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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

Friday, May 27, 2005

Friday Sundry

Greetings from Boston, aka 'waterworld'. When will the sunshine arrive and release us from this constant cloud-covered hell? I thought the old addage started 'April showers...', not 'All-of-May showers...'. Yeesh. I mean, I'm a fan of rainy days, but only to a point.

Ok, enough about the weather then...

So we saw the second 'Serenity' preview last night, another early look at Joss Whedon's big-screen continuation of his too-short-lived 'Firefly' sci-fi tv series. It's not out until September, so the cut we saw was supposedly rough, using temporary music, although it looked to me like most of the effects were finished. I can only assume that there will be lots of tweaking with color balance and contrast in the months remaining, as the lighting swayed between too dark, just right, and too white, but the story and dialogue were more then enough to overcome any visual shortcomings. It's like the anti-Episode III... substance holding you when style comes up short (ironic that the movie includes a subtle yet very direct Star Wars homage... look for it). If only Lucas had paid Joss to script-doctor 'Sith', because boy did that dialogue need some serious medical attention. But I digress. Don't get me started on ol' George.

'Serenity' is pure Whedon, all whip-smart words, unexpected emotional punches, and weighty-action bits mixed in together. Unlike the Star Wars prequels, there's a real sense of danger to the characters... their actions have consequences, the villians are a real threat, and most of the comedy comes as a relief from building tension. There are lots of laughs, but they're never forced. It's just a brilliant script, with lines still popping into my head this next morning. And Joss has such a great cast to deliver it all, people who believe in the material, who really connect with one other, parts of an ensemble that has become more shipmates than castmates. Whedon isn't afraid to pummel them, though... he's not comfortable with the status quo, with everyone being safe for sequels. He goes for broke, and comes up aces.

I so hope this movie finds a broader audience, if only for the selfish reason that I want to see these characters a whole bunch more. But it might be tricky convincing the mainstream that this world is one they want to visit; you want to build hype, to let people know that there's a reason this movie exists (i.e. the enthusastic Browncoats that have packed these previews), while at the same time not having them dismiss it as something too genre-bound and clicky (see the declining Star Trek movie audience). Put your average non-sci-fi-geek movie goer in the middle of the crowd last night, and they'd assume they were transported to the middle of a comic convention. You'll be hard-pressed to find a more extensive hive of freaks and nerdery. And I mean that in the most affectionate way, of course. A bit of pot, kettle, etc.

I'll be seeing it again opening weekend, and pestering my friends to do the same... won't be the last time it's mentioned on this site. If there's another screening between now and Sept. 30th, you should really check it out... they just don't make 'em like this any more, and it's a damn shame.

For those who missed Firefly during it's first and only season (and haven't picked up the fantastic DVD set), there's really good news: The Sci-Fi Channel is running the entire series (and unlike Fox, in the right order), airing them every Friday starting July 22nd, before new episodes of the excellent Battlestar Galactica. A perfectly planned build-up towards the movie.

Will my diminished opinion of the Star Wars universe keep me from catching the massive 'Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination' exhibit at Boston's Museum of Science when it opens in October? Probably not. I mean, if those first two prequels weren't enough to keep me from seeing number three, then I'm in for whatever they throw at me. Nostalgia is an unstoppable force.

So when Amie and I saw Revenge of the Sith, I was amazing that there was not one. single. commercial. Not one. Couldn't believe it. But I also couldn't believe the number of trailers we saw: TEN. Yes, a new record. Ten complete movie previews, which I admit was far easier than suffering through a Fandango promo or a cheesy Diet Coke singalong. Count 'em: The Da Vinci Code (nice cast), Mr. & Mrs. Smith (no thanks), Fantastic Four (sadly, looks terrible), Stealth (urk), The Chronicles of Narnia (promising), The Wedding Crashers (maybe), Batman Begins (yes please), The Pink Panther (why Martin why!?), War of the Worlds (please be good), and Serenity (head buzz, every time). A solid 20 minutes or so. In the days before the internet, before I'd seen most of 'em already, I woulda been pretty into that.

Ok, now this is high-larious. If you've seen ROTS (a better acronym, there is not), you know that the (second) most cringe-worthy moment is Darth's forced-perspective "NOOOOoooOOOOOO!" near the end. An instant classic. Well, you've gotta listen to this mini-mash-up that uses Liam Lynch's 'United States of Whatever' and Vader samples. Just awesome.

Miss Mary's second solo album is out! 'Ready 2 Pop', the long-in-the-works followup to 2000's 'Hey Blue!', is now available on Stereorrific Recordings, and you can sample/buy it over at CD Baby. The enhanced disc has 10 new songs, a couple demos versions, and throws in a couple of videos (hang around for a hidden track, too). It's a more rockin' affair than Hey Blue!, and it's better for it.

Mary has also started up her own little web-based handmade-crafty shop called Hollypop, and the site just barely went live. Head over to check out some stylin' totebags, purses, clothing, and other assorted accessories. Go Mary Go!

