Month: February 2013

New Album: Baptist Generals – Jackleg Devotional to the Heart

Baptist Generals

Baptist Generals are releasing their first album since 2003 in May.

Ten years have passed since Baptist Generals released their debut album No Silver / No Gold, and while it was well received at the time, the prospect of a follow-up dwindled as years ticked by. I was both ecstatic & shocked upon hearing they were finally releasing their sophomore album, Jackleg Devotional to the Heart, via Sub Pop yesterday. The first single, “Dog That Bit You”, is dominated by a weeping Harrison-esque guitar lead, and has a chugging back-beat that reeks of red lights and cigarette smoke walls. Everything sounds easy and free, and the touches of strings and horns are not heavy handed or overproduced, complimenting the overall vibe of the song. It’s been a decade since Baptist Generals have put out a proper album, and from the sound of it, the boys from Denton, Texas haven’t missed a beat.

Jackleg Devotional to the Heart is coming out on 05/21/13.

Recommended If You Like: Abbey Road Era Beatles, The Honeydogs
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New Music: Joel Plaskett Emergency – Lightning Bolt

Joel Plaskett

Joel Plaskett is coming to Boston 03/20/13. (Photo – Ingram Barss)

Canada’s Joel Plaskett plays a brand of Indie Rock that draws from the finer moments of 70’s AM Radio. The construction of his songs are sneakily complex as is his writing. “Lightning Bolt” starts off sounding like a late night bedroom jam with just a man and his amp. The track builds from there, reaching a crescendo as Plaskett’s band, The Emergency, joins in on the fun. You can purchase his latest album, Scrappy Happiness, over at his websiteand see Joel live at O’Brien’s on 03/20/13.

Recommended If You Like: Robyn Hitchcock, Power Pop, Early Tom Petty

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New Album: Phosphorescent – Muchacho

Phosphorescent

Phosphorescent gets dirty in the tub.

Phosphorescent, aka Matthew Houck, first caught my ear in 2010 with his stellar album Here’s to Taking It Easy, and particularly with the song “The Mermaid Parade“. It’s a wistful album full of soul and tinged with country influences, with Houck coming off as if he was Willie Nelson’s kin. Phosphorescent’s new album, Muchacho, is out 03/19/13 and the above track, “Song for Zula”, is the first single. It still has the wistfulness you’d expect from him, but the Production is over the top with mechanical drums and synth strings making it sound like a bad 80’s pop single. It appears as if Houck has traded in his band for a studio, with “Song for Zula” being nothing more than a vocal performance (albeit a pretty darn good one) – but still, the soul is gone and Willie’s nowhere to be seen. I haven’t heard anything else off of Muchacho, but if it’s more tracks like this it’ll be a severe disappointment.

Phosphorescent will be performing at the Brighton Music Hall on 04/17/13.

Recommended If You Like: Safe Pop, Grey’s Anatomy

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Where the Buffalo Roam: My Day at Dr. Oldie’s Southern New England Rock ‘N’ Roll Collectors Convention

The scene @ Dr. Oldie's Southern New England Rock 'N' Roll Collectors Convention

The scene @ Dr. Oldie’s Southern New England Rock ‘N’ Roll Collectors Convention.

A Flyer for the next Collectors Convention.

A Flyer for the next Collectors Convention.

I woke up early yesterday morning to attend Dr. Oldie’s Original Southern New England Rock ‘N’ Roll Collectors Convention in Seekonk, MA. I heard about the event via In Your Ear Records Facebook page, and was excited for the opportunity to meet 30 different vendors and fellow vinyl enthusiasts alike. It took me a little over an hour to drive south from Cambridge in a hairy rainstorm, but the trip was well worth it.

I’d been emailing with the organizer of the event, Jeff, earlier in the week, and was greeted by him upon entering the Convention. He was as friendly in person as he was online and was a gracious host for this fabulous event. The room at the Clarion Inn was loaded with different dealers and there were already plenty of patrons digging in crates by the time I entered the Convention at 10am. I have to admit, it was a bit overwhelming for me seeing all this, and had no clue where or how to start getting my own hands dirty.

