Album Review of Sado-Domestics: Beach Day in Black and White

By Geoff Wilbur on February 15, 2024.  

Geoff Wilbur's Music Blog

The Sado-Domestics are singer-songwriters Chris Gleason (also of Los Goutos and Noise Floor Delirium) and Lucy Martinez (also of Lucy and the Dreamers); on Beach Day in Black and White, they’re joined by Jimmy Ryan on mandolin/vocals and Eric Royer on pedal steel. You’ve read about some of these musicians’ exploit at the blog over the years. I’ve reviewed a Los Goutos album and live gig here at the Blog, as well as a Noise Floor Delirium recording. Jimmy Ryan was half of the opening duo reviewed as part of the Los Goutos show. Jimmy was also onstage as a member of the Charles River Reprobates for a gig you’ll find reviewed if you scroll down to the bottom of the Los Goutos review. If we’ve given these musicians a bit of attention here at the Blog, it’s only because they deserve it; they’re highly acclaimed members of the Boston music community. However, if you’re not yet plugged into Chris & company’s sizeable corner of the Boston music scene, you’re in for a treat.

Sado-Domestics – Beach Day in Black and White

image courtesy of Sado-Domestics

The Sado-Domestics are practically a dictionary definition of Americana music. There’s a blend of folk and country music underpinning the sound, the song-driven mentality you’d expect from singer-songwriters, an overall jangly, chuggin’-along sound that typically accompanies a mellow-to-moderate pace but with the ability to amp things up like a rocker, an obviously irreverent streak, and the propensity to feature disquieting musical and lyrical vibes just often enough to keep the listener uncomfortable at times and engaged throughout.

The disc opens with an engaging style and twang on its catchy, pleasant, smile-inducing ode to moderate snowfall, not unlike this week’s disappointingly weak storm, “Winter Coating,” with Chris’ voice taking the lead and Lucy’s harmonizing. The song keeps an insistent pace, providing a welcoming entry into the disc.

“Get in the Wind,” next up, is a more old-fashioned country crooner, with Lucy’s lead vox serving as a steadying force, swaying but resisting the urge to go fully Patsy Cline, even though this number might tempt a singer to do so.



photo by Jenny Jarad; photo courtesy of Sado-Domestics

“Move On” is a slow-to-mid-tempo Americana number with a little bit of a hitch in its getalong, progressing steadily even as the rhythm implies it might not. An engaging music limp, as it were.

“Out of My Yard” provides a new sonic atmosphere for the collection, combining some almost-ominous vocals with a twangy musical wail . There something a little disquieting about the song’s vibe, and Jimmy’s haunting vocals are perfectly suited to this tune’s vibe. You’ll also notice how the intensity ratchets up a little during the song’s insistently picked bridge.

“Mountain Song” is perhaps the rockin’est song on the disc. A distorted guitar and heavy, thumping rhythm create a tempo that seems much faster than it really is. Lucy tops it off with some clear, forcefully confident vocals, not fast or loud but, in fact, much more effective by being instead steady and unflinching. I’m pretty sure this is the song on Beach Day in Black and White that I’m most likely to still be playing regularly years from now. But, you know, I’m a rocker at heart, so to the extent your tastes differ, you may find yourself most impacted by a different number.


photo by Jenny Jarad; photo courtesy of Sado-Domestics

Chris and Lucy blend their voices most effectively on “Spooked a Horse,” a song they co-lead sing. The rhythm fits the song title, and, you might correctly assume the title, this is one of the more western-flavored Americana songs on this album. Next, Americana song “Bury It” opens almost Gospelly before plugging along as a cleverly instrumented rustic knee-slapper.

“Bacchus Lounge” is a smooth, groovy, twangy-folky tune that tells a colorful story about New Orleans and a positive Mardi Gras experience.

Twangy strummer “Meteorites” forges ahead steadily and purposefully, with a hint of psychedelia toward the middle, but that was merely foreshadowing, as the following tune, “Take a Walk With Jimmy” goes all in on the psychedelic vibe – not surprisingly, of course, as the track would be an inspired background music selection for a dispensary commercial.

To close, the album returns to the wintry theme from which it began, with pickin’ swayer “‘Twas the Season” putting Beach Day in Black and White to bed.

