Thursday, May 31, 2012

ONE TO WATCH: Dear Sherlock

Underground Sounds
by Tim Osbourne

Tim Osbourne is a Music writer in the UK.
He covers emerging artists for

This is a weird one, but in a good way. Dear Sherlock is a band formed over the internet. You read that right. Hull, UK-based Jamie Gray teamed up with singer and guitarist Eduardo Lemos to create a truly unique, cross-continental connection. How the hell did it work then? Both admired each others' skills and began to write and record in their separate countries before coming together and performing live. How lovely (and surprisingly simple) is that?

Pianist Jamie was scouring the vast reaches of the World Wide Web very constructively for like-minded creative types, and he came across a band called "Reckless." The Portuguese act had gained quite a following online (mainly through YouTube) before Jamie decided to get in touch with Eduardo, which eventually led to this frankly fascinating collaboration. [Editor's Note: As unusual as this working arrangement is, it has happened before.]

The band (rounded off by Daniel Carvalho [drums, also based in Portugal]) eagerly exchanged files and began crafting complete songs over Skype, and the sound... well, if you can imagine a Muse, Silverchair and Radiohead mashup (as heavenly as that sounds), then you wouldn't be far off. This kind of stuff really doesn't happen every day. It's not often we get to say that in this industry!

The band have so far played select shows in Yorkshire and Portugal creating a nice buzz, and with tracks from their début (free) self-titled EP, like the melodic and soulful 'Supernova' and the harder-edged 'Bach Archive' (and yes... you will be forgiven for thinking Matt Bellamy has switched bodies... just for a second, when listening to this stuff), 2012 is set to be an explosive year for this lot.

Album / Fb / Tw

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Interview: Nathan Reich of Foreign Fields

Artist Interview
by Chris Fullerton

[Today, the final hours of Nathan Reich's solo project Kickstarter tick down. He has made the goal and his record WILL be made, but I encourage you to click over and support him in these last minutes if you are so inclined - ed.]

Every year, thousands of people and bands descend on downtown Austin, Texas for SXSW, a music festival of sorts, but most importantly, a place for lesser-known artists to generate buzz and exposure. One of the most “buzz-worthy” bands from this year’s festival, in my opinion, was a band called Flights, (which subsequently changed their name to Foreign Fields to avoid confusion with another band of the same name.), who create a haunting, ethereal sound, somewhere between folk and post-rock.

Nathan Reich of Foreign Fields was kind enough to answer a few questions about the band, their upcoming tour, as well as his solo work.

Chris Fullerton (RSL): How did the band come together?

Nathan Reich: Well, the core of the band is Eric Hillman and Brian Holl, who wrote and recorded all the music on our latest record, but I play acoustic/electric guitars and sing back-up vocals. Nate Babbs plays drums and we are currently going through an auditioning process to replace the synth player we had, John Paul Roney. It all really came together a few weeks after the record was released. I had coincidentally just moved to Nashville, with not a lot going on, and Eric and Brian were the only two people I knew. We had talked about playing together at some point in the future, but the recent success of the record created a sudden demand to put the band together. So, it all fell into place in a very serendipitous way.

Nathan Reich at Daytrotter in Austin this year

CF: At SXSW, Foreign Fields played The Outlaw Roadshow, a showcase put on by Ryan’s Smashing Life and Adam Duritz. This summer, you’re hitting the road on the touring version of the Roadshow with Counting Crows and a host of other up-and-coming artists. How did that all come about? Have you ever been involved with something of this scale?

NR: Well first of all, I think it's amazing and rare that Adam Duritz and Ryan Spaulding have devoted so much of their energy and time to finding and supporting new music. I just don't personally see huge acts like that very often going out of their way to this extent to expose new music to the world. It's something that should really be praised, I think. It all happened because of the internet, which is somewhat inspiring and scary to think about. Despite sometimes feeling like my music will always be lost in a monstrous sea of other music, what happened with Foreign Fields is a good example that it still can reach people via the internet and be appreciated. Nothing is ever completely lost. Basically, it started with one small blog, spread to big blogs, then to Daytrotter and then directly from Daytrotter to Adam Duritz, and the rest is history. I have never been involved in a tour of this scale at all. The biggest show I've ever played was at my college performance center (Boston's Berklee College of Music), which was a 1200 seat theater. That was fun, but this will be a whole new experience.

CF: Speaking of the Internet and music, you're working on a new solo album,
All Night Pharmacy, and using Kickstarter to raise funding. How do you think the Internet and the self-financing options have changed music and the way people go about musical careers?

