Sunday, February 28, 2010

Absofacto - Gnat Years

New Music this Week!
Someone You Should Know

Brand New Track this week from Absofacto


Another season ends and another is set to begin. Transition brings opportunity and power to the masses. How appropriate then, is our debut of hot new material from Mason Proper's prolific Jonathan Visger. When things begin to quiet down momentarily for Mason Proper [whose Olly Oxen Free made our 20 Albums from 2008 you Need to Own list] Visger stakes out artistically on his own under the name Absofacto. The results can be pretty experimental and damn spectacular.

Absofacto - Gnat Years
amazing new material

Jonathan Visger is

Massive Attack - Heligoland

On Further Review
by Nick Parker

in stores now

Let me dispense with the usual build up and say something about this album that you’ve probably guessed already, given the history of this band: Massive Attack’s Heligoland is a very good album. It’s typically sinister and serious, built from a mix of industrial beats, sparse synths and driving bass, and the often very beautiful work of guest vocalists like Damon Albarn and Martina Topley-Bird. Fans of Massive Attack will likely not be disappointed with this, their first release in seven years.

Now we’ve got that out of the way, I need to share some of the album's failings... Reasons why the album falls a bit short of being considered, "excellent." I’m not just trying to knit-pick here. I think the limitations of Heligoland tell us a great deal. There's an interesting statement here about the challenges of being in a band as seminal to its audience as Massive Attack. (Let me also let you know that I love this band with a passion, so I’m hardly set against them.)

There are some shaky moments on this album, which show that Massive Attack are not invincible. While tracks like “Babel” and “Girl I Love You” are really compelling, The Guy Garvey guest track, “Flat of the Blade,” reveals that, even when all the ingredients are there (i.e. incredible vocalist, master beat producers, etc.), things don’t always gel when you try to force beautiful melody onto a cold, sterile backing track.

[ ed.'s note:
I have to agree with Nick on this thought; Flat of the Blade, for me, is the only track on the album I cannot break bread with. I tried to like it but my brain simply won't allow it. It's just sounds like noise to me, and I have very open ears. Snazzy video though...]

Beyond this, there is the pressure that Massive Attack now face from some other bands, who might just steal their thunder. On one side there are their peers (and friends) from the Bristol-based invention of Trip-Hop of the 90s, Portishead. Last year Portishead brought out “Third.” It drew lots of criticism at the time (although it was on our shortlist for album of the year) for being too austere and unapproachable. I disagreed, but that seemed to be the consensus. Still, listening to “Heligoland” now, you wonder if any of it couldn’t have come from a previous release from some years ago. It makes me feel that, even if the Portishead release was hard to follow, it was more fresh and new than Massive Attack’s new work (Listen to our recent video post of Portishead’s “Chase the Tear,” and see if you agree with me).

Then there is the pressure from newer bands. The album’s opening track, “Pray for Rain,” features Tunde Adebimpe from TV on the Radio. This is a great song, and hearing it here, at the start of the album, seems like a signal that there are bands like TOTR snapping at Massive Attack’s heels. Might Massive Attack be passing the baton to the next generation of musicians here? Isn’t TOTR’s “Dear Science” a more radical album, in a genre built on radical experimentation?

I’d still say go and buy Heligoland, and I hope you enjoy it. Massive Attack will be more of a classic band, a transition band - whose time is gone or on it's way.

Ed.'s note: Despite a few shortcomings on both of our scorecards, Heligoland is clearly superior to most material being cranked out by others. This one should be in your collection and needs to be heard. ]

Why don't you readers let us know where it stands in your mind at the end of the year?? Unit then, the beat goes on.

