Friday, April 29, 2011

The Acre, Kingsley Flood, Pearl & the Beard Concert

Tonight in Cambridge at TT the Bear's Place at 8:00pm a concert I have been waiting for weeks to arrive will finally be upon us. A C.D. release party is the best kind of party, and a party it will be tonight. Anybody interested in hearing live music and enjoying themselves should come. If you don't live in the area I'm sorry but here is a little sampler of the bands that will be playing tonight. Facebook event page here. Buy tickets here.
The unofficial set times are as follows
8:20 Ugly Purple Sweater
9:00 Bandit Kings
9:45 Pearl and the Beard 
10:45 Kingsley Flood
11:45 The Acre

The Acre's album Cerca Trova is a gem from start to finish and you can finally purchase it tonight. Blending folk and rock, guitars and the piano, the music will surely grab the crowd's attention tonight. 

Pearl and the Beard are releasing their second album, Killing the Darlings, on May 10th. "Sweetness" is a track off of the album. Learn about the inspiration for the three person sweater in this video with Jocelyn from the band.

The Inebriations

Once upon a time in my early days of blogging, there was a music submission waiting with an enticing band name.  Unfortunately, what I heard was not something I would post, and I tried to give my best constructive feedback. Nearly a year later, I got another e-mail and because the band name is so memorable and likable I knew exactly who it was. I listened with trepidation and was so excited that I liked it (really liked it!) and with the direction that Dave took the music, that I nearly peed my pants. It's now amongst the favorite blogging stories.
The original music I heard was something along the lines of a bass/duo thing. This new demo is leaps and bounds, hell, a million miles away from that.  Dave came across an old bowlback mandolin and went for the Americana sound and he does it well. The band name even fits better now. Seeing The Inebriations, a one man band, transform from one sound to something different serves as a good reminder to never write off a band completely. I'm looking forward to seeing where Dave takes this in the future. The EP is available for free on bandcamp, go listen. You can like The Inebriations on facebook too.

The Sound of Growing Up - Swing

The Sound of Growing Up sing pop songs guessed it, growing up. If you feel like you're having a quarter life crisis you might find their lyrics appropriate (i.e. "My whole life is laced with doubt"). Yeah, we've all been there and now there are pop songs that detail someone else's growing up struggle paired with pop melodies, trumpets, the ukulele, and harmonizing voices that somehow manage to make you smile despite all the uncertainty.

Upcoming show: May 24th at The Middle East Upstairs with Allison Weiss
Listen/name your price on Bandcamp.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Acre - Cerca Trova

The Acre's album, Cerca Trova, is being officially released tomorrow and there is a release party/concert at T.T. the Bear's Place, which quite frankly shouldn't be missed. But more on that later.
Cerca Trova has been playing intermittently over the past month as I've tried time and time again to pick out my favorites. Finally, I've decided that part of what makes this special is that it works so well as a full album. Starting with "Stereo", a song that uses the power of silence and simplicity allowing the voices of Nick Murphy and Courtney Cavanaugh hang in the air, leaving the listener wondering what's coming next. If you're a sucker for the male/female vocal thing, The Acre does it right.

Throughout the album, stories and themes evolve and grow upon one another as girls traipse through the songs either tired or wide eyed. The consistent voice throughout the album belongs to Nick Murphy as he sings about heavy hearts and a cluttered mind with occasional bouts of nostalgia. Whatever you interpret the stories to mean, it all comes across as painfully real. The love of music shows up often in the lyrics "there's something pulling/ at my heart strings and it's playing a tune" or "a case of nostalgia on the stereo" but is even more evident in the  work they put in on the musical arrangements which span many genres and pull from their love of bands like Wilco, Low, Bon Iver, and Built to Spill as well as traditional folk and Americana music. All of which make it a very difficult sound to describe, but I know I like it, and that's all that really matters. It's a wonderful and sometimes rare thing these days to find yourself listening as much to the music as to the lyrics. I'm glad The Acre can do both well enough that they deserve to have far more than a local audience and following. You can listen to more on bandcamp.

The C.D. release party tomorrow, April 29th, will really be as much a party as a concert. You can look forward to not only seeing The Acre, but other notable and exciting bands like Ugly Purple Sweater, Bandit Kings, Kingsley Flood, and New York's Pearl and the Beard. Get your tickets early, it's bound to sell out. Expect a post with music from all the bands tomorrow.

Coyote Kolb - Freight Train

Coyote Kolb was recommended by fellow local americana band, Larcenists, when I asked for some suggestions. I actually got a chance to see them at the recent Americana Festival in Boston and loved their songs. There was a free sampler given away at the festival and this happened to be one of my favorite songs on it, especially after I learned the backstory.

The song "Freight Train was written by Elizabeth Cotton in the early 1900's, allegedly when she was only 11 years old. The rest of the Americana compilation features other boston bands doing renditions of old-timey's in danger of dying. It certaintly isn't the happiest compilation, but the stories that are told through song are in danger of being lost in the forgetten stacks in the library or on a smithsonian shelf somewhere. The fact that these local and modern bands are giving them a new life means the stories can be passed around once again. The band goes on to say "These are the kinds of songs, and the kind of music woven into our history as a nation, and as a people,. We believe this (americana) music tells many tales of who and what we have been and are becoming as a people. We intend not so much to preserve, but to apply. "
Of course make sure you check out their original songs from the album Massachusett on bandcamp. "Word to the Wise" is my weekday anthem.

Upcoming shows: 
April 30th - Tom Waits Tribute Shwo
May 25th - Precinct
May 26th - The Red Door (Portsmouth, NH)
May 27th - Capitol Center for the Arts (Concord, NH)

Cuffs - Albert Kroft (demo)

Cuffs have a little demo EP out on bandcamp and that's all I really know about them. Except for the little blurb on their bandcamp page: CUFFS is a group from Cambridge, MA comprised of 2/3 of the band Pants Yell, a member of Reports and the blonde kid from Big Troubles. 
They have three shows coming up. I guess I'll have to go to find out more. They do have a tumblr too.

Upcoming shows: 
May 3rd @ Paradise
May 19th @ NYC Popfest
May 21 @ Santos Party House (NY)
Jun 9th @ TT the Bears


The Resurrectionists - Chainsaw Heart

The awesome guys that make up local stomping and hollering, whiskey soaked, americana band The Resurrectionists put out a new record, My Chainsaw Heart, in the beginning of March. Seeing them all amped up live is a very worthwhile experience and if you ever get the chance, go see them!  Luckily you can get a taste of their live performance in this video (after the jump) of their album opener "Apocalypse (Applause!)". This song, like many of their others causes an ants in my pants effect where I'm always itching to get up and clap and stomp along. You can stream/buy/free download their music on bandcamp.
Upcoming Shows: 
April 30th, Tom Waits Tribute Show
May 7th, @ Midway Cafe

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sodafrog - Central Nonsense

Sodafrog was the first local act I came across when I moved back to Boston. The first song I ever heard was "Central Nonsense" and it holds a special place in my heart reserved especially for local folk acts. It's always a nice bonus when going to a concert and Sodafrog is opening. Find/stream/name your price for Sodafrog's music on bandcamp. Hang the Moon is a great album, as the description says, "welcomes you to those parts of New England that are hidden by tall trees, just beyond where the dirt roads end. " I couldn't agree more. I think it is an especially fitting album for spring. Go listen!

Download the Gram Parsons cover of "Brass Buttons" for free on bandcamp.
Upcoming Show: May 4th at Brighton Music Hall

Spirit Kid - You Lit Up For Me

Spirit Kid made it to the finals of the Rock n' Roll Rumble on a wild card. The Rumble is a Boston event where local bands are slotted against each other each night and given a score by judges to determine the winner of each night. It made for an energetic month of concerts that kept me out way too late on weeknights. But it was worth it to see so much of the local talent at one event.

Spirit Kid is the moniker for Emeen Zarookian as he sang, wrote, and recorded the entire self-titled album himself.  The music is just happy enough pop music that can help you forget how stupid the world is today. After the first listen you'll realize that the music is a tip of the hat to pop stars of the past, call it retro-pop if you like. It's music to make you smile, listen, and dance along. Buy the album on Bandcamp and name your price for the EP which is embedded below.

Upcoming shows: 
May 1st at the May Fair in Harvard Square 3pm
May 5th at TT the Bear's Place

Larcenist - We Become the Hunted Free EP

The more local bands I listen to, the more I realize that Boston tends to cultivate a distinct style. I've heard this from many people over the past year, but I liked to believe that Boston had a little bit of everything. I've quickly learned that there is indeed one dominating sound that suits Boston quite well. Of course there are the punk, goth, electronic, and outrageous rock bands to be found in the city, but the core sound that Boston is known for is an amalgamation of folk/rock with a heavy dose of americana. I once heard someone explain it by saying "they're all rock bands in Bahston, but it's wicked smaht rock." Larcenist are a great example of this sound, but I don't mean to say they sound like everyone else either.
Their americana roots shine through in the story telling lyrics and with the addition of the violin played in every song (and especially stands out on the track "Proud Life") on the EP. Sometimes in bands it seems like the violin is just something that's there because one band member happens to be able to play it, but in this case it is just as prominently featured and as adeptly played as the guitar. It fits well and adds depth to the thoughtful music. Larcenist's EP is available as a free download on bandcamp, so hurry over and get it. You can expect a full length from them later this year.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Flightless Buttress - The Idea of Pursuit

Out of the entire list of Boston bands that I will be posting about this week, I couldn't think of a better way to start Monday morning than with the instrumental-folk music from Flightless Buttress. Armed with only a guitar and a cello, the duo write songs that sound like an intricate conversation between the two instruments. If you're one of those people that can't listen to music with lyrics and focus at the same time, Flightless Buttress's music is a good choice. Even if you just need to get lost in something this music has a forward momentum and a story waiting to be told.

Website | Bandcamp
You can buy the album and stream it for $5 via their website or bandcamp.
Upcoming Show: May 4th 8:00pm at Bloc 11 in Union Square
You might also find them busking at the Porter Square T stop.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Inbox Purging: A mix-matched playlist

Happy Easter. Here's some music to keep you company. The week of inbox purging went alright but I still have 300 e-mails in the inbox that I'd like to cut down to 0. So here is the first batch for your picking and choosing pleasure. I tried to keep my favorites near the top. Enjoy.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Herman Dune - Tell Me Something

You say, why don't you go down to the record store
I say, every new band feels like I heard them before
You say, I should have lived 100 years ago
And I go, tell me something I don't know

Herman Dune, a french trio, was constantly on the radio when I lived in Europe with his hit "My Home is Nowhere Without You" which you should check out if you don't already know it. I almost forgot how much I liked them until I came across this song via their label City Slang. Their songs often fall into quirky songwriter territory, which always makes for a fun listen. This song is off of his upcoming album due out in May. 

Black Light Dinner Party - Older Together

Black Light Dinner Party makes electronic pop music that's well suited for your friday afternoon or kicking off your three day weekend. The video is well done too. This is all they have out on the internets right now so look for more in the future. Happy Weekend.
  Older Together by Black Light Dinner Party
Black Light Dinner Party "Older Together" from dreambear on Vimeo.

Friday, April 22, 2011

MIXTAPE: It's Always Spring in College

I made a mix for my sister who likes country, hip hop, and anything she can blast during dorm parties. Making a mix she likes is no easy task and I usually try and hide indie songs that I like between songs she likes. This mix sounds like spring time in college and it makes me miss the days of campus golf, bbqs and kegs in the park, frats blasting music on the quad, crazy dangerous slip n' slides, and nights of endless fun with all my friends. It's 60% stuff I wouldn't post on the blog but it's nice to listen to something completely different from time to time. You can listen to the shuffled 8 tracks version or if you go to my facebook page you might just find a download link for the mix.

Crystal Fighters - At Home

The first Crystal Fighters song is a sweet little folk pop ditty. The acoustic version features the guitar and handclaps. Then you get the Pony Pony Run Run remix and it's a whole different dance your butt off animal. Their album "Star of Love" mixes dance tracks and more folk pop songs. It has some great summer jams like "Plage". I highly doubt you can listen to these songs without smiling. Give it a try.
  Crystal Fighters - At Home (Acoustic) - by Crystal Fighters

Crystal Fighters – At Home (Pony Pony Run Run Remix)

TGACB - Wild Heart EP

Sometimes when you end up on a random bandcamp page you just know you're going to like what you hear. That's what I thought when I landed on The Great American Canyon Band just browsing folk tags on bandcamp. Their EP cover art gives off an Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes aestetic, but with less people. Their two song titles "A Song For the Rest" and "Wild Heart" seemed like songs I could like. The songs are sparse folk pop and exactly what you think "folk pop" from LA would sound like. Some effect pedals gather the background noise and the guitar is gently laid on top of that along with the vocals. Check out their website or stream/buy their EP on bandcamp.

"and a word for the weary: keep moving those feet."

