The Return of Joe Fletcher

After a recent successful run at SXSW, Joe Fletcher returns to home to headline a night of great music at the Met Café. Since Fletcher took the leap to go for broke and follow his dream as professional troubadour, good things have followed.

Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons

Not only did his St. Louis Cardinals win another World Series, but his reputation has solidified making money for a draw. It used to be when you saw the Wrong Reasons, you never knew what you were going to get. One show might be reeling and a rocking, the next might be Fletcher solo or someone playing drums on something that didn’t amount more to a trash can. Part of this probably speaks to Fletcher’s love of Dylan idiosyncratic ways where every show is different. Now that the lineup of the Wrong Reasons has been solidified, the band has seasoned enough that they can pull off going up without a set list and seamlessly not just pull off, but kill it with their mix of country, roots, and rock ‘n’ roll. Recently the band has expanded into video age producing a couple of music videos off their most recent release, White Lighter. You can check them out online at www.joefletchermusic.com. The Wrong Reasons will be playing the Newport Folk Festival this summer but there is no reason to wait to late July to see them rock, they’ll be at the Met Café on April 13th. Get there early for the openers with WBRU Rock Hunt runner-ups Northern Lands and Portland ME’s The Mallet Brothers. I caught them both recently and have to say The Mallet Brothers are absolutely fantastic as far as revved up Americana/rock ‘n’ roll!
Joe Fletchers & The Wrong Reason, The Mallet Brothers, and Northern Lands rock Met Café on April 13th.

Last One Out

stormed the scene last year making it to the final of the WBRU Rock Hunt and this year they’re gunning for the WXIN Rock Hunt Crown. Last One Out aim to hit it big in 2012 starting with the release of their debut EP, Lover’s Trance. The first thoughts that come to mind after listening to Lover’s Trance is God damn it, this is one crystal clear professionally cut bucket of tunes. The downside is that it really to the point of excess where it comes off as wimpy and annoying. The phrase no balls popped up in conversation while listening this with new Alt-Nation correspondent, T-Rock who added that the popularity of music like this is why we’re still in Afghanistan. Personally, I’d look to American Idol before Last One Out as far as being the Novocain to the American psyche. Not surprisingly given the title, Lover’s Trance is a collection of love songs which there is certainly nothing wrong with. The Beatles did it and so hasn’t 90% of everyone else. It is all in how you do it. As far as an original pop alternative on Lover’s Trance, Last One Out has both hits and misses.
The EP opens with “Under the Red Lights,” which tells the tale of falling in love from Virginia and wistfully whining about “leaving her lying under red lights, I want to stay but I must take flight.” This could be cool… if you are Superman and literally fly away but it sounds more like a one night stand on vacation. Other than the guitar riff buildup to the chorus, the music is pretty generic with keyboards over the guitar. There is nothing wrong with doing pop, but if that’s what you are doing, throw in a catchy hook. “Under the Red Lights” has no such hook. “Something I’m Into” sounds like a cross between elevator music buttressed by some ska beats and licks. It’s just real tough to like a song that starts with the lyrics “I’d like to tell you something into but there is an issue, you might laugh at me… and thick rimmed glasses to help you see.” Not saying I don’t have moments of self doubt or jitters but come on, you might laugh at me? I have trouble believing whoever is writing the lyrics is even remotely funny. The lyrics improve if you get can past that opening with “I dig your tattoos, they really speak to me allowing to describe what is going on inside without letting a heart on your sleeve.” I’m going to assume this girl didn’t have tattoos on her arm because than this would make no sense and say I like this. I can relate to this because I start conversations with white girls that have tribal tattoos and Chinese letters about Native American reparations and Chinese oppression all the time.
The momentum of Lover’s Trance shifts dramatically with “Utopia for Two” which is an infectious pop ditty that explains the popularity of Last One Out. “Utopia for Two” follows the tried and true soft to loud backed formula by a big hook formula. Throw together some killer uses of the dramatic pause with a bridge that enhances the song and it doesn’t matter if the lyrics about “going to the banks of outer space” and “grabbing a hold of a shooting star” don’t make sense. They all sound good here in the context of the song. Last One Out continue the positive moment with “Lovin’ Tonight” using a bouncy danceable keyboards during the verse to lead into a chorus catching enough to remind me of something from the 80’s like The Outfield. While not as strong as the previous two tracks, “Threads of Sweet Nothing” and “Standing on a Giant” extends the run of alterna-pop positives to close out Lover’s Trance on a high note.
Something needs to be said about train wreck track sequencing here. Although I do get why the band chose to open with a kind aimless mid-tempo number given that the word trance is in the title of the EP, I would have never have made it to track three if I wasn’t reviewing this. When in reality after repeated listens, four of the 6 tunes highlight the safe modern day alternative stuff that Last One Out do best. Last One Out scored big in the first round of the WXIN Rock Hunt and likely will be in the finals whenever they are at Firehouse 13. In the meantime, you can check them out at the Met Café for the CD release of Lover’s Trance on April 7th.
Last One Out celebrates the release of Lover’s Trance with Les Racquet, Evil Animals, and Sunshine Riot rock the Met Cafe in Pawtucket on April 7th.

