Lowell trio Big Mess put out two new songs in October to follow up their self-titled release this past January. MOLD is twelve minutes of ominous, instrumental doom metal marching through a downpour of sludge. As opposed to their first album, which mixed in bluesy rock parts, MOLD adheres to a slow and straightforward brand of hardcore. Heaviness builds up in the desolate Side A and then trudges off to the dirge’s conclusion, and crunchy guitar distortion bookend Drone Bee.
Friendly People’s debut, self-titled 3-song EP gives a concise taste of a promising young Cambridge, MA-based band. Their jangly indie pop is peppered with hints of Americana, roots rock and folk with vocals that owe a debt to Neil Young. The EP’s clear highlight is its opening track—their namesake song—“Friendly People”. It’s a tremendous, positive track buoyed by a horn section in the bridge which lends a mariachi feel. “A Lot of Work To Do” brings out Harvest-era Neil Young, starting as a plaintive acoustic ditty which builds slowly into a passionate electric number. Closing track, “Branches”, follows the same acoustic-to-electric path. As the song builds, it introduces tribal rhythms that are reminiscent of 80s indie-punk legends, the Volcano Suns. Friendly People are scheduled to record their debut full-length in March. If the Friendly People EP is indicative of what we can expect from this young group’s next batch of tunes it will be a record to keep an eye on later in 2012.--George Dow