Here’s the latest installment of my playlist series highlighting the latest and greatest in New England music.
Zero, Sea Monsters (from the Q-Dee Records single Zero b/w Don’t Make Me Wait)
It’s about time that we let you in on a little Boston secret. They’re called the Sea Monsters and for over three years they’ve honed their sound at a weekly Sunday night residency. At long last, they are ready to share their music with the world.
I suppose that one’s perspective on the Sea Monsters debut release will likely depend on whether you’ve ever seen the band live. Those who have seen the band perform live will be amazed at how well the band captures the energy of their live show on this studio release.
Those who haven’t seen the band perform live will no doubt be astonished by the electricity that surges through these songs. The band’s lead single, “Zero” explodes with a furious beat, impassioned vocals and a brilliant jazz-infused trumpet solo. This is a song that downright demands your attention. Consider yourselves in on the secret.
Audio Download: Sea Monsters, “Zero”
Drunk & Single (for George Jones), Joe Fletcher and the Wrong Reasons (from the self-released White Lighter)
And in this corner, hailing from Providence, Rhode Island, is the mighty Joe Fletcher. Fletcher has just the right amount of twang in his voice and his band, the Wrong Reasons, bring his songs to life with a fine country swagger. Together they carry on the rich tradition of masterful country music.
On Again Off Again, Susan Cattaneo (from the Jersey Girl Music release Heaven to Heartache)
Cattaneo splits her time between Boston, where she is a professor at the Berklee College of Music and Nashville where she hones her craft as a country songwriter. Cattaneo recently released a new collection of colorful country pop gems, including this playful he-said, she-said duet with folk singer Ellis Paul.
Audio Download: Susan Cattaneo, “On Again Off Again”
Amy Lee, The Michael J Epstein Memorial Library (from the self-released Volume One)
Although Epstein lives a few houses down the road from me, I actually met him for the first time at SXSW this year. It was one of those moments when you know you recognize someone from somewhere but it takes a few minutes to make the connection. Anyway, Epstein and the nine members of the library staff recently released their debut. Relying on a broad range of orchestral instruments and vocal harmonies, their music has an intoxicating air.
Audio Download: The Michael J Epstein Memorial Library, “Amy Lee”
I Don’t Wanna Go Home, Kingsley Flood
The band’s Facebook page describes their music as “Americana-ish” but that just doesn’t do them justice. Their style is a potent mix of gypsy folk and roadhouse rock, a raucous affair both live and on record.
Audio Download: Kingsley Flood, “I Don’t Wanna Go Home”
Mt. Moriah, Tallahassee (from the self-released Jealous Hands)
Tallahassee are as much about the soundscape as they are about the song. Their songs have a distinctive feel, a mellow vibe that meanders like a backwoods stream. Singer Brian Barthelmes’ restrained vocals are perfectly complimented by acoustic guitar and the occasional banjo. And, as the band’s press materials note, Barthelmes has a second New England connection: he was formerly an offensive lineman for the New England Patriots.
Audio Download: Tallahassee, “Mt. Moriah”
I Wanna Make You, Orbit (from the A&M Records release The Lost Album)
The Boston alternative rockers emerged in the late 1990’s, making a glorious racket that eventually caught the ear of A&M Records. Alas, you know the tale – label attentions dissipated and the band went their separate ways. Like many musicians, however, they are still enticed by the muse and perform from time to time. While these performances have yet to result in new music, the band did recently liberate a collection of songs from the A&M vault. Those tracks, including this one, show the band in fine rock with abandon form.
Audio Download: Orbit, “I Wanna Make You”
FROM THE ARCHIVES
House of Yesterday, Carla Ryder
I don’t recall when this song first made its way into my collection. It doesn’t matter, it has been an addiction ever since. Ryder’s honeyed voice can’t hide the edge of her lyrics. To wit, “what’s more tragic than a choice gone bad is an illusion left out to dry.” Potent.
Audio Download: Carla Ryder, “House of Yesterday”
True Love Song #9, Charlie Chesterman (from the release Dynamite Music Machine)
I’ve written about Charlie a few times over the past few weeks (here and here). I’m happy to report that Charlie’s solo albums with the Motorbikes are now available at your favorite digital music store.
Audio Download: Charlie Chesterman, “True Love Song #9”
About the author: Mild-mannered corporate executive by day, excitable Twangville denizen by night.