Monday, February 28, 2011

Dave Godowsky (aka John Shade)

Critically Acclaimed
Someone You Should Know

Confirmed for Smoke & Sand
Mar 19th - Austin, TX

Dave Godowsky’s debut album, "All You Love Is Need," was recorded at Bon Iver’s studio (aka April Base) under the pseudonym John Shade. It was recorded/engineered by Nate Vernon and features Jeremy Boettcher (bass), Ben Lester (drums), and John DeHaven (trumpet). The album is currently being given away on a "name-your-own-price" basis on his website. [RSL Album Review]

Godowsky currently lives in NYC, where he recently launched a series of charity-based concerts called "noncerts." The inaugural event included Gene Ween, Hamilton Leithauser (The Walkmen), and David Dondero, and raised thousands of dollars for music funding at public schools in Brooklyn.

Billboard calls his songs "literate and heartstring-tugging" and the Boston Globe calls the album "sublime." Godowsky has been performing with a string quartet lately, and plans to record a second album in 2011. It can't come soon enough. As I finish this edit, Godowsky's

We are very happy to have Dave with us in Austin!

Dave Godowsky
(aka John Shade)
Web / My / Fb / Tw / Album

David Lowery - The Palace Guards

February 2011
Album of the Month
This One You Need to Own

This one is a full, diverse songwriting effort from the skilled David Lowery - unbelievably, this is the solo debut from the prolific co-founder of Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven. After just a few listens its possible to hear years of work in this effort - it wouldn't surprise me at all to learn that Lowery has another album's worth of material in the queue behind this one.

In many ways Lowery is an ace of laying his heart bare. One of his primary tools has been the expert use of hyperbole - as evidenced by the litany of images he lays out for readers.... On "Marigold," Lowery talks of the ridiculous lengths he has gone to for the girl's love. On "I Sold the Arabs The Moon," we hear the same enthusiasm but stretched over a Neil Gaimen-like tale of epic proportions. A real spiritual performance - a beautiful, sweeping number.

The Palace Guards is out now on 429 Records, an imprint on the Savoy Label Group (SLG). SLG is the North American unit of Columbia Music Entertainment (formerly Nippon Columbia) the oldest music company in Japan.

David Lowery

Having just seen Lowery perform with both Cracker and Camper on tour and hearing a party track like, "Baby, All Those Girls Meant Nothing To Me," it's difficult for me to think of Lowery as a 50 year old. There is hope for us all as we grow older. If only Lowery could bottle some of his boundless creative energy. Some of that vitality on the Palace Guards resulted from Lowery's collaborations; in studio with John Morand and Alan Weatherhead. And, key players included Miguel Urbiztondo on drums, David Immergluck on guitars and bass, Craig Harmon played organs and Ferd Moyse on upright bass and fiddle. Special guest appearances include Cracker mates Sal Maida and Johnny Hickman as well as the late Mark Linkous who played keybords on “Big Life.In other words, this is an all-star effort which Lowery, predictably, will credit as a group endeavor in interviews... rather than to call it a "solo effort." Regardless of what you label The Palace Guards, it's easily one of the year's best releases to date. And in February it beat out amazing music projects from The Decemberists, Cold War Kids and David Wax Museum (amongst others) in our eyes for Album of the Month.

TITLE TRACK - Interesting that the eponymous single, possibly the best song on the album was actually the one to grab me last. (But grab me best, as it turns out.) Lowery's pen is sharpened on "The Palace Guards." On this field he challenges listeners to look at their relationships to those with the keys to locked doors. By this, I refer to the people who make us feel secure/safe. Easily the most pointed track on the record, The Palace Guards veils, in it's sing-song, a quiet resentment against losing control. You can choose to read this as a criticism of a big brother government. Think, Terror Alert Levels fueled by Fear. (Recall, this album is an effort years in the making) or you can also hear this as a one-sided tale of dysfunctional, controlling relationship. "Smash your stuff..." , "hide your passports and put you on a no-fly list." (You know, to keep her safe and where she belongs.) Listen to it more than once; this work is layered and heavy. And yet, there is something artful and deft about it as well. Highly Recommended.

