Saturday, June 30, 2012

VIDEO: Good Old War - Better Weather

Dispatches from The Tour..
The Outlaw Roadshow

Something very amazing is happening in music and it's unfolding in open-air theaters and unusual places right now... Ryan Spaulding of Ryan's Smashing Life and Adam Duritz of Counting Crows plotted a way to bring amazing emerging acts (on the verge of blowing up), out on the road and plug them in on a national tour. It was a way to broaden people's horizons and to restore people's faith in tours again. There are no throw-away acts or bands to skip on The Outlaw Roadshow. And that's the way we planned it.

Beginning back in June and stretching all the way into September, you can catch Counting Crows with some of the very best emerging acts in America - and in almost every part of the country. The goal, ultimately, was to put on the best shows of everyone's lives. And it's happening...

Filmed by Ehud Lazin

Album / Web / Fb / Tw

A Best of 2012 Album Selection:

VIDEO: Filligar - Money On The Dark Horse

Dispatches from The Tour..
The Outlaw Roadshow

Something very amazing is happening in music and it's unfolding in open-air theaters and unusual places right now... Ryan Spaulding of Ryan's Smashing Life and Adam Duritz of Counting Crows plotted a way to bring amazing emerging acts (on the verge of blowing up), out on the road and plug them in on a national tour. It was a way to broaden people's horizons and to restore people's faith in tours again. There are no throw-away acts or bands to skip on The Outlaw Roadshow. And that's the way we planned it.

Beginning back in June and stretching all the way into September, you can catch Counting Crows with some of the very best emerging acts in America - and in almost every part of the country. The goal, ultimately, was to put on the best shows of everyone's lives. And it's happening...

Filmed by Ehud Lazin

One of the Best Live Acts in America

Web / My / Fb / Tw

VIDEO: Foreign Fields - From The Lake To The Land

Dispatches from The Tour..
The Outlaw Roadshow

Something very amazing is happening in music and it's unfolding in open-air theaters and unusual places right now... Ryan Spaulding of Ryan's Smashing Life and Adam Duritz of Counting Crows plotted a way to bring amazing emerging acts (on the verge of blowing up), out on the road and plug them in on a national tour. It was a way to broaden people's horizons and to restore people's faith in tours again. There are no throw-away acts or bands to skip on The Outlaw Roadshow. And that's the way we planned it.

Beginning back in June and stretching all the way into September, you can catch Counting Crows with some of the very best emerging acts in America - and in almost every part of the country. The goal, ultimately, was to put on the best shows of everyone's lives. And it's happening...

Filmed by Ehud Lazin

Foreign Fields
Album / Fb / Tw
Daytrotter Session

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Stone Roses Reunion Tonight!

The Stone Roses Return
By Nick Parker

Third in the Series
click here for Part One.
click here for Part Two. Editor Nick Parker is returning to England to see The Stone Roses reunion. The Stones Roses aren't just a band in the UK. They're a long awaited storm - a media phenomenon. And no one knows how it will go since the members of the band are famously "difficult."

There is nothing that can stop Nick from this momentous date. We asked him to write about the experience each step of the way.

DATELINE - MANCHESTER, ENGLAND Arduous journey over, I’m now in Manchester to see the Stone Roses. The show is tonight! I'm still wondering exactly why I'm so driven to be here for this show, though I've asked the question before. I look back at what I've written on this topic already, and wonder how I came to be so unequivocally sure that this gig would be great, when months ago I begged my friend to get me a ticket.

There are obvious answers I can give. The fact that they are one of the most seminal guitar bands in the history of popular music in this country is pretty obvious. Correcting the missed opportunity to see them in their hometown, and mine, the first time around (a period when I was strangely more interested in bands from Massachusetts, where I now live) still doesn’t seem to justify my fixation. Most disconcertingly, these and many other explanations give only a vague and generic sense of why I’m increasingly nervous about this gig as the hours count down.

SOME TREPIDATION - Perhaps it will not fulfill these great expectations. There's plenty of chance of that, and perhaps it's inevitable, but it's not enough to explain my doubt concerning the event now. Something about this gig won't give me what I need from it.

It occurs to me that there is actually a more uncomfortable explanation for why I have undertaken this journey. Perhaps I'm not here to see them play so much as to reclaim my roots in this town by seeing them play. That is after all what The Stone Roses are to me: my background. I'm nervous because, in sharp contrast to the home-coming dreams I have had about being in Manchester for this show, I'm really very distant from anything that might let me recall these roots. But twelve years away and I haven't woken up to this loss. I'm still trying to be from both my old home in North England and my adopted one in North America.

This probably sounds like a very idiosyncratic and self-indulgent reason to write all this and go to all the trouble of coming here – the expat harkening back to the 'old country.' I would guess though, that I'm not alone. Though it may appear I am clutching at straws from my past. That's the frenzy for many of us, I'll bet, as hundreds of thousands of 30, 40, & etc. something's try to remember their youth each time a cultural node like this is fleetingly recovered.

It's awkward to admit that I'm a stranger here under these circumstances, but until I accept the cost of moving away over a decade ago, I'll continue to be uncomfortable with things like going to see Manchester bands of my youth, or getting lost in the city I used to know, or strained silences at seeing estranged old friends. They are the moments that reveal me to be a tourist.

Here's to hoping the gig will be all we all hope it might be, and I will be able to walk away from it and return home – to Boston, Massachusetts – without distress. I'll be back to tell you how it all went.

Stone Roses
Web / Wikipedia

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Underground Sounds
by Tim Osbourne

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

Johnny5thWheelandthecowards have an interesting name, incredible energy and some fantastic tunes to go with it. It's almost cabaret pop-rock, and sounds wonderfully weird. This Preston, Lancashire-based collective are able to seamlessly turn their obscure influences into something wholly innovative and very accessible; stick The Dresden Dolls, Tom Waits, Elbow and erm... David Bowie in a blender and you might come up with a sound that is somewhat similar. It's very peaceful, and yet still challenging for the listener. [Editor's Note: This band could be the long lost sister-band to Boston's own Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys. (Sensational!) I may make it my life's ambition to get these two acts together on stage... ]

Tracks like 'O My Soul' from the band's début 2010 release 'Tales Of' (a tune that, FYI, has a cracking animated video that you should check out) and the more recent single, 'Spike' both showcase the band's passionate and delightfully innovative take on progressive jazz and steampunk rock.

Through strong live showcases (supporting credible international acts including Thomas Truax) and a dedicated work ethic, J5W are set to keep things exciting this year as they continue to release new material in raw and entertaining ways...

Web / Fb / Tw


Photographic Evidence
by Chris March

live at Precinct


next up:
July 20th at O'Brien's
Boston, MA

Web / Fb / Tw

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Jenee Halstead - the RSL Interview

The Interview Series

World Premiere
New Song Below!

When Jenee Halstead entered the studio to record her third album,
Raised By Wolves, she made a decision that allowed the her to express some deeply-held feelings and beliefs.
She determined that almost all of the existing material she had been working on for this record had to go. She started fresh.

In its place is a raw, improvised collection of music that has taken Halstead out of the more familiar Americana genre for which she’s so well known and into the realm of dark pop music. The result of this decision is an album of incredible diversity, skill and emotional buy-in from Jenee and the artists she collaborates with— Danny Barnes (banjo), Joel Litwin (drums), and Colby Sander (Dobro). Halstead credits Joni Mitchell and Emmylou Harris as influences that helped her explore the darker side of her music.

Raised By Wolves shows a breadth of paces, but it’s a range that Halstead conquers, whether it’s “Heart Song,” which uses a steady, pulsating beat, the more lighter tones of “Garden of Love” or the more-rootsy melodies of “Bitten by the Night.The decision to start this album over from scratch wasn’t an easy one for Halstead. In the past, to just toss out so many songs, especially those that really stuck with her, was difficult, if not impossible. As a result, Halstead tells us she is more willing to take chances on new material and techniques today.

MAX BOWEN for RSL - Thank you for this opportunity Jenee. This new album is quite an achievement. Now that it's complete, how would you say your music has progressed or changed over the years?

JENEE HALSTEAD - I think in some ways it is less precious and at the same time more personal. Less precious because I don't take songs or the writing process as seriously as I did when I started writing in 2006. I know that for a song to become good or great it may really need to be torn about and rewritten and sometimes there is only one phrase that gets taken from the initial writings, but the phrase it the gold nugget from which you build the song. This requires really taking ones ego out of the process or at least putting it aside temporarily in order to serve the song.

A lot of songwriters just get stuck on a phrase because they think it sounds so good on their tongue and refuse to let it go, yet the phrase might be lame or make no sense at all. I used to be like this when I started writing. Now I am willing to throw out just about anything and start over because you know when something isn't going to line up or be interesting for a listener—not that I am writing for the listener, but I am the listener and I can really sense when something doesn't quite do it for me.

RSL - So you were learning about yourself as much as you were about the music...?

HALSTEAD - Yes - In fact, the entire record was a discovery on how much I could put my ego aside because when I got to the studio I decided to scrap the entire album I thought I was going to make with Evan. After several days of milling around the songs just didn't seem interesting to me. I was in the kitchen with Evan and I we sort of looked at each other and realized what needed to be done. I think I said "I need to throw all these songs out and start over" and he agreed. It wasn't like I had anything I was in love with anyway and I was writing on guitar, which was creating similar songs to the first two releases.

