I have not gone this long without playing a show in Boston (about 10 months) in about 34 years. This has been a tough year for artists of all kinds, particularly musicians who bounce off audience feedback be it positive or negative. Here is a partial list of my favorite New England bands for 2020, a year without much live music but a year ending on hope with a lot of pent up energy and subject matter waiting to be explored. I hope all my friends at the Hassle and beyond can have a safe and interesting 2021.
1- Picnic Lunch- New Bedford’s finest purveyors of avant garde rock and soup.
2- Nilserver- Pawtucket boys bring the noise.
3- The Blues Dream Box- Boston’s best mix of incredible jazz musicians who are also into everything odd and wonderful.
4- Trinary System- Roger Miller of Mission Of Burma’s amazing mathy prog group.
5- Sleep Mode- Young noise jedis from Providence, flying the Sonic Youth flag high.
6- Inspector 34- The kings, queen, and giraffe puppet of the Lowell psych noise scene.
7- Sapling- Worcester’s queens of noise.
8- Drop Dead- The Providence gods of heavy punk.
9- Bunnies- This Amherst area psych band are amazing.
10- Skyjelly- More great psych from Providence and Fall River.
11- Pain Chain- Fantastic noise from Lowell.
12- Boat Dares- Accordian punk noise from Portland.
13- 6 Star General- Punk psych from Warren, Rhode Island, still awesome after all these years.
14- Tony Jones & The Cretin 3- The big man Tony Jones keeps on rolling with his old school punk crew.
15- Psychic Graveyard- Eric Paul from Providence with his skronkadelic all stars.
16- Harvey Garbage & The Flowers- Providence psych garage hitmakers from heck.
17- Laurie Amat- The voice of heaven coming down for us, sometimes looped to infinity.
18- Johnnie And The Foodmasters- A year without seeing this Boston band is like a year without eating. Doo wop garage songs about food and fun. One of the most entertaining live bands from Boston since I’ve been going to shows there, and that’s almost 40 freaking years, which is a lot converted to weed years.
19- Lazertuth- Fairhaven’s answer to Magma… and the answer’s pretty good.
20- Bochek- Cranston, Rhode Island mix of blues, psych and alternative rock makes for a pretty interesting band.
Bonus- Waraq- Just kidding. This group of nails from the lousy side of Warick, Rhode Island make some amusing (but not on purpose) videos. If you watch a few you may get a few laughs at this inept rapt crews expense, but their Wesley Willis act gets tiresome. This is without a doubt the worst musical abortion I have ever had the mispleasure of being subjected to. The next time we invade some country for their natural resources or to overthrow their democratically elected leaders, this is what the CIA will torture prisoners with by making them listen to this. Even the famous west coast blow job coordinators could not work their tragic magic with this wannabe gang of pasty clowns in training.For now though these videos have given Providence something to scratch their heads over in a world wide pandemic and hope for the future- hope that these stooges never release their album on an unsuspecting world.
Listen to some of Eric’s music: