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Mercury Dropping, Music Rising: Jump into this pile of shows

Darklands are a Providence/Boston based group just out with Find Peace In The Next Life, their latest LP/EP (do those labels even matter these days?). It’s a charged live set recorded at Distorted Forest Audio recording studio. 

Find Peace opens with a bang with “The Hill I Choose To Die On,” where the two chunky, downtuned guitars create a wall of sound a la My Bloody Valentine. “Spite House” brings in a catchier, emo punk sound and “Bigger People” is a bit noisier and freer-flowing.

This album has a refreshing “warts and all” approach. The vocals are a little pitchy, but I think it seems that way in part because virtually all music we hear these days is digitally done-up with a lot of studio magic.

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Purchase Find Peace In The Next Life at Bandcamp.

Here are a handful of late summer/early fall shows for your consideration: 

Note that many venues locally and nationally have announced that they’re requiring the extra step of showing your proof of vaccination and/or wearing a mask. If you ask me, it’s worth the minor inconvenience to ensure everybody feels safe for the return of live music. 

Superwolves (Bonnie “Prince” Billy & Matt Sweeney), Columbus Theatre, September 3

Superwolves is a supergroup duo made up of celebrated songwriter Bonnie “Prince” Billy and guitarist Matt Sweeney. The originally titled Superwolves is the long-awaited follow-up to their 2005 electric folk masterpiece, Superwolf.

KiSSiNG KONTEST/Salem Wolves/Moodrunners/Gamma Rage, Dusk, September 4

Gamma Rage is fronted by recent Motif Music Award Winner Malyssa BellaRosa, Salem Wolves are a Boston rock band of note, and Kissing Kontest is the music of Preston Neutrino. Moodrunners impressed with their stellar debut EP earlier this year. 

Scurvy Dog Parking Lot Mega Show II, September 5

Standing in a parking lot? Will that be fun? Is it even a nice parking lot? Not particularly. But Scurvy Dog’s long running Mega Show series does pack a bunch of cool bands into the Labor Day Sunday. This year’s event features Triangle Forest, the Fatal Flaw, JUGGWORLD, Song Birds and way more.

Rhythm and Roots, Ninigret Park, Labor Day Weekend

A South County favorite returns after a year off. Heavy hitters here include British folkster Richard Thompson, American folkster John Hiatt and Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops. For local(ish) artists who always deliver, check out Ward Hayden & The Outliers (formerly Girls Guns & Glory), Charlie Marie and Will Evans. 

Ben Folds, Vets Auditorium, September 24

Ever the consummate performer, Ben Folds is coming to town for a solo show. This is not a situation where the lack of band is a bummer. I’ve seen him solo a few times and found the show thoroughly enjoyable. 

The Last Dropout Night: A Celebration of Jon Tierney, The Parlour (PVD), September 25 

Local songwriter “Big Jon” Tierney passed away in December 2020 and was, by all accounts, both extremely talented and very well-liked by all. This memorial performance will feature Kris Hansen, Christian Calderone, Becca Neveu, Matty O, Nate Cozzolino and more. Check Facebook for more details

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Fete, October 6

I caught these guys on a weekend morning news show recently and found them pretty entertaining. It’s a country rock sound that’s heartworn, gritty and that kind of thing, without feeling manufactured. Their latest LP, A Few Stars Apart, dropped in June. 

Whitney, Columbus, October 30

This band kept coming up on my Spotify playlists (sorry, yes, I have surrendered to the algorithm), and I was impressed when I finally dove into their catalog of compelling, hooky chamber pop.

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