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.
Led by veterate rocker and writer Mish Barber-Way, White Lung forges forward with fearless takes on sexual politics in punk. The Canadian combo is touring behind their most recent release, Paradise, taking on a Fenway Recording Session at Brighton Music Hall Saturday night. While the band has abandoned the raw claustrophobia of their early records for a more spacious production, the more anthemic sound soars and is well-suited to the venue’s beer hall vibe. They’ll be supported by Toronto’s Greys, and the ubiquitous DJ Carbo.
The electronic R&B duo experienced a rush of attention and plaudits after dropping their debut LP, Woman a few years back. Singer Michael Milosh’s breathy vocals prodded comparisons to the breathy R&B chanteuse mode of Sade and of Milosh’s own contemporaries in the Sade-sound revival like Jessie Ware. Backed by Robin Hannibal’s spacious lounge shuffles and luscious instrumental choices, Milosh can spur some of the grooviest makeout sessions. DC’s guitar-driven Grammar provides a counterpoint as opener, while electro-folk duo Overcoats will prime the pump for Rhye’s velvety blush.
The last time we mentioned the California Honeydrops on the Short List, they were passing through town to support Bonnie Raitt’s April show at the Orpheum and playing a headlining set at the Middle East. It’s an odd strike that they’re back already, but with a band offering such a rich take on Motown sounds, New Orleans funk, and round Ray Charles R&B it’s not unwelcome. And now we here at FRB get the chance to feature the California Honeydrops instead of just dropping the passing mention. The band formed busking in Oakland, and has an unmatched pedigree learning at the feet of some soul, jazz, and blues masters. While they released their latest, A River’s Invitation, this is a band best caught live instead of left to record.
Music writers have exhausted the available adjectives to describe Bryan Ferry’s voice. And the same goes for his sartorial choices. The gentleman dandy who once fronted Roxy Music, the band at the vanguard of 70s British glam, has turned into an elder statesman of rock’s urban sophisticates. In recent years, he’s turned toward crooning, be it his own seductive tunes, or those of the Great American songbook. Songwriter and vocalist LP opens the show for Ferry.
Self-described “vibe” band are Berklee offspring, having garnered a local following after a ballyhooed stint as part of Berklee’s program in Valencia, Spain. Since their return to Boston, they’ve gigged, recorded, rinsed, and repeated, building a reputation as an engaging live act and spearheading the next generation of great New England jam bands. Another local reggae vibe band, Gnarly Charlie, opens.