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Music 2.0: Tools + Tech for Musicians, Marketers + Managers

I went to a music conference last night, Music 2.0 that had an impressive turn out of musicians, managers, music tech people, bloggers, students, and I'm sure plenty of others. It was really well organized by Charles McEnerney of Well Rounded Radio and Trish Fontanilla. I always enjoy going to these events where everyone involved in music in Boston get together. It honestly makes me think that these Boston people are going to be the ones that discover a way for the music industry to make money again, or come up with a new strategy, and that just warms my heart. There were lots of great presentations last night but here are a few I'd like to share that can be used right away. Sorry in advance if I botch any details. More after the jump.

Jesse LeBourdais - Little Mountain EP

Just stumbled across this beautiful bluesgrass/folk music by Jesse LeBourdais who also fronts a punk band in Vancouver called Cambridge. You can definitely catch glimpes of his punk background in his solo effort, which helps keep the bluegrass sound a little more modern and gives it rockability (yeah sure that's a word now). These two solo songs are catchy and help me meet my banjo quota for the day. Buy it on bandcamp.

Sundelles - Kiss the Coast

Just posted about these guys a few days ago but here is a new song that I like even better than "Can't Win".
It's more sunshiny garage rock.

Dawes - If I Wanted Someone

One of the results of Middle Brother is that a lot more people are walking away from their concerts thinking that Taylor Goldsmith and his band Dawes is really the stand out of the the three. I've talked to a lot of people about this and it's really common for people (myself included) to have known of Deer Tick first, then Delta Spirit, and Dawes seems to be the lesser known of the three. Of course after seeing Middle Brother or a Dawes concert it's clear that this is a band you can fall in love with to the point where you're memorizing their lyrics and following their every step. Luckily, if you're like me and have played "Western Skyline" a few too many times, there is a new Dawes album on the way due out June 7th. The first track they're giving away is "If I Wanted Someone" and it's killer. I think it just became my anthem. Go get it!
"If I wanted someone to clean me up, I'd find myself a maid,
If I wanted someone to spend my money, I wouldn't need to get paid, 
If I wanted someone to understand me, I'd have so much more to say
I want you to make the days move easy" 

Enter your email in the widget for the free download.








Jennie Abrahamson - Wolf Hour

Jennie Abrahamson first came across my radar and went straight to my heart with her captivating and irresistible song "Hard to Come By". She just released another song (it's a free download) off of her third album, the brand new The Sound of Your Beating Heart. The album title is very apropos since every song has it's own strong, and very human, heartbeat. This Swedish songstress has such a hypnotizing voice, she can do no wrong. Not to mention all of her songs have wonderful arrangements with a lot of depth that keep you coming back for more. "Wolf Hour" has some dramatic strings and paired with the piano bass line, it's pop perfection. Unfortunately, you can only buy her album if you live in the Nordic countries. But you can watch a sampling of her album here. It will be released worldwide come Fall of this year, I can't wait. Enjoy the new song. I already have it blasting through my speakers.

 Wolf Hour (single mix & edit) by hstsound

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Deer Tick - The Great Smoke Off

Partisan Records and Deer Tick offered this up on twitter today. I really don't embrace the whole 4/20 thing but these songs seem to be finding a place on the blog today. This is a really silly story song if you have the attention span to listen to this. Enjoy.

Air Dubai - Soul & Body

Air Dubai is a Denver based band. To promote their upcoming show at the Bluebird on Colfax they are giving this song away as a free download. Have a listen to their remix tape which is available as a free download on bandcamp.

Clinton Curtis - And it Stoned Me (Van Morrison Cover)

Found this in a dusty corner in my inbox. Curtis played all the instruments on the track. Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

American Babies - Dance All Night

You may have noticed that I've been on a big country-ish influenced kick these days, starting with my support of Jason Isbell's latest album (just $3.99 on amazon today-go get it). The country I'd like to point you in the direction of usually involves banjos, mandolins, pedal steel and slide guitars, as well as songs suited for a front porch sing a long, and damn good song writing. I cringe when I have to use the word "country" in my posts because I'm worried that the very word will scare people away. Don't be scared! There's a lot under the radar that you can eat right up.
American Babies, a Philadelphia band, is one of those with a heavy dose of Bruce Springsteen influences. For your listening pleasure it will be streaming all week on AOL Spinner. Their label, Engine Room Recordings, is pretty cool too you can get a free sampler cd here. This is their second album and is officially released today. Have a listen, and I'll resist the urge to say "I told you so" when you buy it. 