I bought a ukulele and spent time on my friends piano. I think three songs were written on guitar and the rest uke or piano. It was so great to stretch myself on instruments I didn't know because it changed everything—the writing, the melodies, where I was singing in my range, everything. I think I am also much more interested in writing pop songs or at least serving the song and not worrying about where the genre lives. I like the idea of stretching out more and writing songs in all genres and letting the production be the glue that brings them together, since I still believe in making albums.


RSL - So Far, So Fast” was one of my personal favorites of this album. What's the back story behind this song?

HALSTEAD - This is the first song that I wrote for the new album and I had been holding on to it for a couple of years wondering what it meant. I had the feeling and the idea, but I actually had too many lyrics and didn’t know how to pare them down. This was during a time when I was obsessed with Richard Buckner.

I wanted to write a song that was as bold and daring and as fucked (pardon my language) up as a Buckner song. I kept thinking about his song “The Last Ride” that starts out, “Gone somewhere in Texas, Where the cars can run all day. With the doors on the garage shut up and his wife and daughter away.”

The character locks himself in the garage of his house with the car on and thinks about this woman that has obviously haunted him for a long time—the fact that she is not in his life is clearly the characters greatest mistake of his life. He can’t get her out of his mind and he is so tortured by this that he “wonders how long he will wonder about her,” and decides to kill himself.
This was the feel I wanted to bring to this song. I also wanted to bring a feeling of the desolate and stark desert environment of where I grew up in Spokane, Washington and some of the back roads that go into Idaho where I spent a lot of time growing up. I was particularly meditating on the stark winters and what that dry and freezing snow can look like blowing across the prairies.
Ultimately, I had to cut a lot of this, but the song is about a man who is obsessed, and angered by a girlfriend or wife or maybe even a sister, hence the final verse of the song, that has flown the coop to L.A. or some other glamorous city to escape him and escape the boring life that some of these small Northwest farming towns can bring. None of this is actually brought to the lines of the song. This is the just the back story that I was meditating on while writing. The songs is more of like someone’s obsessive internal dialogue and the things they are telling themselves to justify their actions.

RSL - What was it like to record So Far, So Fast” ? Were there any special recording techniques, instruments or equipment used?

HALSTEAD - This song was really intense to record. I had never sung a song with such forward drive before, and I didn’t want to push the vocals in a way that made it sound oversung or too much like I was straining, but I really wanted to get the intensity across.

When I wrote the song I was experimental with several keys and I think we opted for a key that was a few steps higher than the one I was originally singing it in. We were also listening to a lot of different 80s and current pop and decided we wanted something really stripped down. Evan set the drum tracks and recorded the guitar part on an electric. He made a joke that this had to be shitty guitar playing and that anyone who played the part too clean would ruin the song. “It’s just shitty enough” he stated. After he laid the drums, guitar and bass I came into sing.
We had changed around a few phrases, especially towards to end, so relearning the song in front of the microphone made it a bit of a challenge. I didn’t want to come across like I didn’t know the song because of it’s intensity. By the end of vocal session I was hoarse.

RSL - You’ve listed Sam Phillips, Tom Waits, Richard Buckner, and P.J. Harvey as influences. What role did they play, in your mind, in the formation of this new album?

HALSTEAD - All of these artists influenced this album and have been working on me secretly through the years—in my listening, loving and worshiping of these artists.

I think I always really wanted to write songs that were influenced by them, but didn't really give myself permission or find my own creative footing until this album. With The River Grace, I had some of those songs for 10 years and they were influenced by the artists I loved when I started (Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell, Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris). I always listened to the former artists, but felt I needed personal permission to get to the darker places that these artists tend to go.

There are songs on the album that are direct influences from these four artists. For instance, “Bitten By The Night” was hugely influenced by Sam Phillips. In between writing I was trying to play some of her songs on piano to get a feel for the chord choices she uses. I was obsessed with Sam's album “Fan Dance” that a friend had given to me back when I started writing in 2003 and I thought “If I could write one song as good as any of these I would be forever happy.”

P.J. Harvey's 2011 masterpiece Let England Shake sort of blew my mind as well, and I thought this was where I wanted to go. She is doing a dark folk thing with the auto harp and the band instrumentation and the writing on that album is superb. She just keeps getting better and more brilliant, but I felt like I could access her with this album and relate to her in a way I couldn't quite reach before. Richard Buckner directly influenced “So Far, So Fast” and the overall feel of production and darkness is a desire to do anything in the realm of Tom (Waits)... What a well to draw from!

