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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

Monday, May 01, 2006

Mp3s: Clearing the Decks

It's about time I did another one of my catch-all mp3 posts, pulling together lots of live songs I've been gathering over time but haven't yet had an opportunity to share.

Random live recordings from six bands this time: Five from The Crystal Skulls, a few each from Metal Hearts and locals Frank Smith, a complete Dios (Malos) set, a couple from The Twenty-Twos, and just one from Boston's own The Luxury. Most of 'em were opening acts, and the lack of complete sets is either explained by my own tardiness, or by the bands playing new songs that haven't seen a proper studio recording. I've left those unreleased ones out in deference to the artists (that's the case with Metal Hearts, The Luxury, & the Twenty-Twos).

Much variety to be found below, and remember, an easy way to hear 'em all is to check out the Almanac stream on the Hype Machine, which should update itself with these songs shortly...

It was a year ago, on April 28th, 2005 to be exact, that I first heard of the Crystal Skulls, when they opened for the Wedding Present at the Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge, MA. Naturally the set consisted of songs from their then-current album, last year's 'Blocked Numbers', but they did play a new one that ended up on their just-released disc, 'Outgoing Behavior'...

Listen to more at the Crystal Skulls' MySpace page, or grab a couple songs from their site.

Another band on the ace Suicide Squeeze label, Metal Hearts, played a strange show at Northeastern University a couple weeks ago. It certainly wasn't their set, which was as good as I'd hoped it would be, that made it strange, but the setting. A large student lounge, and just a few kids in attendance, most of whom seemed to be friends of the 'headlining' pop-punk band. The place made Metal Hearts start early, so much so that I sadly missed the first couple songs. As it was, they were scheduled against a new episode of '24', so most TiVo-deprived students were getting their Bauer on and missing a great band in their own school yard.

The MH duo of Anar & Flora were somehow able to bring the bedroom-vibe of their 'Socialize' album to the odd live setting, and the addition of the recording engineer Sam on drums did nothing to take away from that. He brought just the right touches to the material, and it was great to find out that he's playing on the follow-up. The new stuff I heard that night was promising indeed.

Here are live versions of a few songs from 'Socialize', recorded on April 17th, 2006...

(note: mp3 files removed on 10/1/2006)

Metal Hearts
Gentlemen's Spell (live)
Foothills (live)
Vampires / Tendency to Run (live)

Hear more at their MySpace page, where you can also see the new video for 'Foothills' (or try YouTube). Also well worth hearing is their recent live set at WOXY, recorded just a few days ago. Metal Hearts are in the middle of a huge tour that's taking them all over North America, and they'll be back in the Boston area on March 22nd.

I'd read some good things about Boston-based band Frank Smith before I found out they'd be opening for that free New Pornographers show at the Paradise a few weeks ago, but wasn't sure they'd be my cuppa tea until they took the stage. I was overly psyched for the New Pornos, but found myself pleasantly surprised by the laid-back banjo-dusted songs the openers offered up. Here are a few, recorded on April 10th, 2006...

(note: mp3 files removed on 10/1/2006)

It's to the point where I don't need to say you can find more at their MySpace page... just assume it, and do it. You can also head to the Phoenix's On the Download blog for another mp3.

I was completely unfamiliar with Dios (Malos) when I caught them opening for Matt Pond PA back on February 8th of this year, and I'm still not entirely sure what to make of them. I do know their recordings have a more lo-fi, meandering feel than their live stuff, which came across as more fleshed out and energetic than the mp3s I've heard since. I think I need to spend more time with the latest album before I call myself a fan, but I do remember enjoying their set as I saw it. Here's the whole thing...

MySpace songs? Yup.

Amie looooved the Twenty-Twos far more than I did when we saw them back on January 20th at Great Scott in Allston, but she's a sucker for girls pop-rockin' it on their guitars. The pure greatness of the Editors set that came after them sort of overpowered any impression I'd had, but Amie had to leave early and was psyched to pick up the Twenty-Twos' self-titled EP. Too bad the thing has that Sony ECP DRM crap on it... not going near my cd-rom drive, thank you very much. At least I can hear some MySpace songs, and a couple live tracks here...

(note: mp3 files removed on 10/1/2006)

The Twenty-Twos
She Does (live)
Touch & Go (live)

And lastly, a live song from the Luxury, a Boston band fronted by ex-Halogen Jason Dunn, playing with ex-members of the band Baby Strange. Their full-length debut, 'This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things', is on the way, and you can grab the first song from it at On the Download. They played a bunch of stuff at TT the Bears back on January 22nd that I assume will also be found on the album, but since the song 'Docile' sits in demo form on their MySpace page, I'll share the live version up here...

(note: mp3 files removed on 10/1/2006)

The Luxury
Docile (live)

And speaking of The Halogens, they'll be playing a one-off reunion show this Friday, May 5th, at Bill's Bar. Word is they'll be handing out free discs of unreleased material to those in attendance.

the blahblahblah: If any of the artists above have an issue with this live material being made available, just say the word (email link on left). No worries if you want something yanked.

Recorded with a Sony ECM-719 mic and a Sony MZ-RH10 minidisc, converted to .wav and then edited to 192kbps mp3s. And keep in mind, sets are made available for a few weeks, and are not reposted once removed.


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

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