Wednesday, May 30, 2018

PREMIERE :: War Twins - American Kids

Video Credits: Cory Ingram & Zakk Conner

HOT NIGHTS - Starting summer off with a bang, we debut the hot new video "American Kids" by LA rock duo War Twins. We've been following the act for about a half-decade now and their hard work is beginning to truly take off. What better way to kick off the heat than this in-your-face music video?  

American Kids will appear on the War Twins' forthcoming album produced by the award-winning Sylvia Massy (TOOL, Prince & Johnny Cash.) The record will be released on tour this summer.

Known for their powerful performances War Twins recently shared stages with Wolf Alice, Filter, and Alien Ant Farm. I still remember the very first time I saw them years ago and even then I knew they were on to something powerful. This is a band you need to experience for yourself. National tour dates listed below.

6.3 Phoenix AZ Joe’s Grotto
6.6 Santa Fe NM Boxcar
6.7 Amarillo TX Leftwoods
6.8 Dallas TX The Prophet Bar
6.9 Houston TX Madness on Main Festival
6.13 Knoxville TN Preservation Pub
6.15 Raleigh NC Deep South
6.16 Charlotte NC Snug Harbor
6.18 Lancaster PA The Chameleon Club
6.21 Washington DC The Black Cat
6.23 Brooklyn NY Saint Vitus
6.26 Lowell MA UnchARTed
6.28 Worcester MA Ralph’s Rock Diner
6.29 Boston MA ONCE Ballroom
6.30 Philadelphia PA Kung Fu Necktie
7.4 Durham NC Eno River Festival
7.5 Johnson City TN The Hideaway
7.6 Nashville TN The End
7.7 Knoxville TN Scruffy City Hall
7.8 Birmingham AL The Nick
7.11 Columbus GA SoHo
7.12 Jacksonville FL Jack Rabbits
7.13 Daytona Beach FL Rok Bar
7.19 Pensacola FL Chizuko
7.20 Houston TX TBA
7.23 Austin TX Mohawk
7.26 Tuscon AZ Sky Bar
7.27 Las Vegas NV The Beauty Bar
7.28 Los Angeles CA The Viper Room

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

New Pages To Turn from Hallelujah The Hills

Keeping score on a band now logging in more than a decade of time-served can be difficult, especially if that band is Hallelujah The Hills. The indie rock band have toured extensively, released five albums to acclaim and now embark on the most ambitious phase of their career - finding fertile new sound space, falling in behind their rock-author front man Ryan Walsh.

Walsh's new novel, the widely celebrated 'Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968', has set the songwriter - and the band on a new trajectory as they prepare to craft and coax songs for their sixth album. Hallelujah The Hills recorded the soundtrack for the audiobook, making the best seller book a collaborative effort to celebrate music and the northeast's special place in pop history - focusing on Van Morrison and the cult of American music.

Returning from a creative hiatus of sorts, Hallelujah The Hills return to Providence this Thursday to play their first Outlaw Roadshow lineup in more than three years. There are more dates planned and more book signings. What you have right now is a fountain of creative energy - a stream of lava right from the core of the earth. And despite the highest expectations for the band's output, we can be assured all kinds of unanticipated bits of brilliance. This is one of the best music outfits in the country. And this is an important time.

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Astral Weeks (Amazon)

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Sinnet is a fun-first, tone-heavy love affair.

One To Watch - Think a number of my readers are going to really dig today's spotlight. Gifted Boston graphic designer Aaron Spransey has a geek-pop band I love - and need to share with you. Sinnet is a fun-first, tone-heavy love affair. Initially created by Aaron Spransy as a laptop bedroom project following his move from Milwaukee to Boston. Soon thereafter a band was formed and all kinds of creative and wacky dreams came true. 

Today, Sinnet is a three-piece with Spransey joined by Kevin Junker and Thom Valicenti. (Projects for the trio include The Fatal Flaw, Mount Peru and Soft Pyramids.) They have a new-to-you album called "Nervous Soul" (2017) which I adore for it's maniacal song-assertion and it's inherent weirdness. 

