Saturday, March 31, 2012

WINTERPILLS - All My Lovely Goners

On Further Review
by Julie Stoller

new from Winterpills

HAUNTING, BEAUTIFUL NEW MUSIC - On Winterpills’ fifth full length release, All My Lovely Goners (Signature Sounds), the Northampton chamber-pop quintet build on their strong foundation of traditional ‘60s folk influences, to craft a softly-flowing, richly textured celebration of the human experience. By virtue of guitarist Philip Price and keyboardist Flora Reed’s closely-knit vocal harmonies, they bring to mind the gentle harmonies of Simon and Garfunkle (especially evident on “Minxy”). Flora takes the lead in “The Sun Is Alone,” beginning in a quiet way with her delicate whispery voice, which is then joined by melodic turns of guitar and keyboard.

“Small Bright Doses,” one of the standout tracks, is haunted and melancholy, in both the music’s hushed tone and its lyrics (“I’m only good in small bright doses / but you stay near, you stay the closest / for the longest, and the truest / the gentian flower they say’s the bluest / though its flowers are the fewest.”). In “Pretty Girls,” guitar and piano notes occasionally bubble up from the mix to form singular statements. “January Rain,” with its quietly stated vocals and instrumentation, suggests the solitude of a winter rain. Complex, dissonant elements come in at the end, making good use of acoustic guitar distortion (which they do throughout the album) for a rich and interesting string-based palette of colors and textures.

Symbolism abounds in Fleur-de-luce, whose lyrics refer to our history of wars (“bitter fields we bled on / slept then fled on”), the fleur-de-luce (flower of light) and those who have passed (“all my lovely goners”). It seems to bestow a blessing, while at the same time noting that these deeds forever change us, no matter how much time passes (“hang the harps on trees again. / the blood is mingled with the rain.”).

Philip Price, Flora Reed, Dennis Crommett, Dave Hower, Brian Akey

The sheer prettiness of a song like “Sunspots (Ruins)” belies the weariness and sorrow in the lyrics (“I can see from the ruins / this city’s bone-strewn road / stretching on for years”). This is even truer in the closing “Feather Blue,” which, until you listen closely to the story, sounds like a passing daydream by a flowing stream on a warm summer’s day. Price speaks of it as “a shuffling love song to an elusive and cruel muse.” It is ultimately a love song, though hard-fought (paddling a riptide, feeling useless, pulling slow. / trapped under the moment when I knew I had to go. / I was trying to say a word I didn’t know. / candle under curtains couldn’t glow.”).

All My Lovely Goners speaks to the harsh realities of life that shape us, but ultimately to the enduring torch held aloft by those who loved us, and who continue to do so from beyond the grave.

Upcoming Shows
April 7Café 939, Boston MA 8pm; all ages
April 21 – Record Store Day In-store at Bull Moose Records, Portsmouth NH
(vinyl release) 4pm set; all ages
April 21 – The Red Door, Portsmouth NH 8pm, all ages
May 4 – Rosary Beard with Winterpills at Steamer 10 Theatre,
Albany, NY 8pm, all ages

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Who Are these Kids???!!!

Unbelievable Covers
Crazy Fan-Made Video!

You Never Ever Know What You're Going to Find on the Internet - I got home late tonight and was doing some research for an upcoming piece on AM & Shawn Lee's new album (new to you perhaps - but for me, Top Ten contemporary acts right now!) when I came across these kids covering "Callahan" from last year's Celestial Electric record -{BEST OF 2011 ALBUM LIST}- ... All I can say dudes, is this video and cover are the balls! You kill it! Send me your demo!!

AM & Shawn Lee
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DEBUT: Counting Crows - Underwater Sunshine

Hello! We are one of a handful of websites and blogs debuting the new album from Counting Crows: Underwater Sunshine (Or What We Did On Our Summer Vacation) today. It's a covers record paying homage to some important musical icons and friends - both old and new. For me, the record is a way to celebrate music as a whole. The sounds captured here are celebratory even when the lyrics are not. The highs here are all about being a music lover...

BEST OF 2012 ALBUM SELECTION - Recorded in Burbank last April and June, Underwater Sunshine is a collection of 15 gorgeously rendered songs, in which the Bay Area seven-piece honors global icons (Bob Dylan, Gram Parsons), indie-pop heroes (Teenage Fanclub, Travis), compelling up-and-comers (Dawes, the Romany Rye, Kasey Anderson) and even their own seminal pre-Crows projects (Sordid Humor, Tender Mercies). But no matter the artist, the Crows selected each song due to its individual merit, not its ubiquity.