NR: It seems to have become the new standard that people don't have to buy music anymore, and record labels don't invest in undiscovered, uncertain talent. They want to see the money is flowing and things are happening before they sink their teeth in, so to speak, so the funding is coming from...nowhere. The idea of Kickstarter has kind of cleverly tricked the community into supporting its artists again, which I like. The majority of listeners will still download the music for free, but if you can build yourself a loyal little community, that can be plenty to keep you making records. You don't even have to have an enormous fan base to raise a pretty substantial amount of money, which is amazing to me. At the end of the day, this new vehicle of raising funds is actually better to me because it keeps all the control in the artists hands, if they are doing it all independently, which in my case I am.

CF: Your last album, 2009’s "Arms Around a Ghost" is an amazing set of stories. What is your approach to song-writing? Who are your influences?

NR: There seems to be a common thread in my approach to writing. Which is that it always starts with guitar and melody. I hear the guitar part, and often just start singing along and sometimes words fall out of my mouth, and those become seeds for the real lyrics. The lyrics themselves almost always get written on my computer, where I can look at the text neatly and organized. I hate the way my handwriting looks. Even if I wrote a good lyric, I'd think it was stupid because of that, so I may write small ideas that come to me throughout the day, but the bulk of the lyrics get written alone in my room, staring at my computer and day dreaming. My favorite songwriter of all time would have to be Elliott Smith. But I love other writers like Deb Talan, David Bazan or Fionn Regan. It's hard to say who has influenced me the most. I like good clear structure and form in songs, whatever the style may be. So I take that approach with my own writing as well. Clarity is key, I think.

CF: What kind of statement do you want to make with All Night Pharmacy? Is there a theme or a common thread to the songs?

NR: I don't really set out to make any statements with my music. I just want to write good songs that are about real things, ideas, thoughts, interesting ways of describing the human experience, if you will. My life is just so full of ups and downs and different experiences, regarding my relationships with people and myself. Music is just a way to make art out of those experiences. That being said, I seem to have certain words and images that repeat themselves. I write about houses, homes and different forms of light a lot, shadows moving across the floor and tension between people. There may be more things I keep touching on, but I am not aware of it totally. This record has covered a lot more topics than the last record. I've written less about love and more about traveling, being alone, my habits of self-destructiveness under the metaphor of the supposed 2012 apocalypse. It's just all over the place, sometimes all in one song.

On tour with Counting Crows beginning June 9th

Foreign Fields
Album / Fb / Tw

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

LORD T & ELOISE - Day Drinking

World Premiere
Acts You Need to Know


FOUR STAR LIVE SHOW - Rarely do I look back into our history and remember sets both as fondly and as vividly as this one... (Question for comparison: What did you have for lunch two days ago? Exactly.) I can tell you precisely what I was doing on March 18, 2010 - I was in Austin, TX seeing Memphis' Lord T & Eloise for the very first time. It was an arresting performance. We were street-walkin', grabbing drinks in each house, catching a live track by whoever was playing, polishing off drinks and heading out... This set was different. We walked in just before the band went on and we stayed until the end. Unbelievable. Amazing skills. Costumes enhanced the thing, and didn't distract from the set. Was THE best set I saw at SxSW 2010. Fast forward to today. I'm now serving in the court - they're serving notice to everyone that summer is here...


Legend tells us that Lord Treadwell and the gold-skinned Eloise are a pair of intergalactic time travelers. Our ears tell us that they have the most-fresh take on Crunk and Rap this world's ever seen. With their trademark sound infused with influences of Memphis, TN and with big-time theatrics this is definitely one to watch in the year ahead. The single and video are brand new today and we're told there a new mixtape: "Blackout Crunk," coming soon!

rsl streaming photo album:
Lord T & Eloise at SxSW

New Single $1 / Web / Fb / Tw

Monday, May 28, 2012

Don't Fight It

I come from a long line of military servicemen and elected to not join up -- philosophically, it doesn't work for me. However - I respect and regularly thank those who do. Let's take a minute to consider all of those serving, those have served, those who have died or have not fully returned.

soldiers resting.

The American military has done two very remarkable things this year that I want to recognize - with the permanent removal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," any human can put their life down for their countrymen regardless of their sexual orientation. And for the very first time in many generations, it appears all branches of the service are finally beginning to take mental illness and post-traumatic stress disorders seriously. Caring for our people also means caring for our soldiers as well - as it always should have.