Jenee Halstead

RSL - Do you usually perform alone, or with other artists? Do you see yourself doing anything new now that you have a new outlook and approach?

HALSTEAD - I usually perform alone, but if I do play it is with a four piece band. I have been playing with Russell Chudnofsky on guitar, Jared Seabrook on drums, Karen Sarkisian on pedal steel and the bassist usually varies with anyone I can get. Zach Hickman played for the CD release and sometimes Sean McLaughlin or Jeff Charland play with me. I want to branch out on this album and find a way to incorporate a laptop and some live instrumentation to the show, I just haven't quite gotten there yet. I love the idea of looping and building tracks with my voice and singing on top of that.

RSL - You’ve moved around a lot over the years. How did you come to Boston, and what did you think of the music landscape here?

HALSTEAD - I came to Boston in 2006 to attend the songwriting program at Berklee. I had been going back and forth for years on whether or not I should go to Berklee. I finally moved to Boston and decided during the first three days that I did not want to attend, but instead spend the money on making an album.

Boston is an amazing music town. I am constantly in jaw-dropping wonder about the amount of talent coming out of this city. You get the sense that there are so many lifelong musicians here that come to this city to hone their craft. People are schooled and skilled and amazing in this city.

RSL - Locally, are there any artists you regard as influences or that you particularly enjoy performing with?

HALSTEAD - I love Audrey Ryan and Sarah Blacker as far as women songwriters that I think are incredibly creative and fun to listen to. Dan Blakeslee rocks (he did the opening set at my CD release). Jess Tardy just plain blows me away and needs to be given an award this year or something because she is truly one of the most gifted singers and entertainers in this town. As far as playing with people, there is no one I like to sing with more than Olinde Mandell and Mark Lipman, both great friends and incredible songwriters in their own right.

Jenee Halstead
Album / Web / Fb / Tw

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

DOWNLOAD - Fitz and the Tantrums live in Boston!

New - Free Music Download!
The Best Live Acts in America

BOSTON, MA - Beginning today, Fitz and the Tantrums are offering up a new live EP album - comprised of songs they performed live at the House of Blues Boston.

The EP includes three live versions of "News 4 U," "Pickin’ Up The Pieces," and "Breakin’ The Chains of Love" plus two live cover songs of "Sweet Dreams" (originally by the Eurythmics) and "Steady As She Goes" (originally by The Raconteurs). Follow the link, retrieve your download and see them on tour as soon as possible - this is one of the best live acts in America... You can thank us later.

Fitz and the Tantrums
Web / Fb / My / Tw

bonus offering - Amazing Live Photos!

FILM REVIEW - Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter

At the Movies

There things that go bump in the night.
And Abraham Lincoln is the one that buries an ax in its forehead...

Based on the novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is directed by Timur Bekmambetov and stars Benjamin Walker as Honest Abe, a character who ironically spends most of the movie lying his ass off to everyone he meets. In the film, the audience gets a look at the heretofore unknown history of our nation’s 16th president. Specifically, the part where he spent most of his life kicking vampire ass.

The story begins when Abe is just a boy living in Indiana, working on a slave plantation, where he attempts to save his best friend, a young African-American boy named William Johnson (Anthony Mackie), from being whipped by the overseer. His father Thomas (Joseph Mawle), a subscriber to the belief that two wrongs do in fact make a right, intervenes and kicks some ass, after which he’s fired from his job and told to pay back the substantial debt he owes to his boss, Jack Barts (Marton Csokas). Dad refuses, and that night, Abe witnesses Lincoln's mother Nancy (Robin McLeavy) being killed by Barts.

Lincoln decides to wait a solid nine years to get his revenge. And given that he waited almost a decade, you’d think his plan would go beyond grabbing a gun and shooting Barts in the face, but I guess Abe’s not the strategic type.

Abraham Lincoln

Vampire Hunter

Barts is revealed to be a vampire and kicks the presidential crap out of Abe before he’s saved by an eccentric bloodsucker named Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper). Strugress is understandably pissed that Lincoln went about vampire slaying in such a haphazard manner, but decides to train him anyway, because that makes perfect sense. After a Rocky-style montage segment, Lincoln graduates from Vampire Hunter University and sets off to, well, hunt vampires. He’s told that all vampires descend from one named Adam (Rufus Sewell) and that they take advantage of the slave trade to get access to all the blood they need.

That’s….really disturbing, Hollywood.

