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Dead Boots kicks off tour in Cambridge

Posted by Scott McLennan  July 11, 2013 01:42 PM

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Dead Boots is, from left, Ben Tileston, Tony Perry, Adrian Perry, and Lou Jannetty. The band's new album is out July 16.

The Beatles didn't start with "Sgt. Pepper's;" the band got there over time with each previous album leading up to the masterpiece.

It's a point that Adrian Perry makes in a conversation about his band Dead Boots and its new album "Verónica." Perry wasn't trying to put his band on par with the Beatles, but instead explaining how bands mature and evolve, creating new sounds without forsaking old ones.

And that's pretty much what is happening on "Verónica." Before this album, Dead Boots made three full-lengths under the name TAB the Band, which came together in 2006. In the beginning, the Boston-by-way-of-Duxbury band consisted of brothers Adrian and Tony Perry on bass and guitar, respectively, and Ben Tileston on drums. With each project, the group moved a bit further from the crunchy blues rock of its earliest work, absorbing more power-pop influences you can trace back to Cheap Trick and the Kinks, as well as a bit of garage-rock tumble and glam-rock swagger.

"Verónica" also fully incorporates rhythm guitar player Lou Jannetty into the band, so in many ways it just seemed time to shake off the "Tony-Adrian-Ben" monicker and recast the group as Dead Boots.

Dead Boots releases "Verónica" on July 16 via iTunes and pretty much anywhere else albums can be downloaded. The band begins a tour to promote the new record on Saturday, July 13, at the Middle East, 472 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. Rachel Taylor, the Rationales, Blackboard Nails, and Midnight Spin are also on the bill. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the $10 admission includes a download code for "Verónica."

As is usually noted in any coverage of the Perry brothers, it is now time to mention that their dad is Joe Perry of Aerosmith. And to the brothers' credit, they have been very good about not riding his coattails or fleeing from his shadow.

Tony says Joe will pop in and listen to new tracks out of genuine interest, but doesn't meddle.

"I think he's just more interested in seeing what his kids are doing. He does help more in teaching us about all the background stuff that goes on in the music business, but I wouldn't call him a stage mom," Tony says.

And in Papa Joe's eyes, the kids must be alright. "Verónica" is a smart and infectious record that comes out on the frenetic blast of "On the Rocks" and "Saturdays." Those and a handful of other uptempo rockers match smooth pop passages with rougher, punkier points of contrast.

Around mid-point on the 13-track set, Dead Boots offers up "I Believe in Love," and the songs following that take on a broader sweep and in some cases a darker tone. The progression is subtle, setting up the melancholy ballad "Love Without a Fall" and artful finale "Bullfighter" (a song Adrian calls the moral center of the album).

"We started out playing for fun, and it was simple blues rock," Adrian says. "This record retains some of that, but now we can pull off more serious and more sophisticated stuff . We just couldn't have written 'Bullfighter' on our first record."

And by "serious" and "sophisticated" Adrian means clever and textured; there's nothing on "Verónica" you'd call forced or stuffy. Tony handles a lot of the studio production, combining vintage gear_ which he claims forces you to play a certain way_ with modern technology to cook up a sound that is contemporary but also aware of its roots.

Check out the current single "Saturdays" to hear what I mean:

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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About the author

Scott McLennan is a Boston Globe music correspondent and previously wrote a music and entertainment column for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette for 15 years. After seeing the band Boston in the Boston Garden as a teenager he never looked back and eventually figured out how to be a professional fan. Scott is very good at writing in the dark. This blog is an ongoing discussion about music happening in and around Boston. Scott will be leading the trek across genres looking for new releases and hot shows as well as just checking in with the people who make Boston such a great place to listen. More »
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