Tuesday, December 6, 2011

City and Colour @ House of Blues

“We’re City and Colour and were from Canada” Dallas Green said softly into a microphone as he and two band mates each stood on three Persian rugs, their shadows illuminated by a royal blue light in front of a packed audience at House of Blues this past Friday. For the first four songs, with the band precariously balancing hits from both Little Hell and Bring Me Your Love, Green remained relatively quiet, only expressing his gratitude at the audience’s enthusiasm. It wasn’t until the middle of the show when Green began talking. Turns out this lead singer, who croons beautiful medleys of heartache and love, is also quite the comedian. Jokes about Canada? You’ve got it. But perhaps the most effective speech of the night was when he asked the audience to put away their cameras and their phones. “I’m not mad,” he began quietly, “I’m just disappointed.” “I just don’t want you all to focus on wanting to remember this so much that you don’t actually get to experience it. Experience it now. Let’s remember that we were here.” Cue the swooning of hundreds of 20 something year old females in the audience.
There was no denying that City and Colour is an extremely sincere, yet polished band. If one were to close their eyes during their concert, it would sound like they were listening to a studio recording. That’s how flawless Green’s voice is, and how it remained through out the entire hour and a half set-smooth as silk without a single kink. At times it was hard to comprehend how a single voice can possibly pack so much punch. It has the ability to splinter even the happiest heart as he naturally riffs through lyrics like “And I’m afraid/to sleep because of what haunts me/such as living with the uncertainty/that I’ll never find the words to say/which would explain/just how I’m breaking down.” Though the five-person band filled the House of Blues with great sound on songs like “Little Hell” “The Girl” “Sleeping Sickness” and “The Grand Optimist’ the real highlights of the show were when Green was left standing alone with his acoustic guitar, illuminated by a single yellow spotlight. It truly says something about an artist when they have the ability to quiet over 1000 people just by singing a little tune, alone on stage. To hear an entire audience softly sing “What makes a man?” in two parts as Green strums away on his guitar is truly an out of body experience. And it all comes down to what he said right before going into “Coming Home”- “Thank you is a simple phrase, but when I say thank you I mean it. They don’t play me on the radio. I’m not in magazines. We’re all here because you heard one of my songs and you told someone else about it. You are the 95% and I am the five. So…thank you.”


Words: Regina Mogilevskaya

Friday, December 2, 2011

Crystal Stilts at Great Scott (11/29)

Ever wondered what it would sound like if Ian Curtis escaped the dreary grayness of Manchester and spent a weekend in southern California? Probably not, but it would sound just like Crystal Stilts. The Brooklyn quartet channels Joy Division’s melancholia but on top of the gloom is a glittering, thick layer of beachy sunshine, and they graced Boston with their presence Tuesday night at Great Scott.

For some bizarre reason, there were three opening bands on a weeknight. My boyfriend and I caught half of Girlfriends’ set and were thoroughly unimpressed, so while the next band took the stage we sought refuge from the PBR-drenched bar and got some coffee. Thankfully we returned just in time to catch CS, who all looked like bizarre, somewhat drugged-out estranged uncles who drop in plastered at a family reunion. So, they were pretty cool.

They started their set with the first two tracks of their latest album, In Love with Oblivion. “Sycamore Tree” captures the menacing charm of Curtis’ vocals and pairs it with dancey, surfy bass, and “Through the Floor” is very much in the same vein, but with some added hand claps.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Taxi 'We Don't Know Any Better [[Free Song]]

Black Taxi have a lot to offer, they're catchy, upbeat, and pretty darn groovy. Their second full length, We Don’t Know Any Better proves this four piece has massive hopes and a good deal to accomplish. Song after danceable song makes this album undeniably fun, but I found it at times to be a bit confusing. "Tightrope" opens the record and, lets be honest, it's one to jive to. It might not be dubbed the most unique of tracks because it clearly draws from pop rock influences, but it’ll hook you in, and you’ll be bopping and shuffling before you realize it's happening. "We Don't Know Any Better" throws a wrench in the trajectory of this album. As a completely different style tune, it brings in more noise and less pop, and is where the directional confusion begins.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Kurt Vile - So Outta Reach EP

Kurt Vile's So Outta Reach EP is a gloomy yet dreamy release full of fingerpicking, wavering vocals, and repeated phrases. Vile doesn’t take any chances on this one as its sound is in the same folky, moody vein as his past albums, but the dependability is appreciated.
The EP opens with “The Creature”, where Vile showcases his guitar skills and lets his sultry, freakish vocals saunter over the delicate, scintillating notes.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Real Estate - Days

I'll admit I was nervous about Real Estate’s newest album, only because they have such a strong track record. Their Atlantic City Expressway EP and Reality 7” were both flawlessly arranged and performed with a carefree, meditative ease unmatched by any other band I know. But from the first track off Days, “Easy”, I knew Real Estate had exceeded my expectations.
Days is the natural next step for the Brooklyn based band. Pastoral melodies interlace with gauzy, soothing harmonies to create ten tracks that are sure to put your mind at ease. Even instrumental tracks devoid of Martin Courtney’s hauntingly gorgeous vocals, such as “Kinder Blumen” resonate with the placidity and joy of a day spent in the beautiful outdoors. The album shows that their skill as musicians has improved over the years, as their songs get more complicated and layered with more percussive instruments included.
“Wonder Years” switches it up with bassist Alex Bleeker providing deeper, brooding vocals. It has a very Byrds-esque feel to it, and it keeps with Real Estate’s close-to-nature vibe with some psychedelic sounds thrown in. Real Estate is awesome because their sound fits in anywhere, geographically speaking. “Younger Than Yesterday” has a more alt-country feel to it, while other tracks are more surfy..and yet others channel the chill and grayness of New England. And their songs have a perennial charm - perfect for summer adventures or staying in during a snowstorm.
This is definitely an album you’ll play over and over again. Every track is different from the rest, but Days plays seamlessly. A perfect musical accompaniment for sweater weather, pumpkin spice lattes and hour long cuddle sessions.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Front Bottoms @ TT The Bear's