The movie is told through Lincoln’s diary, wherein he chronicles his many years spent decapitating, torching and otherwise brutalizing the walking dead. The thing about vampires is, they look just like you or I, and aren’t common knowledge, so anyone reading this would think Abe’s an insane mass murderer who creates a delusional fantasy world where he hatchets his victims to death. In fact, he admits his nighttime adventures to his bride-to-be Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who just laughs and privately wonders where the cops are when this is happening.

This movie’s gotten a lot of flack since it’s been released, and frankly, I can see why. Story-wise, it jumps around all over the place, leaping across whole decades because apparently nothing of value happened then. Aside from Sturgess and Lincoln, the rest of the cast is pretty one-dimensional, and in some cases whole plot points (such as Lincoln becoming Johnson’s lawyer to get him declared a free man) are abandoned, because if it doesn’t involve dicing vampires, Lincoln doesn’t give an emancipated shit. Most of the time, the process of converting the book to the film results in content being lost, and this work is sadly no exception. The special effects were very well done. There’s a ton of CGI that gets used, from the fight scenes to the vampires’ appearance. The battles are all presented in a dark and dreary setting, likely meant to epitomize the creatures that Abe’s at war with. Or maybe it’s because flashlights haven’t been invented.

The fight scenes were the highlight of the film, and help us forget the limited acting and stuttering plotlines. Rather than pack a gun, Lincoln goes with his trademark ax, which he wields with insane skill and speed. While the undead have incredible strength, speed and the ability to become invisible, they’re also presented as surprisingly human in the fact that they can be killed pretty easily (cutting their throats, shooting them, etc.), so long silver is used. We’re given a diverse set of battles, getting better as the film goes on.

I’m not going to tell you that this story is either deep or endearing, because it’s neither. But getting to watch Honest Abe kill the undead over and over? It’s fun as hell, and as long as you remember that, you’ll walk away happy.

Our Rating:
For the Action & Effects - 4 Silver-Dipped Axes!
For the Plot & Adaptation - 2 Fangs...

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
official (lame) / imdb / rotten tomatoes

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Beautiful Small Machines in Boston

Photographic Evidence
images by Anne Cook

The Scene: Cafe 939
Boston, MA - 5/18/12

original poster design by Frank Germano of Man on Fire design.

Beautiful Small Machines
Web / Fb / Tw

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Crossing the Atlantic for THE STONE ROSES

The Stone Roses Return
By Nick Parker

Second in the Series
click here for Part One. Editor Nick Parker is returning to England to see The Stone Roses reunion. The Stones Roses aren't just a band in the UK. They're a long awaited storm - a media phenomenon. And no one knows how it will go since the members of the band are famously "difficult."

There is nothing that can stop Nick from this momentous date. We asked him to write about the experience each step of the way.

DATELINE - BOSTON (Earlier This Week) In a couple of days I will be headed home to Manchester (UK). Despite the predictably torrential forecast, I will certainly not be the only one moving towards the city over the next couple of weeks. There will be an army of nearly a quarter of a million people converging on the spot to see The Stone Roses return to their home too, and play again, for three nights at Heaton Park.

I can't write for all of them of course, and I don't know how many are casual or fanatical about the band. I suppose I'd say I am close to the latter. I am, after all, essentially willing to fly a quarter of the way around the world for this event. I am sure there are those who are coming further, but not too many who are hanging so much on this performance.

That said, I have been trying to retain at least a little distance on the value of this show. For one thing, in the last week it has become clear that there is a real chance it may not even happen. At one of their first gigs together in 16 years, a warm-up to the Heaton Park nights which are coming up, tensions in the band already seemed to suggest The Stone Roses are not at tightly bound together as the fanatics would like to believe. They are, for better and worse, a highly volatile entity. This is one of the first reasons to love them though: their various skills and motivations have to deftly align, like an eclipse, for things to become as great as they can be.

Nick Parker is traveling from Boston to the UK for the chance to see Stone Roses.
Thousands of these tickets soldout to fans around the world in 14 minutes.

In a rather feeble attempt to establish my journalistic objectivity, I watched some shaky footage of that Amsterdam show from last week (before the band's meltdown). I was uncomfortable doing so – it felt like a betrayal of the fanatic in me, who would certainly have preferred me to hold on to the aura around the band until I was able to witness them in the flesh.

Looking at them without the fanfare and the crowds and the immersive light show (not to mention the homely rain) certainly detracted a lot. The Stone Roses are no more than a four-piece band, and an aging one at that. Though it's fair to say that even on the small screen they acquitted themselves pretty well, their were small errors in pitch and timing that I'm sure, in the mass hysteria of the show, I would have been able to ignore. Singer Ian Brown seemed hardly able to mask his discomfort on stage either, which was disconcerting given in mythical status in Mancunian musical culture.

