Monday, February 11, 2008
Now that we're a month or so into the year (and barely into the Year of the Rat), I thought I'd share some of what my favorite Boston-area performers have planned for the rest of 2008. A few of those below put out great albums last year, others have new releases on deck, and most are hitting venues near or far in the coming months. This is by no means a list of all the nearby artists that count me as a fan, and once again, one of my resolutions was to spend more time digging up the unheard future faves making sounds in my musical backyard. So far, so good.
In no order whatsoever...
Hallelujah the Hills
Regarding a follow-up to last year's excellent Misra-released debut disc, "Collective Psychosis Begone", HtH's Ryan Walsh says: "I'm hoping we record the 2nd album this spring, which would slate it for a fall or winter release. About 3/4ths of the songs are written so far". No pressure, Ryan, but I hope so, too.
Next show: Saturday, February 16th at the Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge with Beat Circus, Humanwine, and O'Death.
Mp3: "Hallelujah the Hills"
Since putting out their mesmerizing self-released (and hand-designed) debut disc last year, the duo of Mona Elliott (ex-Victory at Sea) and Anar Badalov (ex-Metal Hearts) continues to generously share demos on their MySpace page (the latest: an ace Elvis cover), and this new year will finally bring the pair out of their apartment and onto stages to play those songs for us. Yes, in March they head to Europe for a score of shows (their very first live appearance will be just outside Amsterdam) before returning for a single date in their hometown of Somerville. More U.S. dates will no doubt follow, but there's no solid stateside tour plans yet. Beyond that, they're well into work on their next record, which should be out late this year or early next, depending on any label involvement. 'Til then, keep an eye on that MySpace page for additional tourdates and demos.
First show: Sunday, March 9th, 2008 at Patronaat in Haarlem, Netherlands.
Debut U.S. show: Saturday, April 5th at PA's Lounge in Somerville, MA with Red Tag Rummage Sale and White Horses.
Mp3: "The Smell Of Kerosene"
Last year this instrumental Beverly quartet gave us their first mighty full-length cd, "The Four Trees" (which was closely followed by some limited edition vinyl), and next month will bring a new song on a split 7" with Constants, courtesy of Radar Recordings. Meanwhile, writing and recording continues for a hopeful EP release this year, and they'll no doubt play some of that new stuff on a string of March dates, which wraps up with a stop at South by Southwest on March 16th.
Next show: Friday, February 22nd, 2008 at The Space Gallery in Portland, Maine, with Sumner McKane.
As always, Mr. Brokaw is a busy man, writing and recording his own songs, collaborating with friends, lending his guitar skills to touring bands, and occasionally getting behind the drum kit. Last year he was one of many drummers who took part in the Boredoms 77 BOADRUM live rhythmic experiment, spent some time touring in the Thurston Moore Band (he's on the new iTunes only "Live from SoHo" EP), and near the end of the year, shared the stage with former bandmate Thalia Zedek for a couple Come songs. 2008 has already seen a release from a new project called Dirtmusic, on which Brokaw plays with Chris Eckman (the Walkabouts) and Hugo Race (ex-Bad Seed), and last month the trio visited Mali, Africa and played at the Festival au Desert near Timbuktu. Unfortunately the Dirtmusic disc is import only for now, available from German label Glitterhouse. Well worth paying a bit extra if you like what you hear at the MySpace page, or the Brokaw-penned track below.
As usual, Chris will be spending a bunch of time on the road in the near future, playing with in Thurston's band, as a duo with Geoff Farina (Glorytellers/ex-Karate/Secret Stars), European shows with Dirtmusic, and random solo dates. He's got another solo album in the works, which will hopefully join an almost-finished album of traditional front-porch covers with Farina as 2008 releases. In September we'll definitely get to hear Chris' drumming on a third album from The New Year (I get excited just typing that), followed in the fall by a book of his photography on Black Arrow Press. Further solidifying his classification as a true renaissance man.
Next solo show: Saturday, February 16th at the Minifestival at Les Basses in Barcelona, Spain.
Next U.S. solo show: Wednesday, February 20th at the Knitting Factory Tap Bar in NYC with Underground Railroad and Black Helicopter.
Next duo show (with Geoff Farina): Saturday, February 23rd at PA's Lounge in Somerville, MA with Adam Arcuragi and Ryan Lee Crosby.
Mp3: Dirtmusic - "Face of Evil"
It's been six long years since this former Swirlies/Syrup USA singer/guitarist's solo debut, 2002's "Struts & Shocks", but a couple months back we quietly saw the arrival, at least digitally, of a follow-up: "Not Foolin' You" is now available for per-song-payment at her MySpace page, and it's a stripped down affair, mostly Seana and her guitar, with musical assistance from The Curtain Society's Roger Lavallee, who recorded the album at the Tremolo Lounge. A Hank Williams Jr. cover, and a beautiful rendition of Chris Bell's "You and Your Sister, join a dozen Seana-penned originals.
Next show: Thursday, February 14th, 2008 at PA’s Lounge in Somerville, MA with Don Lennon and Vox Humana.
