Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Sidewalk Driver Interview

Advanced Notice
Thursday 12-1-11
w/ The B-52s!

$35 tickets are available
arrive early for the 7pm set

On the Eve of their appearance on Boston's biggest stage, I sat down with Tad McKitterick - the celebrated frontman of the city's wildest band. If you have never seen the band you are missing out. Dollar for dollar, this is probably the best entertainment for your buck. McKitterick, besides being funny as hell, is probably one of the region's strongest vocalists. The best part? You never know what you get with a Sidewalk Driver show!

RYAN SPAULDING (RSL): Sidewalk Driver is equal parts mesmerizing hard rock and dynamo theater. How long have you guys been playing together?

TAD MCKITTERICK: - I have a BA in dynamo theater! Our first show was in 2005 but we've picked up a couple new members along the way. Jared joined in'08 and Jonn signed up in'09

RSL - Is what you are doing now actually what you set out to do when you became a musician or has the sound and stage presence for both you and the band evolved from the earliest days to be what it is today?

TAD - I wouldn't say it's exactly the same. I knew I wanted to be the singer in a rock and roll band since I was a kid but I never knew I'd become such a symbol of masculinity!! (Both of us are smiling.) I've been doing the whole glitter thing since Sidewalk Driver started, but it has certainly been refined. At our first few gigs I looked like I was wearing cloths made out of the fluff from Rainbow Bright's lint trap.

RSL - Well let's talk about that. I think the stage show is worth the price of admission alone! What is the usual response for first time fans coming up to you after shows? Does the craziness earn you a lot of free drinks?

TAD - Actually, it does!! We get a very positive response from first timers. During our first few tunes, the room is just sort of staring at the spectacle and my cheekbones. Then they start to really get into it and by the end, they're dancin'! The free drink thing is awesome! I always feel a little guilty about it, but the guilt fades by the second sip.

RSL - I suppose it wouldn't be an interview if I didn't ask you what musicians out there have provided musical inspiration for you over the years?

TAD - As a band, we have a lot of different influences. Obviously we all share an affinity for music from the 70's, but we each also bring some other sensibilities to the mix. For example, I like awesome stuff and Kate, Jared, AJ and Jonn just like crap...!

Album / Web / My / Fb / Tw

Barefoot Truth at Life is good

Never Before Seen...
Photos by Kira Doucette

Live from Life is good 2011
Prowse Farm - Canton, MA


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Maceo Parker at Life is good

Never Before Seen...
Photos by Kira Doucette

Live from Life is good 2011
Prowse Farm - Canton, MA


Monday, November 28, 2011

Jukebox the Ghost - Half Crazy

New Music Video
Our Favorites Acts:

Jukebox the Ghost are preparing for a headlining tour with the Spinto Band, Deleted Scenes, Savior Adore and the White Birds (see dates below), the guys have released a new video for “Half Crazy” from 2010’s Everything Under the Sun. The video was shot over several days in south Philadelphia by local animation production company Juggling Wolf.

Stop-Motion Madness - "It was stop-motion, so each scene was painstakingly shot frame-by-frame (think 'Wallace and Gromit', but with us instead),” says Jukebox’s Tommy Siegel. “They hand-drew over 2,500 animated mouths (whoa), which were taped to my face one by one. Under the direction of Marina, Jason and Ian, we moved very slowly for a few days and resisted the urge to itch ourselves for hours on end.” ...

We are being promised many more dates and a new album in 2012. Stay tuned!

about this photo: taken 3/20/10 in Austin, TX at SxSW
the Alex Chilton (Big Star) Tribute Show

remaining 2011 dates...
Dec. 1 @ 930 Club in Washington DC
Dec. 2 @ Brooklyn Bowl in Brooklyn NY
Dec. 3 @ Union Transfer in Philadelphia PA
Dec. 4 @ The Brillobox in Pittsburgh PA
Dec. 8 @ The Spot in Providence RI
Dec. 9 @ The Space in Hamden CT

