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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, April 12, 2007

Thursday Music Miscellany

My weekly catch-all post of music-related linky randomness, with some national bits and some Boston-area show news.

Touch & Go Records continues their weekly sharing of fantastic video featurettes on the bands and their performances from last fall's 25th Anniversary celebration in Chicago, and last week was my favorite so far: Arcwelder. The modest men are interviewed, and you get to see their killer performance of set-closer "Cranberry Sauce" in its entirety. Gave me goosebumps, once again. And not only is Shellac's Todd Trainer a brilliant drummer, he's a very wise man. Watch the clip and you'll understand.

Random meeting of the off-kilter minds: Comedian Eugene Mirman interviews Robyn Hitchcock. And yes, I'm still a little bitter about missing Robyn's show a couple weeks back.

Also with the slightly bitter: the fact that the Wedding Present's planned October tour commemorating the 20th anniversary of the release their debut album, "George Best", will come nowhere near American shores. Yeah, yeah, I know the whole point of the thing is to re-visit the places they played on that album's original tour, but, but... sigh. Between the Weddoes' performance of that entire disc from start to finish and the House of Love doing the same for their debut album in London in September (as part of the Don't Look Back series), I've got some serious continent-envy.

To coincide with that special full-album performance, the House of Love will be re-releasing that stellar 1988 self-titled Creation Records debut in September, along with a long-unavailable collection of early singles and rare tracks, which gets expanded slightly. More details here. Pretty sure I've got all those cuts on their original pressings, but the re-issues should be much appreciated by those who missed out the first time around.

Also getting a re-release, courtesy of the Hi-Speed Soul label: Nada Surf's 1996 "Karmic" EP. As someone who considers their "Let Go" one of the most solid indie-rock albums of the last 5 years, I'm looking forward to hearing this early pre-Popular work. The re-issue arrives in June, and the band's fifth full-length should follow this fall.

Waitaminute... Team Dresch is working on new songs? Yes, please.

Tanya Donelly's latest album, the gorgeous (but isn't she always) "This Hungry Life", was recorded live in front of an adoring audience up in Vermont, and T has graciously uploaded all the songs that were performed but not included on the disc. As she says, the mixes of these extra songs "...are not wonderful, and unlike THL, this is just a straightforward, stripped-down, warts-and-all live set", so she asks that you not put any donations in the digital tip jar (top of page). Regardless, just pretend you're donating for all those demos she shared a few months back. Or just because she deserves it in general.

Via Billboard, Perennial Boston boys Buffalo Tom have announced the official release date of their long-awaited next full-length: The 13-track "Three Easy Pieces" will be out on July 10th through the new Ammal Records imprint. From the new songs they've been playing live over the past couple years, it should be a good 'un.

American Laundromat Records has announced the first two artists taking part in their planned Pixies tribute disc, "Dig For Fire": Mogwai doing "Gouge Away", and the Rosebuds doing "Break My Body" (which they chose after another band claimed "Caribou" first). If they keep announcing covers of that caliber, I'll be pre-ordering that sucker as soon as it's possible. Oh, who am I kidding... they had me at "Mogwai".

As followers of Matt Pond PA wait for news of their next album ("Last Night", hopefully in the fall?), the band will kill some time by releasing a limited EP this summer titled "If You Want Blood". No word if they're pulling a Kozelek by covering the original AC/DC song as the title track, though. The band is also killing time by, well, starting a whole new band: The Dark Leaves. They've got four Fawn-centric songs up on their MySpace page already, so MPPA fans should get befriending.

Been meaning to mention these guys for a very long time, but have been waiting for an occasion. Well, enough waiting, I'm just gonna share: The Answer Is Fall (or e.g.?) is a Brooklyn-based band with some swell songs up on their MySpace page. You likely haven't heard of them because they've been gestating for awhile now, trying to steady their lineup (bassist Steve Choo has switched to guitar, so the band was looking for a bassist), as well as their band name (it's changed once, and may yet change again), but the shared songs promise good things once they get up and running. They promise new material and live shows "in the near future", and I do hope that near is near.

The First Act Guitar Studio here in Boston has been hosting acoustic sessions by some decent (and some, uh, not so decent) bands for awhile now, but has only recently started hooking up with Volkswagen to share select mp3 recordings of those sets on the web. The corporate co-venture (which also includes the Phoenix & WFNX) comes together in something called the VW Green Room, where you can find recent performances from Bloc Party and Silversun Pickups. I'll link a couple of the shared songs here, but for the rest, head here and here, and scroll to the bottom of each page.

Former recluse and overall musical oddball Jandek is coming to Boston this summer, on Friday, June 8th, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, to be exact. And he'll be playing bass in the band that he's bringing with him. I've heard lots of differing reactions to live shows he's been doing since coming out of hiding in 2004, after over 25 years of releasing dozens of albums. Some have said the performances were magical, others have wished the guy remained in hiding, that the cloud of mystery was better left alone. Either way, this will be a bona fide sell-out event, one of those things that maybe you should experience just once if not again. To do so, grab tickets on April 30th right here, or if you're already an ICA member, you can get them early this Tuesday, the 17th. Thanks to the ICA and the Critique of Pure Reason for setting this one up.