Folly & The Hunter - Folly

Folly & The Hunter hail from Montreal where they actually share a studio space with The Barr Brothers whom I posted about last week. Folly & the Hunter's debut album, Residents, fits right in a  little niche with bands like Little Scream, Seryn, and Frontier Ruckus to name a few. I crave this type of music on a regular, nearly daily, basis, so I've been overjoyed to have this new one in my rotation.

The music is the kind that can make you walk clear across town, lost in the music and your thoughts, without ever realizing how far you've walked until the music stops. The harmonizing voices act as another instrument in the line up, filling in the empty spaces with far away and drifting ahhs and oohs. You can stream three songs and buy the album on bandcamp. It's no secret that I'm a sucker for handclaps, so low and behold I'd like to present to you one of my favorite songs from the album, complete with banjo, beautiful harmonies, and of course hand claps.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Foster the People - Pumped Up Kicks (The Knocks Remix)

Funny how I can be perturbed last week at people trying to call this song the summer jam of 2011 but this week when The Knocks remix it I'm awfully eager to post it. Call me a hypocrite, it's cool. I'm only doing it because I posted this song exactly a year ago today. I know that because I thought it was a fitting song to post on the day of the Boston Marathon. Since it just so happens to be Marathon Monday today, I figured why the hell not, just for old time's sake. Plus The Knocks give it a new life and you can download it for free.
 Foster The People - Pumped Up Kicks (The Knocks Remix) by The Knocks

Michael Claytor & His Friends - Hairpins

Even though these days I usually wake up magically surrounded by paper wristbands and ticket stubs, as though elves collected them and hid them in my bed while I slept, there was a time not so long ago when I instead woke up to a boyfriend who was kindly collecting my hairpins that I always left on the bed side table to return them to me. It became a running joke that I was actually leaving them there on purpose. Anyway, that's the premise of this Americana song by Michael Claytor & His Friends from Florida. I think many people can relate to the little wonders of finding things a boyfriend/girlfriend has left behind either on purpose or by accident, sometimes it can be a really pleasant reminder that someone was around to keep you company. I've been so enamored with this song I forgot to post it months ago. Watch the acoustic duet version with his friend Sam Moss here. Found via Nine Bullets.

The entire album is a free and highly recommended download on bandcamp. Go get it!

Sundelles - Can't Win

Handclaps, and catchy choruses ensure that this song will get stuck in your head. It's kind of garagey pop balanced with moody lyrics. This west coast turned east coast band brings both coasts together in their music, with that ever present california sunshine and maybe some of that keep to yourself New York mentality. They have four shows in New York coming the first two weeks in April, check their site for more details. Their album, Georgia Swan, continues in the same vain with catchy garage pop songs that you want to play outside during an afternoon barbeque.

tUnE - yArDs - Bizness

I'm not entirely surprised that Pitchfork gave tUnE - yArDs a rare 8.8 rating for their album w h o k i l l , because I think above all it was an impressive demonstration that there are always new boundaries to be pushed. And in this case, they've been pushed in a way that the indie community can easily embrace. I haven't listened to the whole album yet, so I'm still deciding just how much I like this music, but I'd love to hear what anyone else thinks. I also refuse to write the band name another time because that it's rather obnoxious. Hopefully you've already seen the video, which is one of my favorite videos this year. Here is the song I jacked from pitchfork, which I definitely can enjoy.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cameron McGill & What Army - Counterfeit

I've been waiting for this album, Is A Beast, ever since I saw Cameron McGill open for Margot & The Nuclear So So's (which he is also a part of). Much of this album was made possible through his successful kickstarter campaign. The night I saw him perform, and I believe this holds true for most of his shows, he sported a 3 piece suit and sat down at his keyboard and proceeded to enchant the crowd, little of who knew of him before hand. If you like some solid piano rock and stories wrapped up in songs, I highly recommend checking out this talented musician and his album which was released on April 12th. Stream the album here.

Doug Hoyer - Oh, The Wind Will Blow (ft. Jessica Jalbert)

Doug Hoyer is a Canadian song writer who dabbles on the quirkier side of things. At least that's what I thought after listening to his Two New Songs (actually is the name of the 7"), until I heard this newer, slightly more serious sounding song that was released in February. "Oh The Wind Will Blow" has a very Jens Lekman feel to it with a beautiful harp and strings accompaniment and will be on his upcoming full length due out later this year.

Doug Hoyer - Oh, The Wind Will Blow (ft. Jessica Jalbert)

Get lots of music for free on Doug Hoyer's Bandcamp page. He also did a fun and goofy album with a bunch of his friends called Ultimate Sunset Vol 1: My Album with Andre that is worth checking out.

