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Monday, December 31, 2012

The 53 Best Records of 2012




THE 53 ALBUMS YOU NEED TO OWN 
A List of What's New & Necessary from the Year that was.


About Our List...
The Annual Album Buyer's Guide is a celebration of music and personality. At the root of it all - the website, the shows, the sharing - it's all about the music that makes us go. We're music fans first and foremost. Nobody's wrong writing about the things that make them happen. Thanks for reading and being a part of it. We're really happy with everything you're about to discover here.


RSL's 2012 Album of the Year

There isn't a single bad song on Hacienda's "Shakedown," produced by Dan Auerbach. It mesmerized me from first-listen and has yet to release me. Unstoppable. This record summons all kinds of ghosts into the room. I've listened to this one dozens of times.
- Ryan Spaulding




Much of what we hear on the new one, "Arrow," from Heartless Bastards is a band's evolution into a state of excellence. Heartless Bastards have released the best record of their lives. This record gives me chills.
 - Ryan Spaulding




Sharon Van Etten and this record took me by storm. "Tramp" tied me up in emotional knots. It's all part of Sharon's plan: the songs are laid out like a series of labyrinths - intended for the listeners to get lost in. Surrender to this one.
- Ryan Spaulding




It's a great thing when people get famous for actually making exceptional music. This is a fantastic record and it's only surpassed by the band's live performance. Alabama Shakes are one of the most important bands in the world right now. If you don't already own it, you need this record.
- Ryan Spaulding




An instant classic here from Ted Billings, "American Bedrooms" harkens back to the personal records of the late 1980s by a mind that's contemporary and forward-moving. Listen to "American Bedrooms" and then listen to it again and again and again and you'll see what I mean.
- Ryan Spaulding

ARTIST LINK // ALBUM LINK

1. HaciendaShakedown
2. Heartless BastardsArrow (more)
3. Sharon Van EttenTramp
4. Alabama Shakes Boys and Girls (more)
5. Ted BillingsAmerican Bedrooms (more)
6. K Phillips & The Concho PearlsAmerican Girls (more)





7. Field Report – Field Report (more)
8. The LumineersThe Lumineers





9. Good Night, StatesCountry/Static (more)
10. Thieving IronsBehold, This Dreamer! (more)






11. Coyote Kolb – United State (more)
12. Tame ImpalaLonerism





13. RosebudsLove Deluxe *Sade - free download
14. Counting CrowsUnderwater Sunshine (album + photos)





15. Plants and Animals – The End of That (more)
16. Tallest Man on EarthThere’s No Leaving Now (more)






17. Father John MistyFear Fun
18. Jukebox the GhostSafe Travels (more)





19. Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan (more)
20. Mellow Bravo – Mellow Bravo (more)



21. Diamond Rugs - Diamond Rugs





22. Delta SpiritDelta Spirit (more)
23. Daniel and the LionDeath Head (A side) (B side)





24. StepdadWildlife Pop
25. FantasmesRedness Moon



26. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Here (more)





27. Divine FitsA Thing Called Divine Fits
28. Bob Dylan – Tempest (more)



29. Communist Daughter - Lions & Lambs (more)



Lions & Lambs embodies a triumphant return for John Solomon and company after the singer/songwriter overcame his battles with addiction. The songs from Communist Daughter are smart and beautifully arranged with gorgeous harmonies, at times evoking Bon Iver and the Shins.
- Chris Fullerton




30. Shovels & Rope – O’ Be Joyful (more)
31. Family of the Year - Loma Vista (more)



Family of the Year comes at you with a wall of sound, vocals, guitars, keys, drums working in unison to overpower you with feelings of joy. In a world of dreary tunes, this collection of songs makes you want to sing at the top of your lungs while you dance with friends.
- Chris Fullerton

32. Good Old War – Come Back as Rain (more)





33. Kasey Anderson & the Honkies - Let the Bloody Moon Rise (more)
34. Lucero – Women & Work (more)





35. Christian McNeil and the Sea Monsters – Everything Is Up For Grabs (more)
36. Nneka - Soul Is Heavy
37. Christopher Paul Stelling – Songs of Praise and Scorn



