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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

Friday, April 04, 2008

Weekending Music Miscellany

Yes, another link-burst, filled with the various and the sundry...

For a city that's cruelly passed over by the occasional cool tour (by bands that feel NYC is close enough to count), you really can't beat Boston's good fortune lately. Not only are we getting that visit in June from the reunited Swervedriver, but we're going to be graced by the presence of the almighty Polvo just a couple weeks later. On June 20th, the reunited North Carolinians will hit the Middle East Downstairs, and tickets are already on sale.

Wye Oak is coming back to town, but this time you'll be able to spend time with their excellent debut disc before they return. Next week, Merge will release "If Children", and a month later, on May 4th, the Baltimore duo plays Allston's Great Scott with openers Drew O'Doherty and Hands and Knees. Tickets can be bought here, and I'll also be giving away a pair as the show gets closer.

I've spent a lot of time with "If Children", and I've no doubt it'll end up high on my faves of the year list (that's saying a lot with all the great stuff that's come out so far, and what's still ahead). If my praise, or the live songs I offered up a few weeks ago, aren't enough to convince you, have a listen to the two Mp3s that Merge has made available for preview...
Mp3: Wye Oak - "I Don't Feel Young"

Mp3: Wye Oak - "Warning"

Another show at Great Scott, and one that will likely pack the place to the rafters: Former Sunny Day Real Estate and Fire Theft frontman Jeremy Enigk teams up for a show with Damien Jurado on Saturday night, May 31st. Tickets here. Unless there's something new coming up soon, Jeremy will be hawking his third solo album, "World Waits", which came out last August on his own Lewis Hollow label, and Damien will probably play lots of songs from his next full-length, which he said was 'nearing completion' in January.

Sleepyhead continues to reawaken, releasing new recordings in the wake of their return to live stages last fall after a three-year absence. The (now based out of) West Roxbury trio have just let loose two songs exclusively through esteemed record store Other Music's new digital shop, and you can buy them here right after you stream each track ("Red Letter Daze" and "The Family Tree") on MySpace. Which you'll do, as they're both great songs. "Red Letter Daze" will become the title cut from their eventual fifth full-length, which should be out later this year. So nice to have them back, and right here in town where more live shows are likely. But hang in there, non-Bostonians, as summertime should see the band traveling a bit.

Great Scott keeps the good stuff coming with yet another should-be-good show: Atlanta's Snowden returns to the same stage they blew me away on back in 2006, when they play GS on Sunday, May 18th with Colour Revolt and The Epochs in support. It's been a couple years since they released their "Anti-Anti" album, so I'm glad to read on guitarist David Payne's blog that they'll be trying out "a lot of new material" on the 18-date tour. Grab tickets for that one here, and again, I'll have a pair to give away as well.

Fifty percent of Fugazi will be visiting the Boston area this spring, albeit separately, what with Joe Lally playing a show in May, and Ian Mackaye coming to town next week for a free and open-to-the-public discussion at Brandeis.

Ian's appearance, which has doors opening at 7:00 in Schwartz Hall, is part of the school's "Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts", and is presented by the Punk, Rock n' Roll Club. Because, really, what other club did you think would be presenting it?

Lally's May 23rd show is upstairs at the Middle East, and opening is Geoff Farina's Glorytellers, so we're talking sell-out (Lally, lally, lally, get your tickets here. And if you get that reference, you're old, too). Joe's latest long-player is last November's "Nothing Is Underrated", which I'm embarrassed to say I haven't yet heard. Must remedy that soon.

Really nice write-up on Brian Sullivan and his Dylan In The Movies over at the Phoenix. His song "Massachusetts Avenue" popped up in my random playlist the other day and reminded me of how much I'm looking forward to his proper full-length debut (it's been way too long since the 2005 "Feel The Pull" EP). Glad to read in that article that he hopes to have the album, which will have guest vocals from the Watson Twins, out in May. Add my hopes to the pile. Stream "Massachusetts Avenue", another new one, as well as songs from that debut EP, at MySpace.

There's a fairly unique show happening this Tuesday in Somerville at PA's Lounge, when Washington DC's These United States comes to town. The band, which consists of three main members, is nearing the end of 33 shows in 33 cities - with 33 different lineups. In every 'burg they hit, they're recruiting area musicians to sit in with them, so every single night promises to be something special. According to the band, this was to be no improv-style someone-grab-a-tamborine mess, but a rehearsed affair with pre-show practices and set tweaks. For the PA's show, we may see members of openers Pretty & Nice take part, but beyond that, it's anyone's guess... which is the whole point. Anyone seen them elsewhere yet? How was your city's version?

For those in the remaining locations (which after Somerville includes Bard College, NYC, Brooklyn, Baltimore, and finally home to DC), here's a T.U.S. track to prepare yourself...
Mp3: These United States - "First Sight"
The band's debut album, "A Picture of the Three of Us at the Gate to the Garden of Eden", can and should be purchased straight from What Are Records, or from the band at one of those remaining shows. Confluence: As I'm typing this, T.U.S. just started playing live at this very moment on our beloved WOXY. Look for that archived soon.

