If you live in the Ocean State and have yet to see The Silks, shame on you. The band has been working its tail off the last three-plus years frequenting both many a local establishment as well as watering holes in the Northeast with its power trio brand of blues boogie.
The Silks formally celebrate the release of their sophomore album called Turn Me On (released on July 29th) with a CD release party at Aurora in Providence on Friday, August 12. Ear Bliss gives Turn Me On the look-see this week along with the self-titled debut album from Mystery Lights.
The band play garage rock music and as this debut demonstrates, they do it pretty darn well. Let’s get to it.
Turn Me On
When talking about Providence-based band The Silks, in front man Tyler James Kelly you have an incredibly talented guitarist who can deliver the six string goods with as much muscle as finesse be it playing slide, fingerpicking, or just balls-to-the-wall riffing.
That talent, as well as the tourniquet-tight rhythm section of bassist Jonas Parmalee and drummer Sam Jodrey, is on full display on the The Silks’ sophomore effort called Turn Me On. The new album is a mash-up of the blues, Southern rock and country-ish roots blend the band has been unleashing on people in watering holes throughout New England, the Northeast and beyond since its founding.
Featuring all original material by Kelly, Turn Me On gets to the heart of the matter straight out of the gates with the one-two-three lead-off of “Let It Ride,” “Home Again”, and arguably the centerpiece of the album, “Live and Learn.” “Let It Ride” is a molten blast of bar band guitar glory heavy on the riffage with Kelly’s perfectly weathered voice with its touch of patina howling to perfect measure.
Things get low down on the swampy “Home Again” with Kelly mixing fingerpicking and fuzz before the Southern rock splendor of “Live and Learn,” an anthemic and riffy number with shades of everything from early Skynyrd to Crazy Horse distortion all courtesy of Kelly on his trusty ax. There’s other looks, as well, like the twangy “Take Me to Town” and the laid-back country blues comfort of “Blue” with its harp intro setting the tone and Kelly picking on acoustic guitar cinching the mood.
Then there’s closing track “All Day” which sends things out in a blaze of garage rock glory. The Silks’ 2014 debut Last American Band was produced by Paul Westerberg of The Replacements. For Turn Me On, the trio went the self-production route keeping everything in house. Given the feel and flow of this new one, that homespun choice was a good one. Recommended.
The Silks celebrate the release of their latest album with an album release party at Aurora located at 276 Westminster Street in Providence on Friday, August 12. The Silks will also be at the Columbus Theater in Providence on September 22.
The Mystery Lights
The Mystery Lights
It’s the same label that has given us the likes of Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Charles Bradley & the Extraordinaires, The Menahan Street Band and The Budos Band. The new, self-titled debut album from the former Los Angeles and now relocated to Brooklyn based band and latest label signee The Mystery Lights signifies the first foray into rock and garage rock for Daptone Records.
Based on what these ears hear on this solid, albeit a bit brief, album, Daptone’s “garage” experiment which kicks off the label’s new Wick Records imprint is a very promising start. Recorded to 8-track at Daptone’s House of Soul recording studio in Brooklyn, this debut from The Mystery Lights is a fast-moving affair nestled deep in the garage psych and blues sounds of the 1960s heyday with nods to ‘70s punk while resembling at times modern day purveyors of the rock & roll subgenre such as the Black Angels.
It doesn’t take more than the all-of-a-minute introductory number on the album, appropriately titled “Intro,” to get the gist of what The Mystery Lights are all about. That explosive leadoff taste blends right into the next track titled “Follow Me Home” with its snarl and angst. Its wads of groovy guitar strokes and effects the rest of the way until the strung-out garage jam of “What Happens When You Turn the Devil Down” with its trance-inducing hook which closes things out on a soulful note some 25 minutes or so later.
Garage rock album of the year? So far in 2016, The Mystery Lights with this debut are leading the pack in this scribe’s opinion. Recommended. Visit www.daptonerecords.com/labels/wick-records.
LIVE SHOTS: The prevailing flavor is blues as far as live music is concerned over the next week. Nick Moss & the Flip Tops bring the blues action to Chan’s Restaurant in Woonsocket (267 Main Street) on Friday night while Luther ‘Guitar Junior’ Johnson & the Magic Rockers are at the home of eggrolls and blues on Saturday. There is a single show each evening starting at 8 pm. James Hunter delivers the old school soul and R&B at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, MA (16 Anawan Street) on Friday night with music starting at 8 pm. The Duke Robillard Band is in the house on Saturday night at The Knickerbocker Café in Westerly (39 Railroad Avenue). The annual Mystic Blues Festival takes place this weekend at the North Stonington Fairgrounds located at Wyassup Road in North Stonington, CT. This year’s event has an impressive lineup with music kicking off Friday evening with Roomful of Blues, The Fabulous Thunderbirds featuring Kim Wilson, and Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez doing the honors. The blues continue on Saturday with Dr. John, Blackburn, Greg Piccolo, and Willie J. Laws all entertaining. The festival closes out on Sunday with performances by Dumpstaphunk, Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters, and the Debbie Davies Band. If that’s not enough blues for you, make tracks for the Westerly Town Beach (337 Atlantic Ave) on Wednesday evening for a free show by Sugar Ray & the Blue Tones starting at 6 pm.
(Dan Ferguson is a free-lance music writer and host of The Boudin Barndance, broadcast Thursday nights from 6 – 9 pm on WRIU-FM 90.3.)