It's a collection of tightly arranged indie rock gems that drill down to the listener's psyche and then - once there, mess you up real good. Serious fun and quite irresistible once you've cracked the seal.  

Questions that keep a music blogger up at night: on Houdini Hands, when Spransey sings about the target of his affection, he utters, "she's a keeper, .. a trapper keeper" - is this just cleaver wordplay or something deeper, perhaps even profound?

From The Website: The name 'Sinnet' comes from the license plate Aaron's late mother Mary Spransy had on several Toyota Camrys. It was a birthday gift, she loved playing tennis. Their sound? As if Spoon, Elliott Smith and Booker T had some bizarre love triangle while writing a blog post about 80's horror movies.

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Monday, May 14, 2018

Elisa Smith plays Garth Brooks' Guitar

Elisa Smith is an alternative spirit in a country rock world. Literally touched by Country stardom when Garth Brooks asked the impressionable young singer on stage to perform, Elisa has embarked into a world where her personal convictions and the blessing of a Country legend have set her on the path of conviction and discovery.

Moments of Brilliance - Elisa met Garth when she attended a talk he and Trisha Yearwood were giving in Boston. During the Q&A, Elisa asked him how he overcomes his nerves when he's on stage. Garth “baptized her by fire” and invited her on stage to play a song. After the performance, Garth gave her his guitar (the one she plays with now) and told her to sing her heart out. That's what she's been doing ever since.

Elisa Smith
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Ethereal Surf Pop from The Garrys

ONE TO WATCH - Hailing from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - The Garrys are an all-female, surf pop trio bringing a 'Sophia Coppola' swirl of sound to the world of garage rock. On tour right now in Europe, they have new music to celebrate. 'Makeout at the Drive-In' is their newest. It's fresh this week

The Garrys
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Sunday, May 13, 2018

Thursday in Providence!

Music blog Ryan's Smashing Life and 
The Outlaw Roadshow present... Providence 5-17

poster by Canary Coalmine


Thursday, May 10, 2018

At the Crossroads with Daniel Miller

One To Watch - Today we find ourselves at the junction of past and present where the creative soil is particularly fertile. Super impressed right now with northeast songwriter Daniel Miller. He's got the chops as a songwriter - delivering lessons learned on the road. Miller's got this great voice - and those lyrics resonate with listeners because of the singer's likability and his believable emotional intelligence. The man has skills.

The record I'm holding, 'East Tennessee,' will soon gain a sister record. Daniel's band, The High Life, have been recording songs on his followup 'Dusk.' There's a whole lot here to be excited about. Don't let yourself forget about Daniel Miller

From The Website: Daniel Miller is a singer-songwriter with a penchant for centering his music on locales that inspire him. Upcoming album, Dusk (June 2018), has been described as his most beautiful and consistent record to date. A mix of original compositions and cover songs by artists he admires, the album is poised to be his most important work. Joining Daniel on the album are members of his touring band (The High Life), as well as Grammy award-winners Jerry Douglas, Mickey Raphael (Willie Nelson), and Robby Turner (Chris Stapleton, Waylon Jennings), among others.

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THE BUZZ: Coyle Girelli

ONE TO WATCH - Coyle Girelli,​ frontman of The Chevin, releases his moody solo debut “Where’s My Girl?”​ tomorrow. It's a gorgeous production -- this is somebody you need to watch. This live version (remember you saw it here first) has the swirling atmospherics but sets out on a different path. 

"Where's My Girl" is the first single of a new album 'Love Kills' out this summer.  

Coyle Girelli
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Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Israeli Folk Star Sun Tailor!


I'm pretty much beside myself with excitement announcing that The Outlaw Roadshow Boston this week features our friend Tel Aviv folk star Sun Tailor this Friday night in Boston!

