Alt-Nation: New Discs and Summer Shows

coverThe McGunks – Highlights for Lowlifes

Photo by John Capitão

It’s been a while since we had some new material from everyone’s favorite pub-punks, The McGunks!  They did have a live album last year, but what the world really needed was some fresh new material from The McGoons. The McGunks give The Pogues a run for their money when it comes to drinking songs. That is cool, I like to drink. Highlights for Lowlifes kicks off in vintage McGunks style with “Bad Decision” about staying at the bar a little too long. “Beer and a Beaten’” reminds a little of The Queers with the harmonies. Singer/guitarist Bob Kadlec has a very gruff voice, but he knows how to use it.   “Dead to Me” has a fist pumping sing-a-long chorus and a voice that gets you jumping. It reminds me a lot of the second album by Marky Ramone and The Intruders, The Answers to Your Problems, which was an excellent record despite my hatred for the wig man. The McGunks throw a curveball with the instrumental “Halfway to Hell,” which while an enjoyable punk romp, it’s debatable whether that would better be left as something to open shows with. “One for The Road” is a slower mid-tempo that has a tinge of a Supersuckers flavor. “Speaking of Crazy” revs thing back up while serving as an open letter to someone who is apparently bat shit loco. “The Devil Was Right” is a slab of just really well done punk rock and is my favorite tune of the bunch. If the McGunks view themselves as lowlifes, than this CD is very aptly named!


The McGunks CD release for Highlights for Lowlifes will take place at Fete as part of an awesome show that includes the world renowned Supersuckers, Hellbound Glory, The Mighty Good Boys, and Dog Day Afternoon on September 1.

The Silks – Debut 7”

The Silks released their debut release as a 7 inch and if you haven’t gotten a copy, welp, Houston, we have a problem. The pressing was limited to 300 copies with 80 copies on white vinyl and are almost sold out everywhere, so grab it if you see one of the few remaining copies floating around. The record is already fetching $40 and $50 on the internet. The Silks are a great band, but there is no doubt that having the producer, Paul Westerberg of The Replacements, sing the B-side may play a role in the incredible demand. The A-side is an original ditty called “Down At The Heel.” Complete with a mammoth chorus, it is one of the more rocking numbers in the band’s live repertoire and should serve as an excellent introduction to all those around the world that ordered the record for Westerberg. The B-side, featuring lead vocals by Westerberg, is one of my favorite Stones songs called “One More Try.” The Silks may play the song better than the Stones did on the original. My one critique would be that the original felt like a train that was always about to veer off the tracks but somehow, against all odds, makes it to the destination. The Silks and Westerberg do a great rollicking romp of it that I can listen to over and over. It’s just the near train wreck survival rush of the original isn’t there.

alt-nationBig Big Shows!

Wheatus & Math The Band

Wheatus were one of those one hit pop-punk wonders in the 90s that has managed to trudge on.  Everybody knows the hit “Teenage Dirtbag,” but few other catchy numbers off that debut album.  Wheatus isn’t going to go all serious or pull a Flaming Lips where they have one novelty hit and turn into everyone’s critical darlings. You’re pretty much going to get what you know as far as fun, loud pop-punk with Wheatus.  Math The Band from Boston is also one hell of a time as far as fast indie dance pop ‘n’ roll that makes this a very attractive show.

Wheatus and Math The Band will rock AS220 on August 7.

The Evens

The Evens are an indie rock band composed of Ian MacKaye on baritone guitar and Amy Farina on drums with vocals duties shared. MacKaye is, of course, a legend from his time in the seminal DC hardcore band Minor Threat and later with Fugazi. A diehard believer in D.Y.I. ethos, MacKaye founded Dischord Records, which has since put out many brilliant records through the years. Moshers looking for something similar from The Evens aren’t going to find it. The Evens come off as more an acoustic indie rock outfit. Still I have faith; Mackaye is a talented mofu and an engaging performer.

The Evens return to AS220 on August 9. Please note this is an early show with doors at 7:30 pm and no opener. The Evens will be onstage by 8 pm.


Baroness come to The Met Café for what promises to be a heavy night of music. Baroness are a metal band that had an excellent release last year with Yellow & Green and they have an EP due out in July.   Recommended cuts off Yellow & Green to check out include “Collapse,” “Psalms Alive,” and “Stretchmarker.” Don’t miss them this summer at The Met!

Baroness and Royal Thunder will bring the thunder to The Met Café on August 13.

Hope For Kyla

It’s awful to hear that anyone has cancer, but when it’s a 10-year-old, it’s just beyond crushing and all comprehension. Kyla is a 10-year-old girl who was recently diagnosed with kidney cancer. She is undergoing chemotherapy and radiation at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. The family is holding a benefit at The Last Resort in Smithfield. Despite the dour circumstance, this will be a good time with raffles, swimming, music and more! The greatest thrill will be the feeling you get contributing to this brave young girl’s fight against a crippling disease that nobody ever should have to face so young. For those unable to attend, you can still help out by going to and making a donation. Thank you for whatever support you can offer.

The Hope For Kyla Benefit Concert will take place August 17 at The Last Resort in Smithfield. There will be a lot of live music with performances by The Ocean State Rollers, Able Thought, The Denver Boot, Loose Change RI, Time Bandit, and Courters.

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