May 2010 Dates

7 Toronto, ONT - Sound Academy
9 Toronto, ONT - Sound Academy
11 New York, NY - Terminal 5
12 New York, NY - Terminal 5
18 Los Angeles, CA - Wiltern Theater
19 Los Angeles, CA - Wiltern Theater
25 San Francisco, CA - Warfield Theater
27 San Franciscos, CA - Warfield Theater
30 George, WA - Sasquatch Festival

Massive Attack
Web / Twitter

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Southern Belle - Walkout

Someone You Should Know

Brand New Track from Boston's Southern Belle


Yes, I receive dozens of albums each week (true) and there are always a handful of packages from all over the world unopened at the foot of my desk (also true) and we don't pay for nearly as much music as we used to - but that doesn't make discoveries any less sweet. Having just caught celebrated Editors (RSL Best of 2007 and now touring behind a new album) and indie hotshots Antlers at the House of Blues Boston, it was with great interest I was able to listen to Boston's own Southern Belle join the fray that night on Landsdowne Street. (Not a band start, huh?)

Southern Belle are a rock band, infusing key elements of electronica, keyboard rock and sampling into their fiery atmospheric rock that didn't leave anything on the table. The audiences are still small and the band was ridiculously loud - and very well received.

The brainchild of Isom Innis, who clearly takes this fusion seriously. Radiohead is clearly a source of inspiration: “I used to have this Johnny Greenwood quote taped up on my wall in high school that said: ‘We don’t set out to break barriers, we just copy our favorite records.’ And up to this point that’s exactly what Innis has done, “combine many different influences at once,” into something that simply sounds great.

Southern Belle - Walkout
brand new song!

Fast forward today and the debut track from the band is now playing in the background as I type this. The new single, Walkout, is yours to have. It's a fun little burner filled with swirling, fiery rock antics and infused with hope. This is definitely a band to watch in 2010.

David Wax Museum [HD video]

Mexo-Americana's Pride
Someone You Should Know

In 2010 David Wax Museum are Boston's Hottest Ticket

photograph by RSL's Sean Hafferty
[here for the full photo set]

At this point, the members of Boston's David Wax Museum have us all in a state of awe. We first wrote about this upstart four-piece fusion act (authentically mixing traditional Mexican and American folk) back in early 2008. We knew right away they had promise, but no one could have expected what would come to fruition just two years later... The Wax Museum (David Wax, Suz Slezak, Jiro Kokubu and Greg Glassman) could be the best Mexo-Americana fusion act in the United States currently.

NPR thinks so too - very highly recommended audio. Overall? The prior year has born witness to the band's release of Carpenter Bird - an RSL Best of 2009 Pick - dates with The Low Anthem and The Avett Brothers, and a growing fan following up and down the American east coast. Not too bad.

Just last week I relayed just how I excited I was to be adding a skilled digital video guy to the website and now is when it begins to pay-off for you. Boston filmmaker Steve Legare has captured the David Wax Museum's Feb 17th live show at Club Passim for Ryan's Smashing Life. The clips feature the extended David Wax Museum (the full band lineup from the recording of Carpenter Bird album) - together again for the very first time. An absolute gem to have on video. Head over to the new David Wax Museum channel on Steve Legare's Vimeo Page for more!

The new David Wax Museum Video Channel
All 17 Tracks from the 2/17/10 show in High Definition!

Web - Myspace - Album

David Ford - New Album & Tour

Someone You Should Know

Ford's new album, Let The Hard Times Roll will be released in April.

David Ford - State of the Union
an old favorite to hold you over.

The New Album:

1. Panic
2. Making Up For Lost Time
3. Waiting For The Storm
4. Surfin' Guantanamo Bay
5. To Hell With The World
6. Stephen
7. Nothing At All
8. Sylvia
9. Meet Me In The Middle
10. Missouri
11. She's Not The One
12. Hurricane
13. Call To Arms

North American
March Tour Dates

March 3 Philadelphia, Pa
World Cafe Life
March 4 New York, Ny
Le Poisson Rouge
March 5 Asbury Park, Nj
The Saint
March 6 Piermont, Ny
Turning Point
March 9 Toronto, Ont
The Drake Hotel
March 10 London, Ont
The London Music Club
March 12 Chicago, Il
March 13 Madison, Wi
The Patio
March 15 Louisville, Ky
March 16 Atlanta, Ga
Eddie's Attic
March 18, Raleigh, Nc
Six String Cafe
March 19 Norfolk, Va
Attucks Theater
March 20 Charlottesville, Va
The Southern
March 21 Arlington, Va
The Iota
March 23 Northampton, Ma
The Iron Horse
March 24 Cambridge, Ma
Club Passim
March 25 Philadelphia, Pa
World Cafe Life
March 26 Brooklyn, Ny
Union Hall

