Thursday, May 28, 2009
Below, a veritable wellspring of news, music, and performances from a bunch of great Boston area musicians. Subjects covered below includes The New Collisions (playing tomorrow), Greg Hawkes, Hallelujah the Hills, Wheat, Miranda Warning (playing tomorrow), Charlene, The Broken River Prophet, Heat From A DeadStar, Saturday's "SPLIT / SIGNAL" show in Somerville, Norway's I Was A King (also playing Saturday), and Walter Schreifels. Please do dive in...
There is no shortage of shows to choose from in the Boston-area tomorrow (Friday) night, but one stands out from the crowded schedule: The New Collisions will welcome their debut EP into the world with a set at TT the Bears, and they've smartly surrounded themselves with some of Boston finest: Township, Televandals, The Lights Out, and Logan 5 & The Runners. As if that wasn't enough Boston goodness for you, word is that The New Collisions will be joined on stage by the esteemed Greg Hawkes, keyboardist and co-founder of The Cars, who contributed his easily-recognizable playing to the band's new recordings. As an old school Cars fan, who as a 10-year old listened incessantly to his dad's vinyl copy of "Candy-O" (and blushed at its Vargas cover), this linking of new wave Boston rock to newer wave Boston rock gives me a little thrill.
Here's the second track from The New Collisions EP, which they've graciously sent along as a high-quality 256kbps Mp3...
I have heard my new favorite Hallelujah the Hills song, and it is "Blank Passports". The track will be the fourth on their upcoming second album, "Colonial Drones", out this fall on Misra. The label has used it (oh so effectively) to tease us by including it as part of their new freely-downloadable Misra/Absolutely Kosher Records "Soon" Mp3 sampler, which also includes songs from Buttonhead, Emily Rodgers, Chet, 60 Watt Kid, The Rollercoaster Project, Chris Garneau, and a track from Monahans just-released (and excellent) new record, "Dim The Aurora". Even though I'm only sharing the HtH track here, don't let that stop you from grabbing the rest of the "Soon EP" here.
Another celebration of some new music, this one taking place a little further down the road: On Saturday night, August 1st, Wheat, the pride of Taunton, will mark the July 21st release of their next full-lengther, the long-awaited "White Ink, Black Ink", with a show at Allston's own Great Scott. Openers are Bon Savants and The XYZ Affair. For the impatient (like yours truly), the album can be pre-ordered now, which will allow you to download the whole thing while you wait for your physical copy to arrive. To wet your Wheat-deprived whistle, here's the preview track...
This name should ring a fairly loud bell for any longtime followers of the Boston music scene: Miranda Warning. The power pop combo (who spent time as both a trio and a quartet between the years '87 and '95) is making a one-time-only return to the stage tomorrow night, Friday the 29th, when they play a reunion show at The Rabbit Hole book/music/comic shop in Fitchburg. The reunited band includes longtime members singer/guitarist Ad Boc and drummer Tom Evans, who later went on to form Jumprope. Random fact: Their original lineup actually included Shellac/Volcano Suns/Mission of Burma member Bob Weston in their first incarnation (which was news to me). As M.R. makes a brief return, another band called The Bones makes their debut as the opener. The totally free show kicks off at 7pm, so find your way out to Fitchburg if you can.
Here's the first track of Miranda Warning's third album, 1993's "Twelve Speed Pop Blender". Another random fact: This song features lyrics by Rob Galgano, who later went on to play with Ad in The Fond Farewells, and is the man behind the All Over The Place podcast.
It's been a very long time coming, but finally, Charlene is back - in recorded form, at least. The Newton-based band is on the verge of releasing a follow-up to their excellent 2002 debut full-lengther, and to get us ready for its arrival later this summer, they've offered up the new digital "Oh Hey" EP (along with a mere 100 handmade physical copies). Recorded over the course of several years at their own Dented Head Studios, it's got three songs: "Oh Hey" along with "Before The Comet Hits" and "Big Winds". All three songs can be streamed at their Myspace page and TheSixtyOne, and you can make them your own through Other Music, Amazon MP3, or iTunes. If you've been reading the 'Nac for awhile, you know I've shared up the title track before, and here it is again...