David Lowery
Web / Fb / Tw / My

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Last Night - Jesse Malin

Photographic Evidence
photos by 5342 Studios

Late Last Night:


Jesse Malin - Solitare
with Ryan Adams - Konserthuset, Sweden - 11/18/04

Jesse Malin in Cambridge, MA - 2/25/2011

Jesse Malin and The St. Marks Social played their last scheduled set performing Malin's 2003 album, The Fine Art of Self Destruction last night at TT the Bears in Cambridge, MA. It was an amazing night of music - par for the course for the talented Malin, who was born to have a microphone in his hands. At now more than a dozen live shows, I have come to anticipate the unexpected from Malin even when one knows the exact set material and song order. Malin is a master of tinkering. He stayed true to the album's lyrics but deviated in presentation.

"Brooklyn" appears twice on TFAOSD. There is a light, acoustic version and a rock number. Last night, Malin played the first loud but kicked it into high gear for the second. (Again, the ascension was true, but the starting point was much louder for both.) The whole evening was loud - underscoring the fact that Malin's backing band: The St. Marks Social (despite some familiar faces) have a new aesthetic - this is a hard rocking band, through & through.

Other standouts were "Solitare," always a beautiful number and the most emotionally charged song Malin has recorded to date and the encore song "Mona Lisa" the first track from Jesse's album The Heat - the follow up to The Fine Art of Self Destruction. Sipping on a whiskey and hearing that one took me back to hot summer nights and backyard parties. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come. Whenever Jesse is on the stage, the world is full of hope.

Jesse Malin
Web / My / Fb / Q&A

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Beatles - Smack My Bitch Up

A Side of the Beatles
You Never Knew!

Viral Video is a periodic series we run celebrating music and moving images. Today we learn just a little more about the band that helped to shape modern music... A little insight on a light that burned out too soon. I mean The Prodigy.






Previous Viral Videos:

NOTAR added to Smoke & Sand

His ONLY Set in Austin
NOTAR is Blowing Up

Smoke & Sand confirmed
Mar 19th - Austin, TX

NOTAR - Matador
photo - Algerina Perna

FESTIVAL FRESHMAN - By now a pretty good number of you have heard about Northeast breakout NOTAR, the dynamo hip hop protege of Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz. The two jammed out live during last summer's 25-show CCs national tour with Augustana. NOTAR's add to Smoke & Sand marks further commitment to provide an unprecedented level of free exposure to the best emerging acts - across all genres and musical boundaries. For those of you who are new to this guy's stuff, get schooled: video link

We are not alone in celebrating this dude's wicked stage performances - which incorporate free style rap, hip-hop, and rock 'n roll. Since last year's big national tour NOTAR, who is signed to Duritz's Tyrannosaurus Records, has proved to be a prolific performer - producing singles to keep fans in tune. NOTAR's star-studded debut, Devil's Playground will be on store shelves in May 2011. The album consists of 13 songs, written and performed by Notar and features such talent as Young Cash, Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional and Adam Duritz.

You can expect to be hearing a lot more of this guy and soon. This cycle of rapid growth and sweeping success is already underway and NOTAR will kick into high gear on Sat. March 19th with us in Austin.

Web / My / Fb / Tw

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Jesse Malin

Highly Recommended
Live Show Pick of the Week

TT the Bears Fri, 2/25 - 9:00 pm
Tickets still available: Just $12

SHOW OF THE WEEK - This Friday night, Jesse Malin and The St. Marks Social will be performing The Fine Art of Self Destruction in its entirety for one last (very special) time at TT The Bears. This will be one of the firstchances most will have had to hear the album material played straight through. It will be the first and only time it has ever been done here in Boston. TFAOSD was the album that broke Jesse, the album's songs were produced by Ryan Adams and Malin has plumbed the record for his great live performances for years now.

Trust me. This is not one you are going to want to miss. Buy your tickets early. The opportunity may be gone by stage time.


Jesse Malin - Brooklyn
* Crowd sings w/ Jesse on this one at shows!