Jukebox the Ghost
Web / My / Fb / Tw

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ryan Montbleau at Life is good

Never Before Seen...
Photos by Kira Doucette

Live from Life is good 2011
Prowse Farm - Canton, MA


Ryan Montbleau Band
Buy the Audio Set / Web / Fb / My / Tw

Robert Randolph at Life is good

Never Before Seen...
Photos by Kira Doucette

Live from Life is good 2011
Prowse Farm - Canton, MA


Robert Randolph & the Family Band
Web / Fb / My / Tw

Saturday, November 26, 2011

People are talking about BLACK TAXI

Photographic Evidence
by Chris March

We Take You There...
The Middle East
Cambridge, MA - 11.19.11


Black Taxi
Web / Facebook / Twitter

Friday, November 25, 2011

Freezepop - "Doppelganger"

New Music Video
Boston Artist Series

THE 411 - Having just taken the prize home for the city's best Electronic Act at this week's Boston Music Awards, we also now have a new music video from Allston's Freezepop. Directed by talented local filmmaker Mike Gill (Circumvision) featuring the song, "Doppelganger" from the Imaginary Friends album. The band finds themselves locked into a west coast album tour. For those of this reading this on the left coast, dates are below...

Fri 11/25 - Tucson, AZ
Plush Tucson - 9pm
Sat 11/26 - Phoenix, AZ
Crescent Ballroom - 7pm
Tues 11/29 - San Diego, CA
Soda Bar - 8pm
Thur 12/1 - Los Angeles, CA
Echoplex - 8:30pm
Sat 12/3 - San Francisco, CA
Elbo Room - (early show) 6pm

Web / Fb / My / Tw

Thursday, November 24, 2011

VIRAL VIDEO: the Human Drama

This clip will change your day!

Viral Video is a periodic series we run celebrating music and moving images. Today is Thanksgiving in the United States - it's time set aside to explore our thanks for what we have and to reflect, ultimately, on our relationships. We all know that's not the full picture. Interpersonal relationships, family dynamics and cultural expectations & norms for the holidays (regardless of calendar date and country of origin) -- these are just as much a part of the picture. Leave it to a talented German to help clean things up... Well, sort of...

Introductions - This clip is a newish video from Tim Neuhaus - a German songwriter at work since the age of 16, he has become well known for his stories and songs rather than albums. Recently his videos -especially this one from filmmaker Dietrich Br├╝ggemann- have been truly amazing. And this one doesn't use language (save Tim's voice) to tell the tale. Actors perform roles. There are no props... It's an arresting video. If you start to watch, you'll finish it all. The human drama played out here today is going on everywhere all the time. Bravo. And Thanks.

Tim Neuhaus + The Cabinet
Web / Fb / My / Tw

Previous Viral Videos:
watch these + be entertained..

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tender Mercies

On Further Review

A BEST OF 2011 ALBUM SELECTION - Most records burdened with taglines like “20 years in the making” are reunions, long-lost tapes or overblown box sets. There’s a pretty good chance you’ve never heard of Tender Mercies, as this is their first album, and yet in a sense it belongs in two times; with a foot both in 1993 than in 2011. How? The answers go a long way to explaining the pure, unhurried charm of this record.

As a young, upcoming musician in early 90s San Francisco, Counting Crows guitarist Dan Vickrey met promoter Patrick Winningham. Vickrey soon joined Winningham’s own band, where he met keyboard player Charlie Gillingham. Gillingham went on to join the nascent Counting Crows, and when they needed a second guitarist, Charlie recommended Dan. The rest was history; "Mr Jones" hit the radio, August and Everything After went multi-platinum and Patrick Winningham lost his guitarist, seemingly for good.

With the band dormant, Vickrey took some Winningham songs to his new band; in the intervening years, Counting Crows borrowed at least three of them. "Four White Stallions" was a UK bonus track on 2002’s Hard Candy whilst "Wiseblood" was a live staple in their early days. They even recorded "Mercy" for the soundtrack to Georgia (which starred Patrick’s sister Mare Winningham.) Last year, Vickrey finally reconvened Winningham and bassist Kurt Stevenson and, along with current Crows drummer Jim Bogios, set about recording some demos of the songs they used to play. The project gathered momentum and became a fully-fledged album, released last month.

