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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

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

It's Modern To Be Stupid

A single post rings on, and on, and on ...

A slew of good shows have been announced or gone on sale in the Boston area lately, including the return of Mark Kozelek (with his Sun Kil Moon / Red House Painters drummer Phil Carney), who will be playing the Museum of Fine Arts on Friday, May 26th. I've never seen a less-than-great show there, so hopes are pretty high.

It's extremely rare that I'll spend more than 20 bucks a ticket, but one of those exceptions arrives at the Somerville Theatre on Thursday, March 23rd. Billy Bragg is back, this time supporting his nine-cd box set (out in late February on Yep Roc). Between the $35 tickets and that multi-cd expense, it's a pricey time to be a devoted Bragg fan.

When I saw the initial list of dates on Neko Case's short April tour, Boston was sadly missing. A day later, and we're on. That's Wednesday, April 5th at the Roxy.

Saturday, March 4th is a rough one: A couple weeks after grabbing tix for Ted Leo's appearance at the Paradise that night, I learned that Catherine Wheel's Rob Dickinson is playing at the same time, just a few hundred feet closer to the street in the connected Paradise Lounge. Damn the double-up. Hopefully the stars will align and their sets will not, so I'll be able to catch one and then the other without even seeing the evening sky. That's assuming Mr. Dickinson doesn't sell out, which is not a safe assumption.

Wanna see what we're in for? Here's a clip of Rob performing a song from his solo album, along with some interview bits.

Teddy got himself some (unintended?) major crossover web-action last week when something he wrote on his website was then picked up by VH1's Best Week Ever blog. I'll spare Ted any direct quoting since he quickly removed the (completely and totally justified) Bono-blasting post from his page. In any case, I'm in complete agreement. 'Someday?!'. So weak.

Oh, and congrats to due to Mr. Leo, who was able to leave the financially-troubled Lookout Records behind and sign with one of my longtime favorite labels, Touch & Go.

The following month, and also at the Paradise, Ambulance LTD performs as part of the 'The Taste Greatness Concert Series', sponsored by, um, a long-since irrelevant mainstream music magazine and a big-time brewery. Ok then. That show is on Saturday, April 29th, and Ambulance's new EP, entitled 'New English', arrives on February 28th. Their sophomore album is due 'later this year'.

Built to Spill comes back to Boston two days later, on Monday, May 1st at the Roxy. They'll be touring in support of 'You In Reverse', out on April 11th, and supposedly some of those dates include Camper Van Beethoven as an opening act. Not sure if the Boston stop does, but that'd be swell.

Pre-sale tickets for the Boston date of that Death Cab For Cutie / Franz Ferdinand jumbo-tour went on sale about twenty minutes ago (well, longer than that by the time I actually post this)... and they're already gone. No surprise there. If you're down with seeing DCFC and FF at Boston University's too-huge Agganis Arena with 7,000 of your closest college-aged friends, then you'll have to hit Ticketmaster tomorrow morning at 10am EST. I'm gonna avoid the masses and let my fond memories of Death Cab's small-club past sustain me.

Since I'm writing so much about area shows, allow me to whine again about one that's skipping Boston: Stereolab. The closest they're coming on their March tour is western Mass., and while I keep hoping they'll add us to their itinerary, it's looking more and more unlikely. I may end up driving a couple hours westwards, especially if their next album ('Fab Four Suture', out March 11th) blows me away.

Tonight: Matt Pond PA with dios (malos) at the 'Dise.

And after we get home from the show: Sigur R�s on Conan O'Brien. I didn't go to their Boston performance yesterday (Todd did, here's his review), as I can't imagine them being any better than they were when they played the Opera House a few months back. When they tour again with some new songs, I'm there.

Another show I skipped: Low and His Name Is Alive at the Somerville Theatre last week. The last time I saw Low, which was at the same venue early last year, I was fairly disappointed. Having seem them probably 10 times, it was the first I can remember feeling that way, and given that they're touring on the same material, I figured a break was needed. Their slight shift towards louder dynamics may be leaving me behind, as it was always the delicacy of their music that set them apart, the perfect lull that took hold and transported me. I didn't get that last time around, and maybe never will again... might be time for me to let go of the live Low I used to know and love, and rediscover them as something new.

In any case, Brainwashed shows me what I missed as far as His Name Is Alive goes, with a 27 minute video of live bits and interview action. Very nice.

Dinosaur Jr. back in the studio for a new album? That's just... weird. In a good way, I guess. We shall see. For now, I'm more excited about the re-release of a remastered Sebadoh III on March 21st.

The Clogs' new album on Brassland hit stores yesterday, and it's a beauty. Anyone who heard the live mp3s I posted back in November knew we were in for something good with the arrival of 'Lantern'. Speaking of which, I'll be removing those live tracks in a few days, so get grabbing if you haven't yet.