Let's all hope both of these long-overdue advances and a more stable world help us get to a day where fewer fighters are needed and nowhere near the number of little flags need to fly over fresh graves. It's a big dream..

music by...
The Panics
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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Maximo Park "Lips and Hips"

A Closer Look
by Nick Parker

For years now, my mother and I have often had arguments about about the value of the music video. The point she always makes is one I can recall many people worrying about around the time that MTV launched. You remember: before MTV was dismantled, leaving us with an enduring obsession with seeing directors' visions of the songs we would have 'just' listened to before. Simple put, mum says, videos only distort and distract from the experience of immersion in music.

I've always felt this was unfair. As long as bands have some say in where things go, there is an opportunity for another aspect of a track to be revealed in a video. Sadly for me, today's release of Maximo Park's "Hips and Lips," from the album "The National Health," which is coming to us in June, seems to suggest (and not for the first time) that mothers' know best.

The video shows a young fan dancing around his bedroom, loaded with posters (and even, rather disconcertingly, blow-up dolls!) of the band. There is a small, predictable twist at the end of the video, but the whole thing is a tired example of the kind of thing ten thousand fans could, and sadly probably will, recreate in the cacophony of a web 2.0 world. It's not just that this is dull and lazy, but that it's extremely distracting and doesn't help us connect to this track.

Let me try to dislocate music from imagery then. Please try averting your eyes as you stream this video, and I will do the same. The song, which singer Paul Smith suggested on a FB post recently was actually about "a tempestuous relationship," has an odd juxtaposition of hard drums and keys, next to usually delicate vocals. Even when the whole band kicks in during the choruses, Smith is almost always singing at a whisper. It’s an effect that keeps me feeling usually attentive to what he's saying, which works very well given his past examples of lyrical excellence. It's actually a clever song then, both energetic and thoughtful, not that watching the video will allow many to appreciate that.

I still have high hopes that Maximo Park can deliver something special in "The National Health," but I'm frustrated that I'm forced to cling to that hope in spite of the band's best efforts to obfuscate very good music under inane imagery.

Maximo Park
Web / Fb / My / Tw

Friday, May 25, 2012

Langhorne Slim, Ha Ha Tonka and Kingsley Flood

Music Event of the Week

Langhorne Slim & The Law
Ha Ha Tonka
Kingsley Flood

18+ $15

We were raining accolades down on Langhorne Slim long before it was a popular thing to do so or prior to him becoming the star on the national indie landscape that he has become. Three years ago, prior to this incarnation of the band and before the songs off the new journeyman effort, "The Way We Move" (June 5 release) were even a thought in Langhorne's head - we had already seen his ferocious roar and the swinging of the guitar (like a sword held aloft) a half dozen times.

And then something happened (something always happens) Slim got even better. That's the natural result when you play so damn hard the only thing that matters to you is that it never ends... I had a good conversation with Slim about this - it was the day the photo (below) was taken. He just wants to keep making music. We all want to challenge our mortality, to escape pain. Those thing happen for Slim when he jumps up on stage and performs. Those things happen for Slim's audiences whenever he's doing that. It's a pretty beautiful thing - and I think about what he told me every time I look at this photo...

The 13 songs that compose Langhorne Slim & The Law’s new album are road-tested, rollicking and very rock ‘n’ rolling tunes that the songwriter perfected with his loyal band, and come out of the kind of good times and bad experiences that songwriters of Langhorne’s lofty stature can turn into life-affirming rock ‘n’ roll. You could also call what Langhorne Slim does folk music, but then there’s his sly, charming and open-hearted feel for pop music—those summertime melodies that nudge you into a grin even when the song is about something bad.

Langhorne Slim
Web / Fb / Tw / My

Ha Ha Tonka - Brett Anderson, Lennon Bone, Lucas Long and Brian Roberts are still relative strangers to me - which is strange because I've seen them a bunch of times and thoroughly enjoy their music. Their songs about resilience, survival and raw natural beauty are punctuated by their performances. The band is growing as evidenced by their latest, "Death of a Decade" - which both underscores the past but somehow dances far above it as well. The new material is less “story-based” than Ha Ha Tonka’s previous work (which pulled heavily from Missouri history and folklore for its lyrics), with the band now focusing on the transition into manhood—something that doesn’t automatically come once you pass a certain age: “I realize that youth is wasted on the young,” Roberts sings on “Westward Bound,” “Oh, I know that now my wasting days are done.”

However, Roberts says, "Death of a Decade" is not meant to be a requiem for lost youth, but rather an embrace of the notion that the passage of time is better than the alternative. There you have it again: the wisdom of the Ozarks.

