Tuesday, May 22, 2012

We gettin' a-loose, we couldnt be harder. Our beats are gettin' BIGGER and BADDER and LONGER

Dr. Dog

These days, it seems that in order to appear on the legitometer, you should have at least one experimental album recorded on a 1980s 8-track recorder, preferably in someone's basement. Luckily, Dr. Dog has this distinction under its belt. And although they've been around since 2006, Dr. Dog's recognition has kicked up serious momentum recently, from appearing on Conan and Jimmy Fallon, to touring the US for their new album "Be The Void" in 2012. Those who attended the show at the Paradise in Boston came back with opinions that were nothing short of sensational. The caliber of their timbre and breadth of their talent is also more than you can shake a stick at. If you haven't heard them yet, be sure to check them out.

 How Long Must I Wait


 Heart It Races


 And here's my favorite tune of the newest Gramatik album. Why this song has only 39 views is anybody's guess...

 Break Loose


Friday, May 18, 2012

Well the kids don't eat and the dog can't sleep, there's no escape from the music in the whole damn street!

Album Cover: Frank Zappa- Hot Rats

The Lumineers

 Originally from New Jersey, Jeremiah Fraites and Wesley Schultz decided to pack their car full of musical instruments and move to Denver. Once established, they snagged cellist Neyla Pekarek through a craigslist posting, and thus became The Lumineers. After discovering them today, I've sifted through a decent amount of their youtube discography and found myself clicking the repeat button all afternoon. It's no surprise they won "Best Surrounding Area Band" in the 2009 Hoboken Music Awards. The only thing missing, as I listen to their music, is an outdoor barbeque, clapping hands, stomping feet, and a massive group of people dancing and singing along. I think that Eric Eyl of the Denver Post put it well when he described them as "Disarmingly simple, sincere music that’s as raggedy and ramshackle as it is heartfelt and human."

Ho Hey (Thanks Phyllis!)

 Flowers in your hair

And some Zappa...

If you ever see Frank Zappa: Hot Rats at a record store, BUY IT (and send it to me). I've been keeping my eye out for it forever and still have not found it. This album is amazing, and this is my favorite song off it. (Thanks Andy K)

Monday, May 14, 2012

If you get confused, listen to the music play.

Dub Apocalypse
We used to reminisce about the "best reggae night ever," put on by Thievery Corporation on Wednesdays at 18th Street Lounge in Washington, DC. And while the Boston music scene has been nothing short of remarkable, the reggae scene has struggled. Or so I thought. To my admitted ignorance and unanticipated glee, there was reggae distilling like a 30 year-old scotch in the basement of Storyville every Wednesday night, right under our noses. This past Wednesday, we sucked up our haggard aspirations of getting to work on time in the morning, and decided to check out Dub Apocalypse at Storyville. What we found blew 18th Street Lounge out of the water.

"We'll stay for an hour and then peace out." Whoa be tide our naivete! We came for a musical breakfast and then stayed all day. To think of leaving left us laughing, we tried more than once. But there was no leaving once listening, this was the best music in months. Rappers with laudable limericks, defining eccentric. The lineup was funkadelic, fire on the mountain, authentic. Oh and the guitars? insane. The kind where you walk in a dull boy and leave a Maggot Brain. And a saxophone, like methadone, made us grin with delight. This Wednesday gem so unprecedented only a poem would suffice.

Dub Apocalypse at 10pm on Wednesdays, FREE at Storyville. Be there. Or be a boring old square.

And here are some other fun ones I've come across that I've encountered recently and enjoyed. 

The Head and the Heart- Lost in My Mind. Thanks Raf

Chromeo- Night By Night (NEUS Remix) Thanks Lauren

Fun. Tthe PParty Thanks Raf.

 Super old school ... Tennessee Ernie Ford. Sixteen tons.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

It's the beat generation, it's be-at, it's the beat to keep

Now it’s jazz, the place is roaring, all beautiful girls in there, one mad brunette at the bar drunk with her boys. One strange chick I remember from somewhere, wearing a simple skirt with pockets, her hands in there, short haircut, slouched, talking to everybody. Up and down the stairs they come. The bartenders are the regular band of Jack, and the heavenly drummer who looks up in the sky with blue eyes, with a beard, is wailing beer-caps of bottles and jamming on the cash register and everything is going to the beat. It’s the beat generation, it’s be-at, it’s the beat to keep, it’s the beat of the heart, it’s being beat and down in the world and like oldtime lowdown and like in ancient civilizations the slave boatmen rowing galleys to a beat and servants spinning pottery to a beat ...
-Jack Kerouac (1959)

"San Francisco Scene" read by Jack Kerouac

Free your mind and your ass will follow...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

They drink coffee like it's fine wine, wine like it's water

Here is a catchy tune by Chadwick Stokes, active humanitarian and member of the bands Dispatch and State Radio. Stokes is not only a talented musician, but also a beloved Zimbabwean activist. Co-founding the non-profit Calling all Crows in 2008, Stokes has dedicated himself while on tour, and through his own traveling, to improving the lives of women worldwide.

