Living in Boston for the past 10 years, I have seen my fair share of great bands moving out of town. One of the departures that made me saddest was the band Furvis, whose singer, Michael Cummings reminded me why I ever loved Pavement in the first place, it’s not always quite clear what the subject matter is, but there are traces of passion and/or frustration that resonate on a level that’s deep enough that lyrics don’t matter as much.
Furvis left town and returned every now and then to play a show, but under the name Dead Trees, and with a slightly different lineup. At least I think it was a different lineup. I mean, why would they change their name after putting out an album? Anyway, that’s not really the point, because now Cummings is definitely in a band with a different lineup, a different name and a different sound.
That band is called Skaters, and I think they’ll have a big 2013.
Drummer Noah Rubin played with Cummings in both of the musical incarnations I’ve already referenced and for a time sat in with Drug Rug, one of my favorite Hub bands of the past decade. And the duo are joined by Joshua Hubbard, who was the guy from Dirty Pretty Things who was not in the Libertines, and who was not from Boston. I make this clunky distinction because before learning that Hubbard was in Dirty Pretty Things, I had always referred to that band as The Libertines with some dude from Boston taking Pete Doherty’s place. This is not just a lazy music journalism comparison, that’s who was in the band! But it turns out there was another guy of distinction in DPT, and that was Hubbard on guitar.
Oh, and while I’m at it and sneering at lazy music journalism, I should probably point out that the “some dude from Boston” is Anthony Rossomando, who formerly played with Damn Personals.
Anyway, onto the sound of Skaters. It feels decidedly New Yorky and has a Stokes-like flair, but with Cummings’ distinctive vocals chilling out, rather than shouting out. You can almost hear the crinkle of their leather jackets. But what I like most about this track below, “Good Weird Woman” is the sax that comes in. Take a listen…
Doesn’t that sax remind you a little of the sax in “Emotional Rescue” by the Stones? It’s not like it’s a ripoff or anything, but it’s an homage that a lot of bands who have gone for New York skinny tie revival in the past decade or so have forgotten. I was thinking about this song yesterday, and only today did I hunt down the video. And what’s surprising to me is how visually, the Stones at this phase could visually be in the class of 2001 with the Strokes, Interpol and Franz Ferdinand etc. I had always just assumed that their look would be all discofied during this era. But check out Ron Wood even rocking the skinny tie!