Ha Ha Tonka
Web / Fb / Tw / My

Kingsley Flood - are quite possibly the perfect mix of folk, rock, punk and Americana. Labels aside, though, what they really are is stunningly good. At the start of 2012 I have the band placed at the very top - one of say 4 bands performing at peak levels in the Boston area scene. And for their particular sound, they are easily the best of what's around. In three short years the band have worked extensively to craft a space to play while evolving their sound on stage and in practice spaces to be what it is tonight. Do not arrive late. Catch what could end up being the best set of the night - early.

Somebody's going to leave the show with a favorite new band tonight -- and it's going to be these guys.

Kingsley Flood
Web / My / Fb / Tw

Kanye West + Bon Iver - Lost in The World

New Music Video
This Just In...


Thursday, May 24, 2012

England in 1819

From the Mailbag
New and Right Now

So, here's the deal. I can't begin to listen to, digest or publish everything we receive. About once or twice a month in 2012*, I will be randomly opening new mail and so long as the stuff is potentially of interest to our music-crazed audiences, we'll run it right here. Today we reached in and dove deep and what we found was so unbelievably awesome that I really think every website and music blog in this country should probably be doing the same thing. Just images, this artist and music video not seeing the light of day???

ABOUT TODAY'S BIG FIND - In August of 2007, brothers Andrew and Dan Callaway found themselves living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the entire family together for the first time since their childhood spent in the English countryside. Along with their father, Liam Callaway, the trio of musicians began writing songs reflective of their Athens, Georgia roots and their fortuitous return to the South. The result - England in 1819 - is an unusual combination of Southern edge and English introspection, with haunting lyrics and massive chamber rock unfurling in a sweeping, evocative surge of sound.

Produced By: Maritza Sanchez
Directed By: Stephen Kinigopoulos

England in 1819 now also includes opera singer Zuly Inirio and percussionists Jonathon Alcon, Alex Alfortish and Sean Barna. Influenced by Sigur Ros, Radiohead, and the post-rock movement, England in 1819 is armed with their first professionally recorded album, “Alma,” and poised to conquer with their impressive blend of ethereal atmosphere, captivating melodies and Brobdingnagian ending anthems.

Directed By: Stephen Kinigopoulos

England in 1819 / upcoming:
Frank in Austin - June 7th

England in 1819
Album / Web / Fb / Tw

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

ONE TO WATCH: Lydia Baylis

Underground Sounds
by Tim Osbourne

Tim Osbourne is a Music writer in the UK.
He covers emerging artists for

Lydia Baylis has made an early career out of building powerful and anthemic folk-ridden tracks that can seamlessly resonate with most everyone. Lyrically, she is challenging and provocative, but the material this artist comes out with is still absolutely and completely accessible for fans of modern indie music.

Indeed, one of the most impressive things about the artist is how closely she holds her musical influences to the heart. The “raw-ness” of Van Morrison is definitely present, alongside the attitude of Green Day via the top-class songwriting of Velvet Underground and the feel-good element of Bowie (yes, her first single Starman is a homage to the man himself).

In terms of other, more lyrical passions, Lydia writes about what she sees, and how she feels in life, which, like we said, one can always relate to. It's a beautiful thing when a singer can bare their soul with true conviction and fortunately, Lydia does this every time she steps into the studio to record, or gets on the stage to perform with her band. If you fancy giving her a quick listen (and in case you haven't guessed yet, we think you should), then we can wholeheartedly pitch the aforementioned 'Starman' to you – it's all delicate keys, light guitars with seductive vocal tones, and quite charmingly is loosely based on the desire to be taken away into space and experience new life. Nice.


In another great stroke of luck, Lydia has been able to mix it up with the music industry's best and brightest talent-in-the-know over her time in "the biz," such as Ian Pickering (Sneaker Pimps) and writer and producer
Paul Statham (Dido, Kylie Minogue, Simple Minds). Having recently returned from New York where she has made significant contacts with proper production “big-wigs” in (the delightfully named) Crispin Thump (a team made up of writer/producer/engineer Augustus Skinner [EMF] and TV and film composer Ronan Coleman [Last Days On Earth]), things are going rather well for Miss Baylis, and deservedly so, we feel.

Lydia takes the listener along on real soul-soothing aural journeys – it's summer all year round with Lydia's effortlessly intriguing sound. Enjoy it.

