Welcome to this month's mixtape. Hopefully you'll discover some new music, reacquaint yourself with some old favorites or at the very, very least find some bands to avoid at all costs in the future. If there's a band you like coming to town in April and you don't seem them listed here, it could be for many reasons. If they are local, it might be that I already featured them. I'm trying not to have any repeats throughout the year, so I will be spreading out the locals over the 12 months. I also try to offer downloadable MP3s as often as possible, so maybe your favorite band doesn't offer those. I only feature 20 bands, so there's just not room to list them all. So don't just assume that it's because I think they suck. Although that could very well be the case. Hello, Aqualung. Enough, onto the music.
"Concrete City Breakdown" -- Green Milk From the Planet Orange, (Velvet Lounge, April 1)
Japan is known for its adventurous psych/prog-rock scene and this Tokyo trio is one of the best with its spastic guitar-bass-drum attack.
"Pressure Drop" (MySpace stream) -- Toots and the Maytals, (State Theatre, April 3)
Genre-defining classic, Part 1: Rocksteady, meet reggae. Even 40 years after Toots Hibbert first sang this, it can still pack a dance floor like few others.
"I.C.E." -- Antibalas, (9:30 club, April 4)
The Brooklyn collective recently ditched the Afrobeat Orchestra part of its name, but the Africa 70 influence can still be heard on this percussive, horn-driven tune that also highlights some of the band's more recent jam-band tendencies.
"Welcome to My Room" -- VietNam, (Rock and Roll Hotel, April 5)
Scraggle Rock, Part 1: These guys look like they should be in a jam band, with those huge beards and general unkemptness, but instead play a charged version of fuzzy, droney, garage rock with stretched out vocal lines reminiscent of Dylan.
"Crazy for Leaving" -- Catfish Haven, (Black Cat, April 6)
Scraggle Rock, Part 2: Scruffy dudes from the Midwest deliver an irresistible slice of boogie rock complete with hoarse vocals and almost-gospel harmonies.
"Maxxo Sesh" -- The Aquarium (Black Cat, April 7)
The local duo specializes in catchy, vibrant pop songs and trippy, organ-fueled instrumentals. This is one of the latter, and it could serve as the soundtrack for the coolest RPG ever.
"Weather and Water" -- The Greencards, (Jammin' Java, April 16)
Two Australians and an Englishman play the distinctly American genre of bluegrass with ease, offering up breezy, upbeat numbers like this one.
"However Many It Takes" -- Vandaveer, (Rock and Roll Hotel, April 18)
Things can get ugly when it's just a dude and his acoustic guitar, but that's not the case with this local singer-songwriter, who channels Sweet Baby James Taylor with his easygoing voice and gentle melodies.
"Exeter, Rhode Island" -- Jennifer O'Connor (Rock and Roll Hotel, April 18)
The chiming electric guitars on this track by the Matador Records singer-songwriter would almost sound at home on former labelmate Liz Phair's breakout album, as would the effortlessly catchy hooks.
"Sista Big Bones" (MySpace stream) -- Anthony Hamilton, (Constitution Hall, April 20-21)
Lots of neo-soul singers get compared to Otis Redding; Hamilton is one of the few who deserves the comparison. He has a timeless voice and songs like this one meld classic R&B with modern elements to create a truly dynamic sound.
"Over and Over" (YouTube video) -- Hot Chip, (9:30 club, April 21)
This song has a beat (DFA produced, natch) so hot that it even makes me want to get up and dance. Indie-rock-friendly electro just doesn't get any better than this.
"Evil Son" -- Willowz, (The Red & the Black, April 22)
Director Michel Gondry loves these L.A. youngsters who are already on their fourth album and are barely old enough to drink. The brashness of their early work gives way to a fuller, more mature sound on this track that features -- gasp! -- a string section. That is until the thrashing two minutes, of course.
"Cryptograms" -- Deerhunter, (Rock and Roll Hotel, April 29)
This is probably what people in 1982 thought music would sound like in the 21st century. It's a futuristic-yet-slightly-retro electronic-rock hybrid that keeps building to a chaotic finish.
"Young Folks" (YouTube video) -- Peter Bjorn and John, (9:30 club, April 30)
The catchy, whistling intro signals this one will be a keeper and it's confirmed when former Concretes singer Victoria Bergsman joins in to make for a perfect summery pop duet.
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