Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ugh God Pile on the Tunes at Kung Fu Necktie

Last week, I went on quite the adventure to see Boston powerhouse Pile perform at Kung Fu Necktie in Philadelphia. I was in northeast PA for the holidays and had the simple plan of driving down with a friend to see the band perform alongside Psychic Teens and Ugh God. In typical fashion, my friend bailed and my car broke. After unsuccessfully trying purchase a bus ticket, I was starting to give up hope that I would be able to witness the excellent bill. With nothing to do the next day, my dad offered to drive me there and back. After hearing about the last minute to trip to Philly, my mom decided she wanted to tag along as well. It was evident from the start that this was going to be one of the more interesting concert experiences I’ve had in a while and a strange family outing on top of that.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

New Track Rundown

It’s been awhile since I posted anything in this space. The holidays had me traveling a lot and I wasn’t even by a computer long enough to jot down more than a thought or two. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been keeping up with music and discovering new and exciting tracks. Below you can find a rundown of what I have been listening to in my two week absence. I was probably the most excited about the news that Guided by Voices are reuniting with their classic lineup and have a new album coming out in January. If the single “The Unsinkable Fats Domino” is any indication, it’s going to be quite enjoyable. The new records from Tom Waits and Richard Swift, Bad as Me and Walt Wolfman respectively, have dominated my listening habits which I’m sure you will understand why after listening to the songs in the playlist.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Stream: Widowspeak - Widowspeak

I've been meaning to write about Widowspeak for a while now. On Wednesday, I was overly excited when their song "Harsh Realm" was played during the new episode of American Horror Story. It is one among a sea of standouts from their 2011 self-titled debut. The Brooklyn trio crafts a sound that is certainly indebted to Mazzy Star yet maintains its own unique intricacies. On songs like "Gun Shy", guitarist Robert Thomas generates some spellbinding leads that slowly creep up on you and take a spot in the back of your mind. The whole album is engulfed in a thick atmospheric haze that leaves the feeling that you are gently drifting out to sea. "Limbs" could easily serve as the soundtrack to smoke billowing out of a slow burning cigarette as you stare into the void. Vocalist Molly Hamilton has a seductive voice that moves between a whisper and an arresting croon. The melancholy air the group creates together is seasoned with the delicate percussion of Michael Stasiak. Rich arrangements and some hypnotic feedback keep things interesting the entire length of the album. There is nothing too fancy and there are no bad tracks; it's just a straightforward transmission of their stunning sound. The only negative I could find is that it is over too soon. You can listen to the whole thing after the jump …and then immediately listen to it again because it’s that good.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hallelujah the Hills Unveil Holdover Single “Amateurs”

On their bandcamp, Hallelujah the Hills have a quote from Havelock Ellis stating "The world's greatest thinkers have often been amateurs; for high thinking is the outcome of fine and independent living, and for that a professional chair offers no special opportunities.” It’s a lot to take in and sets up the mindset of the group for their recent “Amateurs” single. It is no surprise that Hallelujah the Hills respect the potential of the common man given their support of Occupy Boston. The anthemic ode to the plight of amateurs features lush instrumentation, sing-along vocals, and thoughtful lyrics. Listen to it alongside the equally impressive B-side “The Girls Are Here”. These tracks are exclusive and will not be featured on their upcoming third album. The band will be performing at the Milky Way in Jamaica Plain tomorrow (Friday, November 18) with Hilly Eye and Big Digits. Don’t pass up the opportunity to see such a great line-up; I know that I won’t be missing it.

Listen to Michael Kiwanuka‘s New Song "Home Again"

Michael Kiwanuka is making a name for himself as one of the more promising new soul artists. One listen to “Home Again” and names like Bill Withers and Otis Redding are bound to arise in your mind. It is the ideal song to listen to on a chilly autumn night where you are spending time inside your head contemplating the future. The wistful new track comes from an upcoming new EP of the same name to be released January 1st on Polydor Records. It is the precursor to an album coming in March 2012.

