Scott Lucas (center) with the Married Men
Still reeling from a Valentine’s Day hangover, or simply looking for a lonely hearts club that has some rock and roll to go along with it? Then head out to TT The Bears tonight for the area debut of Scott Lucas and the Married Men.
Lucas is best known as the singer and guitarist for the Chicago-based rock duo Local H, who were last seen in 2008 releasing a concept break-up album, 12 Angry Months, with one song designated for each month of the year after a relationship ends.
On his solo debut, George Lassos the Moon, the frontman tackles a similar theme. Lucas wrote half of the songs during a single week of a year-long separation from his girlfriend, emailing one song a night to her in hopes of getting back together, but the last thing it stinks of is a 12 Angry Months retread.
“Lyrically you could sort of draw a line between this record and that record - I can see that,” Lucas told Boston Examiner. “But I think that this record is sort of the flipside of that record.”
I don’t see this as an angry record, and I see it as a romantic type of thing, and I don’t think anyone sees 12 Angry Months as that type of record.”
That album was a ripping and sarcastic take on the pitfalls of how to divvy up the same town, friends and bars with an ex, and seeing her out with “white belt boys” and men who drive BMWs. There were the expected pangs of regret, but it was almost always undercut with stark bitterness.
George Lassos the Moon, which hits stores today, is much more heartfelt in its take, filled with the anguish of someone who has had their heart ripped to shreds. Sample lyric: “Pistol whipped and bleeding in the sheets / I want to take my heavy head and lay it on your bed / and shiver with convulsions of relief.”
What’s most striking about George Lassos the Moon is how open Lucas is with his emotions, as his time in Local H has been spent primarily behind loud guitars and an acerbic wit to counter any evident exposure of his feelings.
“The only time that it’s really strange is when somebody I know is in the room listening to the record,” he said. “Playing it for my mom was weird; there’s that thing where, “I’m not sure I want people I know to know about me.’”
“I think it’s easier to have strangers know those things about you – and I don’t know why that is, it just is. I think I turned a corner with 12 Angry Months where there became this challenge to be more honest.”
In the past, he says the Local H catalog veered into “angry young man” type of music, where emotions were easier to hide in plain sight despite what was blatant in some of the lyrics. The angry nature that has often defined that sound, it’s always been true, something Lucas sees missing from today’s musical climate.
“No one really takes a risk and says anything that’s real,” he said. “It’s like I can’t get on the radio without being somebody that uses Auto Tune; things like that where it’s just…does anybody really give a [expletive] about what they’re doing anymore?”
The first single, “Extra Special Bitter,” is getting play around the country on independent stations, but while that particular track is familiar in having hints of his other band contained within its sound, the record as a whole is anything but Local H-lite.
“The songs just seemed really personal, too personal to play in Local H,” Lucas said. “It just doesn’t sound like a Local H record to me.”
Lucas never saw the point in going solo because he writes all of the songs in Local H, but he acknowledges that this was something that just wouldn’t fit under the umbrella of what is generally expected from the group.
“I don’t really like when people do go solo and make a record that sounds exactly like their other band,” he said. “The thing about this, if this were a Local H record and as a fan I was listening to the new Local H record and this came down the pike I’d be like, “what the [expletive] is this?’”
A key feature is how much noise the twosome of Lucas and drummer Brian St. Clair have always been able to make, but ironically, doing a solo record required a bigger band, so to round out the Married Men, he pulled together a new backing group from Chicago’s indie music scene, including members of the Joy Poppers, the Tossers, Cisco Pike, Caviar and the Fluffers.
“The interest in these songs is like more traditional song structures,” Lucas said. “Things like one four chord structures; this is the only record I’ve made where every song is in a major key and most of the singing is lower and not at the top of my range.”
Hitting that range is how Local H took covers like Britney Spears’ “Toxic” and “Wolf Like Me” by TV on the Radio and rocked them out, so a surprising one here is the excellent take on the Bob Dylan classic “Positively 4th Street,” which Lucas isn’t quite sure fits the rest of the George Lassos the Moon.
“It is kind of the antithesis of everything that’s on the record,” he said. “It’s just the best put down song ever. And to put a put down song on this record full of non-put down songs on it…I think it was a clumsy closer.”
Worse was when Lucas, who said the lyrics “just stick with me,” went on the Internet after recording the song only to find out that it had already been covered by more than a dozen other artists throughout the years.
“They all said the same thing - that they identified with the lyrics,” he said. “Now that I see that the guy from Simply Red sang that, I don’t like saying that I identify with the lyrics, like, what the [expletive]?”
If You Go: Scott Lucas and the Married Men play at TT the Bear's Place tonight located at 10 Brookline Street in Cambridge. Call (617) 492-0082 for more information.