Now Hear This

Reviews of new CDs by The Trichomes, Almanac Mountain, and Heavy Pockets

Frank’s Dank Super No.1 Hits by The Trichomes

Trichomes Frank's Dank Super NO. 1

Under what is arguably one of the coolest titles ever conceived, The Trichomes’ debut album lives up to its name. These “dank, super, number 1 hits could easily place on the popular rock charts, and across other genre charts as well.

Each of the 10 songs on this collection has its own flavor of boogie. The Newmarket-based quartet harnesses the eclecticism of their jam-influenced idols, like Lettuce, Soulive, and Consider the Source, showcasing funk, jazz, blues, hip-hop, and even gypsy music.

Whether they’re pointing their fingers at social injustice (“American Dream, “In My Head) or constructing party-ready anthems (“Smoothe Tigre), The Trichomes craft hip-swinging tunes with melodies and harmonies that weave through one another, one riff fading out as another takes its place.

Guitarist/keyboardist Stefan Trogisch and drummer Shane Devanney split most of the vocal tracks, both crafting substantial lyrics with anthemic choruses that would satisfy a club full of jam fans. For Eric Kehoe, each song is a new equation for guitar pedals, effects, and psychedelic riffs that will give guitar nuts something to talk about. And the rhythm section laid down by Devanney and bassist Ian Smith is tight, keeping the tunes grounded so that listeners don’t completely lose their grip on the trippy soundscapes and mind-bending melodies.

While “jam bands are infamously better as live acts, The Trichomes’ first album holds up as a stand-alone piece. Sure, an exhausting track like the 11-plus-minute “Giraffe Milk is probably more geared toward live improvisation, but the light really shines on tracks with definable genres, like “Blues for Breakfast and the curveball, gypsy-jam number “Where Will You Run?”

For more on The Trichomes, click here.

Cryptoseismology by Almanac Mountain

Cryptoseismology Almanac Mountain

Multi-instrumentalist and classically trained composer Chris Cote is twisting minds with his avant-pop project Almanac Mountain. The one-man band’s latest album, “Cryptoseismology, combines Cote’s deadpan singing style and far-out lyrics with soaring, yearning melodies.

Cote’s bizarre poetry is a perfect complement to the nerdy undertones of Almanac Mountains nu-’80s style. With clever song titles like “My Favorite Day (Is Someday)” and “One Weird Trick (Receding Care Line),” Almanac balances blind optimism with sarcastic satire. As Cote describes the project’s content, “Previous themes, centered around a meditative human connection to the natural world, give way to the more critical voice of a generation disillusioned by the false promises, misuse, and exploitation of the economic, informational, and technological hopes of the 1980s.”

Speaking of that decade, the album’s electronic, new-wave sound echoes early Reagan-era darlings like New Order, Devo, and others of the same class. The jerky dance rhythms will bring you right back to the times of Jerry curls, neon clothes, and plaid jackets with flairs.

But Almanac Mountain does reference modern times, too. Be sure to check out the heartbreak ballad “Lilac,” which features a humorous skit involving someone calling in to a radio show. If nothing else, the tune will leave you with some great advice, even if Almanac Mountain’s unique brand of electronica and surrealist lyrics are not your cup of tea. Fellas, if you break up with a girl… just give her a call.

Almanac Mountain plays a CD release show on Thursday, Oct. 20, at Millspace in Newmarket. Learn more about the band here.

Mopeless by Heavy Pockets
Reflective Tapes, Cat Dead Details Later, Dead Broke Rekerds

Mopeless Heavy Pockets

“When will my skin feel like mine?” The opening line to the first song on Heavy Pockets’ second album poses a question that is a traveling theme with the band. Unlike most ’90s-era alternative-rock bands, who dolled out their heartbreak with an eye roll, singer Shayla Riggs carries her poetic confessionals a little more seriously. In other words, she’s really looking for answers.

But, while her lyrics strike the listener like journal entries, Heavy Pockets’ music pays homage to the loud-quiet-loud dynamic of those beloved ’90s bands. With bassist Zac Mayeux and drummer Nate Rubin generating the power to accompany Riggs’ pop vocals, Heavy Pockets mirrors bands like That Dog., Liz Phair, and the Lemonheads, just to name a few.

Heavy Pockets has sanded down the rough edges of the punkier sound featured on their debut album,“Bite Because You Like It, favoring melodic indie rock over their earlier bubblegum thrash. But, while the tempos aren’t as urgent, the band hasn’t lost its edge. Songs like “Expat and “(Don’t Wanna Be) One of the Boys still carry the aggressiveness of the band’s punk roots. But, this time around, Riggs has sweetened up her vocals to ride the band’s melodies a little more smoothly.

Heavy Pockets has a release show at Wrong Brain headquarters in Dover on Sunday, Oct. 16. To learn more about the band, click here.