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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, June 11, 2007

Monday Music Miscellany

I know, I know, I've been pretty quiet lately. No better excuse than real life keeping me occupied. I'm overdue for a couple of live music sets, but first, one of those overlong catch-all content posts I randomly rattle off. Subjects below include Geoff Farina, Neptune, Helms, Chris Brokaw, Drew O'Doherty, Ida, the Secret Stars, The Thalia Zedek Band, Mark Robinson, David Bazan, Loney, dear, Team Dresch, Billy Bragg, Fiasco, Bad Veins, The New Pornographers, Afghan Whigs, Shellac, Joy Division, Nada Surf, Mary Timony, Vic Chesnutt, Mindful Dog Yoga, Wheat, Bloc Party, Silversun Pickups, Roh Delikat, xkcd, and Dinosaur Jr.. Whew.

First, the news that has me most excited this morning: The final line-ups for the two Boston-area Cal Robbins benefit shows have been announced, and they're freakin' all-out amazing.

Geoff Farina (Glorytellers, ex-Karate, solo stuff) has put together a couple of stellar four-band evenings at PA's Lounge in mid-July to benefit Cal, the infant son of musicians J. Robbins (Jawbox, Burning Airlines, and Channels) & Janet Morgan (Channels), who is in need of ongoing special treatment for his Type 1 Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). To help raise funds for that treatment, on Friday night, July 13th, we get Neptune, Helms, Chris Brokaw & Geoff Farina (as a duo), and Drew O'Doherty. On its own, that's a must-see bill.

And the second night is the kicker: Saturday, July 14th sees the long-awaited and long-desired return of Ida to the Boston area. Yes, they are back, and news is that they're finishing up another record, so we might even get to hear some of those new songs (word from the band is the album is "almost ready to go"). As if Ida's appearance wasn't enough, that night also reunites the Secret Stars after a long-standing hibernation. The much-missed duo of Geoff Farina and Jodi Buonanno haven't played together in a very, very long time, so this will be a special evening in so many respects. Adding to that specialness will be sets from both the Thalia Zedek Band and Mr. Mark Robinson (Flin Flon, ex-Unrest, ex-Air Miami, Teenbeat label). Like I said, just amazing. So many of my favorite musicians taking part in this thing.

As far as I know, there will be no advanced tickets, so be prepared to arrive very early to PA's to make sure you get in. And bring extra cash, because I betcha the excellent "For Callum" double-disc benefit cd will be available there. Oh, and be prepared to see me mentioning these shows a lot in the coming month. So, so psyched.

The top-notch taste of La Blogotheque's Take-Away Show continues as they follow David Bazan around the streets of San Fran's Inner Mission District, where he performs Bob Dylan's "The Man In Me" and his own "Cold Beer and Cigarettes". And a quick refresh of the site shows that they've just shared up three songs from Loney, Dear. I'll have to check that out once I wrap up this post.

I'm pretty thrilled that in this, the year 2007, I'm able to write: New Team Dresch album on the way! From their MySpace blog: "Team Dresch is writing new songs for a new record, to be released ASAP in 2008, and we'll be touring sporadically to try and get those new songs TIGHT."

Those tourdates include...
June 19th, 2007 - Chapel Hill NC @ Cat's Cradle w/Ex Members and Des Ark
June 20th, 2007 - DC @ Black Cat w/Ex-Members and Problems
June 21st, 2007 - Philadelphia PA - Two shows - Free all ages show 6pm @ the Rotunda (University Of PA) and at The Mill Creek Tavern 21+ @ at 9:30pm
June 22nd, 2007 - Brooklyn NY @ Studio B w/Ex-members and Dirty Excuse
June 23rd, 2007 - NYC @ Mercury Lounge w/Ex-members, Boyskout & Winning Looks
July 19th, 2007 - TBA Los Angeles, CA @ outfest
Still no Boston action, but I remain hopeful...