Stream: Quilty – Strange Matter

Quilty have made available a three track EP titled Strange Matter for free download at their bandcamp. It perfectly showcases their ability to juxtapose sweet melodies with crunchy distortion on songs like “Cult of Ego”. The highlight is the title track which finds frontwoman Sarah Dupuis gently picking notes on her guitar before it deconstructs into grungy chaos. The final track, “Carnivale,” is a dark, brooding waltz that leaves the listener in a hazy dream. Hear all three tracks after the jump and don’t forget to grab it at their bandcamp.

Stream the New J Mascis B-side from the “Circle” Single

Sub Pop has released a stream of the soothing, moody new song “I’ve Been Thinking” from Dinosaur Jr. mastermind J Mascis. It is the B-side from the “Circle” 7” which will be issued on November 22. The A-side is an Edie Brickell & New Bohemians cover that has been a staple of Mascis’ live shows. It was also a Japanese bonus track on J's solo full-length, Several Shades of Why, one of the year’s best records. After the jump, you can stream the song and watch a performance of “Circle” courtesy of Pitchfork. I have also included the 1988 music video for the original song.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

New Track Rundown

The wonderful Parts & Labor are no longer with us but they left behind the fantastic swan song “No Nostalgia.” It showcases the creatively rich mixture of lo-fi electronics and rock that they have become known for over the past decade. It is also a perfect lead into this week’s new track rundown. If you enjoy the song, I would also urge you to pick up their excellent 2011 album, Constant Future. Following “No Nostalgia” is Craig Wedren’s “I Know” from Wand, which is only his second solo album behind 2005’s Lapland and his first album since Shudder to Think reunited. It’s all over the place in the most glorious way and features his signature vocal acrobatics. “Come to Me” is not necessarily a new track; it comes from We Were Exploding Anyway by 65daysofstatic and features The Cure frontman Robert Smith. The album was released last year in the UK to stellar reviews and has finally received a US release this week which is why it is featured here. All this and more can be heard after the jump.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

North Mississippi Allstars Shake Paradise Rock Club

Sometimes being a blogger pays dividends. I received an email a couple of weeks ago saying that I could cover The Smashing Pumpkins show with Light FM at The Orpheum Theatre on October 21. I was stoked as The Smashing Pumpkins were playing material from Gish and Siamese Dream [two of my favorite albums ever] in celebration of their upcoming reissues and Light FM is a fine up-and-coming band. At the time, I was arranging plans to catch some of the free shows at CMJ that weekend but I decided to cancel those plans and stay in town. As often is the case, there was a miscommunication within the PR company and my ticket was not waiting for me at the venue. With nothing to do that night, I called some Boston venues looking for something else to see. I was pleasantly surprised that North Mississippi Allstars were playing with one of my absolute favorite emerging talents, Alabama Shakes at Paradise Rock Club.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Braids Pepper the Audience with Gold

In my opinion, a bill is always best when it includes a diverse array of bands that play a wide range of styles. I was treated to quite an eclectic lineup when I caught Born Gold, Pepper Rabbit, and Braids at Great Scott on October 20th. All three bands have enjoyed steadily rising buzz throughout the year. This made the show a must-see for anyone looking to catch a performance from the best of new and emerging artists.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pile Reveal New Tour Dates and Single

In addition to their recent signing with Exploding in Sound Records, Pile have announced a string of east coast dates. If you have the chance to see this band live, do not miss it as they are one of the best live forces currently tearing through the country. The band also have a new single called "Pigeon Song" that is available on a compilation from fellow Boston bloggers, Boston Hassle. You can purchase the compilation on a wearable button here. That's right, it's on a friggin' button! The compilation features other Stereo Typing favorites from the Boston area like Doomstar!, Fat History Month, Big Digits, Skimask, and Kal Marks. But really, the whole thing is great so give it a spin below.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Stream: The Soft Moon - Total Decay EP

If you are searching for some spooky tunes to accompany your Halloween night, look no further than The Soft Moon. Luis Vasquez already established his ominous droning style on The Soft Moon's self-titled debut album last year. Now, he is unleashing the Total Decay EP on the world which finds him delving even further into the darkside. The four tracks go by in a flash but still leave quite the impression. They couple piercing electronic noise with pulsing rhythms in a manner that suggests Suicide and Joy Division as definite influences. Give it a spin after the jump and watch the eerie video for the title track if you dare .