Counting Crows at SxSW 2012 by 5342 Studios

What does Underwater Sunshine mean to me in three paragraphs or less: I've been good friends with Adam Duritz for the last four years now. We met doing an interview just prior to the release of Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings in early '08. We found our allotment of time (20 minutes or less) couldn't handle our first three hour conversation about music... The topic of discussion that day wasn't so much Adam's music... We talked about the spirit of making music, about sharing the music we love, and about an enthusiasm of being in the moment. That's something Adam has never had a hard time doing - being human. And that's what loving music is all about.. Surrendering yourself in it and letting it change you.

Listening to this record is like having that first conversation with Adam and probably dozens of our phone calls and emails, back-and-forth, ever since. We're just a couple of excited music fans talking about how different things sound and the impressions it left on us. Underwater Sunshine (the title, interestingly, is recycled. It's the original name of the music magazine Adam and I toyed around with launching to help bring attention to new musicians...) ended up being the absolutely perfect name for the record. On Underwater Sunshine, Counting Crows are indicating songs and artists that matter; all the while, reaching out to others. That's what I do as as a music writer - and that what you, as a music fan do with your friends. Good music is the ultimate appetizer..

And ultimately, that's why this record is a blinking neon sign, a welcome mat, a gilded invitation - for everyone to attend. It's because of all these reasons this effort is like none other in the Crows catalog save August and Everything After... A new beginning. Good listening!

Ryan Spaulding

Word to the Wise - A really nice, detailed breakdown of the songs and their origins in Adam's own voice appears in Josh Jackson's piece for Underwater Sunshine on PASTE. Recommend you check that one out. - R

4/10 'Underwater Sunshine' record release date
4/13 Seattle, WA @ Showbox SoDo
4/14 Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
4/16 Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
4/17 Los Angeles, CA @ Club Nokia
4/19 Denver, CO @ Paramount Theatre
4/21 Minneapolis, MN @ State Theater
4/22 Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre
4/24 New York, NY @ Roseland Ballroom
4/25 Boston, MA @ House of Blues
4/27 Mashantucket, CT @ MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods
4/28 Atlantic City, NJ @ Borgata
5/1 Jacksonville, FL @ Florida Theatre
5/2 West Palm Beach, FL @ Sunfest
5/4 Atlanta, GA @ The Tabernacle
5/5 Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium
more dates to come... !

Counting Crows
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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Random Impulse

by Tim Osbourne

Tim Osbourne is a Music writer.
He writes from the UK.

ON THE RISE - So, here's something a little different for your lobes... in Random Impulse (real name: Jovel Walker) we have a classic rock guitarist, hip-hop-style songwriter, an MC and all-round producer. Sonically, this really is a great amalgamation of credible ideas and influences – all emotive indie guitars clashing with grime-infected beats. Impulse is currently recording with a varied cross-section of producers including Guy Chambers, Future Cut (Lily Allen, Kate Nash), Semothy Jones (Little Boots) and Brian West (Nelly Furtato). Nice. In terms of the attitude here, and to give you a clearer idea, this is what Johnny Rotten (of Sex Pistols fame) would sound like rapping over very intelligent Britpop-esque riffs.

The standout track from his current output (apart from rap-punk crossover single 'Overload'), is 'Put It On My Card' which takes a vitriolic stance against the current economic situation in Britain... yes, talk of “tenners” and such might mean that Impulse has to wait a little longer for US success... but if Tinie Tempah can do it [Editor's Note: the 2011 Mercury Prize shortlist], there's no reason why Random Impulse can't be next in line. It's all supremely catchy. Trust.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012


On Further Review...

Chris Fullerton is a Music & Film writer.
He lives in Austin, Texas.

It took me three good listens to Lucero’s latest offering Women & Work to realize it was a concept album. The story follows a lovesick man on his quest for redemption. It’s a story of hope and regret as he meanders through a drunken Saturday night, trying to find that lost connection.

The overall sound of Women & Work differs greatly from earlier Lucero albums. They’ve moved beyond the moody alt.-country genre and embraced Memphis-soul, a fuller, richer sound, accentuated by horns and more prominent piano. It’s a nice marriage with Nichols gravelly voice. I think it works well and I applaud the band for expanding into other styles while still maintaining the things fans love most about them.

