FRANK SABBATH Martin, Ferri, Archer, and Rapoza (clockwise from lower left).
Angry Farmer guitarist/lead vocalist Matt Martin claims he doesn't understand what "crunchy rock" means when I refer to what I'm hearing on Angry Farmer's new five-song EP debut, Sentimental Disconnect while we're taking a gander at their press pics. Shirtless guitarist Tim Archer rocks the overalls-and-coonskin cap set, and fashion-police fugitive Martin is literally stunning in his lederhosen and a camouflage ball cap, stonewashed jeans, and white New Balance cross-trainers. That's not to say the Rehoboth-based quartet (including bassist Bill Ferri and razor-sharp drummer Dan Rapoza) take their music lightly, for much of Sentimental Disconnect brings forth tight musicianship with plenty of '70s and '80s rock "crunch." To the chagrin of music pundits, I guess Angry Farmer offers rock without pretense, no (___)-rock prefix required.
"The crunchy riffs you're referring to come from years of staring at a wall while listening to Black Sabbath," Martin told me while recently discussing the new Angry Farmer record, as well as the many other musical outlets he (and his bandmates) is involved with. Martin's track record and stellar reputation within the local music community cannot be denied; he is going on 10 years with "contemporary skiffle tip-tap roots" trio the Wippets, and performs regularly with the Goods, Lyin' Bitch & the Restraining Orders, and Ten Rod Ramblers, and has frequently filled in as bassist and drummer with the Propellers (who will kick off the show at the Spot at 8:30 pm sharp; Angry Farmer will join the Propellers at the New Wave Cafe in New Bedford on February 11). Martin, Rapoza, and Ferri make a living as music instructors and play out three or four nights per week in various bands, turning up just about any place that has a PA, from Tinker's Nest in Warren to Duffy's in Wickford.
"The Wippets are my beer and butter," Martin told me last spring over beers at the Common Pub. "Angry Farmer is the band you always dreamed of forming with friends from the record store you all worked at."
Martin wrote and recorded the new Angry Farmer tracks as demos, then "called in the big guns to bring 'em to life," he said in high regard of his fellow Farmers.
"Matt is one of the most accomplished and respected musicians I know," said Propellers guitarist Bob Chace, "and if Black Sabbath and Frank Zappa had a baby it would be an Angry Farmer."
Martin said the album title references "finally letting go of something from your past," but Sentimental Disconnect is a quirky lovechild steeped in screwball lyrics and vintage rock riffs. See the EP's third track, "Back of the Brain," for apropos Zappa nods; Aunt Fergie is floating in Martin's chicken soup, and "there is no future in the past," as Martin growls out the hook, "I don't give a good goddamn about who you might think I am." He then proceeds to blow my mind with: "Forget everything, porcupines and wedding rings/I think I just pissed my pants." The opening title track is fun and catchy enough, and the licks on "Ultimate Truth" accompany Martin's prose, presumably inspired by Gene Simmons: "The sickness is painful and so is the cure/I'll be the doctor you have to endure." And the bong rip midway through "Bucket" makes perfect sense when considering what's going on here.