It’s been some time since the Beastie Boys have put out a record; it’s been 16 years since they’ve put out one like Licensed to Ill. So give thanks for Northern State, three rhymin’ and stealin’ Strong Island ladies who may just beat those nasty little men at their own ill game. Still unsigned, the gals are getting attention thanks to Dying in Stereo, an eight-song demo that finds them slinging cutting couplets ("Step off, your flow is weak/Save that talk for Dawson’s Creek") and stoopid old-school jibber-jabber ("dum-da-dum-da-dee/one-two-three") over a slow- and low-boiling stew of plinking piano, clanging bells, and scratches you can’t itch. Hesta Prynn, Guinea Love, and DJ Sprout spring from the same fertile Nassau County turf as Public Enemy and De La Soul, but their whip-smart smack-talking owes more to the college-sophomoric witticisms of MC Paul Barman and the playful gynocentrism of Liz Phair. They open for the Kickovers at T.T. the Bear’s (617-492-BEAR) in Cambridge on Friday, then head to the Iron Horse (413-584-0610) in Northampton on Saturday, where they’ve got the stage to themselves. No word yet whether their ’86-Beasties hang-up extends to being flanked on stage by writhing guys in cages.
Speaking of writhing guys: gravel-gulleted Joe Cocker, the mad-dog Englishman who serenaded audiences at Woodstock with his soulful emoting, spastic squirming, sweat-stained tie-dyes, and gigantic muttonchops, will serenade audiences at the Oakdale Theatre (203-265-1501) in Wallingford, Connecticut, on Sunday and the Orpheum (617-931-2000) in Boston on Monday with his soulful emoting, spastic squirming, sweat-stained three-piece suit, and dignified gray beard.
Speaking of gray beards: erstwhile Lynyrd Skynyrd ax man Warren Haynes didn’t let the death of bassist Allen Woody turn his Southern-fried trio Gov’t Mule into a duo. Not quite, at least. After a decent grieving period, he enlisted what seems like everyone who’s ever played four strings to help out on Mule’s two-volume Deep End album; Bootsy Collins, Flea, Les Claypool, Mike Watt, the late John Entwistle, and multitudes more sat in on one song each. When Haynes hits the State Theatre (207-780-8265) in Portland on Saturday, the Webster Theatre (860-422-0000) in Hartford on Sunday, and Lupo’s (401-272-5876) in Providence on Monday, the low end will come courtesy of Meters co-founder George Porter Jr.
The leaves are brown, but the Bay State is green this week as it hosts some of the best Irish music around. Fiddler Martin Hayes and guitarist Dennis Cahill are two masters of the trad form, but their early days as a jazz fusion act have altered their approach to an often hidebound genre. They’re adroit but not dry, goading their jigs and reels to dizzying climaxes. They’ll be at the Somerville Theatre (617-876-4725) on Friday, then they’ll swing back to the New Bedford Whaling Museum (508-997-0046) on December 13. Multi-instrumentalist folkie Paul Brady is known for his work with ’70s Celtic revivalists Planxty, his vibrant interpretations of traditional ballads, and his own achingly melodic compositions. He’ll bring his moving, mournful voice to the Iron Horse (413-586-8686) in Northampton on Wednesday and the Somerville Theatre (617-876-4725) on Thursday.