The Short List: FRB Staff Concert Picks of the Week (July 29 – August 5)

Each week, Front Row Boston’s staff gives you our Short List: the bands and musicians in and around town we think you should hear.

Saturday, 7/29 — Eddie Japan Record Release at Great Scott

Local favorites Eddie Japan have been making all the right moves for the past five years – from Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble crowns, to packed concerts at the region’s top venues – so your humble reporters were caught unawares upon hearing that Golden Age was Eddie Japan’s debut LP. What could have stopped the band from releasing an LP yet? They love the night life, apparently – for that’s the theme of Golden Age, a paean to the Boston night scene. “It seems to me that we’re not quite as enthusiastic about our nightlife in this day and age — the romantic aspects of night have disappeared in lots of ways,” David Santos told Vanyaland. “We are in a 24/7 mentality. A general influence for the record was the jazz age, Roaring ’20s, and the Weimar Republic. Not so much in sound, but in spirit — the zest for life and the need to create and burn at both ends.” Abbie Barrett and Jenee Halstead to open.

Sunday, 7/30 – Blondie and Garbage at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion

Goddesses walk among us! On the 30th, Debbie Harry and Shirley Manson take over our own Blue Hills Bank Pavilion with their proto- through post- punk prowess. Both Blondie and Garbage have recently released albums – Strange Little Birds from Garbage, and Pollinator from Blondie – so we’re sure to get new work with our classic grrl rock anthems. The longevity for both bands is only hammered home by a recent quote from Harry in Harper’s Bazaar. “Anybody who survives in the arts has to be insanely obsessed with doing it, and they have to not mind working hard… It’s never a ‘gift’—it’s never ‘given’ to you—it’s inching and crawling into your situation.” Thanks for the hard work, ladies.

Wednesday, 8/2 – The Shins at House of Blues

To start off Wednesday, The Shins are appearing at House of Blues, promoting their new album, Heartworms. Inspired by lead singer James Mercer’s life, the album reflects his childhood experiences – from joining his country-music playing dad in smoky music halls, to moving from sunny Albuquerque to dreary England, to a Jesus & Mary Chain mix-tape.  “That period when my dad let me play his guitar, then the kid giving me the [Jesus & Mary chain] tape … the loneliness of not having my friends, having the time and the rainy days to mess with the guitar and trying to play songs … that became my whole life,” Mercer said in a recent interview with The Australian. “Any one of those things could have been changed and I don’t know what I would be doing right now.”

or there’s Belle and Sebastian at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion

Ethereal Scottish band Belle and Sebastian are back at it, touring with their infectious brand of Brit-pop. Their lastest album, Peacetime Girls Want to Dance, from 2015, was a departure from their usual folky offerings, giving us a little glimpse at their more party-friendly side, as the title suggests. As it also suggests, the album is an exploration of the 2015 political climate of England, as seen through the eyes of pre-teen girls. A curious subject for a 40-something man to sing about, to be sure, but singer/songwriter Stuart Murdoch has had years of practice imagining life through the eyes of others. “You have to head toward what interests you,” offered Murdoch in an interview with Westword. “It’s a sort of magical feeling. It’s almost like a little crack opens up in the day and you head toward that, this little beam of light. You have that funny feeling, and you try to pin that down.”  Andrew Bird (a Front Row favorite!) & Porches open.

Thursday, 8/3 – Alabama Shakes at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion

After a week of amazing female-led bands, The Alabama Shakes and their funky soul-rock are the perfect way to round it out. If you haven’t seen lead singer Brittany Howard before, head on down to the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion to see how she’s earned her place with Debbie and Shirley. “The voice is an instrument, and you can play your instrument any kind of way you want to.” Howard told Terry Gross of Fresh Air. “I always think it’s a shame [if] I’d have to stay stuck in one kind of personality when it’s like a palette. There’s so many colors you could choose… And I’ve always written songs like that. I’ve always – each one is different; each one has its own landscape. And I was really just singing for each song.” Emily King opens.