Not since the early days of the Velvet Monkeys has a D.C. band filled in the blanks with Farfisa the way the Delta ’72 does. This local quartet, which opens for Helium Friday at the Black Cat, is officially a neo-blues-rock outfit, and Gregg Foreman’s harmonica and slide guitar do provide the requisite slippery timbres, especially on “Got a Train to Catch,” one of three tracks on the band’s debut 7-inch. Sarah Stolfa’s organ pumping is pure mid-’60s punk, though, and the way Foreman’s and bassist Kim Thompson’s strangulated vocals almost intertwine recalls the early-’80s variety. All these songs give more prominence to the surging, sliding instruments than to their cryptic lyrics, and the single concludes with an instrumental, “Hip Coat.” Still, the sound is more X than Booker T. and the MG’s. The single is a co-release of Kill Rock Stars, Dischord, and Black Jack Productions. Dischord, 3819 Beecher St. NW, Washington, DC 20007; Delta ’72 c/o Black Cat, P.O. Box 73338, Washington, DC 20056.
The ‘haze Act Backwards From 3, Daisyhaze’s new five-song EP, is named for one of its tracks, but not one listeners are likely to be humming. The opening selection, it’s a 14-second countdown. After that, the CD doesn’t exactly blast off, but it does demonstrate plenty of energetic tunefulness. This local quartet writes crisp, melodic rockers that it juices with hard-edged guitar solos and duets (the closing rave-up of “You’re So Unkind,” for example). Though hardly the most nihilistic band around in this Nine Inch Nails-era, the ‘haze does undercut its pretty harmonies with a steady supply of negative attitude. “I can’t/I won’t/I’m not,” goes the refrain to “I’m Not,” and in “Jonestown” life (or is it love?) is like a cup of poisoned Kool-Aid. On the disc’s catchiest song, the band, which appears May 18 at the Bayou and May 26 at the 9:30 Club, simply finds everything “Wrong.” Daisyhaze, P.O. Box 53011, Washington, DC 20009.
Dogs and Cat The Cravin’ Dogs play classic rock, but that doesn’t mean Toto. On Live at the Black Cat, the band’s new cassette, the Northern Virginia quintet suggests the spirit (and sometimes the sound) of The Band or the Flying Burrito Brothers—or the Grateful Dead at their most rustic and least acid-washed. With Todd Baker’s electric violin and John Penovich’s pedal steel recalling the days when rock first decided it was ready for the country, songs like “Headhunter,” “Peace of Mind,” and “Crushed by the Big Toe of God” are as engagingly rollicking as “Somebody’s Darlin’ ” is deeply melancholy, while “Long Goodbye” and “Sing, Sing, Sing” skillfully blend both moods/modes. Sometimes things get a little too retro—yes, there’s a drum solo—but then this is a live recording, so the occasionally overextended solos are more than balanced by the band’s exuberance. The Dogs appear Saturday at, of course, the Black Cat, where the tape was recorded almost exactly a year ago. Preash Productions, 1616 Trap Rd., Vienna, VA 22182.