Boston comic book (sorry, 'graphic novel') fans take note: On Monday, June 13th at 7pm, the Friends of the Brookline Library will be hosting a free talk from author Steve Weiner entitled 'The Rise of the Graphic Novel'. From their website...
"Graphic novels are exploding off bookstore and library shelves, and into movies, college courses, The New York Times Book Review, and onto the coffee tables of the cognoscenti. What's fueling the explosion? Where did all the excitement come from? Steve Weiner, a comics historian and children's literature specialist, answers these questions in his talk, 'The Rise of the Graphic Novel'. From the Bronx tenements of Will Eisner's 'A Contract with God' to the holocaust vision of Art Spiegelman's 'Maus' to the teenage angst of Dan Clowes' 'Ghostworld', you'll journey into the heart of the graphic novel revolution.
It takes place in Hunneman Hall in the main building of the Brookline Library.

I've never read 'Everything is Illuminated' by Jonathan Safran Foer, but I've heard it's a love-it-or-violently-loathe-it type of novel, with little room for the inbetween. Makes me wonder if the upcoming movie adapatation will do the same. I'm a fan of actor Liev Schreiber, who's directing this time around, and I'm curious to see how Elijah Wood pulls off a lead role post-LOTR (if you don't count Hooligans, which is playing film fests).

What I'm more interested in, though, is seeing former/fellow Burlington, Vermont dweller Eugene freakin' Hutz in his first acting role. If his name doesn't sound familiar, maybe his band, Gogol Bordello, will. I heard he was in the movie and figured it was a small role, maybe with the band playing in one scene. Well, these pictures show it ain't so. Second billing, baby. He's the one fingering Frodo right here. Crazy.

Movie poster here. In-progress official site here.

Ten word TV season finale reviews...
Alias: Almost has me back. Cheap crash cliffhanger. More evil Sloan.
Lost: Not enough payoff. A freakin' ladder? You're so on probation.
Deadwood: Little less politics. I miss angry Bullock. Swijjin still rules.

I had much, much love for Portastatic, but lost track when Mac went through that little Brazilian fling. This news, however, has me back. A new album in August, and more of a full-bandy affair. I actually like the first couple Portastatic albums more than what Mac's main act, Superchunk, was doing at the time, so this sounds right up my alley.

I'm thinking about a movie sometime this weekend (shocker). Should it be Layer Cake? Unleashed? Anyone have any thoughts on either of those two films to share? Sell me.

So John Squire wants the Stone Roses to reform, eh? Tell ya what, if it's just to play the debut album start to finish, maybe as part of the Don't Look Back series, then I'm there. Otherwise, um, don't look back.

Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers collaborating on a movie apaptation of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are?! How did I not hear about that?

There's a new library in Harvard Square, and it's exclusively for 'zines. Guess I'll put the Papercut Zine Library down on my 'must visit list'.

I've been meaning to mention this for a bit, and a recent post over at Chromewaves reminded me... lucky American Analog Set fans (who also happen to be in New York) can stop by a Brooklyn bar called Commonwealth (corner of 5th Ave & 12th st.) to hear their entire finished-yet-unreleased album, 'Set Free'. AmAnSet is label-less at the moment thanks to the closing up of Tigerstyle, but won't be for very long... I've heard the whole record, and it is far and away their best collection of songs since 1999's 'The Golden Band' (and to varying degrees, I love everything since). It's a new peak for them, and labels should be falling at their feet. If it comes out this year, it may just top my best of.

David Gedge of the Wedding Present presents some 'music you should hear' over at Amazon. I'm with him on about half of those.

Thanks to My Mean Magpie, who thanks Lacunae, for pointing out a brand new, completely free, entirely downloadable His Name Is Alive EP entitled 'Summer Bird', available at their site. Says it's for 'a limited time', so get over there.

Stream a new Son Volt song called 'Bandages & Scars' from their upcoming 'Okemah and the Melody of Riot' album, due on July 12th.

Allow me to draw your attention to a place I discovered through a comment left here at the 'Nac: Ryan's Aural Fixation live music photography site. Some amazing live and still shots of a range of artists, from the well-known to the obscure to the inbetween: Cinerama, Postal Service, Trash Can Sinatras, Lucksmiths... so much fantastic work in there. There's even a shot of Craig from Summer at Shatter Creek, which leads directly into this next bit...

Would you like a really nice, limited edition Summer at Shatter Creek poster print, signed by Craig & Emmy, courtesy of Fingerprints music in Long Beach, CA? Be the first one to drop me an email (address on the left) with the subject 'SASC', and it's all yours. Congrats to Michael in Louisiana, who won the poster.

Alright, my long weekend looms, time to check out. I hope everyone who's been listening to the Bradcast (my new random streaming radio station) has been digging it... I get a little thrill every time someone makes a request (via aol im: bradcast), so keep 'em coming. To listen, just open this URL in Winamp or iTunes. If you can't get on, it's either full or will be back up soon enough.

So far I've been streaming for about three weeks straight, nearly 24 hours a day, and it's up to track number 8,473 out of a total collection of roughly 23,000 songs. In another five or six weeks I'll randomize it all again and start over. I can't imagine the days before I was able to do this... having all my cds wired into my workplace is a revelation. Glad I can share it.

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

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