My haul from the Convention.

My haul from the Convention.

I decided to go to an open spot in a corner because there were about six crates of LP’s marked all at $1.00 each. I picked up Miles & Monk at Newport, not believing the price, and then shifted my attention towards the bins of 7″ to my left. I stared thumbing through classic 45’s including Bowie, Prince, Talking Heads, James Brown, Joe Tex, and more. That’s when the Dealer turned to me and said that despite the prices on them, all were two for a dollar. Needless to say, my jaw’s still pretty bruised from slamming so hard on the ground upon hearing this, and I had to confirm with him like three times to make sure I was hearing correctly. Good God, these sure weren’t Boston prices being thrown at me, and my head swirled like Dorthy’s upon learning about no longer being in Kansas.

Thus was the beginning of my journey at the convention. Everyone there was as friendly as Jeff and willing to chat about every type of music you could imagine. I felt like Kevin Costner’s Dad in Field of Dreams, and was just soaking it all in while getting my fingers dirty thumbing through the vinyl. Most in attendance were my senior, and having the opportunity to talk with gray beards with this depth of knowledge was invaluable. This is why Record Stores are essential to the further advancement of music. There’s tribal knowledge and stories you get from being face-to-face with someone whose passion equals or surpasses yours. I love Record Store Day and it’s mission to raise the profile of independent Record Stores, but there’s something very cold about it all. The records are overpriced, the releases can be forced, and the interaction is minimal. It has a very “Black Friday” feel and is consumerism at it’s worst, a lot there are are throwing things on eBay as soon as they get home, and there’s just no community. In short, it’s a cash and grab event.

Still, I love Record Store Day for a lot of reasons, but warmth is the essence of what vinyl is all about, and it just isn’t there in a store you’re waiting inline to get into, moving en mass like a bunch of cattle about to be slaughtered. The Record Convention is the polar opposite. I got 26 seven inches and 25 LP’s for under $60, which realistically would be about five LP’s on Record Store Day, and that’s not even counting the amount of talks I had with Dealers and Collectors, the flyers I was handed, the shows I was told about, and back stories I learned when looking at certain LP’s. That interaction can’t happen with the glow of vinyl on the internet, and that’s why I was so in awe of it all – it felt like I was gazing at a Mid-West scene just before the railroad tracks were laid down, and I sure as hell hope this breed of Music Freak doesn’t become extinct, they’re invaluable.

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Freakin’ Weekend: Crunch – Funky Beat

FREAKIN_WEEKEND

FREAKIN_WEEKEND

Peoples Potential Unlimited is great DC label that specializes in unreleased and obscure 70s & 80s dance music – or as some call it, post-disco. A good introduction to Peoples Potential is their Peoples’ Potential Unlimited Family Album compilation, which features a variety of excellent acts, and for my money, Crunch stands out the most. So stop any chores you’re doing, close that spreadsheet, pour yourself a stiff drink, and and get your funk on – It’s the Freakin’ Weekend.

 

Recommended If You Like: P-Funk, Post-Disco, Prince, Dank Funk

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Under Silkworm: The Past is the Present is the Future

Silkworm

Silkworm are hero’s of Music, and will get their due with time.

Couldn’t You Wait? is a new documentary about the 90’s most under appreciated band, Silkworm. It’s a touching film that serves as an inspiration to both musicians and fans alike, and it’s available online for a budget friendly $5.00. Directed by Seth Pomeroy, Couldn’t You Wait? chronicles Silkworm’s journey from Missoula to Chicago, Matador to Touch and Go, and all points in-between. It’s an excellent snapshot of the evolution of an American band and the community they helped galvanize.