There’s voodoo magic in the wandering old soul vocals and finger-picking fury of Christopher Paul Stelling. His astonishing debut album, Songs of Praise & Scorn, was recorded above a funeral parlor, an appropriate setting for this starkly beautiful work of art.
- Julie Stoller

38. Foreign Fields - Anywhere But Where I Am (more)





39. Air Traffic Controller - Nordo (more)
40. Kathleen EdwardsVoyageur (more)
41. Leonard CohenOld Ideas (more)
42. Of Monsters and MenLay Low (more)






43.  RIBSRussian Blood (more)
44. Cloud NothingsAttack on Memory (more + video)
45. Vivian DarkbloomKnow Your Exit (more)
46. Smoke FairiesBlood Speaks (more)
47. The Last BisonInheritance (more)



48. Dan Webb & The Spiders - Much Obliged






49. Kodacrome – Perla (more)
50. Jeff the BrotherhoodHypnotic Nights
51. Ty SegallTwins (more)
52. Avett BrothersThe Carpenter
53. The Minor Leagues - North College Hill (more)





Sunday, December 30, 2012

What Are You Doing New Years Eve?

New Years 2013
Fresh Sounds




BEHIND THE SOUND - Ruby Rose Fox and Goddamn Glenn (of Parlour Bells) perform the Holiday classic just in time for NYE 2013! Guitar on this one is performed by Nate Leavitt. Video produced and edited by Roger Metcalf. Audio mixed and mastered by Nate Leavitt.

Buy the Song
Happy New Year everybody!


photo by Nick Welles

Ruby Rose Fox 
Music / Web / Fb



Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Rescues - Everything's Gonna Be Better Next Year

a fresh start in 2013
+ a new music video!





HAPPY NEW YEAR 2013 - Perhaps one of the most compelling new sounds we are looking at for January is coming from LA's The Rescues. They have a triumphant, modern sound that's a little in-your-face without being overwhelming, kind of perfect for right now. And what could be better to share their spirit and the season than this new video - the first single off their new record (2013 release)... check it out!




MEET THE BAND - The Rescues' Kyler England and fellow singers/multi-instrumentalists Rob Giles, Adrianne Gonzalez, and Gabriel Mann met while performing on the singer-songwriter circuit in L.A. As individuals, the band members are moving performers, and together they are, beguilingly, more powerful than the sum of their parts. “We all have very distinct, lead-singer voices,” writes England. “But when we sing together it’s like there’s a fifth person in the blend that comes together.”

ONE TO WATCH IN 2013
THE RESCUES
Web / Fb / Tw

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - Here

On Further Review
By Julie Stoller


Alex Ebert, lead singer, guitarist and front-man of the traveling hippie carnival that is Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, wants you to believe he is a true believer. He made it through an addiction and 12-step program, and then met fellow vocalist, guitarist and comrade Jade Castrinos. Together they put together the 10+ friends who would roam the world, spreading a ‘60s vibe and timeless message of peace and understanding with youthful reckless abandon.




This time out for their new album, Here, repeats the songwriter's pursuit of Love and Forgiveness. Ebert's messianic prophet persona persists - a near-religious fervor permeates - and the listener is continually left to juggle whether his blind devotion is for God or the easy love of another. It’s in the gospel chorus and somber Johnny Cash delivery in songs like “Man On Fire,” though tempered by skepticism from a man still searching for unwavering faith (“Beyond the drunken focus of my aim / All my heroes twisting in the flame / Let’s let it all wash out in the rain” – All Wash Out). The one thing of which Ebert has no doubt is in the enduring power and importance of love, both as a shining beacon in the storm, and of one’s spiritual calling.

Sara Gaechter photograph




Man On Fire” opens in a hushed, reverent tone, slowly building into a full-on southern gospel belter of salvation (“Come dance with me / over murder and pain / come and set you free / over heartache and shame”). Ebert (or his alter-ego Edward Sharpe, the wayward but well-meaning messiah) appeals to everyone to leave their comfortable prisons and follow him – to where, it’s not exactly clear (“Everybody want safety (safety love) / Everybody want comfort (comfort love) / Everybody want certain (certain love) / Everybody but me”).