Friday, February 26, 2010

Lost Cat, The King of Spain

Help Us Find this Lost Cat
File Under: Friday Night, Etc.

get to know
Web / Myspace

Ben Harper and Relentless 7

Someone You Definitely Should Know

Ben Harper and Relentless 7 - A live album on March 9
Simone Bonazzoli photo

Long before he was the lap-steel guitar player for Conan O'Brien's send-off band, Ben Harper was already a huge blues and soul man of note. Reinventing himself over the last 16 months, Harper formed a new backing band and crafted a hugely successful new sound - integrating elements of rock into his core sound. RSL named Ben Harper and Relentless 7's White Lies for Dark Times one of the top albums of 2009.

Now things are really heating up. A pair of video (the radio edit and the dirty boy) versions for Lay There and Hate Me - and word that the soundboard from the band's Montreal International Jazz Festival performance last year will be made commercially available as an album next month. For those of you who don't know Harper at this point, here's a great chance:

Web / Myspace / Facebook

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Via Audio - Animalore

Live Music this Week
by Sean Hafferty
Middle East Club - Friday 2/25/10
Lineup features: Spirit Kid, Via Audio,
Pattern is Movement, Ha Ha Tonka - 18+ $10

Via Audio is a quartet from Brooklyn that I've been following for a few years, ever since I saw them at a benefit for 826 Boston at The Berklee Performing Arts Center. Although from Brooklyn, they actually met and formed at Berklee before heading back home again.

Jessica Martins of Via Audio at the Middle East 6-20-09
All photos by RSL's Sean Hafferty

Via Audio - Babies
New Single from Animalore

Their first album Say Something is never off my iPod for long and if you haven't picked it up, I highly recommend it. They are great bunch of performers with a boatload of personality. This summer I had the opportunity to catch them performing songs from Animalore (March 9).

With their solid sophomore effort, Via Audio has added a dash of disco. It ratchets up the fun and if you can catch them this Friday at The Middle East Upstairs, I highly recommend it.

RSL Streaming Photo Album
Via Audio at the Middle East 6-20-09

Via Audio
w/ Pattern is Movement

2/26 - Boston, MA - Middle East
2/27 - Hamden, CT - The Space
2/28 - Buffalo, NY - Big Orbit Soundlab
3/1 - Toronto, ON - The Drake Hotel
3/2 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland Tavern
3/3 - Bloomington, IN - Bishop
3/4 - St. Louis, MO - Billiken Club
Saint Louis University *
3/5 - Milwaukee, WI - Club Garibaldi
3/6 - Depere, WI - Baba Louies
3/7 - Madison, WI - The Frequency
3/9 - Chicago, IL - Schuba's
3/10 - Dekalb, IL - The House Cafe
3/12 - Kansas City, MO - Record Bar
3/13 - Columbia, MO - The Blue Fugue

Web / Myspace

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Boston Live Pick of the Week

Out On the Town Thursday
3 Acts That'll Get It Done for You

At The Red Room at Cafe 939 in Boston Thursday night

ABOUT OUR SELECTION - We like the red-hot and well known stuff as much as the next guy (actually, probably more) but we are abundantly aware that what lies beneath the surface of popular trendy music and (before that, secret "hipster" picks) is a tide of emerging bands on the rise. We feel an inspired sense of responsibility to provide opportune moments for these kids as well. (And you know what? Sometimes these are the best shows out there!) Every so often we like to steer our regional readers to attend these sorts of shows that might otherwise fall beneath their gaze. Behold, here is one such event. And, it's happening tomorrow night!

Cafe 939
939 Boylston Street Boston, MA 02215
Thursday 2/25/10 - 8pm - $10

An All-Ages Event
no minimum age to attend!

