These days, Fred Erskine barely meets the qualifications of a local musician. His band the Boom is based in the D.C. area, and he has a Mount Pleasant address, but the wandering bluesman and punk-rock minstrel is hardly ever here. He plays bass for the higher-profile band June of 44, which means “I’m not in town that much”; when he is, he plays guitar and trumpet for the Boom, whose new record, Any Day of the Night, is out this week on Slowdime. Since the Boom’s 1998 debut, Movin’ Out, Erskine & Co. have traveled much further into blues, jazz, and R&Bfor which Erskine’s musical qualifications are tangential at best: In his previous bands, Hoover and the Crownhate Ruin, Erskine worked to push the boundaries of post-punk and hardcore music toward jazz improvisation. On instrumental tracks like “Biloxi Boardwalk,” the Boom represents that transition made nearly in full.
“My dream is to have this, like, 12-piece R&B-punk-rock revue or something,” says Erskine. “I wanted to get some horns involved in it, which was a fucking project. Trying to find good horn players who would be willing to hang in with a punk band and go on a few shitty tours and play to nobody isn’t easy.” The Boom leaves for a European tour in April, and June of 44 will be touring shortly thereafter in support of its forthcoming album Anahata. (CB)