That’s What’s Up” would be ridiculously corny (“you be the book / I’ll be the binding / you be the words / I’ll be the rhyming”), were it not for the sheer exuberance and sense of purpose in the delivery. This is another song heavily infused with The Spirit. The Tin Pan Alley instrumental break, rather than adding to the goofiness, gives it a sweet charm. This is the first, and not last, song that preaches love as the answer, and all that matters (“love is our shelter / love is our cause”).





Though richly overflowing in hippie hoedown atmosphere, the serious take-away from this album is in the song “I Don’t Wanna Pray” – “Pardon god and mom / what I’m sayin’ isn’t fair / See I’m looking to become / not the prayer but the prayer.” With a delightful banjo-driven old timey groove, it speaks of a move away from the teachings and religious dogma into actually walking the talk. “Mayla” is a prayer in song, with cascading strings and a richly resonant chorus. It’s incredibly pretty, with its brief bursts of horns and smooth flow.

MORE OF THE SAME - Messages of spiritual yearning and ‘love thy neighbor’ proselytizing aside, this is a fun musical romp. Everyone in this sunny California hippie commune picks up an instrument and plays along, banging on tree stumps, clapping hands, and occasionally, as in “Dear Believer,” briefly reaching to orchestral heights.

Jade takes over with some powerful lead vocals for “Fiya Wata,” as the band further expounds the virtues of love and faith, with common and almost clichéd metaphors of shining sun, turning tide, and flowing river. Once again, the repetition of the message and simplicity of its delivery might have ‘sunk the ship,’ but the swaying rhythm and gradual build-up to arm-waving revivalist ecstasy saves this uplifting number to the point of nearly making it one of the stand-out tracks on the album.

AN EXERCISE IN REVIVAL - In Here, there’s a yearning for the quiet wisdom of such masters as Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan – and I’ll add to that list Bob Marley, whose enduring spirit they channel in “One Love to Another.” It’s a type of faith not gleaned from books and preachers, but hard-won from living life to its fullest. As for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, they’re young yet, and there’s still a lot of soul-searching to do.

VERDICT - A FUN ALBUM, ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE EXPLORING THEMES.




* 2012 Tour was w/ Clap Your Hands Say Yeah


Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Album / Web / Facebook / Twitter

Friday, December 28, 2012

The first annual Holiday Hangout

Photographic Evidence 
by Melissa Brawner

The White Water Tavern 

Little Rock, AR
Dec 2012




ABOVE: Shane Sweeney and Micah Schnabel from Two Cow Garage


FROM BEHIND THE LENS - I was privileged to attend the first annual Holiday Hangout, a live collection (a veritable who's who) of new and established Americana bands from mostly the South and Midwest - brought together by Travis Hill, owner of Last Chance Records. The 3 day event was held at the legendary White Water Tavern in Little Rock, AR December 7-9th. The memories of these nights will last far longer than the season...




ABOVE and BELOW - Cory Branan and Lucero's Ben Nichols topped Sunday's bill taking turns singing and accompanying each other on guitar and vocals. The White Water Tavern is a favorite of Nichols when he's back in Little Rock on a break from touring with Lucero, and he seemed to be right at home at the Tavern, hanging out with good friends.




Joshua of Velvet Kente

Kevin Kerby, solo artist - formerly of Mulehead


An All-Band Jam: Dylan's "My Back Pages"

Indiana songwriter, Austin Lucas performs with Glossary's Kelly Kneiser.

The First Annual Holiday Hangout 
photos by Melissa Brawner

RSL STREAMING PHOTO ALBUM



Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Langhorne Slim - I've Just Seen A Face (Beatles cover)

Cover Songs / New Video
Someone You Should Know

We've long been supporters of Langhorne Slim and it's not hard to see why. Perhaps one of the best contemporary live performers, he's a charismatic devil, a blue collar profit and a whirling dervish of rock. In this video clip just released to his fan this week, Slim (who has made our best of live list each year for five years running) takes on a lesser-known but certainly brilliant Beatles song. It's an intimate and telling performance and certainly one of the best we've found in 2012. Enjoy.




