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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

Thursday, June 30, 2005

It Just Comes Down To The Math...

Three posts in four days?! What th'?!

Canadian Analog Set: Finally, the news I've been waiting for (and waiting to share)... American Analog Set has found a home for their best album yet, and it's the Canada-based Arts & Crafts label, host to Broken Social Scene, Stars, Feist, & more. It was only a matter of time before someone released that record... it really is AmAnSet at their best, perfectly encapsulating everything I love about 'em, and coming closest to capturing what they can do in a live setting. The production is just warm, crystal clear, and all-together enveloping. And there's not a single sub-par song on the thing, it's just all substance and no filler. Seriously, 'She's Half' is probably the most beautiful song Andrew Kenny & Co. have ever written.

I know, I know... painful for those who haven't heard it. It's easy for me to say it's worth the wait, but you can just get yourself to NYC and queue the whole thing up on the jukebox at Commonwealth, at the corner of 5th Ave & 12th st. in Brooklyn. Or grab one song from the record as AmAnSet's site, along with an older live recording.

The album, titled 'Set Free' will be out on September 20th in North America, and elsewhere that same month. You can check out the artwork here, and check here for the evolving fall tour plans are being made. I can't f'in wait, not just to see them live again, but to hold 'Set Free' in my hands.

Once & Future Kingsbury: Also out on September 20th: The fifth full-length from North Carolina's Kingsbury Manx, called 'The Fast Rise and Fall of The South'. I'd hoped they were at work on something new, since their website has been dead quiet for awhile, so I'm glad to hear it's about ready for release.

Targeted Marketing: Here's that new Flaming Lips song, called 'Mr. Ambulance Driver', from the soooo-indie-blog-friendly Wedding Crashers soundtrack. Hell, it almost looks like this decade's version of the Pretty In Pink soundtrack.

Shelf Space Solution: Pretty cool online sale going on over at the Kill Rock Stars site. Buy a cd, they'll throw another random one in for free. Now, the cynic in me assumes this is simply an excess inventory-purging gimmick, and that you'll end up with some crazy-ass unknown lower-than-lo-fi freebie, but I trust KRS too much. Besides, the odds of you scoring something worth hearing (at least once) is pretty high over there. Oh, and all vinyl is $1 off, too.

Fair & Balanced: 'Empty Room', the first official single from L.A.'s Marjorie Fair, is really growing on me. I've got a slightly uncontrollable tendency to hold it against a band when the first time I hear about them is from one of their promo-people... it's gotta be really good outta the gate for me to jump on board. This place ain't never gonna be a major label marketing platform, despite the crushing weight of the all the random packages and emails I keep getting.

Marjorie Fair's sound is pretty slick, to be sure, and the first song I'd heard by them (titled 'Waves', mp3 available right here), was a little too-much-so for me. Not quite enough punch in their polished-pop. It was the new Katamari Damacy-inspired clip for 'Empty Room' that kinda won me over, though... the video's a bit over-earnest, but the song's got a hook that grabbed me. Judge for yourself...
Marjorie Fair - 'Empty Room' video (Windows 300) / (Quicktime 750).
For the bandwidth challenged, there's also a little tour sampler page with a stream of 'Empty Rooms', and another video for 'Waves', as well as content from their former-tourmates The Dears and the Shout Out Louds.

From Under the Stairs: I kinda lost track of comedian Chris Elliott... haven't though about him in a long time, actually. Not since he voiced Dogbert on the short-lived Dilbert cartoon. Well, he's back in mind as I find out that he's got a new book called 'The Shroud of the Thwacker' out in October, and he'll be doing a promo-tour for it. His Boston stop is at the Coolidge Corner Theater on October 12th.

Forced Perspective: I've really been digging Morgan Spurlock's television follow-up to his Super-Size Me documentary, the month-in-a-new-life show called '30 Days'. The points raised about the objectivity and spontanaiety of the show in this editorial were a little worrisome, but Spurlock adequately counters the criticism on his blog here. I get an sincere vibe off the guy, and I'll be watching as long as he, his super-cool girlfriend, and his friends keep giving up months of their lives to share new experiences.

There's No Such Thing: I feel like a dork for living and blogging right here in Boston but not knowing about the Too Much Rock music site until now. I actually recognize host Sid Sowder, as we've been to tons of the same shows. He does a great job of photographing, reviewing, and sometimes video-clipping the stuff he checks out, including the Mary Timony show that we played a couple months back. Pictures are here, and there's tons more shows to see and read about. Glad to have finally found ya, Sid.

Curse You, Kimmel: Comedienne Sarah Silverman has a dirty, dirty mouth. And a concert film called Jesus Is Magic that's finally got a release date of early November 2005 (not-even-close-to-work-safe trailer here). Aces, a birthday present for me. In case ya didn't know, the movie was directed by multi-talented mastermind Liam Lynch, who's also currently working on the Tenacious D movie, 'The Pick of Destiny'

Get Into The Pond: Matt Pond PA gains a new album, but loses a member. The record's mixed, mastered, due out in September, and last I'd read was tentatively titled 'Several Arrows Later'. They'll of course be touring to support it, but not before they find someone to replace departing cellist Eve Miller. Know anyone who might be into that? Strings are a must, keyboards a plus. Details are at their site.

Something Hot: Greg Dulli's Twilight Singers continue to work on 'Powder Burns', their follow-up to 'Blackberry Belle'. Dulli and guitarist Scott Ford recently landed in New Orleans for overdubbing and guest appearances (already recorded are assists from Mark Lanegan and Joseph Arthur). Before it comes out, and touring resumes next year, we'll still be hearing their unreleased 'Amber Headlights' album in September, which was recorded and aborted before 'BB'. Keep an eye on Summer's Kiss for a tracklisting soon.