Jesse and The St. Marks Social played two sold out shows at NYC's City Winery this past Saturday, February 19th, performing Malin’s debut solo album, The Fine Art of Self Destruction, in its entirety for the first time ever. Always a true showman, Malin ended the late show with a surprise all-star encore jam featuring The St. Marks Social, as well as special guests Tommy Stinson (The Replacements, Guns N Roses), who kicked off each show with a stellar set, singer-songwriter Charlie Mars, and Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day). Armstrong's,who came down to the Winery after his performance as St. Jimmy in Broadway’s American Idiot, appearance was especially meaningful on this celebratory event, considering the long musical history shared Malin shares with him. D Generation and Green Day toured together on their excursion supporting the release of Nimrod, and Billie Joe’s label, Adeline Records, released Jesse’s Glitter in the Gutter and Mercury Retrograde.

Following a trip to SXSW, you can catch the boys in April when they head out on tour with Alejandro Escovedo.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

McAlister Drive :: Smoke & Sand

The Best new Sounds
Names You Should Know

Smoke & Sand confirmed
Mar 19th - Austin, TX

McAlister Drive

McAlister Drive - Hands In Your Pockets
at SxSW 2010 by Michael Basu

Fueled on the success of their most recent album and a string of successful live dates around the country, McAlister Drive are starting off the year strong. The band worked extensively through the winter on a series of new tracks and this show in Austin will allow the band the opportunity to perform them before a large new audience. Those songs will be appearing on a series of 3 upcoming EP albums - all set for a 2011 release.

We expect the band's eclectic sound to shine through in Texas. McAlister Drive is a Rock Band for people who like Blues, Soul, and Pop. They have made their reputation for scalding live performances. Led by songwriter Christoph Krey, MD will be featured at the 2011 Canadian Music Week, the historic Boston Harborfest, and will finally live their return to the Crescent City for the French Quarter Music Festival. That date will be something of a homecoming, as McAlister Drive - who now reside in Boston, got their start on the streets of New Orleans. We are delighted to have them with us this year in Austin.

Christoph Krey by Elizabeth Stewart

McAlister Drive
Web / Fb / Tw / Yt / Bc

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

VIDEO: The Civil Wars in Boston

Bootleg Live Video
Venue: Cafe 939
Boston, MA 02/19/11

Our Editor Says:
"Best Show I have seen in Boston this Year."

The new Rolling Stone:

Joy Williams & John Paul White
perform "Oh Henry" at the Red Room at Boston's Cafe 939
They just finished the song, written at the Sundance Film Festival.

more videos: Samantha B's YouTube

The Civil Wars
Web / My / Fb / Tw
NPR Inteview / New Video

Wanda Jackson

Highly Recommended
Live Show Pick of the Week * Pt. 1

* New England: I whittled it down to
2 shows you just can't afford to miss!

Royale Boston Wed, 2/23 - 7:00 pm
Tickets: Today $22 / at Door $24

You can read this website every day and two things happen, quite predictably - in fact. You get a good sense of our sense of taste and you can know that what I am talking to you about is worthy of your time. I still like to surprise, though. You wouldn't realize it - but rockabilly is one of my all time favorite types of music. So not only was I elated to hear Wanda Jackson was producing a new album but that it would be given the right treatment - produced and backed by Jack White - at the mantle of Third Man Records.

the Queen of Rockabilly - Wanda Jackson was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, honored with a long-time-coming, Early Influence accolade for her pivotal role in the evolution of popular music, especially where female artists were concerned. As a teenager in the mid-50s, the diminutive Jackson was the first woman to perform unadulterated rock and roll – and she one-upped the boys defining this new genre, Presley included, with her exhilaratingly forthright approach. A tireless touring artist for more than 50 years, Jackson continues to win over new, young fans, including guitarist-geniuses like White - who came to help Jackson develop the works for her new album; The Party Ain’t Over.

Wanda Jackson
Web / My / Fb / Tw

Monday, February 21, 2011

Animated Video: Bugs vs Piranha

Animated Music Video
Someone You Should Know

Aloud - Exile in the Night

at CMJ by Mark Jenko - Full Photo Album

Official music video for Aloud's song 'Exile In The Night'
from their album 'Exile' (Lemon Merchant Records).
Video directed and animated by Chris March.