Langhorne Slim
New Album / Web / Fb / Tw / My




Sunday, December 23, 2012

AM - I'm Home for The Holidays

NEW HOLIDAY SOUNDS
Sounds You Need to Know







THE ARTISTS: multi-instrumentalists AM (Los Angeles) and  Shawn Lee (London) have combined forces, assembling with them a remarkable electro-soul band that allows them to check all the boxes in the pop music category while mining a startlingly broad array of stylistic influences: pop, soul, funk, jazz, Brazilian tropicalia, Turkish psychedelia, and soundtracks and library music from the '60s, '70s and '80s.

Earlier this year, the band once again graciously accepted my invitation to play one of our shows in Boston. It was our pleasure to share them with a growing base. People show up curious and leave both awed and renewed.  The band is still supporting behind their last effort "Celestial Electric" was on last year's RSL annual Best of List (2011) but they are nearing a new album very soon - and that always means very, very good things.


AM & Shawn Lee
Web watch a sick video! 
Facebook / Twitter

Casey Desmond - Little Drummer Boy

NEW HOLIDAY SOUNDS
Someone You Should Know




ABOUT THE ARTIST - Boston's Casey Desmond is a one-woman army. An award winning songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, she also divides her time working as a commercial studio & re-mix engineer, producer, and fashion designer who hand makes all the costumes, sets and merchandise for her music videos and live performances.


Brand New Music Video


Casey Desmond
Album / Web / Fb / Tw


Friday, December 21, 2012

Matt Hopper & The Roman Candles

NEW MUSIC VIDEO
Names You Need to Know




Matt Hopper is an American troubadour with rock and roll in his veins, a weathered voice and blues hands. (This guy is totally legit and so is his band. We first wrote about him in 2006 and he's only gotten better since then.) Though currently based in Idaho, Hopper cut his teeth on the Alaskan music scene - where he still works, writes and records. Hopper has released six albums, both solo and with his band The Roman Candles.

Web / Fb / Tw

 
photo by Kasey Elliott

BONUS HOPPER: 
Highly Recommended


Thursday, December 20, 2012

When the Levee Breaks



THE END OF THE WORLD

Led Zeppelin have threatened to make more music. 
It should not be allowed. That is all.

BOOTLEG

Present for the End of the World




The Music You're Listening To...
GOOD OLD WAR
Album / Web / Fb / Tw

on the RSL Best of 2012 List..
Coming Soon, provided this isn't "it."

The Bubbler celebrates Christmas (well, sort of)

Watching Music Blog Television

WHY YOU NEED TO WATCH  - This Week on The Bubbler, music blogger Ryan Spaulding once again takes aim at Boston's dynamic and completely unique music scene...

This Sunday, Dec 23rd, 2012 at 11pm:  We celebrate the holidays by giving you an extra long show (you probably won't even notice, but it's bonus - so, what they hey?!) This one features: 

+ A Night on the Town with The Hush Now
Trouble ensues. Gonzo Journalism. Good times and oh yeah.. Merry Christmas!

+ We do our very best to catch up with Dave Munro, Casey Sullivan and the rest of Boston's Air Traffic Controller - it's not easy easy as we make it sound. Seriously, those guys are fast.  


airs this Sunday Night at 11pm on myTV38 in much of New England!


- Watch it big and in HD -

+ Perhaps one of the most reliably great rock bands in New England get celebrated on the show. Of course, I'm talking about The Wandas - a band of heathens, liars and thieves (and they're my friends, think about what we might say about strangers!)

+ Get to know local guitar legend Tony Savarino, you probably know him from one of the dozens of successful bands he's played with over the years. Tony's a total technician - a man who's rocked a million faces and a thousand stages.

+ And we pay a visit to Charlestown's Indie Ambassador, a musically inclined start-up/tech company that puts on live shows, records music, producing videos and introducing new technologies. This kind of amazing-ness is happening and it's going on right here!





