(Rhythm of the Earth Music)
Sure, it’s kind of lazy to reference an artist’s self-proclaimed influences in a review. But it’s worth mentioning that Beaver-based singer-songwriter Joe Newtz cites both Tom Jones and Incubus, and both influences are equally evident: Imagine, if you will, the earnest Brandon Boyd singing with Jones’ swagger. The songs themselves are fairly catchy (particularly “One More Day”) and certainly wouldn’t sound out of place on your favorite modern-rock radio station; it’s a genre that is always in danger of being bland, or worse, but this is elevated by unexpected melodic twists and turns, and skilled guitar work.
JOE NEWTZ with MICHAEL SWEET. 8 p.m. Thu., Aug. 13. Hard Rock Café, 230 W. Station Square Drive, Station Square. $18-20. 412- 481-7625 or www.druskyentertainment.com
Enjoyment of this six-plus-member folk-punk ensemble will depend on your tolerance for Gogol Bordello’s theatrical zaniness and/or Tom Waits at his most old-timey. The group was born of buskers — instrumentation includes banjos, washboards, spoons, singing saws, accordions, etc. — and that party-in-the-street DIY vibe remains. Members make their own merch, and record and produce everything themselves. And get ready because, according to their bandcamp page, they’re also “eatin’ yer leftovers, drinken’ yer beer and sleepin on yer kitchen floor.” Still on board? Then this dark and wild little release has tons of heart, and some memorable tunes.