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Alt-Nation: Can’t-Miss Shows for This Weekend

Northern Lands – He Took A Dive (75orLess Records)

Northern Lands kick up a barroom style rock & roll ruckus on their debut album, He Took A Dive. For those new to Northern Lands, think of straight forward rock with echoes of Tom Petty, The Hold Steady, and E Street Band Springsteen. He Took A Dive kicks off with “With Regards To Greg Allman” that I guess could come off as indie rock Allman Brothers jam at the beginning before things get heavy in the chorus.  “Sydney” is a power alt-rock ballad that features backing vocals from Roz Raskin that complement singer/guitarist Josh Cournoyer’s more gruff, howling style. The riff on the verse of “Home Free” reminds me a lot of Petty’s “You Wreck Me,” which is always good thing. The lyrics go on to talk about drinking so much tequila that they end up in Mexico. I’ve drank my share of tequila and ended up in some strange places as result, so I guess that is possible. “Gallows” has a bit of western blues thump, highlighted by some excellent lead guitar work by Peter Hayden. Cournoyer sounds like he’s using his last breath to get the words out on “Crumb,” while rhythm section of Josh Wallace on drums and Aaron Jaehnig  anchor the beat on this solid rocker. The title track is a burner of a love song to the Renaissance City and its dive bars where Cournoyer sings about how “this is my kind of town, it has more bars than churches.” I’d be interested in doing a census of that because there are so many startup churches, like The Laotian Evangelican Church on Carpenter Street, that probably fly under the radar. They probably need to do a kickstarter to get tax exempt eligible. He Took A Dive closes with “Burnside” that has a verse narrative about breaking into the governor’s mansion with a female companion, but the chorus twists it with Cournoyer transforming into the ghost of Ambrose Burnside and walking the empty hallways of the mansion. I don’t quite follow the narrative, but hey, it all sounds great when blasting through my headphones while walking around town. Hit repeat? Well, don’t mind if I do. Northern Lands are celebrating the release of He Took a Dive at the Met Café on June 1. As an added bonus, they got the brewmaster himself, Coach Sean Larkin of Revival Brewing, to create a new beer called the Northern Lands Lager just for this show.  I’m told it is a Bohemian Pilsner style lager, and I can’t wait to sample it.

The Mallett Brothers Band – Land


The Mallett Brothers Band are a country rock outfit that hail from Portland, Maine. The Mallett Brothers Band recently released their third full-length CD, Land, which is chock full of Yankee hillbilly thrills. Land kicks off with a wistful American groove, “Blue Ridge Parkway.” I hate modern country as much as the next urban rock & roll brat, but something about The Mallett Brothers Band really grabs me. The boys rev stuff up on rockers like “Farmer’s Tan,” “A Little Bit of Mud,” and “Piece of Land.” The latter notably had the dance floor of the Ocean Mist bopping when the boys cranked it out a couple of months ago down in South County. Land also features some mid-tempo honky tonk-inspired jams like “All Kinds of Crazy” and “In The Fold” to line dance to or as I prefer, sway while sipping whiskey. The Mallett Brothers Band bring in enough elements of country, but when listening to a tune like “Goodnight,” they really just sound more like a straight ahead bar rock band, and a damn good one at that. The Mallett Brothers Band has always delivered live in the half dozen or so times I’ve caught them live. Don’t miss them this Saturday at the Met!

Northern Lands CD Release Party for He Took a Dive will take place at the Met Café on June 1. In addition to Northern Lands, The Mallett Brothers, Viking Jesus, and Cactus Attack will be performing.  Revival Brewing will debut a test batch of new Bohemian pilsner called Northern Lands for the occasion. 

Willard Grant Conspiracy, Barn Burning, & The ‘Mericans

Summer is finally coming and one of the newer joints in town, The Parlour, is the perfect place to cool down with a cold one. The Parlour has a great Americana show this Saturday with the Willard Grant Conspiracy coming to town to showcase some new tunes off their forthcoming release, Ghost Republic.  Barn Burning was really one of the innovators of that kind of quiet Americana that has really taken off around the city. Don’t miss The ‘Mericans who have been kind of the unsung heroes of that roots meets indie rock jams around these parts going all the way back to the 90s with Chris Daltry’s other band, Purple Ivy Shadows.

Willard Grant Conspiracy, Barn Burning, and The ‘Mericans will rock The Parlour on June 1.

The National – Trouble Will Find Me

The National return with a brand new biscuit called Trouble Will Find Me. The National can come across as a little morose, taking cues from bands like 80s titans Bauhaus and Darklands-era Jesus Mary Chain mixed with more modern stuff like LCD Soundsystem and TV on The Radio. Trouble Will Find Me starts out with a lush mid-tempo number in “I Should Live in Salt.” “Demons” is another hypnotic rock jam that paints a picture of being in a darkened room hiding out from the sun. “Don’t Swallow the Cap” musically has a Cure “In Between Days” vibe. The National pick things up with “Sea of Love,” which the combination of the fuzz toned guitars and hook makes it as catchy as anything on modern rock radio.  “Graceless” kicks off with lines like, “I’m trying, but I’m graceless, don’t have a sunny side to face this … God loves everybody, don’t remind me.” This hits home to those like myself who have never been accused of being graceful. The National cover themes of alienation and isolation in a poetic manner with a sonic landscape that makes the odyssey redeeming. They don’t bring the listener down, but instead draw you into the narrative. I’ve always heard great things about The National live, so don’t miss the chance to see them on the big stage in town, at Lupo’s, this Tuesday.

The National and People Get Ready will rock Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel on June 4. Doors are at 7 and the show starts at 8 pm. 

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