BRAD BYRD - Since singer/songwriter Brad Byrd released his debut album The Ever Changing Picture in 2003 and his EP Release Me in 2007, a number of his songs have been featured on over 20 television shows, independent films, and national ad campaigns. The single "Never Came Back" topped the singer/songwriter charts on as the number 1 downloaded song, ahead of artists such as Jewel, Jason Mraz, and Damien Rice.

BEN KARIS-NIX - Ben performs with an ensemble of stringed instruments backed by beats, blips, and spacey synths –Featured on CW show “One Tree Hill,” MTV’s “Road Rules” and “Real World, “NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” and MySpace Compilation Vol. 1 Ben has toured or shared the stage with Elliot Smith, Hello Goodbye, Coheed and Cambria, the Roots, They Might Be Giants.

CASEY SULLIVAN - Casey may be only 18 years-old, but she has the soul and the sounds of much more accomplished folk artist. Sullivan is currently working on her first full-length album – she’s been heavily influenced by songwriters Regina Spektor, Conor Oberst, and Bob Dylan.

New England Americana Festival

Warming up to Americana
A Music Festival in Boston
Feb 25 - Feb 26 - Feb 27

NEAF official / location: Church of Boston

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Street Musician: Scott Dunbar

You Never Know Where
You'll Find Great Music...

British Columbia native Scott Dunbar now lives in Montreal

HIGH ART ON CITY STREETS - Rarely has an individual on a city street gathered so much positive attention (there are exceptions of course - see the list below.) Scott Dunbar is a remarkably talented street musician who has made a solid reputation for himself by bring class and song to the streets. Just be mindful that your next big find could be just around the corner.

Monday, February 22, 2010

ArpLine - Travel Book

Unsigned Bands You Gotta See

brooklyn's ArpLine

RSL presents Feb 24

the Live Tradition continues
Here's one you won't want to miss...

layout & design by Tom Gallo

This Wednesday Night
Feb 24, 2010 at TT the Bears


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Quasi's American Gong

New Music this Week!
by Nick Parker

American Gong

Quasi's new album is out Tuesday 2/23 on Kill Rock Stars

Nailing Down A Career - For reasons I can’t quite explain, I have found communicating what’s so great about Portland’s Quasi to be a difficult task. Lots of friends who usually share my taste in music fall silent when I start to say how I came across Quasi playing support for Sebadoh in London a decade ago, and they immediately offset a thousand crappy support acts I had seen up to that point.

My friends look out of the window with indifference when I say I saw them at Reading Festival a couple of years later, and they won over an apathetic crowd in ten minutes as drummer Janet Weiss tried to musically lift her bandmate Sam Coomes’ spirits after his Rhodes died on stage. My friends begin to roll their eyes as I sputter and drool over the huge wall of sounds that one massively overdriven keyboard played by Coomes, backed up by one truly creative drummer in Weiss, can hit you with. All this seems to be in vain…

The New Quasi - Now they are a new band though, no longer a two-piece, adding the Jicks’ Joanna Bolme. Perhaps this will change their whole direction, and make them a little less musically eccentric? (I am concerned only for my friends’ sake.)

No luck for my friends. I’m pleased to report that Quasi are still that very unusual thing: a band that sounds unlike most of the rest. As well as uncommonly good song construction, and abnormal tone, they have Coomes’ vocals, which are suffused with an emotional commitment that is itself rare.

Black Dogs and Bubbles” is really the album’s high-point. It’s not perhaps as high as some of the best, past material by the band (like almost anything from 1998’s Featuring Birds), but it shows the band can still sound uniquely live and energetic. It also demonstrates that, when Coomes’ switches from keys to guitar, Bolme’s bass can offer that missing rumble which brings the band together.

I’m glad Quasi have stayed true to their sound, and I suppose my friends will just have to get up to speed with Quasi’s excellence, or miss out.

