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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, September 11, 2009

A Bona Fide Boston Music Boom - Part 1 of 2

Imagine me saying this in my most sickeningly sincere voice possible: It has been a very, very long time since I've been as excited about Boston-made music (and specifically, discovering the new) as I have been over this past couple months. I've been listening to a whole lot of area bands lately, and I feel like I've barely even scratched the sonic surface. So I'm going to take a quick run down of the locally-grown music that has been filling my ears and warming my heart as the summer fades, and point you in the direction of where you can buy their work or see 'em play next. And if any of the free n' legal mp3s that follow grab you, hopefully you'll do both.

While I'm going to stick mostly to the facts here, rather than all-out flattery, if a band is listed here, they are entirely Almanac-endorsed. In this first part, I'll rattle off some albums that were released recently that you may have missed, a couple of which I've mentioned and a few I've been meaning to. In part two, which I hope to post later this coming week, I'll focus on just-released or upcoming releases that I'm excited about, along with some completely free offerings from some new bands. And off we go...

In late July, Taunton's own Wheat released their latest full-length, "White Ink, Black Ink", and they've shared a couple of songs and a video from it...
[Mp3]: Wheat - "H.O.T.T."
[Mp3]: Wheat - "Changes Is"
[Video]: Wheat - "Changes Is" (in .mov format / youtube here)
Pick up your own copy of the disc here, and be sure to visit, where you'll find a load of shared live sets. The band plays their next area show on a Saturday night, October 24th, downstairs at the Middle East in Central Square with Jukebox The Ghost, and tickets go on sale next Friday, September 18th. If you're lucky, they'll do their Daft Punk cover.

You'd think I'd be slightly tired of You Can Be A Wesley's debut record, "Heard Like Us", by now, given how much I've listened to it (and how many times I'd heard the live versions of the songs before the album arrived), but it's still making frequent and welcome appearances in my playlists. Here's the oft-shared "Creatures", which leads off side 2 of the LP (and I love that I can say that)...
[Mp3] You Can Be A Wesley - "Creatures"
Listen to a couple more songs at their Muxtape page, grab the album digitally from, or snag a copy of the vinyl from the band at one of their shows (no cd on this one, kids!). Your next chance to do that is tonight, when the band plays their alma mater (that's B.U. to you and me) as part of a WTBU Day show, which starts at 8pm at the George Sherman Union, 775 Commonwealth Ave. Admission is free for students, and just 5 bucks otherwise, and joining them are Pretty & Nice and Magic Magic. That's a steal at less than 2 bucks a band.

YCBAW will play again soon, when they Allston's Great Scott on Sept. 26th to help Hallelujah The Hills celebrate the release of their own new album. But more on that in the tomorrow's half of this post.

(and on a total side note - nice to see half of YCBAW in the Autolux-appreciating crowd last night at the 'Dise.)

First, I owe an apology to Mean Creek - I was somehow pre-programmed to take a first glance at your band name and incorrectly guess 'bluegrass?'. Nothing against bluegrass, but I'm really glad I dove into their wonderful new disc, "The Sky (Or The Underground)", to discover that is most definitely not the case. Listen to the title track to hear for yourself...
[Mp3] Mean Creek - "The Sky (or the Underground)"
The band celebrated the release of the disc last month, so you can get the tracks digitially from Amie Street or other sources listed here, or physically from Old Flame Records. Their next show is today, when they hit the Boston waterfront for The Boston Arts Festival in Christopher Columbus Park at 5:45pm, they're playing TT's on Sept. 17th, and they'll also be part of the Mark Sandman Memorial Concert on September 27th.

On the same night, and on the same stage, that Mean Creek celebrated their album's release, so did their friends in Drug Rug. "Paint The Fence Invisible" is 11 tracks in just over 30 minutes, short sharp shocks of catchy songs that dig in deep and stay there. Here's one...
[Mp3] Drug Rug - "Never Tell"
Stream the entire album (or better yet, buy the damn thing) at LaLa. If you didn't catch them at that CD release show, then you'll be waiting until their in-progress tour with Portugal. The Man comes to Boston on October 18th. Tickets for that Paradise show can be obtained right here.

There are musicians you love, and then there are musicians who are loved by the musicians you love. I happily discovered Cambridge's own Choo Choo La Rouge thanks to singer/songwriter Jennifer O'Connor, who digs them enough to put out their "Black Clouds" album out on her very own Kiam Records imprint last month. Here's a song and brand new video for your edumusication...
[Mp3] Choo Choo La Rouge - "It's Gonna Happen Fast"
[Video] Choo Choo La Rouge - "Here Come The Guns"
Pick up the album digitally from Amazon (and be sure to sample to my favorite track, "Mostly Air"), or a disc direct from Jennifer at Kiam. The trio celebrated with a release show in Somerville a few weeks back, but only have a couple of out of October out-of-town shows booked at the moment. Keep an eye and ear out for their next Boston-area appearance.

Oh Caspian, my Caspian. This is far from the first, nor will it be the last, time I've mentioned these Beverly-based boys on this site. The occasion? The arrival of their majestic (a word easily applied) second full-length, "Tertia". Yes, they fit in the ol' instrumental post-rock category, but they do it with such passion, such power, that seeing them live can be both a mentally and physically moving experience. A sold-out crowd experienced that a couple weeks ago at the TT's release party, where I finally got to hold the hefty, beautifully designed, double-vinyl version of the album in my happy little hands. Here's a meager digital taste of "Tertia"...
[Mp3] Caspian - "Of Foam and Wave"
Know what you can do right now? Go download the entire album, for free, at Gimme Sound, or better yet, order up that 180g double-vinyl (or cd) from their label, Mylene Sheath. The band, who have just weathered a line-up shift and emerged ready for the road, have been set loose upon Europe for a massive two-month tour, and they'll return to our shows for an October 29th homecoming set upstairs at the Middle East. Which spells sellout. Tickets here.

Keep an eye out for part two, in which I'll spotlight some upcoming albums and associated live shows I'm anticipating, along with pointers to even more free music made in and around our little city.


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

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