Brimstone Howl, The Terminals, The Shanks — these bands are the new cock-rock. Not “cock rock” in that ’80s hair-band glam-metal sort of way. Cock as in cocky. As in ballsy (and that applies to the Liz-led Terminals, too), snarky, always flexing tough-guy rock that is too-cool-for-school in a good way. I’ve been listening to Brimstone’s new one, Guts of Steel, all morning. Their style’s been called “garage rock” and “primitive rock” by people more familiar with this genre than I will ever be. Still, I don’t think either term really fits. Songs like riff-happy “Bad Seed” and the strutting “Cyclone Boy” and “I’m a Man” conjure images of motorcycles and leather jackets, Brando in The Wild Bunch, drag racing down Dodge Street in a 50s-era Chevy. All shot in black-and-white. The nostalgia continues through to the ’70s, to punk bands like The New York Dolls and The Stooges, and continues right into the current slate of bands that appear on labels like Estrus, In the Red and Lincoln’s own Boom! Chick. Produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, Guts of Steel, released on national indie label Alive Records, is more varied and interesting than Bang! (seven times). It’s also more fun.
If there’s a criticism to this style of music it’s that the underlying familiarity can cause people to complain that it all sounds the same. The nuances from track to track won’t be apparent on first listen. It takes a while before each song begins to stand on its own, which is a complicated way of saying you’ll need to listen to this three or four times straight through before you the seams between songs begin to show — seams that are more visible in a live setting, like tonight’s show, which will be a wild one. If The Terminals can burn a place like O’Leaver’s down, imagine what they’ll do on The Waiting Room stage. And I have a feeling that Jim and Marc will be following The Shanks around with a fire extinguisher (or a First-Aid kit). $5, 9 p.m.
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