The Lam - Build Me Someone Like You [Cinematic Orchestra x Adele]

I was so done posting remix/mash up songs involving Adele that I set up an email filter to keep them out of my inbox. But this one snuck through and since it doesn't exactly sound like anything else, I think it deserves a post. It's a really cool instrumental track worthy of a listen.
  Build Me Someone Like You [The Cinematic Orchestra x Adele] by THE LAM

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pineross - A Vision

Pineross is like experimental folk or as they describe it on their bandcamp page "avant-garde roots music". It could also be Avalanche with additional folk instruments. Either way it's interesting if you have the time to sit down and digest it. Their song "Ruins" is a free download on bandcamp, but I prefer the opening track "A Vision". It sounds like a Record Store Day poem (transcribed by me and therefore could be horribly wrong).
"So you roll through the aisles, and flip through the stacks, 
you head back home with the plastics unwrapped. 
There's a world that's been etched on a circle of wax, 
We collapsed in the chairs as the needle cracks 
33 and 1/3 revolutions per minute. The motor is spinning, 
the black vinyl glistens, and all of my friends came over to listen."

Glass Pear - Loveable

A long time ago I received one of the more personalized submission emails from the talented songwriter, Yestyn of Glass Pear. Then I forgot to post about him, then I remembered, and then forgot again. Somewhere in that time line he told me I could post any one song I wanted from either his Sweet America EP or his album Streets of Love. Choosing one was was a hard task. His song "Say it Once" was featured on One Tree Hill. But I went with the poppy and sugary sweet "Loveable". I'm quite certain it's the perfect song for a Cotton commercial. When you listen, you'll see why. Last time we emailed (it was February, yikes!) he also mentioned that he was in the studio recording a new album so be on the lookout for that. Find Glass Pear on Facebook.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Dirty Gold - California Sunrise

"I need some summer sun to come and wake me up." 
While we're talking summer jams, here is my pick for 2011. Lot's of people are all about Pumped up Kicks for this year, but I'm ready for something new. However I do think the post I did almost a year ago has one of the most interesting running commentary from people leaving anonymous comments with a focus on what the song means. Check it out and download pumped up kicks. Anyway 2011...this is your lazy hazy summer jam and don't let anyone tell you anything different. Can't you just smell the ocean when you listen to this? I highly recommend watching the dreamy vintage summerscapes in the video after the jump. I know I got this from a blog but forget who, credit goes to someone besides me. 

Kisses - Kisses

"So keep your heart strong, and love long, 
and give kisses when you can." 
I know this is last summer's song, but I've been coming back to it a lot recently. Sometimes I put the song on just to hear that one line which happens at the 3:33 mark. I'm having a lazy blogging week because there are other things to attend to. Hopefully I'll catch up this weekend, there's lots of good stuff in my inbox just waiting for you.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Barr Brothers - Beggar in the Morning

After watching the talented Barr Brothers last night, I can say with the utmost certainty that this Montreal based band is one you should know about. They were responsible for the bulk of the crowd that showed last night despite Torquil Campbell (of Stars) and his new side project band Memphis headlining. The Barr Brothers started off the evening playing this song in the most attention grabbing way.  Brad Barr threaded a string around his guitar string so that when he pulled on it, it appeared as though he was flossing his guitar. This created an effect that elongated the notes and probably lots of other stuff that I don't know about. He also took a tape player and played a little bit of a talking track and then would rewind it and looped the resulting noise. There was a lot going on and it definitely made the crowd take notice right away. 

All of this was the lead into a song that I have found to be more than perfect for today, "Beggar in the Morning". You can watch the video of their live performance of this song here. You might understand what I was trying to explain better if you do. A full review and pictures will be up soon.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Streets - OMG (The Knocks Remix)

I can remember the first time I heard The Streets. I was in high school and my boyfriend gave me "Dry Your Eyes" on a mix, which if you are familiar with the song you know it's not something you want to get on a mix from a boyfriend. It's a perfectly detailed song about a difficult break-up. It turned out it was just on the mix as an introduction to The Streets. Of course a few months later when we did break up, the song got lots of play time. I'm sure it's soundtracked thousands upon thousands of break ups since as well. 

Anyway, 17 years after the group began, The Streets are calling it quits and their recently released Computer and Blues album is said to be their last. Have a listen below to the new DJ duo, The Knocks, remix OMG off the latest album. 

