Another day for two reviews: Second, a solo release from a former Squirrel Nut Zipper, and first, some modern punk.  Real punk.  Let’s do this.

“You know I love that violence that you get around here, that kind of ready steady violence, that violent how-do-you-do…”

Dublin punk band Fontaines DC’s debut is just the kind of punk we need right now. It’s very smart, very powerful, and very loud. Excellent songwriting, speak/sing vocals that will make all the other intellipunks jealous, and music you can actually get lost in. It’s punk, for sure, but it feels like jam band sometimes–like in the long fade-out to “The Lotts.”

“If you’re a rock star, porn star, doesn’t matter what you are, get yourself a car and come over here…”

This is the kind of first album that makes you anxious for the second.

Let’s go from punk to something more traditional–but definitely not standard: Jimbo Mathus, formerly of the Squirrel Nut Zippers, has gone solo! The result is a collection of piano-based Southern rock songs that are, frankly, wonderful.

The first thing that gets your notice is the variety. Lead track, “You Are Like a Song,” is basically a sing-along–easy and gentle on the ears. But then it moves to the darkness of the title track–almost Nick Cave-ish. And there’s bar-room growl on “Alligator Fish.”

But my favorite cut is “Really Hurt Someone,” a simply, heartbreakingly sad song about a guy who dumped a girl and feels bad about it. He’s not looking to be reunited or anything, he’s just sad he had to hurt her because she “really cared about me.” Everyone knows he was a dick to do it. And you can feel his misery. A powerfully honest song.

Oh, and don’t fret. He’s still with the band after all, and he’ll be on the Squirrel Nut Zippers’ tour this year. Some dates are below.

Tour dates:

With Squirrel Nut Zippers:
April 19 — Portland, ME @ Aura
April 20 —New York, NY @ City Winery
April 21 — South Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground Ballroom
April 23 — Boston, MA @ City Winery
April 24 — Fairfield, CT @ StageOne at FTC
April 25 —Ardmore, PA @ The Ardmore Music Hall
April 26 — Reading, PA @ Miller Center for the Arts
April 27 — Kent, OH @ Kent Theatre

Jimbo Mathus solo:
May 2 — New Orleans @ Ogden Museum of Southern Art
May 3 — New Orleans @ Hi Ho Lounge
May 4 — Mobile, AL @ Listening Room
May 17 — Oxford, MS @ Proud Larry
May 18 — Memphis, TN @ Bar DKDC
May 22 — Nashville, TN @ Acme Roots Radio
May 31 —Little Rock, AR @ White Water Tavern
June 1 — Tupelo, MS @ Blue Canoe
June 8 — Jackson, MS @ Duling Hall

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