Joe Pug has announced the detail of his forthcoming album, Messengers. The album will be released on February 16th and features 9 new songs along with an electric reworking of “Speak Plainly, Diana” which first appeared on the Nation of Heat EP. He also announced plans to release a vinyl edition of Nation of Heat around that same time. Joe will be touring this Spring with Justin Townes Earle, and will be playing here at Lincoln Hall on Feb. 27th. He will of course be heading to SXSW again this March.
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