Local Bands Making Things Hot This Winter


Ryan Lee Crosby by Ryan Lee Crosby

Ryan Lee Crosby, former leader of Cancer to the Stars, once again reinvents himself musically with his newest release.  Recorded and mixed entirely analog, the album sounds like a lost psychedelic gem from the late 60s, with a deep sonic diversity that combines the guitar heroics of Jimi Hendrix, the funky rhythms of James Brown, heavy dub bass and spring reverb of King Tubby and outer space improvisations of electric Miles Davis. The vocals sound like a young Jonathan Richmond, crooning only as he can.  To top it off, I think it's worth mentioning that Ryan not only self-produced the album but and played all the parts on the record, save for a few cameos from Jon Briks (on "Diamond in the Sun"), Marissa Nadler (on "The Broken Bread"), and Elio DeLuca (on "Diamond in the Sun" and "You"). Overall, this is a great album and if you like modern rock with a vintage sound, Ryan Lee Crosby is someone you should definitely look into.


Wicked Live by Lyle Brewer

Recorded live at one of the most prestigious studios in New England, Lyle and his band of wicked warriors give a clinic on how to master one’s instruments. Lyle has been making a name for himself as a guitarist up and down the seaboard sitting in with rising artists like Sarah Borges, Ryan Montbleau Band and Christian McNeill and The Sea Monsters. The band, featuring Dean Cassell on bass, Mike Piehl on drums and Jason Cohen on organ and clarinet are no slouches either. There is even a guest appearance by Duke Levine (J. Geils Band, Dennis Brennan, Hayride) on a couple of tracks (“Chitlins con Carne” and “I Still Miss Someone”). Duke is regarded by many of the musicians in town as the best guitarist Boston has.  Lyle shows he can keep up with Duke (and then some!) on these tracks however it’s the energy between the two musicians as they duel which makes these my favorite tracks. If you like country, rockabilly to Americana ballads with a side of jazz pop fusion, look no further, this band has got it all. From start to finish this is one hot cd guaranteed to keep you warm through these cold winter months.


Eli Whitney Houston and The Cotton Gin and Tonics by Eli Whitney Houston and The Cotton Gin and Tonics

With one of the most unusual band names I have seen in a while, I was unsure what to expect from a band called Eli Whitney Houston and The Cotton Gin and Tonics. After one sip of this mighty cocktail, I taste one part Tom Waits, one part Punch Brother and one part Cloud Cult with a healthy garnish of rock and roll swagger. It’s an eclectic mix but it works; the vocals blend superbly with the melodic lines of the mandolin and violin and are framed nicely by the drums and guitars. This 5 song debut album is only available online but it’s worth the download. Check out more at the web address below.


Canasta by Summer Villains

Last year’s Emmy nominee for sound design for his work in the PBS series “Word Girl”, Joe Pleiman seems to be having a lot of fun with his newest project; Summer Villains. Joe’s latest album is a fantastic collection of extremely catchy pop songs that are humorous and poetic with solid grooves seasoned with tasteful melodies and choruses. “Beach Cats” is an upbeat rock song that is so cute, that it would even make a dog person (like myself) consider owning a cat. “Good Kind of Woman” is hopelessly romantic rock ballad reminiscent of Weezer and “What would I even Do?” is a charming look at a man trying to answer some of life’s simplest questions. The band performs locally regularly (most recent at a Salvation Army Toy Drive) and are a must for any self-respecting indy rocker to check out.


—-Kier Byrnes






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