Girls Gone Wild Flag

When writing about Wild Flag, it seems like the critic is obligated to talk about their past projects and the fact that the band is comprised entirely of women. By now, everyone and their mother knows this band is a supergroup featuring singer/guitarist Mary Timony (Helium), singer/guitarist Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney, Portlandia), keyboardist Rebecca Cole (The Minders), and Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney, Quasi, Stephem Malkmus & The Jicks). So while I’m supposed to be talking about age, sex, and past projects, I want to focus on the fact that they simply make great rock and roll music. No matter which way you cut it, their 2011 self-titled debut is one raucous artifact and a damn near instant classic. I had the opportunity to see if they could reproduce the exuberant energy from their debut on stage when I caught them at Paradise Rock Club on October 14th.

PS I Love Suuns

I've been fairly obsessed with Suuns (pronounced “Soons”) ever since I saw their mesmerizing video for “Pie IX.” They are one of the more unique musical entities coming out of the great white north. On their debut, 2010’s Zeroes QC, they managed to establish the perfect dichotomy between eerie noise and accessible dance music. I’m writing this on Halloween and songs like “Gaze” could serve as the perfect soundtrack to your night. Having been impressed with their performance at this year’s SXSW, I was happy to once again catch the exciting live act with Valleys and PS I Love You on October 7 at Great Scott.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Stereo Typing is Proud to Announce: Exploding in Sound Records Sign Boston's Pile

Every blogger has probably thought about starting their own record label at one point. I've been talking about it since I started writing about music in high school. Starting a record label > Talking about starting a record label. That simple equation explains why I am so excited that this dream is coming to fruition. Exploding in Sound Records is a new label co-founded by Dan Goldin of Exploding in Sound, Ty Griffin of Escaping the Ordinary, and yours truly. Together, we make a passion team of innovative thinkers who are ready to make an impact in the ever-changing music industry. We all have extensive experience in the industry [myself holding a degree in music industry] and the hunger to make a difference. I am proud to announce that our first signing is none other than Boston's finest, Pile. I have ranted and raved many times on this blog about the potential the band possesses and now I am ready to do my part in helping them reach it. The full announcement is after the jump along with all of the details.

New Track Rundown

I'm surprised more bloggers aren't going wild for Dreamers of the Ghetto. At least, they aren't going wild yet. This band has one of the most captivating and anthemic sounds I have heard in 2011. Last week, I put their grandiose Springsteen-esque track "Tether" on the New Track Rundown and this week their song "State of a Dream" is headlining. The band is playing at TT The Bear's tonight (Wednesday, Oct. 26) so any Bostonians reading this before then sound be making the trek over there later. Their set starts at 9:40. I'll be in attendance so you can say hi to your [least] favorite music blogger. Some other exciting new tracks include "Don't Move" from Phantogram which matches the high bar they set with their debut, last year's Eyelid Movies. For the more adventurous listeners, there is the "Mladek," a hefty helping of epic post-rock bliss from Russian Circles. Listen to those songs along with a slew of great new artists after the jump.

Marnie Stern Brings Joy to The Middle East

The queen of perplexing finger-tagging guitar magic, Marnie Stern, once again stopped by The Middle East Upstairs on September 30th to astonish an audience of adoring fans. This time around, she brought up-and-coming shoegazers No Joy along for the ride. This was an intriguing combination as No Joy would provide a steady entrancing groove in contrast Marnie Stern’s controlled chaos. For those unfamiliar, Stern is not only the premier female guitar virtuoso but she can also outplay anyone currently making their rounds through the music circuit.

Fucked Up Wavves of Sound at Royale

Fucked Up put on one of the more memorable performances when I caught them earlier this year. In fact, they are simply one of the best live acts currently touring. There was no way that I was going to miss them when they made their second stop through Royale this year on September 23rd. I was especially interested in the show because of opener Wavves featuring notorious stoner Nathan Williams. He and his band have gone from a musical entity that I absolutely despised to one whose praises I have been singing as of late. It’s rare that a band is able to turn me around so drastically and I wanted to see if I could be won over by their live show as well.

