By ROB DUGUAY
The setup for a rock band is a fairly standard one – the drums, guitars and bass that make for an amplified sound. The end result comes from the artistic direction the band goes in, and it can go in a variety of ways.
Rhode Island rock act Foul Weather Friend blends of power-pop and Americana on its new EP “Hang Out/Hang On,” which came out Jan. 20 via the Warren label 75orLess Records, to create an accessible style of alternative rock. The recording’s production, courtesy of lead guitarist Martin Walsh at Subterranean Studios in Waterbury, Connecticut, is clear, with all the instruments coming through pristinely.
Foul Weather Friend has local ties to the area due to bassist Bruce Humphrey being a Warwick resident, with drummer Dana Lemoine being a native to the city and vocalist and guitarist Steve Nagy calling Cranston home. Walsh is from North Kingstown and is currently living in Providence. This quartet’s new release has a no-nonsense approach with stellar solos and straightforward melodies.
“The six songs chosen to go on the record were worked out over the last year while we were practicing,” Nagy said of the making of the EP. “A lot of the songs are influenced by suburban American life in the early 21st century. When it came time to go into the studio we wanted the songs to cover a lot of musical ground, from power pop to blues-rock to a country-folk sound. Along with handling the production, Martin [Walsh] also did the guitar and keyboard work. We took six months to record, which allowed us time and space to craft the songs. We’re happy with the end product and are hopeful that others also enjoy it.”
“Good Day” starts off with a cool drumbeat from Lemoine, while Walsh and Nagy’s guitars exhibit glossy tones. Leaning towards the country-folk route is “A Million Cuts,” a song about heartbreak that never seems to end. A deep, bluesy sound encompasses “Mercy In Retrograde,” while the track can be considered a borderline rockabilly number with a twangy vibe.
“Misfits” has a slight surf aesthetic, and “I Got Nothing” captures the rough ‘n’ tumble times life can sometimes bring with sheer distortion coming from the six strings. Closing out the record is “Moment In Time,” a blue-eyed soul ballad that flows with emotion.
Nagy, Walsh, Lemoine and Humphrey have two gigs coming up, one at Askew in Providence on Feb. 22 and another at the News Cafe in Pawtucket on Feb. 28. For the Providence show, they’ll be celebrating the EP’s release with Providence rockers Deadlands, Psychedelic Clown Car and Plug. In Pawtucket, the band will be sharing a bill with Providence punks Stubborn Hearts, Providence garage-rock trio Sugar Cones and The Underwires from Newport.
Whether you’re only going to one show or both, grab a copy of Foul Weather Friend’s new record. It’s a wide-ranging release that’ll please an abundance of tastes.
To learn more about Foul Weather Friend, follow the band on Facebook or visit foulweatherfriend.bandcamp.com