So John Vanderslice played the Paradise last night with Stephen Malkmus & his Jicks, and no, I wasn't there. Such are the sacrifices this novice dad must make. But I'll have another chance to see JV this Monday when he plays the far-more-intimate Oxfam Cafe at Tufts in Medford. Bonus: The Soft Drugs are opening. Now, the Oxfam isn't exactly my preferred place to see shows (usually cramped, no stage, no view... like I said, 'intimate'), but I may have to brave this one. Students only, unfortunately. Looks like my decision is made for me.

Well, at least I can listen to NYCtaper's excellent recording of last Sunday's Vanderslice show at the Mercury Lounge. Another fine offering from my ally to the south.

South's fourth full-length, "You Are Here", is out on April 15th via bluhammock music/Young American Recordings, and they're playing Great Scott a couple weeks later to show it off. Mark May 1st down in your datebook, when they'll team up with The Silver State and Johnny Lloyd Rollins for another fine Fenway Recordings-presented evening. Tickets will be available here.

For an idea of what's to come on South's "You Are Here", have a listen...
Mp3: South - "Better Things"

Stream: South - "Wasted"

Got some good news in my inbox yesterday: My pre-order for the latest Teenbeat Records release ships out today, so I'll have it in my hot hands very soon. It's the debut full-length from Maybe It's Reno, which is the name Bridget Cross has chosen to release her new solo recordings under. The one-time Velocity Girl frontwoman and former Unrest/Air Miami bassist/singer isn't exactly stripped down on this one, though, as she's got a couple familiar faces along for the ride: Her old Unrest teammates, Teenbeat head Mark Robinson and drummer Phil Krauth, join her on seven of the album's ten tracks. Can't wait to hear what the results sound like. While the album isn't officially 'out' until April 22nd, order yours here and I'd wager it'll show up straightaway.

This Tuesday, Boston's own Hallelujah The Hills will share up the seven song "Prepare To Qualify" EP on their website, for the affordable price of absolutely free (and with printable artwork, no less). The digital collection pulls together five non-album tracks the band has trickled out at random online outlets over the past year (places like the Village Voice, Largehearted Boy, & Stereogum), along with a couple previously unreleased cuts: "When Night Falls", and a live version of "(You Better Hope You) Die Before Me". If you're one of those remaining freaks (like yours truly) who is compelled to hold something in your greedy mitts, some physical copies of the EP will be available to buy through Misra Records and at HtH shows.

One of those shows is next Saturday, April 12th, at Great Scott (jeez, Great Scott must be butter), which stands as the official EP release event, and features their friends in Ho-Ag. But noooo, Ho-Ag won't be doing something as simple as opening up... they'll also be combining with HtH, Transformer-like, to make a 12-part mega-machine of rock dubbed Hallelujah The Ho-Ag. Pretty & Nice and Thunderhole will be opening up as well, with the between-band soundtrack being provided by DJ Mark Pearson of the almighty Neptune. Tickets here.

I'm as surprised as anyone that in 2008 I was excited enough about a new R.E.M. album to buy the disc on the day it was released. And so I did. And as I said after I heard the preview stream, "Accelerate" is rocking me old school. To mark their return to catchy choruses and distortion pedals, here are a few recent live Mp3s from the ancient Athenians (I kid, I kid)...
Mp3: R.E.M. - "Munich" (Editors cover on BBC1)

Mp3: R.E.M. - "Second Guessing" (live at Schuba's SxSW / NPR)

Mp3: R.E.M. - "Auctioneer" (live at Schuba's SxSW / NPR)

Mp3: R.E.M. - "Fall On Me" (live at Schuba's SxSW / NPR)

Also rocking me still is that Alan-Sparhawk-fronted Retribution Gospel Choir album, and you can now download a companion live set of the March 8th Duluth, MN release show over at the Live Music Archive. And remember, after some dates overseas in April, RGC will play stateside in June, including a stop in Cambridge at the Middle East on Thursday, June 19th. Tickets here or cheaper at the MidEast box office.

Kristin Hersh did a Daytrotter session back in March that aired a few days back, performing four songs including the old Throwing Muses track "Juno".

Have a sketchy YouTube video of the Cure performing a newer song called "A Boy I Never Knew". Hopefully that won't be the only new one they share when they play the Agganis Arena here in Boston next month.

Long as I'm getting all nostalgic, here, have a look at the details for the upcoming Rhino early-era Replacements reissues. I am, uncontrollably, fully on board for those wallet-drainers.

Alright, I have to wrap this up, as it's time to hit the road: It's a banner week for personal favorites here in Boston -- last night was Hellboy creator Mike Mignola being interviewed by collaborator Christopher Golden at the ICA Boston, tomorrow I get to see Travels play their first area live show ever at PA's with the Broken River Prophet, and right now I'm heading out on a rainy walk to Harvard to catch that panel focusing on The Wire that includes creator David Simon. Truly a time to celebrate those whose mere existence makes my life better.

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

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