BEST OF 2012 ALBUM SELECTION - The opening tracks, “
Downtown (Intro)” and “On My Way Downtown” kick off the story, with a hopeful invitation to “come on down tonight.” Singer Ben Nichols’ voice is warm and raspy and the band builds to a steady, shoulder-shaking groove as he pleads, “The last time we drank, I was less than behaved, but I said that I would make up for those days.” The titular track finds our protagonist tying one on with a younger companion, offering sage advice about life, women and work…just drink’em down and let it go. The song is kept afloat by Rick Steff’s honky-tonk piano and a chorus of horns.

On “
It May Be Too Late” the mood becomes more sullen, as he recounts how he’s been sitting there all night saving a seat for a woman who will probably not show up. Nichols croons a regretful tune about being beyond redemption for his past transgressions and he’s looking for a sign that he’s wrong.

The mood lightens back up for “Juniper” and “Who You Waiting On?” The former, a barroom dance-floor swinger, laced with quirky metaphors wooing a girl who “looks like a superhero down on her luck.” The latter is a soulful, straight-forward negotiation between two people who seem to be waiting for people who aren’t showing up. There’s a playfulness that’s not often seen in Lucero songs.

The second half of the album sees a sudden turn in tone. “I Can’t Stand To Leave You” is dark and brooding. The narrator has finally succumbed to the gravity of the situation, the heartache and booze mix to make a painful cocktail and the desperation pours through Nichols’ lyrics. “When I Was Young” and “Sometimes” take stock of a life lived long ago. Lines like “I was fierce and wild in love, when I was young” and “the ghosts down those empty roads, they all know my name” exemplify the reflection most of us have found after a night of drinking away memories only to have them come flooding back.

The desired result of reflection should be wisdom, and “Like Lightning” picks up the pace, again fueled by horns and piano, offering a burst of optimism. Our narrator lists off all the seedy places that his woman isn’t and how he’s going to find her and make things right. He’s learned his lesson and he’s passing it along. “Don’t go wasting lightning. Don’t go wasting time. That girl down the road, she ain’t the waiting kind.”

The album opened with an invitation, but closes with a promise. “The storm is coming home, but I’ll keep you safe.” Nichols is joined by a choir and it gives the song a joyous, almost gospel feel. It brings a satisfying closure to this story. This is a definite must-have album, destined for many “best of” lists at the end of 2012.

Tour Dates

3/28 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge**
3/29 - Fort Collins, CO @ Aggie Theater**
3/30 - Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater**
3/31 - Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater**
4/01 - Colorado Springs, CO @ The Black Sheep**
4/03 - Rock Island, IL @ Rock Island Brewing Company^
4/04 - Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue^
4/05 - Madison, WI @ Majestic Theater^
4/06 - Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall^
4/07 - Chicago, IL @ Metro^
4/09 - Columbus, OH @ The Bluestone^
4/11 - Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart's^
4/12 - Cleveland Heights, OH @ Grog Shop^
4/13 - Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick^
4/14 - Toronto, ONT @ Lee's Palace^^
4/15 - Montreal, QUE @ Les Foufounes Electriques^^
4/18 - Northampton, MA @ Pearl Street Nightclub^^
4/19 - Boston, MA @ Paradise^^
4/20 - New York, NY @ Webster Hall^^
4/21 - Pawtucket, RI @ The Met Cafe^^
4/22 - Philadelphia, PA @ Abbey Bar Appalachian Brewing Company^^
4/24 - Harrisburg, PA @ Abbey Bar at Appalachian Brewing
4/25 - Washington, D.C. @ 9:30 Club
4/26 - Richmond, VA @ The Hat Factory^^
4/27 - Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel^^
4/28 - Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade - Heaven Stage^^

^ w/ William Elliott Whitmore
** w/ Larry and His Flask
^^ w/ J. Roddy Walston & The Business

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Monday, March 26, 2012

The 2012 Rock 'n' Roll Rumble

The Best Battle of the Bands
in all of America returns...
by Julie Stoller and Ryan Spaulding

Bands, are you ready to rumble?! A true Boston Tradition, the first Rock ‘n’ Rumble was in 1979, at the Rat, with Classic Ruins, Mission of Burma, and Lyres among the contenders. It’s become a venerable ‘face off’ of some of Boston’s (and the New England area’s) best bands. Previous Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble participants include Morphine, ‘Til Tuesday, Dresden Dolls, The Neighborhoods, Mission of Burma, O Positive, Letters to Cleo, Gang Green, Cavedogs, The Del Fuegos, and Lemonheads. This is the chance for local bands to show us what they got (in just 30 minutes – better be at the top of your game!). It’s also become the local festival of the year featuring our finest musicians; a mecca for Boston music connoisseurs.