Zombies, Vampires, & Groins. Oh My: I love me some Mike Mignola comic book action. Hellboy and it's BPRD companions, along with all the other random things he comes up with. One of those things was The Amazing Screw-On Head, about a, well, a robot head that, um, gets screwed onto different bodies. And fights crime. Anyway, it was a freakin' funny read, and it's becoming a cartoon. From Variety via SuperHeroHype:
"Paul Giamatti has signed with Sci Fi Channel to voice the lead character in the animated series pilot Amazing Screw-On Head, from executive producers Bryan Fuller (Wonderfalls) and Jason Netter, reports Variety.

The cable channel last year quietly commissioned the pilot, based on Mike Mignola's comic book of the same name. David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon and Patton Oswalt also will lend their voices to the project.

Giamatti will voice Screw-On Head, a Civil War-era secret agent at the service of president Abraham Lincoln and an unsung hero who never made it into the history books. His special power is the ability to screw his head onto a variety of different bodies. Hyde Pierce plays Emperor Zombie, Shannon voices Patience the Vampire and Oswalt is Mr. Groin.

Cable executives hope to see a finished pilot by early next year."
Great voice cast + solid source material = High hopes. How perfect is it that Patton Oswalt is playing 'Mr. Groin'? I can actually picture him begging for that.

Poor Albert The Morphine Addict: A confession: I loved Little House on the Prarie when I was little. Watched every single one growing up, got totally freaked when Carrie fell down the well, was terrified by the bear attack, felt bad about the fool's gold, hated Nellie with a passion, and loved that Manly called Laura 'Beth'. Hell, I sometimes recall the Ingalls' childhood experiences more vividly than my own. Only my sister knew this secret shame, because she shares it.

So what exactly would compel me to even bring this subject up? Well, there's a cast reunion this weekend at some 'western' festival in Arizona. Not that I'd ever go to such a super-cheezy event like that or anything. I mean, not even if it was in Boston. And especially if Albert wasn't there. Wait, just forget I said anything.

Pronounced 'Ruh-vee-uh': After work a couple nights back, Amie, Nina, and I were in the mood to get outta town (well, at least I think Nina was), so we headed up the coast a few minutes north to Revere Beach and some bad-for-us food at 'world famous' Kelly's. Amie got the lobster roll, I went with the clam roll, and we finished up by splitting a swirly mixed soft-serve* cone. Soooo good. Surrounded by locals and seagulls, we sat on the beach boardwalk as the sun set behind us. Now if that ain't summer, I don't know what is.

(* Amie has forbidden me from calling soft-serve ice cream a "creemee". She thinks that's 'gross!', but I swear, that's what it's called in Vermont!)

Feeding My Fiction Addiction: Yesterday involved a quality-packed stop at my favorite comic shop. The latest (and always long-awaited) issue of Planetary (the origin of The Drummer!), a new Hellboy story, and AiT/Planet Lar's Black Diamond: On Ramp, and the first issue of the new Angel story, 'The Curse', which takes place after the finale of the Joss Whedon TV show. And no, you don't find out what happened after our heroes faced the minions of hell in that darkened alley. Joss is saving that for later... I hope. I'm a sucker for anything more from the Whedon-verse.

I've only read Planetary so far, but... wow. It doesn't matter how long I have to wait for each one, Ellis & Cassaday still have me by the throat.

July's Almost Here: After my comic store score, Amie and I headed to the Kendall for a preview of Miranda July's extra-engaging new film Me and You and Everyone We Know last night, and it's still in the forefront of my mind as I muddle through the workday. It's a movie about connections, assumptions, alienation, and the definition of art. About social awkwardness, old age, and growing up too early. Difficult subject matter that July presents effortlessly and beautifully. It's justly winning all sorts of awards, and Miranda's sharing her experiences on her movie blog, along with guest posts by her castmembers.

I actually first heard of Miranda July through her music, and I might even order one of her albums from KRS. Plus, y'know, free bonus disk sale.

Calendar Conflict: Next week, in addition to seeing Freaks & Geeks guy Paul Feig pimp his new book at the Coolidge on , I'll be... practicing with the band a whole lot. On July 9th, Charlene is playing a Saturday night show opening for Bettie Serveert at the Middle East Downstairs, so we've got some crammin' to do. As psyched as I am to open for them, I'm terribly bummed that I'll be missing the Walking Concert show that's happening across the river at Allston's Great Scott. Damn the unfortunate timing on that one. (and heads up, Brian, Schreifels & Co. will be playing NYC three days later)

Plans: Tonight I might stop in at the first Bostonist Happy Hour over at the Beantown Pub (been thinking about contributing to Bostonist since they started, but my busy schedule always scares me from making contact).

After the happy hour, I may head over to the Middle East for Mishima USA (no website, guys?!) who I haven't see in quite awhile, along with Duresse, the first band to have risen from the ashes of Wheat. Wheat fans should check out Duresse's demos page for four songs... there's definitely some familiar guitar traces in there (from ex-Wheat guitarist Ricky), who I believe is also handling vocals. I'm curious to see how they come off live.

Live mp3s on the 'Nac horizon: A full set from Pela, and a long-promised few from Crystal Skulls.

If I don't reappear here for a few days, enjoy the (hopefully long) weekend. Amie and I will be heading slightly south for the 4th, down to Newport, RI for some touristy adventures with the Neeners. Cannot wait. Ah, the fun of watching fireworks. Y'see how I tied that all together?

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

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