Nothing Gross about Yuck's Performance at TT's

Yuck’s self-titled debut was my favorite record at the halfway point of the year and has managed to maintain that position ever since. Anyone who has read this blog in the past knows my affinity for 90s alternative and no one captures the golden age of that sound like Yuck. Having seen an impressive set at SXSW earlier in the year, I was ready to see them in a more intimate setting at TT The Bear’s on September 22nd. The group just released the deluxe version of their debut which includes a disc containing six additional tracks. They played several of these at the show and left a permanent impression on everyone who was in attendance.

Hooray for Cymbals Eat Guitars at Brighton Music Hall

It had been over two years since I had seen Cymbals Eat Guitars. At the time, the band stood out as one of the groups that were carrying the torch for 90’s indie rock bands like Pavement and Built to Spill. The same is true today except with their latest release, Lenses Alien, they are able to take a few steps out of the shadow of those two bands. The record presents a more mature group of musicians who have honed their craft and formulated a voice of their own. It is one of the standout records of 2011. It is also the reason I was so excited about catching their show on September 20th at Brighton Music Hall.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hallelujah the Hills Occupy Boston

Since last I checked in with Occupy Boston, the movement faced some serious trials and tribulations. I stopped by again on Saturday, October 15 and caught a moving performance from Hallelujah the Hills. The people at the occupation were as jubilant as ever and seemed to have only become stronger and more organized. What better way to keep spirits high than a riveting performance from one of Boston’s finest? Hallelujah the Hills were the perfect accompaniment to the breezy autumn night and the kindred spirits fighting tirelessly for a more equitable future. Music and important societal movements have always gone hand in hand and I couldn’t be more grateful that artists like Jeff Mangum, Amanda Palmer, and Hallelujah the Hills have performed in solidarity with the Occupy protesters. It is shaping up to be one of the most important movements of my lifetime with a chance to establish real progressive change.

New Track Rundown

It seems like every year Los Campesinos! release an album that goes largely unnoticed. They have been one of the most consistent bands and have maintained their creativity across all albums. “By Your Hand” was released last month as the first taste from their latest effort, Hello Sadness, to be released on November 15. The catchy little number is laced with their signature dry wit and is the perfect lead-off track for this week’s new track rundown. It is followed by one of the year’s best singles in “Dawned on Me.” Wilco’s newest album, The Whole Love, was a stunning surprise when it was released. It strikes the perfect balance between accessible songs like the aforementioned track and the big, bold Americana sound that we have come to love from the group. It lives up to the hype of being their best effort since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Speaking of a big and bold sound, one of my favorite new bands, Dreamers of the Ghetto, have quite the anthem in “Tether.” Let me say that if you long for epic folk rock anthems of Bruce Springsteen, you may have found your new favorite band. These guys may be taking cues from The Boss but they aren’t slaves to one particular sound. With “Tether,” they are able to display strong songwriting skills while morphing their noticeable influences into a unique voice of their own. All this and more can be heard in the playlist below.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Amanda Palmer Occupies Dewey Square in Boston

Many people have been asking where the music has been for the Occupy protests. As you can see from my previous post, Jeff Mangum took everyone by surprise when he performed at Occupy Wall Street on Tuesday night. Today, Occupy Boston had their own special guest in the form of Amanda Fucking Palmer. She performed several songs with her trusty ukulele and it was quite a special moment. Her wit and charisma shined as she ran through songs with her shadow cast below signs that read “Have fun” and “We are the 99%.” In honor of Jeff Mangum’s performance, she began with a cover of Neutral Milk Hotel’s “Two-Headed Boy.” The set also included a “reimagining” of Rebecca Black’s “Friday,” the clever innuendo-laden “Map of Tasmania,” a unique take on “Free Bird,” and a rendition of Billy Bragg’s “The World Turned Upside Down.” The highlight of the set, though, was a new song tentatively titled either “The Ukulele Anthem” or “Play Your Ukulele”. It suggested that many of the world’s problems could be solved by picking up the ukulele and learning a few songs. Let the ukulele revolution begin!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Jeff Mangum Occupies Wall Street