New Music Tuesday

This week is a lot more exciting than last week, so get ready to break out your wallets. There are already two albums that I've listened to a lot and am borderline obsessed with.

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit - Here We Rest
This alt-country album focuses a lot on Jason Isbell going back to where he grew up in Alabama. It's a wonderful homecoming album. Don't be scared of that alt-country tag I gave it, because this album has a mass appeal effect due to the song writing skills and use of mandolin, banjo, guitars, and an accordion. Some of my favorite songs off of this are: "Alabama Pines", "Heart on a String", "Stopping By", "Tour of Duty" and of course the first single "Codeine"...I had to stop myself from listing all the songs there. It really is a stand out album start to finish. There is even a 28 second ballad to Nobeard that makes good use of the accordion and makes me laugh every time.
Listen: Codeine

The Apache Relay - American Nomad
I did just recently find out about this band, but yesterday when the temperature was near 80 degrees I got to give the album the ultimate test--driving with the windows down and blasting their songs. It passed with flying colors and I have a feeling it's going to be a go to driving album. Read my live review here. There is unbelievable talent and an energy that gets right under your skin. The title track is my current theme song.
Listen: Home is Not Places

To keep it short I'll just list the rest of what might be interesting and let me know if I forgot anything.

Paul Simon - So Beautiful or So What
Agnes Obel - Philharmonics 
Atmosphere - The Family Sign
Cameron McGill & What Army - Is a Beast
Elbow - Build a Rocket Boys!
The Feelies - Here Before
Jamaica - No Problem
Low - C'mon
A Lull - Confetti
Mount Moriah - Mount Moriah
Panda Bear - Tomboy
Sarah Jaffe - Ever Born Again
Sonny & The Sunsets - Hit After Hit
TV on the Radio - Nine Types of Light
Vessels - Helioscope
Washington - How to Tame Lions
Little Scream - The Golden Record Listen: The Heron & The Fox

Good luck with your picks. Happy listening.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Last Royals - If you leave (OMD Cover)

While cleaning out my inbox I came across this cover of the classic 80s tune. While the original always seemed melodramatic, The Last Royals inject it with an extra dose of pop making it shine just a little brighter. Always makes for a solid sing a long. Check out their website for more on their music and for some free downloads.

Hook Moon - Blood Stone

I don't know about you, but I really need this sunday to unwind, after a long roller coaster of a weekend. This song seems to be just right. It feels a little disjointed, but the strange aimlessness is fitting for a Sunday.   You can go to their website to download their EP for free. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Apache Relay at Great Scott April 7th

During SXSW I was held captive in Boston and spent a large part of that week picking up on patterns in tweets. I realize this sounds really pathetic but at least half of the people I was following were in Austin and dropping names of bands I had never heard all over the place, so I collected those names into a nice little pile. One that was mentioned more than a few times, and by people whose opinions and taste in music I respect, was The Apache Relay. When I saw they were coming to Boston I knew I had to see them.

The Apache Relay opened for Tristen and Ezra Furman & The Harpoons last night and it felt like the headlining act was going first. They had so much energy, enthusiasm, and amazing dance moves (that I am totally stealing) that their stage presence trumped the following acts. The five of them crammed on stage looked like they were about to knock each other out with every twist and leg kick. Sometimes the fiddle looks ridiculously small and delicate in the midst of a roots-rock band, but the way Kellen Wenrich played it, it fit right in like it was incredibly natural to be jumping around and foot stomping with a traditional instrument in hand. 
They moved around far too much to get a good picture...but that's a good thing.
Halfway through their set they broke out the song "Home is Not Places", a song about that homesickness a band can experience during the long weeks on the road. This song kicked their performance up another notch as they played with a fervor usually not seen until the closing song for most bands. They started visibly sweating and their faces turned bright red while belting out the song.  From there on out, it was action packed songs and the crowd continually crept closer and closer. The Apache Relay's songs showcase a tremendous amount of talent from the well crafted lyrics, to the perfect blending of fiddle, guitars, and keyboard. Their sound can go from delicate quiet verses, to crashing drums, and seriously shredding their guitars in an instant. It really gets your blood pumping. They closed with even more energy than they started with, playing "Can't Wake Up", a song off their new record, American Nomad, out next week.

Most of the time I leave shows thinking one of two things; either "that was good" or "I can't wait to see them again", and this was very much the latter. I might just end up in Philly on Saturday night to see them again. They really are that fantastic and I highly recommend going to see them.

