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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, May 29, 2011

[Live MP3s] New Radiant Storm King (RIP) in Cambridge, MA

I have a very warm place in my music-lovin' heart for Western Massachusetts rock combo New Radiant Storm King, so the news that they packed it in awhile back was sad news indeed. The generally under-appreciated band, which started at Amherst's Hampshire College back in 1990 and released some killer mid-90s material, had a remarkably creative resurgence in the 2000s, putting out the personal-year-end-faves-list-making albums "The Steady Hand" in 2006 and "Drinking in the Moonlight" three years ago. An email to core guitarists/co-singers Matt Hunter and Peyton Pinkerton last Fall, sent to check on the possibility of a new album or potential shows, brought the bad news from Peyton: They'd quietly called it quits in September of 2009. Their ace website (which had a really cool band member timeline on it) is no more (oh, the loneliness of a 404 error), their discography may never again change, and their Wikipedia entry needs one last update. I don't have it in my heart to make that edit, though. The only public clue they'd broken up is hidden in their Facebook 'info' section, where it says "New Radiant Storm King was an indie rock band...". Yeah, they sure as hell were.

It was "Phonecall" that hooked me. Not sure how I heard it back in '93 (probably on WRUV), but the fifth track off their sophomore set, "Rival Time", had the perfect balance of energy, earnest emotion, and melodic two-guitar interplay to nail my burgeoning US-indie-rock sensibilities. I drank the album deeply, so much so that when time came for Colin and I to put together the first-ever Burlingtonitus festival up in Vermont, I reached out to NRSK and invited them along to headline a night. They played such a great set, and I'm forever grateful that they made the drive up. I'm sharing up "Phonecall" here, something I normally wouldn't do as it's not a label-approved promo track, but the album is long out-of-print and there's no online sign of Positive Records. So here ya go...

To be honest, I lost track of the band after my late-90s relocation to Boston, rediscovering them with "The Steady Hand", then digging into the intermittent releases I'd missed. They've been on almost as many labels as they've had albums, which shows not only their persistence, but their ability to find new homes to get behind them. They had a damn good run, and ended on a couple of very high notes thanks to Darla Records. Grab their final two albums from the links above while you can, and enjoy this live recording of the very last time I saw them, opening for Polvo at the Middle East in Cambridge, MA a few years back. Look below for more songs and videos as well...

  • Go out and track down whatever NRSK albums you can - there are a good number of discs available on Amazon, although the prices vary wildly. There are things to love about every full-length, but of the latter-period, I'd go for "The Steady Hand" first, and for earlier stuff I'm partial to 1996's "August Revital". And you certainly can't go wrong with...

  • The band's long-out-of-print 1992 debut, "My Little Bastard Soul", was resissued in 2000 by (the very wise) Wormco Records, and it included an extra disc of demos, rarities, & sonic sundry titled "The Castle". Sadly, Wormco's web-store is non-functional at the moment, so you can't buy direct. Their site does share up a couple of MP3s for your sampling pleasure, so I'll post them here as well...

  • The band didn't have many official videos, but here's one from "Quicksand Under Carpet" off "The Steady Hand"....

    And from their final (*sniff*) album, here's a clip for "Clouds Cover Everything"...

    FYI, both of these videos were directed by Jay Hollinsworth, whose work recently won him an opportunity to direct a video for a song off the new Foo Fighters record. Go check out his brand new clip for "These Days".

  • Long ago, Guided By Voices did a cover of NRSK's "The Opposing Engineer (Sleeps Alone)" for a 1995 Chunk Records split 7-inch, and you can hear it right here. No surprise that Pollard's version is excellent, especially given the source material.

  • Check out a couple more of my NRSK photos on Flickr.

    Thanks for all the songs, NRSK. How long do you think we have to wait for the little reunion tour that'll find you returning more popular than you ever were? Or at least as popular as you damn well deserved to be. In the meantime, here's hoping we get word of some new musical output from misters Pinkerton and Hunter sometime soon.

    [the fine print] If anyone has an issue with these MP3s being made available, just let me know (my contact info in the 'nac faq). This live set recorded with a Sony minidisc and stereo mic, converted to .wav and edited to 192kbps mp3s.

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

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