Friday, October 31, 2008

On the Way in to the Show Last Night

On the way into the city last night, I became a witness... I was on my way in to attend at least one of the many, many quality shows in Boston and Cambridge last night (we were on the list in three different venues last night.... And we have the grandiose dream of catching four amazing live acts in three different clubs, but it never quite ever happens.)

Then something completely unexpected happened... I witnessed a nasty car accident that resulted in an injury - The crash unfolded right in front of me. Someone on their way home struck someone running some errands. People were just going about their business when their world was turned upside down.

I dialed 911 and stayed on site until help arrived. I saw them take a woman away in a neck brace, on a back board. My participation didn't end there. I learned I needed to provide a report for the police. I waited until they cleared the traffic that had resulted from the crash and then the damaged car was towed away.

photograph by Jeffrey Pannis

On the roadside, the thought of the sudden and deafening impact echoed in my ears. I kicked at the dirt a little between the blades of tall dead grass and waited my turn to tell a story. My thoughts turned to the lady who had been taken away in the ambulance. I was already cold from the bitter Fall night .

I love live music and I missed some stellar performances last night, but the incident last night was far more important. Such things give you pause. A serious reality check. Just a small reminder that life is fleeting...

Just thought I'd share.

TOP TALENT: One of those bands we missed last night was Passenger, an absolutely stellar five-piece UK band headed by Mike Rosenberg (The Mike Rosenberg Problem). Passenger play dynamic pop with heady guitar playing and outstanding lyrics. We can't say enough good things about their brand new album, Wicked Man's Rest. You should have it.

This song is rabid and wild yet plotting and planned.
I thought it might just be perfect for this post. Sorry I missed you this time around Mike. We'll be listening!

highly recommended:
Passenger - Do What You Like

(Web / Myspace)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Twin Peaks and Rock n Roll - Our Q&A with The Motion Sick

Editor's Note: The Motion Sick (a Best of Pick for 2008) are easily one of the city's best bands right now and are standouts on the national level based on their talent, intelligence and the unique nature of their music.

The interview you are about to read was conducted with The Motion Sick this summer. Our research included listening to a lot of the band's sensational 2008 record: The Truth Will Catch You, Just Wait. We also attended a handful of Motion Sick shows and I am proud to count the guys as friends now. Music does help bring people together.

Special thanks to Jen P for her transcription work and undying dedication.


photo by Tanit Sakakini

I am driving east like a maniac... I zig-zag through back streets and cross bridges, leaving beyond snared intersections as I approach Cambridge and my interview with the Motion Sick’s Michael Epstein.

The band has a set with Somebody Still Loves You Boris Yelstin later that same evening at TT the Bears and Epstein has agreed to fit me in before hand. I look at my watch... Damn.

Hopefully we still enough time to get some good quotes and a little insight. Traffic is growing ugly. I definitely didn’t want to miss this interview. In preparation for the meeting, I’ve been listening to the Motion Sick’s 2008 album, “The Truth Will Catch You Just Wait” a lot recently. Sometime during my second listen through, the record really reached out to me. Now not only is the band really good – they are exciting. (One set is all you need to realize their huge potential.)

I quickly make my way to the 1369 Coffee House where I begin to look for the lone wiry singer. (Epstein makes me look like a mountain.) There are none to be found.

The singer waves me over. I missed him because he was sitting with drummer Travis Richter. I learn bassist Matthew Girard is on his way. I am now, unexpectedly, doing a group interview.

We pull a couple of tables together in the back of the coffee house and trade pleasantries. I make note of our beverage selections to make some small talk. I blow steam from the top of my muddy cappuchino, Epstein drinks green tea and the drummer (Richter) sips on a Red Bull . Just then the song changes and it’s the new one from the Brian Jonestown Massacre. I know it instantly and suddenly, I feel right about this interview and just now I’m going to get something brilliant from these guys.

RYAN (RSL): The first time I wrote about you guys I wrote that you had a kind of time traveler quality, like your music is a little bit all over the place artistically. So where do your influences come from? Do all of you have the same taste in music?

TRAVIS RICHTER: When it comes to music, I’m more of a pop-orientated person. My style of music is much more on the melodic, poppy side. I’m not so necessarily so concerned or so into the lyrics as I am with the melodies and the harmony.

MICHAEL EPSTEIN: One thing that is really important to us in the band is that no one’s going to come to a show or listen to our album, and say, ‘All these songs sound like the same thing. This band has only one song and they’re doing it over and over again...’

RYAN: What would we find you guys listening to on your own time, when you’re not playing music with the band?

TRAVIS: I’m listening to a lot of more mainstream indie rock. Manchester Orchestra, Dead Confederate. Most lately, I’ve been into Modest Mouse (RSL Top 15 Albums of 2007) … it took me a while for those guys, I guess you could say I kind of missed...

Michael and I both spontaneously interrupt Travis, “Missed the Boat?” And then there’s a few seconds of laughter and it’s all you can hear in the coffee shop.

TRAVIS: I didn’t know too much about them until Mike shared some of their music with me. The thing about Modest Mouse is that they’re an amazing band and amazing musicians.

RYAN: And now they’ve added Johnny Marr.

TRAVIS: And Johnny Marr’s friggin' incredible.

MICHAEL: I like Cloud Cult and actually, I’ve been listening to the Velvet Underground a lot recently.

That’s when Girard arrives and pulls up a seat, smiling widely. We could have had a Motion Sick performance right in the coffee shop except for the missing guitarist PATRICK MUSSARI. (I later learn that Patrick drew the short straw and was left to begin loading the gear for the show by himself.)

I repeat the same question to Girard, about his influences.