The release of this video signals the beginning of the second leg of Aloud’s massive ‘Exile National Tour’, in support of the new CD, kicks off Saturday, February 19th. This leg features an additional 30+ performances throughout the US, including stops in Philadelphia, Chicago, Denver, Boise, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Austin (SXSW), New Orleans, Chapel Hill, and more. Catch Aloud on the road at one of these dates:


Sun. 2/20 - Garfield Artworks, Pittsburgh, PA
Tue. 2/22 - Double Door, Chicago, IL
Wed. 2/23 - Off Broadway, St. Louis, MO
Thur. 2/24 - Lindberg’s, Springfield, MO
Fri. 2/25 - Coffee Rules, Hays, KS
Sat. 2/26 - Lion’s Lair, Denver, CO
Mon. 2/28 - Bar Deluxe, Salt Lake City, UT
Tue. 3/1 - Liquid Lounge, Boise, ID
Wed. 3/2 - Studio on 4th, Reno, NV
Thur. 3/3 - El Rio, San Francisco, CA
Fri. 3/4 - Clancy’s, Long Beach, CA
Sat. 3/5 – TBA, Los Angeles, CA
Sun. 3/6 - Jose’s Underground Lounge, Monterey, CA
Tue. 3/8 - SDSU, San Diego, CA
Wed. 3/9 - The Griffin, Las Vegas, NV
Thur. 3/10 - The Rogue Bar, Scottsdale, AZ
Fri. 3/11 - Sundances Place, Prescott, AZ
Sun. 3/13 - Cowgirl, Santa Fe, NM
Mon. 3/14 - The 806, Amarillo, TX
Tue. 3/15 - LaGrange, Dallas, TX
Wed. 3/16 @ 4pm - Touché, Austin, TX (Red Gorilla)
Fri. 3/18 @ 4:45pm - Friends, Austin, TX (SXSW)
Sun. 3/20 - The Moon, Ft. Worth, TX
Mon. 3/21 - Stafford on Main Street, Bryan, TX
Tue. 3/22 - The Howlin’ Wolf Den, New Orleans, LA
Thur. 3/24 – TBA, Little Rock, AR
Fri. 3/25 – TBA, Nashville, TN
Sat. 3/26 – TBA, Knoxville, TN
Sun. 3/27 - Cave, Chapel Hill, NC
Tue. 3/29 - Live Bar, Greenville, NC

Web / My / Fb / Tw

Elbow - build a rocket boys!

New Music of Note:
Someone You Should Know
by Nick Parker

If you are one of the army of Elbow fans out there, it seems there are a few things I can say about your music preferences: you love lush arrangements; massive sweeps of instrumentation combined with minutely refined touches of guitar and keys; and operatic vocals. Since you have presumably been starved of new music that fits that profile since Elbow's last release in 2008 (an RSL Best Of Selection) - we can recommend something a little similar in the forthcoming effort from Vessels. We hope you watch this new video and get as excited by the new album as we are. Elbow - build a rocket boys! will be available for purchase on March 7th.

Elbow are in a rather unenviable position now of course, since they have grown over the last decade into one of Britain's biggest bands (in terms of popularity as well as grandeur). Writing another great album after winning the Mercury Music prize has defeated many good bands in the past, so watching them in this video, I'm conscious that I'm looking for that slight hesitation in their movements, that hint of apprehension on their faces as they steel themselves to present, to an hungry mass of fans, the first post-Seldom Seen Kid songs.

Singer Guy Garvey though, looks measured and calm as he leads the band through this delicate song about the wonders of misspent youth. Elbow have grown comfortably into their place among the best bands in Britain, as this performance demonstrates.

If anything, the song could easily have made it onto the last album. This begs the question though: what is new here? Well, there is almost no percussion in this teaser track, and you may miss Richard Jupp's drumming in this case. Otherwise, I suppose the risk they run is that they will move from the positive act of executing perfectly the kind of the music that they do so well into something fans might think is more like treading water.

Only hearing the full album will tell us if they have succeeded, so let's hope for the best from build a rocket boys! In the meantime, this song is really quite beautiful, and more than enough to sate our collective appetites.

