Tuned In: Ex-Temper, and more

  • Mary Lambert. Shervin Lainez

  • Colorway. Julian Parker-Burns

  • Ex-Temper

  • Marcia Ball

  • Screaming Females.  Lance Bangs

Saturday, February 10, 2018

“It’s a decent handshake,” is how Ex-Temper drummer Dana Wilde describes the Northampton band’s “getting to know you” debut 5-song EP “Magnetic.” 

Vocalist/guitarists Kaliis Smith and Lynn Simonds, bassist/vocalist Kate Dowd, and Wilde will celebrate the EP’s digital and physical release with a live performance at Sonelab in Easthampton on Saturday at 8 p.m. CDs will be available for sale. Local singer/songwriter Rachel Laitman starts off the night with an acoustic set of anti-folk-pop originals.

What does Ex-Temper’s mini-album sound like? The band’s recording engineer, Grant Wicks, thinks the music is “angular, dynamic alt-rock with heavy grooves, intricate melodies, and fuzzy head-banging riffs.” During an interview earlier this week, Wilde also made a couple stabs at describing the band’s sound: “Maybe we sound like if The Go-Go’s took a dark turn and started playing metal and grunge? If Throwing Muses and Nirvana had a musical threesome with Luscious Jackson?”

Ex-Temper’s EP takes me back to the era of Valley bands like Tizzy and The Moves, who also built unique songs out of personal lyrics and unpredictable forms. “Icicle” is an incoming storm of a song with a catchy yet quirky chorus, while “Transplant” blasts out of the gate with crunchy guitars and a big rock riff before letting loose with a refrain of full-throated harmonies on the word “haunted.”

Wilde said the group recorded “Magnetic” with all the band members playing together in the same room; the natural, straightforward method helped the quartet relax and focus. “We all brought snacks, good attitudes, and laughed a lot,” she said.

The cover art for Ex-Temper’s EP features an intense photo of Wilde’s late cat Chloe, an image chosen by her bandmates with enthusiastic consensus. “Chloe was there the night I brought home my first drum set and didn’t mind when I started practicing in the studio apartment we lived in together,” Wilde said. “I feel good about Chloe’s spirit and magnetizing stare being shared with others and connected to the feel of our music.”


Cinematic pop band Eddie Japan returns to the Iron Horse in Northampton on Friday at 7 p.m. Starting off the night are The Empty Pockets, a rootsy Americana “indiebilly” group from Chicago.

Blues vocalist and harmonica man James Montgomery is a Detroit native who formed his own band in 1970 while attending Boston University — he got lots of buzz along with fellow scenesters Aerosmith and The J. Geils Band — and he has played with everyone from Muddy Waters to Kid Rock. Montgomery appears at the Iron Horse on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Zydeco Connection and Bayou X bring the sounds of Mardi Gras to your neighborhood  — Cajun, Creole, boogie-woogie, R&B, zydeco, two-steps, waltzes and more — with a show at Hawks and Reed in Greenfield on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Singer, songwriter, spoken word artist and LGBTQ activist Mary Lambert (right) appears at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke on Sunday at 8 p.m. NYC songwriter Mal Blum opens.

Screaming Females (below right)(New Jersey rockers led by vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Marissa Paternoster, celebrating an upcoming new album, “All At Once”), Thou (sludge/doom from Baton Rouge) and HIRS (“confrontational queer grindcore collective” from Philadelphia) make up the triple-bill at Flywheel in Easthampton on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

Foghorn Stringband are an old-time outfit from Portland, Oregon, and they’ll bring their energetic mix of Appalachian dance music and traditional mountain fiddle tunes to The Parlor Room in Northampton on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Pianist Marcia Ball — raised in Vinton, Louisiana — brings her rollicking New Orleans boogie-woogie and blues back to the Iron Horse on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Rice: An American Band (playing a mix of originals and covers, including songs from Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead and Fleetwood Mac) shares a bill with Colorway (at right, the rock trio fronted by guitarist/vocalist F. Alex Johnson) at Hawks and Reed in Greenfield on Thursday at 9 p.m. All ages.