And that’s it. Another dependably good album from a few of Boston’s mainstay musicians. Very good music from creative people you can count on, as it were. Beach Day in Black and White is a well-written collection of songs that’ll embed themselves easily into the memory of music fans, particularly those who favor the Americana genre.


photo by Jenny Jarad; photo courtesy of Sado-Domestics

Looking Ahead

If you want to catch a Sado-Domestics gig, they currently have three upcoming shows listed on the “Shows” page of their website: Sunday, February 25th at Sally O’Brien’s in Somerville, MA and two gigs – Sunday, April 7th and Sunday, May 5th – at The Square Root in Roslindale, MA. Be sure to check the page periodically for updates as more shows are added.

Sado-Domestics rise to a greater musical power with Beach Day In Black And White

By on February 6, 2024

Sado-Domestics’ sophomore effort Beach Day In Black And White makes a comely appearance, being interesting and accessible at once. Lucy Martinez and Chris Gleason present their likable, earthy, individualized vocals and winsome guitar work alongside Jimmy Ryan’s Mandolin finesse and Eric Royer’s pretty, rambling pedal steel. All of the instruments, voices, and songwriting ideas come together in this playful, twisty, and innovative album.

“Winter Coating” lilts forward with an involving sound. A perky electric guitar offers personality as a simmering organ lays out the enveloping nature of this tune. The two vocalists, blending their unique timbres well, guide their listener along with assertive gears and mechanisms. The pair know how to use their voices to tug the listener through their words while managing to fit their vocals into the accompaniment with unusual instinct and flair.

“Get In The Wind” finds Martinez applying her soft, emotive timbre to a pretty country landscape. She sends her supple voice over a pedal steel line and weaves her vocal into a dual line with the natural beauty of the instruments. This one drawls its fetching sound out to allow the listener to hear each and every sweet note coming at us.

Shuffling along, “Move On” travels to a tight two step rhythm, a rhythm augmented by snappy guitars and brisk low end. A firm, assertive lead guitar from Gleason makes some sparks as it moves along, and, the vocalists both add more snap to this hip motion number. Its movements motivate plenty of toe tapping as well providing a constant draw to its persistent snap.

“Out Of My Yard” feels like an Americana drawl. The vocals have a building tension, putting someone on notice not to trespass against the wrong terrain. A percussive groove keeps this hip, letting the upper registers instruments grind out their own warning shots with persistent edge. A mandolin dances its notes along with eerie, intrepid steps and an electric six string places a winding melodic line across with subtle, tone filled notes that also ring with a harrowing message of their own.

“Mountain Song” pushes its way forward like a strong personality throwing open a closed door. Its pulsating percussive groove, biting chord progression, and Martinez’s assertive, well-paced vocal clip take no prisoners as they stomp forward. A salty personality makes its presence felt, this pieces strongest hand.

“Spooked A Horse” carries the same vibe as its title, a hint of don’t mess as this male-female lead vocals continue to lay down their world weary tone. The voices move with steady purpose over a mellow electric guitar melody, a line that lets its considerate tones splash colors and tones over the soundscape. Its the combo of climbing vocals and effective guitar sound that makes its mark on the listener’s consciousness.

Martinez’s fetching vocal twang fits the chorus perfectly on “Bury It.” A gripping tale buttressed by haunting guitars, rustic banjo notes, and a drummer sensitive to what the song needs. Its instruments’ tones ring out with emotive purity, carrying this song as much as Martinez’s lead vocal.

A Gleason-Martinez vocal duet fills “Bacchus Lounge” with a nostalgic pull. Eric Royer’s pedal steel line adds a three dimensional lasso to pull the listener into a landscape filled with emotive duet, lyrics looking wistfully at the past, and Gleason’s melancholy mellotron melody, aimed at a late 1960s air of summer festivities. This pastiche of instrumental and vocal colors sums up the whole even better than its tasteful parts.

A lilting electric guitar melody pushes “Meteorites” forward, augmented by a sharp percussive track. The light accompaniment leaves open a space for that electric guitar to announce itself further with bright splashes of Jackson Pollack influenced colors and tones. Meanwhile, Martinez’s playful vocal work, suitably moving with the jaunty groove, contrasts beautifully with the grungy six string.

