taking a listen
reviews of local & state music CDs
The Maine — Black & White
Full disclosure: I just don’t like pop-punk, never have and never will. The mere thought of the sound of Good Charlotte and New Found Glory are gag-inducing. Because there will always be 13-year old girls, there’s been no need for any semblance credible innovation and bands have been content to churn out the same formulaic nonsense for years. I’ll also concede that maybe, just maybe, the Maine doesn’t hold to convention. On their Warner Bros. debut Black & White, the Tempe, Ariz. quintet eschew the tired three-chord wankery and come out with an unexpected twang on “Don’t Stop Now” that’s reminiscent of Lucerolite. What makes this band most unique amongst their ilk is that rather than endeavor to the pinnacle of clean, mechanical sound, they appear to have a penchant for improvisation as demonstrated through big, enthusiastic hooks on “Give It to Me.” The lyrics can hedge a little to the cornball side at times, particularly on “Right Girl,” yet another story of screwing up the right relationship. There’s no coincidence that they fall back on the up-tempo strumming that pop-punk fans know so well, but when taking so many chances, they have to it their market square eventually. There’s still a lot of “who uh ohs” throughout and it will never be confused for anything other than what it is, but there are some pretty good, not great moments to be found on Black & White.
The Maine will perform at Greene Street Club next Wednesday, Aug. 11.
Pet’er Case — Wig!
Peter Case is not human. If it wasn’t made evident by his full recovery from a 99 percent blocked artery, then the fearsome sound he put down on his latest album Wig! will surely convince you. All he did after his recovery from open-heart surgery last year was pull together two of the preeminent musicians in the world of garage blues and track a gritty, yet practical (for party purposes) record live on analog tape in only three days’ time. The album is essentially the reaction that any bluesman worth his salt would convey after receiving a six-figure medical bill, with only musician’s insurance to pay it (read: none). The album’s spirit is most perfectly encapsulated in the gob-iron blues romp “I Ain’t Got No Dough,” where he lives “every day like a millionaire,” most likely thanks to friends like Richard Thompson and T Bone Burnett who’ve helped to fend off those annoying creditors. More immediately, garage legend and guitarist for Gasoline Silver Ron Franklin provides the swampy reverb throughout, but most strikingly on killer tracks like “Dig What You’re Putting Down” and “Somebody Told the Truth.” Former X drummer DJ Bonebreak pounds out rhythms that sound like they belong on Tom Waits’ Mule Variations, round out an album that’s a little CCR, a little Paul Butterfield, and completely awesome.
Peter Case will perform at The Garage this Friday.