully, that will be dropping soon. The Tower and The Fool is also no slouch here, making this essentially a double headliner bill.

Northern Lands, Tower and The Fool, Cactus Attack, and Ask the Dead are at The Met Café on January 11th.

Hard Nips

I don’t know what it is, but the music scene is just going off on January 11th.  I’m going to start trying to clone myself to hit all these shows and suggest you do the same. Brooklyn’s Hard Nips will be making their third appearance in town in the last six months and have built up a sizeable following in the process. The first time I saw them at AS220, they struck me as pop-punk in the vein of a Shonen Knife.  They are, after all, made up of three females of Asian descent and one male. Then last time I caught them at Dusk, they reminded me more of an 80s new wave band, which I guess isn’t that far of a leap. It was just almost over-the-top 80s. Check them out at Local 121 and draw your own conclusions on the Hard Nips. Vudu Sister as an opener is an added incentive to get down to the Speakeasy on a night when almost everyone is playing around town.

Hard Nips, Vudu Sister, and Hardbodies return to rock Local 121 on January 11th

The Toasters

Ska legends The Toasters are back for the third winter and a row to heat things up. The Toasters are going on an astounding 32 years as an active band, and I’ve never heard any complaints. I interviewed the lone original member, singer/guitarist Robert “Bucket” Hingley a couple of years ago and could sense that the reason he still does it is that he truly loves performing for his fans. Music fads will come and go. Ska’s popularity will wax and wane, but bands that know how to do things right, like The Toasters, will always be worth coming out for.

The Toasters, Mrs. Skannotto, The Copacetics, and Short Handed Goal skank it up at The Met Café on January 18th

The Lost Electricity Acoustic Tour

There used to be this joke about punk rockers who start playing rockabilly or country being in the punk retirement program. Lately, with the success of things like the Revival Tour, which came to town last year, it seems like it has shifted to front men of punk bands playing solo acoustic. Stripping away the fuzz and feedback and presenting those anthems with just an acoustic guitar really casts tunes in a new light without compromising their power. The Lost Electricity Tour is headlined by New York’s Turbo A.C.s, who are great as a punk band with double guitar fighting leads. I’m curious to see how it translates into a band playing all acoustic. Also on the bill is former Darkbuster front man Lenny Lashley who has been doing the solo acoustic format for years, including playing last year’s Revival Tour at Fete.  Chris Rosenquest from The Tower and The Fool is also on the bill to add some local flavor.

The Lost Electricity Acoustic Tour, featuring Turbo A.C.s, Lenny Lashley, Brian McGee, and Chris Rosenquest, touches down at Local 121 on January 19th.

Hot Water Music

Just when people start to get on the above mentioned stripped down acoustic bandwagon, Revival Tour founder and Hot Water Music singer/guitarist, Chuck Ragan, jumps off of it.  Last year, Hot Water Music released their first album of new material in eight years, Exister (Rise Records), which is a throwback to the classic blistering guitars and thundering rhythm patterns of their classic material. Hot Water Music shows at the old Living Room were legendary, with the highlight being one in the middle of a blizzard – a couple of hundred people still came out. Their anthem styled songs and loud guitars resonate long after they leave town. Hot Water Music is definitely a show not to miss, because you’ll feel left out when everyone is talking about it for weeks afterward.

Hot Water Music, La Dispute, and The Menzingers bring the thunder to The Met Café on January 23rd

Ants in the Cellar

Ants in the Cellar continue on the comeback trail. It was probably over 20 years ago that I last saw Ants in the Cellar as the band went on a hiatus. They are back with some new tunes available online at www.reverbnation.com/antsinthecellar. Ants in the Cellar are straight up goodtime barroom rock ‘n’ roll. Their new tunes “Rearview” and “Awakening” sound autobiographical as far as the band’s journey to the present. I guess in a radio format, Ants in the Cellar would be categorized as alternative, but it is really all just rock ‘n’ roll as the band could play any type of venue. Check them out at The Apartment!

Ants in the Cellar will be rocking The Apartment on January 26th.  

Chanteuse Mardi Gras Ball

It is almost that time of year again – the second anniversary of Chanteuse. Chanteuse is the brain child of Jess Powers that over the past two years aimed to “not only feature female vocalists, but also  facilitate collaborations between vocalists through duets and group songs as well as broaden the fan base for artists.” Over the course of 10 performances, Chanteuse has included at least 28 vocalists and at least that many musicians. The goal for any artist when it comes to anniversary shows is to outdo the last one. Given the season, Powers has decided the second anniversary show is going to be a Mardi Gras Ball (complete with beads, masks, and drunken debauchery – costumes encouraged!). Powers pulled together an all-star eight-piece band of musicians for a New Orleans jazz band that she is co-musical directing with Eric Bloom: keys, trumpet, trombone, upright bass, sax, keys, drums, and sousaphone (musicians and vocalists listed below). Powers elaborates, “I’ve invited five to six lead vocalists. We will be selecting New Orleans style music and there will be solos, duets, trios, and group numbers. I’m also discussing the possibilities for choreographed dance numbers during one or two songs with Kristen Minsky, producer of the popular vintage production called Chifferobe. I will also be inviting all vocalists who have participated in Chanteuse over the past two years to join us on one or two group songs.  It is a very broad musical collaboration on a scale I’ve never attempted, nor the likes of which has the local music scene ever witnessed!”

A partial list of scheduled performers as far as the band includes Eric Bloom (trumpet, co-musical director), JHony Keys (piano), Alex Chapman (drums), Justin Breault (saxophone), Cory Pesaturo (accordion), Tyler James Kelly (guitar), and JP Beausoleil (sousaphone). A partial list of the vocalists scheduled to perform includes Jess Powers, Sara Azriel, Caroline Hecht, Miss Wensday,

Ana Mallozzi, and Kristen Minsky. Additional guests will be added.

Chanteuse Mardi Gras Ball will take place at Fete on February 9th. The doors are at 8 pm with the production running from 8 pm to 11:30 pm. Admission is a very worth it $10. Updated details available at www.fetemusic.com.

Odds & Sods:

The Met Café has an evening of fast and furious pop-punk on January 10th with This Is A Movement, The Down and Outs, Meds, and Hell Sea. Smith & Weeden are one of my favorite emerging bands around town as dirty country meets early 70s Stones, and they’ll be at The Met Café on January 12th with The Mighty Good Boys, Little Compton Band, and Dylan Sevey and The Gentlemen. Yellowcard, Young Bloods, and Trophy Wives hit the big stage at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel on January 13th. The What Cheer? Brigade bring the party like no marching band and inevitably, it will end somewhere outside down the street, but for a starting point, go to AS220 on January 16th.  Alt-popsters For the Love of Sloane hit Fete with Fall and Bounce and Alec K. Redfearn on January 17th. Martin Sexton hits Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel on January 19th with Alternate Routes. Bloodpheasant, Tyler Bean, The Tower and The Fool, and Alpha Owl are at AS220 on January 19th. Consuelo’s Revenge, Kevin Williams and The Invisible Orphans, and Shotgun are at Fete on January 24th. Citizen Cope is at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel on January 25th. RIBS, Echo & Drake, and Satellites Fall, and Echoes of Petra are at The Met Café on January 30th. Fungus Amungus headlines a night of jam band rock at The Spot Underground on February 1st. Grace Potter & The Nocturnals is at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel on February 8th.

Email music news to mclarkin@gmail.com

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