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”.

Haroula Rose - These Open Roads

Haroula Rose has got some serious slow paced girly folk going on, most easily described as Taylor Swift without the pop influence. To speak generally, I think These Open Roads just kind of sounds like the overflow of broken hearted creativity from a girl who just got broken up with a few months ago… and for some reason can’t help but constantly talk about her ex-boyfriend/break up to all of her friends. On the other hand, my favorite part of this album is easily the pedal steel, whining behind her acoustic guitar and calm girl vocals. The overall sound of the album pulls back to the folk revival of yesteryear pretty successfully, just an earnest girl who hasn't cut her hair in a few years bearing her broken heart with a guitar. The two songs I chose “Duluth” and “An Other Break Up Ballad” are successful due to the constant presence of snare drum. In my opinion, the songs that don’t make a point of incorporating the drums fall flat and leave something to be desired. That said, if I ever get broken up with, you better bet I’m poppin’ this bad boy in and crying in my shower with the lights off.

Recommended tracks: 2 (An Other Breakup Ballad) & 4 (Duluth)

NEW ORLEANS LIVE: Lady Baby Miss & The Tigerman [VIDEO]

Lady Baby Miss & The Tigerman, NOLA

We were on a mission. It was Mariella's 21st birthday and she had just finished her first legal drink, a Jack & Coke, and my sparkly wings were  feeling cramped. So we left The Maison, a jazz bar on Frenchman Street, in search of Siberia, the venue Pile played a week or two earlier. On our walk to the French Quarter, I had seen black on white pressed posters exclaiming  something along the lines of "Siberia! Show! Sunday or Saturday or anyday maybe!" When we left The Maison, we searched the poster filled poles and walls for sign of Siberia. We had to find the address that would tell us where we wanted to be. We found it, ripped it off and headed toward St. Claude, walking among a stampede of neons and living skeletons. We had to cross St. Claude to find Siberia but some sort of energy was keeping us below the entranceway to The Allways Lounge. This pull was a muffled blues with, could there be a piano inside as well? "But Siberia" I said and Mars yanked me into the dim and glowing lounge.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mike's Weekly Recs: SLEEP PLAYLIST, Pt. 2

I promised to have this up a couple nights ago. Ironically, I fell asleep.

Goodnight, Noises Everywhere.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Antlers @ BU Central: A Lesson in Fucking Concert Etiquette

Perhaps "lesson" isn't the correct word, because I don't think the dumb bitch and her fucking dickhead boyfriend got anything but satisfaction and a good laugh out of drunkenly lurching in front of my girlfriend and I while I was blatantly trying to film The Antlers's set at Boston University about an hour ago.

Here's a tip for anyone experiencing their first few months without a curfew who plans on going to a show and mingling with people who've already learned how to be civilized members of society: Don't pregame before going to see one of the world's mellowest bands in a tiny room essentially in the basement of a classroom building and deliberately obstruct the views of a notoriously cynical first-semester senior with a largely dormant but easily triggered anger problem, because most of them don't have their cool-headed girlfriends with them to stop them from knocking your fucking lights out.

It would be one thing if we were at a Glassjaw show at the House of Blues, but I've seen dorm rooms bigger than that little room in BU Central, and crowds more active in planning board meetings. Don't get me wrong...despite the the modest stomach pangs I get from seeing 35 of the 50 heads in the room only partially covered with the exact same grey beanie from Urban Outfitters, I was impressed with how focused on and interested in the music--imagine that?--going on onstage. The other people around me saw me filming and were more than reasonably willing to pinch the empty space a little to make room for two more. If we can all stand in the front row, why not, right?

If you're waiting in the front row, even in standing room, before a band takes the stage, you've earned that spot until you go take a piss. And if the other people around you are really fucking cool, you may even be able to keep it once you get back. If you get trashed before a fucking Antler's show like you're going to see Of Montreal or Chromeo or some shit, and then say to yourself, "Fuck these rational, civilized, young adults standing a foot or so in front of the stage...that's just enough room to fuck up their night."

I realize it's not such a huge deal that I should have walked away from the situation punching the shit out of my left hand with my right (better my palm than the dude's cheekbone, though, right?), but a certain demographic's total disregard for concert etiquette has, consciously or subconsciously, sharply reduced the number of shows I've been excited to attend in recent years. I'd almost have to go back to my crowd-surfing, fist-pounding high school shithead days to recount the last time I felt I was around somewhat fully evolved human beings at a show. And maybe that's only because I was that dickhead stepping in front of people...but those were different times, different venues, and a different kind of music. Anyone who reads my work on this blog knows I use it to take the edge off my frustration. This is years of frustration.

