Plenty of ’90s, slacker-era rock bands are reuniting these days—from Pavement to the Pixies. But wouldn’t it be nice to catch a (relatively) new, young band evoking the downcast energy of that decade while flying the flannel for fiercely nonfinancial reasons? Lucky for us, then, that Mesa, Ariz.’s The Necronauts are playing Yayo Taco on Feb. 25, and they seem to be blissfully unconcerned about cashing in on Gen X nostalgia.
Used to be alt-rock bands didn’t worry so much about having a trademark sound. They’d jump around stylistically for the sake of whatever muse they pursued, often relying on more than one songwriter. Bands such as Firehose and Fugazi and Jane’s Addiction and Hüsker Dü relied on more than a single, primary songwriter, pushing the limits of any formula they risked falling into, refusing to be pigeonholed, and preferring to break up than settle for monotony. The Necronauts pay homage to that time, making it sound like there are 20 writers in the band, even though brothers Billy (vox, guitars) and Dale Goodman (drums) are responsible for the music.
From the funky guitar licks and killer scat singing of “Ashes of Idaho” to the highway-driving pop-psychedelia of “Stevie’s Deal,” the Goodmans’ recently self-released double album, Gauche et Droite, is a monstrously good DIY masterpiece. Safe to say the band is quickly becoming an alt-music connoisseur’s band.
“That’s what people say,” says Dale during a recent phone chat in a Tempe, Ariz., bar waiting for his girlfriend’s band to take the stage. “Everyone pins the ’90s thing on us pretty strong, but at least people generally seem to like us.”
Well, most everyone. A few critics chastised the band’s first album for being too promiscuous with too many genres.
“Whatever we play is always in our style,” Dale says. “So what if we sound like two or three different bands? That shouldn’t be a problem.”
It’s certainly not. Now, where in my closet did I stash my flannel shirt collection?
For a darker yet quieter musical performance on Feb. 25, ’80s goth-pop group Gene Loves Jezebel offers what’s billed as an “Acoustic Storytellers Evening” at Las Vegas Country Saloon. It’ll be interesting to see how this atmospheric, electric band handles a stripped-down format. I’ve always adored Jezebel’s lyrics, so my bet is that this show will be unusual and unusually good.
Get ready for a Feb. 26 performance by The BoDeans at Red Rock Resort. If your only exposure to this Milwaukee duo (comprising Kurt Neumann and Sam Llanas) is the theme song (“Closer to Free”) from Clinton-era TV teen drama Party of Five, you’re seriously missing out. The BoDeans were actually a critically acclaimed roots-rock acts before hitting it big. They’ve continued to release albums over time, with last year’s Mr. Sad Clown, the band’s ninth, ranking as an overlooked gem. Neumann and Llanas’ Everly Bros.-type vocal harmonies are keen and bright and will take your breath away. A terrific live act, for sure.