• Those who recall the work of PETER DONOVAN — who fronted the punchy, sour-luck rock and roll of ALL THE REAL GIRLS until the band's hiatus in 2009 — would be keen to know this: Donovan himself has spent the summer acting in an independent film (titled LOST ON PURPOSE) about some guys finding themselves on a dairy farm. The work turned out fertile in more ways than one, as Pete used it to inspire a twangy EP, which revived his group and doubles as the film's soundtrack. Tinsel Town was produced by JON NOLAN, and while Donovan enlists the help of 12 different local musicians on its five tracks, the record convincingly feels like the register of one lonely dude. Gone are the big, wonky guitar leads and obligatory nods to drinking; in their place is a broad range of instrumentation and moments of real vulnerability. As facile as it may be to compare new music to Wilco, we're comfortable hinting it here, especially in the growth of some of Donovan's narrative insights. Look for a forthcoming full-length from Donovan and his revived Real Girls this winter.
• Former GOODNIGHT PROCESS-er Kris Rodgers has prepped a sturdy new EP of major-key piano ballads, honky-tonk screamers, and fat-bellied soul under the name KRIS RODGERS AND THE DIRTY GEMS. Only heard snippets so far, but it sounds a little like the sort of stuff a twentysomething Billy Joel might write if he weren't trying to please everyone all of the time. Rodgers pushes the self-titled EP September 15 at Empire Dine and Dance.
• OLAS, the adventurous ensemble of flamenco/campfire folk founded by former CERBERUS SHOAL songwriter CHRISS SUTHERLAND, plan to take a long hiatus after their SPACE Gallery show on September 23. One of their principal bailaoras, LINDSEY BOURASSA, is traveling to Spain for 10 months to study flamenco dance; so hopefully they'll be back in time for late summer full moons. Olas are unique in these rock-heavy parts not merely for their musical style, but in how their dancers are as integral to their structure as the musicians themselves (flamenco, of course, is a theatrical tradition way older than guitar solos, backbeats, or any other rock and roll convention). Their debut record, La Perla, is a terrific documentation of the band's early period, and they plan to prep a CD/DVD of new material during Bourassa's study abroad.
• Finally, seems like everyone's getting down with the latest trend of making institutions of local music. The sports radio station THE BIG JAB 96.3 is openly soliciting local bands to submit their songs for use as bumper music (i.e., the 30-45 second slots that bridge content and commercials) for their morning shows. Of course, the free exposure is pretty nice, but bands might feel a little exploited if the DJs don't mention the songs (they typically do not, though 96.3 adds in an e-mail that they "will try to identify the band when (they) can."). Monetary compensation is nil, of course, and though it could be a mixed blessing, it's always nice when a broadcasting giant pays attention (though, to be fair, 96.3 is owned by ATLANTIC COAST RADIO, which is a fully local entity). If you're interested, send a track or two to SHOE at email@example.com, sit by the dial, and wait it out.