So why, if even I can see with some distance that the band are, in the end, just a good band, will I be cramming myself into a coach seat to fly for hours to glimpse them? I'll have to let you know.

Stone Roses
Web / Wikipedia

Ghosts of Jupiter: Music Experience at the Museum of Science

The Summer Scene
by Cara Giaimo

at the Museum of Science, Boston


Picture this –
it’s the end of one of those hazy Boston summer days, when the Common is humming and the Prudential’s fountains are full of kids. You and your friends have lucked your way into an idyllic afternoon – pickup basketball, farmer’s market picnic, some good-natured swan boat heckling – and as the sun inches down, you’re all trying to think of the perfect way to cap it off. Luckily, you’ve read this article, so you gently lead everyone over to the Charles Hayden Planetarium for the brand new Ghosts of Jupiter: Music Experience. It’s billed as “a rock-and-roll journey through space and time,” and even that only begins to cover it. Part light show, part rock show, part freak show, and altogether showy, it’s sure to hit everyone’s sweet spot. The newly renovated Charles Hayden Planetarium is the most technologically advanced digital theater in New England. Powered by superior full-dome video and audio systems and a new state-of-the-art star projector this is the place to go to see big-time displays.

If you aren’t familiar with rock-and-roll planetarium shows, the concept is disarmingly simple – pretend that God took a crazy pill, put on a rock album, and invited you to sit on his brain and watch trippy cosmic thoughts roll around the inside of his skull. Laser light shows based on Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin albums are popular all around the country, but this new Ghosts of Jupiter show uses raw Boston talent and resources to blow them out of the water. First of all, the venue is unbeatable - the newly updated planetarium boasts hemisphereical high-res video (“the same technology Pixar uses,” explained planetarium director David Rabkin), a state of the art audio system, and a 57-foot dome screen. Homegrown animators have ditched the lasers and instead conjured up evocative landscapes and situations. Most importantly, local favorites (and Rock’N’Roll Rumble semifinalists) Ghosts of Jupiter have made the kind of album that lends itself perfectly to a light show, full of shifting rhythms, riffs you want to follow to the end of the universe, and enough fun bombast to pop the top off of anything that tries to contain it, even a huge dome.

Music Experience courtesy of Boston's GHOSTS OF JUPITER

All these elements combined make for an incredibly dynamic hour. The opening number, in which jewel-toned cubes built themselves into cities to the tune of “Thieves,” pushed me deep into thought about the strange soul connection between jam bands and geometry. By “Paper Roses,” a gritty ballad, I had calmed down and could mellowly enjoy what looked like a synchronized swimming performance by a bunch of neon green spaghetti. “Play it Blind” had me on the edge of my seat again, this time hoping that the exuberant fish-bees that were leading me through a futuristic coral reef would not be devoured by a nearby tribe of inky Easter Island heads. If this sounds ridiculous, you obviously haven’t been to a rock and roll light show extravaganza, and you need to fix that right away. So head over, and bring your friends – you’ll come out looking at your city, and your own senses, entirely differently.

Ghosts of Jupiter: Music Experience premieres this weekend at the Museum of Science’s Charles Hayden Planetarium. This experience aside, the Planetarium is Tickets are $10 (less for children and seniors) and totally worth it. For tickets and showtimes, call (617) 723-2500 or go to

more about the music:
Ghosts of Jupiter
facebook / twitter / bandcamp

Friday, June 22, 2012

Twin Shadow - the Five Seconds video + the New Tour

New Music Video of Note
A Twisted Vision Brought to Life

We're not exactly sure which Apocalypse has befallen the world where motorcycle gangs rule the roost and people have to stitch up battle wounds by themselves under dark trees... Or where the opposition where skull-like white masks, but somebody has thought of it and here it is...

George Lewis Jr (aka Twin Shadow) conceived of the video himself and had this to say about its storyline and some would say dangerous stunts: "Well my mom is gonna be super bummed out, but yes that's me surfing my motorcycle in the video for '5 Seconds' ... and yes I'm also on the wrong side of the road. I figured if I was ever going to get away with being on a jackass on a motorcycle it would be for my own music video. The video for '5 Seconds' is one part of a series of videos based on a novel written by myself and a good friend Eric Green called 'Night Of The Silver Sun.'"

Motorcycles are a theme, evidently. Twin Shadow's "Ton Up" tour kicks off July 27th in Boston, MA. Advance tickets for the tour come with an exclusive tour t-shirt. To hear the offer and see all the dates, click the image below..