Web / Fb / My

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Gallery

The Best new Bands
Names You Should Know

confirmed: Smoke & Sand
Mar 19th - Austin, TX

Not sure if you've heard, but music blogs - like this one - are your best way to find truly exceptional music these days. Such is the case today. The Gallery are a group from Wilbraham, MA - recently relocated back here after living and touring the south for the last couple of years. During that time they have reached audiences with their popular- and country- tinged rock. And they have only gotten better with all their hard work. The stage is now set for them to become one of the most famous bands in the country. And the only Unsigned band to ever be featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

The Best Unsigned Act in America?

The Gallery - Catalyst

The Band [above: Dave Mozdzanowski (bass and vocals), Ryan Cooney (drums), Brendan Cooney (lead vocals/guitar) and Shea Brennan (lead guitar)] could be the best unsigned band in the US anyway, even without all this noise. But the excitement behind the magazine's promotion has elevate their prominence on tour this year. That tour takes a huge turn for the better in Austin to play Smoke & Sand.

It will be a rebirth of sorts, allowing the act to be seen and heard by hundreds of people, impacting thousands more with their music through our promotional reach. Somebody just found their favorite new band. You can thank us later. Vote for The Gallery on the Rolling Stone website. Come and see them in Austin - for free, on us.

The Gallery
Web / Fb / Tw / My

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Civil Wars

Tonight in Boston
Spotlight: Cafe 939

Last Minute Plans:
Even the Best of Editors
Can get caught off-guard!

Joy Williams & John Paul White

The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow

The Civil Wars
Web / My / Fb / Tw
NPR Inteview

Friday, February 18, 2011

What You Can't Name Your Band

Industry & Media News:
Asian-American band told
they can't be called "The Slants"


Portland, Oregon-based Asian American dance-rock band The Slants' trademark application for their name, "The Slants" has been rejected by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on the grounds that the term is deemed to be disparaging to persons of Asian descent and not sufficiently embraced by the Asian Pacific Islander (API) community. The dispute began last year and now the band is preparing for an appeal of the decision.

The decision was reached by the Trademark Office despite evidence filed by the band's attorney, which included numerous articles by the Asian American media supporting The Slants, the band's involvement with dozens of API cultural festivals and non-profit organizations, and legal declarations from several well-respected leaders of the API community.

Spencer Trowbridge of McNamer and Company, the law firm representing The Slants, says that "this is a case where the government is making a decision about how members of a minority group can define themselves. The U.S. Government shouldn't be in the business of making those kinds of decisions. The determination of whether a specific term or phrase is disparaging can only be made from the point of view of the referenced minority group."

THE BAND MAY PRESENT A SPECIAL CASE - The band has made a name for themselves through playing hundreds of rock clubs, anime conventions, and Asian American cultural festivals across the country. In addition, the band is widely known as an advocate for Asian American rights, being involved with numerous API organizations and charities. The Slants have travelled throughout North America presenting racial justice workshops, inspiring youth to reconsider stereotypes of Asian Americans, and to take pride in their cultural heritage. They've been featured and supported by the largest Asian American media figures and press in the country, including Asian Week,, the Asian Reporter, Koream Magazine, and many more.

The Trademark Office responded to the Asian media attention on the band by stating that though the aims of the band "may be laudable... rarely does an article introduce the band without commenting on the controversial nature of the band's name." Elsewhere in the rejection the office cited examples from wiki-articles as evidence that the name belittles the Asian American community.

They've been described as "Chinatown dance rock," but the Slants are far from a novelty act, writes The Stranger, Seattles alt-rock weekly magazine. NPRs All Things Considered states that "It's tempting to peg the Slants in some existing Asian genre: Canto-pop, J-Metal, Viet Core....but they're not quite that simple." Incase you havent heard, The Slants are an Asian synth-pop band that have been melting faces off all over the country. Since the creation of the band, The Slants have toured the country five times, received press for turning down a million dollar recording contract as well as being banned from a venue in Portland due to breathing fire, and were the first and only Asian band to be a Fender Music featured artist.

"What they don't understand," writes The Slants' manager Simon Tam," is that the community is demonstrating their support for our efforts by promoting the band to begin with. It seems that they consider the weight of anonymous wiki-sites to be of greater importance than the voice of the Asian American community itself."