MATTHEW GIRARD: I like much the same music... Recently, I have been into Television. I’m a Wilco fan and Neil Young is always good for me

RYAN: And what have you been listening to most recently?

MATTHEW: There’s a band we played with in Detroit called The Silent Years. The first three songs on their album are awesome. ”

RYAN: Well now that we’ve talked about your influences, let’s talk about your music. The songs have that great pop sound, but some of those lyrics – if you read those straight through, are about theology, philosophy, politics. You are comparing things that don’t naturally match up to the music in those songs. You are talking about each major pillar of society but it’s in sing-song fashion... It’s easy to read the lyrics as what they are or you can break them out into a manifesto kind of thing…

MICHAEL: Uh oh, he’s on to me! (laughs)

MATTHEW: That tone in those songs allows us to kind of talk about world and media issues without being pretentious and overbearing. I think it makes it a little more digestible. Hopefully.

MICHAEL: And political music with a specific agenda is very hard to make good. I never felt good about doing that. So instead, I just try to write about things that interesting. My goal is to take you in a direction that’s unexpected.

RYAN: Let’s take Walk on Water. It’s a very sunny day song... Let me read some of these lyrics... "I can walk on water like I’m one of the chosen; I can walk on water as long as it’s frozen.' There you have the double-barbed whip. There's theological references, imagery of birth and allusion to being born... But you're having fun too. It's very clever.

MATTHEW: Oh, thank you. I mean, there are a lot of things that we can’t avoid in our existences. A lot of social things, a lot of philosophical … religion, I guess is too specific a word, but philosophical ideas. And so, again, it’s hard to address those things directly without being silly or didactic.

RYAN: This takes us in a new direction, then.... What does the title of the album mean?

MICHAEL: The owls... "The owls are not what they seem” is actually a phrase comes from the show the TV show Twin Peaks.

RYAN: Wild. I watched that show, I should have know that!

MICHAEL: It’s actually kind of cryptic. They never explain it in the show, but they keep getting this transmission. It comes up in a bunch of different areas. He has a dream where the giant says it to him; they receive a satellite message that says it; all these different things, saying, “The owls are not what they seem.” It’s never quite addressed, but I really like the image of the wise owl, the ancient forest creature. In the show, they kind of imply it’s like a carrier for spirits. And so, I really liked that image, so I wanted to try and work with that and see what I could come up with. The song’s kind of about Twin Peaks. It’s kind of about the struggles in the show. Maybe I’m getting off topic…

RYAN: No, no. This is perfect!

MICHAEL: It’s a funny show. Well actually, it’s a little bit off the track for a second, I liked Twin Peaks because it was the perfect blend of intense, frightening stuff and ridiculous humor.

RYAN: The non sequitur.

MICHAEL: Totally! It was great. Twin Peaks had a really great mood and tone, all the time. And they were able to tie together things I’ve never seen tied together in any other positive way. I really liked that so I wanted to try and write a song about some of the ideas and the themes in Twin Peaks. To me, the main theme – I don’t want to ruin it if you guys haven’t seen it – but the main theme is actually not that Laura Palmer was killed, really, but she eventually decided to accept that her life had to end. So it’s a journey about her accepting that her life was at its end. And so the song is kind of about that. That’s my interpretation of the show.

RYAN: This is great.

MATTHEW: I think it takes fate to a different level. And then all the other characters, at least from my Wikipedia reading – I’ve seen a couple episodes – but just exploring and kind of learning a little bit about it for themselves. But also taking fate and making it an entity. Not a physical person, but something that actively influences people’s lives.

It’s like a literary device in the show. And that’s where the album title comes from. So The Truth Will Catch You Just Wait the idea is that there’s some fatalist, immutable truth that’s after you.

RYAN: You can’t go against the oracle, right? Eventually it’ll come true.

MICHAEL: Right. And I don’t want to say that I’m necessarily a fatalist, but I wanted to explore that idea. I don’t want to say that I believe all the things I’m exploring, but I like to see what I can find.

RYAN: Now what happens if (director) David Lynch calls you up and says, “I need a movie!”

MICHAEL: (laughing) I sent him a copy of the album, but I don’t know if he got it. Yeah, I told him the show had influenced some of the writing.

RYAN: You’re band is just so different - and that’s a good thing today. Everything’s so homogenized. But you have an identity, something a little bit special and different and it’s really cool. I think your fans are the type to be really devoted because of that fact.

MICHAEL: Yeah, we’ve basically made friends with the people who come to see us. We’ve toured a bit nationally, but not a huge amount so they’re been a lot of times where people come out to shows and they love us and then we continue communicating with them.

RYAN: Do you see yourselves doing more touring or another album in the next year?

MATTHEW: Probably not another record this year. We finished this one last fall. It was a slightly arduous process. I think we’d like to maybe push off for a little bit. Each record has been very different in our approach, so I think it would be useful for us to kind of take stock of what we’ve done and maybe try a different approach. Certainly touring, we like to do it. We all are at jobs, as you know, so it’s tough to actually find the time.

At this point, the interview breaks down into simple, friendly conversation. The band needed to leave soon to take the stage. Patrick needs help setting up. We stand to go, then the strangest things that has ever happened to me during an interview happens.... One of the Motion Sick's own songs begins to play from the speakers of the coffeehouse. We stood there for a moment, listening to, "The Most Beautiful Dead Girl," from the band's debut album Her Brilliant Fifteen. It's a harbinger of good things for the band. They have a huge set that night and have gone on to play for some large local audiences - including a recent scorcher of a night with Dead Confederate.

Most recently, The Motion Sick learned that their video game romance song "30 Lives" was tapped to be used in Dance Dance Revolution X, a video game on the Playstation 2 and XBox 360 platforms. A song in a video game is the perfect compliment to this fun band - clearly one of Boston's favorites right now!

