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recommended boston area events

tuesday, december 4th

kelly hogan

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 6th

conor oberst

@ converse hall, tremont st.

thursday, december 6th

jason isbell &

the 400 unit

@ the sinclair

friday, december 7th

the weisstronauts 14th

annual holiday jubilee

with guests tsunami of sound

preacher jack, & the derangers

@ the midway cafe, jp

friday, december 7th


moving mountains


@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

patrick watson

@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

the faint perform

"danse macabre"


icky blossoms

@ the paradise

sunday, december 9th

band of horses

@ house of blues

sunday, december 9th



@ the paradise

wednesday, december 12th

concrete blonde

jim bianco

@ the sinclair

thursday, december 13th

annual boston christmas cavalcade

benefit for the homeless

featuring tons of artists

(see fb event for details)

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 13th

nada surf

eternal summers

@ the paradise

thursday, december 13th

mates of state

in the valley below

@ brighton music hall

friday, december 14th

forgetters (blake from

jawbreaker's band)

& more tba

@ democracy center, harvard square

sunday, december 30th

sufjan stevens

sheila saputo

@ the royale

monday, december 31st

my morning jacket

@ agganis arena

monday, december 31st

deer tick

two gallants

@ the sinclair

monday, january 7th


@ the paradise

tuesday, january 8th


@ great scott

saturday, january 19th

mission of burma

@ the sinclair

sunday, january 20th

camper van beethoven


@ the middle east down

sunday, january 20th


@ the orpheum

sunday, january 20th

ra ra riot

@ the paradise

sunday, january 27th


@ great scott

tuesday, january 29th

kathleen edwards

sera cahoone

@ brighton music hall

wednesday, february 13th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

saturday, march 2nd

unknown mortal orchestra

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 12th

tame impala

@ house of blues

thursday, march 14th

jukebox the ghost

matt pond pa

lighthouse and the whaler

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 26th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

wednesday & thursday

april 3rd & 4th

they might be giants

@ the paradise

visit tourfilter for more shows

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Sunday Random

A lazy sort of Sunday, time to play some catch-up and clear out a few bookmarks...

Couple of excellent musical guests on Last Call this past week, and here are the mp3s for ya... Kings of Convenience performing 'I'd Rather Dance With You' and Matt Pond PA doing 'Closest'.

Brainwashed captured Low's performance at the Somerville Theatre a couple weeks back on video, and combined it with some new Alan Sparhawk interview footage. Check out part one and part two here. Nice work, Jon.

Got a great package from Merge Records the other day, which included my early-order of the new Crooked Fingers disc 'Dignity and Shame', and something I'd been meaning to pick up for a very long time, Annie Hayden's 'The Rub'.

Ms. Hayden was one of the three songwriters in Spent, a longtime personal fave (their 'Songs of Drinking and Rebellion' disc sits safely in my desert-island list), and I regretably missed out on this 2000 solo record of hers. Consider that fixed. Cool to find out that Spent's John King recorded and mixed the thing, and that drummer Ed Radich played on it, too. Not only that, but the last song on the album, 'Lovely to See', is even credited to everyone from the band. Oh, how I miss 'em, and this Annie album is hitting me just right.

And about that Crooked Fingers disc... I was one of the lucky ones to get that bonus 'Red Devil Dawn Demos' collection thrown in for actin' early, and it was so, so worth it. They say it's an EP, but there's 12 tracks, and while I'm not much of an autograph-coveting kinda guy, it was nice to see Eric Bachmann's silver-sharpied scrawl across the cover. Even though those first fifty are gone, Merge says the band will be selling it on the road (Boston on March 29th), and it may show up in their online store again.

Since the Ivory Coast's Jay Cox headed west from Boston to his new home in Seattle, I've been waiting for word that he's back to making live music. Well, word has arrived with news that his band, The Sea Navy, opened up for Ted Leo in Seattle last week. Not only that, but the much-loved (by me, for sure) KEXP has added the self-released 'Breathing in the Old World' to their playlist. Grab tracks from that album here.

Put pen to calendar: Chris Leo's Vague Angels returns to Boston with a show at Great Scott in Allston as part of The Plan on March 7th. He'll be playing with Ume, and you can read more about both of 'em at the Pretty Activity Records site.

Music trivialists take a gander: Band to Band is a six-degrees sort of site linking musicians through their bands and collaborations. At first it's pretty mind-blowing, and you could waste a lot of time there, but I've got a sneaking suspicion that if you removed five particular albums, with like 20 people playing on each, that the entire thing would fall apart.

Also notable: This new Band News site, which promises to get news 'direct from the sources', and offers up categorized RSS feeds. Still, I can't yet find a category that doesn't offer up lots of news I care nothin' about.

As a devourer of pretty much anything written by Robert B. Parker (the Spenser, Jesse Stone, and Sunny Randall books all included), I was mildly stunned to realize that the Tom Selleck TV movie that's on tonight, 'Stone Cold', is based on the Parker book of the same name. But y'know, thinking about it... Selleck is a pretty great choice to play Jesse Stone, an ex-big city cop whose alcoholism and failed marriage send him running to a small New England coastal town, where he heads up their tiny police department. Nice to see that Mimi Rogers is in it, too. Hope the adaptation does the book proud... TiVo will tell.

