Wise Old Moon Release Show
Hartford’s Wise Old Moon has a new EP out this month. It’s called “Factory Town,” and the band can probably legitimately say that a factory-town vibe has filtered into its music, with the ghost of the Colt Factory hovering over Hartford in its own peculiar way. Add to that the fact that the record was recorded up the river in Holyoke, Mass., a city with a similar story of 19th-century manufacturing glory days and lots of old converted mills to show for it.
Acoustic guitars, gentle vocal harmonies, pedal steel and steady-rolling beats drive the band’s music. You can listen to “Losing Speed” off of the WOM’s 2015 album “Don’t Take Off” to get a glimpse of what singer/songwriter Connor Zane Millican is getting his hands into. “My mama said right before I left town again, ‘Baby, don’t go down south. How long you gonna run away from yourself?’”
These are songs — rambling roots-rocking songs — about that uniquely American predicament of trying to wander and roam in search of the country’s spirit, trying to find oneself by getting gone. Fans of Dr. Dog will appreciate what this band is searching for. There’s a sense of the past, trying to synthesize tradition without being shackled by it.
See Wise Old Moon at Bridge Street Live, 41 Bridge St., on Saturday, May 12, at 8 p.m. $15 and $25. 41bridgestreet.com
Blackberry Smoke’s music is 21st-century Southern rock, with songs about getting away from it all, staying in motion and checking out when necessary.
The sound sometimes conjures a fog of bikers, Native Americans, hippies, cowboys and outlaws. The band has a ZZ Top meets Steppenwolf vibe, with lumbering boogie shuffles and slithering bluesy guitar solos.
There’s plenty of Skynyrd and Allman Brothers in the DNA too. The Atlanta band has a new record, “Find A Light,” its sixth studio album, and it successfully stakes out sonic turf in that place where the good ol’ boys and the freaks can pass the peace pipe. One song on the new album is called “Medicate My Mind,” which advocates chilling out majorly.
Elsewhere, Blackberry Smoke may be rocking a little harder than on past records, but it spaces it out with mellow breathers like “I’ve Got This Song,” a song about the simple durable beauty of music.
Bhad Bhabie is the 2 Live Crew or Twisted Sister of 2018. The young rapper seems to have brought out the alarmist cultural watchdogs of our age. It may be that she’s female. Or that she’s not old enough to drive. Bhad Bhabie is the stage and internet name of Danielle Bregoli, a 15-year-old social-media star and meme generator. Bregoli came to some people’s attention when she appeared on the Dr. Phil show as a troubled and belligerent teen.
The fact that 15-year-olds curse and do all kinds of other stuff shouldn’t really be a surprise. If Bhad Bhabie’s rapping and social-media persona make you think that civilization is perhaps coming to an end, consider the grown-ups, podcast hosts, legally adult collaborators, and legit old, label execs who turn Bhad Bhabie’s content into cash. (That’s nothing new.) Adding to the formula for the general outrage, Bregoli, who is white, appropriates black culture pretty relentlessly. (Also nothing new.) And her rapping style is often fixated on throwing poison darts at anyone she doesn’t like, which amounts to anyone who doesn’t like her, which translates to a lot of people.
Bregoli just released a new single, “Gucci Flip Flops,” earlier in the spring, a collaboration with the rapper Lil Yachty, which seems to be in part about the question of whether to wear socks or expensive sandals while having sex with someone else’s partner.
A lot of artists and musicians are struggling to figure out how best to address what many see as alarming political and nationalist trends since the rise of Donald Trump.
Singer and songwriter Jackson Browne did the simple and moving thing of putting a story into song. In the case of “The Dreamer,” released at the end of last year, the song is about a young girl who crosses the border from Mexico to be with her father. She grows up in the U.S. and has a love for this country, but gets deported. It’s simple, but sad and moving.
Browne, who turns 70 later this year, has been outspoken about the ways that music can give us insights and emotional connections to other people and other countries. He’s said that his youthful fondness for British music made him want to visit the England. The same with the music of Mali. Browne’s songs have often been about trying to be free through music. Some of his most well-known songs — like “These Days” and “The Load Out” — are about a life of making music.
Browne is in the same league as Bonnie Raitt, the Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, Warren Zevon, writing poetic and poignant songs that connect with a mass audience. Browne is one of the mellow giants of the Southern California ‘70s folk-pop sound. In his quiet way he’s been speaking out against injustice and hypocrisy for decades.
Jackson Browne performs at Toyota Presents Oakdale Theater, 95 S. Turnpike Road, Wallingford, on Thursday, May 10, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $57. 203-265-1501, livenation.com.
Born Of Osiris
Chicago technical death-metal band Born Of Osiris passed through Connecticut at this time last year. The band takes its name from the Egyptian god of the dead. Think of its Hartford shows as something like the annual sonic flooding of the Nile, with its reverberations of death and rebirth.
The sound of Born Of Osiris is complex, with double-kick blasts slicing and stabbing the music into a kind of concussive froth. Drummer Cameron Losch is sort of superhuman. It’s dizzying, with jarring stops, lopsided phrases, uppercut accents, harmonized guitars, growled and bellowed vocals. Listen to a track like “Abstract Art” from the band’s 2017 release “The Eternal Reign,” a rerecorded and revised version of their 2007 debut “The New Reign,” which was recorded when the band members were still in high school.
The virtuosity and blurring tangles of riffage interrupted with intricate filigree can warrant comparisons to John Zorn’s Naked City, but all overlaid with a death-obsessed mythological framework. This music is so aggressively chopped up and stitched, braided and coiled that it starts to sound like a piece of musical sound collage. If predictable repetition, discernible vocals and body-calming tempos are crucial to your enjoyment of music, Born Of Osiris won’t be your idea of a good time.
Expect a new album from the band this summer.
Born Of Osiris plays Webster Theater, 31 Webster St., Hartford, on Thursday, May 10. Doors open at 5 p.m. Tickets are $19 to $22. 860-525-5553 and webstertheater.com
Multi-instrumentalist performer, dancer, vocalist and composer Jen Shyu’s Nine Doors is an intense and dramatic piece inspired by the loss of a close friend, drawing on recent history (the 2011 tsunami in Japan) and Korean folklore.
Shyu has studied traditional music from East Timor, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Brazil, Indonesian, Cuba and elsewhere. Her time playing with jazz innovators like Steve Coleman, Wadada Leo Smith and Anthony Braxton has inspired her own work in terms of pushing music and performance into new places that still honor and explore tradition. She studied Western classical piano as a child and went on to study opera.
She’s been a fierce and radical eclecticist since then. Shyu’s work represents nonstop seeking, change and expansion. See Jen Shyu’s Nine Doors at Firehouse 12, 45 Crown St., New Haven, on Friday, May 11, at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $20. 203-785-0468 or firehouse12.com
The Low Anthem
The Low Anthem just released its sixth full-length record, “The Salt Doll Went To Measure the Depth of the Sea.”
This Rhode Island quartet make spooky and quiet music, the kind that sounds whispered to you, possibly played on delicate toy instruments, heard through a gauzy veil. There are hushed heartbeat pulses, tiny music-box tones and songs of murky submarine mysteries.
The idea of understanding unknowable immensities through loss of self is built into these songs, which ripple out in concentric circles of sound. Imagine Jacques Cousteau teaming up with Radiohead, Iron & Wine, and Arthur Russell: that might give you an idea of what the Low Anthem is into on its latest.
The Low Anthem performs at Fairfield Theater Company’s Stage One, 70 Sanford St., Fairfield, on Friday, May 11, at 7:45 p.m. Tickets are $17. 203-259-1036 or fairfieldtheatre.org.