VIDEO: 30 Lives (Dance Edit)
for Dance Dance Revolution X

UPCOMING: The Motion Sick returns to Church (where they performed a theme residency this summer... Our favorite night was when the band dressed up and performed on stage as super heroes!) The Motion Sick return to open for a tribute to Television’s “Marquee Moon” by The Cult of Point Break Society on Thursday, November 6, 2008 as part of a benefit for the Coalition of the Willing.

Myspace / Web / Blog

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Joel Plaskett Emergency - Ashtray Rock

Just a quick one today, we're running late.....

We are unadulterated Joel Plaskett Emergency fans and we think we should share the little rock band from Nova Scotia' s music with our readers at every turn. The Emergency are electric balladeers, live rock cowboys, soul stirrers, and just plain good... Now you can find out for yourself as the hard-to-find music from the band has never been easier to get a hold of!

Now Available!

Primarily, we are hooked on the Emergency songs from 2007's stellar Ashtray Rock. The record is probably one of the best released from the last two years (it even slipped under our radar when it first came out due to the fact it's an import-only product.)

Fortunately for all of you readers, the songs are available for download as mp3s and JPE just arranged a deal with Maple Music to distribute Ashtray Rock to ya'all. I know you're feeling it!

Joel Plaskett Emergency pics by Pete Nema
Great Set of Photos - Toronto 12/11/07

Joel Plaskett Emergency

Monday, October 27, 2008

Lifeguard Nights - Punch Sky


Punch Sky is Funny but Pretty Damn Amazing
When skilled musicians have a great sense of humor!

Following a Tip from a Good Friend... We have been following the wild career of Lifeguard Nights long before they changed their name (from the mouthful: South Jersey Seashore Lifeguard Convention Band!) That's not all that's different about Nights... They are a massive band - with as many as 11 members on stage at any of their shows, LN is its own supergroup! While still making their mark on new audiences, the band has already played in front of crowds at NY's Bowery Ballroom, Mercury Lounge and Maxwell's in New Jersey. (We would love to see them take a turn up north - and soon! )

Lifeguard Nights is a band that loves a good joke as much as they like playing music.

Funny, sure - but musically speaking, PUNCH SKY is definitely one of the better albums we have heard this year. Is it the band's fault they had a great time recording it? Ween (last year's La Cucaracha was insanely good) and They Might Be Giants completely understand how to write a song with humor interchanged with the notes. Run out and pick up Punch Sky (click here for the Headshop Records site.)


From the new album "Punch Sky"
Lifeguard Nights - Sunshine

From 2007's "Church of Song"
Lifeguard Nights - Over It

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Blackmarket - The Elephant in the Room

Arizona's Blackmarket is touring Europe
Their full-length debut album drops in stores on 11/11

Hailing from Arizona, near Lake Havasu - it's Blackmarket, an exciting new group playing power pop with good hooks. We met up with the band earlier this year for the release of their self-titled EP - a precursor to the release of next month's full length debut album. The catchy tracks on the EP, an excellent buy on i-tunes at less than $6 for six songs. This collection seriously has us looking forward to The Elephant In The Room, to be released globally on 11/11. Keep your eyes peeled for this one.

Currently on tour in Europe with The Subways, Blackmarket threaten to return with a large and loyal EU fan base. Watch out everybody - this band is on the rise! Included below is the song, "Sheila" from the album to be released last month.

We have also included "White Lie," from the Blackmarket EP which I have to believe is one of the coolest new songs I have heard this year.

VIDEO: Live in Japan

Bonus Track from the band's EP:
Blackmarket - White Lie
highly recommended


Friday, October 24, 2008

New England's Best Halloween Lineup

Ryan's Smashing Life and TT the Bears bring you...
The Best Live Music lineup in New England this Halloween!


The Rumble Strips - No Soul

Birdmonster - Born to Be Your Man

Teenage Prayers - Good Voodoo

Vivian Darkbloom - Cold War

From London, UK - The Rumble Strips; From San Francisco, CA - Birdmonster; From New York, NY - Teenage Prayers; and from Boston - the red hot Vivian Darkbloom who just got back from playing the CMJ Music Festival!!!

It's the Seventh live show this year brought to you by Ryan's Smashing Life - and this one will be one to remember for a long, long time! Get to TT the Bears on Halloween! Tickets are on-sale now!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Brett Dennen - Hope for the Hopeless

Artist on the Move!

Pop Singer and Folk Artist Brett Dennen

NEW ALBUM: It seems like just yesterday that Brett released 2006's So Much More, but it's already been two years during which time the artist (who turns 29 years-old in six days) toured extensively and worked on an album's worth of new material. Dennon just released Hope for the Hopeless, a highly recommended LP with exciting new material. You can buy it in stores everywhere. We love the romantic-lament track, "Ain't No Reason." You will too.

A lot of good things have happened for Dennen this last year. A year ago, Rolling Stone named Dennen one of it's Artists to Watch *(We don't want to give RS too much credit - but they do get three or four of these picks right every year and in Dennen's case they were definitely right!) Entertainment Weekly told its readers that Dennen was one of eight emerging singer-songwriters to look into... His songs are all over popular television shows (House, Grey's Anatomy, The Unit, and Scrubs - along with a few other spot appearances.) These exposure opportunities have led directly to sales.