THERE MAY BE PRECEDENT - The band also cited numerous cases of other Asian Americans using the term in a manner accepted by the API community at large such as The Slant Film Festival, a documentary of Hollywood racism entitled "The Slanted Screen," Chicago Asian American TV show "The Slant," and popular Asian magazine, "Slanted," when filing their response to the initial rejection of the mark. In response, the Trademark Office simply replied that The Slants' "arguments have been considered but are found unpersuasive."

The Slants
Web / My / Fb / Tw

Hey Rosetta! will rock Austin

The Best New Music
Bands You Should Know

confirmed: Smoke & Sand
Mar 19th - Austin, TX

With a Masterful New Album out this Week

Hey Rosetta! could be the Best Band in Canada

Hey Rosetta - Welcome

Sweet Photos: Pete Nema of Sticky Magazine

Orchestral indie rock band Hey Rosetta! from Newfoundland, and are one of the best contemporary bands in all of Canada. We are absolutely delighted to bring you this act - who are renowned for their live performances and loyal fans. This is authentic music the likes rarely seen these day. Remarkable performances will be the story of the six-hour-long Free Smoke & Sand on March 19th in Austin, but it's possible there is no better band on this lineup than Hey Rosetta! In fact they could be the story of the year. The material on their new effort, Seeds, shows just how strong they have become. Still loving this (I've only known for a few days myself.) Attendees will just have to remember that there's 19 more live acts to enjoy this day. Highly Recommended. Full Album Review.

Hey Rosetta
Web / Fb / Tw / My

The New Radiohead

New Music this Week!
Radiohead - The King of Limbs

Suddenly they have a new album
Should We be at all Surprised?
today's new revelation: this video!

King of Limbs Download $9
I just bought one. Check it out.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sarah Blacker

New Music this Week!
Someone You Should Know

LISTENING BOOTH - Sarah Blacker is a very pretty woman but the real beauty evident here immediately are the notes of these songs. Blacker's new album, Come What May is released this week and it's meeting the right ears. For Boston folks reading this, her sure-to-sell-out CD release is this Friday night at Club Passim in Cambridge (Harvard Square T Stop). As I type this, I just confirmed there are only 7 tickets left. Here's what all the fuss is about:

It Sounds Strange But it's True. Music plays a much more profound role for Blacker than with other singers. I wouldn't have believed this until the depth of her devotion to music Blacker appeared on Fox25 here in Boston this week, a rare but well deserved chance to be seen by thousands. But instead of playing music, Blacker talked about her profession instead: A music therapist, she works with autistic, disabled and challenged children in an attempt to reach them through music. She is seeing real advances with her work. VIDEO. A more compassionate soul devoted to music you may never see. I can't help but wonder is Blacker is capable of helping us all through her music? Definitely One to Watch in 2011, this is Sarah Blacker.

CD Release Show:
Club Passim
47 Palmer St
Cambridge, MA
7pm $15/13
All ages. opener:
Suzie Brown (Philadelphia)

Sarah Blacker
Web / My / Fb / Tw

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Atomic Tom

Kicking Down Doors
Bands You Should Know

confirmed at Smoke & Sand
Mar 19th - Austin, TX

The story of Atomic Tom begins in Brooklyn. Lead vocalist Luke White began writing demos in 2006 with Philip Galitzine on bass, adding guitarist Eric Espiritu in 2007. By early 2009, drummer Tobias Smith completed the circle. The record that is The Moment was recorded over four months in a tiny apartment. The lead single from this red hot band is the ultra catchy Take Me Out, a song that celebrates an emotional state - a certain vulnerability that is allowing Atomic Tom to reach fans everywhere. Atomic Tom's sis the sound of hope. And now it's part of the soundtrack of this year's Smoke & Sand in Austin. Join us on 3/19/11 for six hours of the best new free music in the world. We believe in these artists and so should you.

