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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

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tuesday Morning Miscellany

Things mentioned and linked below include Swervedriver, Retribution Gospel Choir, Film School, The Night Marchers, Sea Wolf, The Jealous Girlfriends, Slowdive/Mojave 3's Neil Halstead, Rogue Wave, Nada Surf, Billy Bragg, Elbow, Sigur Ros, Ida, R.E.M., New Radiant Storm King, The Mountain Goats, Sebadoh, Silkworm, "The Wire", and Kids in the Hall.

New Boston area shows of note, from ye olde left hand column...
  • HELL YES. The Swervedriver reunion tour is officially hitting Boston, on June 10th to be precise, at the Paradise. Tickets go on sale this Saturday, March 29th, at 10am.

  • Alan Sparhawk's trio, Retribution Gospel Choir, plays the Middle East Upstairs on Thursday, June 19th. Their just-released debut full-length is a brilliant slab of crunchy Neil Young-inspired guitar goodness, letting the Low frontman get his rock on in the best way. The disc even has gritty reworkings of a couple Low songs, including "Breaker" (which sounds more like Low's live version than Low's own recording, and features Mimi on guest vocals) and a rhythmically transformed "Take Your Time". Love it, and as if Sparhawk's presence wasn't enough to guarantee it, I'll definitely be at the show. Tickets here. Don't wait until it sells out.

  • Film School returns to TT the Bears on Monday, April 28th. Saw them there last October, up against the first night of the World Series. Fortunately, the Sox won that game 13-1, so it was easy for the crowd to abandon the TT's TV in favor of some celebratory sonic goodness from the visiting West Coasters. Hopefully the competition will be less fierce this time around, and the crowd will be even bigger.

  • As I mentioned, The Night Marchers are making their Boston-area debut on Thursday, May 8th, also at the Middle East Upstairs, and I'm going to keep reminding you of this until it sells out. There are too many Rocket From the Crypt / Drive Like Jehu / Hot Snakes fans out there who haven't caught on yet. When they do, so long tickets.

  • Sea Wolf is back in Boston on Friday, May 30th for a headlining show at the Paradise with The Jealous Girlfriends. For some reason I couldn't make it to their last show, but a Friday night appearance makes my presence far more likely this time around.

  • While I'm glad to see that Slowdive/Mojave 3 frontman Neil Halstead is returning to the Boston area, it's safe to say I won't be seeing him when he does. Why not? No, I won't be out of town. Or otherwise occupied, as far as I know. I'll be abstaining due to the presence on the bill of headlining act Jack Johnson... not exactly a fan of his stuff, and his presence has driven the ticket prices outta my usual range. Not sure how Neil, or even Rogue Wave, teamed up with Mr. Johnson, but, um, good for them I guess? (update If you've got deep enough pockets, and enough Rogue Wave or Halstead love, to make the drive down to the Tweeter Center on August 8th, well, lemme know how it went.

    And while I'm mentioning Mr. Halstead, he shared the news last month (when he had to cancel a gig) that he and his wife were awaiting the imminent arrival of twins, so here's hoping that all went well.

  • Nada Surf made an appearance on the Tonight Show last week to play "Weightless" (which, as Leno plugged, happens to appear on the "Heroes" soundtrack. Ah, sweet network synergy). The trio was augmented with an electric cello player and a keyboardist, filling out the sound nicely. Take a listen...
    Mp3: Nada Surf - "Weightless" (live on Leno)
    The band also did an acoustic performance and interview session for the newly-christened MySpace Transmissions recently as well.

    Another late night appearance last week was Billy Bragg's on Conan O'Brien, performing "I Keep Faith", off his upcoming "Mr. Love & Justice" disc. The performance was unlike anything you'll hear Bragg do again, as his backing band was Conan's own (minus regular drummer Max Weinberg), including the horn section. Here 'tis...
    Mp3: Billy Bragg - "I Keep Faith" (live on Conan)
    In the wake of Billy's recent opinion piece in the New York Times about internet royalties for musicians, he shares further thoughts in a dialogue with commenters at The Stalwart. Well worth a read.

    Also previewing tracks from an almost-out album was Elbow, who recorded a session at Maida Vale for BBC1, and stopped into Zane Lowe's show last week to share some of the results. Not sure how many songs they tracked in all, but two were played last Wednesday (stream here until tomorrow), and another Thursday (stream "One Day Like This" here for two more days). In addition to first single "Grounds For Divorce", they performed this one...
    Mp3: Elbow - "The Bones Of You" (live on BBC1)
    Elbow's fourth album, "The Seldom Seen Kid", is already out in the UK, and arrives on U.S. shores on April 22nd.

    Music Slut directs our attention to a YouTube video recording of a new Sigur Ros song that will likely/hopefully appear on their next album. Check out some new photos from the recording sessions of said album back in January here.

    Ida has shared a video for a song from their beautiful latest album, "Lovers Prayers". Head here for the Megan Holmes-directed clip for the song "The Weight of the Straw".