Billy Bragg made a live appearance on that Henry Rollins Show, performing his updated "Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards", and also played the web-only "Bush War Blues", which can be seen over on There's a nice chat with Billy as well, which didn't make it into the broadcast.

The interview slot for that episode was reserved for Steve Buscemi, who spoke briefly of his son's NY-based band, Fiasco. Ryan Adams also appeared on the show recently, and they saved a live performance of "Goodnight Rose" for the web-exclusive.

Struck by a new song...

Check out another Bad Veins track at MySpace, and keep an eye/ear out for more shared songs soon. East Coaster's only scheduled chances to catch the Cincinnati-based band are at Brooklyn's Union Hall on Saturday, June 16th, or the next night at Pianos in NYC.

Every music blog and their blogger brother has already shared up the new New Pornographers track, but I can't not do the same, because I love me some New Pr0n...

Details just emerged about the "Buy Early, Get Now" program that Matador is using in support of the New Pornographers "Challengers" album, which officially arrives on August 21st. Go read up, and place your order at the Matador store appropriately (unless you want to hoof it to a local shop). I clicked away on Friday, and am still awaiting the code that will allow me to start streaming the record. Matador online sales are processed manually, so I expect the code will be arriving shortly, and I know what I'll be listening to today.

(update 6/12 - got my password, loving the album. the site has the stream, along with a brief write-up for each of the 12 songs. fyi, the first free b-side mp3 gets posted on July 4th.)

(yet another update - Over on the Matador Records blog, primary New Pornographer Carl Newman gives us a descriptive preview of all the bonus tracks they've recorded (and have yet to record?) for the "Executive Edition" box-set thing. Bring 'em on.)

If you're not up for all that bonus material (and really, why wouldn't you be?), remember that you can do something a bit different through the band's own online store: Buy a screen-printed poster of the album's artwork for 35 bucks, and they'll throw you a copy of "Challengers" its release day. If I had the wall space, I'd maybe think about it, but there's no way I can resist an early stream and a bunch of bonus mp3s instead.

So that new Afghan Whigs retrospective, "Unbreakable", came out last week, which would excite me more if I didn't already own all of their releases, and if I was a little more into the two new songs they recorded for it ("Magazine", which you can stream here, and the previously-streamed "I'm A Soldier"). I mean, they're not bad, but certainly don't blow me away like much of their past work did. Oh, who am I kidding?... as a Whigs completest, I'll probably pick the collection up at some point.

Also out last week was the new Shellac record, "Excellent Italian Greyhound". For me, it was a must-buy, and would have been even if I hadn't been all psyched up by live versions of those new songs at last year's Touch & Go anniversary fest thing. The album lives up to my expectations, and I think I'll soon share up those live versions now that they're officially out in studio form.

And speaking of that Touch & Go 25th Anniversary, this week's video feature from the fest is up at the T&G site, and it's one of the bands that compelled me to trek out to Chicago last September: The almighty SEAM. Sooyoung Park and Chris Manfrin get interviewed over live footage of "Berlitz", and after a little gratitude from Ted Leo, we get a full performance of "Rafael". Go, watch, worship.

As a longtime Joy Division devotee, I was relieved to see that the reaction to the Cannes screening of "Control", the Ian Curtis biopic, has been generally favorable. The film should get a theatrical release on September 12th, 2007 from Momentum Pictures, and its official site has now been parked here (where you can sign up for updates as they're available). Be sure to check out the trailer if you haven't already.

I'm one of those who considers Nada Surf's "Let Go" to be one of the best pop rock records of the last five years, so I'm excited by any news of new N.S. recordings on the way. While 2005's "The Weight Is A Gift" didn't quite measure up, it still had some real high points, so I'm very much on board for more. And according to this Billboard article, we'll get more in January 2008, when the trio releases the tentatively-titled "Time For Plan A". And check out the potential album guest friends: Ben Gibbard (DCFC), John Roderick (the Long Winters), Juliana Hatfield, and Sean Nelson (Harvey Danger). Not too shabby.

