Hot Singles in Boston: Cities & States / Lady Pills / The Dutch Tulips

“Ambulance Racer” – Cities & States

In the future we all have robot limbs and eat animal hearts for breakfast

Salem’s Cities & States prove themselves untied down by genre in their summer single, “Ambulance Driver.” The song gives me the sense that they let the writing dictate the style, not that they set out to make a smoothie of a few bands’ best sounds. The song shifts from its funky verse groove to jangling chorus effortlessly. ¬†Some great dirty tones in the guitar and bass and the evocative instrumental section following the chorus sets the band apart as artists, not just rockers.

Singer/gutiarist Josh Richard said:

This is a menacing song full of corruption, urgently approaching a moment of truth through harmony and torn speakers. I haven’t written anything this raw and fun before, and to me it says, ‘Get in, we have to go now.’

A band to watch, to be sure.

“Eat Them” – Lady Pills

They say human tastes best frozen I agree…

Photo by Jake Cunningham
Photo by Jake Cunningham

Toward their end of their latest LP,¬†Despite, Lady Pills let loose. In the tones and song structure of “Eat Them,” the band taps into some of the same grunge revival of an act like Bully. The band comes in in earnest, to great effect, on the second line of the song. The album as a whole is conversational, intimate and angry, without repeating itself too much. There’s more clarity in the melodic ideas and playing than most local garage bands. The stark contrast of the dirty guitar tone and clean vocals makes for great, modern music. Lady Pills told us via e-mail:

We think the song pretty much speaks for itself; it’s pretty direct. Cannibalism is just as ridiculous as sexism.

“Eat Them” is a feminist eruption, part of the soundtrack of resistance that will surely define the Trump era to the ears of rock critics.



“Cadillac” – The Dutch Tulips

Uh huh uh huh uh


Me old bandmates in Bellwire are now making some really cool music under The Dutch Tulips moniker. Their first single, melodic major-scale pop in the tradition of “Island in the Sun” Weezer, couldn’t get much more single-y. The song’s big lyrical surprise is that singer/guitarist Jack Holland wants a Cadillac not to blaze down the fast lane, or to “drive slow” in the “might be some hoes homey” sense, but rather to “sit in the back” and “feel safe and OK.” The song has the surefootedness of a group of musicians playing far from the limits of their technical ability. Some sunshine out of season–play it loud.