The lure of musical comfort food

Once I had this therapist who suggested I join him and his buddies on a manly man retreat to pound bongos and shout gibberish at squirrels. At the time, there must have been some kind of therapy-culture movement for guys whose turbo-shopping mates had feminized them into latte-sipping submission, forcing them to spend weekends schlepping shopping bags around the mall instead of getting all scribbled in front of the TV watching le sport de la saison like they shoulda been. So, my therapist must have figured I was in need to rediscover my inner troglodyte, or perhaps he was recruiting new customers for a bear bar he’d planned on opening.

Glad I didn’t take him up on it. I love women. Just don’t ask me to go shopping.

In last week’s laundry list of fave local femme singers, I neglected to mention Allyson Seconds. This oversight steered me to the Fox & Goose on Friday night, where Ghetto Moments, the ironically white-bread band Seconds shares with her husband, Kevin, was holding court in the middle of the bill. While the rest of the band is supremely talented—David Houston on lead guitar, Mark Harrod on drums—the main appeal of this band is Kevin and Allyson’s harmonies. Their two voices blend together quite naturally, with often heavenly results. Allyson may play keyboards and guitar, and Kevin plays rhythm guitar, but the band’s focus is on the songs, which don’t serve as a springboard to the kind of virtuoso maneuvers that many musicians attempt. Having seen Ghetto Moments twice in the past few weeks, I’d say they’ve become one of my fave musical comfort foods.

Opening the show was an acoustic guitar-wielding Brian Hanover from the band Hanover Saints, backed Jonathan Richman-style by drummer Danny Secretion of, yep, the Secretions. Hanover approached his material with that resolute workman-like demeanor characteristic of punk rockers gone acoustic, and in his better moments hit a stride that recalled the quieter sides of Paul Westerberg and Bob Mould.

By the time the headliner, the Haints, hit the stage, I’d developed a world-class backache from sitting in one of the Fox & Goose’s Colonial-style wood chairs, so it wouldn’t be fair to offer a perception colored by shooting pains the band had nothing to do with causing. Suffice it to say that I think the Haints sounded pretty good, with Kepi wrapping his distinctive delivery-boy voice around a selection of Southern-sounding material, backed by fellow Groovie Ghoulies Roach on bass and Scampi on drums, plus Cory Vick on guitar, Houston on percussion, Bobby Jordan on keyboards and Dan Janisch on what looked like steel guitar.

The hurt drove me outside to chat with Ghetto Moments, and when someone mentioned Harrod’s most recent CD, Harrod retrieved a copy from under a baby seat in his minivan. The disc, Steer Clear the Little Piggies by the Happy Landings, contains nine tracks of tuneful, inventive power pop, the kind any Deathray fan might worship. Seek it.

Speaking of personal heroes, this Monday, March 19, at 7:30 p.m., Joe Boyd—who produced records by Nick Drake, Fairport Convention, R.E.M. and many others—will be appearing at Time Tested Books’ new location at 1114 21st Street, to promote his book White Bicycles: Making Music in the 1960s.