Local Licks

This week, we review Rin Tin Tiger, La Femme Deadly Venoms, and Midnight North.

Rin Tin Tiger, Splinter Remedies. Rin Tin Tiger takes its lyrical cues from traditional folk, but its music has the neurotic, raw energy of bands like Violent Femmes. On Splinter Remedies, the trio delivers quick, punchy songs with themes like religion and mortality. The album kicks off with three upbeat tracks, full of catchy guitar hooks and toe-tapping percussion, then transitions to strung-out ballads. The unabashed love song “Aluminum” avoids clichés, pairing confessional lyrics with a stripped-down, jittery guitar melody. The guttural punk ditty “Michelangelo” displays singer Kevin Sullivan’s vocal range. Despite the genre jumps, it’s an impressively cohesive album. (self-released)

La Femme Deadly Venoms, La Femme Deadly Venoms EP: Early hip-hop’s turntable techniques — especially scratching — dominate La Femme Deadly Venoms’ self-titled EP. It’s not surprising considering the quartet is led by three talented turntablists — Lady Fingaz, Deeandroid, Celskiii — and keyboardist Kat O1O, a founding member of hip-hop group Crown City Rockers. On the funky pop song “Street Life” and sexy R&B jam “Blue Dreams,” the group showcases its sultry vocals. Other tracks explore instrumental hip-hop: “Tighten Up” smoothly samples classic soul, while “Countdown” is a barrage of harsh scratching, throbbing bass, and otherworldly keyboards. (self-released)

Midnight North, End of the Night: The son of Grateful Dead founding member Phil Lesh, Grahame Lesh is carving out his niche in Americana. Lesh and Elliott Peck formed Midnight North last year, sharing songwriting duties and vocals. The standout tracks on their debut album, End of the Night, feature Peck’s bluesy drawl. On “Last Train,” Peck hits breathtaking high notes, backed by a twangy guitar melody and Lesh’s harmonies on the chorus. Her singing on the title track is equally stunning, but when the song turns into a country duet, Lesh can’t quite keep up. (self-released) 

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