Dennen has also done some pretty cool collaborations and tours
... which leads us to today's sample. "Make You Crazy," a single he cut with super-talented Nigerian musician Femi Kuti, was offered as a single on i-tunes but has been offered up free widely through blogs and most recently through Spinner these days in promotion of Dennen's new Hope for the Hopeless album. As it appears the coast is clear to finally share it with you, so long as I promote Dennen's exciting new record and tour; here it is:

Brett Dennen dates:
Oct 24 - Long Beach, CA
Fingerprints In-Store
Oct 25 - San Luis Obispo, CA
48 Straight Mtn. Bike Series @ The Madonna Inn
Oct 31 - Honolulu, HI
Nov 3- Portland, OR
Doug Fir
Nov 5 - Seattle, WA
Triple Door
Nov 6 - San Francisco, CA
The Independent
Nov 7 - Los Angeles, CA
Hotel Cafe
Nov 8 - Los Angeles, CA
Hotel Cafe
Nov 10 - Denver, CO
Twist and Shout In-Store
Nov 10 - Denver, CO
The Walnut Room
Nov 11 - Austin, TX
Waterloo In-Store
Nov 11 - Austin, TX
Continental Club
Nov 13 - Chicago, IL
Nov 14 - Baltimore, MD
Rams Head
Nov 15 - Philadelphia, PA
Tin Angel
Nov 16 - Boston, MA
Club Passim
Nov 18 - NYC
Canal Room
Dec 30 - Brooklyn, NYC
Music Hall of Williamsburg w/ Matisyahu

Brett Dennen
Myspace / Web

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Billy Bragg - One Fan's Perspective


BragginBilly here, as you can imagine I'm pretty excited that the inspiration for my nom de blog (now you know!) Bragg will be playing two Highly Recommended intimate shows this week at The Somerville Theater (tonight and tomorrow, October 22nd.) Its been a few years and I can't wait until the show.

One of Our Favorites, the Enigmatic Billy Bragg: Billy Bragg was once described to me as a modern electric folk singer. I think that's a pretty apt description. Many of his songs (all of his early work) is him and an electric guitar with a style that blended folk and punk. Probably the reason he's the only folks singer my punk or hard-core pals love. Eventually he started playing with a full band, but his music hasn't lost that charming original character.

My discovery of Billy Bragg came back in high school when I heard a five-second clip of his song a "A New England" used in commercial for some bar. I called the station and talked with the DJ who finally told me who is was (after getting me to sing the line a couple times...ahh the powers of a DJ). I ran out and bought Back to Basics, which has been a constant companion.

Billy Bragg - A New England

(the song that started it all for me)

Two Creative Buckets: Bragg's songs are split into basically two buckets, politics and sentimental love-story songs. I call them love-story songs because like all folks singers, he's first and foremost a story teller. His lyrics may speak to his feelings, but they really focus on describing a moment in time. In a different way his political songs do as well. References to wars and political leaders have changed over the years to reflect the times.

PROJECTS: Many folks in the indie scene were introduced to Billy when he teamed up with Wilco on Mermaid Avenue. This was one of two albums of Woodie Guthrie lyrics that they put to music. The papers had been kept by his daughter Nora Guthrie and Woody had only written little notes describing the style of music, but had never completed the songs.

A CAREER IN MUSIC: I don't know if he'll ever be recognized as such, but I consider him one of the seminal artists of the last 20 years. His politics have made him a divisive figure to some critics, but overall he has continually been a voice for fairness. There have been a couple Billy Bragg collections that have come out over the last few years, some have extras such as the two-part series. The other, Must I Paint You a Picture, is more of an overview, but not a bad place to start. I hope you dig.

BILLY BRAGG (web/myspace)
plays the Somerville Theatre this week!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Blues with Lady Dottie and the Diamonds


A staple in San Diego for more than a decade featuring some of the most talented musicians around, Lady Dottie And The Diamonds are one of Southern California's premiere blues acts. With the release of the new album and their spot at New York's CMJ Music Festival, you can check 'em out now too!

The band leader, Lady Dottie, is a soulful woman in her early 60's named Dorothy Mae Whitsett. Signing everywhere from the kitchen to the pulpit, she was raised in a family of 14 and performed in a gospel choir. "It was hard coming up, but I'm still here and feeling good, too," Whitsett admits. "Days of hunger made me stronger." An Alabama-breed fireball, Dottie's curvier than Lombard and got more gumption than a pack of wolves. She's a tambourine-toting, hip gyrating powerhouse with a sultry voice that will leave you trembling.

Lady Dottie And The Diamonds' self-titled record is out now on Hi-Speed Soul Records. They will be touring through the end of the year...

"I feel privileged to turn a new generation onto the blues," Whitsett says. "We have to realize that people are meant to come together, and nothing does that like music."

Lady Dottie and the Diamonds - Have Love Will Travel

Oct 22 2008 - CMJ Music Festival Showcase
@ Kenny's Castaway, New York, NY
Oct 23 2008 - CMJ Music Festival Showcase
@ The Knitting Factory, New York, NY
Oct 24 2008 @ Molly Malones, Los Angeles, CA
Oct 25 2008 @ Alex's Bar, Long Beach, CA
Oct 26 2008 @ Thee Parkside, San Francisco, CA
Oct 27 2008 @ East End, Portland, OR
Oct 28 2008 @ Funhouse, Seattle, WA
Oct 29 2008 @ Pat's Pub, Vancouver, BC
Oct 30 2008 @ Lil Red Lion, Eureka, CA
Nov 21 2008 @ Valley View Casino, Valley Center, CA
Dec 10 2008 @ House of Blues, Hollywood, CA
Dec 20 2008 @ Valley View Casino, Valley Center, CA
Dec 23 2008 @ Valley View Casino, Valley Center, CA

Web / Myspace

Friday, October 17, 2008

On Red Sox Fans and Heart Attacks


For those of you who don't follow sports - I don't expect you to understand or appreciate this. But you should be warned... There are a lot of overtired people in New England today. The same is true for Red Sox Nation (the term used to capture the immense global following the Boston team has around the Globe.)

