Happy Jawbone Family Band - Brattleboro, Vermont is a nice little place, but not so pristine that it is not capable of hatching a ragtag oddball group like this. These five smiling oddballs seem the perfect fit for many of the bands I have seen up there, maybe a bit more raucous and outgoing with spirited adventurous music. Primitive garage jamming, jagged edges, warts and all, is what I take away from this lo-fi style. Is it Jandek meeting Plastic Crimewave? Half Japanese becoming full? Sons of the brothers of Guided by Voices rehearsing for the sock hop? As ragged as it all can be, complete with a stoner vibe throughout, these people can put it all together and have some intriguing sounds going on. It is lighthearted and looooose, and certainly not for everyone, but I found it all surprisingly charming and fun. Some of the songs really clicked, especially the one where it sounded like Wishbone Ash on too many mushrooms. Small Sunday night crowd, but they seemed adventurous enough to enjoy what was going on.
Quilt - The very name of this twin-guitar quartet simply cannot keep me from thinking of one of my favorite bands--The Loom. I have not seen the the Loom in quite a while, but they always put on great shows in town with their fully realized vision of a new type of psychedelic Americana. The great thing about Quilt is that I can say the same thing about them, yet they have a fully distinct sound from that of the Loom and just about everybody else as well. It is the basic twin guitar, bass and drums line-up with some subtle synth washes coming out of somebody's pedal board. The real key beyond the high quality jangled guitar work and rock steady rhythm lines are the vocals. All four of them sing in various combinations with the guitarists carrying alternating leads. There are variations in harmony and droning tones in different registers. It is kind of like the Holy Modal Rounders meet the Hollies in the H section of the record bin (and if it was my collection, Jake Holmes would be between, interjecting some of his style). It is also a bit louder and more electric and the music flows actively with a strong undercurrent. There are some strong shifts of tone and style now and then, but it never stops the flow. I hope they find their audience, because if life is fair (one can hope) it should be a very large one the next time they come to town.
Quote of the Night: From the opener... "This song is 'I Have to Speak to Rocky Balboa' based on an actual event."