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"Passing Lane," Rambler 454 ( 454) The members of this country-rock trio wear their influences on their sleeves ("the CD's spinning Uncle Tupelo"), and it's a good look for them. A nimble little ode to the open road that rumbles like an eight-cylinder shot of the Old 97s, this harmonica-driven ditty gets great mileage, gassed up on small-town wanderlust and shot through with rustic scenes of hitchhikers and kids with fishing poles.
Rambler 454. Friday, May 19, at the Jigsaw Saloon in Parma.

"Surgery," American Rockstar

Following emo's lead in substituting grunge's loud-soft dynamic for melody-attack, this local three-piece mixes guttural vocal roars with bright punk-pop vocals, arriving in the same Warped Tour parking lot as Thursday and Taking Back Sunday. The metal throb is more appetizer than meal; its story of alienation relies more on big, crisply produced walls of melodic guitar than rhythmic breakdowns.
American Rockstar CD-release party. Friday, May 19, at Peabody's.

"Cold Cold Heart," the Black Diamonds
The Diamonds' sizzling blues boogie apes Zeppelin's chunky, propulsive rhythms and hormonal, cymbal-crashing bottom-end as Chad VanGils cautions his girl against deception ("I can see right through you"). Dylan Jones' guitar stomps, swaggers, and scoots all over this track, exploding in a rootsy, wah-fueled wail of libidinous hunger.
Black Diamonds, with Danko Jones and the Trews. Saturday, May 20, at the Beachland Ballroom.

Love You Live

Elephant Bones
Thursday, May 11, at the Grog Shop
The bassist's Neurosis T-shirt isn't exactly an omen, but it's the first clue to Elephant Bones' penchant for genre-hopping. While pretty securely located in the indie-pop-rock neighborhood, the evening's show arrives in three movements. The first surveys catchy, college-radio-friendly rock reminiscent of the Goo Goo Dolls before they went mainstream. In the same way that band was heavily influenced by the Replacements, the middle third of Elephant Bones' set chimes and jangles with a touch of rootsy twang, before it concludes with three songs of loud, cranky indie rock epitomized by the lyric "They must be poor/Let them die." With only a couple months under its belt, this group could be one to watch.
Elephant Bones CD-release party, Saturday, May 20, at the Happy Dog.


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Staff Pick Events

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