March 9 - Arcata, CA - The Depot
March 10 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent
March 11 - Visalia, CA - The Cellar Door
March 12 - Los Angeles, CA - Spaceland
March 13 - Costa Mesa, CA - Detroit Bar
March 14 - San Diego, CA - Casbah
March 15 - Tucson, AZ - Plush
March 17 - Denton, TX - Hailey's
March 21 - Norman, OK - The Opolis
March 22 - Kansas City, MO - Record Bar
March 23 - Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge
March 25 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
March 26 - Boise, ID - Neurolux
Marc 27 -- Portland, OR - Doug Fir
April 15 - St Paul, MN - The Turf Club
April 16 - Madison, WI - The Annex
April 17 - Detroit, MI - Magic Stick
April 18 - Toronto, ON - Horseshoe Tavern
April 19 - Montreal, QC - Il Motore
April 20 - Cambridge, MA - Middle East
April 22 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
April 23 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
April 24 - Washington, DC - The Black Cat
April 26 - Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle
April 27 - Atlanta, GA - 529
April 28 - Birmingham, AL - The Bottletree
April 29 - Nashville, TN - Mercy Lounge
April 30 - Newport, KY - The Southgate House
May 1 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall

Web / Myspace / KRS page

Do It Solo

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Thick Shakes EP on Cassette

New Music this Week!
Someone You Should Know


Beneath these Quiet Exteriors lies a Monstrous Band

LO-FI SOUND, GOOD TIMES, ROLL - It's the Thick Shakes you are hearing. The rumble of a metering drum, the electric fuzz of guitar and the breathy throwback voice of a lounge singer fill the ears - it's a sexy sound... especially when mixed with a little punk soul. Thick Shakes are a Boston act to know about these days. Their new EP Ooh Mommy, released on Austin-based Snugglehound Records, was recorded by Jerry MacDonald on 16-track tape using a bunch of homemade phone mics. As with most under-produced, unclean copy, real characteristics of the band shine through. This is inventive, quality low fi - done right.

Thick Shakes - (Baby) You're a Starfish
Red Hot, Lo Fi, Brand New!

OOH MOMMY - This one's available both for free download and streaming at their website, or available on cassette only at shows. It will be unleashed Tonight at PA's Lounge in Somerville, MA. The lineup includes a smorgasbord of talented indie rockers: 2009 Best of Artists pick Hands & Knees, the red-hot Girlfriends and Quilt. This would be a great one to attend, even if there wasn't going to be cassette tapes ($5) offered up. Kick ass Thick Shakes!

Thick Shakes
Webpage / Myspace

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Growing Legend of Abner Jay

A Look Back at
Music's Character

The Very Best Music in the World brings people together - and it accomplishes this feat with little regard as to how it gets the job done.

Today's artist profile is the one-of-a-kind blues and folk phenomenon Abner Jay. The storytelling, good times song man made a lasting mark on modern musicians by churning out music that draws people in. Good stories, real people - and funny... Everything gets an "Abner Jay twist." [ed.'s note: You'll see.] The magic here isn't in any specific part of his art - it's as much Jay as it the music or the words of his songs. This is real.

the great Abner Jay

image: the Diddy Wah

I sat down with some old friends just the other night and had some good times. (I don't do that enough.) Inevitably, as music lovers, the topic of great musicians was brought to the surface (aided along the way by truly lovely micro-brewed beers.) Before long, the topic shifted to the unique Abner Jay - an almost immeasurable folk talent. The man was a master of self-promotion.

If you ever see an Abner Jay original hand-produced LP (with Abner Jay's own handwriting all over it) in a used record store - buy it immediately, they are Very Rare.

The Audience only had to attend one Abner Jay live show. Then they belonged to him - and would return again for more. There's a certain charm in art at street level. But from all accounts, there was a relationship there. Abner really seemed to cared for his audiences. He told interesting stories and funny anecdotes about life's lessons or a troubled youth. His words spilled out to Jay's multi-racial audiences. Jay was a good storyteller, generally using the tools of honest and self-depreciation in spinning a yarn between songs.

But Abner Jay had a trouble side. Abner proved to be as passionate about the wives of married men as he was about music. (As one might expect, Abner's widely rumored dating practices, tended to make his life unsettled.) And, Abner was no stranger to drug and alcohol abuse. Because of his honest, personal approach to songwriting, Jay held back few details about the way he felt and what he had seen, done and learned along the way.