“We’re gonna fuckin’ party tonight” Brian Sella shouted at an equally stoked and rambunctious crowd. There’s no denying that The Front Bottoms folk-punk is too enthusiastic and sincere not to entice you immediately. Rounding out the tail end of their month long tour, The Front Bottoms hit TT The Bear's this past gloomy Wednesday. Although it's only been a few months since the releases of their full-length debut on Bar/None Records,the duo has already been making a solid run. The last time they hit Boston they were were making it through a string of basements. “They played my house and blew everyone away. We put them on first because no one knew them, and they were just better than everyone!” said a fellow concert attendee. This might have been the only show in months that the crowd came above ground for.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Battles Interview

Right before the Battles’s show at Boston’s Royale, I got together with guitarist Dave Konopka to talk about their new album Gloss Drop, music influences, and Battles’s new era post Tyondai Braxton.

What was your earliest musical experience?
My fist show ever was Neil Diamond, when was 5 years old. My parents used to listen to them and I thought it was pretty cool. When I matured a little bit, I remember my first proper show was Fugazi and Shudder to Think. It was really awkward because when Shutter to Think played, Wedren was so flamboyant. It was in a hockey rink and there were all these kids and everyone was like “this sucks!” and I was thinking, “I actually like this, this is almost better than Fugazi”. I didn’t start playing until I went to Mass Art. My roommate played guitar but he was a lefty, so I learned to play with a left-handed guitar. He taught me how to play and we stared a band together called Lynx.

How did you like the Boston scene when you lived here and played with Lynx?

There was a lot of stuff going on, there was an interesting community, but my friends and me were kind of wise asses. When we started playing we were doing math rock; we liked Don Caballero and Helmet. Were we super psyched that we were this weird band coming out of nowhere. It was awesome while it lasted. Unfortunately, then we moved to Chicago to try to get signed. I think we reached the level where we needed to leave Boston to get signed. Back then it was a different story, getting signed was the thing. You would give people your cassettes. Now [with the internet] everything is almost out of control.

How is the writing process for Battles? How has it changed from Mirrored to Gloss Drop?

We’ve kind of switched the process. When we started we used to write everything on piece of paper. We would jam, but it’d be more of a planned synch. The whole band would sit and stare at this paper and see the whole parts. We did this for Mirrored but when we started Gloss Drop it didn’t’ work. Between Gloss Drop and Mirrored we were doing this waiting period when the forth guy [Tyondai Braxton] was recording his solo album. I was writing things at home and Ian was doing the same thing. Then we would try out different things, like change the key to match up our parts. But we really went into the studio unprepared. We started recording our own stuff in separate rooms and then we would exchange parts. If we tried to jam it’d become chaos.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

PUJOL "Nasty, Brutish, and Short" [[FREE SONG DOWNLOAD]]

PUJOL, garage rock from Nashville local Daniel Pujol is slamming you with his philosophies in his latest EP, "Nasty, Brutish, and Short."
Pujol and his band of hooligans have been churning out EP's, full lengths, and singles constantly for the last two years, this being their 10th in that time. Working with some stellar labels, Infinity Cat, Third Man Records, and now, Saddle Creek, they'll blast you with their riffs and hooks, and hold the power of the garage rock up in its raspy glory. 
Breaking right into the EP with "Mayday" [[free download]], brings you Pujols signature noise infested growl with rhythmic shredding and to-the-bone groovy bass.

Titus Andronicus @ Northeastern [[show review]]

     I would just like to say thank you, thank you to Bill. Who is this Bill? Well, the beautiful young Northeastern scholar who informed me of the Titus Andronicus viewing extravaganza. Thanks to Bill and Tastemakers I got to check out Titus for the second and oh so sweet time. Unfamiliar with the geography of Northeastern, I prowled the streets in search distinct rock concert indicators, loud music, raucous crowd, and confused on-lookers.
     Finally approaching the allusive Centennial Plaza, I walked forth embraced by the tunes of electric hip-hop duo, Javelin. Sampling tracks from genres across the board their high energy and extreme enthusiasm made even their version of London Bridge infectious.
     Post Javelin I moved from the damp grass towards the stage for the Dodos. This Saturday having been one of impending rain, the sky was setting an eerie mood during the set change - an interesting shift from a typical club setting. Taking the Tastemakers stage just after a five week tour, the Dodos were happy to be completing their run with this final show. Only familiar with the solid reputation of the band, I was disappointed their show consisted of heavy sampling. Although I’m not completely against samples, its always seems like adding members would enhance a live show rather than forgoing them for non-interactive electronics. Either way as the show progressed I became less disillusioned by the samples forgoing my frustration for careless enjoyment. Intro-ing with “Trades & Tariffs” got the crowd jiving with full almost distant drums pulsing through us. Deep double vocals from guitarist Meric Long and drummer Logan Kroeber were bold and strong, supporting the nights frighteningly seductive aura.
     After a solid close, it was now Titus’ turn to take the stage. As those close to me shuffled around asking curious questions about the next act, I shook with excitement. This being my second Titus show I knew what they were capable of and was too excited to stay still. Prepping once again, Amy Klein sized up the crowd as she bowed her violin. Pre-show, Klein looks reserved and unassuming, but once the music hits I knew she’d transform into a whole new person.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I like a new band. And by new, I mean new for me.