Small Factory

Local indie-pop legends Small Factory teleport to Met Cafe from the 90’s for their first performance in over 15 years in these parts. It was like the Make A Wish Foundation intervened when this show was announced for those of us who listened to lo-fi indie guitar rock with harmonies and were around in the early 90’s at those Babyhead shows, often with the likes of Velocity Girl. The truth is after a reunion show earlier this year in at a festival in Washington DC, this had to be inevitable. What band would do a reunion show and blow off their home town? Thank God, not Small Factory. As added bonus this show also sees the reunion of another local early 90’s titan in Flower Gang. I’m not sure how big they were because back then I was a novice at this but I remember seeing them and getting excited enough to buy a 7 inch which I still have. This became comical years later when I worked at a record store with bassist Jack Hanlon and was discussing music and couldn’t remember the band name other than it was Flower Something and Jack informed he was in the band. At that time the Amazing Royal Crowns were starting to blow up to the point that people were coming into the store and asking Jack to sign CDs. In hindsight it must have seemed weird for Jack going through while working with someone who would only ask him about Flower Gang and no matter how many times, he told me, I could never get the name right. That said, this is the must see event of the spring at the very least for indie guitar swing rock ‘n’ roll!
Small Factory, Honeybunch, Flower Gang return from the 90’s to rock the Met Café on April 14th.

General Assembly State of The Union: Part Deux

The first General Assembly State of The Union last December was successful representation of both the heavy rock ‘n’ roll and ever burgeoning Americana elements of the Providence music scene. It raised the bar pretty high but I think the General Assembly has topped itself with this bill. First off, I do not get to see the garage rocking’ thump of the Atlantic Thrills often enough! Hands down, Atlantic Thrills are easily in my top 5 of local bands bringing the noise today. Throw in Tower in The Fool who as much I wanted to initially hate upon for being a mid-tempo of Americana act. I couldn’t. Their songs are too good! The Famous Winters mine similar territory as Tower and The Fool but with a grittier early 70’s Stones backbone that blew me away on what had otherwise been a dark night a few weeks ago. Throw in the presence of the official Alt-Nation house band and king of noisy guitar over a high Watt bass thump, Six Star General, and son you have one Hell of a party!
General Assembly presents State of The Union II featuring Tower and The Fool, Olneyville Sound System, Atlantic Thrills, The Famous Winters, Prolyphic, Moga, Six Star General, Ravi Shavi, The Washingtons, DJ Nook, and Born Without Bones goes down Fete in Providence on lucky Friday the13th of April.

The Sawyer Family

Hailing from Eugene OR, The Sawyer Family deal it with a unique blend of stoner Americana thunder. They’ll start one song and you find yourself saying, ok they’re a punk band and then it will turn into something ghostly Americana without skipping a beat. They’ll do a surf guitar type on number and then without warning start throwing in some 70’s stoner rock to kick you in the teeth. It’s like if the members of someone like Slim Cessna’s Auto Club started a side project that was part Black Sabbath, part Black Flag. Let’s put it this way, I review a lot of stuff and it isn’t often that after listening to a band a few times that I want to go out and buy one of their albums immediately. I do with The Sawyer Family – this show is going to rule! As an added bonus you have Sasquatch and The Full Moon boys which I’m looking forward to checking out even bummed that I can no longer make jokes about how one in every three musicians was at one time was a Sick-A-Billy. Throw in some country-punk with Girl Haggard and a re-configured Tony Jones in the Cretin 3 (who I hear have been slaying as of late), and you have an rock ‘n’ roll overload that is going to blow up big time!
The Sawyer Family, King Sickabilly and The Full Moon Boys, Girl Haggard, and Tony Jones &

The Cretin 3 rock the Pvd Social Club on April 15th.
Email music news to mclarkin33@gmail.c

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