Lydia Baylis
Web / Fb /Tw

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Movie Trailers: James Bond - SKYFALL

Hot Movie Trailers:
Wait, this just in!

WORTH WAITING FOR - In 155 days (but who's counting, really?) the most brutal and dark telling in the James Bond compendium (23 films in all) will be released. SKYFALL starring Daniel Craig, easily the best Bond since Connery. This time through, audiences will likely find a very different story - Skyfall was directed by the stylistically different Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Revolutionary Road, Road to Perdition, Jarhead). Craig, who again - has owned the rebooted series in the last two films really seems to have taken his performance to the next level in the following clip. Seems evident he's being evaluated psychologically to determine if he's fit for duty... for a job that appears to be killing his peers.

Skyfall, in theatres November 7th, costars Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem, Judi Dench, Albert Finney, and it marks the debut of Bond girl Bérénice Marlohe (photo.) Cannot Wait.

IT'S RSL's 007 MIX:


Monday, May 21, 2012

PHOTOS - Mellow Bravo at The Middle East

Photographic Evidence
images by Anne Cook

The Scene: The Middle East
Cambridge, MA - 5/4/12

The Mellow Bravo CD Release


Mellow Bravo
Web / My / Fb / Tw

Bonus: Photos!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Grillin' Time makes Summer Fine

Thus Begins the Summer
Just for the Sake of it.

Ed Mitchell photo

FRIENDS & FIRE - Six years ago RSL was setup as one man's creative outlet (and probably a desperate call for help) and now it is something much more. With the work of contributors and readers from around the globe, we are just a little bit closer to a functioning family or a labor collective, at any rate... Today we celebrate the start of our summer and a number of us will gather around a fire, grill meat, eat salads and drink some cool refreshing beer. It's not the most indie thing we've done this week but it's going to be great to see everybody and to plan the months ahead. I get some visibility to the goals and aspirations of our staff, we get some nom nom (sip sip) time in and party a little. Here's hoping that you find a grill to stay behind - or at the least - a friend to jaw with for a few today!

The Shaky Hands
Web / Fb / My / Tw

Friday, May 18, 2012


Music Video Roundup
by Nick Parker

THREE NEW VIDEOS - The last week has seen the release of a number of videos that do not revel in obscure, art-house concepts, nor undermine their music with facile jokes that belie their musical quality (you know who you are). They are, more or less stylized, performance pieces. Thank heaven for that. Here's a roundup of those that stood out to me, for better or worse.


Listening to their 2010 album, Fire Like This, and you'd be forgiven for thinking that Blood Red Shoes weren't a British band at all, but from somewhere much closer to these shores. There is always something so ROCK about their drum sounds (never a soft strike among them), and even their singing voices don't quite seem to fit an often more genteel UK indie band scene. They are very much a staple in Europe now though, touring at the moment in support of their new album, In Time to Voices. This is a video of guitarist Laura-Mary Carter and drummer Steve Ansell (both singers in the band) blasting through a power-chord laden track called "Lost Kids," and suggesting they will be winning people over in droves when the album comes out in this country.

Blood Red Shoes' "Lost Kids"

Blood Red Shoes
Web / Fb / My / Tw



To watch The Chapman Family's new video, for "No More Tears," feels very much like watching a rabid dog being held at the leash. You can sense the heavy hand of a producer in the low mix of the vicious guitars, not to mention in the suits, which feel very constrictive as the band scream the song's title over and over again. How much the band have chosen their course is of little consequence I suppose. The track is a great piece of hypnotic pop-shoegaze. It has to be said though, that we've seen something VERY like this before in the last few years: The Horrors video for "Who Can Say" is (literally) staged in the same way, both musically and visually, and for that The Chapman Family loose some points for ingenuity..

The Chapman Family's "No More Tears"

The Chapman Family
Web / Fb / My / Tw



You can't easily fault The Hives for continuing to do what they have done so well for years, except that well, they are still doing -precisely- what they have been doing so well for years. This video, which is cleverly recorded in a studio performance in the round, has the typical absurdities – top hat and tails, comic expressions, etcetera – dressing a punk song that is fun, but somehow a little flat. Perhaps I am being uncharitable – I suppose if you are still looking for a fix of The Hives' music, and playing the old albums just won't do, this track, called "Go Right Ahead," will suit. For me though, it had the effect of driving me back to great stuff like "Die, All Right" and "Main Offender," which is no bad thing in the end.