Gleason’s toys with a 1960s style organ swirl that perfectly colors “Take A Walk With Jimmy.” Throw in some thin, funky organ wah-wah and we have a mood piece that can’t be beat. Martinez’s sweet vocal rides over the old fashioned pop flavors with a smooth aplomb, a self-restrained glide that keeps it all in the pocked while maintaining its sunny tone.

Martinez’s mood piece close out track “‘Twas The Season” mournfully ponders holiday life after a relationship ends. Its acoustic guitar chord progression captures that mopey feeling one has when one has too much time on one’s hands sans partner. A low key organ simulates a lonely, forlorn feeling. Martinez’s plaintive, self-restrained vocal makes the listener feel what she likely felt when she was writing it. This mood piece is perfectly moody and placing its farewell mode at the end of this Sado-Domestics album was a wise move.

Sado-Domestics have sharpened and more deeply defined their sound and have more finely crafted their songs since their debut album. Beach Day In Black And White, recorded at Noise Floor Delirium in Roslindale, Massachusetts, plays like out like one personality going through different phases of life, giving itself cohesion with tasteful variables.

Sado Domestics do things their own special way on Hey, Oaxaca

By Bill Copeland / Bill Copeland Music News
October 22, 2020

Boston- based Sado Domestics have a new CD called Hey, Oaxaca, and it thrives and flourishes on the strength of a number nice touches, interesting contrasts, and some fine harmony.

Opening track “Across” delivers an old-fashioned, jaunty folk feel in its brisk chord progression and in its lilting groove. Chris Gleason and Lucy Martinez follow that lilting groove with their upbeat duet. Their voices charm with warmth as Jimmy Ryan’s snappy mandolin, and Bruce Bartone’s organ line give lovely bits of sweet ear candy. This is a tune that just has to be liked for its tight gathering of tasty bits.

“Chemical” finds Martinez applying her sweet vocal in small waves of loveliness. Beneath her voice Gleason offers a likable banjo line. It skips along to the merriment in Martinez shiny voice. The contrast between the song’s traveling groove and the bits of sweet acoustic notes make this a tune of substance as well as it keeps it entertaining in its gleeful movements.

More rocking, the mid-tempo “Best Thing And The Worst” glides by on the strength of Gleason’s lead guitar and his duet with Martinez. Not only does this song have its cool lead guitar line, it also features a Jimmy Ryan mandolin line that can’t be beat. This tune just eases on its way with a confection of sweet acoustic notes dotting the gentle movements in each measure.

A somewhat darker tune, the haunting “Morpho” lets Martinez suggest its forlorn emotion with a touch of mystery in her timbre. Singing over Jeff Alison’s percussive groove, she makes the most of a tribal vibe popping just below her vocal.

“Can’t Unring That Bell” feels like this album’s hit single for local radio stations. It’s loaded with emotive suggestion and its duet style feels epic. The lead guitar’s rangy ride as well as the rhythm section’s muscular, motion filled groove remind of late 1970s Fleetwood Mac. Catchy, engaging, and inviting, it also has a mandolin line that beautifully expands what this song is all about.

“Stardust” combines a swaggering rock and roll groove with some moody organ and guitar. Martinez uses this platform well, letting her perfectly down tempo vocal sway around the swagger with a much softer hit. The instruments and vocal in this one keep hitting everything just right, leaving the listener with a pleasant confection.

“Civil War In Your Mind” delves further into pop-rock. A weepy, lilting lead guitar line wafts along to two raspy lead vocals. The song also makes a perfect climb into more emotive territory. It tells a story through the emotions involved and the delivery of voice and instrumentation are perfectly matched to the song’s thematic dilemma.

“Helicopter” has a bursting electric guitar chord progression that reminds Of R.E.M.’s “Bang And Blame.” Martinez sings this one with a sweet indictment of a partner that seeks too much control. She keeps the delivery light while singing about serious matters. The contrast makes the song palatable and accessible. Her voice slides like a silk glove over the engaging guitar riff and smooth boas. It’s a song that makes you feel it taking you to a place of salvation.