Boston Notables who have participated in the Rumble include ‘Til Tuesday, Morphine, Face to Face, The Del Fuegos, Powerman 5000, Bleu, Letters To Cleo, Dresden Dolls, Amazing Royal Crowns, La Peste, The Neighborhoods, Waltham, Darkbuster, Mission of Burma, Rods and Cones, The Sheila Divine, 6L6, Scissorfight, Sam Black Church, The Shods, Gang Green, The Bags, Stompbox, Think Tree, Heretix, Tribe, Piebald, The Ghost of Tony Gold, O Positive, Quintaine Americana, Lemonheads, Slapshot, Blake Babies, Big Dipper, Cavedogs, and Talking to Animals.

2011 Rumble Kings John Powhida International Airport

Soul So Tight (w/ Andrea Gillis)

Bands can appear only once in the Rumble. All bands are paid for their appearance with additional prizes and payment if they go on to the semifinals and finals rounds. Semifinalists and Finalists, as always, will be determined based on the outcome of the preliminaries. A special “guest band” will perform at the Finals – to be announced on Sunday, April 15th on Boston Emissions (which airs Sundays at 10pm on WZLX). It’s a great line-up this year… the competition is sure to be fierce. Come and cheer your favorites!

2011 Memories: Spirit Kid

Spirit Kid - Honestly

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble 2012

Rumble Preliminaries:
Sunday, April 1 through Saturday, April 7 (Wed off) – Tickets: $8
Rumble Semifinals:
Thursday, April 12 and Friday, April 13 – Tickets: $10
Rumble Finals:
3 finalists & special guest band
Friday, April 20 – Tickets: $12

2011 Memories: OLDJACK

Old Jack - Chorus Line

Prelim Night #1
Sunday, April 1

9:00pm The Grownup Noise

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9:45pm Endless Wave

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10:30pm The Rationales

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11:15pm Cooling Towers

2011 Memories: Mellow Bravo

Prelim Night #2
Monday, April 2

9:00pm Thick Shakes

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9:45pm Animal Talk

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10:30pm Garvy J.

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11:15pm Grey Valley Ghost

2011 Memories: Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling

Prelim Night #3
Tuesday, April 3

9:00pm The Susan Constant

9:45pm The Tin Thistles

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10:30pm Ghosts of Jupiter

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11:15pm Letterday

2011 Memories: Tijuana Sweetheart

Prelim Night #4
Thursday, April 5

9:30pm Cask Mouse

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10:15pm Never Got Caught

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11:00pm Parlour Bells

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11:45pm The Fagettes

2011 Memories: Sidewalk Driver

Dancing with Her Friends by SidewalkDriver

Prelim Night #5
Friday, April 6

9:30pm Pray for Polanski

10:15pm BrownBoot

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11:00pm Bow Thayer and Perfect Trainwreck
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11:45pm The Bynars

2011 Memories: Jenny Dee & the Deelinquents

Jenny Dee and the Deelinquents - Keeping Time

Prelim Night #6
Saturday, April 7

9:30pm The Grinds

10:15pm Sherman Burns
11:00pm Motherboar
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11:45pm Streight Angular
2011 Memories: Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Stephie Coplan and the Pedestrians

Tonight in Boston
Now you have plans.

Addictive and Sweet...

Just last week I stood on a stage in Austin at The Outlaw Roadshow and told several hundred people what affection I have for piano rock bands, introducing the ultimate of these - Jukebox the Ghost - to the assemblage. Today I get to tell you about one of the country's fastest rising stars in this category.... Tonight at Great Scott, Stephie Coplan and the Pedestrians will appear with Lost Romance, Mattison and The Four Point Restraints. [RSVP] Stop by, say hello to Stephie (she's a former Boston girl) and pick up the band's self-titled EP.

