It's been a long time since the Flumps made their presence felt on the local scene, but that's all about to change.
On Monday, Florence's finest posted the newly recorded "Just as Well," a longtime staple of their live set, which you can find on the band's Facebook page as well as its bandcamp site. Better still, the Flumps will be following up with their long-awaited sophomore album this coming January.
Frontman Dino Belli says the new material leans more toward upbeat, electric pop, with an emphasis on riffs and hooks that'll translate well to a live setting. To prove the point, the band will be headlining the Black Sheep this Friday, on a bill with the War Parts, the New Trust and Tiger Wine.
Why the long absence?
"I was tired of playing the same stuff to the same people," says Dino. "I'm a musician because I love writing music, not the other way around. Never been much of a, 'Come on over and play some 12-bar blues' jammer."
So Belli devoted himself to the more solitary half of the singer-songwriter equation. "I've spent the last year writing heavily, writing differently, too. I'm excited to release a pop album — not bad pop, hopefully — just really catchy and danceable pop without compromising my dignity or musical identity."
Flumps fans won't be surprised that Belli's approach to the genre isn't exactly the same as what's currently dominating the pop charts. "The Beatles were pop," he points out. "Elliott Smith was pop. I consider anything that is approachable by the masses, pop."
That wasn't necessarily the case with the Flumps' 2011 debut album. As good as it was, Scattered Light was a sprawling collection, frontloaded with often downbeat acoustic tunes that gave little indication of the more accessible electric material buried further in.
"Our last album was a double-disc mess of sound," says the musician in retrospect. "I want this album to show a little more maturity and continuity."
There'll still be a few heartfelt ballads on the new album — the aforementioned "Just as Well" fits that description pretty well — but Dino also promises forays into "wild, self-loathing dive-bar grunge."
You can hear for yourself at Friday's show, where the band's set will be largely devoted to as-yet-unheard material. "We'll be playing our new album live," says Belli. "Different order, but as close to the recorded version as possible."
This will also be one of the first gigs the Flumps are playing with their new drummer Mason Macura, who came on board after Alex Koshak became increasingly busy working with Springs artists like Grant Sabin and Briffaut, as well as his own Lingua Franca project. In fact, you can catch Grant Sabin & the Full Moon, featuring Alex on drums and Drug Flowers' Chris Davis on bass — this Wednesday, Nov. 13, at the Loft.
Later in the week, on Thursday, keep an eye out for Tom VandenAvond at the Triple Nickel, where he'll be joined by Haunted Windchime Mike Clark. The Austin, Texas singer-songwriter's backing band on his last two albums was Larry & the Flask, whom you may have caught at the Black Sheep this past weekend. From the Tom Waits growl of "Bones" to the lyricism of songs like "Lost Claim" — which evokes classic John Prine and Bob Dylan — VandenAvond is sure to please anyone with a trucker cap and a love for stripped-down Americana.
And finally, here's good news for fans of Jeb Burgess' resilient hound Oliver. As noted in our blog, the Audible guitarist came home to find his dog collapsed in the front yard, inexplicably blinded by mace and suffering from a broken leg. An online fundraising campaign to pay for Oliver's operation went viral, bringing in nearly $3,500 in donations from the local music community as well as from complete strangers from around the country.
The operation was successful, and Oliver is now resting up for his return to everyday canine activities. "He's doing great actually," says Jeb, "although he has to stay in a cone until January. He has a big metal plate in his leg now, with 12 screws holding it in. He should get his staples out next week."
For his own part, the musician is still taken aback by the show of support. "There were about a hundred people that donated to cover his surgery, so I have a lot of thank you notes to write."