Tag Archives: Boston

Trashy Tuesday: The Skeleton Beats

Searching for garage punk on Bandcamp is always a good way to find bands to feature for Trashy Tuesday. It’s even better when I find a female-fronted garage-punk band.

Just last week, The Skeleton Beats released a new five-song EP and it is good stuff. Amy von Eerie’s vocals are tough, just as any garage-punk frontwoman’s should be. Her vocals make her sound like the kind of chick that would just as soon punch you in the neck as talk to you. It’s pretty easy to think about another rock chick when you hear Amy von Eerie: Joan Jett. And the instrumentation is pure 70s rock. This band believes in down-and-dirty guitar riffs played loudly. And that is exactly how you should play this EP: loudly. Just listen to that bass line about 2 and a half minutes into “Paramour.” If that doesn’t get your lower half moving, I have no idea what will.

I’ll just say it for the record. If you don’t like The Skeleton Beats, you just don’t like rock n roll. And you probably spend an inordinate amount of time shouting at cars that drive by as you sit on your front porch sipping lemonade – without too much sugar of course. After all, how are you supposed to maintain that sour disposition if you put too much sugar in your lemonade?

Mongrel runs on Dunkin: an interview



This hard rock band runs on Dunkin'

This hard rock band runs on Dunkin’

Mongrel is a hard rock band from Boston. Guitarist Adam Savage discusses the band’s sound, the artists whose music is not allowed in the tour van, and what keeps him going.

Describe Mongrel for someone who has never heard the band.

Mongrel is an aggressive rock band with punk and metal influences and a badass female singer who can truly hold her own on both the melodic and aggressive fronts. Think Guns N’ Roses, Motorhead, Misfits, old Metallica, Danzig, etc. but with a female singer that invokes Janis Joplin, Wendy O. Williams, and Otep.

What is it about Massachusetts that it produces so many hard-rocking bands?

Not sure really, I was a transplant to the area a while back (originally from upstate New York)…but I would guess that it builds upon the success stories such as Aerosmith, Tree, Shadowsfall, etc. over the years.

What is one artist or band you absolutely would not allow in the tour van? What would be the punishment for bringing that artist aboard?

Hmm…Creed. As much as I love Slash…anything with Myles Kennedy. Scandanavian death metal flute-core? The obvious and natural consequence would be sitting on the roof rack listening to your own CDs/iPod of said offending music.

What is the perfect beverage for listening to Mongrel? Why?

Iced coffee because that’s what keeps me functioning day in and day out! Mongrel runs on Dunkin!

What would you be doing if you weren’t making music?

I probably wouldn’t be doing this interview in that case (laughs). I’d be trying to find a job where i’m helping to let people be themselves and be more independent. I’d probably still be involved in the scene anyway whether as a club booker or as a publicist.

Check out Mongrel on ReverbNation.

Ska Saturday: The Screw-Ups

Ska that is catchy and easy to sing along with

Ska that is catchy and easy to sing along with

I’m the first to admit that I don’t always get social media. I use them, but I’m not someone who spends a lot of time camping out on social media sites. That being said, I definitely find some use in social media. Earlier this week, The Screw-Ups followed me on Twitter and voila! now the band is the featured artist for Ska Saturday.

The band’s Bandcamp page states that this is a reggae/ska/punk band. It certainly is a reggae-ska band although I’d say this leans more toward Madness than a ska-punk band. That’s certainly not a bad thing. Madness after all, wrote a lot of catchy songs with just the right amount of pop. This band is pretty similar. It has ridiculously catchy melodies that are not only easygoing, but also easy to sing along with. If you’re looking for a real good Madness comparison, just check out “New Song.”

One of the great things about ska is that it is super-catchy. Well, if it’s catchy you want, The Screw-Ups have that in spades. Get out those two-tone wingtips and dance along to the cool sounds of The Screw-Ups.

Twitter: screwupsband

ReverbNation: screwups

Facebook: The-Screw-Ups


Incognito pick of the week: Gozu

Rawk and fearsome facial hair!

Rawk and fearsome facial hair!

The good folks at Small Stone are all right with me. First, this label deals exclusively in music that is loud and generally pretty fuzzy. Seriously, if you hear some awesome heavy rock that sounds straight out of the 70s, your first guess should be that it’s a Small Stone release. Second, this label makes entire albums available on Bandcamp. Trust me, I come across enough bands that only post a song or two that it’s refreshing to be able to listen to an entire album.

The Fury of a Patient Man by Gozu begins with a track that is everything you would want in something from Small Stone. It begins with some fuzzed-out guitar and a rhythm that you are sure to feel somewhere deep in your gut. As for the vocals, they are described on the band’s Bandcamp page this way: “Marc Gaffney has the pipes Chris Cornell used to possess before he started modeling men’s cologne.” I agree with that…to a point. The vocals in “Charles Bronson Pinchot” and “Traci Lords” certainly bring Chris Cornell to mind. Overall, Gaffney’s vocals are perfect for a heavy rock band, but also have a good amount of soul.

