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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, November 03, 2005

Many Favorite Things

Alright, it's been awhile since I've done one of these random posts, and I've got lots of junk saved up, so I'll just get right to it...

Link action go!

Sigur R�s is coming back to Boston in February, and this time they're playing the Orpheum. I should probably have kept that kinda quiet until tickets go on sale on Nov. 11th, but I just can't contain myself. It's a pricey one, and I'm going to struggle with laying out that much cash... but I know the experience will be worth every dollar.

Easily one of the best local rock records I've heard in awhile, Aberdeen City's debut full-length, 'The Freezing Atlantic', was released last week. And it's a steal at Newbury Comics, who are selling it for a measly $7.99. What a bargain. (Say, my man, how much are the chopsticks? 29 cents?)

The release party for the disc is tomorrow night at TT the Bears in Cambridge, and I'm hoping to stop by after the Bell Orchestre / Clogs show at the MFA. Gonna be cutting it close.

Let me officially be the last music blogger to direct you to the Elliott Smith Basement II Demos page. While I've heard most of the stuff, there are a few unfamiliar gems hidden in there. I only hope that's not the last of the undiscovered.

I'm a Rose Melberg fan, pretty much whatever she puts out. The Softies, Tiger Trap, Go Sailor, her solo work, you name it. So I was glad to read that she's back in the studio and doing a few solo dates, even if they are on the wrong coast. While I hold out hope for east coast dates, I'll be listening to a brand new mp3, found over at the Double Agent site. It's a cover of an Anne Briggs song called 'The Time Has Come'.

A couple of great new music posts can be found over on the increasingly-valuable Vermont-based False 45th blog, including one about the new Sun Kil Moon album with links to four of the songs, and yesterday's post on the soon-to-be-back-in-print Will Oldham tribute album called 'I Am a Cold Rock. I Am Dull Grass.', on Tract Records. Good info, all of it.

The long-awaited next New Radiant Storm King disc finally has a release date: 'The Steady Hand' will be out on February 14th on Darla. Details and tracklisting can be found here. I can only hope you've already listened to the super-fine preview mp3 of the second track 'The Winding Staircase' over there, because it's just that good. Bostonians plan ahead, because NRSK will be playing on Sunday, December 4th at PA's Lounge in Somerville. Want something sooner? They're playing tomorrow night CBGB's in NYC and Indre Studios in Philly on Saturday. Click those links for details.

Mark Robinson (the Unrest/Air Miami/Flin Flon/Teenbeat Records guy) has his own radio show on MIT's WMBR called 'Mmm Pop Musik'. It's on every Friday at midnight, is described as "New Wave and New Romantic, Punk and Rock and Roll. From Altered Images to Zick Zack", and it's fantastically eclectic. Tune in to their live stream, or check out some archived broadcasts.

Strange timing on this one: Just the other day I put on Th' Faith Healers brilliant 1992 album 'Lido', which I hadn't heard in awhile, and remembered the days when I couldn't put it down. The next morning I read this bit of news: Ba Da Bing! Records is releasing a collection of Th' Faith Healers Peel Sessions this month, and damn, that's so good to hear. Judging from the three amazing tracks they contributed to the Too Pure Peel Sessions disc, it should be ace all around.

For those of you who missed it, stream Ted Leo's recent on-air performance with his Pharmacists on KEXP. They did a killer new song called 'Sons of Cain', which I'll handily offer up in mp3 form for you here for a little while.

There's been a whoooooole bunch of press for American Analog Set lately, much of it addressing the 'are they breaking up or aren't they?' questions surrounding this being their 'last tour'. Official word was posted here. While this lineup will likely not ever be hitting the road together once this tour is over, there's no doubt that Andrew Kenny will still be making music, and this SF Bay Guardian article says "Kenny and drummer Mark Smith plan to record with a possibly different configuration." That's very good news, being a fan of Smith's playing all these years. A few other recent AmAnSet articles: NewCity Chicago, Pulse of the Twin Cities, Chicago Tribune, and The Daily Barometer.

By the way, you've been remembering your weekly visit to the 'recordings' section of American Analog Set's website, right? If you haven't, you've already missed a few demo versions of all the songs from their new album, 'Set Free'. So far I've grabbed 'She's Half', 'JR', and 'Immaculate Heart' demos, and this week they've got 'Play Hurt' up there. Bookmark it and don't miss out on the rest.

Always glad to read that there's new Mogwai music on the way. Even if the only real news is "our album's finished". No date yet, hopefully spring, though.

