Here are some releases that I’ve been meaning to get to. There’s no time like now.
The Goners | In Memory of the Goners
If punk was a ship, we’re pretty sure the Goners would be going down with it, diehard as they are. This six-song, 16-minute EP is prima facie evidence that the band — Tony, Roger, and Dan — is punk to its chewy center, and damn proud of it. The product is no-frills, no multi-tracked guitars or overdubbed vocals. What you hear is what you get, and that’s enough when you have the energy of the Goners. Yeah, it’s a throwback and, yeah, it could use a dowsing of melody. But its heart is in the right place — sounding an awful lot like the legendary X on “House from Hell” — and their performances are genuine, naturally. Could they be Providence’s version of the Buzzcocks? I don’t see why not.
Anomalous | Fixation On the Negative
This has been out for a while, but the band’s currently in prime form, so it needs to be addressed. The Anomalous sound cuts through the darkness like a rusty knife through lifeless flesh. It’s a shapeless shifting noise that takes unexpected detours through all kinds of unpredictable long cuts. If Mike Patton were the frontman of Napalm Death or some other slammin’ grindcore, they might sound something like Anomalous (and if Jello Biafra wrote their lyrics). A modicum of focus would help target the barrage and make it more powerful. Like the title says, Fixation is indeed focused on the negative. But, as we who have subsisted on heavy rock for a few decades now can attest, negative sure as hell ain’t all bad.
Knitting by Twilight | Someone to Break the Silence
There’s a healthy whiff of whimsy surrounding this John Orsi side project. It’s slightly more accessible and lighter of heart than his Overflower work, but no less interesting. KBT is another of Providence’s loose and consummately creative collectives. These ensemble projects generally begin as the seedling idea of one person, but take root in several different directions. The result is entertaining and substantial tunes such as the opening “Sigh” and eerie closer “Audrey,” which takes its roots from the compositions of Steve Reich and Philip Glass.
Andrew Spatz | Real Time
When you play solo acoustic music, you should have three tricks up your sleeve: you have to play yer guitar, you have to sing with a believable voice, and you have to write credible lyrics. Luckily, Andrew Spatz, a hard-working, hard-charging South County folk musician, has all three. His latest demo-type disc is characterized by ’70s songwriter style a la Cat Stevens. And while his melodies don’t ring out like Yusef’s — he has a way of playing unusual chords that don’t always translate — he does show promise in his ability to write meaningful tunes. The songs are aggressive and passionate without being passive, almost anti-folk. Catch him when he sings next, usually in and around his home base; I’m sure he’ll let you know how he really feels.