Ridin' the spine

Wax Tablet
By PORTLAND PHOENIX MUSIC STAFF  |  January 18, 2012

waxtabs_rattlesnakes_main
REVELING Rattlesnakes.

• Got this one faxed in from classifieds: the honky-tonk band BIG ASS ROOSTER is looking for a new full-time fiddler to round out their full-on twang assault. They're the house band for Bayside Bowl's sorta-new "I'm Too Broke to Be This Drunk" country night, playing classical country in the Tubb and Haggard vein once every month. Interested parties should apply at the band's FB page.

• One of the last great local releases of 2011 (well, kinda . . . more on that later), the RATTLESNAKES released Spine, a seven-song EP last month, the first recording with second guitarist Brian Houdlette. Musically, the 'Snakes keep wriggling in the same terrain they always have: upbeat post-punk anthems with a '50s rock and roll swagger, but Spine finds them suddenly fuller. Houdlette's psych-y, chordy strums stabilize original guitarist Brian Cohen's articulate stabs, and the extra melodic footing has given Tara Cohen's voice much more room to explore. On the lo-fi garage-y songs in the band's older catalogue, Cohen's vocals sometimes seemed beholden to the rhythms; here she's often leading the charge. She soars like never before on "Alleyway," a 12/8 barnstormer that's probably the band's best song to date, and is awesomely dynamic on the complex and meditative "Spine." The Rattlesnakes have always seemed to revel in their messier moments, and those aren't lost, just a little less accidental. It's a tremendously enjoyable and promising release, but it's not exactly out yet: Spine is available to stream at the band's bandcamp, but not exactly downloadable until CDs are ready, which will hopefully be at their Geno's show January 21 with the SHONDES and DJ KURT BAKER.

• Those with their mitts on the pulse of ski culture would be pleased to learn that local bro-folk unit PETE KILPATRICK BAND have been added to this year's FestEvol at Mount Sunapee, New Hampshire. Aside from being a skiing fan's white dream, one of the main attractions at FestEvol is the Eco-Village designed by Reverb, a Portland-based sustainability organization helping to green national concert tours. The PKB are part of an exclusive list of musicians: they play with alternative mainstays Barenaked Ladies Saturday, March 31, and yield to Guster and Big Head Todd and the Monsters on Sunday. Lift ticket and concert packages cost $95 per day and $169 for the weekend. Visit festevol.com for total info.

  Topics: New England Music News , Pete Kilpatrick, Pete Kilpatrick, Brian Cohen,  More more >
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