So here's the video I got of the show--the intro and most of the first verse of the first song, "Kettering." If you listen closely at the end, you can hear me yelling, "Are you fucking serious?" We left the show after about five songs, four-and-a-half of which we "watched" from the back of the room.

For what it's worth, The Antlers sounded great. Unfortunately, that's the only semblance of a concert review I can write. Go out and grab's a very good record. I have a feeling that couple hadn't heard it.


David Bazan: Alone at The Microphone (full DVD)

David Bazan posted his new DVD in full on his official Youtube page. The film features Bazan performing songs he wrote for his former bands, Pedro the Lion and Headphones, and songs from his solo records with nothing more than a guitar, a mic (or, in a case or two, a piano and a looping pedal), and his potent baritone. In between songs, Bazan shares some valuable insight on songwriting, the music industry, and juggling his responsibilities as a father, husband, and touring musician. Even if it looks like it was shot with a FlipCam, the film is simple, stripped naked, and direct, much like Bazan's most recent solo offerings.

And while we're on the subject, Bazan will release Strange Negotiations on May 24 via Barsuk.

Friday, March 4, 2011

RIP Richard Manuel

Richard Manuel, pianist and co-lead vocalist of The Band, died 25 years ago today. Richard's voice was the most soulful and versatile of The Band's three lead singers, and his early songwriting contributions are few but definitive. "In A Station," "Lonesome Suzie," "We Can Talk," "Jawbone," "Tears of Rage," "Whispering Pines," and others will forever stand out in The Band's bottomlessly monumental catalogue. Richard's drug abuse and alcoholism took his voice slowly but surely during the 70s, and tragically stole his life when he hung himself in a motel room on this day in 1986. His impact on The Band is as obvious as is that of any of the other four members. His impact on rock'n'roll cannot be understated; but, unfortunately, it always is. Here's to hoping Richard and Rick Danko are living in a big pink house in heaven, jamming out until their three buddies make it up.

Let the waves rush in
Let the seagulls cry
For if I live again
These hopes will never die

Adam & Naïve

Adam & Naïve is a band of best friends from Long Island. Their music is simply AMAZING. Listen for yourself… you will be blown away.

check out their bandcamp:

download their music for free here:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mike's Weekly Recs, 3/3/11: SLEEP PLAYLIST

So it's about 3am on a night that followed a day of four classes and three midterms...needless to say, I've been up for a couple-two-tree hours straight by now. I'm guessing a lot of our readers are up at all hours of the night, too, or else they probably wouldn't be reading our blog.

Anyway, I won't waste my time or anyone else's explaining anything about these songs. That would clobber the fuck out of the purpose. I'm going to sleep, and I'd advise you to do the same. It's fucking 3am. Unless you're a freshman, you have nothing to prove anymore. You're too old for this shit.

Anyway, these songs may or may not MAKE you fall asleep, but they'll sure as hell ease you into it and wring the stress out of your busy mind.

Side One tonight, Side Two tomorrow. Sleep tight.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

WECB In Studio: Mario Castro

WECB's Lydia Liebman is hosting Mario Castro and his group for an in studio recording session today!

"Before Mario even discovered his passion for music he was a shy little boy who mysteriously loved to see his father perform and rehearse with his band.

Although it was his mother who took him to his first saxophone lesson, Mario Castro originally started playing music with the intentions of creating a better relationship with his father. He attended the famed Escuela Libre de Musica in Puerto Rico where they made him choose between playing saxophone or tuba…the choice was obvious! Even though all he knew about saxophone was Lisa Simpson, Mario quickly developed a certain interest for the instrument. Mario was enrolled in a great music school, but it is evident in his playing that his best education came from the streets where he grew up. He was lucky enough to be raised in a town where they were a lot of musicians guiding him through the right path. His father, one of the musicians he speaks of, is what he claims to be his biggest influence. He taught him how to balance the music theory he was learning at school with what really happens on stage.  Shortly after starting his new passion in life he was already using school lunch hours to go practice. Practicing hours and hours a day with incredible discipline and focus. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March Is Metal Month at indie retail | EMI Music

Dear Ben Danger,

Even though you left the music department as our sassy assistant music director, and joined the programming department, we think of you fondly. Apparently March is Metal Month? Look what EMI has to say: March Is Metal Month at indie retail | EMI Music



LISTEN TO HAND OV DOOM (Ben Danger and Robben's ear bleeding metal show) FRIDAYS 6-8pm @ 

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