Fromt Row for the Meltdown does 'All the Wrong Things' beautifully

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Front Row for the Meltdown



Front Row for the Meltdown

Thursday · Sudsy Malone's

While the recent signing of Dayton's Hawthorne Heights by Victory Records would suggest otherwise, our neighbor to the north might not exactly be the prime location for bands in the hunt for a record deal. At least that was likely the thinking of former Daytonites, Front Row for the Meltdown. After securing a deal with L.A.'s Five Finger Management, the quartet loaded up the U-Haul and headed south to the closest industry hub, Nashville. With the Punk/Pop and Emo enclave being the prevalent home for most of the guitar-based music doing well on the charts right now, it would be too easy to lump Front Row into that category. But with those genres being dominated by irritating vocalists, hooks as thin as most of the currently successful bands' staying power and a bleedingly earnest approach that is the aural equivalent of your aggravating friend calling you at 4 a.m. to cry about his or her failed relationship, Front Row for the Meltdown are at a substantial advantage. On the band's compelling new album, All the Wrong Things, Front Row eschews the clichés for a more timeless approach, crafting a Pop/Rock sound that is pure, effective and powerful. Having more in common with powerhouse Pop deities like Superdrag or Death Cab for Cutie than anything remotely Emo, Front Row backs up their sanguine melodies with a brawny, dynamic musical resilience, showcasing gripping guitar interaction, a firm rhythmic base, classic harmonies and singer/guitarist Jeremy Little's commanding vocal presence. But it's the instantly gratifying melodic prowess of the songwriting that is the key to Wrong Things success. If Front Row for the Meltdown stays its course and doesn't curtail to industry expectations, there's potential for the band to become a standard-bearer in Pop/Rock. As it stands, their latest album is an amazing first step.

All the Wrong Things does all the right things — what more can you ask for? (Mike Breen)

Adams Township

Thursday · The Greenwich

With expansive, funky Jazz becoming one of the key sub-genres of the "Jam band" scene, it's fun to play "Jam band who plays Jazz or Jazz band that jams?" The best outcome for this game is "Can't tell," and that's exactly what happens when you throw Atlanta's Adams Township into the mix. The core of the band formed in Toledo before relocating to the ATL, where they toyed with adding a vocalist/frontman before realizing that the instrumental Fusion route was the way to go. Good call. Like the best of the Nü Fusion set (Ray's Music Exchange, Garaj Mahal, MMW), Adams Township has chops to spare. Using their formal training to craft the stimulating arrangements, the instrumental quintet jettisons into free-form exploration from the finessed base, gliding gracefully on a wave of breathing, open-ended grooves. The genre-straddling enables them to fit comfortably in a more traditional-minded Jazz setting (like their appearance at local Jazz institution, The Greenwich) or to slide effortlessly into a Rock club with open-minded booking policies and audiences. It's the best of both worlds and, with their consistent, widespread touring efforts, Adams Township seems equipped and poised to conquer both. In 2002, the group released the fittingly-titled, Soundtrip, but perhaps the more representative listen is the double-disc documentation of their live show, which is available at the group's Web site (adamstownship.com). (MB)

Melk the G6-49 and Manners for Husbands

Friday · Southgate House

Of all the thoughts you have about Indiana, "Art-Noise Capitol" might not be near the top. Bloomington's Joyful Noise Recordings is doing a very respectable job of changing that. Melk the G6-49 and Manners for Husbands, the pair of Experimental Rock acts on the label, are both at the top of their game as they demonstrate on their new split 7-inch single. Though they spawn vastly different soundscapes, Melk and Manners share a palette. Math, minimalism and melodic fragments combine in unexpected ways with results that range from seductive to unnerving. Melk, a duo consisting of John Spencer on bass guitar and Karl Hofstetter on drums, thrive on jagged, distorted grooves and energetic bursts. As fans of the genre demand, both of their CDs, Mene Mene Tekel Parsin and Self-Titled, are exhausting listens. They are allergic to repetition and won't bore you with the same level of intensity or tempo for more than a few bars. Despite being manic, the full sound and heaviness of the music make it very engaging, particularly in a live setting. Manners is a somewhat more traditional combo, featuring Alex Myers on drums and David Brant and Clinton Hughey sharing bass, guitar and vocal duties. Their approach is more delicate, at times using gentle, breathy vocals to soften their non-linear arrangements. In their five-year history, they have shared the stage with Pedro the Lion and Faraquet (among others) and recently released a disc full of smooth metamorphoses, Take a Shape. Their contribution to the 7-inch is more boisterous, but still not as chaotic as Melk. Fresh off the presses, the limited edition vinyl will be available at shows on this tour and contains a special feature: Three sides. The Melk side is "double-grooved," placing the songs side-by-side. (Ezra Waller)

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