My old friend and bandmate (and one of the most talented guys I know), Jedd Kettler, is in a Vermont-based band called Farm (as opposed to "the farm"... I think Jedd would sooner jump off the "groovy train"), who I only now just discovered have a MySpace page with four downloadable songs, and a full-length album on the way titled "Gray Birds". One of those four songs, "Boomtown" (which happens to be my fave), can be found on a new disc of Vermont artists that was put together for VT's Otter Creek Brewing Company by the folks at Animalville Records. It's simply titled the "Vermont Sampler 2007", and in addition to being offered in limited edition with a certain number of Otter Creek 12-packs, you can get one sent to you free of charge by emailing Otter Creek (details here). Just did that myself, and it's on the way. Can't vouch for the other bands on the collection, but I'm looking forward to having "Boomtown" on disc.

Do I really want to cram myself into a crowded Urban Outfitters to see Dinosaur Jr. play an in-store? I'll have to make that decision before June 11th, when they'll be at the store's Harvard Square location in Cambridge, MA. It's part of some random 'synergistic' series of gigs called "Free Yr. Radio" that Toyota's Yaris marketing team and U.O. have come up with, and they're linking each show to a nearby independent radio station (this Boston-area appearance is a benefit for Emerson College's WERS). The series kicks off in a couple days with Klaxons in Chicago, and other bands involved include The Ponys (April 24th), Voxtrot (April 28th), The Long Winters (May 1st), Annuals (May 9th), Man Man (May 19th), the Rapture (May 21st), Rogue Wave (May 25th), and Tapes 'n Tapes (June 5th). Full details here (via clicky clicky).

In the "timing is everything" department: On Friday, June 29th I'll be driving up to Vermont for the weekend in order to be part of my *cough*th anniversary high school reunion, the first I've ever braved been to. And what happens to be taking place up there on the very night I arrive? Only that Low is opening for Wilco on the green-grassed lawns of the historic Shelburne Museum. I spent so much time at that place growing up, I can't imagine seeing a couple of great bands on their grounds. So even though I'll have to seriously scramble to make it from the early-evening show over to the reunion festivities in my hometown of Essex Junction, I just couldn't resist. That has the potential to be a truly transcendent evening, and it'd kill me to be so close but not be in the crowd. The only thing that could make it more special is if they actually set up on the deck of the Ticonderoga.

And for Boston area fans: Tickets for Low & Wilco on our waterfront at the Bank of America Pavilion on Thursday, June 28th will go on sale this Monday, April 16th at 10am, via Ticketmaster. Have your browsers ready and your fingers on your mice.

Another Boston show you must be made aware of, not just for the lineup, but for the cause: A benefit for one of my favorite area makers of music, Victory at Sea's Mona Elliott, on June 16th at PA's Lounge in Somerville. Her friends are pulling together to help with some unexpected medical bills, and if the world works the way it's supposed to, the show should be packed. So far the wonderfully fierce Black Helicopter and the fiercely wonderful Seana Carmody are taking part, but I'm sure more great bands will be added. So mark that date on your calendar and send your healing thoughts Mona's way.

Tonight, here in Boston: French Kicks are headlining a strong bill at Allston's Great Scott that includes Wonderful Spells, the Subjects, and Mike Fiore of Faces on Film. With the show approaching, I realized I neglected to share the French Kicks songs that I recorded last summer when they opened for the Futureheads at the Paradise. So here they are...

Blog Fresh Radio asked me to make my second spoken contribution to their online podcast, which can be downloaded or streamed from their site. The relatively new program invites bloggers to introduce a song by a band they're into, and this week you won't be surprised to hear me gush about Ted Leo and the track "La Costa Brava" off his new record. Feels like I rambled nearly as long as the song that follows.

I was glad to see music blog Speed of Dark included in this new episode as well, not only because I'm a SoD fan, but because they brought attention to a band I'm really digging right now, Seattle's Siberian. The song "Paper Birds" appears in the show, and here's another one from the Sonic Boom label site...

Check out Siberian's MySpace page for more, or visit their Sonic Boom page.

I can't remember the last time I spun music for a crowd... it can't have been as far back as my college dj days at WRUV, can it? But I'll get the chance again soon thanks to Chris over at Tourfilter. He's kindly asked me to be part of the second official Tourfilter DJ night at my favorite bar, River Gods in Cambridge. We'll be playing songs from bands that are coming to town soon (check out the list to the left to get an idea of my playlist), and I'm kicking off the evening at 9 o'clock. So come by early, partake of some fine food & beverages, and heckle me up in the dj window.

Speaking of Tourfilter, major congrats on their nomination for a 2007 People's Voice Webby Award. They're up against some big guns like BBC Radio 1 and, so head over there and vote if you're a TF fan. Check in the Media section under Music.

Tomorrow night, Bostonians: Your presence is required at the Paradise for Caspian's official cd release show. As I've mentioned too many times now, they're excellent debut full-length, "The Four Trees", came out this week, so the time has come to celebrate. And celebrate they shall, with openers On Fire and Constants. Doors at 8pm, see ya there. A nice write-up to get you in the mood: Caspian in this week's Phoenix.

So, yeah, nice article in the Boston Globe last weekend about me and the Almanac, along with the fine folks from Band in Boston. Thanks very much to everyone who sent congrats in comments and emails (and yes, I'm still buried in correspondence and new MySpace friend requests). While my irrepressible modesty finds that kind of focus a little uncomfortable, the most remarkable part of the write-up was that I didn't hate the photo they used. And y'know, there's nothing to make you feel more inconsequential in the big scheme than discovering that the photographer was recently in Iraq taking beautiful pictures of a living nightmare. That'll give you some perspective, right there. Real nice guy, though, and I'll be thinking of him when he heads back over.

Meanwhile, I'll be right here. Writing about, uh, music and stuff.

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

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