"One Man Band" - Abner Jay was also known in some parts as "Abner Jay - One Man Band" - a long professional title that carried with him for all of his adult life. Jay played the drum with his foot and picked at an electric six-string banjo. He played harmonica in time. And for there (and possibly various other reasons) a lot of people fell in love with his approach to music.

a personal favorite
Meet me under the clothes line,
because that’s where I hang out.

Abner Jay - “Cocaine Blues”

I was surprised to find
Abner Jay (RIP) has a
myspace page

Underground Rock Pick of the Week

Friday Night - Out On the Town

At O'Brien's in Allston tonight

ABOUT OUR SELECTION - We like the red-hot and well known stuff as much as the next guy (actually, probably more) but we are abundantly aware that what lies beneath the surface of popular trendy music and (before that, secret "hipster" picks) is a tide of emerging bands on the rise. We feel an inspired sense of responsibility to provide opportune moments for these kids as well. (And you know what? Sometimes these are the best shows out there!) Every so often we like to steer our regional readers to attend these sorts of shows that might otherwise fall beneath their gaze. Behold, here is one such event. And, it's happening tonight!

3 Harvard Avenue, Allston MA 02134
Friday 2/19/10 - 9pm - $10

(in order of appearance)

indie rock from Portland, ME:
Metal Feathers

psych-country from Allston, MA:
Broken River Prophet

indie-shoegaze from Brooklyn, NY:
El Jezel
psych-ambient pop from Allston, MA:
28 Degrees Taurus

hosted by annie*rock

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Golden Bloom vs The Motion Sick

New Split Covers Record out this Week!
Two Amazing Bands You Should Already Know...

Meredith Luce artwork

As a music enthusiast, it pains me considerably to not have the time required today to shower the endless platitudes on our two subject bands today. (Suffice it to say, I really like what each has been doing - and thoroughly like what their members have done to support the independent rock scene everywhere they go.) Each of these two bands have released an album over the course of the last two years and both have found a place on RSL's Albums of the Year list. And deservedly so.

on the new album (cover above) The Motion Sick cover this track.

Shawn Fogel's scary good Golden Bloom are joining forces this week with The Motion Sick (The Smartest Band in America) to release a split CD record with each covering the other. The results of the fun project are, predictably, pretty damn awesome. What you see here are the original videos by their creators. (And in the case of The Motion Sick, below, an original and a remix.)

The GBvTMS album sees these tracks performed by the visiting school's . The record will be released on Friday night at the Middle East with a pretty stellar Friday Night lineup of entertainment planned. (Good times will be had by all - and that's no secret. This one will likely sell out. Arrive early - see it all.)

Friday Night 2/19/10

click for large poster

$10 Doors / 18+ / 9pm
Middle East - Cambridge

Golden Bloom
Web / Myspace
The Motion Sick
Web / Myspace

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Constantines - Young Lions (live on Qtv)

Someone You Should Know

O Canada - Ten Years into their storied music career, Constantines are sounding better than ever. I caught them the very first time opening up for The Hip. Later I caught them a few times in small clubs. They never disappoint. This video was just released by Toronto's Qtv this week - their audio/video work is amazing.

Web / Myspace adds VIDEO

The Age of Enhancement

GETTING MORE DEADLY - So we've always been pretty decent at sharing our ideas - despite my profoundly poor writing and oft-perilous ideas. To supplement, I added passionate, music-loving writers. And, things got really interesting. Our numbers swelled further with the additional gifted freelance photographers. (In each case, we didn't realize how fortunate we were - the results speak for themselves.) And now, RSL adds live music video!

