Deer Tick and John Moreland
“If I sent a dream down a pipe, where’s it go?”
That’s the question Deer Tick founder and frontman John McCauley poses at the end of “Rejection,” the closing tune to “Deer Tick, Vol. 1.” But before we are allowed to draw conclusions, McCauley feeds us his restless and deceptively detached reply.
“Down to a pile at the bottom of a hole.”
Severe as such disparagement may seem, the tune actually possesses a fair amount of hope to outlast what demons the singer is chasing over a stark and poignant acoustic guitar backdrop: “I don’t want to feel like a reject today,” he sings. “I don’t want to live like that.”
Now jump to the end of “Deer Tick, Vol. 2,” which was simultaneously released with “Vol. 1” last fall. Here we find a full-tilt roustabout song called “Mr. Nothing Gets Worse,” a tune that waves its significantly less promising chorus (“Nothing ever gets better, Mr. Nothing gets worse”) like a tattered banner. But the music is all rock ’n’ roll cheer, the kind of post-punk glee that could pass for vintage Replacements.
Since it’s formation in 2004, the Rhode Island-bred Deer Tick has been one of those bands whose equal fascination with ragged, unplugged portraits and giddy garage rock tunes have both delighted and confounded audiences. The two volume, self-titled set seeks to embrace that balance. “Vol. 1” is acoustic with a more elemental, but tastefully grimy sound that nods to folk and, at times, roots country inspirations. “Vol. 2” is an electric record, a testament to the kind rock ’n’ roll fun and dimension McCauley and Deer Tick kick up onstage.
On Sunday, Deer Tick brings both albums, both profiles, some nuggets from its back catalog and a choice cover tune or two (the 1974 Joe Cocker hit “You Are So Beautiful” has been making the rounds on this tour) to Lexington with a performance at Manchester Music Hall.
But here’s the really cool part of rocking out on a Sunday night. The show is a double bill with the extraordinary John Moreland, who also knows a few things about the tightrope between acoustic and electric songs.
The Texas-born, Tulsa-bred and one time Kentucky-based Moreland (he spent some of his childhood years in Boone County) established himself with acoustic tunes that borrowed from rustic folk traditions but were composed with a sense of efficiency that reflected an early infatuation with punk rock. His 2017 album “Big Bad Luv,” however, was an ensemble driven rock ’n’ roll outing that owed to such cross generational greats as Steve Earle, Billy Gibbons and the Rev. Gary Davis, but with the same level of expert songcraft that distinguished his more acoustic-based music.
Chris, Chris and Kim
▪ A very intriguing recording of the “WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour” awaits you on Monday at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center, 300 E. Third. The bill boasts Spin Doctors frontman Chris Barron, who is promoting his 2017 solo album “Angels and One Armed Jugglers,” and veteran songsmith Kim Richey, who just released her first album in five years, “Edgeland” (6:45 p.m., $10). For tickets, call 859-280-2218 or go to Lexingtonlyric.tix.com.
▪ Chris Robinson is back in town this week with a new band that tips its hat to his old band. It’s called As the Crow Flies and its repertoire is devoted to the music Robinson created over a 25-year period with the Black Crowes. The lineup also includes two other ex-Crowes — guitarist Audley Freed and keyboardist Adam MacDougall — along with popular new generation guitarist Marcus King, one-time Gov’t Mule bassist Andy Hess and Ollabelle drummer Tony Leone. As the Crow Flies performs at Manchester Music Hall on Wednesday (8 p.m., $37.50-$150). For tickets, go to Manchestermusichall.com.
Record Store Day
You know what Saturday is, right? It’s Record Store Day, a retail tradition now in its 11th year that will be celebrated by more than 1,300 independent record stores around the country. That there are even that many such shops left is amazing in an age where popular music is acquired either by downloading or stealing (or, in many cases, both).
For vinyl junkies, that translates into more than 300 limited edition platters released exclusively for Record Store Day. For our pals at CD Central, 377 South Limestone, the prime local outlet for recorded music retail, that means a day-long event featuring donuts in the morning, burritos in the afternoon and live local music all day long.
CD’s Central’s store hours on Saturday run from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and here’s the live band lineup: Lylak (noon), Damned African Descendants (1 p.m.), The Vaticans (2 p.m.), Sour Cream Band (3 p.m.), Sunny Cheeba (4 p.m.).
Also celebrating Record Store Day is CD Central’s South Lime neighbor The Album, 371 South Limestone, and Pop’s Resale, 1423 Leestown Road, Suite B. To find about Record Store Day and the multitude of exclusive releases, go to Recordstoreday.com.