What struck me most about Silkworm’s story was how the three of them, Tim Midgett, Andy Cohen, and Michael Dahlquist evolved their music without compromise, answering only to themselves. They were on the edge of many scenes (Seattle, The “Alternative” Boom) and played on seminal labels (Matador, Touch and Go), but they never let trend get in the way of their music. This approach cost them a lot of money, but as time passes their integrity and dedication will out survive bands from the 90’s who had commercial success.

The Under

The Under fighting the good fight at O’Brien’s last night.

I watched Couldn’t You Wait? before heading across the river to see The Under play at O’Brien’s last night and found striking parallels between Silkworm and them. The obvious similarity is that they’re both three piece bands, however, The Under’s style of music is vastly different than Silkworms. That said, they both uniquely play with such pure un-bastardized talent that I couldn’t help blurring them together. The Under’s progressive rock style spans the map, with all influences on display. While other bands on the bill were trying to scream you into a testosterone induced submission hold, The Under attacked you with a level of musicianship that lapped the other bands who graced the stage. This made me think about how Silkworm didn’t conform to what others around them were playing or listening to, and made me realize that The Under, while very different, are from the same family tree.

There’s thousands of bands like Silkworm and The Under in towns and cities across the country who’ll have varying levels of success and failures, but by them staying true to themselves they’re raising the watermark of what music should be. They’re on the front lines every day, bucking trends, keeping music fresh, exciting, and important – that’s something I’d wait a lifetime for.

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New Album: Chelsea Light Moving – Chelsea Light Moving

Chelsea Light Moving

Chelsea Light Moving

Thurston Moore’s new band, Chelsea Light Moving, are releasing their self-titled debut on 03/05/13 via Matador Records, and it’s now streaming over at NPR. The band consists of Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Keith Wood (Hush Arbors), Samara Lubelski (Hall of Fame), and John Moloney (Howlin’ Rain) and the album’s a total rocker. When Moore and Kim Gordon divorced in 2011 Sonic Youth was effectively disbanded, although they’re officially saying the group’s on a hiatus. The divorce bummed out Sonic Youth-heads and left them in worry about what was next for the group and its members.

Both Thurston and Lee Renaldo have released excellent solo efforts since the “hiatus” of Sonic Youth, Moore with his outstanding 2011 Beck produced Demolished Thoughts. While Demolished was a beautiful effort, it was in large part a melancholy, acoustic, and reflective record, which makes sense given where Moore was in his personal life at the time. Enter Chelsea Light Moving. There’s nothing soft about this record. It’s searing with Thurston’s signature attacking guitar and sing-song snarl, and fits neatly with any of Sonic Youth’s more raucous efforts. It appears Moore’s through mourning, and with the help of a very adept new band, he’s finding his familiar voice in a new way, which should make any Sonic Youth-head happy.

The first single (located below), “Burroughs”, was recorded and mixed May 18-20, 2012, by Justin Pizzoferrato at Sonelab, Easthampton, MA.

Chelsea Light Moving will be playing at The Sinclair in Cambridge on 04/07/13. You can pre-order Chelsea Light Moving here.

Recommended If You Like: Sonic Youth, Thurston Moore, Feedback Rock

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New Album: Kurt von Stetten – Androlafi

Kurt von Stetten

Kurt von Stetten deserves more attention, possibly Boston’s greatest hidden gem.

Kurt von Stetten’s music is weird. It’s off-putting in a fever dream way making your musical inertia veer off course and fluctuate like a fifty cent bouncy ball. It’s because of this uncertainty that you tingle with excitement upon hearing certain tracks. Listening to von Stetten’s music is like ingesting a drug for the first time. As your psyche ascends towards the initial drop you release yourself for what’s to come.

Kurts new album, Androlafi, does just this. It breaches walls of sophistication that only a trained indie/pop savant could attain, and with him being a DIY one man show; from his music to artwork, I fear he’s one of Boston’s least appreciated Renaissance men, and that’s a Goddamn shame.

You can purchase Androlafi here.

Recommended If You Like: Sebadoh, GBV, The Folk Implosion

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