The multi-instrument Arnon Naor is better known as Sun Tailor. And when he takes a stage he commands a room. In less than a half decade he has crafted a large following based entirely off of his mesmerizing live performances. 

In 2015 I traveled to Israel to host my first ever International Outlaw Roadshow, set to coincide with the Tune-In Tel Aviv Music Festival. Not only was it was a smashing success, I bore witness to one of the most stirring performances I had ever seen from Sun Tailor. And now he's here - in Boston - in a small room capacity show - which you're not going to want to miss.

The artist has a brand new record, 'This Light'. It's ten landmark tracks relayed by Sun Tailor and a team of Israel's most talented children: Udi Naor, Daniel Sapir, Omri Barel, Jackie Fay, (fellow Outlaw Roadshow act and music goddess) Maya Johanna, Amos Zimmerman, Yaniv Horovitz, Asaf Talmudi and Daniel Anglister. Sun Tailor sings, plays acoustic guitar, 12-string guitar, lap steel, mandolin, tambourine, glockenspiel and the bells. (Yeah. Nuts.) Pick up a digital download of 'This Light' today.


From The Website: After releasing his first album in 2012, Sun Tailor has become one of the leading figures in the growing Israeli folk scene, with both albums receiving major praise from indie and mainstream media.  With his personal take on the one man show, Sun Tailor blends guitar, mandolin, percussion and live looping, creating a huge atmospheric sound, often sounding like a full band. Always on a mission to create an intimate, heart opening experience, to make a crowd of strangers become friends. To fall in love with music, with life.

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Monday, May 07, 2018

Chris Moreno brings pop light and country clarity on new album Into The Night

The world seems to be moving faster than ever before. But there is an oasis in music. A new country-inspired record out this week has helped slow things down for just a time. Emerging northeast songwriter Chris Moreno has a promising path and a clutch of new songs on his winning sophomore album, Into The Night.

On the Lead single on Into The Night, Moreno deftly relays a fiery relationship lost. In every way possible "You Had Me At Goodbye," is a pop song - but it also describes something real and most of us can understand: a relationship full of passion, lost. 

"Goodbye's" protagonist describes conflicts that cause the two lovers to grow apart. The song phase leaves us realizing that no matter how bad it ever got, it's the most real thing he ever had. More pop quirks: Moreno plays with word relationship here; you had me at hello -vs- you had me at goodbye. Very clever and friendly to the ears.

Much of the country elements of Into The Night were inducted in a Tennessee studio. "Once I made the decision that it was time for the world to hear the new music I’d been working on, I knew that going to Nashville to record them was the right move to get the sound that I was after," says Moreno. There the songs were produced by Nashville's Jonathan Roye (Kelsea Ballerini, Jacob Davis). And I just have to say, Moreno has a real chance on standing out for this record.

From The Website: Chris Moreno is a Boston based singer/songwriter, and Nashville recording artist. At its core, Moreno’s music is a genuine reflection of his real life experiences and down-to-earth personality. "I truly believe that these are my strongest songs yet and I’m excited for you all to hear them. I hope you’ll join me and become a part of this journey and next phase of my career. As always thank you so much for your support it truly means everything to me!!"

Chris Moreno
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Sunday, May 06, 2018

Childish Gambino targets guns and his own success on This is America

DISCUSSION - Childish Gambino's unexpectedly violent 'This Is America' is more than an obvious statement about guns in America, it's about violence, purpose and allowing ourselves to be distracted while the lower half of humanity suffers. 

The fact that this lead single from Gambino is such a catalyst and it bears the name of the tour that is to follow, indicates this could be a very interesting year.

In releasing this statement video Gambino (the music alter-ego of gifted actor and writer Donald Glover) challenges listeners and sets the crosshairs squarely upon himself. Risky, sure.. but this dark little video is high art. 

In two short weeks you'll see the same Donald Glover appear on screen play a young Lando Calrissian in the latest installment of Disney's Star Wars franchise.  But today, he stands under a beam of light - still surrounded by unconscionable darkness and loss. I love that he took chances and made a strong statement about callousness and inaction. This is a man with a foot in two worlds.  Tour dates are listed on his website.  