The Hives' "Go Right Ahead"

The Hives
Web / Fb / My / Tw


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Handsome Furs have Disbanded

Handsome Furs Sound Kapital - Tour Kickoff in Boston
photos by Mark Jenko - live at Great Scott 4/13/11

BREAKING NEWS --- In March, the sonic assault of husband- and wife-team Alexei Perry and Dan Boeckner - having again criss-crossed the planet suddenly announced they were canceling additional EU tour dates to an urgent health matter. Without further explanation, dates were canceled and never rescheduled. Tonight a simple statement was released announcing the end of the band, thanking Handsome Furs' rabid fan base - of which RSL counts itself amongst. These are really bad bits of news, not only are we losing one of my favorite live acts going but this was one of the last vestiges - a reminder of how great Wolf Parade were. Even worse is if this final announcement is in some way health related. Dan and Alexei are good people. I really wish them both the best in whatever comes next for them...

With a heavy heart the time has come to let all of you know that Handsome Furs are no more.

The most important thing that needs to be said right now is how extremely grateful we are to all the fans all over the world that showered us with love and support over the years. Thank you for everything! It's been an incredible 6 years and we owe it all to you.



Handsome Furs
Web / My / Fb / Tw

previously on RSL:
The Handsome Furs in Boston - 2009
The Best Albums List of 2009 (Handsome Furs)
The Best Albums List of 2010 (Wolf Parade)
Wolf Parade in Boston - 2010
Wolf Parade steps away - 2010
Hansome Furs - The New Songs - 2011

Rodrigo y Gabriela at the Orpheum!

Photographic Evidence
and Thoughts on Shows

Sold Out Show
The Orpheum
Boston - 04.23.12

Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero have been playing guitar together for more than fifteen years and it shows with each jaw-dropping performance. Their acoustic, nylon stringed instruments produce a unique sound which is not easy to classify; encompassing influences from both rock and world music.

from the new album Area 52

Rodrigo y Gabriela brought the band C.U.B.A. on the road with them on the Spring 2012 tour in order to showcase the thrilling and dynamic hybrid of metal, latin and jazz featured on their new album Area 52. The record contains nine of Rod and Gab's favorite songs from their own catalogue re-arranged and recorded in Havana with legendary producer Peter Asher and a 13-piece Cuban orchestra comprised of some of the country's finest young players. The new album was mixed by Rafa Sardina, one of the leading studio musicians in the Latin music world, and arranged by London-based pianist, composer and arranger Alex Wilson. Recording took place in the Miramar district of Havana, Cuba, at Abdala Studios, founded by the Cuban folk hero Silvio Rodriguez, as well as at Rod and Gab's studio in Ixtapa, Mexico. Other players on the record include: drummer John Tempesta (The Cult, Testament, White Zombie), sitarist Anoushka Shankar and drummer Samuel Formell (Los Van Van).

"As a fan: They far and away exceeded my expectations of their live show. They are one of the most engaging acts I've seen in some time. They easily drew in the audience and made them part of the show. The addition of the Cuban band added some amazing layers to what they do with their guitars," - photographer Lisa Sanchez Gonzalez.

And what about shooting an event at the Orpheum? "What an amazing old theater! The sound is fantastic and there isn't a bad seat in the house. The staff was very friendly and I felt very welcome as a photographer there. Great experience all around," said Gonzalez. "The audience was one of the best parts! Every person in that place was completely into the show. Right up to the upper balcony (I traveled the entire theater). They were constantly clapping and dancing. Honestly, one of the most high-energy audiences I've seen in ages. Everyone had a great time and it was a great buzz spilling out from the theater at the end. And it was a really cool crowd too. Very eclectic. Old, young, hipsters, all different races. And it was sold out...

Rodrigo Y Gabriela
Album / Web / Fb / Tw

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Inspired by Maurice Sendak - Meet Foolish Ida

Inspired: Music at Work
Sounds You Need to Hear

Boston's Sarah Rabdau as an inspired & grown "Ida"

Call it impeccably disappointing timing, but in reflection - perhaps there is no good time for one's literary heroes to die... Boston Singer/Songwriter Sarah Rabdau has created a song cycle and side project, titled Foolish Ida, was inspired by the book "Outside Over There" by Maurice Sendak - who just died this month after suffering a stroke. The work was in process long before Sendak, 83, passed away.
"Sometimes I feel like Maurice Sendak gave birth to my imagination. His books could transform bedrooms into jungles filled with monsters, and open windows into dark worlds filled with goblins and baby snatchers. And why were these images so appealing to young children and adults alike? Because they told the truth. Each one of us has a sadness that cannot be explained, and a darkness that we try and keep at bey, even as children. We all want to run away to a land faraway and save ourselves. Sendak's gift to us all was to let us."
Sarah Rabdau’s new side project Foolish Ida will release the first EP of two on May 19th at Café 939. It should be a special night of music.