Web / Fb / My / Tw

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Rock from Dublin - KOPEK

Underground Sounds
by Tim Osbourne

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

Dateline: Dublin, IR - Kopek create exquisite rock anthems that are perfect for 2012. That's a big claim, we know, but you should be used to the way we work by now. Kopek seamlessly manage to re-create the glam-swagger of T-Rex and mix that in with the pure bombastic rock of young Led Zeppelin. How do they do it? It's all about having those massive choruses, alongside pure and simple musical strength (AKA really good songs).

The huge hype we're dishing out here is perfectly justified in a track like 'Love Is Dead' – an anthem chronicling various genres, stars and drugs that are now dead in our collective consciousness, and it has gained the band international acclaim from various sources recently. Nifty.

Another track worth noting is 'Cocaine Chest Pains', which, as you can imagine, is a track that is about drugs but carries with it absolutely hypnotic riffs and clear, powerful vocal tones. If you're a fan of grunge, pure rock and classic stuff, then Kopek's sound is for you – all the attitude of Nirvana and all the modern vibrancy of emerging superstars the likes of Airbourne Toxic Event.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A New Direction for Silversun Pickups

On Further Review
by Julie Stoller

On Neck Of The Woods (Dangerbird), Silversun Pickups stretch out to cover new terrain and examine complex emotions with an icy, edgier feel than their earlier work. Produced by Jacknife Lee (U2, R.E.M.), it is their third release and the follow-up to their critically acclaimed Swoon. Creating this album was a deeply personal experience for lead singer, guitarist and songwriter Brian Aubert.

A PROGRESSION OF SONGS - It began at the start of his writing process, traveling through Italy, Hungary and Iceland, and then with the recording near his childhood home in Topanga Canyon. As he explained in a recent Rolling Stone interview, both abroad and at the place of his birth, he felt like a ‘stranger in a strange land.’ Neck Of The Woods deals with the loss of loved ones, and of that early sense of security and safety. It is an attempt to reconnect, internally and externally, with a once familiar place that is forever changed and now alien. We’re taken through dark corridors of memories, emotions stirred up like disturbed dust. There’s a heaviness that is quite new for them - more unfamiliar territory.

LISTEN - It’s a difficult album that makes old favorites like “Lazy Eye” and “Panic Switch” seem light and poppy by comparison. But it’s rewarding if you stay with it. Dots and Dashes (Enough Already)” tries to decipher the morse code of one’s childhood, in an attempt to reconnect with the past. It’s musically dense and complex, with that same feeling of uneasiness that permeates the entire album. It recalls childhood memories, emotionally bereft and just on the edge of madness (“I’m already bored / I’m already wise / I’m already worn / I’m already wondering what am I”). The song fades ominously, like walking out into a dense, shapeless fog of unresolved issues.

Repeated listens reveal stellar moments such as the brief dreamscape of wistful longing in the middle of “Skin Graph.” All throughout Neck Of The Woods, it feels like we’re all jumping off into uncertain waters of discovery. Brian described the recording process as “emotionally intense,” and you can feel it with every anxious drumbeat, and the nervous, shifting melodies that move discordantly against each other. “Skin Graph” starts out contemplative, like coming home again and expecting gentle, familiar nostalgia, but then it dissolves into an anxious frenzy of feverish remembrances. Instead of reconnection, there’s just isolation.

Autumn de Wilde photograph

The slower, more brooding songs are especially effective. “Here We Are (Chancer)” has a seductive melody over an insistent drumbeat, and features incredibly pretty dual vocals from Brian and Nikki. There’s a stark and elegant simplicity that contrasts beautifully with the album’s more frantic, nervy moments. “Simmer” does just that, with everything percolating along, some of the nicest breathy vocals from Brian, and a great little guitar break as well (“What am I searching for? / The light to shine again / Nothing’s coming, nothing’s coming”). “The Pit” brings more unsettled emotions; feelings of alienation are set against Aubert’s personal remembrances of his youth. It begins with a charming bit of ‘80s old school.

Neck Of The Woods is a heady piece of work in both music and message. Not for lightweights or for ‘easy listening,’ but most definitely worth the commitment.


Silversun Pickups
iTunes / Amazon / Web / Fb / Tw

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

André Obin - Valencia

Boston Musician & Video Genius
Make a Movie

Viral Video is a periodic series we run celebrating music and moving images. Today marks the very first time that we have written about Andre Obin's solo efforts. The acclaimed electronic music producer doesn't often fall into the center of our wheelhouse but we have been supportive of his efforts in Boston band Endless Wave. With the release of this beautiful music video for “Valencia,” shot by perhaps New England's best music video director (Theodore Cormey doesn't hold the belt yet but he's certainly a contender - here is the internationally celebrated video he did for DNFMOMD which landed on Time Magazine's Top Ten list for 2011.) The combination of Obin and Cormey intrigued me to watch - and boy was I glad I did! This video is mesmerizing, the images powerful!
"Andre gave me pretty free creative reign with it and I went for broke (figuratively and literally) but have wanted to do something like this for a while," wrote Cormey who I immediately wrote to myself on seeing the masterpiece. "I'm very happy with how it turned out and I couldn't be working with a better crew."