With fellow Crow Dave Bryson mixing, it’s tempting to conclude this is no more than a record for the diehard Counting Crows fan, but that notion disappears rapidly with the album in hand. Whilst Vickrey might have taken the lead in getting this record made, song writing credits are awarded mostly to Winningham and Kurt Stevenson.

THE SOUNDS - For the most part it’s a spare sound, one that befits a recording that evolved from demos to a full album without ever leaving Vickrey’s living room. The guitar-bass-drums core is augmented with occasional organ (Dan Eisenberg) and pedal steel moments, but more often than not, less is more. There’s a definite alt-country tinge to their sound, like a less frantic Uncle Tupelo with harmonies by the Jayhawks. You quickly get the sense that playing together again was a lot of fun, and their enjoyment is infectious.

The opening two tracks set the tone, "Four White Stallions" in particular laying down a benchmark with its 12-string jangle and impassioned harmonies. It is followed by the more delicate Heaven Knows. A Jackson Browne-esque descending guitar pattern and a shuffling rhythm with brushes on snare lend it a timeless air. Angeline, another Vickrey song, shares its cosy, relaxed vibe and delicate backing vocals as Stevenson displays his multi-instrumental talents on slide guitar, violin and mandolin.

At the other end of the scale, "Scarecrow" is slow, bluesy and breaks down to a raucous extended jam. It could be an outtake from the last Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers album, right down to Vickrey’s grinding, screeching Mike Campbell-like solo, a glorious, chaotic outro reminiscent of the Beatles’ "I Want You (She’s So Heavy)" as it wends its wild, discordant way to an end. For long-term Crows fans, it’s a delight to hear Dan’s playing liberated from their somewhat crowded seven-piece line-up. He sounds unhurried, liberated and builds an atmosphere with layers of reverb and tremolo; close your eyes and you can almost smell hot dust on old tube amps.

Their success in moving between those two extremes suggests a band comfortable with the songs and themselves, and they rarely put a foot wrong. The arrangement of Mercy is perhaps a little too rousing and seems to jar with its lyrical plea for redemption, but that aside it’s a well-judged set.

AN HONEST RECORD -The whole record has a relaxed feel, the sound of seasoned professionals in their comfort zone. These are young songs performed out of time by old players, a little slice of the Bay Area scene circa 1993, transported to 2011. This is perhaps what lends the album such a sense of honesty; having long since grown out of the bravado that comes with being young musicians, these four friends sat down in the guitarist’s living room and made a sweet, soulful rock’n’roll record, and by the sound of it they had a blast. Highly Recommended.

Tender Mercies
Facebook / Album

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Crocodiles attack at the Paradise

Photographic Evidence
by Mark Jenko

We Take You There...
The Paradise
Boston, MA - 10.19.11

"Drink your whiskey; Play it loud," - Ryan Spaulding


Blog / Fb / My / Tw / Wiki

Michael Franti at Life is good

Never Before Seen...
Photos by Kira Doucette

Live from Life is good 2011
Prowse Farm - Canton, MA


"If any one performer at the festival epitomized ‘community spirit,’ it was Michael Franti. Performer and preacher, master showman and motivational speaker, Franti is full of charisma. Along with the warm, friendly vibe of Spearhead – funk and reggae, jazz and rock, with the depth of a church sermon and the intensity of a powerful rap – they entertain as well as inform and inspire”... - Julie Stoller

“Between the Wall Street banks and the empty homes
Between the lines of the people standing all in a row
There’s a crack in the gutter where a flower grows
Reminding me that everything is possible"
from 'Hey Hey Hey' - Michael Franti

Michael Franti and Spearhead
Web / Fb / My / Tw

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cymbals Eat Guitars rock Boston

Photographic Evidence
by Chris March

We Take You There...
Brighton Music Hall
Boston, MA - 9.20.11


Cymbals Eat Guitars
Wb / My / Fb / Tw

Sunday, November 20, 2011

MOVIES: J. Edgar

Thoughts on Film

It’s hard, when watching a biographical movie, to separate what you think you know and what is being presented on the screen. In J. EDGAR, director Clint Eastwood tackles one of the more powerful and controversial figures of the twentieth century, and manages to capture the complexities that made Hoover both undisputedly unlikable and utterly vulnerable.