The other day when discussing the Occupy Wall Street movement, I was saying that some musicians need to get onboard and start performing in the crowd. As anyone who knows how to use the internet is now aware, our national media outlets have failed us and have been ignoring what may be one of the most important protests of our time (at the very least, it is certainly a newsworthy event). Shortly after stating that musicians may give the movement the attention that it needs, the internet was abound with rumors that Radiohead would be performing. Those rumors, of course, prove to be false. But on Oct 4th (Day 18 of the occupation), in one of the more surprising stories, Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum performed a set for the activists. The notoriously reclusive musician put on a rare performance of favorites while surrounded by adoring fans who were singing along. Although not the best quality, the video below is still a power watch and an absolutely beautiful moment.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

On the Rise: Conveyor Unveil Two New Tracks

Conveyor became one of my favorite new bands with their debut release, Sun Ray, which topped all EPs I heard so far in 2011 in my Mid-Year Report. Their live show further impressed me and established the band as one to watch. The performance matched the energy of the songs on the Sun Ray EP but also left me craving new material. I got my wish as Conveyor recently released two new songs, “Ellery (Carol No. 4)” and “Rosacea (Carol No. 2)”. The tracks find them further exploring folk influences and are draped in gentle acoustic guitars and dreamy harmonies. You can stream them below and also purchase a limited edition handmade cassette package with the aforementioned songs and the exclusive track “Snow Bank (Carol No. 6)”at their bandcamp.

Get to Know Alabama Shakes

I already named Alabama Shakes a must hear and things seem to be moving quickly for the young group. I can’t think of a band that deserves it more. Their revival of old school blues and soul is simply unmatched by their peers. Every song sounds like the kind of heart-wrenching confessional that a band would save until the very end of a set. I’m not sure there is anyone else currently making music that projects such unbridled emotion as Brittany Howard does in “You Ain’t Alone”. The group has posted their first official release on bandcamp and it is well, well… WELL worth your $4. C’mon, that’s the price of a beer, people. Check out some live performances as well as an interview and introduction to the band after the jump. Press play and get ready for the chills take over your body.

Stream: Male Bonding - Endless Now

Sub Pop has been on the cutting-edge of indie rock since their inception in the 80s. This year has added countless highlights to their catalog. Last year, the label released Nothing Hurts, a noisy little dream pop album by Male Bonding that hinted at bigger things. That promise come to fruition with their sophomore offering, Endless Now. With this release, Male Bonding have turned down the distortion and turned up the accessibility. There is plenty of fuzz, irresistible hooks, and singalong melodies to be found in the grooves of this record. It starts with the the sun-drenched jangle of "Tame the Sun". The centerpiece, "Bones", shows the group expanding their sound, giving it room to breath and grow while drawing you in as each minute passes. Sub Pop has offered up a full album stream on YouTube which can be found embedded below. It's a fitting way to take in the album since it flows effortlessly from track to track.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Stream: LaFaro - Easy Meat

On the heavier side of the musical spectrum, I'd like to introduce LaFaro from Belfast, North Ireland. Last year, they released the unrelenting assault of an album that was their self-titled debut and they are already set to batter audiences with another slab of noisy rock and roll. Easy Meat doesn't hold back with it's post-hardcore attack and it is full of bear-soaked metallic riffs and crude observations. The band can churn out some memorable licks and get in a serious groove as evident on the title track. At their catchiest, they recall bands like Queens of the Stone Age and at their angriest they are reminiscent of Helmet or even Shellac. If your looking for music to let out some of that pent up aggression, you'll find the perfect anecdote after the jump.

Stream: Dum Dum Girls - Only in Dreams

Dum Dum Girls immediately made a name for themselves with their 2010 debut, I Will Be. The album highlighted lead singer Dee Dee's ability to write catchy lo-fi bedroom rock. The simple tunes had a punk kick but also embraced the melodies of girl groups from the 60s. With their second offering, Only in Dreams, Dum Dum Girls takes this pairing to a whole new level. Filled with punk, surf, and rock influences, the record presents a much more mature approach to songwriting. The production shines as it allows Dee Dee to showcase her vocals more prominently and on tracks like the ballad "Coming Down", it is clear that she has some serious pipes. The album may not be as gritty as the first but songs like "Always Looking" and "Wasted Away" still have plenty of drive. Comparisons to the Pretenders and Mazzy Star are very much warranted. Give it a spin after the jump.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Track Rundown