Obin is the protagonist here. But is he an international spy or a mental patient - some kind of an experiment? The film has a style that's in-sync with two or three different time periods all at once and the texture and quality of the shots are defining. Filmed in the French Quarter of Montreal and in the New England woods, the clip includes the use of an original (and authentic) Soviet tank.

“Valencia” is the third release off Boston-based Vanya Records, launched in September by Boston Phoenix music editor and WFNX 101.7 FM radio host Michael Marotta. Obin has just returned to the states after a string of dates in the Netherlands and Germany.

André Obin
Buy It / Web / Fb / Tw

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Monday, June 18, 2012

The CASK MOUSE Interview

Artist Interview
by Ryan Spaulding

The Best New Sounds - A light shines brightly on Cask Mouse these days. The band proved to be one of the standouts of this year's Rock 'n Roll Rumble in Boston. The year ahead promises to be an exceptional opportunity for them to gain a strong foothold here in New England. Cask Mouse's members draw from all aspects of their diverse musical and geographical experiences to express emotion and share untold stories. With a sweeping love for all music they find themselves meandering the genres of country, folk, rock n’roll, rhythm and blues, gospel and soul. I caught up with drummer and vocalist Ed Llerena to find out what all the fuss was about.

Llerena (at right) with his Cask Mouse bandmates

RYAN SPAULDING - RSL: Ed, how would you describe the Cask Mouse sound?

ED LLERENA: Cask Mouse, to me, is a huge melting pot of music. We dip into country, blues, rock and roll, with even a touch of pop. People say we roll a bit more then we rock, but almost all of our new tunes are way more up beat then our first batch. Usually when people ask me "what's your sound?" I respond "Take Johnny Cash mix it with The Beach Boys, and add ripping solos."

RSL: I have my ideas. But what elements of the band's music do you think make you special?

LLERENA: That is a hard question to answer! I personally think our vocal harmonies, and the fact that we change who's fronting the band on each song really makes us stand out in a crowd.

RSL: Can you talk for a minute about how the
Cambridge Sessions came about? Were the songs written before you arrived or did they come about / get filled out in the studio?

LLERENA: Cambridge Sessions was half written in a snow storm with Kevin, Mitch, and Nick Wolf. We threw one of my solo songs in at the end, and boom the EP was born. We went into the studio with the bare bones, and added from there. We made some adjustments i.e Nick Wolf left the band so Bonnie started singing Time To Breathe which was originally a raspy growly Wolf fronted tune so we had to re write harmonies and such... We added some samples to the song Radio, which we didn't even consider until we were in the studio.

RSL: I love the album. Is there any new material on the way?

LLERENA: We plan on jumping back in the studio in the next couple of months to start tracking a full length. If you've seen us live in the past couple of months you've heard some of the new ones, but we are sitting on about 6 or 7 more that no one has heard before.

RSL: Cask Mouse is a collective of sorts with rotating membership. Different musically but with the same members as other projects, ie Swamp Bear, which I only just discovered and love a lot. What does this afford the band in terms of flexibility? And, does it ever make things difficult?

LLERENA: Members having multiple projects has never effected the band negatively. As far as Swamp Bear goes. I play out as much as possible, but I put Cask Mouse first when booking, so it's never been an issue.
We all just love to play so we figure out a way to make it work. How ever, our flexibility is ruined by our day jobs. We all work in the live sound/ lighting/ entertainment world so booking shows on a weekend is like pulling teeth. It sometimes takes a month for some of us to find out if we can get the night off, and we have lost some killer shows because of it.

RSL: What do you see as the big challenge for emerging bands today?

LLERENA: That's a tough question. Gas is up. Rent in Boston is almost double what it was last year if you are trying to renew a lease. People are out to take your job if you leave to go on tour now more then ever. I can't speak for everyone but, It seems like every thing for us boils down to time and money. Not starving, keeping a roof over our heads, and finding the time to take music seriously has been the biggest challenge for Cask Mouse.

RSL: Thanks for your time Ed. I think we've been able show people, through sight, sound and now through words what Cask Mouse is all about! .. And it's with great pleasure that we debut a new track today on the website. This is Vultures, recorded live this month at Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction, VT.

Cask Mouse
Album / Fb / Tw