J. Edgar Hoover was the first director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and before that the Bureau of Investigation, from 1924 until his death in 1972. Hoover was instrumental in building the FBI and implementing many modern crime-fighting techniques, such as a centralized fingerprinting database.

The film follows Hoover from a young man struggling to establish the Bureau and gain recognition to his rise as one of the most powerful men in the world, including his exploits in illegal wire-tapping and the collection of information on social and political figures in order to discredit and control them.

Eastwood also delves into the private life of Hoover, in particular his overly-dependant relationship with his mother (played by Judi Dench), his rumored homoerotic friendship with Assistant Bureau Director, Clyde Tolson and his trusted secretary and confidant, Helen Gandy.

I will say, unashamedly, that I am a huge fan of Leonardo DiCaprio, and his ability to capture the essence of actual persons, (Jim Carroll, Howard Hughes, Tobias Wolfe, etc), is unparalleled. His portrayal of Hoover should be added to the list of his many fine performances, as he successfully made the man both admirable and despicable without much effort.

I was also pleased with Naomi Watts as Helen Gandy. The best compliment I can give her is that it took me forever to realize she was Naomi Watts, and I think that’s the most an actor can strive for when playing a character, or even more so, an actual person.

I only have two complaints with the film. The first being the make-up used to make Armie Hammer an elderly Clyde Tolson. It looked like a bad Halloween mask and it distracted from an otherwise nice performance. The second was the atrocious portrayal of Robert Kennedy by Jeffery Donovan. His accent was laughable and his delivery excruciating to watch. His performance almost felt like an unfunny parody and it detracted from the gravity of the subject matter, namely Hoover’s illegally gathered intelligence concerning Kennedy’s brother.

While J. EDGAR is beautifully filmed, and DiCaprio and Watts give excellent performances as Hoover and Gandy, the overall story of the film is probably best suited for history buffs. While the more scintillating details of Hoover’s private life are touched on, there are only a few scenes that provide the sizzle a casual movie-goer might be drawn in by, which is a shame, because J. Edgar Hoover proves to be one of the most complex characters in American history.

Friday, November 18, 2011

WU LYF at The Middle East

Photographs by 5342 Studios
Live Review by Nick Parker

We Take You There...
The Middle East
Cambridge, MA - 11/10/11

THE BUZZ - As I've written here before, listening to WU LYF's debut "Go Tell Fire to the Mountain" has become for me something of a transporting musical experience. Certainly an acquired taste, since it's such an odd mix of gravel-y blues vocals, euphoric organs and guitars, and furious percussion, WU LYF have really pervaded my consciousness. I simply can't find a band out there that sounds like them, in their native Manchester or beyond.

Despite my admiration for the enormous cathedral swoops that they managed to cram onto their album, as I approached the Middle East for their show last week I was more than a little unsure of the band's ability to encompass it all in what is a smallish basement venue. From the start though, their sound managed to be very comparable to the expansive moves of what they achieved in the most unusual recording I've heard all year.

The show was a bizarre and fascinating mix of paradoxes. Despite the seemingly zealous crowd for example, singer Ellery Roberts seemed determined to keep his distance from us in several ways: standing at 90 degrees to the audience as he played for example, so he didn't make eye contact with any of us for much of the show, and was seemingly indifferent when he did.

