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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, January 02, 2011

New Year's Weekend Music Miscellany

Happy New Year, y'all. To say I'm glad to see twenty-ten in my rearview mirror is a massive understatement. To summarize my year: Personally = hellish; Professionally = excellent; Bloggingly = weak. Musically = pretty damn good, actually. Speaking of which, I'm taking a quick break from pulling together my post of 2010 faves to share a few songs that kept me company over the holiday break.

Last December, Brooklyn trio City Breathing gifted fans with "Have A Melancholy Christmas", a wonderful (and wonderfully free) downloadable EP, and they've gone and done it again this year: A new 5-track offering of reworked tracks and gorgeous aural experiments titled "Fits and Starts". The songs mostly eschew any pop structure for lengthy, hypnotic meanderings, and it's the best kind. Here's my fave of the five, and you can grab the rest for free at their Bandcamp page. Let's hope the band's holiday freebies become an annual tradition...

Another holiday present for fans, this one from LA instrumental quartet Signal Hill: "Down To Bed" is the b-side of their first ever 7-inch, which was released last summer.

Buy the "California Is Too Long" 7-inch here, along with their excellent "Distance" EP while you're at it. Both are limited edition, tastefully packaged, and include high-quality digital downloads when you buy 'em. The new calendar year promises the first ever batch of Signal Hill appearances on the East Coast, thanks in part to one of the band members moving to Brooklyn last fall. One of those shows had better be in Boston. Just sayin'.

Surprise! Outta nowhere, a year-ending, name-your-price song from New Hampshire's MMOSS, hot on the heels of November's "Another Dream". The brand new "Wander" is up on Bandcamp, and it's a beaut. So get with the grabbin'. The band plays next on Tuesday, January 11th at the Middle East Upstairs with the IOA and the Heather Maloney Band.

My old friend Chris Page (he of Ontario power-pop stalwarts the Stand GT and more recently of trio Camp Radio) landed himself a spot on the just-released "HeroHall & Oates: Home For Christmas" covers compilation, put together by the Halifax-based Herohill Canadian music website. 12 tracks, totally free, and if you can't figure out which artist is getting covered from the title then, well, I'm afraid there's no helping you. Head over to Herohill for a look at the full track list, where you'll find Chris' take on H&O's "Tell Me What You Want!".

And in the event that you missed it early last year, be sure to hit up Chris' Bandcamp site and check out his most recent solo full-length "A Date With A Smoke Machine", which (spoiler alert!) finds itself on my faves-of-the-year list. While the fact that I know Chris may have led to my discovering the album, it didn't have much to do with my loving it. I blame the songs for that.

With all the free stuff I just pointed you to, it's time for you to dish out a little dough, and for the rightest of reasons: The TargetCancer has curated a very special collection of holiday songs by Boston-area artists like Buffalo Tom's Bill Janovitz, Jenny Dee & the Deelinquints, the Gravel Pit, The Gentlemen (Mike Gent of the Figgs + 3/4 of Gravel Pit), and more. Visit The Right Track to donate and download each song, and be sure to keep a close eye on the site, as the TargetCancer crew will be continuously putting together musical offerings to help in the research and treatment of rare and underfunded cancers, a cause that is close to my heart for reasons that should be obvious to some of you out there.

Ok, back to the list-making I go. I swore to myself (and, um, you) that I'd get my faves posted earlier than last year. Curse me and my meaningless promises!

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

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