Sounds of early summer

From Gin Mill Jane to Scare Don't Fear
By CHRIS CONTI  |  June 25, 2013

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A MELLOW MASH Gin Mill Jane.

Dear God almighty it’s hot as hell out here, so we decided to hit the mailbag and cue up a few recent releases while wondering what it feels like to work in an office with central air (apparently we pass the savings on to you). We’re soaking up some local sounds of early summer, from the sunny and soulful Gin Mill Jane to Malyssa BellaRosa’s rocking new crew to bowel-churning rap-metal vets Scare Don’t Fear.

PVD-based quartet Gin Mill Jane formed in 2011 and just last week released the debut EP ’Til You Come Home (recorded at Machines With Magnets), a mellow mash of roots, folk, and jazz certainly worth picking up ($5 at ginmilljane.bandcamp.com). Heather Randell’s vocals are exceptional across the six tracks, right from the first lines of “A Little More”: “I was sweet as honey, and he stung just like a bee/I wish I hadn’t cried so hard when he was leaving me.” No time to wallow, though, as Randell is off to find a better man “to take my blues away” before the song opens up into a funky jazz number. Guitarist Brian Knoth and Randell often play out as an acoustic duo (at local spots like Sidebar Bistro) and songs such as the title track and “3000 Miles” are gleaming examples of these two in action. Drummer Eric Hastings keeps things moving on a spirited cover of Sam Cooke’s “Ain’t That Good News,” and Randell rides the groove on the smoldering closer “Gone to Glory.” Gin Mill Jane will be a featured act at Hemenway’s summer concert series on August 8 and 22, performing three sets each night starting around 6 pm. In the meantime, check ginmilljane.com for news and show announcements.

Acclaimed singer-songwriter Malyssa BellaRosa recently stepped down as lead crooner for Fall & Bounce, then just two months later recruited a full band, the Liberators, and cut a self-titled EP in the process ($5 at madlibs.bandcamp.com). BellaRosa’s sultry vocals remain intact, but this debut five-track EP is best served cranked up, as Malyssa & the Liberators are a decidedly rocking outfit. It’s understandable when considering the Liberators’ personnel: Sharlene DeNardo (of SexCoffee) on bass and backing vocals, drummer Nick Iddon (formerly of hard-rock kings Kanerko), and Grammy-nominated studio guru and guest guitarist George Dussault (who produced and engineered the EP at his Galilee Productions). Dussault and Iddon are also members of Kris Hansen’s Viking Jesus (check back for a full feature on the recent VJ debut record).

The quartet’s chemistry is instantly apparent; BellaRosa creeps up on Dussault’s guitar on “Dark Side” before Iddon rides the catchy riff and blows the sound wide open. Iddon controls the galloping tempo on personal favorite “Out of Time.” I’ve said it before — Iddon is a goddamn beast behind the kit and hits harder than anyone in his buck-oh-five weight class, as anyone who ever attended a Kanerko show back in the day can attest. BellaRosa’s dynamic vocal range is pretty damn potent, even while sleeping until 3 pm and drinking a fifth of gin on “Lover Undercover,” and she and DeNardo harmonize well on the closing track, “Me Without You.” Bella-Rosa continues to play out as a solo singer-songwriter, but the promising early returns on this EP assures that we’ll be hearing plenty more from Malyssa & the Liberators. The band has recently shared stages with a wide array of acts, from founding Parliament-Funkadelic legend Bernie Worrell to local slayers Olneyville Sound System and Lolita Black.

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