Setting: West Philadelphia, July 15 2011, a warehouse by hackneyed railroad tracks.


There was a show. My pals and I caught Northern Liberties perform the last set of the night. The lead vocalist, his name is Justin, wore a white collar sky-blue dress, but who gives a shit? With his attachable drumline, he rhythmically jousted his bandmate Marc on drumset. Kevin's sludgy bass vibrated along and into varied outlets of distortion pedals. Their sound was the hazy gaze of garage, the heartbeat of a diabetic candidate, and the sweat of a punk all blended into ear-juice that made people want to shake their bodies. And if NoLibs were spilling into Allston territory, our rats would be shaken too.

Listen to: Children of the Unholy Cross

*download the entire Chernobyl Arts Collective V1 album, a variety of neat Philly local bands.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Primacy Effect Caracas take away

I’ve spent the best part of this summer traveling around South America. I missed Buenos Aires because of a volcanic hash cloud from Chile, but I got to spend 2 amazing weeks in Brazil pretending to speak Portuguese (which came out as ‘portu-ñol’). One of the highlights of the trip was in Venezuela, where we did our own version of a take away show. We brought our friends and as many instruments we could carry inside a cable from the bottom of Caracas to the top of a mountain. Check it out!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Da Comrade! on DIY [VIDEO]

I first saw Da Comrade! perform way back in November of 2009. They played at a house in Allston, and I fell hard (both figuratively and literally... I passed out on a pals couch after their set). They had a sax, a cello, grumbling-to-twisted vocals, and one member was sporting a green Eagles cap. Since they were from my hometown, I sized them up, and guessed that they were from West Philly. I was right.

And what does being from West Philly mean? Take any art form  (visual, poetic, auditory) and fuse it together with inspiration from comics, records, museums, friends, friends of friends, cultures, beer, newspapers, streets, Ethiopian cuisine, patterns, some Fellini, a dash of architecture, and the "damn, we're broke, lets get creative" mentality.

And this is familiar right? Da! comes out of a DIY supported community, one that helps shape their vaudevillian-doom-metal aesthetic that I've grown to love and play constantly on my musical electro device.

WECB's interview with Da Comrade! last month turned into a thoughtful conversation on the DIY scene, a scene that so many of our favorite local musicians work, grow, and thrive in. Ch ch checkout the video above.

Thanks to Kristy Robinson for her editing skills.

Check out Da! on social sites. Their working on new record yo!

Friday, June 17, 2011


HEY WHOA! This is the deal: A month ago WECB heard that a couple of our favorite Philly bands were coming to town to play in the depths of Allston's DIY scene. We wanted interviews. How did we get them? A couple smiles and a lot of cheap beer. Their visit was that type of what-the-hell-happened-last-night? fun and so, after a month long hangover, we finally got the vid-ocumentation for all of you!

MORE IMPORTANTLY! We talk a lot of positive smack on DIY music, especially on our favorite Boston bands. LETS SUPPORT IT by givin' some funds to FAT HISTORY MONTH and UGH GOD (filmed below) so they can get the hell out of town and on the road for the Summer!!!!!!!!exclamationpoint!


Friday, June 10, 2011

help a homie out: ROYAL BLOOD's 2011 CROSS COUNTRY TOUR

this summer, one of WECB's staff favorite boston based DIY bands Royal Blood is endeavoring to head out in a across country tour! for the most part they have been playing exclusively in boston (outside of a few kickass shows at SUNY Pourchase) and are rearing for an escape and of course a wider spread fan base. however, these guys NEED more MONEY than they have to do it.

as a result they have started this kickstarter account with the hopes that they can reach their goal.
they've come up with some seriously inventive rewards for your donation (not just some band tees and cd's-- although those are also available). if you donate now the band will send you: something special and personal from a band member, post cards while on tour, they'll even write you a song for only $100 dollars, etcetcetc.

i dont really think i need to say much else, the band's lead singer/guitarist Brock Ginther has made a lil vid telling you everything --more articulately than i have been doing here.

not convinced?

CLICK HERE TO DONATE! http://kck.st/lbgFWs

A SIDE NOTE: this band is made entirely of emerson 2011 graduates (Erik Magnus, Brock Ginther, and Michael Brierley), and as this is primarily anemerson based blog I EXPECT SOME LUVIN.

i've donated, you should too!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

one gem from my summer: Digital Leather

sorry for the lagging on summer posts. me and margs have conflicting work schedules so it has been damn near impossible to schedule time for meetings. so far my summer has mostly been mainly filled with top 40s (and the new PRIDE radio station my manager is so fond of) as i organize and sell a hoard of accessories at my summer job in the boston tourist breeding grounds, leaving me little time for music relevant to us here or even me. HOWEVER today i just found a new fav, Digital Leather-- waking up at 7am did me good today.

i honestly can't say i've done much research on this band so far, one thing i do know is that they are one pretty kickass band from seattle, washington. they're just the right amount of catchy, grimy, and grim for my taste. they've got some of their old music on their myspace, though, it is this new song "Blackness" off of their forthcoming album Infinite Sun that really caught my ear.


also, summer laziness took hold. don't expect too much capitalization from this bitch till fall semester.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Low Live @ Paramount

On the eve of finals week, ArtsEmerson treated us with Low. The band performed a live set at the Paramount stage in front of an audience of mostly middle-aged music lovers and a select number of actual college students. Vocalist and guitarist, Alan Sparhawk pointed out this irony by asking “So, How’s school going?...This is a pretty diverse campus.” Despite the crowd’s laughter and obvious admiration for the band, this was the most audience interaction during the entire show.