In the wake of his first small solo U.S. tour, ex-Catherine Wheel lead-guy Rob Dickinson has posted a message for fans over at his MySpace page. Seems he was mighty humbled by the response so far, and hints at many more dates sometime soon.

There's a Jawbreaker documentary in the works? Hell yes.

So, yeah, bassist Zak Sally has left Low. Low fans know this by now. Sally will be focusing on his comics and publishing efforts, and having read John Porcellino's excellent King Cat collection, 'Diary of a Mosquito Abatement Man', that's a very good thing to be focusing on. I'll miss seeing and hearing him on stage, but I'll look forward to many more La Mano books.

That huge 9-disc Billy Bragg box set finally got a new, official release date from Yep Roc records: February 21st, 2006. I'd better start saving now.

Ex-Ride singer/guitarist Mark Gardener returns to Boston on Sunday December 4 with a small show at The Paradise Lounge. That'll be a great place to see him, I only wish it wasn't the same night as that New Radiant Storm King gig. Curses!

The closest we're going to get to a new interview with reclusive Calvin & Hobbes creator Bill Watterson is a few quotes from his parents. I'm dying to get that new Complete Calvin & Hobbes collection, but simply can't justify the expense. Someday, though. Someday.

Like me and many others with refined musical tastes, Bob Mould loves Swervedriver. And he shares up one of their best songs, 'Never Lose That Feeling'. Go on n' grab it from him if you don't have it.

Fellow fans of the best damn drama on television, The Wire, take heart: although the show's fourth season probably won't start until 'the latter half of 2006', word is that we're likely getting a fifth season. For a little Wire fix, here's a fairly interesting interview with Wendell 'Bunk' Pierce, a New Orleans native, talking about what's become of his hometown.

As I mentioned awhile back, crime fiction author (and sometime Wire writer) Dennis Lehane has written a play called 'Coronada', and it makes an off-broadway debut later this month. Running from November 30th through December 17th at the Manhattan Theater Source, tickets are just $15 and don't even require a credit card: Simply call (212) 981-8240 and leave your name, desired date, and number of tickets, and you're in. I'll be going on December 10th, but it's one hell of a nervous way to reserve tickets... I'm gonna need some kind of confirmation before I head all the way down to NYC.

I was fortunate enough to get a screening copy of the new documentary 'New York Doll', which finds its focus in the life of founding bassist Arthur 'Killer' Kane since the NYDolls broke up, and chronicles the time leading up to their 2004 reunion at the Morrissey-curated Meltdown 2004. While I like the Dolls, I'm not exactly a rabid fan, but that made me all the more interested in whatever insights the film had to offer. I dug the stories of their early days, the behind-the-music rifts between members as they fell apart, and found Kane's reaction to David 'Buster Poindexter' Johansen's mid-80s 'hot hot hot' popularity pretty interesting (take a guess: slightly jealous).

What bothered me only slightly about the film, at least at first, was the ever-present Mormon subject matter. Now, I may not be the world's biggest proponent of organized religion in general, but I've got a very high tolerance (and almost an appreciation) for the Church of LDS thanks to longtime friends who are members. That said, I was unprepared for the very Mormon content of New York Doll, but given how much an impact the church had on Arthur Kane's life, and the fact that the film's director himself is a Mormon (and, of course, a BYU graduate), I'm not that surprised in retrospect. I only wish there had been more footage of the interviews with Bob Geldof, Chrissie Hynde, Iggy Pop, Morrissey, and Mick Jones than there were with Kane's Mormon church-leaders and counselors.

Still, the film is a must see for Dolls fans and fanatics, for the rehearsal and reunion footage alone. Oddly enough, it's also a should-see for Morrissey fans, who is interviewed more than most of the other musicians thanks to his involvement in the reunion.

New York Doll opened in five theaters this past Monday, but expands elsewhere in the coming month. For a complete list of release dates and locations, head here. Oh, and if you're here in Boston, you're out of luck... NYC is as close as it gets. You'll just have to hold out for an eventual DVD release.

Out of complete curiousity, do a favor, willya? Take a few seconds and add yourself to my Frappr Map. I wanna know where you're coming from. Hey, all the cool kids are doing it.

Blew a bunch of birthday cash on some great discs this week: That Aberdeen City debut, Rogue Wave (both bands are playing the Middle East together on Nov. 30), the latest Kingsbury Manx, that excellent new Chris Brokaw album, the new one from Matt Pond PA, 'Several Arrows Later', and today I picked up the new Sun Kil Moon (aka Mark Kozelek / Red House Painters) disc of Modest Mouse covers. Also downloaded the new Travels In Constants EP from Explosions In The Sky (don't worry, they don't mind), and it's another thing of beauty. Zoned out to it just the other day as I was easing into a nap, and I tell ya, I went otherworldly.