AS MUCH A MOVEMENT AS THEY ARE A BAND - Robert's often-satirized vocal growl was an incomprehensible as ever, but no one seemed to care – for an hour we were an army of followers. The more indecipherable his voice became, the more the crowd tried to chant along with it. It seemed the words were of little value – WU LYF have a palette that seems to make lyrics irrelevant, except in the vague sense we have that they must be as angst ridden as any great rock and roll. They can transmute what initially seems like the music of "soccer hooligan grunts" (as one friend put it) into something very beautiful.

So when WU LYF came to the Middle East last week, they managed to play it like any other committed professional rock band – with all the sweating, half-naked fury they could muster – and yet somehow preserve as its result something simply angelic. Quite a feat.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Slim Cessna's Auto Club at Great Scott

Photographic Evidence
by Chris March

We Take You There...
Great Scott
Boston, MA - 11.7.11


Our Photographer Speaks! - Slim Cessna's road weary bedraggled crew, straight out of a Flannery O'Conner story, bring the good people a show that's both vaudeville and country punk. This dustbowl era like carnival is consistently the best live act I've ever seen. These photo's can't put you there, but I hope they capture a certain amount of what Slim Cessna's Auto Club is about.

Hailing from Denver Colorado, Slim Cessna's Auto Club has been converting audiences with their insane live revival throughout the U.S. and Europe for the last decade. They've shared the stage with Johnny Cash, Throwing Muses, Cake, Primus, and Reverend Horten Heat. They've recently released their 8th album, "Unentitled" on Jello Biafra's (of the Dead Kennedy's) Alternative Tentacles label. - Chris March

Slim Cessna's Auto Club
Web / Facebook / Myspace

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Deer Tick and The Felice Brothers

Show of the Week
by Julie Stoller

11-18-11 at Royale

Deer Tick at the Newport Blues Cafe - Newport, RI

Deer Tick - "Main Street"

PROMISES TO BE AMAZING - Every once in a while a show comes along where the line-up is truly inspired. Such is the case with Friday’s now sold out show at the Royale, with co-headliners Deer Tick and The Felice Brothers. The Felice Brothers’ powerful storytelling and stylistic label defiance is a perfect match for Deer Tick’s defiant barroom revelry.

Deer Tick's new release, Divine Providence, explodes from the first bars of “The Bump,” a foot-stomping call-and-answer which embraces every flaw that encapsulates frontman John McCauley and his idea of rock and roll. McCauley shouts it out, as fair warning “I can take a tree and tear it from its roots. If you see me, I suggest you move.” [for the full review and more live photos of Deer Tick, click here.]

Insider's Tip: For those who procrastinated, your next best option to see Deer Tick playing at Webster Hall in NYC on November 20 (with Virgin Forest and Thomas Hardy of Dead Confederate), or at the Providence Performing Arts Center, for Providence RI’s 375th birthday on November 22.

Deer Tick - Molly's Lips (Nirvana)
"Deervana" recorded live 6/19/11 at the Brooklyn Bowl

Deer Tick
Web / Fb / Tw / My
on Partisan Records

The Felice Brothers - "Ponzi"

Felice Brothers live at The Firebird in St. Louis, Mo
Sarah Marie Smith photo

The Felice Brothers are also making an ambitious departure from their starker, melancholy, alt-country sound on previous albums, to explode on their latest effort with horn arrangements, synths, dance beats and samples. They employ every tool in the shed to tell their dark tales of the American experience (their 7th album, Celebration, Florida is most likely inspired by a violent murder about a year ago in Celebration, Florida, a Disney-founded community that was meant to be an idyll of old-time family values).

Felice Brothers
Web / Fb / Tw / Tr
on Fat Possum Records

THE WRAP - What these two bands and their music have in common is that they are both in the process of breaking free from genre tags like “indie folk” and “alt-country,” having the creative urge and drive to go where their respective muses take them. For Deer Tick, it’s that boozy, adolescent and rambunctious groove that colors their folk and country influences. Though it might be considered bratty and immature by some accounts, it has admirable conviction.

Both bands are steeped in tradition, yet firmly planted in the modern world, trying to reconcile their place in it, and looking for adventure. What a great evening this will be.