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Winter warmers

Local rockers drop it like it's cold
By MATT PARISH  |  December 30, 2009

ALL HANDS ON DECK Major Stars return with their second Drag City release.

Here we are, finally — winter. This is where those New England training wheels come off and you decide whether you're truly a local. Sure, some bands take the easy route and have album releases through the summer, enticing you to shows with back-patio barbecues and all-night rooftop after-parties. In January? Not so much. These bands have nothing but their jams to draw you in, but take a listen — they are totally worth the wet socks.

THE MAIN DRAG | T.T. the Bear's Place | January 7 | We've lately been feeling a little neglected by laptop-poppers the Main Drag, but we're probably just being sensitive. Turns out they've been holed up in singer Adam Arrigo's apartment, busily mixing down You Are Underwater — the full-length result of three years spent live band-ifying the source material from Arrigo's first Main Drag record. Underwater hit the Internet in December and will receive the full Rock Band Network treatment (so your grandkids can play along), and they're releasing it on real, live "compact discs" through their self-run imprint Reasonable People's League at their CD release party.
10 Brookline St, Cambridge | 9 pm | $8 | 617.492.BEAR

SPIRIT KID | T.T. the Bear's Place | January 7 | That very same night, at that very same show, this pick-up '60s garage-pop band fronted by ex-Stern Emmen Zarookian and his house-of-mirrors gang of vocal harmonies will release their homonymous debut (also on the Main Drag's Reasonable People's League imprint), with Arrigo himself on guitar duties. Zarookian played all the instruments on the record, but has since stacked up a full-time band to flesh out the starry-eyed Beatles rave-ups he's been crafting on his own for the last few years.
10 Brookline St, Cambridge | 9 pm | $8 | 617.492.BEAR or

BIG EAST | Church | January 7 | Meanwhile, across town at Church, new locals Big East are setting out to prove that, yes, there is life left in harmonica-driven blues rock — chin-scratching indie-rock scene be damned! Were you wondering if you'd ever hear soulful white-dude vocals over front porch frat-funk again? Let tonight be your answer, when Big East release their debut, Condita, a sprawling mass of zombie '90s jams about girls with booze on their breath and trying to remember what day it is.
69 Kilmarnock St, Boston | 9 pm | $8 |617.236.1066 or

CONSERVATIVE MAN | Middle East upstairs | January 9 | Ian McCarthy put together Conservative Man to realize his latest batch of slender electro spy-rock for a homonymous EP recorded with local audio warlock and Luxury leader Jason Dunn. When I talked to McCarthy about the record — which swirls with James Cameron underwater-alien effects and somber Brit-pop melodies and has schematics for a time machine on the cover — it was like getting an email from that Nigerian prince looking for an investment partner. He says his bassist was abducted by NASA and McCarthy was somehow stranded on an island off New Jersey. I don't know what to make of it either, but here's hoping he'll make it to his own release party.
472 Mass Ave, Cambridge | 9 pm | $10 | 617.864.EAST or

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  Topics: Music Features , Entertainment, Music, Mascara,  More more >
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  •   WINTER WARMERS  |  December 30, 2009
    Sure, some bands take the easy route and have album releases through the summer, enticing you to shows with back-patio barbecues and all-night rooftop after-parties. In January? Not so much.
  •   2009: THE YEAR IN LOCAL POP  |  December 28, 2009
    When I think back on 2009, I feel the same pleasant discomfort you get at the end of a John Hughes movie, when suddenly all the jocks and dorks and punks are good friends. This year, hardcore denizens of time-worn niches came out of hiding and acted all presentable and all sorts of scenes and sounds went behind the bleachers for some unlikely scores.
  •   GOING DOWN  |  December 16, 2009
    One last fling with The Elevator Drops
  •   EPIC WIN  |  December 09, 2009
    It never seemed possible, but metal is finally getting comfortable with indie-rock proportions. What once required enormous stages with catwalks and hyperactive spark machines now really needs only kids throwing all-ages shows in basements. It's a bit more modest an existence — nobler, somehow. Nerdier, even.
  •   SWEET SORROW  |  November 11, 2009
    Everybody loves a tidy ending. Episodes of Seinfeld , fireworks finales, a sturdy hem at the base of a pant leg — these things give us faith that the designer knew what he was doing.

 See all articles by: MATT PARISH

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