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Bob Seger - Hollywood Nights (vintage live video) 1978

Happy Birthday Bob!

Album / Wiki

Friday, May 04, 2018

Kingsley Flood - Find Me Out

A New Album from One of the Northeast's Premiere Live Acts - This new song is dedicated to the guys in my neighborhood who wait for work every morning outside the convenience store," writes Kingsley Flood's Naseem Khuri. "Find Me Out" is the new release from Kingsley Flood's highly anticipated new album, Neighbors and Strangers, due out June 6, 2018.

Travis Richter, George Hall, Naseem Khuri, Nick Balkin and Chris Barrett.
Michael D Spencer photograph

Album Release Shows
May 19 - Once Ballroom, Somerville, MA
Jun 08 - Bowery Electric, NY NY
Jun 09 - Pearl Street Warehouse Washington, DC

Kingsley Flood
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Live Photos

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Pretend Like by Michael Flynn

Celebrate the magnitude of your heartache and stress - because there are times that's all that you have.. That's essentially how I've comes to view Michael Flynn's self-produced new record 'Pretend Like.This is an artist executing at best-of-career levels. 

Just listen to album opener, "Greater Charlotte"  and hear not just the music but follow Flynn's telling of a spurned lover - the persona of the song:

Flynn's rich delivery; his turn of phrase and his ear for arrangements make him the ultimate choice for intimate live experiences. Every ounce of that sound was poured into this record.

"Great Gasp" is a song that celebrates (perhaps too strong of a word..) recognizes the difficult era we find ourselves in. The words: 'We lie awake aghast, scrolling through all the news.' Cogent words but they could easily get drunk in the wash of those beautiful strings (credit: David Davidson, David Angell, Monisa Angell, Carole Rabinowitz - and conducted by Danny Mitchell). Flynn wrote the arrangements. 

Feeling out-of-place and without-purpose are common threads in Flynn's songs. But these bleak realizations only carry so much weight when so many find collective solace in his creations.  

Flynn picks up this theme again on track "Professional Network" - a song that will have you stomping under your desk today at work. It's been four long years since we had a solo record from the artist, who came to know indie hero status with Charleston's epic Slow Runner.   

Album credits include Ron Wiltrout, Nathan Koci, Summer Flynn and include Flynn's Slow Runner collaborator Josh Kaler. A tip of the hat to the Mastering on this one to Dave Harris. 

I absolutely love the humanizing that goes on throughout this record. When you love someone you know the way they look, sound, smell and think. "You Leave An Echo" makes us realize this is still the case. 

Best Line off the album?? "God I love to see you with your Church Clothes." Just makes me smile. I could listen to this all day and I think I will.  'Pretend Like' is a masterful unveiling. This is already my favorite album so far in 2018. 

From The Website: Michael Flynn is a singer/songwriter most often found yodeling his way through the hills of Saluda NC. His songs have been featured on shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Shameless, and on commercials for useful products like cars and shampoo. He’s also won a few awards for songwriting, including 1st runner up for the John Lennon Songwriting Scholarship in 2001. His band Slow Runner has released 5 full length albums, an EP, and several singles. They spent some time on one of SonyBMG’s labels and have toured internationally with acts like The Avett Brothers, Josh Ritter, Built to Spill, William Fitzsimmons, and many others.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Allysen Callery covers Radiohead

It's a little after 4 am and I'm writing and listening to music when I suddenly uncover this wispy, beautiful cover of Thom Yorke's "How To Disappear Completely" by one of my favorite New England folk artists. Allysen Callery is known for her tales of hope and despair and her poetic deliveries have well-earned her the genre label of "ghost folk." And of course, this would be the perfect Radiohead song for her to cover. It's a fragile, bleak and sorrowful realization. Waking up hours before the sun and doing a little poking around can yield fantastic results.

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