A few years back I raved about a band called Holiday. They were surprisingly good, hooky, and edgy, fresh in a familiar sort of way. Holiday had its flirtation with success and then drifted into the ether of near-misses. Now the core of Holiday has resurfaced as Neo Nouveau, this time with an air of confidence it lacked in its last incarnation. (Back then the charm came from the band’s youthful naïveté.) Their debut disc, The Forks & Knives, vibrates with aggressive ideas and self-assurance. It kicks off with the spare new wave of “What Are You Waiting For?,” lurches into the bristly punk of “And They Tell Their Friends,” and touches on some dancy pop-rock before surprising us with the chilly, Sparklehorse-flavored “Dino¬saur Bones” and the instrumentals “Dead Can Dance” (with Zox’s Spencer Swain) and “Silver & Orange.” Strangely, they briefly lapse into a facile dancin’ groove, which in listening to most of the other tracks you’d have thought they’d transcended, and songs such as “Something Borrowed,” perhaps a crowd favorite, has some Grateful Deadish overtones. There’s a fine line between memorable grooves and obvious ones, and NN largely stays on the correct side of that divide, thanks to good raw material, nice production (with Mike Viele), and some exuberance that doesn’t obviate the simplicity of the band’s hooks. Singers/guitarists Titus DosRemedios and Dylan Ryder bring the grit, while Chase Leonard and Laurent Valliere do the rhythmic bashing, all of which makes for intriguing possibilities and perhaps a second chance at success.
NEO NOUVEAU: lurches from new wave to punk to dancy pop-rock.
NEO NOUVEAU + JOHNNY LINGO + THE BROTHER KITE + THE SINGLES | CD release show at the Century Lounge | Aug 5 | 401.751.2255
In a jam
Native Rhode Islander Dean Budnick, an esteemed author and music journalist, is premiering his first film, WETLANDS PRESERVED, on Thursday, August 10 as part of the Rhode Island International Film Festival. The documentary explores the history of the New York nightclub Wetlands Preserve and features interviews and performances with Dave Matthews, Bob Weir, Phish, Sublime, 311, the Roots, Blues Traveler, and more. The unique Gotham room had a deep and interesting history, thanks to founder Larry Bloch’s eco-tendencies and his good taste in music. It opened in 1989 as a self-styled “eco-saloon,” and had quite the run, helping the jam band scene to coalesce. By the time it closed in September 2001, it had become an archetype of great business practices.
WETLANDS PRESERVED | Columbus Theatre | Aug 10 6:45 pm | www.RIFilmFest.org
Dukin' it out
Itchy noses will abound on Saturday night, as a grand total of 16 bands will be duking it out for various laurels. At Snookers’ Pool Lounge, eight bands selected by the Cleveland-based Rock Hard Entertainment will be vying for money, label exposure, and studio time. Bands include AND THIS IS FOUR, ONE STEP, DOWNTIME, FATE CHANGE, UNSUNG HERO, and HELENA’S BLUE. It’ll be a fierce night of indie rock and funk, so go cheer ’em on. Call 401.351.7665.
There will be more fisticuffs at the Living Room on Saturday, where another eight bands will go head-to-head for a chance to play at the Providence Roller Derby championship. Doors open at 6 pm and bands include THE GONERS, EVA BRAUN, 6-STAR GENERAL, SO AUTOMATIC, THE CHAINLETTER, ROUTE 44, THE COBRAMATICS, and FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH. Call 401.521.5200.