Fan the Hammer
When he's not playing with local honky-tonk sensations the Tabloid Twangers, singer-guitarist John McAlea kicks it with Fan the Hammer, a four-piece that just issued the AAA radio-oriented We Don't Need Forever All We Need Is Now. While neither McAlea nor guitarist Jana McAlea has a particularly strong voice, the tunes are solid, and the McAleas harmonize on "Gossip," where they recall the back-and-forth vocal style of X's John Doe and Exene Cervenka. Uptempo roots-rockers "My SG" and "Death on Rt. 2" are the standouts here and fare better than melancholy ballads "Misery Town" and "Out of Control."
— Jeff Niesel
Fan the Hammer perform at 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, at Prosperity Social Club (1109 Starkweather, 216.937.1938, prosperitysocialclub.com).
The Know Nothings
As song titles like "Girls, Got Me Going Crazy," "Awkward Bits of Silence" and "Down for the Count" suggest, there's nothing too complex about the music on this five-song EP. The workmanlike quality of those straight-ahead alt-rock tunes (think Black Crowes meet Stone Temple Pilots) isn't all that appealing. The band is better off with "The Weight," a bluesy grunge ballad with a driving guitar solo, and "Listen," a moody ballad that suffers from its brevity (it's a little more than a minute long). — Niesel
The Know Nothings perform with Chris Moss, Long Time Darlings, the Approach and the Education, and the Heights Band at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26, at the Kent Stage (175 E. Main St., 330.677.5005, kentstage.org). Tickets: $5 advance, $7 day of show.