Monday, January 31, 2011


There is a common misconception about classical music. Most people (especially the youth) consider it boring, methodical, closed, and outdated. Even many musicians feel alienated towards the classical world. Music students seem to be divided between the robot-trained Conservatory geniuses vs. the contemporary free musicians.
Modern music, be it fusions & jazz, mainstream pop, underground alternative rock, seem to cluster against the common enemy of classical music. There is a firm line that divides both worlds of the new and the old.

But fortunately there are people that want to unite both worlds and exploit the endless possibilities of bringing classical music into the modern society.

Benjamin Zander, the director of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra,
gave an amazing speech about the future of classical music on a global conference called TED. “Has it ever occurred to you that the reason you feel sleepy in classical music is not because of you, but because of us?” Zander expressed with compelling enthusiasm his hopes for classical music. He believes “classical music is for everyone”, people are just scared to like it.

MIXTAPE: Boston + Philadelphia

My favorite distraction from wallowing in my own "I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired" misery is making mixes. Last semester I wrote about the site 8tracks, a place where you can upload your own virtual mix tapes. While wrapped in my Emerson blanket, surrounded by tissues, I made one consisting of some super tracks by local Boston and Philly bands. We'll be incorporating our DIY favorites into our New Music Show on WECB so stay tuned! We're going back on air tomorrow February 1st!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Skeletonbreath and Da Comrade! Ready to Tear It Up at DDG Jan. 30

So the super neat site "the deli" a local music guide for major music cities, posted an article about my number one favorite band from Philly, Da Comrade!. They've been finishing up recording, and will hopefully release their full length LP in 2011. Read the article here: Skeletonbreath and Da Comrade! Ready to Tear It Up at DDG Jan. 30

And check out a video I made for them this summer: a not-so-often-seen acoustic performance of their song "Old Alpha"

"Old Alpha" by Da Comrade! (fundraiser video) from margaret bateman on Vimeo.

These people, they're crazy. Their music, its spectacular.


Iron & Wine - Kiss Each Other Clean

Every now and then, an artist becomes the figurehead of his genre not because he melts into the gimmick of the day, but because he fortuitously defines it, exceeds its expectations, and ultimately supersedes it altogether. Sam Beam's mollifying voice and arresting lyrics simultaneously thrust him atop the indie pedestal and entrenched him in a miry bog of lo-fi pseudo-folk that has a hairy habit of imbibing even the most promising potential. If The Shepherd's Dog, with its ticklish dabbling in world music, was a somewhat flummoxed, slightly shanked arrow, Kiss Each Other Clean is the ambitious target to which Beam meant to guide his strange, deviant jungle tones all along.

The opening track is as varied as the most muddled songs on The Shepherd's Dog but as focused any loom-woven four-chord pop song; "Walking Far From Home" lands ably somewhere in between. The poised melody trails behind the chord changes in a way we've heard a million times before, but the oft-hung drapes loll more charmingly over Beam's opulent lyrical lunette. Lead single "Tree By The River" makes an early play at the summer airwaves, though it faces a snub because "Maryanne, do you remember the tree by the river when we were seventeen?" may not be suggestive enough for America's desensitized trend manufacturers and consumers; wherever Beam's head is when he's writing these stilling songs, it's nowhere near the new millennium ... and the sub-mainstream music landscape is all the more wholesome for it, even if he drops a F-bombs in the marginally cheeky "Monkeys Uptown."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bad Books (almost) full set [VIDEO]

This video is a few months old. I just came across it on my hard drive half-edited and decided to finish the job. Don't be irked by the subpar sound quality in the beginning of the first video...the other acts sound better.

On a late October night whose frigidity was ahead of its time, the six-part conglomerate of Manchester Orchestra and Kevin Devine, nonsensically billed as Bad Books, tested the capacity of T.T. the Bear's' tiny stage. That the band was physically and sonically far too huge for the small space made for a set that exceeded the expectations laid out by the band's self-titled debut by capacious bounds. Each band member was visibly and audibly comfortable alongside his five closest friends, and the unruffled atmosphere allowed the collective to project a level of honesty that virtually no 'supergroup' has ever achieved, much less a predictable one.