No matter where you were watching the game - we all stayed up too late to watch the Red Sox play for their very lives last night (yet again) - this time in a nail-biter of an Elimination Game 5 of the American League Championship Series. The Up-Side? The Sox won the game! The Down-side? This cardiac arrest could, and probably will, be repeated again tomorrow night.

Dedication or Insanity: I have a really nice music post all sketched out but I couldn't find the time to finish it last night. The game was completely over - out of hand as the visiting Rays were up a whopping 7-0 after six full innings of play. (For the fans in most other towns, that's when the television sets get turned off and people shuffle off to the embrace of sleep. But this is not so in Boston.)

We won the game, improbably - impossibly! Now, I'm sure there's many who will say they predicted the comeback. The rest of us were just biting our nails and hoping. Just another regular playoff game for the World Champion Red Sox... Once again, more heart attack, than heartbreak. Pandemonium!

You know what? We wouldn't have it any other way.

His Name is Alive is a great independent rock band from Michigan with a loyal cult following, they last appeared on the RSL last December. They were a sensible pick for an easy-listening favorite this morning. As I said, our hearts just can't take it right now.

Man, I'm tired...

Thursday, October 16, 2008



an Invitation to Fall in Love with:

Now on Sale in America for the First Time!

The Panics - Get Us Home

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: I popped Cruel Guards into my car stereo the other day and was immediately, and completely won over. THE PANICS are an Australian indie rock band with a tremendous, authentic and clean sound. Their song arrangements are thick, layered affairs - reminding me a little of the sonic fairy tales of Belle & Sebastian. The Panics start their songs strong - epic vocal and piano introductions transport you away. By the time you arrive inside the song, you are already tapping your foot and swaying in place. You will be a Panics fan... And just in time - following a handful of current dates in Australia, the band will be embarking soon on a World Tour. We predict very good things.

PANICS video: "Don't Fight It"

JUST AVAILABLE IN THE STATES:Cruel Guards was released on October 7 in the US through Dew Process/ WFM/Fontana. The record was completed at BJB studios in Sydney earlier this year. The basis of several of the tracks stem from home recordings the band put down in the house they share in Collingwood while further additions were made during sessions in New York City. The production chores were handled by the band and Scott Horscroft (The Sleepy Jackson, Silverchair) and mixed by Victor Van Vugt (Nick Cave, Beth Orton).

The Panics were actually formed in Perth some five years ago - their ascension has been been slow, but sure. The fact that the band's success wasn't immediate their first few years has benefited their music. The songs on the new album are reportedly the best of their career. (I think I will have to research this for myself.)

The Panics are: Drew Wootton (guitars), Paul Otway (bass,vocals), Jules Douglas (piano,psychedelics,vocals), Myles Wootton (drums,samples,vocals), and Jae Laffer (vocals,piano,acoustic guitar)

Myspace / Web / Dew Process (AU)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

GET HELP - The End of the New Country


an East Coast Indie Supergroup

The End of the New Country is on sale today!

I will be the first to say I told you so. I have had a copy of these songs for months and love this record. (I teased you about this in June.) And now you can finally hear it for yourself....

Get Help is a Super "Indie" Band - a collaboration that started with Tony Skakily from Boston’s beloved The Beatings , and Mike Ingenthron from New York City’s Strikes Again! The whole thing started as a songwriting project, but the early sessions proved to be so magical that Ingethron and Skakily were motivated to build a band and record together.

Moody and entrenched in lyrical expression, these songs test the depths of the water without sounding somber.
The End of the New Country could be the perfect record for right now - for these challenging times... NPR agrees. They reviewed the record last month and even featured the songs in their podcast! Take a listen to these two tracks and make plans to buy the record.

Tonight in Boston
CD Release Party

Get Help unleash their debut CD tonight at Great Scott in Allston. If you can make it out, this should be a great night of live performances. Also on the bill Thunderhole, 28 Degree Taurus and Highly Personal Trash.

Monday, October 13, 2008

WERS Boston - Live Music Week

RADIO WAVES: I have so much new music to listen to every week from our mail box and through digital downloads in our email, I will be the first to admit that I don't listen to a whole lot of radio these days. But when I do, the first station I always check out is WERS 88.9 fm Boston. The Emerson College station is a true independent music gem! They play the best new music and a mix of eclectic favorites - often it sounds like they somehow got a hold of my record collection.

Music for the Independent Mind

Today I find myself sitting home, sick (ick) with the flu for the second full day, listening to WERS and enjoying some great programming. This week, WERS is offering listeners a full week of live performances from bands all over the world. Every two hours a new band will be in studio performing live. This is something you just don't want to miss!

WERS Live Week Lineup:
(NOTE: all set times are US E.S.T)

MONDAY / 10.13


TUESDAY / 10.14
11am FLYNN


THURSDAY / 10.16
8pm KING-I

FRIDAY / 10.17

9am DR. DOG

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Phil and the Osophers Tonight in Boston

One our Favorites Do-It-Yourself-ers Finally Arrives in Boston

Two Years Ago, not too long after this blog modestly opened its doors to the world.... I stumbled across the heartfelt music of Phil Radiotes - a talented DIYer who had a penchant for playing epic songs about everyday life and seemed to be having a lot of fun doing it. Artistry, Passion and Fun - I have since learned, don't always go hand in hand. Bands come and bands go - but two years later Phil is still performing as Phil and the Osophers. He's since added Kevin Estrada on drums - making the Osophers a two-piece act. They played at SxSW in Austin this year and toured the land - turning quite a few more heads since those early days.