So I'm loving that Kingsbury Manx disc, 'The Fast Rise & Fall Of The South', and really looking forward to seeing them this weekend. You can stream the leadoff track, 'Harness & Wheel', over here, courtesy of their fine label, Yep Roc.

Not only do I have a ton of new stuff to listen to, but I've got too many books to read while I do it: the latest Robert Jordan, the new Queen & Country novel from Greg Rucka, and this Tuesday brings the very-long-awaited release of the fourth book in the Song of Ice & Fire series, 'A Feast For Crows' by George RR Martin. Haven't been this excited about a new book in a very long time, so I might even abandon whatever I'm in the middle of to dive into that one.

Oh, and last night I read another book in the 33 1/3 series, which focuses on specific influential albums, this time inhaling Decemberist Colin Meloy's take on the Replacements' 'Let It Be'. Like him, that album is up there in my personal top ten, so I read it with interest (and very quickly, although it's barely over 100 pages long). Like some of the other books in the series, including Joe Pernice's 'Meat Is Murder' contribution, it was more of a personal memoir than a track-by-track analysis, so it's a must-read for not only 'Mats fans, but for fans of the Decemberists as well. Lots of background on the evolution of Colin's musical tastes, and the bands and people that made him the songwriter he is today. Painted a pretty vivid picture of childhood in Helena, Montana, and when he wrote of staying up late on Sunday for 120 Minutes, and of the pain of all the good 'college rock' tours skipping his home state, I sure could relate. Believe me, just as few bands chose to stop in Burlington, Vermont... although it was far easier for me to drive to Montreal or Boston than it was for Colin to drive, well, anywhere else besides Montana.

This particular paragraph later on in the book really struck me...
"My whole approach to listening to music has altered. Not only has the way by which I listen to music (compact discs and mp3s) changed, but my relationship to music has become incredibly more involved. Having spent several hundred hours in studio sessions, I can't listen to a record without picking apart its bones, reducing it to its bare tracks, wondering over how they got the drum sound, what vocal mic they used, how long it took them to nail that one intro. It feels stodgy compared to the near-osmotic way by which music would seep into my veins as a kid, uninhibited by the censoring functions of my logical brain. It's rare that I'll hear a song or record that grabs me the way it did when I was younger - and even then, the way it moves me has none of the mystery that went along with a discovery of a new band."
He goes on to mention the internet, and its role in that loss of mystery... it's so hard to imagine the days when all we had to go on were liner notes. I feel the same way he does about that picking apart of music, not that I've spent even a fraction as much time in the studio, but the hours of tracking and mixing board minutia, along with age, has had the same effect on me. And while all that time may have lessened the impact, it makes the rare song that really strikes me that more special. With so much more music out there to dig through, and so much more information available online, the search can take infinitely longer, and be that much more difficult... but the reward in finding that new favorite band is all the more worth it.

By the way, Colin Meloy will be back in Boston for a solo show at the Paradise Lounge with Laura Viers on Wednesday, January 15th.

Oh, and if you were thinking at all of picking up that new Greg Rucka novel (and I do so recommend that you do if you like yourself some first rate suspensful spy fiction), make sure you send your receipt and an SASE to Greg. He'll send ya back a very spiffy (and very free) signed and numbered bookplate by artist Brian Hurtt. Details here.

When I was at the post office yesterday, sending off that receipt to Mr. Rucka, I was psyched to find that my branch was selling the brand new Muppet stamps...

So very cool. Gotta love that there's a stamp for Henson himself, and that they did up little in-character bits on the back of each one. I'll be stocking up and using these for a long time to come (or at least until postage goes up again...grrr...).

Tonight: Sarah freakin' Silverman live and in person, appearing after a screening of her stand-up concert film, 'Jesus Is Magic'. Very psyched for that. Got a crazy rest of the weekend ahead of me, too, what with that Bell Orchestre / Clogs show tomorrow night, along with Aberdeen City's cd release party. Saturday brings The Essex Green to town with the Shout Out Louds, and Sunday is not only the Kingsbury Manx show at TTs, but the Broken River Prophet over at PA's. No idea how I'm going to make it to both of those, but hopefully the timing will work out.

And yes, I'll be recording everything I can. And yeah, I took Monday off to recover and do a little audio editing. I'm tired just thinking about it all...

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

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