Want to welcome the talented Steve Legare as a contributor. I first came across Steve's fine video editing and camera work following Newport Folk Festival this year. (Examples are below. Photo Samples: Day 1 / Day 2.) This is a new age (can you tell I'm excited??) Definitely looking forward to what lies ahead for all of us at Ryan's Smashing Life... and for you readers! [subscribe to the RSL feed]

Deer Tick by Steve Legare

Newport Folk Festival 50

AM by Steve Legare

AM is an RSL Best of Pick

Langhorne Slim by Steve Legare

Newport Folk Festival 50
Live Photos [Set 1/Set 2] RSL Best of 2008

Last, but certainly not least...
The Low Anthem by Steve Legare

Newport Folk Festival 50


New Music this Week!
Someone You Should Know

CINEMATIC SOUNDS - Vinca Minor’s Matt Menovcik wakes up every morning in his Seattle apartment to Brian Eno’s Music For Films CD. One listen to Vinca Minor's sparse but powerful new release Isolation, and we are completely won over. Menovcik is a master it seems at pulling on emotional strings. In the space of seven epic songs, we go from being prideful, soaring to empty, alone and confused. We at times feel whimsical and light, other times paralyzed by beauty our eyes can't see. Menovcik has lifted us out of our lives and into his. It would be the understatement of the year to see Vinca Minor has been influenced by epic movie scores. These are epic explorations of other worlds - reminding me a bit of the sonic landscapes rolled out by Gustav Holst.

Menovcik explains, “That’s the thing I really like about film music – that building of a world. That is something I was definitely trying to achieve with this record. I really wanted to make a place where the listener could escape to and get lost in. Film is such a powerful medium with both the imagery and the sound, which is why I like scoring films.” Reminding this listener of

We have heard winning, minimalist sounds the last few years and have shared them: Sigur Ros, Explosions in the Sky, Ghost of the Russian Empire, and The Photographic - all immediately come to mind (but of course there are others worthy of contemporary comparison.) To expound further on the material would likely lessen from its power - and it is powerful. Unpredictably, Vinca Minor has released one of the best new albums of 2010. Highly Recommended.

Matt Menovcik is Vinca Minor

Milo Tobin photo

Vinca Minor
Web / Myspace

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Doug Fieger RIP

In Memory of
The Knack's Doug Fieger

On Valentine's Day, the world of rock lost one of it's most distinctive voices. The Knack's Doug Fieger passed away after a long battle with cancer. Doug was just a musician, just another guy in another rock band. But as you know, The Knack proved to be a little different - and a lot more memorable for sure. (We aren't the only one who thinks so.) A fond look back:

Monday, February 15, 2010

Portishead - Chase the Tear

New Music Video from Portishead!
mp3 purchase benefits Amnesty International

Slayed by Machine Gun

MACHINE GUN from Portishead
RSL Best of 2008 Artist Selection

check out the stage configuration. wicked.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bootleg: Bob Dylan at San Jose


Back in the March 6, 2008 issue of Rolling Stone, writer Andy Greene tapped Bob Dylan's 1992 performance in San Jose as one of Bob's best performances of the period (if you are one of the dudes who has his shit in order, it's on pg 61). His "Bootleg" pick in the issue is a top version of "Idiot Wind" which appeared near the end of the long evening in San Jose. (The date was May 9th, 1992 and the school's University Center.

Collector's Notes - What Mr. Greene didn't realize when he wrote his plug of this now historic evening - all references were missing from the Rolling Stone piece - is that T-Bone Burnett was Bob's all-star guest that night. Burnett was present but did not come out to play until Idiot Wind appeared in the set list. The already beautiful version of Idiot Wind celebrated by the magazine sounds even better with this revelation. Here's the show.

May 1992
Live at San Jose State University

Feeling Lucky?

Video Captured this week
Bystander saves Truck, Self

RECORDED FEB 10th - It was a scary scene at a traffic crossing near Buenos Aires, Argentina when a man was almost struck by a train. The bystander managed to get a stalled van out of the way but had to quickly jump back behind the tracks when the train came zooming by. Our favorite part about this clip is the jubilation (and the hugging) as the man realized he had saved lives - including his own. Now, that's lucky.

Valentine's Day

V-Day can be for both Loners & for Lovers
by Nikhil Gupta

Plan on running into Eros today?

BOSTON ON FIRE? - So you're looking for way to spend your Sunday? Check out RSL's Top 10 suggestions for how to spend Valentine's Day in Boston. Whether you're out on the town with your sweetheart, in a group, or by yourself, there's something here for you.