The Apache Relay - Home is Not Places

Enter your email to download "Lost Kid" off their new album







Visible Voice recorded the show and I'm sure the audio files will be up soon.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Delicate Steve - The Ballad of Speck and Pebble

It finally feels like spring which made listening to Delicate Steve seem appropriate for the first time since I got my hands on this album, Wondervisions. This music was made for throwing open your windows, letting the fresh air in, and listening for the rays of sunlight that Delicate Steve's guitar strings create. I love that even without many distinguishable lyrics, the musical hooks will still get stuck in your head and put a bounce in your step. It is infectious like that Rusted Root song and would be right at home on a playlist including Lord Huron, Clive Tanaka Y Su Orquestra, and Shugo Tokumaru. I'm going to go make that playlist right now, I suggest you do the same.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wolf Gang - Something Unusual

Photo via MGMason Photography
Today I had to turn my chair away from the window to avoid making awkward eye contact with the window washer. It got me thinking of how much I would enjoy being a city window washer and I came up with a list of pros:

  • outside job 
  • casual clothes
  • It's not weird that you get to look into people's offices and apartments 
  • no work on rainy days
  • headphones are OK 
  • city wide views
  • so many opportunities to freak people out
  • most exciting of all is repelling down tall buildings
  • Endless amounts of fun 

While I struggled to find cons people were kind enough to point out that falling, death, and injuries are the obvious ones. I think the pros win out. I used to make my own harnesses out of dog leashes (usually I tested them out on my younger sister first and used them to to pull her up into trees) you know I'm safe and handy when it comes to ropes. I enjoy rock climbing, and I've always been intrigued by the illegal sport of building scaling and this ladder sport/pomparkour. I think window washing is a good fit for me. It's a completely underrated profession. I bet you never thought about window washing like that, I didn't until today and now my mind has been blown.

Anyway, that's my something unusual for the day. Thankfully Wolf Gang sent over a song off of his upcoming album, Suego Faults, to be released June 27th that I was able to tie in with window washing. If you were looking for real words on his music you can read the post I did on his other fantastic song "Back to Back" last week. But this song is fun too, "a silent cry to be something unusual" is a line that's going to stick with me all day.
 Wolf Gang - Something Unusual by wolfgang

Mount Moriah - Lament

This wonderful song landed in my inbox right before I was headed out to see Megafaun on Friday night, which was amusing since Mount Moriah features Phil and Brad Cooke of Megafaun, among others. This is one of those folk bands that gets the indie stamp of approval in the form of many notable musicians from bands like Megafaun, St. Vincent, Gayngs, contributing their talents to this project. Mount Moriah is fronted by post-punk rockers, Heather McEntire (formerly of Bellafea) and Jenks Miller (of Horseman), making this quite the interesting and unexpected new direction for these musicians. The album will be released May 3rd via Holidays for Quince Records, put it on your calendar.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New Music Tuesday Recs

As much as I'd love to give you songs and links to every album it's the most time consuming busy work. Instead let me give you a friendly reminder of what is being released today, use your fingers to google it yourselves. I'm happy with the top four albums but as always let me know what I missed.

Daniel Romano - Sleep Beneath the Willow [read post]
alt-country, folk
Time forgot (to change my heart)

Alela Diane - Alela Diane & Wild Divine [read post]
To Begin

Bill Callahan - Apocalypse 
This album is worth buying just for the song "Drover", one of the most tremendous songs I've heard all year. Dark folk.

Ha Ha Tonka - Death of a Decade
You really missed out if you didn't buy their album for $2.99 on amazon yesterday
alt-country, folk

I'm From Barcelona - Forever Today (release date varies by country)
indie pop from a massive Swedish collective

Timber Timbre - Creep On Creepin' On 

Cold Cave - Cherish the Light Years

River - Black Sheep

I specifically remember listening to this song on my discman curled up on a chair and passing the headphones over to my friend telling her, "I'm going to marry someone with this voice." That was ten years ago. I've loved this song for so long, the voices, the saxophone, and the strange notion of having diamonds in your hair. The song was featured on a 1997 Aware Compilation, a record distributor and artist management company out of Chicago. The band is ungoogleable and thus they sit in my itunes like a little mystery. I'd love to know who the people behind the moniker are, and if they are still playing music now. If anyone has any information, please let me know. Otherwise enjoy this song.
"She was so all alone and she asked me please to care, it's not every day you hear a lady who says she has diamonds in her hair."
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