[abridged version below]
The music scene in Providence – and throughout Rhode Island – is insane. We’ve got more badass, super talented and hardworking musicians per capita than any other city in the world (don’t look that up, just go with it). But what’s more is we’ve got everything covered. Folk, rock, hip hop, punk; name a genre, cross pollinate it with another, hell just start making things up (Death-funk surf-rap!) and there’s almost definitely someone in RI doing it.
So where to start? We’ve assembled a crack team of musicians, promoters and supporters all plugged in to the local scene to give you your official 2015 local playlist and to tell you who you should be keeping an eye on. We’ve also got our five favorite records of the year, plus a look back at some shows that we felt best represent the eclectic nature of music in Providence.
Mark MacDougall, founder of 75orLess Records
1. “Stay” by Bob Kendall – Longtime Newport legend Bob Kendall is an indie pop magician, with echoes of REM, The db’s, and George Harrison.
2. “Double Nickels on the Dime” by Groundhawgs
3. “Huge Bruise (Live at Dusk)” by Black Oil Incinerator – Crusty gentlemen blowing out your eardrums with catchy hooks buried beneath an avalanche of amps and pedals.
4. “Credit Score” by Jodie Treloar
5. “Damn Unicorn” by Suicide Bill and the Liquors – A short, heartbreaking ballad; it’s the undiscovered anthem for all the schmucks you know still getting up at 5am every day for a job they hate.
Feng Shui Police
A trio of Brown University too-young-to-care weirdos from Newton, MA who have managed to successfully channel the influences of Half Japanese and Pavement with the charm of Jonathan Richmond. The local champions of Spazzy doo-wop and Elephant 6-influenced pop hooks. They are currently recording the follow-up to their 75orLess EP Thank You. –Mark MacDougall, founder of Providence indie music label 75orLess Records
SUICIDE BILL & THE LIQUORS Cricket Wisdom
Low-budget Big Star worship abounds here. The fact that this is their fifth album and it sounds like a clunky demo might be worrisome to some, but I think it works. They never land square on the beat, their timing is always slightly off, the solos have duff lines here and there, the vocals slip out of tune, and it always sounds like it’s all happening in a basement next to a leaky water heater. These guys are not swashbucklers, they’re bunglers, but endearing bunglers with decent record collections and open hearts who probably remember their friends’ birthdays. Most of the songs are about how girls don’t dig them, which is cool. A few of the songs – funny/sad power-popper “No Friends,” the Husker-y “Cool Fail” – would be hits if somebody, you know, more competent recorded them. Overall, I’d say Cricket Wisdom squeaks by on low-watt charm. It’s not as good as I’d like it to be, but what is these days? (Sleazegrinder)
I AM TOM CUMMINS Holiday 3-Pak
A cruel person might suggest that “Squirrel Song,” with its ukulele accompaniment and spacy keyboards, is like something a mentally challenged person might conjure up—but I beg to differ; it takes a good deal of talent to come up with and put across this faux-naif approach. “Downy Woodpecker” is another supposedly poignant encomium to the natural world, replete with aah-ing chorus. “Resolve to Start Again” is a bit like a terminally depressed Mr. Rogers decrying the commercialism of the Christmas season. Short and sweet, but, all in all, a bit twee for my taste. (Francis DiMenno)
COMA COMA The New American Dream
If you like indie rock, I would say this album is above par. I’m not sure why, I just feel like if you like stuff like this, it’s a prime example. The end. (Sleazegrinder)
with Father, Misty, and the Big Rock, Anthony Daniels
75OL-199 Suicide Bill & The Liquors – Cricket Wisdom CD
$7.00 S&H Included
$7.00 S&H Included
1. Irish Eyes
2. Feel Like
3. Womb Tomb
4. Damn Unicorn
5. No Friends
6. Quality Control
7. Rock Roll
8. Foolish Amputee
9. Cool Fail
10. Roll Call
11. Tourist T-shirt
12. Cricket Wisdom
Suicide Bill and the Liquors are back with their 5th full length album release on 75orLess.
Rock/Roll in the basement by balding guitar players who should know better.
It’s now 2015.
Have Suicide Bill and the Liquors learned a thing or two?
Only crickets have the wisdom.
75OL-159 Suicide Bill and the Liquors – Suicide Comes Alive CD
$7.00 S&H Included
$7.00 S&H Included
1 Bill’s Alternative Country
2 The Independent Man
3 What’s Up Nobody?
4 Real Problem
5 Onion Guy
7 Fire Engine Red
8 Blind Girl
9 Biscuit City Bliss
10 River Friend
11 Nothing Makes Bill Happy
Want to know what 2 or 3 drunk folks usually endure at a Suicide Bill show? Want to know why the hell Bill won a singer/songwriter award in the Providence Phoenix? “Suicide Comes Alive!” answers all the big questions and raises a few new ones. Eleven new live and semi-alive songs featuring Bill and his guitar with backup shouts and percussion from The Liquors make up their 5th record. Bill’s brand of loud-acoustic/alt. rock has never been stronger than it is here. Three of the songs also feature great guitar and harmony-vocal work from the most elusive member of the Liquors, Ray Pruitt. Once again, Suicide and company make a record that sounds good cranked up in your car while you deliver stuff — probably pizza or newspapers. Have fun on your route.
SIX STAR GENERAL
Firehouse 13 Providence, RI
Pvd Social Club EARLY SHOW 7-10PM Prov, RI
The Providence Phoenix wraps up the 2012 year in local music, including Mark Cutler, Suicide Bill, and Sweet Love.
Motif Magazine’s Alt-Nation has released their annual ‘Best 2012 Top 5 Albums and Songs.
Among them, 75orLess releases Groundhawgs ‘War Birds’, Mark Cutler’s ‘Sweet Pain’, and Vertical Twin’s ‘ElectroSonicMotherPhonic’.
In the Top 5 Songs of the Year, 75orLess artists Soma Nova, Mark Cutler, and Hank Sinatra Jr made the cut.