Smoke & Sand
RSVP: Facebook / Do512

NEW Atomic Tom COVER:
Human League - "Don't You Want Me" (1981)

Atomic Tom
Web / Fb / Myspace / Tw

Monday, February 14, 2011

RSL and The Phoenix present...

the Live Concert Series rolls on

Another Sign of the Apocolypse:
The Boston Phoenix & Ryan's Smashing Life present

Boston's Best Whatevas, Do It Again.
Orig Poster Art: the legendary Tom Gallo

Thur 02/17 - 9pm - $8 18+

Bearstronaut: listening link
media link: interview
hook-up: twitter

The Cinnamon Fuzz

Dirty Bombs

Dirty Bombs music: listening link
Boston Super-group: Who are Dirty Bombs?
hook-up: facebook


The Wandas

One Amazing Live Act
Bands You Should Know

confirmed at Smoke & Sand
Mar 19th - Austin, TX

It's Valentine's Day and I thought nothing I could say or do to share would be adequate. So this my frilly card to you readers and a fun announcement all wrapped up into one! The Wandas are our Artist of the Day. They've actually been one of my favorite acts for the last three years now - a deal, that was sealed, as it were with their jaw-dropping performance in Austin last year at SxSW. They just kicked ass. I actually went on to include that set amidst my favorite memories of 2010. Well, now I get to return the favor. We have confirmed The Wandas to play Smoke & Sand. Hundreds will be able to see their set - a really worthwhile experience and hopefully conclude, as I have, that this is one of the best live acts in the States right now. Sharp as a razor from three years of touring, The Wandas are a real treat. Come to our FREE SHOW in Austin this year to see them. Happy Valentine's Day. This is your treat from me.

The Wandas
Web / Fb / Myspace / Tw

Sunday, February 13, 2011

PJ Harvey's Let England Shake

New Music this Week
Album Review
by Nick Parker

All the press frenzy about PJ Harvey's 8th album, Let England Shake (Vagrant), some supportive and some disparaging, seems to recognize that what we are dealing with here is certainly a major release for 2011. The more extreme the reviews have gone either way (and they have been extreme: a 10/10 from the NME for example, their first for several years), the more they seem to have tacitly agreed that PJ Harvey is one of the most important artists on the UK music scene, and has been for some time.

An Important New Album. Out Tuesday.

PJ Harvey - The Words That Maketh Murder
by VagrantRecords

Perhaps the reason everyone has been so stirred-up by this album has something to do with its scale. Like Arcade Fire's The Suburbs (our review - the record was a contender for many for album of the year in 2010), "Let England Shake" is for better or worse a collection with a clear, unified vision. It is that so rare and frail a thing: a real album.

RECORDS WITH THEMES - The idea that the tracks on an album should all fit under one broad theme (in this case reflections on Harvey's nation of England), and that we should really immerse ourselves in the project in its entirety, has long been lamented as a relic of our technological past. Whether or not Let England Shake is worth a perfect 10, Harvey's attempt to pull our attention away from the four-minute experience you get from iTunes to Sirius to Pandora, to the forty-minute one you can get out of an album, deserves our support. This album asks that listeners deeply engage with something that we all share, to a greater or lesser degree: an ambivalent connection to some kind of community.

THE PJ HARVEY / ARCADE FIRE COMPARISON - This comparison "The Suburbs" fits too in the distinction between that album's huge overarching pretensions but often small-scale song writing. Even more than the Arcade Fire's release in fact, many of these songs remain slight where the topic could have easily pushed Harvey to produce 'epic' tracks – usually just a route to sounding pretentious. Instead tracks like "England" are built on small sounds and delicate writing about Harvey's indistinct sense of sadness at her own nationality.

PJ Harvey's Nationalist Spirit unfolds

One of the criticisms of the album seems to be that Harvey has forgotten what she does best, which is write scorching, vicious songs about desire and passion. For me there seems plenty of passion in this album though, but Harvey gives us an image of her relationship to her nation that is so complex and thoughtful that it's sometimes hard work to see all of its facets.

I suppose you can look at that complexity as obscuring the simple pleasure of enjoying Harvey's music, but for me it gives the album a lot of depth, and means that those who've dismissed "Let England Shake" as "obvious" (The New Yorker) are either much smarter than me, or are seeing black and white where there are actually shades of grey.

I will admit that I was worried initially that this project would overwhelm even a prodigious talent like Harvey's. The album does have its moments of grating misdirection and clumsy expression. It is not her best work either, despite the accolades it will no doubt receive.

"Let England Shake" though, is an album you'd be crazy to miss out on hearing. It manages, remarkably, to make you think about very personal issues of home and homeland, as if you were connecting with Harvey alone. At the same time, it's as grand a project as anything I've seen in many months.

