This weekend’s top music picks around town, from the guy who’s paid to listen:
The Thermals play the Beachland tonight.
The Thermals come from Portland, Oregon – home to many, many rain-soaked indie-rock bands. No surprise then that the three members of this guitar-lovin’ group have played around the scene for years. But they’ve never sounded tougher than they do on their third CD, last year’s The Body, the Blood, the Machine
. They’re also really good live. See for yourself when they play the Beachland tonight.
On his new CD, Why Don’t You Give It to Me?
, veteran soul man Nathaniel Mayer is backed by retro-lovin’ rockers from the Black Keys, Dirtbombs, and Outrageous Cherry. The Detroit native cut his first single more than 45 years ago. He never really hit the big time, but he gained a cult following over the years. Why Don’t You Give It to Me?
is smothered in scratchy riffs and grimy production, making it sound straight outta 1966. But this is no mere throwback to old-school R&B. The band kick-starts the 63-year-old Mayer, whose ravaged voice lends the songs the weathered rasp they require. He’s at the Beachland.
San Francisco’s Film School looks and sounds a little different than it did a year ago. While the band remains frontman Greg Bertens’ project, a few fresh faces give the group a sonic makeover on its new CD, Hideout
— which still piles on lots of distorted guitar noise and one-note riffs. But there’s also something foreign sneaking in and out of the familiar grooves: melody. Tourmates Eulogies also like to keep things simple, limiting the songs on their self-titled debut to just a few notes. But unlike Film School’s shoegazing lineage, Los Angeles’ Eulogies latch on to traditional indie-rock aesthetics, like lo-fi production and wistful vocals. -- Michael Gallucci