Manchester's guitarist Robert McDowell kicked off the show with his solo day job, Gobotron. With the help of Devine on
lead guitar and his MO bandmates, he primed the crowd with a set of Southern bar-style rockers. MO frontman Andy Hull followed with his acclaimed solo endeavor, Right Away, Great Captain! Toting a handful of songs from his yet-to-be-released third album (and one old fan favorite, "Badges and Badges"), Hull hushed the crowd with a euphoric tension that it would immediately ejaculate with the first obstreperous, only half-serious first notes of the band of honor:

Bad Books followed a facetious intro, dubbed "Highway of Death", with their ten originals and a masterful cover of Built to Spill's "The Plan" with unrestrained passion. They killed silence between songs with a slew of droll interludes, freestyle raps, and iconic 90s choruses in a basement-show demeanor that most bands can only dream to recreate on a stage in front of strangers.

The unified chemistry between MO and KD only accented the
divine (no pun intended) paradox between Hull's immediate songwriting method and Devine's meticulous nitpicking and endless self-editing. Backed by a band who reveled in the boundless freedom to insert outlandish riffs, fills, and yelps wherever they could find space enough to squeeze them, the two celebrated songwriters showed off their feathers without blocking their four buddies who brought their semi-impromptu compositions to life. And all on a roughly 15x10 ft. [completely uneducated estimate] stage.

PART ONE: Gobotron & Right Away, Great Captain!

PART TWO: Bad Books

PART THREE: more Bad Books

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mike's Weekly Recs

Every Wednesday, I will recommend three OLD (as in, not 'new music') albums/songs/artists that I think deserve to be brought back and treated as if they were new music. Here are my recs for 1/26/11:

1) The Band - Music From Big Pink

I spent over two full years enjoying and laboriously dissecting The Band's first post-Hawks record, and almost as long going through the rest of their discography in the same manner. When I spin it today, toting an encyclopedic knowledge of The Band for which Big Pink was the catalyst, I do so with a whole new layer of love for the legendary debut. That's the badge of a truly great, in the most basic sense of the word, record. If "Tears of Rage" doesn't kidnap all your senses from the first tone-defying, mindfuckingly enticing guitar lick, don't bother reading any more of my reviews, because we're clearly not on the same page [I'm kidding, but really...The Band is my favorite band and I'm struggling to find a better way to express my confidence that they are the best band of all time]. Once you've digested Big Pink, move on to The Band and the rest of their catalogue...but, for the love of Rick Danko, make sure you skip Cahoots.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Chris Parrello - Things I Wonder

Artists who let their streams of consciousness flood into their finished output wield either a millstone of grandiloquence or an undeniable charisma, a power to drag listeners out of their comfort zones and somehow manipulate their kicking and screaming to compliment the music like ambience from the studio. Rarely does such an ambitious scope have the immediate poignance required to shed the weight of the former; for a musician to assume his ideas of music either concord with or supersede his listeners' is more insulting and off-putting than charming. Chris Parrello and his band of misfit virtuosos dodge that anvil with a pop-minded approach to experimentation that is as inherent as it is unconscious. He rewards his listeners for patiently trudging along his miry trail of free jazz-inspired movements just in time for them not to desire one, making the sugar that much sweeter.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Deerhoof vs. Evil

Deerhoof has always been unpredictable. Normally it’s because their sound blasts out of nowhere and shifts between one explosion to another. Yet this album is unpredictable for the contrary reasons. Deerhoof vs. Evil, brings out a calm, smooth sound to the band’s natural electrifying noise rock. Some songs are sinister, noise ambiences over melodic guitar pickings; others genuinely beautiful instrumentals and sweet vocals. For instance, "No One Asked to Dance" is completely unexpected with beautiful, delicate vocals and a Spanish-like guitar.
Yet even though their music seems more emotional and easy, they still retain hard riffs and dynamic melody changes in many of their songs.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Viva archived INTERVIEW!

