Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Tuned In

The average band often mellows as it gets older — its songs get more ornate, less urgent, the focus gets fuzzier. Not Fancy Trash. The local trio, celebrating its 10th year, is renowned for its supremely passionate shows and has made a short blast of a record to match, entitled “As Is.”

Nine songs in 28 minutes, recorded at Easthampton’s Sonelab by Justin Pizzoferrato, “As Is” captures well the raw, explosive energy that the band whips up at live gigs, with guitarist/vocalist Dave Houghton always ending up with a sweaty mop of hair and a frazzled acoustic guitar.

That word, acoustic, might call to mind polite or gently picked sounds, but Houghton, upright bassist Paul Kochanski and drummer Jason Smith push their acoustic instruments to the brink.

The record’s title track is a prime example of the band’s rock power, as the song builds into a hurricane roar. Smith pounds windmilling drum fills while Houghton strums his guitar strings into submission, his voice nearly giving out, wringing every possible bit of breath and emotion.

“As Is” includes moments of less-stormy beauty, too, like the sweet-edged “Last Hurrah” and the tactile, mesmerizing instrumental “The Giving Tree.” Fancy Trash celebrates the release of the new album — and the anniversary — with a show at the Iron Horse in Northampton tonight at 10 p.m. Thane Thomsen’s Goldwater Trio starts off the evening.

Geddy Lee, frontman of the Canadian power trio Rush, has one of the most unmistakable voices in rock, making it tough for any Rush cover band to do the music justice ... uh, not to mention all those exacting drum parts and crazy time signature changes and epic compositions and etc., etc. Yet Lotus Land, the American Rush tribute band, does a pretty solid job, thanks in part to bassist/vocalist Chris Nelson’s eerie approximation of Lee’s singing style and the three friends’ spirited take on everyone’s favorite prog superstars from the Great White North. See Lotus Land at the Iron Horse Saturday at 7 p.m.

Home Body and Speak! begin their two-week tour together with an intimate show at the magical Dream Away Lodge in Becket tonight at 8 p.m.

Amherst trio Rusty Belle has long been a local fave thanks to the voices of sister-brother team Kate and Matt Lorenz and the band’s creative way of kicking up a groove. They’ve been known to use washboard, banjo, “foot-drums” and more to make their dynamic music, which won’t sit still for a label. Down-home porch-tunes? Folk-punk? Busted bluegrass? Whatever you call it, Rusty Belle is bringing it to the Iron Horse Saturday at 10 p.m.

The local all-volunteer organization Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares brings the Dave Douglas Sextet to the area for a show at the Unitarian Meetinghouse in Northampton Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. The unique lineup finds the acclaimed trumpeter joined by vocalist Aoife O’Donovan (leader of the alternative bluegrass band Crooked Still), Jon Irabagon on sax, Matt Mitchell on piano, Linda Oh on bass and Clarence Penn on drums.

Easthampton-based singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Mark Schwaber, who begins recording a long-awaited new album next week, plays a free show at Popcorn Noir in Easthampton Monday at 9 p.m.

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