Sounds Local: The frost heaves and hales to perform CD release show

  • James Lowe and Daniel Hales of The frost heaves and hales will perform at the Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center on Saturday at 8 p.m. Contributed photo


For the Recorder
Thursday, May 10, 2018

It’s been a few years since we’ve heard new music from The frost heaves and hales, the band led by Greenfield resident Daniel Hales. The last release from the group — which features bassist James Lowe in addition to guitarist-songwriter Hales — was 2014’s “Contrariwise.” That project set poems from “Alice in Wonderland” to music, and also had an accompanying stage show.

In the years since the release of that disc, the band has played many shows, and Hales has done some solo work. He even released a CD under the name Umbral, an imaginary band inspired by a book of imaginary record reviews. As a poet, teacher, visual artist and musician, he is always working on a variety of artistic projects and, fortunately for us, his latest is a new six-song EP from The frost heaves and hales called “Uncluttering the Gutter Spouts.”

The band will host a CD release show at the Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center, 289 Main St. in Greenfield, on Saturday at 8 p.m. The show will be held in The Perch, on Hawks & Reed’s fourth floor.

For this show, Hales and Lowe will be joined by Brian Dipippo on drums and Emily Brewster who will provide backing vocals. The Ambiguities, The True Jacqueline and Nanny are also on the lineup.

A download of “Uncluttering the Gutter Spouts,” is included with each advance ticket purchased.

The indie rockers lead the six melodic songs with acoustic instruments. Combine that with some surreal lyrics, electric guitars and a wide range of sonic textures, and you have a genre you could call psychedelic Americana or acid folk.

The disc opens with “By the Light,” a love song that Hales described in his online blog as “the mushiest song I ever wrote.” Love songs are a bit uncharacteristic from him, but I must say Hales does mushy well. Just read the lines from the chorus: “You’re like sight in the night/Cast shade on the day/The blind could read by your light/The sun should be ashamed/’cause it’s half as bright as you.”

Now that’s a love song. “Uncluttering the Gutter Spouts” also includes an Emily Dickinson poem set to music, a ukulele-fueled tune about umbrellas, and the title track, a song that starts out rather quietly before veering off into a swirling dreamscape. There’s droning vocals, weird percussion and it all wraps up with the sound of a cat purring. This is the perfect song to listen to on headphones as you’ll hear something new each time.

Hales and Lowe worked in various studios and brought in guest musicians to get the effect they wanted on these songs. Guitarist Sue Burkhart provides some slide guitar on “Future Artifact,” a song Hales wrote almost 20 years ago and originally recorded with his first band, SHArQ.

Burkhart’s swampy guitar work set against some slinky washboard playing and a memorable chorus makes this one of the standout tracks. Emily Brewster, who is known for her word nerd segment on radio station WRSI 93.9, contributes nice backing vocals to the track.

Well-known Pioneer Valley guitarist Joe Boyle adds some beautiful acoustic guitar work on “The Cactus in a Fishbowl Blues,” a song that highlights Hales’ knack for beautifully melding poetry and music. Overall, “Uncluttering the Gutter Spouts” is an excellent EP full of complex, yet highly accessible tunes that will reward the listener with each repeated listen.

The frost heaves and hales always goes all out for its shows, so who knows what surprises the band will have in store when its members take the stage at Hawks & Reed. And with four bands on the lineup, this promises to be a great night of innovative, original music. Do purchase your tickets in advance so you can get your hands on a free download of “Uncluttering the Gutter Spouts.”

Advance tickets are $6 and are available at www.HawksandReed.com, or $10 on the day of the show.

Summer music series kicks off

You know that summer has arrived when the barbecue is fired up and the music is playing loud. This is exactly what will happen when the summer music series at the Turners Falls Rod & Gun Club launches on Saturday. The Turners Falls Rod & Gun Club have been hosting the series for the past three years with help from Primer Showcase of Montague.

“This is our third year and it is growing each year. Robert (‘Hoppy’) Hopkins is the president (at the Turners Falls Rod & Gun Club), and is a real music buff, so he loves this series,” said Paul Interlande of Primer Showcase. “He and I go way back and he sought me out to do this series, so I do all the booking and provide production.”

When booking bands for the series, Interlande chooses cover bands that play a wide range of rock music from classic oldies to modern day favorites. However, he has booked one original band for June. His main priority is that these bands be local.

“I grab all local Franklin County bands first, then I reach out to regional,” Interlande said. “With fewer places to play, when I call out for a roster of bands, I get loads of response.”

The shows are held on the second Saturday of the month, and each show features two bands and dinner. The shows take place under a pavilion and are held rain or shine.

When the series kicks off on Saturday, the music will be provided by the Cooper Jones Band and the DUH Band. The Cooper Jones band is a four-piece Pioneer Valley-based band who cover dance-able classic and southern rock. The DUH Band is a trio from Greenfield who, like the Cooper Jones Band, are veterans of the local music scene. The band plays a wide range of popular tunes, everything from old time rock to more contemporary fare. Both of these bands are guaranteed to have the crowd dancing and singing along.

The remainder of the schedule is:

June 9 — Groove Prophet/ Sledge

July 14 — MOBB, featuring B.J. Korona/Afterglo

Aug. 11 — Hot and Heavy/The Old School Band

Sept. 8 — Dexter Marsh/Jimmy Just Quit

Oct. 13 — The Cooper Jones Band and Sick Things, the Alice Cooper tribute band.

Admission is $5 or $10 for both admission and a barbeque chicken dinner. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Turners Falls Rod & Gun Club, 15 Deep Hollow Drive, or at the door. Dinner will be served from 2 to 5 p.m., with the Cooper Jones Band performing at 2 p.m. and the DUH Band at 6 p.m.

Sheryl Hunter is a music writer who lives in Easthampton. Her work has appeared in various regional and national magazines. You can contact her at soundslocal@yahoo.com.