Local rock outfit Brighton, MA released an impressive debut full-length record last fall, called “Amateur Lovers,” which rides on the songwriting talent of ex-Scotland Yard Gospel Choir man Matthew Kerstein. A song like “Sunblinded,” from the record, is evidence of immense skill, and Kerstein’s voice—stretched and decimated in a Bob Dylan-meets-Paul-Westerberg kind of way—works surprisingly well with the slightly throwback, down-home rock music. The band’s first release, a five-song EP that predated “Amateur Lovers,” remains the group’s finest output, as Kerstein’s “Bet You Never Thought” just gets better with age. Live, Brighton, MA is topnotch, and the group headlines two nights at Schubas this week, each obviously worth checking out. The band keeps the folksy rock flame burning, which may not be a visual feast on stage but, sonically, runs with the best of them. (Tom Lynch)
January 22-23 at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, (773)525-2508, at 10pm. $10.