The Bubbler is co-produced by Host Ryan Spaulding and Director Jonathan Case.
There is nothing else like it.


Please support the show by sharing with a friend!

THE BUBBLER  
Facebook / Twitter

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Larcenist - Faithful (New!)

Music Video Premiere
Bands You Need to Know



Larcenist by David Wright


I've been very fortunate to have worked with the lads from LARCENIST on some great live showcases over the last few years. Lovingly defined as “doom folk,” Larcenist tunes are downtrodden anthems that combine elements of folk, country, soul, and rock. The bearded boys hail from Boston, bringing stories of small town heroes, blue-collar ethics, and the decay of once industrious cities. Their newest release, Eager City, Patient Country, shows how a band with multiple songwriters can create a unified sound that is adaptive and unique.

 Larcenist has spent the last six years in clubs and basements along the East Coast, using these places and experiences to dial in their sound. With gang vocals and storytelling perspectives, they’ll draw you in and make you wonder why you’re just learning about them now.

THE VIDEO - I'm so happy to today share a look and a listen to those new efforts. This is the premiere of music of "FAITHFUL" from the new record. Faithful was filmed using a Nikon D3100 w/ 35mm lens, and a Cannon T2i w/ kit lens - by the band's own Jonathan Schoeck. The video tells a strange story about being true to oneself and about the ability to harness what's wild and disparate in this life, to collaborate and create something great.


Sat, January 12, 2013
Athens, GA - House Show

 Sun, January 13, 2013
Jacksonville, FL - Burro Bar

 Mon, January 14, 2013
S. Carolina - TBA

Tues, January 15, 2013
N. Carolina - TBA

 Wed, January 16, 2013
Richmond, VA -  House Show

 Thur, January 17, 2013
 Philly, PA - Kung Fu Necktie

 Fri, January 18, 2013
 Providence, RI - TBA

Saturday, January 19, 2013
  Boston, MA (Release show)
Great Scott w/ Aunt Martha and Cask Mouse
$10. 9pm.

Tickets on-sale now!


LARCENIST
 Bandcamp / Web / Fb / Tw


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Drop The Lime - State Trooper (Bruce Springsteen)

Cover Songs / New Video
Someone You Should Know


Under the name DROP THE LIME, New York's Luca Venezia has performed for knights and kings as well as for night clubs around the world. Drop the Lime is a world renowned DJ, a pioneer in the breakcore genre and an electronic producer. He helped found the Trouble & Bass label and his latest, as you are about seem, is a stylistically dark and gritty guitar cover of Bruce Springsteen's "State Trooper."

It's reminiscent of classic surf guitar and rockabilly in it's pacing and despite the complete rework, you can hear the Boss still shining through. Producers for the new Tom Cruise action adventure flick, "Jack Reacher" liked the cover so much it's in the film (front and center in this new trailer). Enjoy!




DROP THE LIME 
itunes / Web / Fb / Tw





Monday, December 17, 2012

Jaggery - Paprikah

Premiering A New Song 
Someone You Should Know


THE SPICE OF LIFE - While their range and musical leanings might put them at risk of being misunderstood in our contemporary rat race, JAGGERY are far from unassessable. In many ways, the band of five players could be the region's most talented band. Leader Mail Sastri is a brilliant vocalist and piano player. In this project she is surrounded by a number of very strong players -- and this Lot have a new and rather stunning record of statement in, Private Violence.

Today we share a brand new song from Jaggery that can't be found any new other albums, EPs or singles. The new song today is "Paprikah" - it's a fun, cool French Pop-influenced number featuring bhangra drum line, noisy piano, and Singer Mali's completely unique wail..





Jaggery
Web / Fb / Bc / Tw

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Thoughts on Indie Film: HOLY MOTORS

Thoughts on Film...
by Chris Fullerton

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





Ever leave a theater after watching a movie and simultaneously love and hate what you just saw? After taking in an early screening of Leos Carax’s first feature in over a decade, HOLY MOTORS, I was left with that very unsettling feeling.



