Pop quiz time: Name all the rock 'n' roll "brothers" that aren't technically made up of siblings. Lessee -- Righteous Brothers, Dust Brothers, Radar Brothers, Gibson Brothers, Waco Brothers, Brothers Four, Brothers Uv Da Blakmarket . . . maybe Bros . . . Duran Duran and the Dead Kennedys . . . and of course, the Ramones! Go ahead, have fun. You're excused if you mistakenly write down the Louvin Brothers, since that makes it a trick question (there are no "Louvins" in the band, but they were brothers, Ira and Charlie Loudermilk).
Ignoring the inherent lameness of that intro, add to your (uh, Bros?) list these two recent entries. First up: Beantown area trio the Lonesome Brothers, a.k.a. music veterans Jim Armenti, Bob Grant and Ray Mason (the latter, incidentally, is a respected artist with numerous solo records under his belt and even the subject of a fine tribute album from fellow songwriters a few years ago). Swamptown Girl is the trio's third effort since '86, the culmination of several combined decades' worth of the members' playing in and around Boston. The dozen songs here are unassuming, good-time country-roots stuff aimed directly at the hearts of all you No Depressioneers and Gram Parsons fans out there.
Highlights include Mason's drinkin' and stinkin' minimalist harmonica blues "Pass the Wrench," which suggests perhaps Southern Culture on the Skids unplugged. Armenti's "Pile of Paper" has a cool, loopy Ry Cooder-does-Beggars Banquet feel thanks to the acoustic slide flourishes and some down 'n' dirty electric riffing. And Mason's "Disconnection" sounds like NRBQ with Sneaky Pete sitting in on pedal steel (it's another Boston vet, Doug Beaumier) working up a railroad-song-styled head o' choogle. But those are just highlights. The bottom line: As with the various name-checks above, the Lonesome Brothers channel a classic Americana vibe both stylistically and philosophically, and while that may not sound "unique" on paper, the proof is in the grooves. Consult www.lonesomebrothers.com for further details.
The Ribeye Brothers are no fresh-faced newcomers, either, although most of you will know them from their other band, Monster Magnet. That's right, everybody's fave satanic rock thing's drummer, Jon Kleiman, and its spiritual adviser/lighting whiz, Tim Cronin, have teamed up to create a sonic suckerpunch that any lover of '60s creep-show psych and Cramps-ish thugabilly will swoon for. I mean, how can you pass up a band whose first song is a "Rumble"-styled instrumental titled "If I Had a Horse, I'd Buy It Oats and Fuck It"?
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Cronin does his best Jed Clampett imitation at the mike and plucks his banjo, Kleiman handles "everything else," and aside from a twangified rave-up version of the Creation's "How Does It Feel (To Feel)" and a sick, hillbillies-gone-gothic romp through Ringo Starr's "Don't Pass Me By," the duo unveils originals that suggest some seriously twisted brainstorming sessions en route to the recording studio. That, and a coupla bagfuls of boo. They venture out into "Driving Miss Daisy" territory in the cowpunk-cum-surf blowout "Mister Ray Charles" (sample lyric: "I can't see what you're doing to me"), then later reprise the same tune as a slowed-down countrybilly number ("Mr. Ray Charles") replete with a psychedelic backward guitar solo. "Bootful of Piss" nicely rips off Del Shannon's "Runaway" and some Monks-styled polka-punk, while "Last Place Champs," similarly, abuses the inner "Peter Gunn" in us all even as it brings the aforementioned Cramps fetish into full relief. "Steakhat," no doubt a nod to the Brothers' chosen moniker, is a swamp-noize, slide-fuzz guitar dirge broiled way past the "well-done" setting -- it's bloomin' charred. And so forth into the night -- the Ribeyes may look like Monsters, but at heart they're just simple musical chefs, cookin' up a big tasty munchie-fest. Everybody's invited -- go to www.allindie.com/ribeye for the latest recipes -- and don't forget to bring your closest siblings to the party.