Returning readers (I’ve been told there are a few of you), you’ll notice that Stereo Typing has been given a much needed facelift. What better way to celebrate than to post another new track rundown? There were a lot of big names to release free tracks over the last month or so (Feist, Okkervil River, Girls) and although they are all excellent, Future Islands has me the most excited. It’s been a little over a year since they gave the world In Evening Air, one of Stereo Typing’s favorites of 2010, but they are already geared to release On the Water to their adoring fans on October 11. Another amazing Richard Swift song was released along with news of a new EP, Walt Wolfman, which is set to strike awaiting eardrums on October 18. Among the aforementioned songs are a slew of new tracks that have been spinning endlessly on my playlist. There are plenty of artists that people are not acquainted with, so familiarize yourself and enjoy!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Japandroids Spark Fire at The Middle East

In my opinion, Japandroids and Bass Drum of Death is an unbeatable combination of garage rock prowess. Knowing this, I really had no excuse for not getting a ticket in advance to their show at The Middle East yesterday. It was the day of the show and I was scrambling to find a ticket. Thankfully, they released some in the afternoon and I hopped on the opportunity to get one. Japandroids’ previous shows in Boston were among the more memorable I have seen and I was not about to miss this one.

JEFF the Brotherhood Shred and Rip at Great Scott

I saw JEFF the Brotherhood open for Fucked Up earlier this year. After witnessing their dynamic performance, there was no way that I would miss the band if they came around again. I had the chance to catch their live show at Great Scott on September 4th and did not forgo the opportunity. After unsuccessfully trying to convince my friends that they needed to see the band live, I made my way over to the venue. It was the night before Labor Day and people were ready to get down. This was one of the wildest shows I had seen at Great Scott in some time. Maybe it was the perfect storm of the holiday and students returning to Boston, but whatever it was, it made for a great time.

Pile Gives Another Explosive Performance

September 1st is a nightmare in Boston. It is moving day and thousands of students flood the streets with U-Hauls. At once, the population of Boston seems to double and everyone appears in your way. After a few years in the city, it becomes tiresome. Naturally, you want something to take your mind off the chaos and I found a perfect solution in the show I saw at Great Scott presented by Exploding in Sound. Moving day is also known as Allston Christmas around here due to the abundance of free, albeit bedbug ridden, furniture and other goodies. It certainly felt like we were getting a Christmas present at Great Scott with the array of amazing and diverse bands.

Conveyor Bring a Ray of Sunshine to McGann's

In my Mid-Year Report, I mentioned that Conveyor’s debut effort, Sun Ray, is my favorite EP so far in 2011. The young band finally made their way out onto the road and I was excited to be able to catch them at McGann’s Pub in Boston on August 26. I had not previously been to the venue but the space seemed like a great place for the show and the staff was friendly which always adds to the experience. Conveyor sat curiously amongst a lineup of post-rock/emo bands but they were still ready to deliver a captivating show.

Young Adults Make An Impression at Great Scott

I’ve been meaning to write a review for the incredible line-up I saw on August 20 at Great Scott. On that Saturday, I spent a good portion of my night watching a who’s who of up-and-coming bands. The lineup consisted of Shores (Grand Rapids), Quilty (Brooklyn), Creepoid (Philadelphia), and Young Adults (Boston). Each band had their own unique style and presentation and did not hold back as the performances got better and better.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New Track Rundown

Next Tuesday marks the release of the much anticipated album, Tripper, from math rock titans Hella. In celebration, give their track “Yubacore” a spin below alongside many other tunes that have captured my interest in this week’s new track rundown. Two of my favorite modern songwriters, Jens Lekman and Richard Swift, have teased fans with new material and they are both still on top of their game. I hadn’t heard much from Gauntlet Hair but their single “Top Bunk” is very impressive with its reverb-drenched breezy sound and has me anxiously awaiting their self-titled debut. One of the best band name changes in history, Born Gold used to be known as Gobble Gobble and although they sport a different moniker, the electropop band still retains the feel-good, party-ready sound that fans have come to love. We also have the pleasure of hearing the first track from the obviously awesome collaboration between Doom and Ghostface Killah under the name Doomstarks. To round things out is an amazing remix of one of the year’s best singles (SBTRKT – “Wildfire”) featuring the unstoppable hip-hop duo Shabazz Palaces and another new track from Zammuto (Nick Zammuto of The Books).