For a Nada fix, pick up their long-unavailable "Karmic" EP, which gets re-released tomorrow courtesy of Hi-Speed Soul Records. Also, check out this new fan-made video for the song "Imaginary Friend", pulled together from tour footage from throughout the past couple years.

Mary Timony's latest album, "The Shapes We Make", has been getting a lot of quality time in my headphones, so I was glad to see a new video for the album's lead off track, "Sharpshooter" (youtube / quicktime). It's animated (by Paper Rad), and brings to life her desire for a deer's long-awaited revenge on the sharpshooter himself, Mr. Ted Nugent.

The Mary Timony Band (which includes drummer Devin Ocampo and bassist Chad Molter from Medications) returns to the Boston area this Wednesday night, June 13th, at the Middle East Upstairs with support from Welcome and the Great Northern.

At last, there's word of a long-awaited new album from Vic Chesnutt: his "North Star Deserter" will be out on August 27th, 2007, courtesy of the excellent Constellation Records. Looks like it's a single CD / double-LP affair.

Nice to see my friend Bill Peregoy (a man of discriminating musical tastes, who ran the brilliant Boston-based Pop Narcotic record label) get some ink in the Boston Globe, thanks to his new JP-based yoga studio, Mindful Dog Yoga. One of his classes is called "The Bends - Yoga That Rocks", and you can guess what participants can be found stretching to. Also cool: If you're sporting a wristband from a show you attended the night before, you get $3 off the class fee. As a former yoga student, that soundtrack and Bill's involvement might just be enough to get me to start up again. (via clickyclicky).

Picked up the new Wheat album, "Everyday I Said A Prayer For Kathy And Made A One Inch Square", last week (after what feels like years of textual teasing from Frank "I've Had It For Ages" Chromewaves), and it leaves the over-produced memory of their major label misstep in the dust.

There's a video for the track "Little White Dove", and courtesy of Spin, there's an Mp3 available as well...

Wheat plays the Middle East Upstairs in Cambridge on Friday night, June 22, with Scamper and Ben & Vesper.

So the Boston Phoenix had their huge annual Best Music Poll Concert thing in the shadow of Fenway Park on Lansdowne Street last week. If, like me, you didn't make it out, you can catch a few highlights over here, including a Bloc Party interview and performance of "I Still Remember", an interview with Silversun Pickups, and more.

Some sad news for fans (and potential future fans) of the Boston-based trio Roh Delikat: Singer/guitarist Kristina Johnson sent out a goodbye message to their mailing list, letting us know that they've decided to call it quits after four years of toiling away. From the message: "No, there is no final hurrah, no last show, and no extended farewell. Just a very kind of heartfelt thank you to those of you who cared about this little band and the music we shared."

And to clear up some closet space, Kristina is offering any leftover Roh Delikat merchandise (which includes t-shirts, their two albums, and more) for free, plus a few bucks for shipping. Hit up the band's website for details. I highly recommend asking for either of their two albums, although 2004's "Deaf & Dear" is the one I've spent the most time with. Sorry to see the band go, but I do hope Kristina keeps making music on her own or with a new band, and that we get to keep hearing it.

And finally, nothing to do with music, but as late-to-the-game fan of the xkcd webcomic, I'm compelled to link to this hilarious Map of Online Communities. Genius. I can only wonder how the recent purchase of by CBS changes that part of the map...

Oh, and like everyone else, I watched the Sopranos final episode last night, and as if the world needs another opinion on it: I loved the ending. Battlestar Galactica creator Ron Moore shares my thoughts exactly, and expresses it far better than I could.

Now, my minor dilemma of the day: Do I really want to deal with seeing Dinosaur Jr. playing inside an Urban Outfitters tonight? It'll probably be too surreal to miss...

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

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