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Spring Into It!: Album releases and shows to start the season off right

Fluffernutter — “Got It So Bad” / “Got What You Came For” Single

Fluffernutter is an all-star local collaboration between multi-instrumentalist / all things recording wizard Kraig Jordan and vocalist Jodie Treloar.  Billed as “pop sex metal,” Fluffernutter lives up the hype while managing to sound nothing like Poison. One listen to “Got It So Bad” and the whole pop sex metal all makes sense. Musically, it reminds me of Eagles Of Death Metal but not just any track; Fluffernutter is comparable to track 1 or 2 that one make you buy the Greatest Hits compilation. As rocking as the music is, what really makes “Got It So Bad” is Treloar’s vocals which alternate between sweet, seductive and sinister.  The breakdown has this cool flamenco guitar-like accent as Treloar croons, “Why can’t you sit still, let me take your pills, here’s what I’ll do, I’m going to run you through.” “Got It So Bad” is in my top 10 of tunes for 2020 and even made it to the inner circle, my hockey pregame Spotify playlist. “Got What You Came For” is in the same vein, but not quite as powerful. I give it a 7.4 overall; check it out on your favorite streaming service if you can’t find the cassingle.   

Foul Weather Friend — Hang On / Hang Out (75orLess Records)

One of the biggest questions looming over the Rhode Island music scene heading into 2020 was whether Foul Weather Friend could avoid the dreaded sophomore slump with their upcoming release, Hang On / Hang Out. So it was with grave trepidation that I tore off the shrink wrap and popped Hang On / Hang Out for the first time. By the second tack, “A Million Cuts,” I was feeling much better about this record and my place in the universe thanks to the glacier-sized hook carrying the chorus. The vocal harmonies stuffed into the chorus like a calzone make lines like “Killing me with the games that you play, I don’t know who I am anymore, feel myself just slipping away, my heart keeps dripping, dripping all over the floor” burn.  “Mercy In Retrograde” is kind of like the stereotypical rock song that bands write to have something to rock out to live. Better on the rocker spectrum, though, is “I Got Nothing” (no relation to the Iggy Pop song), which features plenty of shredding packed in tight to a ’60s garage rock structure. The opener, “Good Day,” tries to have early R.E.M. feel. “Misfits” is a wistful look back on youth blowing in a poppy breeze like the sprouting seeds of Big Star. No sophomore slump here; I give Hang On / Hang Out a solid 6.2.

Rodeo Roundup: 

Chance Emerson

This 19-year-old Brown University student from Hong Kong recently came on my radar. I was really struck by the power of his narrative in his songwriting. No joke — it is really like listening to the second coming of Paul Simon. Emerson’s debut album is coming out later this month and the advance single, “How Can I,” is already blowing up on Spotify with nearly 100,000 spins.    


Chance Emerson will be playing two upcoming shows in PVD at Dream Hau5 in on Mar 6 and at Askew on Mar 7. 

Dustbowl Revival

Dustbowl Revival returns to town in support of their new record, Is It You, Is It Me, which I’ve been digging. The only constant with the Dustbowl Revival is the ass-shaking beat. The sound of Dustbowl Revival is like if Americana, NOLA style horns, campfire folk and ’70s AM Gold all collided in a multi-car pileup on an interstate highway.    

Dustbowl Revival will be at the Columbus Theatre on Mar 11.

Jonathan Richman

The original Modern Lover returns for what promises to be another joyous night of sing-a-longs in various languages, flamenco guitar played as quietly as possible, solo Jojo dance breaks and memories that will endure.  Whether you prefer the rocking “Roadrunner” Modern Lovers stuff or his later stuff from his cameos in Something About Mary and Kingpin, it is impossible to walk out of a Jonathan Richman show not grinning ear to ear like a less psychotic version of the Joker. One anomaly for this Richman show is there will be an opening act; the added bonus is it will be Bonnie “Prince” Billy.

Jonathan Richman (performing with Tommy Larkins) and Bonnie “Prince” Billy (performing with Emmett Kelly) will be at the Columbus Theater on Mar 12.

Against Me

This is probably the national punk show of the beginning of spring. One of the more popular punk bands of the millennium, Against Me, has a few doozies as far as albums go, notably Reinventing Axl Rose. As far as fist-pumping bangers, I’ve always been a “Thrash Unreal” dude, but I know some prefer the earlier stuff.   

Against Me will rock The Met Cafe on Mar 13.  

Too-Rye-Ay — A St. Patrick’s Tribute to Dexys Midnight Runners featuring Ted Leo

I’m not sure exactly what is going to be happening here, which makes it the most intriguing show of the month. Best I can tell, you have left-of-the-dial indie rock stalwart, Ted Leo, having a St. Patrick’s Day-themed show to pay tribute to the English band that sang “Come On Eileen.” I didn’t see this one coming, but it does sound awesome. It got me to go beyond “Come On Eileen” in Dexys Midnight Runners’s catalogue. They are to soul music what The English Beat are to ska.    

Too-Rye-Ay — A St. Patrick’s Tribute to Dexys Midnight Runners featuring Ted Leo is going down at the Columbus Theatre on Mar 13.  

Soraia, Kris Rodgers and The Dirty Gems, Blackletter

I’m definitely looking forward to catching Soraia and Kris Rodgers and The Dirty Gems, who are both making a dent nationally. Both bands are getting regular spins on Little Steven’s Underground Garage station, which is great, but what I’m really excited for here is Blackletter. Blackletter’s sound splatters like the carnage of some heavy glam-goth rock bomb; think Blue Oyster Cult with less cowbell. This will be the release party for Blackletter’s long-awaited second or third album, math never was my thing. The album will be released on streaming services that day.  

Soraia and Kris Rodgers and the Dirty Gems and Blackletter will be at Dusk on Mar 18.

Brian Fallon & The Howling Weather

This is a pretty stacked lineup between Brian Fallon (Gaslight Anthem) and Justin Townes Earle. Everyone who cares about the Gaslight Anthem knows who Brian Fallon is, and I’d be surprised if this doesn’t sell out on that on it’s own. I saw Justin Townes Earle last fall. He mixes country and rock like his father and can ramble on between songs, but he’s entertaining when doing so. Earle covered The Replacements, which always earns points in my book.  

Brian Fallon & The Howling Weather, Justin Townes Earle, and Worriers will be at the Columbus Theatre on Mar 27.  

The Silks with Drivin N Cryin

It took one listen to “Fly Me Courageous” to take me back to that late ’80s WHJY/WAAF (R.I.P) style of rock ‘n’ roll. It still holds up. I think the case could be made that Drivin N Cryin should be getting a cut of Buckcherry royalties. The Silks also are on the bill, so this isn’t just a show, it is a certifiable banger to dance the night away. 

The Silks and Drivin N Cryin will rock Askew on Mar 27.  

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