PARTY MIX The Doll Eyes.
Be sure to get to the Apartment ("where Jake's usedta be") on Saturday, where the mighty 75orLess Records will set up shop for a dual-anniversary bash, as the Apartment celebrates its first year in business and the Warren-based label just passed the five-year mark. Expect a can't-miss marathon of quality, eclectic rock acts starting around 2 pm, with guest DJs spinning between sets and burgers and dogs on the patio.
"This year has been a blur," said 75orLess CEO Mark "Slick" MacDougall earlier this week. He has a one-release-per-week streak going straight through summer and, by year's end, expect new stuff from South Coast garage-country rockers the Blood Moons, Soma Nova (ex-Medicine Ball), and Good Time Charlie (ex-Mustache Ride), who will all perform this weekend. The birthday bash also serves as a release party for David Tessier, the Birkitt Transmissions, and a DVD by resident label loon (and Girl Haggard guitarist) Hank Sinatra Jr.
MacDougall has cranked out more than 120 albums since 2006, from a converted garage at his house in Warren. There's no denying MacDougall is in this solely for the love of the music; he recently told the Warren Times, "The label pays for itself, I've just been rotating the same $400 for five and a half years now." Come October, his record review site that started it all, 75orless.com, named for succinct album critiques penned in 75 words or less, will hit the 10-year mark (Time magazine acknowledged the site as one of "15 Great Sites for Musicians and Fans" in 2003). The review site is worth a regular visit, particularly for "Friday's Found Music," where MacDougall culls the web for a variety of live recordings and B-sides (a recent round-up posted links to Miles Davis and GG Allin).
75orLess absolutely cleaned up in our Best Music Poll this year, and Saturday is your chance to catch six of the winners, including Broadcaster and Coma Coma, in one room, free of charge. I'm looking forward to hearing new stuff from the diePods and witnessing the Doll Eyes in action (Too Many Feelings is punk-drunk goodness), and MacDougall noted, "We have some surprise performances planned that are still in negotiation." Visit 75orlessrecords.com for the full lineup.
PARTY MIX Six Star General.
MacDougall arranges label showcases at rotating local haunts like Billy Goode's and Jimmy's Saloon in Newport and No Problemo and the Black Watch Pub in New Bedford, and I can attest to some memorable madness at Bristol's Common Pub and the unfortunately short-lived 201 downtown. But the Apartment has become the label's go-to crash pad. It turns out that general manager John Massed grew up one street over from MacDougall and Six Star General guitarist Kyle Jackson, and is longtime friends with Coma Coma singer/bassist Eric Sampson ("the Warren Secret Society strikes again!" cracked MacDougall). Massed told me via email that ownership was initially reluctant to host live music but gave in five months into the venture. Massed's first call was to MacDougall. The bar now hosts shows every Friday night, plus hip-hop events on Thursdays and weekly open mic jam sessions.
"John had been coming to label shows for years, and it's great to work with someone from way back," MacDougall told me.