Monday mornings are weird when you have to share your home bathroom with nine or so near-strangers. Such was the case today after housing a couple of bands from a particularly noisy and awesome show last night. I'm not exactly sure how it happened, but officially as of today, my life is shows, shows, shows again and even more shows. I'm happy to report that there's certainly no shortage of them to go around.
This week, Melody Den releases a CD, a "100% organic hip-hop" bill fills Cicero's and solo noisemakers take over mushmaus. Plenty of bands from far, far away stop into town, including New England's Speedy Ortiz, country crooning Corb Lund all the way from Canada, and even a punk band named Vanna Inget from some city called Malmö in Sweden. See them before they flee town -- no one likes to start the new year with a series of regrets.
Roomrunner Mon., 9:00 p.m. January 7 w/ Small House, Speedy Ortiz @ CBGB's - $5 By RFT Staff Roomrunner, a Baltimore-based band featuring a member of defunct post-punk outfit Double Dagger, brings its brand of fuzzed out rock laden with heavy guitar chords to town. Grunge never sounded so good.
Kim Massie Tues. 10 p.m. January 8 @ Beale on Broadway - $7 By Annie Zaleski Although the word "diva" is so overused it's almost a useless descriptor, Kim Massie is one vocalist who deserves the honor. With its brash, gospel-influenced strains of vibrato, Massie's voice can be as big and broad as Aretha Franklin's, but it contains just enough Etta James-ian blues to undercut this strength with sorrow. When Massie sings the standard "At Last," you can close your eyes and imagine her voice as a vocal preacher, laying down the lyrics like audible commandments, just as easily as you can imagine the sound slinking down a smoky stage moonlit by a lonely spotlight. Massie is always -- and effortlessly somehow -- magical, spiritual and glowing.
Doom Town Wed., 8 p.m. January 9 w/ Vanna Inget, Maximum Effort @ Blank Space - $5 By Mike Appelstein From early 2012: It's been a busy few months for Doom Town. In December, the quartet released a seven-inch single on New Dark Age and embarked on a three-week European tour. By all accounts, the trip was a success, with new fans made, much German beer consumed and offbeat sightseeing done (including a Ramones Museum apparently endorsed by Johnny himself). The trip seems to have given Doom Town's sharp sound an extra edge; Ben Smith and Ashley Hohman sing/shout/harmonize like a traumatized John and Exene, while drummer Shaun Morrissey (of the Humanoids) proves himself one of the city's hardest hitters. See 'em before they decide it's much more lucrative and rewarding to just play abroad.
Corb Lund Thurs., 9 p.m. January 10 @ Off Broadway - $12 w/ John D Hale Band By Roy Kasten Alt-country fanatics have long looked to Canada for some its finest if oft-overlooked renegades. From Fred Eaglesmith to the Cowboy Junkies to Ox to the Sadies, the Great White Northerners need not trifle with inferiority complexes. Add to that list Edmonton's Corb Lund, he of the Hurtin' Albertans and the twisted pen behind "Roughest Neck Around" and "Hair in My Eyes Like a Highland Steer." Lund is a wicked satirist, and his rollicking 2012 album Cabin Fever finds him fronting a band that can swing with the best that Austin, Nashville or Bakersfield have to offer and then steal the spotlight to yodel circles around them.
Consonant Drift Fri., 8:00 p.m. January 11 w/ Jake Leech, Syna So Pro, Eric Hall, Travis Bursik, Kevin McDermott, Mikey Wehling @ mushmaus - $5 By Joseph Hess Ambient sounds born from free-form jazz and other improvised music arrive bare and stripped down. CONSONANT DRIFT focuses on the solo performer, merging members from Ou Où, Messy Jiverson and CaveofswordS to deliver brief, singular pieces of new music. Art house Mushmaus incubates the noise, amplifying feedback with its warehouse trappings. The chilling night of warm sounds comes headed off by Eric Hall, whose racket has earned accolades from many. Fresh off from his powerful residency at Laumeier Sculpture Park, Hall brings scrambled electronic music amidst samples and captured sounds. Hall's no stranger to ambient sets, and any Google search will net you 30-some-odd hours of material--no small feat for any artist. Expect a cappella, keyboard and guitar meanderings wherein less is more and noise is king.
Bruiser Queen Fri. 9:00 p.m. January 11 w/ 33 On the Needle, The Cuban Missiles @ Schlafly Tap Room - free By Christian Schaeffer (From Homespun: Bruiser Queen): As a rule, garage rock rides on adrenaline, muscle, repetition and little else, so the bulk of these three-minute bashers are heavy on thick, slabby chords and light on dynamic range; Potter's time with lovable east-side Neanderthals Left Arm informs much of Swears' instrumental approach. Opening track "You Are My Only" is rife with windmill guitar chords, but Nusbaum's multi-tracked vocals are another story -- studio magic allows her to simultaneously rage in the verse and cool off with disembodied harmonies on the chorus.
Melody Den CD Release Sat. 8:00 p.m. Jan. 12 w/ Saint Gnome, Half Knots @ Off Broadway - $10 By Christian Schaeffer Marc Chechik has been leading Melody Den for over a decade, trotting out his steel-eyed, soulful brand of Americana every once in a blue moon. The quartet is set to release Storylines, its sophomore record (and first since 2007) this weekend, and it was made with help from a handful of local friends. John Horton, CoCo Soul, Kip Loui and others contributed to the LP, and these embellishments - the peppy horns on opener "More Here than Meets the Eye," the strong and well-placed harmony vocals on the title track and throughout - give a bit more muscle to the songs. But it's Chechik's voice and vision that give Storylines its grounding and what makes these songs stories worth retelling.
12 to 6 Movement Sat., 8:30 p.m. January 12 @ Cicero's - $7 w/ ProbCause, Seymour Awesome, Timmy Stallone, Metropolotix, Jonezy By Bob McMahon From this 2012 interview: It took a while, but local hip-hop trio 12 to 6 Movement finally unleashed their new collaboration-heavy album, Titties Out. Since our last interview with the group, they added songs with Joe Budden, Opio and A-Plus from Souls of Mischief/Hieroglyphics and Psycho Les from The Beatnuts to a tracklist that already featured appearances from Sadat X, Raekwon, Bubba Sparxxx, Planet Asia, and Keith Murray, as well as a lot of local talent. 12 to 6 Movement admits that the extravagant guestlist, the cleavage-boasting cover and title are partially ploys for attention, but underneath the brazen marketing is a fun album. Titties Out mostly focuses on braggadocio and good times over beats that range from dusty soul/funk samples to modern synth-driven club fare to guitar-driven rock.
Troubadour Dali Sun., 8:00 p.m. January 13 w/ Frances with Wolves, Night Flights @ Off Broadway By Christian Schaeffer From 2010: File this release under "Better Late Than Never." Psych-shoegaze alchemists Troubadour Dali have gigged around town, gone through several lineup changes and now have finally released their long-awaited debut. (The self-titled disc also serves as the first release on Euclid Records' new label.) It was worth the wait: The band takes the best bits of classic rock and pop and feeds them through phasers, tape-echo machines and spring reverb units, creating a dense, swirling sound which never dulls the sharpness of the hooks.