The band maintained a quiet distance between the music and the audience. Each member seemed to be internalizing their individual sound, which magically blended with the rest of the music. Their presence was almost lazy, very appropriate for their slowcore rock. Each song floated naturally with minimalist arrangements and easy drum beats, which structured the backbone of each song. Mimi Parker’s brush-stick drums provided a soft texture to each song and left space for Sparhawk’s guitar solos to shine. The most impressive aspect of Low’s music is the duo’s vocal harmonizations. Most songs are decorated with this vocal play, which honestly gives me goosebumps. The couple’s voices are soft but powerful; filled with a melancholy that is sad yet hopeful.

They mostly played their less known newer songs. This is why in my opinion the encore was the best part of the show. As they came back onto the stage, I turned over to my friend and told her “I wish they’d play Sunflower.” Right as I said that, the room was filled with the song's initial chord along with the euphoric applause from the audience. “Sunflower” was directly followed by “When I go deaf” and “Shame”. During these three classics the hall was silent, everyone was quietly sitting down and soaking up the beauty

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Felice Brothers - Celebration, Florida

For the sake of keeping everyone on the same page, we'll call this fad that's been punching indie tickets for the past half-decade or so "folk." And we'll call the Felice Brothers one of the only bands keeping the retrospective craze honest...

Until they kicked it in the teeth, pissed on it, and laughed over its emasculated, writhing body with Celebration, Florida.

One glance at this year's lineup for the Newport Folk Festival should enough to convince even the most vigilant amp-busting folkie that the "genre" has been done to a merciless death; there's only so much soul, character, technique, and honesty you can wring from the Delta blues and taditional country before it becomes a gutless, formulaic mush of Grammy fodder (sorry, I had to). Instead of continuing to batter every ounce of the festering, decomposing horse, the Felice Brothers left it to the vultures and got themselves a new one, complete with synthesizers, autotune, clap tracks, and the same Catskill attitude and barroom seasoning on which they built their rabid fan base.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

GUEST REVIEW: Fleet Foxes- Helpless Blues

The Fleet Foxes’ sound is undeniably and immediately recognizable, haunting listeners’ ears ever since their self-titled debut album came out back in 2008, garnering positive reviews from just about every major outlet in the country- as well as overseas. Helplessness Blues is exactly the follow-up you were hoping for, unless you were more thrilled at lead vocalist Robin Pecknold’s comments about how he wanted the band to move in a more jam-band-y direction. While Fleet Foxes certainly have the folk-musical pizzazz to cut a record like that, the real beauty of their sound springs from the group’s harmonic skill and Pecknold’s minstrel-esque vocals, which always sound like they’re coming at you from just beyond the edge of the trees.

Helplessness Blues is a triumphant twelve-track album, pulsing with the sound of mandolins, containing passionate lyrics about apples, and possessing the quiet thrill of a panoramic view from the top of a mountain.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Fjords is a drone guitar-keyboard duo. Within 20 days of being a band they had their first show and album release “The slow death of Allison Archer”. This first set of tracks intended to be dark and almost evil. On the other hand, their second EP “April Fjords” was more inclined towards a minimal feel.
The duo practices in the Piano Row suites. A neighbor ritually complains that it sounds like a leaf blower is going off. The band jokes that when they play shows no one comes, but it’s a great excuse to play fucking loud.
Despite their jokes, this past Tuesday they played an amazing show at the Church with Spectrum (Sonic Boom from Spacemen 3). The Booker was actually inspired by Fjords to book the show.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Omar Rodriguez Lopez – Telesterion

The compilation Telesterion has an overwhelming number of tracks that outline Omar Rodriguez Lopez’s entire solo career. The collection alters between songs with sweet female vocals vs. aggressive psychedelic rock tunes. Most songs are characteristic of Omar’s main project The Mars Volta. Yet, surprisingly songs like “Lunes” and “Poicare” are melancholic and minimalist, with simple guitar progressions and poetic lyrics. The female vocals in these songs resemble young Latin singers like Javiera Mena. The other group of songs which are more true to Omar’s classic progressive rock, are electric and edgy. The vocals resemble the bad-ass tone of The Strokes yet balance off with a groovy Latin swing. “Agua dulce de pulpo” is raw and aggressive with bare animal vocals and free drums. Another song that characterizes Omar’s psychedelic side is “The Palpitations form a limit”. It seems like an homage to Led Zeppelin, with expressive vocals and crazy guitar solos. Honestly some songs aren’t my cup of tea, but the entire compilation seems like a massive musical effort worth recognizing.


It starts off quick, like your driving through a dark tunnel. At twenty seconds you shoot out into a bright, colorful landscape. White Denim orchestrates the rest of the trip in their newly released single, Drug.
The blunt title and consistent use of the word- Drug initially felt heavy handed. Sharp guitar rifts, and a truly well developed classic rock sound kept me intrigued.
After a few listens I was able to find some thoughtful, and honest meditations on the overall attraction of Drugs.
A seeming desire for honest expression in this song is paralleled on the White Denim website, where free downloads, and a letter from the band shows an admirable approach to creation.
We can tell that these guys have a pure desire to share their tunes. This is fueled by a belief that listeners will show support through donations, and the simple act of listening. While we can appreciate this, it all comes back to the music.
Drug is a good song that brings a feeling of retro-trip with a fresh modern sound. It’s available for free download on the White Denim website, along with a few other tracks.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mike's Weekly Recs: WAR

Today (or, I guess, yesterday) is the 150th anniversary of the start of the American Civil War. This week's mix features nine tracks that will wring every drop of hate out of your blood-lusting soul...at least for 3-7 minutes at a time.