A performance of PJ Harvey's "Let England Shake" will be live webcasted from France at 3pm EST on Monday 3/14, at

[* Editor's Note: Nick Parker is RSL's British Writer and a devoted follower of PJ Harvey's music. He covers the UK album scene with vigor from new home in Lynn, MA. Parker recently appeared on a video podcast interview with Exposed Urban where he discussed his role with our website.]

PJ Harvey
Web / My / Fb / Fans

Howlin' For You

With a Tip of the Hat to
'Sir' Todd Bridges

The best movie yet from the BLACK KEYS

Viral Video is a periodic series we run celebrating music and moving images. This is the best new idea we have seen in music video in a long time. The music video for Howlin' For You is really a movie trailer for a fake film. With a spattering of T&A and recognizable Grade B stars and one olympic gold medalist, this was one well thought out campaign. The coolness and comedy doesn't end there. The Black Keys team has decided to get the fake film setup with its own IMDB page giving a level of complexity to an already clever attention getter. The thing I like best is the band doesn't need to do stuff like this to be great. They already put out the best album of the Year and they just keep getting better. Here's to whatever comes next. Maybe a sequel?

Las Teclas de Negro
Web / My / Fb / Tw

Previous Viral Videos:

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Un-Holiday Event

A Look at Valentine's Day
by Julie Stoller

Adam Duritz - You Might Think (Cars)
Recorded & donated to Fans on 2/11/11

Ah, Valentine's Day. Some quiet romantic time spent with your loving partner; red wine, dark chocolate, soft music, and tender caresses; soul connection and whispered words of endearment... Or, a hellish hole of misery out of which you curse that crippling emotion called "love" that brings strong people to their knees with an incurable form of madness. Heartbreak, betrayal, jealousy, infidelity, abandonment, bitterness, unrequited longing, ceaseless torment.

If you're in the latter group, here's a few events that might help you get through this horrific Hallmark-generated plague set upon the world.


UnValentine's Day
Songs and Stories of love lost/heart-break etc.
at the Lizard Lounge
Tonight: Sat Feb 12th
Event on Facebook
$10 adv/$12 at the door | 21 +
includes UnValentine's Day goodie bag

This very special evening is part of a performance party series that usually takes place at a private club; this is their first time in a public venue. Hosted and curated by the elegant chantreuse, Singer Mali of Jaggery, the evening will feature a wonderful lineup of performers bringing you "songs and stories of love lost, heart-break, break-ups, and the wreck love can leave you in."

Anti-Folk Hero Lach - on the Heart

Lach (NYC) - Recognized as a pioneer of New York City's Antifolk scene, Lach delivers powerful lo-fi punk-folk social and political commentary that gets straight to the point with no bullshit. His performance is both jarring and eloquent, inviting and confrontational.

Download the Free Album!

Trabants (Boston)- Surf's up and the harsh winter will be but a distant memory... at least for a little while. Trabants bring their rollicking beach party for a little levity and probably some spontaneous go-go dancing. Even if you're alone this Valentine's Day, these guys will lift your spirits.


Jaggery (Boston) - In fitting with the theme of 'disillusionment and heartbreak', Jaggery's haunting and ethereal music will no doubt be exceptionally dark and mysterious this evening. They'll be performing mostly new songs and rarer selections not typically heard, so definitely something not to be missed.

Brian Carpenter & the Confessions

Brian Carpenter & the Confessions (Boston) - Singer and storyteller of the magnificent Folk-Americana-Southern Gothic band Beat Circus has a new project that will have its Boston premiere this evening. Brian describes his work with the Confessions as being "primarily song-oriented, centered around the voice." In addition to his stirring vocals, he also plays strings and other acoustic instruments. His performance with Beat Circus at Jaggery's CD Release Party at Church last summer was astonishing, so I look forward to seeing his latest creative pursuit," said Edrie. (Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys)


Massmouth is a nonprofit organization "promoting the timeless art of storytelling through social media, education and live performance". They host "story slams" around town and organize workshops and other events, including "StoriesLive", a greater Boston story slam and scholarship competition for high school students.