A 1960s vibe lives inside the sweeping organ work from Bruce Bartone on “Noise Floor Delirium.” This duet feels like it takes place in its own time and space. Martinez and Gleason have a fine harmony yet also manage to sound forlorn, haunting, a duet that hovers above its early music period trappings. The rush of organ and the hovering vocals create a perfect balance that keeps this tune anchored in that slight otherworld existence.

“Tunnels” gets an edge from a ringing lead guitar line and brisk rhythm guitar. The rhythm section gives it a slow, pushy ride forward as Martinez sings mellow, sounding content. There is a contrast between the urgent tones in the electric guitars and the smooth, considerate pace of her lead vocal. It works to make us better feel the importance of her lyrics as the song moves toward its final destination.

Wound up in tight rocker trappings, “Instant Lo-Fi Junky” races forward on a galloping beat. Bits of electric guitar, flinty mandolin, and acoustic six string spread out, making a wide platform for Gleason’s plaintive vocal and a chorus duet. There are so many fine touches racing over that speedy beat that this song becomes a whirling dervish of driven fun.

Down tempo march “Downtown Underground” closes out this disc with a quiet drone. That drone finds Martinez singing out heartily, lofty vocal highs, filling in the sparse song with anthem like assertions. It leaves the listener on a high note, a good feeling that says farewell for now.

Sado Domestics have outdone themselves on this sophomore album Hey, Oaxaca. The talents of the two singer-songwriters, Gleason and Martinez, combine with mando man Jimmy Ryan, keyboardist Bruce Bartone, drummer Jeff Alison, and bass player Jeff St. Pierre to create a gem of originality. Recorded mostly at Noise Floor Delirium in Roslindale, Massachusetts with some additional work at 37 Foot Productions in Rockland, Massachusetts, this Sado Domestics disc rocks out with all sorts of special touches.


Roots Music Report: Album Review of Sado-Domestics, HEY, OAXACA:


Rating: 5 Stars


There is plenty of cool jug band music meets alt-country style folk-rock sounds on Hey, Oaxaca the third release from Boston-based musos Sado-Domestics. With 12 original tracks, clocking in at just over 41 minutes, their Hey, Oaxaca album shines a light on the musical team of Chris Gleason (vocals, guitars, banjo, mellotron, percussion) and Lucy Martinez (vocals, rhythm guitar, kalimba). There’s an earthy, upbeat, low-fi vibe inside the Sado-Domestics sound, and some of it rocks harder than other tracks. Both Chris and Lucy have fine singing voices and to top off their low-key, yet totally enjoyable album, and they are joined by a number of musicians including Bruce Bartone (keys, electric guitars), a pair of fine drummers, and a range of other players. The CD is neatly packaged, with artwork that quite effectively enhances the image of the band. This album won’t blow you away with heavy jamming and hard rock sounds, but still the Sado-Domestics' skillful musicianship readily makes Hey, Oaxaca a fun-filled experience.


Written by Robert Silverstein
October 7, 2020



Two-Egg Scrambler Album Review by Off-Center Views:

"Sado-Domestics Serve a Tasty Plate of Musical Offerings" (by Rob Weir):

The Sado-Domestics titled their debut release Two-Egg Scrambler, but by my reckoning they broke considerably more eggs and raided the nests of a variety of chickens to make this tasty musical dish. The fourteen tracks are cleverly divided into a "Side A" and "Side B" with the recorded drop of an old-style record changer appearing between tracks seven and eight. This is more than a device–the first seven tracks are more acoustic based and the remaining seven edgier and more electric.