Phil and the Osophers

Phil appears in town tonight, FINALLY, but I am really sick and won't be there for it.... Which is just tragic. The Osophers open up at the Middle East tonight for Boston's own Passion Pit (we just wrote about their EP release - they're wicked hot right now and highly recommended) and Les Savy Fav (web / myspace). If you are in Central Square Cambridge tonight - Plant yourself at the Middle East. Get to the show early enough to catch Phil in the act. You won't regret it.

Phil and the Osophers
Web - Myspace

Friday, October 10, 2008

James Taylor - Covers

New Collection of Covers from one our Favorite Storytellers

On "Covers" we hear the storytelling soul of James Taylor re-emerge as he covers an exceptional collection of songs from notable recording artists from the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies. Taylor does everything right here - continuing the success of last year's One Man Band project. While following song format on "Covers," the artist continues to make enjoyable music on his own terms.

Now in Stores

James Taylor - It's Growing
(Temptations cover)

Here, Taylor chooses his songs well. There's a good sampling of popular favorites of note and some "new" classics. Taylor plays to his strength - that beautiful voice and his ability to assemble great musicians around him to help bring it all home. The album was recorded last January when James Taylor gathered his 'Band of Legends' for a rare 10-day recording session in a converted barn on his property in western Massachusetts.

Band arrangements of material on the album include covers of Big Mama Thornton's version of "Hound Dog," Junior Walker's "(I'm A) Road Runner" and "Wichita Lineman," (one of the most revered country songs penned by Jimmy Webb). These songs were improvised on the spot and recorded live with some of the best players in popular music. A great center photo layout in the liner notes credits each musician. This one's an absolute must-have for James Taylor fanatics and a definite good buy for those who love nostalgic and easy-going favorites. Sadly, they don't make music like this anymore.


"It's Growing"
by William Robinson, Jr. and Warren Moore
(made popular by The Temptations)
"(I'm A) Road Runner"
by Edward Holland Jr., Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland
(made popular by Jr. Walker & the All Stars)
"Wichita Lineman"
by Jimmy Webb
(made popular by Glen Campbell)
"Why Baby Why"
by Darrell Edwards and George Jones
"Some Days You Gotta Dance"
by Troy Johnson and Marshall Morgan
(made popular by the Dixie Chicks)
"Seminole Wind"
by John Anderson
by Leonard Cohen
"Hound Dog"
by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
(Big Mama Thornton inspired arrangement)
by Joseph Jefferson, Charles Simmons and Bruce Hawes
(made popular by The Spinners)
"On Broadway"
by Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann
(made popular by The Drifters)
"Summertime Blues"
by Eddie Cochran and Jerry Capehart
"Not Fade Away"
by Norman Petty and Buddy Holly

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Pet Ghost Project - Cheer Up, It's Raining

The Pet Ghost Project - from Imagination to NYC!

We are blown away by Justin Stivers' accomplishments in the last year. It's hard to not get fully involved in Cheer Up - It's Raining, the new Pet Ghost Project cd. Fair Comparisons: Neutral Milk Hotel, Beck, Animal Collective and Syd Barrett.

In the past, Stivers recorded all parts of Pet Ghost Project's pieces himself - spending hours painstakingly mixing the tracks. Now he has a full band and playing songs in the New York. It's hard to determine what's more impressive - the fact that the new material is as good as it is - or that Stivers found bandmates capable of playing the thick, multi-layered tracks from his personal catalog.

For those of you who may have missed
Maps last year (James Chapman's dream project that took life) - the same thing occurred... One man, recorded all the parts - slowly getting better and better. Then he found musicians who could play the material and the results were extraordinary! (RSL Best of 2007)....

Stay tuned, I think you will be hearing more from the Pet Ghost Project soon. We can't wait to hear what happens next!

The Pet Ghost Project - The Dog
from 2007's Great Satisfactory album

The Pet Ghost Project
Web / Myspace

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Heartless Bastards

In Studio and On the Road!

The latest incarnation of the Critically Acclaimed Heartless Bastards: One year ago, Erika Wennerstrom packed her bags - leaving Dayton behind and headed west for Austin to write her new record, working with producer Mike McCarthy (Spoon, Trail of Dead, Patty Griffin). She locked herself behind the door of a meager apartment and wrote songs for six months straight. Wennerstrom added Dave Colvin on drums and bassist Jesse Ebaugh to bring this new renaissance of Heartless Bastards to fruition!

Fat Possum Records is excited to announce that this exciting new incarnation of The Heartless Bastards are set to release their third record on January 20, 2009. The forthcoming record is called The Mountain.

Tonight in Cambridge: The Heartless Bastards are working out the kinks, touring the United States on dates with Langhorne Slim and Dead Confederate - (Both are RSL Best of 2008 Artists) Head on out to these dates - it's a great chance to shake out any bugs and share the sound of The Heartless Bastards with folks coast to coast. Appearing on the bill tonight, Tennessee's Those Darlins (streaming audio) open for The Heartless Bastards, who in turn, warm up the stage for Langhorne Slim (download mp3 - checkout a video!). Try to catch this tour...