Monday, August 22, 2011

Must Hear: Alabama Shakes

Alabama Shakes (formally The Shakes) play a rare breed of music that can instantly move you. They take the soul revivalist movement to the next level showing that have their ears deep in the roots of genuine blues and the most sincere soul. This is the sound of raw emotion being projected from your stereo. The swampy guitars and heartwrenching vocals of Brittany Howard are the driving force of the group. The easiest comparison would be to Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings but the band definitely stand out with their own panache. If you are a fan of classic R&B and soul, the five tracks below are going to have you absolutely melting. The pure unadulterated talent kind of makes you feel silly for listening to most other modern music.

The Demise of Doomstar!

Last week, Doomstar! quietly played their last show ever much to my dismay. One of Boston’s most explosive and energetic live bands, Doomstar! will be missed and I am saddened by the fact that I will never get to see them live again. I still can’t listen to their song “Lily Face” without picturing the band freaking out during the bridge. They have released some of my favorite music in recent memory and have put on several very memorable shows I have attended. With that said, I'm glad the band called it quits when they felt it necessary instead of going through the motions and letting the music go stale. I look forward to hearing future efforts by members of the group. The band has left us with a video of "Sea Gull" performed during their last show at the Middlesex Lounge via The Boston Phoenix. Watch the video below and stream Rainbow Bloodsucker, one of last year's best releases.

Gross Magic - Teen Jamz

Teen Jamz is the debut EP from 90s revivalist Sam McGarrigle who records under the moniker Gross Magic. Gross Magic has been a frequent addition to my new track rundown segments due to the unique mixture of 90s influences the band successfully employs. Start with a dose of lo-fi singer/songwriter, add a dash of Beck, sprinkle in some grungy riffs, and you have Gross Magic. Listen to the five catchy and unique tracks that comprise Teen Jamz below.

Danny Brown - XXX

Danny Brown has been making huge waves in the hip-hop world as of late. It's easy to see why with his latest release XXX. The rapper’s nasally vocals and unique flow make XXX an intriguing breath of fresh air. From fuzzy electronic beats (“Monopoly”) to spaced out jams (“DNA”), the album does not tire from track to track. The title is more of a reference to Brown turning thirty than it is a statement about the content. He has a lot to say on this release and isn’t afraid to get personal while referencing everything from 2Pac to Nintendo. Mtv has a great piece on the buzz-worthy rapper that covers the trials Brown faced including drug addiction and a failed G-Unit deal that fell through because he didn't fit their look. The album is available for free courtesy of Fool's Gold and can also be streamed after the jump.

Radiohead The King Of Limbs From The Basement

In case you missed it, Radiohead gave the world another free gift last week in the form of a live performance streaming in it's entirety on YouTube. It features the band playing all eight tracks from the underrated [I never thought I would be saying that about a Radiohead album] The King of Limbs as well as "Staircase" and "The Daily Mail". The performance is available for a limited time so don't miss out! Watch it after the jump.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New Track Rundown

Holy smokes! Since, the last time we ran through the internet’s latest tracks, there has been a buffet of jams released from my most anticipated albums. Through a clever tweeting campaign, St. Vincent has launched the first single from Strange Mercy, “Surgeon”, into the blogosphere. Girls show that they will not shy away from their Pink Floyd influence on the sprawling “Vomit”. The biggest story, however, might be the addictive “Midnight City”, the first single from M83’s upcoming record, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. Dum Dum Girls' epic slow jam “Coming Down” has me speechless as far as a band progressing and maturing in a short amount of time. The Drums continue their streak of writing irresistible pop gems with “Money”. “Rifle Eyesite” is apparently the album opener from Cymbals Eat Guitars latest, Lenses Alien. That is one hell of a way to open an album! Scotland’s We Were Promised Jetpacks display their penchant for epic songwriting brimming with emotion on “Act on Impulse”. To close things out are The Shakes with “You Ain’t Alone”. A big shout out goes to Aquarium Drunkard for discovering that one. It is one of the finest soul/R&B revival songs I have ever heard. All these can be found below alongside a whole heap of other great tunes.