Ben Danger, Viva, Mary "Freakin" Feaster
Last night I held an unofficial music staff drink beers-listen to music "meeting" at my place. I got to catch up with my new assistant music director, Molly Young, and got to say "oh brother, you're the worst" to my old assistant, Ben Danger, who has moved up in the radio world to WECB's programming department. I got that nasally nostalgia feeling when I thought about the time Ben and I traveled to Jamaica Plain last semester to see Brooklyn rocker-babe Viva. We met a man named surly dave, ate some pizza, and got to interview Viva in her van after the show. Mr. Danger wrote an awesome review, and transposed our interview. We never posted it but nows the time. Trust me, Viva is a wildly fantastic character and this is the interview to prove it. -margaret

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ninth Moon Black- Kalyug

After a little research (a.k.a. one google search) I found out that the term "Kalyug" refers to the fourth and final era in the spiritual evolution of man. It is the most difficult era for the human race in which many atrocities and injustices become commonplace in society.
Okay okay, so maybe the album title is a little intense, maybe the band name is a bit dramatic, maybe the album art is kinda' corny, but the music is no joke.
If you're a fan of Mogwai or Russian Circles, you definitely want to check out Ninth Moon Black's new EP, "Kalyug." This four song concept album has the perfect balance of harmonic melodies, crazy distorted guitars, and a deep, anchoring bass. There are no lyrics, but there are some narrative bits sampled at the beginning/end of each song adding to the spooky, end-of-days effect the album has on the listener. You know how the world is going to end December 21 2010? Well "Kalyug" would make a great soundtrack for the event. But please, don't wait until then to give it a whorl- listen before it's too late!

Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers- Teenage & Torture

When it comes to listening to Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers newest release, Teenage & Torture, I'm like a nerd who needs to grab my inhaler every time one track ends and the next begins. I mean, I'm not saying that you're a nerd if you need an inhaler, but you are, and so am I... especially when it comes to this album. Its smokey dive bar infused rock at its finest. Shilpa can switch from intense rip-your head-off screams in "Stick It To The Woman" to velvety jazz vocals in "Dames A Dime A Dozen." My favorite track "Erotolepsy" is a vaudevillian dance tune that highlights Ray's accordion skills. This album is mesmerizing and hold on let me take a breath, an excellent start to the new year.

WECB GOES BACK ON AIR ON FEBRUARY 1st! Tune in to hear Shilpa Ray  & Her Happy Hookers, and of course... tons of PILE!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

dream apart ment

Last night my pals and I braved our way through the snow to the living room of Allston's Problem House. We were in need of live music and had heard they were hosting a folk-acoustic show. It was a peculiar night simply because of the quiet nature of the audience. Each performer was like a preacher, their music a DIY sermon. At times it felt blasphemous to talk, let alone take a sip of my drink. I put my King Cobra on the tobacco covered table to my left, made sure my phone was on silent, and sat with others watching music being played. It wasn't until the violin-guitar duo, Dream Apart Ment started performing, that I started really paying attention.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

things i am most stoked for right now 2011

The Go Team- Rolling Blackouts
Mogwai-Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will
The Cave Singers- No Witch
Tennis- Cape Dory
Earth- Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light
... in no particular order

AND LETS NOT EVEN TALK ABOUT NEW DIDDY (shutup everyone else on the staff, this song is dope.)--

(and if you are even mildly motivated you can download all of these)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

#1 of 2010: Magic Isn't Real by Pile

Way back in 2010, our staff made lists of their top albums of the year. A couple weeks ago, I heard about a band from Boston named Pile. They played at Hen House with another local favorite, Fat History Month. They performed songs from their newest album "Magic Isn't Real" which was released on October 2, 2010. The album has topped my list.

I downloaded "Magic Isn't Real" on their bandcamp site and have listened to it on loop since their show at Hen House. By the crowd's sing-along enthusiasm during their most recent perfomance at another Allston DIY venue, Gay Gardens,  I could tell that everyone has also been listening to their music constantly.

The problem I'm having with Pile is figuring out how to describe their sound. It has heavy push-n-shove tracks layered with catchy grooves like in "came as a glow" followed by unpolished, amazingly unpredictable tracks like "pets." They're... intriguingly infectious. Staffer Mariella explains Pile better than I can, saying "I'm pretty sure Pile incorporated some sort of weird sonic sound waves into their album to make it addictive. The way cigarettes have nicotine in them."



INTERVIEW: Free Energy

Before Philadelphia's Citypaper named Free Energy their number one local artist of 2010, WECB had the opportunity to interview members of the band. Woo! Here's what was said: 

Alright, so this is Ben Danger for WECB, I’m here with Paul and Evan from Free Energy. You guys just played a show with Weezer, you’re wrapping up your tour, so, how was it?
P: Last night was the first night we played with Weezer and we got three more. Last night was totally awesome though, like, so many people just there to have a good time. It was basically like a huge party, which I think that’s something we aim for in every show, every tour. Try to get people out dancing and havin’ a good time.

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