The Sado-Domestics are built around the singer/songwriter partnership of Chris Gleason and Lucy Martinez, both of whom also perform as solo acts and with other bands. The ensemble is fleshed out by other veteran Boston musicians, including Bruce Bartone, Shamus Feeney, and Paul Stewart from Gleason's roots band Los Goutos. "Mule in a Swamp" sets the tone for Side A in that many of the tracks are soaked in a Southern brine that's part swamp water, part skillet-licking Appalachia, part acoustic country blues, part folk, and part traditional. Martinez has a voice that impresses by both its power and its sweetness. Her "Dragonfly" is bluegrass influenced, but more fragile, and "Weeds" evokes the reflective melancholia of a Mary Chapin-Carpenter offering. Gleason is a more ironic songwriter. If you can imagine a snarkier version of Steve Goodman, Gleason's "Badly Paid" fits those parameters. "Dahlia," a musing upon the gruesome 1947 Elizabeth Smart murder, is a dark country blues offering in keeping with Gleason's tendency to opt for realism over metaphors.
Side B plugs in. Gleason's "Waiting" reminded me of one of the lush songs Tim Buckley used to write, but with the studio string enhancements stripped out and replaced by Bartone's crystalline electric guitar atmospherics. Gleason seems to delight in messing with our perceptions. His "January" rocks, but in a nostalgic, bright way that defies the way most of us think about that month. Similarly, "Together in You" is the only time I've heard the following mentioned in the same song: Skip James, Kurt Cobain, Emmylou Harris, Husker Du, Tom Verlaine, and Richard Nixon. Speaking of Verlaine (Television), Martinez airs her punk sensibilities on Side B. On "Tainted Windows" she juxtaposes bouncy vocals with crunchy power chords, fuzzy feedback, and energetic percussion. Then she goes new wave Devo-like on us on "Bull in a Cage." Think you've got these guys figured out? Uh huh. Listen to Gleason's "At Night We Fall" and get back to me. The tune riffs off of The Beatles' "Let it Be," but the material is country western confessional, including the line, "the road to redemption/Is paved with the best intentions." I can't say whether these folks are as badly housebroken as the band name implies, but I sure can recommend you invite them to your musical table.—Rob Weir 


Two-Egg Scrambler Album Review by The Noise


Two-Egg Scrambler

15 tracks

All the best elements of grassroots, folk, Americana, country, acoustic meld beautifully in the music that Sado-Domestics creates. Of the 15 tracks, some lean more to one genre than another but the lovely common denominator lies within the harmonization of the strings—fiddle stings, banjo strumming, upright bass, guitar, mandolin, etc.—it’s like a roots symphony—Oh, except for the surprise punk tracks at the end! Not to ignore the other wonderful musical accompaniments that appear throughout as for their respective tunes they add the perfect flavor—accordion, drums/ doumbek, Hammond organ, etc. I don’t mean to tick off a list here but I’m trying to get across how well Sado-Domestics produce and perform their music, how just perfectly they arrange each tune. I feel a genuineness emanating from the songs and a uniqueness among the comfort and familiarity of these genres. I must mention that Sado-Domestics are led by the singer-songwriter duo Lucy Martinez and Chris Gleason—with the songs either sung lead by one or the other or are presented as a vocal duo. It’s a top-notch effort along with the supporting musicians. They are a South Shore-based band that sounds like a seasoned nationally touring band. I’m impressed and glad that this CD landed in my hands! I particularly love “Dragonfly,” “River,” “Waiting,” and “Tainted Windows.”
(Debbie Catalano)

Two-Egg Scrambler Album Review by The Alternate Root

Our new album, Two-Egg Scrambler, was recently reviewed by The Alternate Root. You can read the review here:

"The album title works but a Two-Egg Scrambler is not big enough to offer space to all the sound styles that Sado-Domestics had packed for the album. The static waves clear when the band dials in album opener “Mule in a Swamp”. The tune is a kitchen sink of percussion, scratchy fiddle, plucked banjo and slowly creeping bass notes. The notes swirl like swamp mist giving the joined vocals of Chris Gleason and Lucy Martinez as haunted feel. Mood and music share the song cycles throughout Two Egg Scrambler. Bookending the street corner jumble of the opening track is the arena-sized electric attack of Stooges-like “Bull in a Cage”. Bordering the album sound with extremes allows for lots of room for Sado-Domestics to dance a slow reel (“Lady in Blue”), drift with fresh air folk (“Weeds”) and tame acoustic rhythm and psychedelic electric feedback into form (“Waiting”).  The hurried folk telling of Hollywood history of with “Dahlia”, the telegraphed tapped notes and rhythms that circle “The Moon” like satellites, the front porch breeze that lifts up “Dragonfly” and he sunshine folk-rock simple promises of “Together in You” all fit into the Sado-Domestic jukebox of Two-Egg Scrambler."