1. Head to The Lizard Lounge for the 13th Anniversary Celebration of their Poetry Night featuring the Jeff Robinson Trio.

Slam at 8PM
Jam at 9:30PM w/ the Jeff Robinson Trio
$5, 7:30PM doors 21+

2. Be a DJ! Go to TOAD in Porter Sq. from 3PM to 8PM and sign up on the list to play 3 songs on vinyl. Listen to records, learn some new music, and stick around for Treat Her Right, who will be playing at 9PM.

3. While you're driving around the city, be sure to go under the Summer Street overpass. Lisa Greenfield, Daniel J. van Ackere, and 4,800 LED lights have turned the overpass into a "Starry Night" that wows drivers with the impression of a black sky studded with evening stars. The installment is part of the Fort Point Arts Community's Winter Solstice Public Art Series.

4. Go on a naked scavenger hunt at the MFA--that's right, go through the museum (with your own clothes on, of course) and find naked bodies in the pictures on display. Meet up at the Fenway entrance at 1:30PM ($37.50, includes museum admission).

5. If that not the day at the MFA you imagined for yourself, you can also try their Bravo Restaurant for a special Valentine's Brunch featuring live jazz music. Stick around for the Boston Lyric Opera's presentation of Creating and Opera, Passions Run High at 2PM.

6. The Brattle Theatre in Harvard Sq. has 2 great choices for V-day. If you're feeling a bit down and need some laughs, go see the "All Bugs Revue" to get our fill of Bugs Bunny at 12PM and 2PM. ($7.75 - $9.75).

As always on Valentine's Day at the Brattle, you can catch a showing of the classic film Casablanca at 4:15, 7, and 9:45PM ($9.50 or $50/couple for premium tickets, includes reserved seats).

7. Wish you were in Italy? Try the Isabella Gardner Museum as a substitute. Stroll through the galleries, listen to live jazz in the courtyard, sample small plates and desserts, and down some Bellinis. Stay from 6:30-9PM ($195/couple or $100/person) Admission includes a one-year membership to the museum!

8. Watch other people dance! Tapas and Flamenco dancing at Bar Lola is sure to stimulate your date's senses. While you share fine Spanish finger food with someone across the table, John Smathers will be accompanying Lauren O'Donnell and Mitra Taj at 7PM and 9PM ($20 food and drink minimum per person).

9. Has your new girlfriend been begging you to watch the BBC Pride and Prejudice miniseries? Well, you can say no once more but still win her over by going to Waltham. Go on a guided tour of the Gore Place Mansion from 1806. The guide will be in period dress quoting Jane Austen at 1PM and 3PM ($12, advanced tickets suggested).

10. Get ready for your next fling! Learn pole and exotic dancing at Wendy Reardon's Gypsy Rose dance studio. 'Nough said. Classes are at 12, 1:30, 3, 4:30, 6, 7:30, and 9PM ($40).

See Stars by Kelly Vivanco

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Cellar Series is Scary Good

LIVE from the "Cellar Series"

Lon Chaney as the Wolfman

THE NEW BASEMENT TAPES - Boston's Ian Adams (RSL Best of 2009 Artist Selection) is casting a spell of wonder once again. In addition to his wicked album, Stay Up Late, Ian has proven to be an avid video editor. He surprised many including his label (Midriff Records) in December, releasing a self-produced music video for the album's title track. (Nobody knew this one was coming.)

Now Adams, or E as he is known by friends and foes alike, is unveiling some fun clips for fans. The "Cellar Series" videos are collection of self-recorded and edited videos of Ian playing songs in the jumbled, bizzaro basement of his old house. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Michael Jackson's ghost - or some other specter down there. The setting is perfect for the oft-spooky-themed songs from Adams. (Love songs sung between monsters, revelations of misunderstood killers and beautiful freaks are all par for the course. Shiver!)

Sign up at Ian Adams' YouTube page so you will know when any clips are added. This is Upside Down Stars and Someday.