If you don’t feel it before then, the track “Salty Thumb” will make you feel like you’ve been magically transported back to the 70s. I’m not kidding when I tell you that this song will make you want to:

  • grow your hair (on your head and your face) long
  • break out that denim jacket with the sleeves cut off
  • play some heavy-duty air guitar.

I’ll tell you something, loyal reader. This album makes me want to set up some tower speakers by the windows of my house and blast it to everyone in my suburban, beige neighborhood. Granted, that would probably land me in dutch with the HOA fascists, but it would be worth it. The Fury of a Patient Man will be available on Tuesday 23 April. Do yourself a favor and pick this album up. And while you’re at it, check out the other good stuff that Small Stone has to offer.

Trashy Tuesday: The Evil Streaks

Lo-fi, high-energy garage goodness

Lo-fi, high-energy garage goodness

On the ReverbNation page for The Evil Streaks is the following description: “If you dipped The Cramps into a pot of The Sonics and added a pinch of sweetness of the Go-Gos, you’d get The Evil Streaks.” It’s a pretty good description and here’s why.

This band definitely has the trashy, primitive sound of The Cramps (just listen to those drums). The organ as well as Myra’s screams (especially in “The Devil’s Mark”) bring The Sonics to mind. As for the sweetness of The Go-Go’s…this is evident in the harmony vocals of “All Good Things.” That being said, this band has a little more toughness than sweetness and reminds me a lot more of The Love Me Nots than The Go-Go’s.

This band is pure garage goodness. After hearing the three songs the band has posted on its ReverbNation page, I definitely wanted to hear more. If you like music that is lo-fi and high energy, this is a band you need to check out.

5 bands classic rock radio stations love too much

make_it_stopIn a most unfortunate set of circumstances, the CD player in my car does not work. That leaves me with the radio. Not surprisingly, most of the time I can’t find anything on the radio that I want to listen to. Being stuck with the radio has led me to the realization that there are just some bands classic rock radio stations love way too much.

  • Steve Miller Band – It’s hard to imagine anyone calling into a radio station and requesting Steve Miller Bland. Particularly when all you have to do is wait thirty minutes and you’ll hear “Jungle Love” or “Fly like an Eagle.”
  • Boston – No, I don’t particularly want to hear “More than a Feeling” for the 37th time today.
  • Styx – Does this require an explanation?
  • Fleetwood Mac – I’m sorry, but playing Fleetwood Mac on any rock station other than a soft rock station is playing it pretty fast and loose with the term rock. 
  • Pink Floyd – Yes, I know that this is “one of the great rock and roll bands of all time.” Aside from the fact that I am just not a big fan, let’s think about this. People that are listening to the radio are either in their car or using it for background music at work. That being the case, why go so heavy on a band that can so easily lull people to sleep?

I know, loyal reader, that I probably should insert some videos into this post. But I don’t want to subject you to that. Besides, you’ve probably heard every song by these bands at least 500 times…if you’ve ever listened to the radio.

Ska Saturday: Brunt of It

Hardcore punk-ska

Hardcore punk-ska

When you think of ska-punk bands, your mind might go toward pop-punk. Not that there is anything wrong with that. There are a lot of catchy bands that play that style. Brunt of It is not pop-punk. This is a hardcore punk-ska band. Aside from the hardcore background of the band, at least one other thing is immediately apparent about this band: these guys like catching a buzz. Just look at that cover art. But that’s not all. The band’s newest album also includes a song about getting buzzed on Listerine as well as a song called “THC.”

Like another Boston band (Dropkick Murphys), Brunt of It is not afraid to speak its mind about political issues. The song “Soilty” includes the lyrics “Support your country all of the time, your government only when it deserves it.” Seems to me some independent political candidate could latch onto that as a campaign theme song.

Does this band sound a touch more angry than other punk-ska bands? Angry probably isn’t the word for it. This band certainly has a more aggressive sound than other ska bands. Even so, these songs are incredibly catchy. They make you want to skank and get in the pit at the same time.

Blue Monday: The Dirty Mac Blues Band

Simple, raw, dirty

On the Twitter page for The Dirty Mac Blues Band, the band is described as “simple, raw, and dirty.” I don’t have to tell you that simple, raw, and dirty music is right in our wheelhouse.

When you visit the band’s ReverbNation page, the first song listed is “BBQ.” This is a classic blues theme where the lyrics could be construed as dirty (at least by some uptight conservative). Terry Mackie sings things like, “I hear you like your pork pulled tight. That’s something I like real late at night. Smoked sausage too.” It’s reminiscent of singers like Bessie Smith, who sang about having “sugar in her bowl.” The band has another song where the message is less veiled. The title? “Bootycall Man.” Oh, and in addition to being about sex, this song has two of my favorite things: harmonica and slide guitar.

Terry Mackie has a big voice that is particularly noticeable when you watch some of this band’s videos. Her voice, like Big Mama Thornton’s and Candye Kane’s, is in the deeper registers and it is perfect for the blues. In fact, it’s hard to imagine her singing any other style…except maybe soul. But of course, the band deserves some attention too. The rhythms are just what are needed for the blues, and I wish I could play guitar or harmonica half as well as the guys in this band. If you want some dirty blues to get you moving, check out this band.