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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

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

[Musical Nutshells] Kristin Hersh/Throwing Muses, Chris Brady/Pond, Ted Leo/Pharmacists, Survival Knife/Unwound, David Bazan/Pedro The Lion

In keeping with the frequent squirrel appreciation reflected in my blog (and my life), I've decided to file these random "various & sundry" posts under "nutshells" from here on out. Just go with it...

Kristin Hersh, the distinctive voice and guitar of both Throwing Muses & 50 Foot Wave, let fly some seriously exciting news in her latest email update to fans, and I must share. Frankly, I can hardly contain myself.

First: "The new Throwing Muses record -- four years in the making --  is finally mixed and mastered. We’re now designing the book that it will be (like the Crooked book, but with a CD included)." Kristin is supported, in large part, by regular contributions from fans (called "Strange Angels"), who get a variety of special perks and access to new songs in the making. One of those fringe benefits was an early listen to this upcoming 33-track (!) Muses record, not due out until early next year. It's titled Purgatory/Paradise, and it is absolutely epic. I'm overwhelmed by it, in the best way.

Next, Kristin says: "I’ve just recorded basic tracks for what I believe is the best acoustic record I’ve ever made. And because of you, that record includes Martin McCarrick (cello) Rob Ahlers (drums) and Dave Narcizo (drums, too.)" For those unaware, Martin McCarrick is the brilliant cellist who has contributed to a wealth of beautiful string sounds to songs from the likes of Siouxsie and the Banshees, This Mortal Coil, The Glove, Therapy?, Lush, and so many more. And those drummers? Naturally they're her bandmates from 50 Foot Wave and Throwing Muses, respectively. Both of them on the same record? Hot damn.

But wait, there's more: "50 Foot Wave just finished another Ep with Mudrock. As soon as we find a spot in the release schedule where it will get the most attention -- from us and you -- we'll get it out there in the world where it can make friends." More 50'~? Yes, please.

Also? "I’m writing a new book, with another two in the pipeline..." I inhaled her written debut, "Rat Girl", and the promise of more thrills me.

As exciting as all that info is, she tops it with this corker: "I've started a happifying new project called Outros, with Rob Ahlers and Chris Brady (Pond & Audio Learning Center), two of my favorite people and favorite musicians." Now this, I can hardly believe. Y'see, I'm basically a Chris Brady fanboy. I absolutely adore the songs he wrote with Pond and ALC, love his bass playing, voice, and lyrics, and have always hoped he'd get back to making new music. The fact that he's doing so with Kristin is a dream come true - a dream I never knew I had. This trio is the musical version of a comic book superhero team-up.  The first time I heard a Chris Brady-penned song? 1992, just before (the real and only) Pond's debut album for Sub Pop was released, and just after they finished their first UK tour... opening for Throwing Muses. Full circle.

Work on Ted Leo & his Pharmacists' next full-lengther is well underway, and I'm assuming/hoping we'll get some news from Matador any day now on when we'll hear the results. While we wait, Ted's been touring solo with some truly talented ladies lately (the UK with Rebecca Gates last month, and a North American tour with Aimee Mann, that starts tonight - with Boston on 11/3), and I figure he'll kick into full-band mode once the record hits (in early 2013?). His personal Soundcloud page, where he shares the occasional self-recorded oddity, has been pretty quiet for the past few months, until he offered up a little gem a few days ago. As he says: "Francesca Blumenthal's heart ripping torch song re-purposed for election season." Have a listen...

I've lamented this too many times, but one of the great disappointments of my band-loving life is the cancellation of Unwound's Boston-area show during the tour for their final (and my favorite) album, "Leaves Turn Inside You". The reason was more than understandable (the date? 9/11/2001), but the fact that they broke up shortly after was a tough pill to swallow. No future chances to see them, and worse, no new Unwound songs. Ever.

Which makes this year's unexpected arrival of Survival Knife all the more appreciated. It's Justin Trosper (vocals/guitar) and Brandt Sandeno (guitar) from Unwound, Meg Cunningham (bass/vocals) from Blues Druid, and Kris Cunningham (drums) from Western Hymn. The quartet made their debut in late March with a show in Olympia, Washington, and they were tight right out of the gate. According to Facebook, they'll start recording in November, and yes, they sound just enough like Unwound for me to love them immediately and intensely. Oh, how I've missed Justin's guitar playing and songwriting style. Feels like a long-empty void has been filled.

Gloriously, you can watch the entirety of their first show on YouTube. Here it is...

I first became aware of the band back in early May thanks to Swan Fungus, who shared up the setlist from that debut show along with a soundboard recording of one song, "Thud of the Jackboot" (it's since been removed). Rather than reshare that track, here's another live one. Tag team: Let's see another blog share another song, and so on...

Incidentally, word is there's an Unwound archive of live shows (audio & video) in the works. Right now the site is password protected, but here's hoping it opens up soon.

Next week David Bazan and his band will hit the road for a month to play Pedro the Lion's amazing "Control" album from front-to-back, and they'll be in Boston at Brighton Music Hall on November 13th. Tickets here. They'll no doubt be lugging boxes full of newly-remastered Pedro the Lion vinyl releases, so make sure you bring extra cash and hit the merch table. I couldn't quite pull the trigger on buying the beautiful box set of Sloan's "Twice Removed" LP for $90 when I was at their BMH show last week... but $70 to pre-order those 5 remastered Pedro LPs (Hard To Find a Friend, The Only Reason I Feel Secure, Control, Achilles Heel, and Winners Never Quit)? With bonus goodies that won't be sold individually? Yeah, I pre-ordered that sucker the day it was announced. Bring it on, Mr. Mailman. They have arrived!

Listen to the remastered "Control"...

... and one remastered track from each Pedro the Lion LP ...

Big weekend coming up... heading down to Brooklyn with Colin & Dana to play drums on some Let's Whisper recordings. Equal parts nervous and excited... hope the rust comes off easily. Keep an eye on my Twitter account for potential in-studio updates from within Marlborough Farms, if you're into that sort of thing.

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

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