The film follows Monsieur Oscar (Denis Lavant) as he rides around in the back of a white stretch limo, donning various costumes and adopting different personas, interjecting himself into various lives. The story takes place over the course of one day and we see Oscar transform into a homeless beggar, an assassin, a lunatic, a father and so on. Each of these scenarios are described as appointments and his time is managed by his driver, Céline (Edith Scob), who seems to have a genuine concern for his well-being. The reason or context for his performances is never implicitly disclosed.

Realistically, this is the extent you can discuss the literal content of the film, and that’s fine, isn’t it? The intent of art is to incite critical-thinking and discussion and this film was created to provoke conversations about interpretations.


The film is dream-like and nonsensical. Fantastical, yet grounded. It is beautifully filmed and acted, with some of the best costuming I’ve seen in a while. This is why I loved the film. Conversely, I have problems with films which are weird and obtuse for the sake of being weird and obtuse, (Read: Not a David Lynch fan.), and at times, this film seems to weigh itself down with trying to be shocking and odd. After stewing on this for some time though, it wasn’t enough to make me hate the film.

As I’ve said, the context of the movie is never explained. Is Monsieur Oscar simply an actor expanding his craft into a wider venue by portraying these characters in the real world? Is the film meant to be a representation of the human condition and how we all don disguises and play different roles throughout our days and lives? Is it simply a fantastical journey meant to shock the senses and leave the audience scratching its collective head as they leave the theater? It could be all of these things. It could very well be none of these things.

 Regardless of interpretation, HOLY MOTORS is one of the most intriguing, thought-provoking films of the year and will most likely become a cult-classic among the fans of abstract, fantasy cinema.




HOLY MOTORS 
 Web / Imdb / Rotten Tomatoes



Friday, December 14, 2012

Ted Billings

NEW TODAY  



BEST ALBUMS OF 2012 - "American Bedrooms " out 12-14-12, is a Boston record with a long, long reach. It's been a little more than a year since his last mention on these electronic pages, TED BILLINGS (of Boston's Age Rings) is back with a fresh, solo effort that's actually one of the better contemporary rock records of the year. "American Bedrooms" is further evidence of Billings' superior writing and songcraft. Here he's in full control of all the elements. And exciting? Seems that he's just getting better.



The digital LP is short at just eight songs, but it's hard to argue "American Bedrooms" is abbreviated in any way. During its course, Billings manages to elevate the room and bring it down in the fashion of his choosing; track-to-track, this series of songs is an exercise in an artist's ability to manage a listener. Only Billings would put an audience in a House on Fire, but we're there (along with him) quite happily!

VERDICT - An instant classic, harkening back to the personal records of the late 1980s by a mind that's contemporary and forward-moving. Listen to "American Bedrooms" and then listen to it again and you'll see what I mean.  


Also of Note:
check on Ted Billings' work with Age Rings.

Tonight's Release Show

TED BILLINGS
Album $8 / Web / Fb 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Unknown Component - Through The Surface

WORLD PREMIERE
New Music Video 

New Record from the Iowa-based DIY genius

Keith Lynch is the one-man creators behind Unknown Component's magic-making. For years now Lynch has quietly plugged away from a studio in Iowa, crafting quite stirring indie rock and hypnotic, mesmerizing songs. All the while doing it himself, not just improving his ability to make great music but excelling at great music all by himself. The proof is in the pudding. Lynch has a new record, "Blood v Electricity" that captures where Lynch is creatively right now. It's a great journey: a beautiful sonic landscape as evidenced here by new song, "Through the Surface." We are delighted to share the record (you can buy the entire 12-song album online for just $5) and to debut the brand new music video for the same.

Animated and Edited by Director John Bermingham..




UNKNOWN COMPONENT
Album $5 / Web / Fb / Tw

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Making Good with Liz Wood

From the Mailbag

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 open new mail and so long as the stuff is potentially of interest to our music-crazed audiences, we'll publish it. 