And I know this isn't the Civil War, but here's the closing clip of the best war series of all time:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tron Legacy: Reconfigured

This reconfiguration of the Tron Legacy soundtrack, by Daft Punk, is a dynamic collection of remixes. Artists build off the futuristic, cyberspace atmosphere, created in the original version, with their distinct styles. Each of the fifteen tracks complements its own original, with progressive twists that are offered throughout by an impressive collection of Dj’s.

The album kicks off with a filthy remix of Derezzed by The Glitch Mob. The dichotomy created by their stop-and-go, up-and-down, style over the beaming sound waves of Daft Punk is such a perfect example of what makes this album a valuable listen.

Other big names such as The Crystal Method, Boyze Noize, and Pretty Lights have remixes on the album, all of which are quality infusions of their various sounds with the Tron tone. Moby even has a remix, which is pretty good, and for some reason seemed like it could be an anthem for a Lion King soundtrack reconfiguration.

Teddybears, a Dj that I hadn’t previously heard of, contributed an awesome remix to Adagio For Tron. There’s a killer drop at about one minute, and thirty-one seconds in. Sander Kleinenberg also had a sweet remix of the End Titles.

Overall this is a collection with an uncommon abundance of well-established artists, and good original work.

Despite the soundtrack, and jaw dropping visual effects, Tron did get old with its corny Disney dialogue. If I were to sit through the movie again, I would definitely want to watch a version with the Reconfigured soundtrack as the score. Not to say it would be better, just pretty cool.

Check out the album; enjoy the remixes, and multiple Jeff Bridges voice samples.

Be easy.

PRIMACY EFFECT @Middle East tonight!!

Our very own music staffer, Lorena, plays in a shoe-gaze daze band called Primacy Effect. They've been rockin' around local spaces including Weirdo Records and Emerson dorms. Tonight they will be performing at the Middle East in a battle of the bands benefit show. Check check check 'em out!

18+ $10 Middle East, Cambridge MA

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Bewitched hands – Birds & Drums

A cool blend of new wave, pop, punk, psychedelic folk, and obviously Indie. But early Indie, when it was actually good. Clearly influenced by pillars like Nada Surf and the Strokes, they still maintain an old school classic feel like the Beach Boys. ‘Hard to cry’ has original layered vocals with delayed feedback harmonies. The short vocal melodies cascade throughout the song and finally come together in the chorus. “Out of myself” sounds faintly like vampire weekend ethic rock mesh. Yet on the other hand, some songs like “Cold” are much more hardcore, reckless sixties punk.

Recommended songs: Happy with you, Birds and drum, Underwater, Cold.

Lake – Giving & Receiving

Soft effortless female vocals over catchy melodies. The vocals resemble the dark soothing tone of Cat Power, Memoryhouse and Beach House. Yet the whole feel of the music is much more upbeat. The instrumentation is composed of happy little jams and groovy trumpets that blast in the background.

Recommended songs: Effort, Stumble around

Wolf Ram Hearts – Betrayal of Hearts

A mix of light rock and dark, atmospheric pop. Each song is really spacious and softly reverberated yet counteracted with traditional drum beats and simple vocals. The entire album is really well balanced. There is a mesh up of songs with eccentric instrumentations and spacey strings and others with more soft and traditional themes. The beginning of “Girl on Tricycle” is really psychedelic with edgy synths and strings. On the other hand, "His & Hers" is a perfect slow dance song.

Recommended songs: His & Hers, Girl on Tricycle, Mansions

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

GUEST REVEW: The Kills – Blood Pressures (by Devin Goodwin)

It’s been three years since The Kills last cut a record. With Allison Mosshart moonlighting as the she-wolf front woman of Jack White’s blues-rock outfit The Dead Weather, and Jamie Hince only making headlines for dating supermodeltrainwreck Kate Moss, it was anybodies’ guess as to what The Kills’ fourth studio album would sound like. Since their bare-bones garage style debuted in 2003 with Keep On Your Mean Side, The Kills have steadily cultivated their sound, making true believers of fans with 2005’s No Wow, and riding that success to a new high-water mark with Midnight Boom (2008).

Now devotees can breathe a sigh of relief, because ‘VV’ (Mosshart) and ‘Hotel’ (Hince) have lost none of their black magic chemistry during the off-time. Blood Pressures picks up all the familiar pieces of The Kills’ style- pre-programmed beats, and stuttering guitar rhythms entwined in Mosshart’s raspy chameleon vocals- and blasts off, coming across as bigger, sharper, and more complex.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mike's Weekly Recs: COVERED WAGONS

I'm exhausted, so cut me some slack on the name. This week's two-sided playlist features covers of songs that are, in some cases, far better than the originals, and in others, valiant homages to untoppable Dylan compositions (Hey, Warren Zevon was literally knocking on Heaven's door when he recorded the cover for his final studio album). Enjoy, be inspired, then go to bed.


Your next classic funk-rock throwback is here. On their new album "Scandalous," Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears display an earnest attempt at recreating the sound of 60s and 70s horn-powered, funk and blues based rock music. On cuts like, "Livin' In the Jungle," you can clearly hear the influence of funk greats Tower of Power and the King of Soul himself, Mr. James Brown, both at work. With fuzzy AM-Radio guitar, stabbing horns and fat, walking bass lines, these guys have certainly done their homework on how their influences achieved their bombastic and simply badass sound.