Growing up with an artist mother meant that books read to young Sarah Rabdau were often chosen solely for their illustrations. Like many children, Maurice Sendak's books were a staple. He could realistically portray the thoughts of a child growing up in an adult’s world by weaving complex emotions with frighteningly beautiful illustrations. Among his books, Sarah’s favorite was Outside Over There; a story about Ida, tasked with watching over her infant sister while her father is away at sea. One day, while playing music and not paying attention, goblins sneak in through the window, steal Ida's sister away and replace her with an ice changeling. The rest of the book follows Ida as she ventures into Outside Over There in search of her sister. Foolish Ida continues the story, as Rabdau imagines how the events of the book might have forever changed Ida, shaping her decisions and relationships into adulthood.

Rabdau’s vocal delivery, fraught with emotion, intimacy, and fire, is the standout, as in her past musical offerings (Sarah RabDAU & Self-Employed Assassins, Ad Frank & the Fast Easy Women). Yet with Foolish Ida, it’s not just her voice that shines, it’s the songs. Written with obvious love not only for Sendak but for Ida, the swirling pianos, punctuating organs, and cascading choirs paint a picture fit for the stormy pages of “Outside Over There.”

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

RIBS - "Kiss" (NEW!!)

Celebrating New Music
by Nick Parker

This week brought us new single "
Kiss," a sample of the upcoming "Russian Blood" EP by RIBS (May 22nd release). At RSL we often make a point of not repeating our coverage of any one act, but RIBS are a band unusual enough to warrant subsequent attention, partly because there are very few acts on the Boston scene who sound anything like them, and partly because they have always been so incredibly polished in their recordings. The sound is frequently metal heavy, but always retains a clarity that you might expect reserved for smoother genres.

live photos by Mark Jenko

Until we get hold of the whole thing we can only guess where RIBS will be taking us this time around. You can be sure it won't be to light and sunny climbs though. This is a band that, even in quieter and more reflective moments, remain dark where others flaunt their abilities. What we can see is that "Kiss" is a carefully thought out track, which showcases the kind of production mastery that has become a staple aspect of their work.

The burning question then, is how can we possibly expect RIBS to reproduce this kind of highly polished, highly processed sound live. I'll be very intrigued to see what they do on stage, and I'm a little nervous for them. That said, when I saw them last year at Great Scott, they produced the most elaborate light show I've ever seen by a local band, spanning the entirely venue with neon strip-lights, keyed by pads controlled by drummer Chris Oquist. It had a very disconcerting effect at the time, immersing the audience in the band's set to a degree they were certainly not expecting. Given that commitment to getting under our skin (even when it presumably required huge amounts of extra work by the band) suggests RIBS will do what ever is necessary to give these new songs the refinement they deserve.

NEXT SHOW: Friday 5/25/12
Russian Blood Live CD Release @ TT the Bears

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Brown Bird - Blood of Angels

Off Stage Music Video
New Clips of Favorite Artists

It's been a wild year of being discovered by audiences coast-to-coast for David Lamb (guitar, banjo, percussion, vocals) and Morganeve Swain (fiddle, cello, upright bass, vocals) of BROWN BIRD. Their reputation as one of New England's finest folk artists may no longer be adequate in describing their accomplishments these days.

A scalding set at last year's Newport Folk Festival, a series of howling, inspired, foot-stomping performances at SxSW (including a magical set at The Outlaw Roadshow assembled by RSL and the Counting Crows' Adam Duritz) and they even just recently wrapped string of dates with Yonder Mountain String Band.

There have been interviews, live sessions and jams all along the way. Today as we share this music video, the Providence duo find themselves about to embark on another ambitious endeavor - playing US dates with Duluth's red-hot Trampled By Turtles. Lightning in a bottle? This is it.

About the Video - The session was shot at DPerry Music’s studio in Boston, MA on May 5th. Great stuff here from Big Old Big One who have been thoroughly prolific - both in terms of the number of artists and breadth of stylistic productions they have managed over the last year. Clearly staying busy and working with the very best is something we can respect and praise at RSL. If you don't know Big Old Big One, get friendly and check out their video productions.

