RADIO CARBON – Caveman Ballads
7 tracks 75orless Records
There are no ballads on this record, although there might be some cavemen. The Troggs have influenced all punk and rock in a way, but that’s about it. This Providence band can destroy you, literally, if they want to. (The singer is a big man.) Based on my experience of seeing Radio Carbon live a few times, the only thing they want to hurt is your ears. The volume and energy is intense, and the songs and musicianship are polished but gritty. A solid release with one good song after another. It’s punk with elements of stoner and noise rock, and all that’s still good in this world.
THE LINCOLN TUNNEL – Today 2.0
75 Or Less Records
Christian Calderone is a smart songwriter and lyricist; one of the best around, judging from this debut effort. “Damn, I Wear It Well” begins this epic collection of brilliant songs with a circus-like romp, replete with a bass played like a trombone, an attenuated oompah rhythm, and some scorching guitar. “Big Decision” has a preening and brittle punk guitar rhythm and world-weary trailing vocals. “All Together Wrong” is lively, frantic indie rock bravado in the vein of the DBs; eminently hit-worthy. “Friend of the Roses” is a tuneful romp with an electrifying guitar-bass-drum hook and wistful trumpet filigrees courtesy of Ellen Block. “Makin’ Cents and Takin’ Vows” features liquescent guitar and is otherwise an inoffensive ballad. “Elemental Sun” features slapping drums and ingenious harmony vocals in the lead-up to the chorus. “Our Mother’s Sons” combines twangy guitar and echoey glad-making vocals with a lonesome trumpet melody. A surprisingly touching song, and Best of Show. “Ordinary Sky” is elevated psyche interspersed with an irresistible cascading guitar riff; it comes to a climax which is short and sweet. “Memphis” is a straight-ahead, paint-peeling, numinously buzzing rocker. “Line My Pockets” is a mysterious and spacy yet upbeat and surly love song. This is mostly excellent all the way through; the songs are smart and the band uses instrumentals like a good painter mixes colors for effect. Definitely a band to watch.
JETS CAN’T LAND – You Can’t Linger On
Some tasty retro ’9’s alt-pop from Rhode Island that you could probably seduce middle-aged chicks with, especially if you were slumming it in Providence. Very lightly psychedelic and jangly (in a non-’80s way), You Can’t Linger On will remind you of whatever obscure local indie-rock sensation you were into in 1994. Plus the lyrics are good, with MASH and ELO references and bummer lines like “Here I am watching things go bad again.” I’m not sure that I would personally listen to this regularly – I hate the ’90s except for that one song by Matthew Sweet – but if you’re still laboring under the delusion that everything was swell back when we were young and eating ramen for dinner six times a week, then this is your new favorite band.
GAVAGE – self titled
Gavage is a Providence punk rock group. There are catchy parts, heavy parts, and sax from Adrienne from one of the town’s best bands Downtown Boys that adds a slight undercurrent of avant garde to the rock ’n’ roll. I like that the CD comes with a lyric sheet, not many bands bother with this anymore. This is a good album to listen to as you stroll drunkenly down a dark alley, just before something crazy happens. If you make it out of that alley, you’ll want to listen to this album over and over again.