1. Friday, March 21: The Mallett Brothers, Jay Berndt & The Orphans, Cactus Attack; $10; 8pm doors / 9pm show; all ages; The Met, 1005 Main St., Pawtucket, RI. This is a showcase of some of the brightest New England talent around right now. The Mallett Brothers, alt-country standouts from Portland, Maine, recently dominated the New England Music Awards. They took home the top honors of Band of the Year and Album of the Year for their fantastic record Land. The band flawlessly swings from rock to country and anywhere in between. Jay Berndt & the Orphans are currently on fire. Blending a touch of Americana with a heavy dose of soul and rock & roll, they are quite possibly the best bar rock band Providence has had in years. Add in the horn playing, and they are simply the best live local experience around right now. And with shitkickin’ hillbilly hellions Cactus Attack rounding out the bill, this is a show not to miss.
2. Friday, March 28: Slightly Stoopid, Mariachi El Bronx; $25 advance / $30 day of; 7pm doors / 8pm show; all ages; Lupo’s, 79 Washington St., Providence, RI. Finally Mariachi El Bronx has come to Providence. The alter ego of punk rock act The Bronx, Mariachi El Bronx drop the punk rock for original traditional Mariachi sounds, with the horns and high-pitched guitars and costumes to boot. While you might think it would sound hoaxy, or almost come off like a bad ska-type nightmare, this band is far from it – a true homage to the traditional sound. Check out their video for “48 Roses” on YouTube. While you’re at it, pick up some traditional Mexican garb to make sure you don’t blend in with Slightly Stoopid’s not so slightly bro dude crowd. Any maybe bring a bouquet of roses to toss at the band to celebrate their set? Is that a thing? Anyone ever been to Mexico?
3. Friday, March 28: Dead Rider (ex US Maple), Doomsday Student, Whore Paint; $7; 9pm; all ages; AS220, 115 Empire St., Providence, RI. This show feels like it should be at Fort Thunder. There was a point where Chicago and Providence seemed like sister cities, with Providence cranking out records in the ’90s from Six Finger Satellite, Arab on Radar and Thee Hydrogen Terrors, and Chicago kicking out kindred spirits like Shellac, US Maple, The Jesus Lizard. I must have seen a US Maple / Arab on Radar show at some point at Fort Thunder, Providence’s great DIY warehouse performance space (RIP). A decade and several years later, here we have a show with members of both those former bands. Chicago’s Dead Rider arrives on tour to support their new Drag City record Chills On Glass. Providence’s gloom and noise pioneers Doomsday Student and Whore Paint round out the bill.
4. Sunday, March 30: And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead, Midnight Masses, La Femme; $18 advance / $20 day of; 8:30pm doors / 9pm show; 18+ only; TT The Bear’s Place, 10 Brookline St., Cambridge, Mass. A lot of bands are doing the circuit of playing their entire CD that made them famous a decade or decades ago, and none have dragged me in yet. It’s now filtering into the indie rock community with bands like Spiritualized and The Pixies following suit. Trail of the Dead performing 2002’s Source Tags & Codes might be the first time I come out for it. The record is almost flawless, starting with “It Was There That I Saw You,” a tune that makes you want to rip down anything standing around you; the record ties post hardcore / post Thurston angst indie guitar chaos with intricate orchestral moments. The promise and talent on this record never really surfaced again as purely as this moment for the band, the third record out of a prolific eight albums so far. The band is best known for their over-the-top live performances, and for breaking all the gear within in a guitar swing around them, but this record stands out over time. Still sounds great 12 years later; it will be interesting to see it live.
5. Friday, April 4: Roz and The Rice Cakes (Need To Feed CD Release), The Low Anthem, Dr Jones & The Shiners; $10; 8pm doors / 9pm show; all ages; The Met, 1005 Main St., Pawtucket, RI. Roz and the Rice Cakes seem to be poised to be the next indie rock act from Providence to make waves nationally. They have been grinding and going about it the right, yet hard, way, playing more and more regional shows and expanding to DIY touring across the country. I caught up with Roz recently and asked her about the new record. “I think the record is pretty eclectic but the theme is hunger of all kinds,” explained vocalist Roz Raskin. “The writing process was different in that many of the songs were written specifically for this album. It’s a bit of a concept album. Some of the lyrics and parts were written in the Columbus while we were recording with Ben and Jeff (of The Low Anthem).” Any way you shake it, Need to Feed is definitely one of the most anticipated albums locally of 2014. The Low Anthem and Dr Jones & The Shiners round out the bill.