Coffee and Wine (Thanks Will!)

Friday, March 9, 2012

feel the chronicles of a bionical lyric

Of Montreal
Where: The Paradise
When: April 1st
Price: $25

Of Montreal, an offshoot of Elephant 6 Collective, defines innovation. Although I have only seen an Elephant 6 collective performance once, afterwards it had me looking around the room at inanimate objects, wondering what kind of instruments they could become. For example, one of the performances featured Christmas songs played with a bow and saw, a tiny piano (think 7 inches high and 10 inches long), and a Santa with knobby boots for percussion. You never know. Of Montreal is also known for traversing genres as wide as vaudeville, electronica, funk, glam, indie-pop, afrobeat, twee pop, and psychedelic. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself bouncing around the room to whimsically vulgar lyrics. Musical oxymorons can be quite addicting.

Trampled by Turtles
Where: The Paradise
When: April 18th
Price: $20

Tortugas!!!!! After taking one Trampled by Turtles album out of the library (Palomino), I’m already a devoted fan. Trampled by Turtles offers an energy-infused dose of Duluth, Minnesota. Their fifth album release, Palomino, remained on the Billboard bluegrass charts for 52 straight weeks, so we can expect that their album release this coming April will be nothing short of glorious. You’d be wise to check them out when they come to The Paradise on April 18th. Sources say they do not disappoint. Ever. Plus, to be Trampled by Turtles would be the cutest trampling EVER!

Where: The Paradise
When: May 4th
Price: $15

Rubblebucket is categorized as an “American indie dance band from Brooklyn NY,” although categorizing them presents a conundrum. Known for their exuberant experimentation with orchestral sound, as well as a staunch dedication to entertainment and theatrics, it's no wonder that people struggle to describe Rubblebucket as anything other than, well, everything. The theme of being “blown away” seems to be a common thread in Rubblebucket reviews. With the trumpet and saxophone players from John Brown’s Body (Alex Toth and Kalmia Traver) and percussionist Craig Myers, Rubblebucket was dubbed “A Must Hear Artist” by SPIN magazine in 2009 and won a Boston Music Award for Live Act of the Year in 2011. Get your tickets quickly though folks! Last time they played at the Paradise, the show sold out, leaving many of us painfully intrigued and melancholy about the fun we were missing.

Suffice it to say I am obsessed with the song: “Came out of a lady”

Otis Grove
Where: Church
When: every Tuesday in March
Price: Free!!

If you enjoy electric guitar riffs that blow like a breeze through your hair, special guests, Hammond organ, drums, and massive amounts of real shredding, then check out Otis Grove. They will be gracing Boston with their presence every Tuesday at Church throughout the entire month of March.

Change in schedule!
First Aid Kit – this show got moved from Brighton Music Hall to the Paradise

Thursday, March 1, 2012

It’s not my tune, but it’s mine to use.

To assure yourself that you will sit down to write, you have to cook risotto. It’s impossible to accurately predict the timing. As I sit with my computer next to the stove, cooking mushroom, asparagus, and salmon risotto with gruyere, heavy cream, and a tad of cheddar, I’ve decided to do a rundown of the concerts coming up in Boston in the near future. There are MANY. So be READY. and willing…

First up:

1. Perpetual Groove
Where: The Middle East
When: March 22nd and 23rd
Price: $12

For the price and the quality of music, no one should have an excuse for not seeing Perpetual Groove. Real Savannah Georgia flare in the North East. It may be safe to say that this is one of those bands that, 30 years from now, us old-timers will be saying “I remember when I used to be able to see Perpetual Groove for $12!!!” Known for their genre mosaic of originals and covers, Perpetual Groove prides itself on the diehard fans they create at every concert. Without getting too detailed, I’ll finish by asserting that after this show, any newbie would be rare to not run home and add PGroove to their itunes repertoire.

Teakwood Betz

2. First Aid Kit

Where: Brighton Music Hall
When: April 2nd
Price: $15

If I told you I wasn’t going to see this band based on the credibility of this song, I’d be lying. But if this doesn’t pull you into a trance, what will? A video cover of the Fleet Foxes song “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” made this duo of sisters, from Sweden, a sensation. After their youtube video was a massive hit, they went on to perform the song with the Fleet Foxes for a concert in Holland. And now here they are coming to Boston. So check them out. And show them love.

