Four for the Road: Checking Out Albums from Vermont Expats
It is a sad reality of the Vermont music scene that promising local musicians often feel pulled away by bright lights and big cities. Though not exactly on par with the state’s infamous “brain drain” that lures young, talented locals to more lucrative jobs elsewhere, bands and artists frequently migrate from the Green Mountains in hopes of making their mark on grander stages.
Though these prodigal players have gone, we still like to keep tabs on them when we can. (You never call, you never write…) To that end, here are four recent records from formerly local artists worth keeping on your radar.
Steelesque, Johnny On the Spot
(Tuppance A Bag Records, CD, digital download)
Steelesque is a Pittsburgh-based duo fronted by Swanton native Rob Eldridge, formerly of the Spring Heeled Jacks. The band’s debut EP, Johnny On the Spot, has garnered some positive press and airplay in the Steel City, including glowing reviews in Pittsburgh Music Magazine and Pittsburgh City Paper, owing to its bracing fusion of garage-blues swagger, indie-rock melodicism and a heaping dose of classic-rock grandeur.
The band’s guitar-drum core inspires convenient comparisons to similarly blues-informed duos such as the Black Keys and the White Stripes. But such critical folly misses the mark and overlooks the wide array of influences that bloom under Eldridge’s command. This is densely layered stuff, meticulously sculpted with clay mined from numerous locales along rock’s terra firma, from the latter-day jam of Phish to Rush-inspired prog and the occasional mascara-painted wink at David Bowie for good, glam-rock measure.
See other reviews of the “Johnny On The Spot” EP here.