    I'm really enjoying "Accelerate", the almost-out new R.E.M. album, now streaming at iLike. As I said awhile back, I've found something worthwhile in most of their late-era records, but haven't been this instantly struck by one in many, many years, and I'm happily surprised. Whenever I hear the phrase "return to form", I fear contrived emptiness, potential trying-too-hard insincerity, but this one really sounds like R.E.M. just being R.E.M.. The songs, the production, the brevity, it's all working for me. And I'm very glad to be able to write that in 2008. Stream the entire thing here, and you don't even have to register to do it.

    Thanks to Jay @ Clicky Clicky for the heads up that there's going to be another New Radiant Storm King album later this year. Their last one, "The Steady Hand", was one of my faves of 2006, so I'm fairly eager to hear what they follow it up with. The band plays as part of a promising line-up at PA's Lounge on April 6th, with The Spanish Armada, Dr. Powerful (Ex-Polvo members within), and Bullpen Catcher (Ex-Kudgel within). Jay's update also allowed me to notice that the band shared an outtake from the "Winter's Kill" album on their MySpace page. Head there to hear "Doppelganger in Tow", along with three from "The Steady Hand" if you've never had the pleasure.

    The Phoenix's On The Download shares up three videos from the Mountain Goats appearance at Museum of Fine Arts Boston a couple weekends ago: The title track from "Heretic Pride", a Rodney Crowell cover, and a brand new song called "Sign Of The Crow". Again, I must warn you... turn your volume down before you head to that page, as all three videos auto-start at the same time with an advertisement.

    Back in August, Sebadoh's Lou Barlow said on his messageboard that the next reissue the band would be working on would be the excellent "Bubble & Scrape". Well, looks like the work's done, as a release date has been announced: The remastered and expanded "Bubble & Scrape" will arrive on May 5th via Sub Pop and Domino. Jason Loewenstein shared the full tracklisting here, and Barlow adds that the "Smash Your Head On The Punk Rock" reissue is planned, but that a reissue of "Weed Forestin'" is a bit up in the air.

    Fellow Silkworm fans should be keeping an eye on the production blog for the in-progress "Couldn't You Wait" documentary, as new content is regularly added. Video clips and photos from the creator's recent trip out to California was added last month, and earlier this month they shared interview video clips with Steve Albini, Jeff Tweedy, Stephen Malkmus, Henry Owings, and Brian Teasley. Great stuff, which you can also see here. In case you haven't seen the 4-minute trailer yet, have a look here. Click here to help fund the thing, if you've got Silkworm love and some spare dollars.

    Non-musical, but demanding the attendance of fans of HBO's now-ended, brilliant series "The Wire": A Harvard-hosted lecture and panel discussion on Friday, April 4th titled "HBO's 'The Wire': Racial Inequality and Urban Reality." Panelists will include Wire creator David Simon, Boston Police deputy superintendent and liaison to the homeless community Nora Baston, Columbia University's Sudhir Venkatesh, and Geoffrey Canada, the president of Harlem Children's Zone; William Julius Wilson of Harvard University will moderate the discussion, which starts at 5pm on Friday, April 4th. No registration is necessary, just arrive early enough to get in at 79 JFK Street near Harvard Square, Cambridge.

    And in case you missed it, read this interesting article over at titled "The Wire's War on the Drug War", written by Wire series writers David Simon, Ed Burns, Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos, and Richard Price.

    And on a completely different note, the no-longer-kids Kids in the Hall are touring again, and comedy saints be praised, one of their dates is in Boston. Yes, the Canadian quintet will be performing at the Citi Center (aka the Wang) on Thursday, April 17th, 2008, and I snagged myself 8th row tickets over the weekend. Get your own here, more details here.

    If your appreciation for Buffy the Vampire Slayer remains despite its absence (unless you're reading the comics), you might want to have a listen to this recording of last week's cast reunion at this year's Paley Fest. You can also watch video interviews with the cast on the night of the reunion here. Links to more coverage can be found at Pop Candy, or Whedonesque, of course.

    And lastly, for any Boston area readers, a reminder: If you're not doing anything tonight (aside from sleeping), I'll be on stage with four friends at the Abbey Lounge, playing the drums in Stratford Projects. It's the SP's first performance ever, and my first time behind the drums in quite awhile. Night owl's will appreciate that we hit the stage around 11:45pm, playing after St. Helena, who have been hosting a Tuesday night residency all month long.

    A little info on Stratford Projects -- we're led by current Sixth Great Lake and former Guppyboy / Essex Green member Michael Barrett on guitar and vocals, and along with my rusty drumming, Mike's wife Anna will be playing keyboards, Neil Cleary plays guitar, and former Jumproper Adam Boc is on bass.

    Needless to say, after waking at 6AM to listen to the first Japan-hosted Red Sox game of the season, I'll be taking a nice nap before hitting the stage almost 18 hours later...

    featured mp3 download
    neil halstead
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    on november 14th, 2008
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