ONE TO WATCH



INTRODUCTION / PROFILE - An introvert that can only fully express herself through lyric and sound, New England native LIZ WOOD is a talented and passionate singer/songwriter. Involved with music and the harshness of the industry from the age of 13, Liz has realized that the only way to survive the music world is to do it her own way. Liz writes all her music and is fully involved in every aspect of her career. After touring the east coast for four years with a band, she packed her bags and moved to LA in the summer of 2011.  Her new record is Into My Own. This new music is probably the best of her career and's she's got so much left in front of her - with miles to go before she sleeps, before she sleeps...




LIZ WOOD
Web / Fb / Tw

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

On Music Genius

New Single Released
Someone You Should Know




ON THE TOPIC OF MUSICAL GENIUS - "Genius" isn't one of those terms that should just be bandied-about, carefree and reckless. It carries a certain, quite intentional, cache. But we live in an age of exclamation points (!!!!!!!) and hyperbole. The internet, reality television and the next generation of anti-depressants are surely factors in our great, but excited, artistic de-motivation. And that's what makes Genius different and certainly what makes it better.

WHY GENIUS IS DEBATABLE 
(WHY IT SHOULD BE DEBATED) - We must strive for what's Genius (to create and/to be near) but what does that mean? And how do you recognize? We can say, "look at what that guy did!" and "this group makes music that makes you feel great" - and really mean those things when we say them - but I would argue even the best of these isn't "Genius." Problem is, another critic who doesn't quite care for 'your guy' as much as you, comes up with a dozen or more reasons (some valid) why 'the genius' band' is quite good but doesn't deserve this hypothetical enshrinement just yet.. This is the infinite loop that persisted for years in record store conversations by music nerds. This spirited debate is still carried on today, but with far more snark, in online messageboards & chatrooms.




FIRST IMPRESSIONS - I first saw Matthew Houck play in 2008. It was an enthralling performance, one of quality. But it rather infuriated me that Houck wouldn't turn and play guitar facing the audience. Some of the band's decisions were questionable* artistically (PHOSPHORESCENT is Houck, as it turns out, he selects his band for each album/project/tour) although it all sounded great.   [Editor's note: * Critics can be unfair assholes, but this was my mental memory... that the music was great but the performance and some songs off-putting.] This means little now, other than serving as an anecdotal treasure. The important thing is that Phosphorescent made an impression - something that's so hard to do these days. Well Houck never stopped making an impression.

MEET MR. HOUCK - In 2010, we profiled him for the first time. By 2011, the music coming out of his studios has been some of the most emotionally stirring I've heard from anyone. Artistically, he bobs and weaves and changes as an artist but regardless of the initial reviews, the material is great. Just about everything Houck produces is worthy of this discussion. The new record, Muchacho, won't be released until March. Here's some classic Phosphorescent to hold you over.





{music geek alert: if you dig Matt Houck / Phosphorescent,
I recommend checking out Chris Portfield / FIELD REPORT.
not the same artistically, but both are pretty genius.}


PHOSPHORESCENT
Web / Fb / My / Tw

Monday, December 10, 2012

BLACK BOOKS - Like You Best / Shipwrecked


Vinyl Release of Note:
A limited New 7-inch




I will always find a way to write about bands a second or a third time when they do great things, it just doesn't normally come so close on the heels of a previous post. Austin's BLACK BOOKS were the subject of a Nov 24 post here on RSL. When I heard the band were releasing a limited press vinyl A/B side 7", I was anxious to listen. What you are about to hear is the new music - so good that I decided to share. RSL readers, get in on this vinyl- have it shipped to your home now.

DETAILS ON THE RELEASE - Coke bottle clear 7" vinyl 45 rpm. Hand numbered. Immediate digi download. Delivery by 12/25/12 not 100% confirmed, but we'll update when we find out. (Only available in North America.)


http://blackbooks.bandcamp.com/album/like-you-best-b-w-shipwrecked



BLACK BOOKS 
Albums / Blog / Fb / Tw


Saturday, December 08, 2012

The 2012 Boston Music Awards

Photographic Evidence 
by Anne Cook

The Liberty Hotel 
Boston, MA 12/2/12







more on this album


RSL Streaming Photo Album




The Video Preview of The Bubbler's BMA coverage

watch: on Sundays at 11pm on&nbspmyTV38













25 years of 
The Boston Music Awards
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