Mp3: "Cemetery Party"
The Broken River Prophet
In the summer of 2005, after her first time seeing the BRP on stage, Amie turned to me and said "I need an album of this stuff now." Well, three years later and that need remains unfulfilled, but the wait is almost over. Primary prophet Adam says we're in for a spring or summer release of their debut full-length, "With Infinite Arms To Cradle The Flames". Limited edition, with letter-press covers, and some artwork from the aforementioned Seana Carmody. Along with the Mp3 below, you can get a taste of what we're in for from the BRP's recent Flophouse Session for Band in Boston, or grab more Mp3s at the band's audio page.
Next show: A 7:30 show on Friday, April 4th, 2008, at The Annex in NYC.
Mp3: "Burned In Place"
Geoff Farina / Glorytellers
Another busy Boston-based singer/songwriter, Geoff does the solo thing, the duo thing (with Chris Brokaw), and the trio thing. That trio, Glorytellers, releases their debut album next week on Southern Records, with two U.S. tours to follow, the north in March and the south in April, and a likely European tour in the fall. As mentioned in the Brokaw bit above, their duo record should be out later this year, and Geoff also has an import-only collaborative affair (with Massimo Pupillo and Michael Zerant) out in Italy in May.
Next solo show: Thursday, February 21st, 2008 at the Philadelphia Ethical Society in Philadelphia, PA with Adam Arcuragi.
Next duo show (with Chris Brokaw): Saturday, February 23rd, 2008 at PA's Lounge in Somerville with Adam Arcuragi and Ryan Lee Crosby.
Mp3: Glorytellers - "Awake at the Wheel"
The Soft Drugs
TW Walsh's relocation from West Coast to East was less than a year ago, but the Boston-area full-band incarnation of his Soft Drugs already has live shows under their belt, and recording plans for this April. A summer-released full-lengther should result, but before that, we'll get to hear TW's contribution to "February Album Writing Month", where participants write 14 songs during those 29 days. So it'll be a busy musical month for him, writing an entire album while doing the day-job thing and running his cd mastering business.
Soft Drugs guitarist Michael Murray should have a solo album out soon that TW worked on, and bassist Ken Maiuri also spends time in Northampton's senior citizens choir The Young At Heart Chorus. Keep an eye out for a Fox Searchlight documentary about the chorus titled "Young@Heart" this spring, followed by both U.S. and European tours later this year.
Next Soft Drugs show: Saturday, March 8th, 2008 at PJ Ryan's in Somerville, MA.
Next TW Walsh solo show: Monday, March 17th, 2008 at The Red Door in Portsmouth, NH.
Mp3: The Soft Drugs - "Family of Four"
Redefining the phrase "long-awaited follow-up" is Charlene, whose self-titled debut disc was released in 2002. Well, 2008 will see that sophomore album become a reality rather than a promise. Details are still being finalized, but we'll either see a series of digital EPs eventually compiled onto disc, or the full-on full-length all at once. Look for news at their site soon (and hopefully they won't also try redefining the word 'soon'),. A track that should be on the EPs/album is below, and you can hear another at their MySpace page.
Mp3: "Oh Hey"
Andy Arch, under his nom de song of Tom Thumb, will soon follow-up 2006's excellent Kindermusik EP (recorded with his former backing band, the Latter Day Saints) with a full-length, and when I say soon, I mean very, very soon. Yes, later this week his self-released album "The Taxidermist" will arrive, available digitally via MySpace, or as a hand-made limited-to-200 physical disc straight from Andy himself. And no doubt you'll be able to grab one from him at the merch table during a planned spring solo tour.
While Andy is no longer backed by the Latter Day Saints (the new album does feature some musical guests), there's a real treat below in the form of "Steal Away", a non-album song recorded with the full LDS during a session last year. And while you can (and should) buy it through MySpace, he's allowed me to share the track here as a free download. It's quickly become one of my favorite songs of the year so far, so enjoy.
Next show: Thursday, February 14th, 2008 at Brown University's Hourglass Cafe in Providence, RI with Deer Tick.
Mp3: "Steal Away"
Chris Pearson / Ekranoplan
When guests are involved, former Green Magnet School frontman Chris Pearson's forays into "Organosynthetic Primitivism" go under the name Ekranoplan, and the first official release is now available in the form of the "Soundtracks" EP. Courtesy of Chris, the first song from the EP is below, and you can contact him through his MySpace page for ordering info. A couple weeks back, CP appeared on the now-sadly-defunct "Rock Around Boston" show at WBOS, and you can still download the entire in-studio visit right here, which features songs from throughout Chris' musical history, in addition to cuts off of the EP. Little did he and host Frank know that they were taking part in what would become the show's grand finale. Hopefully the Noise-sponsored program will continue somewhere else in some form.
Next Ekranoplan show: Someday soon at PA's Lounge.
Mp3: Ekranoplan - "Slabbath (radio edit)"
live in cambridge, ma
on november 14th, 2008
previously: joy formidable - boston 2011
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