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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

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Boston: Some August Shows of Note

As promised a month ago, here's a continuation of the list of upcoming Boston-area shows that have me very, very psyched for the second half of summer. Wait, summer's almost half over? Well, rats.

I'm thinking of making this run-down a monthly deal. But then again, I think about doing lots of things...

If you went to Wheat's CD release show at Great Scott last night, I hope you saved some of your weekend energy for tonight, 'cuz former Bostonian (and ex-Helium frontwoman) Mary Timony returns to town for the first show with her new band Soft Power at TT the Bears. If that's not reason enough to be there (and it should be), they're joined on the bill by Gramercy Arms, the NY-based collective who happen include Mary's early-90s Boston indie rock compatriots, Dave Derby of the wonderful Dambuilders, and Boston's own Hilken Mancini, formerly of Fuzzy. And with that band, you never know who else might show up on stage (check the 'about' section of their website for the amazing list of contributors to their album). Added bonus? Locals Shepherdess open up, which shouldn't be too much of a surprise, given Hilken's presence in that band as well. Can never get too much Hilken, really. What is a surprise, at least to me, is that former Fudge drummer Mike Savage (who rules) and Operators guitarist Emily Arkin (who also happens to rule) are also in Shepherdess... how did I not know this until this week?! Throw in bass player Winston Bramen (also formerly Fuzzy, and in Thalia Zedek's band) and that's a recipe for greatness. I mean, how can anyone not go to this show. While the likelihood of my presence at any Sunday night show can be low, this one gives me no real choice. I apologize in advance to my bosses for my lackluster Monday performance.

A few days later, on Wednesday, August 5th, former Bostonian (and now Torontian... Toronto-ite? Torontist? Help me out, Frank) Joe Pernice comes home for not one, but two shows at the Brattle Theatre. And they ain't just your average shows, no sir. Along with the singin', there'll be some book-readin', too, maybe some autographin', thanks to the release of Joe's debut novel, "It Feels So Good When I Stop", this Tuesday. Naturally, the novel includes references to lots of music, including cover songs and fictional tunes, so Joe has thrown together a soundtrack that he'll be drawing from for these live performances. Day-jobbers can grab tickets to an early 7pm show and late-nighters can pick up ones to the 9:30pm show. Opening up will be former Charlestown (and now L.A.) comedy duo The Walsh Brothers, and remember... the Brattle now serves beer.

On Thursday, August 13th, Baltimore-based duo Wye Oak returns to the Middle East Upstairs for a show with the Starlight Mints. Both bands are here on the heels of just-released new albums, and I'm especially excited to see Wye Oak play songs from "The Knot" in a more intimate setting than the gi-normous Memorial Hall they played to close out XX Merge last week in North Carolina. It was a wonderful performance, but I'm ready to get a whole lot closer to Andy & Jenn's amps n' drums. Tickets here, and arrive early for the indescribable antics of JP Inc, who used to be known as Pleaseeasaur. The transition from that into Wye Oak will be... interesting.

In case you haven't been paying attention, charming Scottish quartet the Trashcan Sinatras are gratefully still around, still making music, and in fact, have just released their fifth album, the gorgeous "In The Music". Their debut, 1990's "Cake", is one of my all-time faves, rivaling some of the Smiths' best work, as far as jangly UK pop with brilliantly twisted wordplay goes. And while each subsequent album didn't hit me quite as hard as that one did (certain subsequent songs, yes, but whole albums, no), I'm always on board for whatever they're up to. And what they're up to is a rare U.S. tour in support of the new album, which kicked off a couple weeks ago and finishes up at TT the Bears in Cambridge two weeks from tonight, on Sunday, August 16th. I've only seen them once, and it was ages ago, so a TTs show will be a true treat. Opening is Brookville and Paul Sentz (of This Car Up & Putnam Murdock). If there's any justice, this sucker will sell out, so grab a ticket here.

By the way, if you're smartly thinking of picking up a copy of the new album, you can grab a special (deep breath) limited edition, individually-numbered, clothbound, screen printed, digipak version (whew) at their website which includes an instant download of high-quality DRM free MP3s (320kbs) while you wait for it to arrive, and they've thrown in two bonus tracks for good measure. And excitedly, word is that all four previous Trashcan albums should be re-released with b-sides at some point. Fingers are crossed.

The following night brings the Deal sisters back to town for another Breeders show at the Paradise. That's Monday, August 17th, with openers The Whispertown 2000. Tickets here. The band self-released the "Fate To Fatal" EP on Record Store Day, and you can download the title track here.

August will end, for me, on Boston's waterfront as I take in Explosions In The Sky with The Flaming Lips at the BoA Pavilion. The opportunity to see Austin's EitS in such a potentially beautiful outdoor setting is nothing less than a gift... anyone who's familiar with their powerful soundscapes can imagine what we're in for. And while I haven't been as much of a Lips fan as I was when "The Soft Bulletin" and "Yoshimi..." came out, it's high time I experienced them live, and the possibility of Wayne's big ball. Who knows, maybe he'll end up in Boston Harbor, floating out to sea as "Do You Realize?" plays on. Openers are Stardeath and Whitedwarfs, who I know next to nothing about, although I heard (and liked) one of their songs just yesterday, and you can buy tickets here. I'll be the guy smiling, probably with his eyes closed, third row center, during the entirety of EitS's set.

Oh, and if you use that link to buy tickets, you'll get to download 3 songs from the upcoming Flaming Lips album "Embryonic": "Convinced of the Hex," "The Impulse," and "Silver Trembling Hands." Then, sometime before the show, you'll supposedly be able to download 3 rare Lips b-sides, picked by the band. And finally, 3-5 days after the show, you'll get a link to download an official live recording of the set you just saw. Because getting that link before the show would require time travel technology. And if the sound quality of that recording even half-decent (and given that it's official, it should be), I'm hoping to hell they record EitS's set, too. And that we get to listen to it. Someday.

There are so many more August shows I could write about (see my big ol' list on the left), but if I don't stop here I'll never get this done. Keep an eye out for posts on other shows when the urge and the free time strikes me...

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

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