Tonight - T.T. the Bear's - Cambridge, Massachusetts
10/9/08 - Capitol Theater - York, Pennsylvania
10/10/08 - Bowery Ballroom - New York, New York
10/11/08 - Music Hall of Williamsburg - Brooklyn, New York
10/13/08 - Black Cat - Washington, Washington DC
10/14/08 - Cat's Cradle - Carrboro, North Carolina
10/15/08 - The 5 Spot - Atlanta, Georgia
10/16/08 - Exit / In - Nashville, Tennessee
10/17/08 - Proud Larry's - Oxford, Mississippi
10/18/08 - D.B.A. New Orleans - New Orleans, Louisiana
11/3/08 - Santa Fe Brewing Co - Santa Fe, New Mexico
11/4/08 - Rhythm Room - Phoenix, Arizona
11/5/08 - Beauty Bar - San Diego, California
11/7/08 - Spaceland - Los Angeles, California
11/8/08 - The Independent - San Francisco, California
11/10/08 - Doug Fir Lounge - Portland, Oregon
11/11/08 - The Tractor - Seattle, Washington
11/14/08 - 400 Bar - Minneapolis, Minnesota
11/15/08 - High Noon Saloon - Madison, Wisconsin
11/16/08 - The Picador - Iowa City, Iowa
11/18/08 - Waiting Room - Omaha, Nebraska
11/19/08 - The Bottleneck - Lawrence, Kansas
11/21/08 - Venue TBD, Dallas, Texas
11/22/08 - Stubb's, Austin, Texas


Myspace Page

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Bob Dylan's Masterful Tell Tale Signs (Bootleg Series Vol 8)


I can't tell you how much this new collection of Dylan means... The voice on these recordings was the one present for the last two decades of this writer's life. Some of the songs are familiar and others are just similar enough to things I think I've heard to give me serious pause. Some are new to me completely, but still somehow perfectly comfortable.... All are Dylan.

The Dylan we hear on this collection... is far more inventive, clever and shifty than his critics -- and even his fans -- give him credit for. An Artist, Dylan tweaks songs and tries different and exciting new presentations on each track. These attempts were recorded and kept. Some work better than the versions that ended up on their original albums.

The fact that such treasures were not lost to the abyss of time (or simply deleted by an over-zealous producer) is reason alone for hope and precisely why this collection should be owned. Everything here works - and these were supposed to be the cast offs.... Something about that seems right.

The Bootleg Series collects Dylan's best unreleased material - sharing new songs, alternate versions of old favorites and traditional songs. This "best of the songs you never heard" series began 17 years ago with a three-disc set commemorating treasures picked from Dylan's first 30 years. The Volume Eight Edition continues the good works of its predecessors focusing on the last 20 years of Dylan's majestic career.

Commemorated here are some treats from some very fine modern records: "Oh Mercy" (a personal favorite), "Time Out of Mind", "Love and Theft", and "Modern Times." A special version of the record includes additional material - but here is the main body of the record...

Disc one

1. "Mississippi" - 6:04 (Unreleased, Time Out of Mind)
2. "Most of the Time" - 3:46 (Alternate version, Oh Mercy)
3. "Dignity" - 2:09 (Piano demo, Oh Mercy)
4. "Someday Baby" - 5:56 (Alternate version, Modern Times)
5. "Red River Shore" - 7:36 (Unreleased, Time Out of Mind)
6. "Tell Ol' Bill" - 5:31 (Alternate Version of song released on North Country soundtrack)
7. "Born in Time" - 4:10 (Unreleased, Oh Mercy)
8. "Can't Wait" - 5:45 (Alternate version, Time Out of Mind)
9. "Everything is Broken" - 3:27 (Alternate version, Oh Mercy)
10. "Dreamin' of You" - 6:23 (Unreleased, Time Out Of Mind)
11. "Huck's Tune" - 4:09 (From Lucky You soundtrack)
12. "Marchin' to the City" - 6:36 (Unreleased, Time Out of Mind)
13. "High Water (For Charley Patton)" - 6:40 (Live, August 23, 2003, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada)

Disc Two

1. "Mississippi" - 6:24 (Unreleased version #2, Time Out of Mind)
2. "32-20 Blues" - 4:22 (Unreleased, World Gone Wrong)
3. "Series of Dreams" - 6:27 (Unreleased, Oh Mercy)
4. "God Knows" - 3:12 (Unreleased, Oh Mercy)
5. "Can't Escape from You" - 5:22 (Unreleased, December 2005 Recording)
6. "Dignity" - 5:25 (Unreleased, Oh Mercy)
7. "Ring Them Bells" - 4:59 (Live at The Supper Club, November 17, 1993, New York, NY)
8. "Cocaine Blues" - 5:30 (Live, August 24, 1997, Vienna, VA)
9. "Ain't Talkin'" - 6:13 (Alternate version, Modern Times)
10. "The Girl on the Greenbriar Shore" - 2:51 (Live, June 30, 1992, Dunkerque, France)
11. "Lonesome Day Blues" - 7:37 (Live, February 1, 2002, Sunrise, FL)
12. "Miss the Mississippi" - 3:20 (Unreleased, 1992)
13. "The Lonesome River" - 3:04 (With Ralph Stanley, from the album Clinch Mountain Country)
14. "'Cross the Green Mountain" - 8:15 (From Gods and Generals Soundtrack)

About this Track: Alternate Version of "Someday Baby"
"A radically different version from the hard-driving blues groove on the "Modern Times" album. The lightness of the atmospheric guitars and the march beat gives Dylan the room to lay down a much more expressive vocal but the false bravado is still here..." (liner notes on Tell Tale Signs.)

Tell Tale Signs is in Stores Today.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Dead Confederate


The Headliner for tonight's big show at TT the Bears in Cambridge is the seriously amazing Catfish Haven, but it's the inclusion of the stellar Dead Confederate that has us the most excited. The Georgia rockers have an important new album called "Wrecking Ball" that's being talked about in blogs and coffee shops from Los Angeles to Boston. (Hell, we even read about this band this year in Rolling Stone magazine- how often do they get things right these days?)

One of the Hottest Bands in America: DEAD CONFEDERATE

Dead Confederate took their patented hard-rocking, southern sound and headed west to Austin last year to cut the "Wrecking Ball" album. (Pick this one up at the show tonight, order it online or find it at fine music stores now.) The guys from the band recorded this dark, raw album in the tiny concrete-walled studio where the sound effects for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre were recorded. Do ghosts exist on audio?

