Newly Released Albums From Sarah Swain, Chandler Travis Three-O And The Inframen

Musician Sarah Swain brings her own twist to folk music on the Cape.
SARAH SWAIN - Musician Sarah Swain brings her own twist to folk music on the Cape.

In recent months, there have been a number of Lower Cape, original bands releasing full length albums. Bands of all ages and types of music, from country to low-fidelity surf rock, playing all over the Cape and beyond, have put their creative works to CD or digital format, just in time for listeners to explore new talent in 2013.

Chandler Travis Three-O, Sarah Swain, Monica Rizzio, and the Inframen are all Lower Cape bands with albums out this season. The Inframen and Sarah Swain both held release parties in December on the mid-Cape.

For the Upper Cape, there are two records soon to be out: one from the Crooked Coast, a reggae rock band from Woods Hole, said to have their full length album out in the spring in time for a tour the group is planning; and John Beninghof, along with a collection of experienced regional musicians, who is finishing off a 10-track record that the singer/songwriter says will be filled with songs all over the musical map. Both of these albums have and are being recorded at John McNamara’s studio at Worcester Court in Falmouth.

Sarah Swain: "Every Little Bird"

Sarah Swain, a singer/songwriter from Brewster, released “Every Little Bird” with a show last month at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod. She was joined by her band, the Oh Boys, for the concert. “Bird” is a rough-around-the-edges country album, though the 12 tracks lean more toward a roots-cured country than the modern variety—think Lucinda Williams or a tougher Emmylou Harris.

The lyrics are thoughtful and show a singer with an edge: in “Ain’t Going Back” she sings, “Whiskey don’t put out fires/ It puts a restless man to sleep.”

While it is mainly country, songs like “Walking Stick,” a blues-influenced number, show the songwriter’s knowledge and flexibility. The album boasts much character with tracks like “Whiskey 3-Step,” a country dance number with a rocking solo from guitarist Jerry Smith. The album is for sale at

Inframen: "Mercy Kill A Burning Man"

Inframen, an indie, surf, punk band from the Lower Cape, has put out “Mercy Kill A Burning Man,” with a release party at House of Bud’s in December. The 10 tracks on the album feature mainly reverb-heavy, wave-crashing guitar chords placed over loud drums, distorted bass and feedback rhythm guitars.

The music is mostly instrumental; besides an occasional backing vocal, the songs pay tribute to surf greats like Link Wray and Dick Dale while at the same time, 1980s indie bands like the Jesus and Mary Chain and the Young Marble Giants.

A favorite on the album is “Ghost Wave,” an eerie, slower number with a tweaked drum machine straight from the ’80s alternative underground, a ghostly backing vocal sounding like a monk chanting, and two lead guitars with the reverb at maximum levels echoing over the haunting song. The album can be purchased at

Chandler Travis Three-O: "This Is What Bears Look Like Underwater"

“This is what Bears Look Like Underwater” is the record released earlier in the fall by the Chandler Travis Three-O. Chandler Travis, from Eastham, currently plays in several original rock bands down Cape, including the Catbirds and the Chandler Travis Philharmonic; “Bears Underwater” is a more bass-heavy album and has a more relaxed sound compared to the heavier and louder bands he is a part of.

A genre is hard to pin down on the band, but with a stand-up bass, acoustic guitar, wind instrument, plenty of brass, and Mr. Travis’s quirky vocals, one could draw a comparison to contemporaries like Cake. It is certainly original music. The album is for sale on

Monica Rizzio: "All Wrapped Up For The Holidays"

Monica Rizzio, a Brewster singer who plays alongside Tripping Lily and the Bart Weisman Klezmer Swing Band, recently released “All Wrapped Up for the Holidays,” a holiday album. Recorded to tape the same way artists recorded in the 1930s and 1940s, the songs have an untainted quality, a conscious decision made by Ms. Rizzio to have “an old-time feel,” the singer said, with no digital enhancing.

While the musicianship is excellent on the album, it is Ms. Rizzio’s dynamic singing that pulls the album into its own, making it an easy addition to any holiday collection. On songs like “White Christmas,” Ms. Rizzio’s voice is cozy in just the right places and raspy in other places, enough to entice even the greenest Grinch to enjoy the holidays. Think old time like Frank Sinatra or Ella Fitzgerald for this album.

The album is available for purchase from iTunes and Amazon.

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