Like all great funk music, Black Joe is no subtle craftsman with his lyrical wit. On "Black Snake," all the ladies in the audience are warned of the "black snake comin up in your grass, girl, tryin' to get up under your skirt." But isn't that lack of subtlety the key to great funk music? Sexual innuendos and euphemisms for smoking pot? Yes, it is. Again, with "Booty City," we are taken on a journey, in fact, "the best trip I've ever had in my life;" an ode to a mythical town where bodacious behinds reign supreme. Complete with group chants and a sax solo begging you to come along for a wild visit, the track is by far the standout of the album.


Four years, four solo albums, one side project, and a hell of a lot of waiting later, the Strokes have returned with Angles: ten songs worthy of the "1970s rock meets music from the future" stamp that lead singer Julian Casablancas gave Rolling Stone back in January. While the hype surrounding this release set quite a lofty standard for the album, Angles exceeds expectations with a sound that proves Rock N' Roll's young darlings are ready for mainstream success, headlining spots at major festivals worldwide, and stadium-filling tours.
It's been ten years since the Strokes single-handedly (okay, the White Stripes too) sparked the rebirth of Garage Rock with their critically-acclaimed debut "Is This It." An album full of sloppy (in the greatest way possible), lo-fi rock-pop anthems, "Is This It" still remains high atop many "Best Albums of the 00's lists," and is considered a new-era classic. The group's better-than-solid sophomore effort, "Room on Fire," treaded similar waters and is still regarded as one of the better follow-ups in recent memory. With 2006's "First Impressions of Earth" the group cemented the fact that they were determined to add a new element to their sound and outrun the carefree party rock of their first two albums. The songs lived up to the album's title however, offering the self-concious sound of a band who was unsure of where to go, but would not return to where they have already been. Though the album was generally panned by critics, it displayed spastic creativity and the group's desire to create a unique new style for themselves, while holding onto what they know best: GREAT GUITARS.

CORRECTION: Royal Blood at The Middle East Upstairs APRIL 6TH

Soooooo.... I made a pretty big boo boo in my SHOW PREVIEW for Royal Blood.
Their show is not on the 6th of March, but instead of April. I know this, and using deductive reasoning, i bet some of you figured this out too. However, because I fucked up baaaasically 1/3 of the important information in the posting I wanted to make sure that all of you who read the post also got the correct date.

Sorry for the delay on the correction. WISH SOMEONE HAD SAID SOMETHINGGG


original post (now, with correct date)
"These guys are pretty damn awesome, as one of the only Emerson based bands our staff seems to be down with and we're (well, at least I'm) pumped for their headlining show at the Middle East. Their overall sound is a little hard to pinpoint, a bit of pop punk, homefried country, and a light dusting of metal jams... living somewhere between Pavement and The Descendants and just a stones throw away from Karp. With their arms length library of quick high energy zingers, you can always rely on Royal Blood to put on a good show. They'll be heading into the studio soon and we're looking forward to it's release.

However, while you're drooling all over your keyboard waiting for a full album check out their bandcamp AND be sure to head out to Cambridge for their show on April 6th at the Middle East upstairs."

good god i hate myself sometimes

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Beach Fossils - What a Pleasure

Beach Fossils is a mixture of European indie with West Coast surf rock. Their newest album What a Pleasure is filled with feel good melodies that flow perfectly with simple guitar riffs and cool lo-fi vocals. It’s not annoyingly pop, yet simple and catchy in a good way. The entire album feels like being on vacation.

The vocals are softly reverberated throughout each song, which at points even brings out a shoegaze feel.

I couldn’t help but bob my head to the swinging guitar strummings of “Calyer”. The guitar pickings sound a lot like The Whitest Boy Alive. Even the vocals in the song “Adversity” reminded me of Kings of Convenience (which has the same guy from Whitest Boy Alive). They have a undeniable European feel; I can picture them doing a take away show anytime soon in the streets of Paris.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

1 MIN ALBUM REVIEWS: PB&J, Black Joe Lewis, The Strokes [LINKS]

Here's a smattering of notes on some notable new music... check check check it 

Peter Bjorn And John Gimme Some 

They are are shooting for a garage meets surf-rock vibe with this new album. Fuzzy, lo-fi production techniques, as well as unique percussion styles really make this take on a frequently covered genre stand out. Nothing to write home about, but a better-than decent album. 

Black Joe Lewis And The Honeybears Scandalous 

In songwriting, production, and style, this is an earnest throwback to funk and soul greats like James Brown and Tower of Power. Even takes a turn into blues territory, sounding like Muddy Waters or early Cream and Led Zeppelin. 
Top Track: "Booty City"

The Strokes Angles

A return to form for the Indie Rock Gods of New York. A compromise between the futuristic rock of "First Impressions of Earth" and the tight, upbeat, party rock of "Is This It" and "Room on Fire," "Angles" almost feels like a final album for the band, summarizing their many sounds, while hinting at the possibility of growth in the hopefully not-so-distant future. 
Top Track: "Gratisfaction"

*notes by Patrick Fahey, Music Staffer

SHOW PREVIEW: Royal Blood LIVE @ The Middle East (Upstairs) APRIL 6TH

These guys are pretty damn awesome, as one of the only Emerson based bands our staff seems to be down with and we're (well, at least I'm) pumped for their headlining show at the Middle East. Their overall sound is a little hard to pinpoint, a bit of pop punk, homefried country, and a light dusting of metal jams... living somewhere between Pavement and The Descendants and just a stones throw away from Karp. With their arms length library of quick high energy zingers, you can always rely on Royal Blood to put on a good show. They'll be heading into the studio soon and we're looking forward to it's release.

