Sweet Dreams – How Ya Dune?
On their debut EP, How Ya Dune?, Sweet Dreams kick things off with “Heaven Sent,” which has a power pop meets You’re Living Me Over Me-era Dinosaur Jr. vibe, especially with the production. Singer/Guitarist Eric Smith may lack J. Mascis’ guitar pyrotechnics, but he does a good job of capturing the tone of those early records.
“Glowing Cloud” brings me back to that time in the ’90s where staring at one’s shoes was so big that they named a genre after it with bands like Ride and My Bloody Valentine. Smith even has a lyric in there, “calling me on my land line,” that gets you in the mood of those times. The rhythm section of Kevin Bowden (bass) and Handsome Pete Lima (drums) do the heavy lifting, driving tunes like “Phantom Paw” and “Charlie Red Star” forward. The swirling “Can We Still Get High” is one of those tunes where you can’t tell at first if you hate it or if it is the best thing on the record. I’m going to go with the latter because it is chock full of all the aforementioned indie guitar swing influences. How Ya Dune? is available now on Bandcamp and Spotify streaming services, and you can catch Sweet Dreams at the next Scurvy Dog mega parking lot show.
Velvet Crush — Return for the First Time in 20 Years!
I first heard about Velvet Crush from reading the Nice Paper, which used to rave about them in the early ’90s. It built up quite the mystique as the band name was cool and one couldn’t just look up the band name on the internet like today, which added to the mystery. The layers slowly were peeled away over time from hearing that Velvet Crush was Matthew Sweet’s backing band and Sweet also produced one of their albums. Eventually I bought a cassette version of In The Presence Of Greatness and fell in love with the tune “Die a Little Every Day.” Velvet Crush are the classic power pop band that takes something like The Byrds and mashes it with Big Star and smears on The Knack as frosting. I never got to see Velvet Crush and these are their first RI shows in more than 20 years — who knows when or if there will be another chance.
Velvet Crush are at POP in Providence on Jul 5 with doors opening at 7pm. Velvet Crush are also ringing in Bastille Day with a show at the Columbus Theatre on Jul 14. If you can’t make these shows, Velvet Crush will also be playing ONCE in Somerville on Jul 6.
I&R – Bankrupt City
I&R is the brainchild of RI expatriate Josh Cournoyer, who has relocated to Nashville. For the making of Bankrupt City, Cournoyer gathered with a collection of friends that included MorganEve Swain (The Huntress and Holder of Hands /Brown Bird). We talked to Cournoyer about the making of the Bankrupt City a few months go when he was in town to play a show. Now that Bankrupt City is out, let’s dive in. The biscuit kicks off with “Silhouette” which is your average driving mid-tempo rocker with a cool guitar sound. I can’t really think of a musical reference but I picture it being something that would play at a bar that the two leads dance to an post-divorce drama movie. Someone should get in touch with Cournoyer for the licensing rights. “Venice” is a standout that reminds of what Pavement would be if they listened to less Television and more The Band. “Addendum” is one of my favorites here for its subtle swing and big chorus. “Addendum” would be the perfect tune for dancing around a campfire on the beach. The title track is my other favorite as it is a driving slice of power pop gold. I caught I&R last December, and it is a great show with all kinds of guests coming up for a song or two. Don’t miss out!
I&R celebrate the release of Bankrupt City with a show with Zach Schmidt and Safari at the Columbus Theatre on Jul 12.
Levitt AMP Woonsocket Music Series
One of the coolest things happening this summer is a Friday night free concert series in River Island Art Park in Woonsocket. The concerts are family friendly with places for kids to play, a bar for the adults, rotating options for food, and great music. The concerts are every Friday (except July 5) from 5 – 9pm. The organizers have launched a “Passport to Woonsocket” promotion with a chance to win $1,000 that they are crediting me with inspiring (it was Fuzek). Anyway, the gist of the promotion is that one picks up a passport at one of the Friday night concerts and collect 15 stamps from local businesses to be eligible to win a $1,000 prize.
Coming up this month are:
July 12 — Steve Smith and the Nakeds with OB Howard: Steve Smith and the Nakeds are going on 45 years strong with a well-earned position in the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame.
July 19 — Luther Guitar Jr. Johnson and The Brian James Quartet: This Grammy Award winning musician is known as one of the premier blues artists to emerge from Chicago’s music scene. Johnson served a long sideman apprenticeship with both Magic Sam and Muddy Waters.
July 26 — Doobie Powell and VIDA Praise Team: Hailing from Hartford, Conn, Doobie lives out his faith through his passion for music. He’s produced five critically acclaimed albums.
Revival Fest returns to Dusk for a 4th of July block party to out-patriotic all other block parties. This year the organizers aren’t wasting any time getting the party started. If I show up at 4pm, I’ll miss three bands — Joy Boys, Eric and The Nothing, and Sugarcones — that I’d want to see. Other bands I’d be excited to see at this show include The Benji’s, Atlantic Thrills, Ravi Shavi, Cherry Pit, and Spocka Summa.
Revival Fest returns to Dusk in Providence on Jul 4. Revival Fest kicks off at 2pm with School of Rock.
5 Shows That Don’t Blow:
Buck Meek (Big Thief) is at the Columbus Theatre on July 6.
Low Cut Connie are at The Narrows Center For The Arts in Fall River on July 12.
The Big Kahuna 4 featuring Puddle of Mud, Sponge, 40 Below Summer, and more happens at FMH on July 13.
Julie Rhodes, Town Meeting, and Gentle Temper are at Askew in PVD on July 14.
Electric Six are at Alchemy in PVD on July 17.
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