5/16 - Lawrence, KS - Granada
5/19 - Salt Lake City, UT - The Depot
5/21 - Solana Beach, CA - Belly Up Tavern
5/22 - Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda Music Box
5/25 - Portland, OR - Crystal Ball Room
5/26 - Vancouver, BC - Vogue

photos of Brown Bird in Austin by Jon Shapely

Brown Bird
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Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Women Who Rock Us

Without getting all sentimental, we wanted to celebrate Mother's Day 2012 in the best way we know how - to celebrate the Women in Contemporary Music that drive us crazy, that go wild, that make us appreciate Women and the craft of music just a little more. This is far from an complete list. Mothers or not - these ladies are responsible for making our hearts flit and sing - making life better through music.

Beth Ditto of Gossip

Editor & Writer Nick Parker selected Beth Ditto.

"Rock and roll rebellion is about difference, and there are very few women in music who assert that difference more uncompromisingly than Gossip's Beth Ditto. Standing on the shoulders of Riot Girl giants, Ditto has demanded our attention in so many area of popular culture (particularly in the UK) that is sometimes easy to forget that she has the voice as colossal as Aretha Franklin's, transported into stripped-down 21st century disco punk. Cross her at your peril."

Sarah Negahdari of The Happy Hollows

Photo by Zoe Ruth Erwin

Writer Julie Stoller selected Sarah Negahdari.

"Behold, Sarah Negahdari, crazed banshee vocalist and lead guitar shredder for Silver Lake-based trio The Happy Hollows. Don’t let her diminutive fairy tale princess look deceive you. Alternating with ethereal singing and fanciful drawings of flying horses is pummeling guitar fury that will throw you up against the nearest wall, and otherworldly shrieks that can shatter the space-time continuum. She’s expecting a brand new baby album later this year with Happy Hollows, and has a solo side project called Pisces."

Stephanie Briggs of Little Brave

Writer Chris Fullerton selected Stephanie Briggs.

"Stephanie Briggs, the driving force behind Austin’s Little Brave, has managed to defy all labels thrown at her music. She’s been tagged as a Texas Troubador, but her brand of folk-driven indie rock is hard to pin down in one category. A talented multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, she brings a girl-next-door-turned-rock-star sexuality to the stage that will make everyone in the audience leave with at least a little crush on her. Whether rocking out with a full band or stripping down for a solo acoustic show, Stephanie pulls every emotion from your soul, from bittersweet break-ups to songs about The X-Files. She’s currently working on a series of EPs and planning a trip to Toronto for the NXNE festival in June."

Amanda Palmer

Writer Cara Giamio selected Amanda Palmer.

"Sometimes I think Amanda Palmer might be more than one person. Bear with me for a second and think about it. Could one person have spent her formative days looming over Harvard Square as a living statue and her formative nights attacking pianos in underground clubs as half of legendary punk-cabaret duo The Dresden Dolls? Can one person direct the Boston Pops with Keith Lockhart and cover Rebecca Black for Occupy Boston? Unbraid her soul into beautiful, slow-blooming blog posts AND fire off about sixty worthwhile tweets per minute? Build her own A.R.T. show, fake her own death, and invent her own music industry
model? And still have time to draw on her own eyebrows every morning? Probably only if that person’s from Boston. Lucky us. Amanda Palmer has a new record coming out - double lucky us."

Emily Armstrong of Dead Sara

Siouxsie Medley of Dead Sara

Photo Editor 5342 selected Dead Sara.

"Since catching them at SXSW, I've had a mild obsession with Dead Sara. Their self-titled release in April has been in regular rotation every since it came out. It is one of my top albums for 2012. While not an entirely female band, singer Emily Armstrong and guitarist Siouxsie Medley have more than enough bad-assery to fill any room. Be sure to catch them."

Erika Wennerstrom of Heartless Bastards

Ryan Spaulding selected Erika Wennerstrom

"When we decided to put this piece together celebrating strong women in music I sincerely hoped no one else would pick Erika before me. To me, she's perhaps the most obvious choice in music today. There are few singers who have moved me so much the last six years since this web site's creation. She has endlessly toiled and has a massive catalog of remarkable music with her band Heartless Bastards. Having just featured the band in our 19-band lineup in Austin ( will always & forever be one of the most thrilling moments of my life. Erika's lyrics, her ferocity in presenting the songs on stage and the way she adds layers (both emotional and sincere) to her vocals gives me chills. I couldn't be happier for her or the band that Heartless Bastards have delivered the finest workd of their career in Arrow (2012) - my album of the year so far as we near the year's half way point. She's a very special musician and they are one hell of a band.. "