And if you’re curious about the video that lead to their fame, here it is:

First Aid Kit breakthrough video

3. The Blind Boys of Alabama

Where: Berkley Performance Center
When: March 23rd
Price: $28-37

To even try to list the number of accolades received by the Blind Boys of Alabama would take a massive scroll, and a quill. And a little medieval scribe suit. Literally. Because they began performing in 1939. Think: countless Grammys, Gospel Music Hall of Fame, Lifetime Achievement Award, movie soundtracks, show soundtracks (The Wire), White House Performances, and God knoooows the list goes on, child! Hallelujah!

4. The Infamous Stringdusters

Where: The Paradise
When: March 15th
Price: $15

If you like to do-si-do, then imagine these guys in an intimate venue like the Paradise. It’s bound to be nonstop fun and will undoubtedly leave you walking home tired, all danced out, and in a very good mood. Why? Because that’s what a fiddle, standing base, banjo, and mandolin do, they make people happy.

There were too many concerts coming up to make one blog out of… so there will be more to come…

Thursday, January 19, 2012

And as I said, I slept as though dead, dreaming seamless dreams of lead.

The Lovely Joanna Newsom

After checking out the instrument exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts recently, which was eye-opening, the discovery of a modern folk Appalachian, yet medieval, harpist sparked my interest. Joanna Newsom, aside from being incredibly talented, original, and independent, has captivated thousands with her soothing, sometimes bizarre, voice and poetic lyrics. Raised in Nevada City, California by two doctors that would not allow her to watch TV or listen to the radio, Joanna discovered music through her parents' personal musicianship. From a very young age, Joanna began playing the piano, followed by the harp. Describing her harp as "an artificial wheelchair or limb," it seems that through the harp, Joanna found an extension of her soul, a quality easily palatable with one listen. Since she began recording in 2002, Joanna has gained considerable recognition. She has also had the honor of having her original compositions covered by other well known artists, such as The Decemberists, M. Ward, and Young Canadian Mothers. Recently, she was chosen by Jeff Magnum, lead singer of the band Neutral Milk Hotel, to perform at the "All Tomorrow's Parties" festival in England. After watching her perform, it will suffice to say that she is a breath of fresh melodic air. And on a side note, she must have a good sense of humor, because she is currently dating SNL's favorite goofball, Andy Samberg.

My favorite song of Joanna's that I have heard thus far:
Clam crab cockle cowrie

Peach plum pear

And this kind of intrigued me, kind of freaked me out...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Music survives everything, and like God, it is always present. It needs no help, and suffers no hindrance.

Standing around during a set break at Dark Star Orchestra a month or so ago, I was having a nice leisurely conversation with this guy, probably in his mid forties. As DSO walked back over to their mics, the guy leaned over and said to me, "There are no good bands anymore. Not since the Dead. No one plays like this ... it's sad, but the good music is all gone." I stood beside him and stared at the band for a moment. Really? Wait let me think about this... Of course 107.9 flashed through my head with Kei$ha, Britney, and tired-out Black Eyed Peas tunes, which would surely fit under his description of music being washed up. But then I thought about The Blind Boys of Alabama, Avett Brothers, PHISH, Derek Trucks Band, Susan Tedeschi, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Drake, String Cheese Incident, Jay-Z, Umphrey's McGee, Blue Scholars, and good lord so many others my head went a-twirling. With the music starting again, I quickly replied, "I've got to tell you. I don't think you could be any more wrong. There are so many game-changing bands out there these days, I can HARDLY keep up. And I average like 30 concerts a year, maybe more." At this, he looked at me, eyebrows raised, eyes wide, with a huge gappy smile, and said "That is the most reassuring thing you could have possibly said." Then we interpretive-danced our way away from each other, giving an enthusiastic high-five and returned to our own groups of friends. The End.

Moral of the story: Here are some bands playing NOW that are marvelous. Yeah, they may not be the Grateful Dead, but we live in a different time. The ebb and flow and evolution of genres does not mean that talent is disintegrating. The commercial market is not swallowing every good musician up and turning them into a drone. The truth is that awe-inspiring music will prevail as long as human beings have access to sound.

I hope this doesn't freeze your computers... I have a few to share...

This new album, "Who Kill" by tUnE-yArDs is getting a LOT of recognition. Be sure to look into it further beyond what I post here today (thanks Rafael)...

Raphael Saadiq -Stone Rollin'

Beautiful. Little Dragon- Twice (Thanks V)
Twice by Little Dragon

freaky deaky... and entertaining... and catchy (thanks Will)