When I was a kid collecting comics (as opposed to the um, adult that still buys a few), I was hugely into Jon Sable, Freelance. Mike Grell wrote and drew what became one of my 'gateway books', a title not released by one of the 'big two' (Marvel or DC) that opened up a whole other world of independent comics publishers (Comico, First, Eclipse) and series (American Flagg, Badger, Jon Sable, Nexus, Grimjack, Somserset Holmes, the Elementals... I could go on and on).

Well, if some of my favorite bands can reunite and tour again, makes sense that one of my favorite comics can come back, too. Jon Sable, Freelance: Bloodline is a six issue mini-series that starts in March, and is accompanied by long-awaited collections of the original series.

I'm enough of a fan to buy the mini-series (instead of waiting for the inevitable trade paperback collection), but I don't think I've got it in me to meet Mr. Grell this afternoon when he appears (along with the great Jim Starlin) at this Boston comic convention. Maybe when I was 15, but not today...

My friend Heath, over at his Media Diet, has put up the second installment in his Forever, Vermont series of posts (part one here). In each, he digs through and reviews some old zines and comics from the early-to-mid nineties that came up up in the Burlington area, including work by James Kochalka, Colin Clary, & Jason Cooley. Hopefully the third installment won't take as long as the second did to appear... I love that random dose of nostalgia (yeah, the stuff he's writing about is from my own little collection).

Fans of HBO's The Wire who are waiting for news of either a Season 4 or cancellation, here's the latest. It's a summary of the recent 'Unraveling THE WIRE' seminar at the Museum of Television & Radio on February 10th in New York City, and reveals this:
"David Simon, the Creator/Executive Producer of HBO�s acclaimed drama, THE WIRE, reports that he has had constructive discussions with Chris Albrecht and Caroline Strauss of HBO on the possible renewal of the program, but that no decision as yet has been made by the network. Mr. Simon said of the discussions that, �the ball is in my court�, and that he was developing a further presentation for HBO executives on where he wants to take THE WIRE over the next two seasons. Simon indicated he was happy to report his discussions with HBO were not about the program�s ratings or �numbers�, but acknowledged that THE WIRE has clearly not been a �break-out hit� for the cable network. Simon expressed his appreciation of the fact that his conversations with HBO were focused on story-line and not lightening up the program. He hopes and expects to be prepared to restart his discussions with HBO on the program's future by the end of this month."
That's actually pretty promising news, especially if word that the decision is not ratings-based is true. My fingers remain crossed.

Heads up, bloggers: GeoURL is on the verge of a complete relaunch. Version 2.0 of this geographical-location tool was due to appear Friday, but should now be up 'real soon'. Previous functionality listed the physical location of registered websites relative to your own, and I'm curious to see what the revamped one will show ya.

So Midway just made a deal to produce games based on the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block of shows. Oh My. The day I can drive a golf cart through Sealab, or fire lasers out of Frylock's eyes, that'll be a happy day indeed.

I caught a free screening of Constantine last week, and it falls squarely in the 'not as bad as it could have been' category, which isn't saying all that much. I'm a fan of Hellblazer, the Vertigo series the movie was based on, but I'm not one of those that'd cry foul over the fact that Keanu Reeves isn't British or blonde, so long as the essence of John Constantine remained. If the story, effects, and performances were solid, I'd leave happy. No such luck.

Sure, there were some neat effects, the supporting cast was pretty good, and the basic premise had potential... but it all felt like a wasted opportunity. It comes down to not buying Keanu at all, his inability to emote getting in the way of a part that really needed it. It's like he got this idea in his head that "hey, it's a hard-boiled pulp story, so I'll act all wooden and serious!", but none of it clicked. His dialogue just ended up cheesy and forced... not terribly written, but poorly delivered. The only thing that justifies ignoring the physical traits of an adapted character is the belief that the actor will make them irrelevant. Well, nice try, Neo.

I will admit, I sure did enjoy seeing the lead singer of Bush get punched in the face a whole bunch of times. Artistic payback, even if it wasn't real.

So how did I never know that Iggy Pop appeared on Deep Space Nine? Even though I missed out on the sixth and seventh seasons, I figured I would've heard about it. Quite a little shock as I was watching 'The Magnificent Ferengi' episode the other day...

Bless my TiVo, and SpikeTV for rebroadcasting the entire DS9 series in order, two episodes a day. It's no surprise that Ronald D. Moore was writing and producing the excellent later seasons of the show, considering he's the man behind the new Battlestar Galactica. There's no better sci-fi on TV right now, and if you haven't tried it just because the connection to the 70s original scares you off, you're missing out on something great.

In internet-speed, this is old news by now, but just in case you missed it... the NYC-centric Gothamist has birthed a Boston offspring: Bostonist, natch.

Later tonight, with no blizzard in sight, it's the rescheduled Ida show, with Thalia Zedek and Jodi Buonanno opening up. Pretty excited about that, I am...

... and on Wednesday I head down to DC with Colin for the Teenbeat Records 20th Anniversary shows. So many great bands playing, and I've got the go-ahead to record the whole thing, so I'm hoping to post songs and pictures like crazy while I'm down there. Total old-school indie-geek action, and I'm so, so ready.

Speakin' of which, you can now download the well-timed 'Relax Brother, Relax: A Twentieth Anniversary Tribute to Teenbeat Records', which has twenty artists covering songs by their favorite TB bands, including Colin doing some Eggs, and his band The Smittens on a True Love Always song. Hey, it ain't just great, it's free. How 'bout that?

Whew, that was a long post. Time to get the hell outta this basement...

featured mp3 download
neil halstead
live in cambridge, ma
on november 14th, 2008
previously: joy formidable - boston 2011

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