The Z-Boys – Elwood
Here’s (I’m assuming) a Motif exclusive: Elwood, the sophomore album from Newport’s The Z-Boys, hits the streets March 6. They’re a band known for their high-energy performances. With tempos and influences all over the place, it’s like a dump truck careening along the edge of a canyon road. Fans will be pleased that the new album manages to keep much of the mayhem intact.
You may be familiar with the brand of “everything overload” the Newport band pours into the cauldron, throwing in blues rock, surf, Latin, country and more. Distilling a dynamic live band into an album format can be difficult. Studio constraints have the Z-Boys a bit more restrained, but without a lot of production fluff.
“You Lie” is familiar blues rock territory about lying, cheating, etc, and “Don’t Have to Hang Around” is a folk-Mariachi tune mixed with a pleasant country vibe. “Too Slow” is a Steely Dan-like shuffle with a barrage of drum fills, and “Wanna Be Sure” features chunky, arena rock power chords. The downside with the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink method is there’s no real standout track.
Elwood has the expected guitar fireworks present in every song, along with rock solid, tasteful bass playing. The drumming is enthusiastic if not overbearing at times, like Keith Moon on Lite Rock 105.
I think the best times are when they just fuckin’ go for it full bore without bothering with a melody. “The Duel” is a six-and-a-half-minute instrumental opening with a Bohnam-like, thunder-on-the-mountaintop drum solo that builds to a rock ‘n’ Latin flavor. The hard funk of “Stratus” gives us another 6-plus minute rager.
With Elwood, The Z-Boys show that they are unapologetically all in. But to me, it’s still essentially a live experience, so it’s time to get out to a show if you like what you hear.
The Z-Boys will celebrate Elwood’s release at Dusk on Mar 6 along with Tall Teenagers and Jesse the Tree. 9pm. Find Elwood at: thezboys.bandcamp.com
Lazy Magnet — Mahogany
Local music journeyman Jeremy Harris and his Lazy Magnet project is back with the atmospheric Mahogany, being celebrated with a vinyl release show at the Columbus March 10. You may remember his recent shoegaze project from a previous column. His newest effort puts forward his own brand of shadowy jazz standards.
Harris brings a singular, sweeping vision to each project. “Seahorse” and “Shade For” have a haunting quality that surrounds the swaying saxophone, vibraphone and the occasional classy cymbal swirl. But Mahogany goes beyond the low-lighting noir sound. “The Air You Breathe Is” has an appealing synth-pop minimalism with a great vocal performance and hook but repeats at length. “Hopeless Feeling” is a rocking blast of fuzz and guitars.
Mahogany isn’t for the faint of heart or short of attention. The album unfolds into something out of a black and white foreign film soundtrack, but the plodding and slow tempos sometimes make it easy to lose focus.
Lazy Magnet is holding the Mahogany vinyl release show upstairs at the Columbus Theater on Mar 14 with Clay Camero. 9pm. Find Mahogany at: lazymagnet.bandcamp.com/album/mahogany-2019
Local Music Rundown
Sure it’s great to go see Brit Floyd (March 10) or Against Me! (March 13), but let’s stick to our roots. Here are some local (and local-ish) acts to catch:
Triangle Forest; Isadora’s 93 Club; Friday, March 6: A mysterious new venue in Olneyville appears out of the fog — the perfect place to take in the catchy synth pop of Triangle Forest. What does 93 refer to? Are there any other acts on the bill? The suspense is palpable.
Will Orchard/Myles Bullen/Dylan Lucas; Askew; Saturday, March 14: Will Orchard, the songwriter formerly known as LittleBoyBigHeadOnBike, joins a bill with The Horse-Eyed Men’s Dylan Harley and rapper Myles Bullen. Come get some fried chicken on a stick.
Varsity Club/ Well Wisher/ H.R. In Clover/Stereoflower; Dusk; Sunday, March 22: Sunday night is a time to get ready for the week, but why not get ready to rock instead? Dusk, located in the industrial hinterlands of the capital city, hosts a night of alt rock bands brought to you by Top 5 Fiend.
Rick from Pile (solo), Mountainess, TBA; AS220; Wednesday, March 25: Originating in Beantown, Pile has amassed an impressive following on the strength of their dreary, post-punk noise.
Ski Bunny/Viking Jesus/My Mother/Ghosts in the Snow; Parlour; Saturday, March 28: Parlour regulars Viking Jesus anchors a solid night of music. And the music’s not all — this show is your chance to check out the Parlour’s classy new stage sign.