However, while you're drooling all over your keyboard waiting for a full album check out their bandcamp AND be sure to head out to Cambridge for their show on April 6th at the Middle East upstairs.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fat History Month - "Safe & Sound"/"Here Comes The Sun" 7-inch

The novelty of a guitar-and-drum duo can go to a band’s collective head and cork it with unearned, fictitious indie merit. It’s equally capable of overwhelming an insecure group, prompting it to overcompensate for the empty space with hollow riffs and aimless rhythms. Bands that populate the latter category often use time against their listeners; they cosh them over the head with odd meters and indulgent noise throughout abrasively long or short songs, effectively hashing out a political statement about the traditional notion of a song and neglecting the intangibles that matter to listeners. These misled duos create the illusion of integrity by stressing the contrast of musical and structural limits against a conspicuous lack thereof. The other class of hair-brained half-bands conquers the Boston basement scene with arrogance. Clad in their most ironic Sunday’s best, they adorn their strange time signatures with irrelevant percussion and disjointed melody to bully those born with square, Western ears into feigning enthusiasm to fit in.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Jets Overhead: Bystander

Need a relaxing pick-me-up? Try Jets Overhead’s new album, Bystander. This 25-minute recording is the perfect thing to put you in a better mood, but without the uppity side effects of, say, a band like Awesome Color. Their sound is reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine in that dream poppy kinda way, but their catchy base lines, best exemplified in “It’s Not Up to Me,” keep the tracks grounded. Bystander is definitely worth a listen, especially if you’re looking for something to make the sun come out.

Marcellus Hall: The First Line

There’s a lot of “folk” going around these days, but Marcellus Hall’s new album, The First Line is some of the best. Hall is a sort of 21st century Bob Dylan- acoustic guitar, harmonica, minimal drums, a bit o’ organ, and storytelling lyrics. The biggest difference is in the vocals. Hall’s voice is just as strong and naked as Dylan’s, only it’s much more… palatable. If you like Dylan, or if you’re of the crowd that “would like him if only his voice wasn’t so ‘weird’,” check out “One Drop of Rain,” “Wishing My Heart Was Stone,” or “It’s My Life.” If you’re not hooked after one of those (especially “One Drop of Rain”), then this album probably isn’t for you.

Fun Fact: Hall is also an artist whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, and Time.

Poly Styrene "Virtual Boyfriend" -- Bad Placement

Unfortunately, with a modern boom in the popularity of electronic music, there is an abundance of tracks that fall slowly into generic, unappealing sound. This often happens where music better suited for film is produced as a track, or when an artist lacks innovation or creativity.
The track ‘Virtual Boyfriend,’ and the two accompanying remixes, bundled in a download by artist Poly Styrene; all give the vibe of a bubble-gum, pop anthem from the eighties. When the vocals kick in the song enters into a Barbie play world colored with poorly conceived sound progression.
So the music is not worthless, it could benefit a Disney movie, or it could be a satire on modern teenage divas. As far as music produced to stand on its own, and add to the quality and productivity of electronic music, Virtual Boyfriend falls short of what I feel merits a quality recommendation.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Whitehaus Family Record Blast

This past sunday 3/20, The Whitehaus Family Record presented a music-art showcase of DIY bands from Jamaica Plains. The lineup was a mix of poetry and music.

The whole visual theme of the show was really cool. The performances would alternate between a main stage and a fort-like tent on the other side of the room. The stage was decorated with quirky little artifacts and huge yellow boxes with smiley faces.

A band that stood out was Free Pizza. With a folk-rock new wave sound, they had great stage charisma. They seem like a band that time traveled from the early 90s to today.

Dressed like characters form Saved by the Bell, they were striking for eyes and ears.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mike's Weekly Recs - "DEMOITIS"

Ya know when a band shoots itself in the foot by releasing a really great demo, and, without fail, we are all hopelessly disappointed when all the little quirks, creaks, squeaks, meows, slips, slides, and mistakes are lost in the studio version? That applies to many of these tracks.

Blurbs after the jump:

Jack Beats is Back

With a new single on youtube, and an upcoming return to the Middle East, Jack Beats is on the minds of Boston electro fans. A new remix of well respected DJ Skream, the track ‘All Night’ entices the listener with that signature Jack Beats twang, while letting the music groove away from typical floor shaking womps.

For anybody who attended their show, at the Middle East in October, you know how hard they can throw down, and for those who are curious, peep the moments caught and posted on youtube. On top of that show, I had the opportunity to see them again in November, opening for Crookers at Webster Hall in New York City. I can guarantee that these guys do not take nights off in serenading audiences with the ideal electronic atmosphere.

Check out the link, and keep following these guys as they make waves in the growth and productivity of modern electronica. If you’re willing to drop twenty bucks for the live experience, the show is April 7th in Cambridge.

Keep Grooving

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Radiohead - The King Of Limbs

Bullshit aside, I'll say what most music critics think but don't write when reviewing a Radiohead record: I probably would have given it a positive review if Thom Yorke shoved a mic up his ass and recorded 40 minutes of intestinal activity with string accompaniments.

So with that out of the way, I'll be blunt and forthright; I like The King Of Limbs. And no, I didn't have to persuade myself. But there were enough gnawing questions about the album to ball up in the pit of my stomach every time I thought about writing this review without at least a month of thorough listening. Namely, what does its uncharacteristic brevity say about Radiohead's intentions of continuing to produce traditional full-length albums?; and how can I possibly compare The King Of Limbs to Radiohead's back-catalogue of (almost) invariably shock-inducing records when, comparatively, it seems to lack that leading-edge that has defined the band since the early 90s? More importantly, should I try?

