New England Underground Music Festival – Somerville – September 5

Woody

Woody

She makes me think of Enya, but she’s dressed like a harlequin, like the harlequins of Picasso’s blue period. Her music sways and skips, waves and washes of electronic haze, with eerie, witchy voices. The music circles like a snowball, gathering haunting intensity. Sometimes the song seems frozen, an ice princess in the arctic ice. But she gives you a warm feeling, like an afternoon cocktail.

There is also tension in her music, as when she brings in echoing samples of sinister voices, and the beat gets loud and funky. This is her savage side, the one you see in her mammoth earrings, and her classic seventies’ blond shag. She sounds like a black soul singer when she gets going.

Jesus

Jesus Vio

Jesus is just a charmer, but he’s so good he’s like Richie Valens. “Who’s gonna be my babe?” he sings. He’s easy to please. Otherwise he’s the front man of Free Pizza, which is an intellectual punk band, so it’s nice to see this other, gentle side of him. “Buzz Buzz” is his last song, and it’s got a beat. “I’ll be your flower so you can pollinate,” it goes. He’s all about love.

Rick Rude

Rick Rude

Where so many young musicians rely on attitude, this band presents skill first, with soaring guitar harmonies that hum like a well greased machine: a Buick engine. Buick McCane… Yeah, they’ve got some T-Rex in them. Even a little southern rock, with the rambling country solos. The beat is always good. They’ve got a great drummer. Even the trombonist had some swing.

Social Ladder

Social Ladder

I knew Nick Neuburg first from his trio Dog Suicide a couple of years ago, before he graduated from NEC. He has an academic discipline in his music, but it’s psychedelic, too. It’s electronics, with galactic loops. Stretches of fine mineral dust flood the soundscape. Surreal bells peal in obscure cities. The music sort of drifts in clouds, going somewhere, but very slowly. It’s about the idiosyncrasies of the voyage.

Dave Gross Underground

Grizzler

Grizzler is Dave Gross’s all-free improv band. I haven’t covered it in about four years, when they played at The Floft, in South Boston. Since then Dave has got into heavy modern philosophy. It’s almost as if the sound of the music is only a part of the experience now, which involves a larger message of communion and experimentation. Dave is a hall of fame quality musician. It is always nice to get a taste of what he’s doing next.

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