Hot summer nights

By SAM PFEIFLE  |  June 10, 2009

Phase IV | Released by the Project Seven | with Blisters Grow and Athame | at Champions, in Biddeford | June 13 |myspace.com/theprojectseven


tony main

Holy Smokes 

You're definitely a garage-rock band if you record your debut album in your garage and it sounds about right. Though their self-titled disc is the definition of rough-around-the-edges, Tony Smokes and the Ladykillers wear it well. Sounding like everything might be funneled through a single mic hanging from the ceiling, the drums are thin, the bass is way forward, and the vocals echo with reverb, but damn it's a lot of fun. Owen Keiter's ape of David Byrne in the delightfully silly "Total Disco!" is alone worth the investment in the album. But there are also power-rock ballads, thrash-punk chaos, and even a Jimmy Buffett-like acoustic number to keep you on your toes.

To call this a demo does a disservice to most demos nowadays, but there's a ton of charm in these 11 tracks, including a reminder of why some of us went to all those grange hall gigs in the first place.

Tony Smokes and the Ladykillers | Released by Tony Smokes and the Ladykillers | with Lady Lamb the Beekeeper + Feel it Robot | at the Empire, in Portland | June 11 | myspace.com/tonysmokesmusic 


billycarroll main

The Here and Now

Looking for the roots equivalent of a hip-hop mixtape? Look no further than Billy Carroll's new Now. Here. This., a collection of 19 brief songs and good ideas, many of them under two minutes, just one of them over three. Percussion is often a foot stomping or a hand slapping a knee. The vocals are often early-Dylan, but can veer into Louis Armstrong two octaves higher or Leon Redbone. Recordings might be live from Carroll's weekly sessions at Blue or 2 am bedroom takes.

If you don't like silly in your music, stay away, as there's plenty of irony, foolishness, and plain old gag writing here. Songs like "Restraining Order" or "Chicken" are pretty much one-trick ponies. There's a track in the middle with a NYC-accented gangster voice imploring you to take a break (a piss, say) before you enter into side B. The second half's more rockin' than the first, but just as ridiculous: "I got sunshine grass in my all-night pants." There's a song called "The End" (which is nothing but applause) that's not the end.

What did I say about Tony Smokes and demos? Hell, this makes Tony Smokes's album look like it was produced by Phil Specter. But, again, there are kernels of interesting stuff here. Willing to sift through the chaff to find the wheat? Have at it.

Now. Here. This. | Released by Billy Carroll | at Blue, in Portland | June 18 | myspace.com/blindbillyblake 

< prev  1  |  2  | 
  Topics: CD Reviews , Louis Armstrong, Jimmy Buffett, Owen Keiter,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY SAM PFEIFLE
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   ME AND MY GRANDMA  |  April 17, 2014
    There’s no question that Rob Schreiber’s Standard Issue play the hits.
  •   SO LONG, SLAINTE  |  April 16, 2014
    Why would so many lament a little venue with sightlines that make Fenway Park look wide open?
  •   THE INVINCIBLE OLAS  |  April 09, 2014
    The band have newly created Cada Nueva Ola , as rollicking as any family dinner table.
  •   DIGGING UP THE PAST  |  April 04, 2014
    Now Tumbling Bones have followed Ghost’s release earlier this year with a full-length debut of their own, equally impressive in its construction and execution.
  •   WHISTLING PAST THE GRAVEYARD  |  March 28, 2014
    The various instruments employed (mostly acoustic, in flavors of folk, gospel, and early blues) serve their purpose well: as a platform for Barrett to showcase her considerable vocal talents.

 See all articles by: SAM PFEIFLE