Dead Confederate — singer/guitarist Hardy Morris, bassist Brantley Senn, guitarist Walker Howle, keyboardist John Watkins, and drummer Jason Scarboro — first bonded over Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath ("stoner shit," as Morris puts it) when they attended high school together in Augusta, Georgia. After keeping a band loosely together throughout college, the five-piece got serious when they were faced with the prospect of finding careers outside of music. After the small-town crew moved to Atlanta, "We were all kind of huddled together in this little house in the big city," Morris recalls, "Things took a turn and Brantley and I started writing serious personal stuff. We weren't just playing anymore, we were really writing and searching." Dead Confederate was born.

VIDEO - The Rat

Now that you have a taste of "Wrecking Ball" - we can return to talking about tonight's show. An utterly unbelievable lineup awaits. Not only will tonight's show feature Catfish Haven and Dead Confederate. Two highly talented Boston bands also entertain mightily: Mean Creek (on tour with the two headliners and have 3 more shows on this leg of the tour) and RSL Favorite The Motion Sick. Both of these Boston bands should motivate you to get to the doors early. Don't miss a single note on what could prove to be one of Boston's best shows of the year. Get there early to avoid getting shut out. We'll see you tonight.

Dead Confederate
Myspace / Web

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Sunsets Quick Tonight - CD Release Party

Here's your invitation:

Head on out to a great live show tonight in Somerville where our friends in The Sunsets Quick are having a CD release bash. TSQ are an indie-rock quartet that formed in the winter of 2007 (under the name Drugs Delaney), they've played all over Boston at venues like Great Scott, T.T. The Bear's, and the Abbey Lounge, drawing comparisons to bands like the Strokes, Modest Mouse, and the Pixies.

Tonight, the Sunsets Quick plays a very special CD release party at P.A.'s Lounge where they're the guests of honor. RSL favorites Vivian Darkbloom also appear along with Forsythe. This should be fun!

Boston's Own The Sunsets Quick

A Brand New Album becomes available tonight!

What You Wanna Hear
(Demo Version)

(Demo Version)

If you are one of our many readers living outside the Boston area, click on over to the band's page and they will let you know how you can pick this one up! It's the newest of new.

A Little Mix We Put Together for OJ Simpson

Guilty. Former NFL running back and accused murderer OJ Simpson was found guilty of all charges relating to his armed robbery this week (OJ managed to be found guilty of an impressive baker's dozen of crimes - 13 felonies total!) The 61-year-old "Juice" will sit in a federal jail cell until December when he learns the duration of his prison stay. He faces life in prison. Sentencing is on December 5th.

We put our first OJ Mix together a little more than a year ago, when the armed robbery charges hit the news. We normally don't relish the misfortune of another - but OJ is special... The Juice and his gun-toting golf buddies were caught on tape robbing a couple of guys in a Las Vegas hotel following a bad sports memorabilia transaction went bad. You can't make this kind of stuff up. Today's news was a good opportunity to resurrect the OJ Mix Tape. Enjoy!

Mix for The Juice 1

Friday, October 03, 2008

Elvis Costello - Live at Winterland, 1978


2012 Update: We have re-loaded this set!

Thursday, October 02, 2008



Our Old Friends, John Medeski, Billy Martin and Chris Wood are at it again! A new album in stores this week promises to be one of the most funk-filled, jazz jam affairs of the year. I know, we say that whenever MM&W releases a new album - but we have the first single for you to listen to/download below, so perhaps that will be enough to win you over! What's most exciting there's promise that this is the first of a series of records to be released over the next several months! Are we seeing the band enter the most creative stage of their professional careers? That would be a most excellent thing! If you are a new listener, check-in now!

Wood, Martin and Medeski

IN STORES NOW: MM&W released Radiolarians I this week. It's the first installment of The Radiolarians Series. Radiolarians I will be released through Indirecto, Medeski Martin and Wood's own record label.

The Radiolarian Series - named after a type of single-celled organisms with dazzlingly intricate exoskeletons. The series of new albums are designed to "subvert the age-old music industry cycle of write/record/tour." What that means for the fans, both old and new, remains to be seen - but if it means lots of new material in the hands of listeners more directly, cheaply and more often - then we are game!

In Stores now:

CHECK THESE OUT! - Radiolarians I comes on the heels of a very cool, Medeski Martin & Wood's album for children released earlier this year. Let's Go Everywhere is an intelligent, fun record for kids - but performed in the same brilliant alt-jazz, fusion style that the band has made famous. The band speaks to kids but in a voice that doesn't talk down to them. The songs on Let's Go Everywhere are full of imagination-stirring songs. If I had kids, this is what they would be listening to.

Medeski Martin & Wood released one of my all-time favorite records Out Louder with guitar legend John Scofield in 2006. It's a must-have record and a great way for fans to sink their teeth into Scofield career. This record transports listeners to far away places!

MM&W Upcoming Dates:
10.31.08 - The Garden Hall - Yebisu, Tokyo
11.01.08 - The Garden Hall - Yebisu, Tokyo
11.12.08 - Moore Theatre - Seattle, WA
11.13.08 - Commodore Ballroom - Vancouver, BC
11.14.08 - Aladdin Theatre - Portland, OR
11.15.08 - McDonald Theatre - Eugene, OR
11.16.08 - Van Duzer Theatre - Arcata, CA
11.18.08 - McNears Mystic Theatre - Petaluma, CA
11.19.08 - Rio Theatre - Santa Cruz, CA
11.20.08 - Fillmore - San Francisco, CA
11.21.08 - El Rey Theatre - Los Angeles, CA
11.22.08 - John Ascuaga's Nugget - Sparks, NV

Medeski Martin & Wood
Myspace / Web