Also out yesterday was "To: Elliott, From Portland", the Elliott Smith tribute featuring The Decemberists, We Are Telephone, Helio Sequence, Eric Matthews, & more. You can stream the entire thing over at aol music. (thanks brooklynvegan)

I mentioned Emma Anderson's Sing-Sing in last week's live Lush mp3 post, and their new album, which arrives on Valentine's Day. Well, here's a new interview with Emma & co-Sing-Singer Lisa O�Neill over at Aversion.

I have much love for 'No Love For Ned', especially last week's streaming installment in which he played a song by a band I was in called The Four Color Manual, and went straight from that into the Wedding Present. I so loved being in that band, and hearing 'Chambers' brought me right back to making music with Colin & Dan. You totally made my week, Ned.

Here's the song he played: The Four Color Manual - 'Chambers'. You can find another 4CM song right over here.

Speaking of my former Four Color bandmate, Colin Clary, he just released an honest-to-goodness 'cassingle' on Sanitary Records called 'Darling on a Landline'. 4 song, 5 minutes, 2 dollars. Time to dust off that tape deck.

Also kinda Colin-centric, Too Much Rock just posted their review of The Smittens show at the Middle East Upstairs back on New Year's Day with The Specific Heats, B For Brontosaurus, & Math The Band. Pictures, words, and video abounds, so check it.

The Smittens also have a free downloadable song on the new 'Recycling The Throwaways' compilation from 'A Bunch of Beatniks Riding a Rocket'. 23 other tracks to be found there, worth a visit at the very least.

Which brings us to a little Specific Heats news update: They are finishing up their first full-length, with just artwork and little mixing to go. In the meantime, they've already been writing new songs, and you can preview a couple by grabbing these lo-fi 4-track demos: 'Things Get in The Way' and 'Standards'. The fine print, from the band: "if it sounds a bit sloppy, that's because it is."

I totally missed out on that Mission of Burma limited edition singles club thing that Matador is doing for the next album (due on May 9th). 8 songs from the record, released weekly, a single-sided 12'' at a time, followed by 8 more on single-song cds. Ah well, at least we'll eventually get to hear 'em all.

I should've mentioned this long ago: Free streaming goodness thanks to Apollo Audio: Entire albums by The Sixth Great Lake, Bound Stems, & many more. The Sixth Great Lake's beautiful 'Sunday Bridge' has only been released on vinyl, so that's the only way you're going to hear it digitally until some label wises up and puts that sucker out on cd.

Morgan Spurlock, the guy behind fast-food documentary 'Super Size Me' and the F/X show '30 days' gives word that season two is on the way: "I leave tomorrow to shoot my episode for the season premiere of season two of 30 Days. The show should hit F/X in July and the DVD from season one will be a few months before (around May is the tentative street date)." Glad to hear it. While the episodes in season one were of seriously varied quality, I look forward to see what he comes up with next (and hope he and his girlfriend are featured in most of 'em).

Some even-more-excellent TV news: Ricky Gervais himself is writing an episode of the U.S version of his show, The Office. I think the show has really come into its own, and an original script from Gervais has me so, so psyched.

I'm in the middle of a pretty intense obsession with Japanese author Haruki Murakami ever since I finished his incredibly moving 'Kafka On The Shore' last week. It really, really impacted me... moreso than any book I've read in years. I immediately grabbed what a friend calls his opus, 'The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle', and I'm cruising through it. The fact that he happened to have an original short story ('A Shinagawa Monkey') in the latest New Yorker is a completely perfect coincidence.

Creative Commons author and Boing-Boing co-editor Cory Doctorow is coming to Boston next week, and will be making two public appearances: One at MIT, and another at Harvard. Go here for more info, including a couple other area appearances.

I conciously haven't written about anything political here on the 'Nac in a very long time, but this incident just infuriated me. Just when you think things can't get any worse.

Amie and I missed the first one, so last night we checked out the second official Exploit Boston Game Night, this time at Common Ground in Allston. Tons of board games, bunches of people playing, good food, custom-made ipod playlists on the stereo system, and lots of beers on tap. Can't really beat that. Abby was there, too, although I didn't get a chance to meet her. Been reading her blog for awhile, so maybe next time.

Only one small complaint, and this certainly doesn't fall at the feet of the organizers: the somewhat overly-enthusiastic couple near us, who were either very drunk or really rude (both?). Maybe they were high on Hungry Hungry Hippos? Not only did they cause the quick exit of a frightened family ('um, check please'), but they apparantly bailed without tipping or signing their bill. Uncool. Hopefully the crew at Common Ground was happy enough with how things turned out overall to ignore those clowns and have another one hosted there, 'cuz boy did we dig it.

I always said if I found a place with free wi-fi and Brooklyn Lager on tap that I was in real trouble. Well, Common Ground is that place. I'll be the guy with the laptop and the 20 ounce glass of the good stuff.

I will leave you today with something so completely surreal: Iggy Pop appearing on the Dinah Shore show with David Bowie. When worlds collide, indeed.

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

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