Stephie Coplan and the Pedestrians
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Dean & Britta

Photographic Evidence
never-before-seen photos
at Royale - 11/3/11


Dean & Britta
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Friday, March 23, 2012

Atlas Sound at the Paradise

Live Impressions
by Cara Giaimo

The Paradise Rock Club
(w/ Carnivores & White Rainbow)
Boston - March 8th

Everything about Bradford Cox is long. He’s tall enough that he doesn’t really need a stage. He throws out such a far-reaching aura that he probably doesn’t even need a concert hall – if he were to unpack his guitar and his yawp of a voice in the middle of a field, villagers would be drawn from miles around and birds would settle on his pointed shoulders. He folds his arms around his guitar like a spider wrapping a fly, and his fingers stumble over the frets like a gangly teenager. Live, he even stretches his songs out, spinning the 3-minute forays of his albums into reverb-soaked sagas, with buildups and teardowns and valleys and peaks. And alone under the Paradise’s swampy stage lights, he throws a shadow like a redwood. [Editor's Note: Painting perhaps a more perfect picture, take a look at this Interview Magazine photo shoot.]

The internet’s reach is long, too, and reports of Cox’s onstage antics – black ski masks, preteen doppelgangers, an hour-long cover of “My Sharona” – got the Pitchfork-reading public out of their dorm rooms. The ‘Dise was stuffed to the gills; the air was thick with expectation and exhaled PBR vapors. Five hundred trigger fingers loomed over five hundred iPhone “record” buttons. Cox wasn’t biting. He ambled onstage between openers and slouched against the wall, eating from a sleeve of Saltines. He wore a Hawaiian-style shirt patterned with happy skiers, a little bone on a chain around his neck, and sometimes sunglasses. He brought the second opener a bottle of wine.

During a break in the middle of his set, he teased the crowd. “It’s the last night of tour, people,” he said. “Anything could happen.” He paused, then swayed back into the microphone. “But it probably won’t.”

Cover of the latest from Atlas Sound: Parallax

Atlas Sound - Terra Incognita

It would take a deaf or an incredibly spoiled person to attend an Atlas Sound show and say that anything less than Something happened. In fact, one of the coolest things about his shows is that everything happens in front of you, all laid out so that it’s possible to follow along. Cox, with the help of a small quiver of instruments and an arsenal of pedals, constructs his songs onstage from the bottom up, layering sound upon tricked out sound until recognizable forms emerge. Half the fun is waiting for the alchemical moment, and Cox knows it. He teased the audience with the swoon of notes that tethers “Te Amo” for what felt like forever, loosing them from his pedal board in repeating clusters. When he finally strung the phrases together, they cascaded over everyone in long-awaited waves.

He kept that spell alive for entire songs, often by pushing them into new places. He constructed a background reminiscent of a string section before singing a word of “Amplifiers,” bringing it in and out throughout the song to sinister and cinematic effect. “Walkabout,” which on Logos is cheerful and tinged with nostalgia, was damped into a melancholy folk tune, punctuated by mournful harmonica blasts. Much of every song was dedicated to sonic exploration, with Cox improvising intros and tangents and digressions on the spot. It might be literally difficult for Cox to play music – the same condition that makes him so tall has attendant cardiovascular effects – and he imbued many of his notes with life-or-death weight. It was communication too pure for words.

Some were spellbound the whole time, but others seemed so focused on getting a scandal of their own that the amazing things going on around them went unnoticed. This wasn’t lost on Cox, who suffered through catcalls of “My Sharona” between songs, and who eventually decided to give the people what they wanted and get something from them, too. Neil Young’s “Tonight’s the Night” had been the recurring palate-cleanser of the show – Cox had played a minute or so of it a couple of times during the night – and when he started it up again at the end, I figured he’d move on soon enough.. Instead, he focused all his weapons on it and blew it out of the water. He sang, shredded, and soloed it into submission.

He gradually brought out more and more of his opening musicians until he was backed by a full band, and then conducted them. He stuck a full cover of “I Wanna Be Your Dog” in the middle of it, after preventing a shoving match in the audience with a wave of his hand. He got us all to sing the chorus, and then purred “louder!” and “harder!” into the microphone until we were shouting it instead. We all screamed “TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT” so many times that it turned into a koan. And if, at the beginning of it, we had thought “I can’t wait to tell my friends about what a nut Bradford Cox is,” by the end we were all nuts too, and much too raw-throated to say anything about it.

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