[Mp3] Charlene - "Oh Hey"
(Full disclosure: I was honored to play drums in Charlene for a time, but don't hold that against them.)
And as long as we're on the subject of songs recorded at Dented Head, how about new/old songs from The Broken River Prophet? (yes, another band who allowed me to sit on the drum stool and play along with them). The musical collective, who has stuck with a relatively stable lineup over the past couple years, has just finished a pair of songs that had their basic tracks laid down 4 or 5 years ago. Yes, the current crew completed songs recorded by younger versions of themselves (and even former members, including violinist Taro Hatanaka), and according to head prophet Adam Brilla, "Some sort of H.G. Wellian/DeLorean type shit went down." The results? "New York City Director's Cut Blues" and "Chemical Solitaire", which has always been one of my fave BRP songs. You can stream both at their MySpace page, and here's one of 'em to download...
Now this next song is from a band that is most certainly not Boston-centric (London/France, in fact), but it's record label most certainly is. In fact, I challenge you to find a label more thoroughly Boston than Rick Harte's Ace Of Hearts Records, the imprint responsible for releasing seminal albums from the likes of Mission of Burma, the Neighborhoods, and the Neats more than a couple decades ago. Just last year Rick worked on those fantastic MoB remasters for Matador records, and even now he's remastering the Neats' stuff.
But enough about the past, this is about the now: A few months back Ace of Hearts put out a new record from UK trio Heat From A DeadStar, and while the local connection got me to listen, the songs made me a fan. The 13-track "Seven Rays Of The Sun" pulls from the dark, angular aspects of Unwound and some Fugazi, but throws in a little more melody and overt beauty. It's right up my alley, and Ace of Hearts has allowed me to share the song that got me hooked. And get this: Mission of Burma's Roger Miller plays piano on it (more about him below)...
And lastly, I have your Saturday evening plans for you, so pay attention -- You'll be at the Center for the Arts at the Armory in Somerville for what promises to be a truly special night: It's called "SPLIT / SIGNAL", and it will marry together music and film in a way that is not often done, by having eight unique acts play original scores to original, exclusive short films. The musicians? The Books, Cul De Sac, Roger Miller, Caspian (oh yes), Black Yodel, Arms and Sleepers, Devil Music, and Mike Dunkley with Todd Brozman. The creators behind the corresponding visuals? Rich Remsberg, VJ Dziga, Handcranked Productions, Bryan Deblasio, Michael Maraden, Dado Ramadani, Barrett Films, and Jon Cianfrani. As if that long list wasn't enough, there's a bit of a bonus: The ticket price includes beverages from the Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project, the Cambridge Brewing Company, and the Mayflower Brewing Company. Doors are at 6pm, the action starts at 7pm, and I'm hoping I'll be able to see all of it before I head over to the now-sold-out Figgs / In Out / Boston Beat Machine show at the Midway. Oh man, Davis Square to JP? That's going to be a haul. Kindly clear the way, willya?
Ok, I lied, a couple more quick weekend things I must mention: Try to catch Norwegian band I Was A King at Harpers Ferry on Friday night. They're playing second of four, they've traveled far, and they definitely deserve your ears. I shared one of their songs recently, so grab it and you'll hear why. There's a reason that members of Danielson, The Ladybug Transistor, Serena Maneesh, and Sufjan Stevens contributed to their album.
And finish off your weekend be seeing Mr. Walter Schreifels (Quicksand/Rival Schools/Gorilla Biscuits) at Great Scott on Sunday night, with Steven Brodsky (Cave In) and Clouds opening up. It's just $10, and I'm pretty surprised tickets are still available. Play it safe and grab yours here, or swing by Great Scott to skip the extra charges.
live in cambridge, ma
on november 14th, 2008
previously: joy formidable - boston 2011
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