Toro Y Moi -- Underneath The Pine

You may have missed Toro Y Moi among the overwhelmingly hazy sea of "chillwave" artists that emerged during the summer of 2009. Now I know the fact that I just used the word chillwave makes you want to surf back to Facebook or Twitter, but honestly, stay with me here, because Toro is a different breed, and certainly one that deserves your attention.

Toro Y Moi began as the most typical of buzz bands do -- a one-man, lo-fi project in a Brooklyn apartment. After a series of demos, Chaz Bundick released "Causers of This," a blissed-out experimentation in the early stages of a movement that was soon to be dismissed as "played-out" by the time most year-end lists were drafted. Full of electronic "jam sessions," the album contained a small number of what could be considered traditional, full framework "songs." But on gems like "Talamak," "Blessa," and "Low Shoulder," Bundick displayed true musical prowess and potential as an actual songwriter, not just as a DJ.

Tim Hecker - Ravedeath, 1972

Ambient music is a reflection of yourself; it is an unconscious state of mind that you get lost in.
If you listen to Tim Hecker’s newest masterpiece, Ravedeath 1972, you will not help but see yourself through a mirror of sounds. With dissonant piano melodies over infinite synth beds, this album creates a weightless atmosphere of noise. Every song is highly synthesized which provides a huge sense of space. Each song creates echo patterns like waves in the sea. Some pieces are more oriented towards electronica while others are neo-classical. Yet the entire album is tied together perfectly with repetitive motifs and a theme of death. There is a sense of perish, like something beautiful is ending.
The power of this music is that it can make you feel anything and everything. At some points in a song you feel limitless hope in the world while other times it can make you feel so down it hurts. These songs can multiply anything you are feeling whether it is being nostalgic of a lost past, torn between love, scared of the future, or confused about the world. This album is the best soundtrack to accompany your deepest emotions.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring for my Halo

In this day and age it’s hard to keep making interesting guitar-singer music. Yet Kurt Vile does an amazing job with his new album Smoke Ring for my Halo. The album is filled with dreamy revered guitars and harmonic pickings that dance through your mind as you listen to his soothing deep vocals. Vile’s music creates a great blend between soft classic rock and newer folk. The whole album is incredibly easy to listen to and enjoy.

His voice reminds me of a mixture between Devendra Banhart and a tuned down Delta Spirit. You can hear a sense of longing in his lyrics and tone, like reminiscing of an old lover or lost past.

In “Baby’s arms” he repeats the same phrase throughout the song with the same guitar melody yet it could go on forever. Good music can be brutally simple and it doesn’t matter.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

PJ Harvey & Thom Yorke "This Mess We're In" [VIDEO]

Ya know what's good to dig? PJ Harvey's Let England Shake. At first it is hard to audibly digest, if it were a food I would say its a tangy asparagus but anyway, once you adjust to Harvey's pitchy trembling vocals, you'll feel good because it sounds nice. Think about it, it's an album chock full of rich light sounds, hardly any calories really. Try the clap happy track "The Words That Maketh Murder"  as your first serving, then follow it with "In The Dark Places" a moody tune with well executed tension. My favorite track is "England." It sounds as if Harvey's voice was superimposed onto Harvey's voice for a terribly coordinated sing-along round. I thought, hey, this would be cooler if Thom Yorke was singing this song and with that lingering in my mind for a month, I decided to visit the old tube box. There I found a video for "This Mess We're In" a collaboration between Harvey and Yorke. This isn't new, and I don't know why or how I started this with an awful food analogy, but here's the video:


p.s "The Words That Maketh Murder" clap happy?! Did you listen to the lyrics? But it's so catchy!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring break is over, time to get shit back on track...

I had no occasion to post that other than the fact that I've been obsessed with Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac all week. I highly recommend Fleetwood Mac from 1967 and Mr. Wonderful. Maybe one of these days I'll post something about NEW music. What am I getting non-tuition credit for, again?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Curious Mystery - We Creeling

Lately I’ve been embarrassingly into reverb-y mixed down vocals (this might have to do with the fact I generally can't stand the vocals that have been coming out and it's just easier to ignore that way) and as a result I can’t help but really dig a bunch of what We Creeling’s got to offer. The Curious Mystery has a ton of 1960s/1970s influences and has this strong pull back to psych rock pulled off in a way I haven’t heard quite yet. At times it reminds me an awful lot of Jefferson Airplane with their apparent female and male dynamic, sitar, and soul pulling foreground of trippy instrumentals. On the other hand, it’s clear that these guys are a brooding bunch, and as far as I can tell, are kind of going for a some sort of modern spin on the Velvet Underground… a hard task, but they do pretty damn well for themselves. However sadly the guy in the band doesn’t sound nearly as cool as Lou Reed, and as a general rule I can’t stand Nicolas Gonzalez’s vocals. And because he’s got that trying-too-hard-to-seem-like-i-don’t-care indie jaded drawl which I’m just so sick of, instead of Lou’s effortless off handed semi-conversation (an unquiestionably difficult thin line to tread), I can’t stand any of the songs that he is prominently featured on... except "Blue Limits", that's a fuckn sweet song (i'm a serious sucker for that twangy guitar). However to contrast that, I really love the female voice from Shana Cleveland and pretty much all of the songs where she takes the lead. Some of those are “Early In The Morning”, “Night Ride Reeling”, and “From The Garden”.

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