Grass is Green Hammer Away at Wadzilla

There was a period of time last year where I was going to a basement show at least once a week. One of my favorite DIY venues was Wadzilla Mansion. It was subsequently shutdown since it was operating as a venue without the necessary permits. On July 23, 2011, I had the chance to once again experience an intimate performance at the excellent DIY spot when Grass is Green and Hammer No More the Fingers treated the crowd to some mathy alternative jams.

Torche Mean Business at The Middle East

I feel like solid metal shows are getting fewer and fewer in Boston these days. That’s why I jumped on the opportunity to see Helms Alee, Big Business, and Torche when they came to the Middle East in Cambridge, MA on July 21, 2010. All three bands are all signed to Hydra Head, a label that has a never-ending streak of releasing the most creative records in heavy music. I have written about Torche on this website numerous times and they never disappoint. Helms Alee and Big Business both have new releases that have more than exceeded my expectations. Together, these bands put on a memorable show of earsplitting goodness.

The Way You Wish You Could Watch Moonface at Great Scott

Moonface’s album Organ Music Not Vibraphone Like I’d Hoped is extremely hit or miss. An album comprised of vocals, drum machines, and synth isn’t exactly most peoples’ thing. I am a fan of the weird, the strange, the peculiar and thus had no probably being immersed in the rich organ-centric sound. I also never miss a chance to see a Spencer Krug project (Wolf Parade, Sunset Rubdown) when it comes to town. On July 19, 2011, I had my first Moonface experience at Great Scott in Boston, MA and it was quite a memorable one.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New Track Rundown

It’s time once again to dive into the vast sea of music available on the web with a new track rundown. The first track comes from garage rock mastermind Ty Segall. “Goodbye Bread” is the title track of his new album and showcases his more refined approach to songwriting which even invokes the brilliant simplicity of The Beatles. The album’s cover is featured above and I highly recommend picking it up, especially on vinyl. The warm sounds featured within are meant to be played from a turntable.

Bill Callahan Quietly Rocks Brighton Music Hall

Bill Callahan has been one of my favorite singer/songwriters since his days performing as Smog. His material under his actual name has gotten better and better culminating in his 2011 album, Apocalypse. It stands as one of the most creative and moving releases this year. There was no way that I was going to miss his performance at Brighton Music Hall in Allston, MA on July 10, 2011. It would have been really depressing if I missed the show. Usually if I’m staying home, my go-to activity is listening to Bill Callahan and Smog records on vinyl. Thankfully, I got my ticket to the sold out show in advance and was able to catch the stirring performance.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Out from the Inbox: 10 Bands That Didn’t Make Me Want to Tear Out My Eardrums

I once again combed through the musical wasteland that comprises my inbox and found a few hidden treasures. I wish PR companies actually read my blog or at least skimmed through it so they would know that I am not going to write about their shitty honky-tonk country band. Going through hundreds of emails of bands trying to get your attention inevitably sends you on an emotional roller coaster. Just when you think their is no hope for music, you get hit with something that completely amazes you. These are the 10 bands that didn’t make me want to tear out my eardrums.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mid-Year Report

It's already July and it seems like the first half of the year went by in a flash. It's time to look back at the last six months and examine the albums that had the biggest impact on me. Narrowing the list down to 20 was harder than I thought it would be as 2011 has been an exceptionally good year for music. The year has been full of surprises both good and bad. I never could have predicted half the bands and albums that appear in the list below.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Royale Gets Fucked Up

Last time I saw Fucked Up was at the Middle East Upstairs and they put on one of the craziest shows I had ever seen. At one point, lead singer Damian “Pink Eyes” Abraham tried to hang on a pipe that was attached to the ceiling and ended up ripping in down. With such a notorious live show, you never know what’s going to happen and that’s why I made sure to catch their performance at Royale in Boston, MA on June 24, 2011. With buzzworthy openers JEFF the Brotherhood and Iceage in tow, it was one that no one should have missed.