Without beating around the bush, here are three EPs worth hearing that have been sitting around the office a bit. Some of them I'd like to spend more time with, but it's kind of now or never. Give 'em a listen and check these bands out live — all of them are new to the scene.
Holy Boys Danger Club are a bit of a supergroup, featuring frontman Miek Rodrigue, who's been a sideman in Glory Trap, the Posters, and the Black Tie Affair, along with Dan Capaldi (there he is again!), and TJ Metcalf, who currently also plays with Lady Lamb the Beekeeper and was part of the excellent Cosades. Plus, here on their debut EP Lessons for Liars (seven songs, 30 minutes — three are over six minutes, plus there's a little secret track at the end) they get help from Spencer Albee on a couple tracks.
"City Kid Town" is the potential single, like a grittier early Springsteen — until the spacey keyboard-heavy bridge. Like most of the tracks here, it's original enough to be interesting but still has solid echoes of the past. "Kindest Regards" opens like a Spouse tune, heavy on the whiny guitar and breathy vocals, but finishes in a wide-open, crunchy jam, held together with a pretty melody line. "Criminal" is 12-bar blues, with a great organ backing and Rodrigue dropping the lyrics like they're bleeding from him: "Last night I was gonna kill a man, but my baby stole my gun."
Unlike some of Jonathan Wyman's more polished productions, he keeps things pretty loose here, to good effect. Sometimes they sound downright live — Neil Young and Crazy Horse live — and it completely works.
This is a young band (under 1000 plays on MySpace), but they've recently added Zach Jones (As Fast As) on guitar and Nathan Cyr (Dominic and the Lucid) to play bass for live shows, and you'd be wise to keep them on your radar.
LESSONS FOR LIARS | Released by Holy Boys Danger Club | Spinout, WCYY, with Mark Curdo, 93.9 FM | April 9 | www.myspace.com/holyboysdangerclub
Throwback and blowback
Normally I don't give much time to misogynistic mediocre hip-hop (self-described as "pornocore"), but there's something about Mechanical Hound's four-song Classy as Shit that's kind of charming, despite its drawbacks. Sure, the opening "Slam Pig" is offensive on just about every level ("You better go and wash your vag, cuz I can taste the clap"), but that's mostly the drill with late-'90s hip-hop, and the production's really not bad at all, with some jazzy backing on "Drugs or Money" to go with the ode to intoxicants of all kinds: "Cuz you know I don't blow my dough on the honeys."
This isn't anything special, but it's sort of fun (depending on your definition of that word).
CLASSY AS SHIT | Released by Mechanical Hound | at the Brickhouse, in Dover | April 20 | www.myspace.com/mechanicalhound207
Down and dirty
In a throwback to early British rock, The/Class/Machine open up stripped-down and unadorned on their seven-song debut Uproot EP. The vocals have a bit of a chorus on them, and the guitar and bass are made more throaty, but this disc is about rhythm and a good, old-fashioned gut punch, not unlike what Meantone's doing, or the Black Keys.