2. The Swinger
4. Dance Central and Rock Band 3
5. Another Green World (33 1/3 Books)
Guest blogger Scott writes:
In an earlier post about Kickstarter, I gave the example of how the producers of a documentary about The Kinks were funding its editing through small donations. That movie, Do It Again, premiered in March at the Cleveland International Film Festival to positive reviews, and will be showing in Somerville at the Independent Film Festival Boston on Saturday, April 24th. I haven’t seen it yet, but it looks to be less of a music documentary and more of a Nick Hornby/Studs Terkel mash-up, in that it isn’t so much about The Kinks as it is about how people (creator/star Geoff Edgers in particular, but also the people he enlists in his quest) think, or even obsess, about the band. And while the Hornbyish narrative story of a quest to reunite The Kinks is intimately tied a single band, it can be seen as a lens for thinking about the Terkel-ish question of why people love the bands they love and how that love shapes them. In that sense, it seems like a good pairing for The Heart is a Drum Machine — One asks “What is music?”; the other asks “What does music mean?”.
Previously on z=z: Watch: Music docs at IFF Boston, Apr 23-25
Today in Boston: Two great bands (in two completely different genres). Two CD release parties. Two different venues. At exactly the same time. The horror. What’s worse, members of both bands are friends of mine (and frequent commenters here at z=z).
Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling is duo Sophia Cacciola and Michael Epstein (also of The Motion Sick). Their music is loud, minimal (just drums, bass and vox), and angry. Themed off the TV series The Prisoner, their music and lyrics deal with similar themes of alienation and totalitarianism. Despite all that, their songs are inexplicably catchy (occasionally dangerously catchy, as I found myself singing/yelling along to “Gun gun gunning for you!’ as I drove on the interstate). They’re releasing their debut EP, The New Number 2, today with a set at Church.
Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, with Voodoo Screw Machine, Gene Dante and the Future Starlets, Vostok 4 and Corey Tut at Church of Boston
Kingsley Flood, on the other hand, is a (post-?) Americana band, blending traditional folk instrumentation (including fiddle and mandolin) with lyrics touching on modern and urban themes – think Wilco or Hey Marseilles. And they put on a fantastic, energetic, compelling live set. They’re celebrating the release of their debut full-length, Dust Windows, with a show tonight at the Middle East Upstairs.
Kingsley Flood, with Cassavetes, Grown-Up Noise and Spouse, at the Middle East Upstairs
Both bands go on at 10 pm. Decisions, decisions….
Finally, rock star guitar posturing is being put to good use! Rob Morris, frontman of Cambridge, MA’s Vivian Darkbloom, uses a Wii remote to control his guitar effects. The position and acceleration sensors in the controller, fixed to the body of his guitar, lets him access a range of effects by how he holds his instrument (check out the video above to see it in action, or this one for more background).
You can check out the Wii Guitar in person tonight (Friday, October 30th) in Cambridge—Vivian Darkbloom has a gig at TT the Bear’s. Doors at 8 pm.
Some music, mostly local, that’s getting a lot of listens here at zed equals zee headquarters.
Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling (pictured): Boston music power-couple Sophia Cacciola and Michael Epstein (also of The Motion Sick) are Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, currently working on a Prisoner-themed EP. I went to their debut show and was just blown away by Sophia’s vocals, and I’ve been listening to the few songs they’ve released, on repeat. DNFMOMD don’t really lend itself to a ‘recommended if you like,’ since they don’t sound like anyone else, but maybe Kim Deal Gordon*-fronted Sonic Youth?
The Beatings: What post-punk is supposed to sound like. There’s a fantastic (in both senses) review of Boston’s The Beatings new album, Late Season Kids, over at Ryan’s Smashing Life, and more MP3s for you to listen to.
Eric Schmider: We’re welcoming new Boston arts and music blog Bean Town Vision to the scene and thanking them for the intro to local retro-oriented indie rocker Eric Schmider. You can read a full bio and a preview of the upcoming show (Wednesday, October 21st at Toad) with his current project, Mollycoddle, over at Bean Town Vision, as well as download some more demo MP3s.
Rah Rah: Regina, SK’s Rah Rah just released their debut full-length, Going Steady, and I’m enjoying it immensely, especially the quirky love song, “Tentacles” (about accepting free tango lessons from a beautiful troll, and a betentacled beloved).
Matador Records just posted a single from the upcoming album by Boston musical heroes Mission of Burma. The Sound the Speed the Light, is scheduled for release on October 6th. If this single, “1, 2, 3, Partyy!!” is any indication, it’ll be a worthy successor to The Obliterati (which came out in 2006). Check it out yourself.
In case you missed it, Mission of Burma blogged the making of this album in March 2009 and you can read the posts at their site.
Cambridge, MA’s The Franklin Kite (whose principal, Ryan Hickox, is a charter member of the z=z Overeducated Musicians Club) have finally, finally released a new EP, Explosions and Batteries. To celebrate, they’ll be throwing a release party at the Middle East Upstairs on July 6th (yes, it’s a Monday, but you should be well-rested from the long weekend). Go check out their electronica-tinged indie rock goodness. They’ll be sharing their night with Brooklyn electropop darlings Red Wire Black Wire.
Okay, now I’m really annoyed at the music industry. How come my local radio station played all kinds of crappy third-rate Nirvana wannabes on the other side of the continent, but I had to wait until 2009 to hear about Visqueen? (Seattleites and dedicated indie-music lovers, feel free to upbraid me for my cluelessness.) I caught their song “Beauty Deluxe” on KEXP a few weeks ago (off their sophomore release, Sunset on Dateland) and I’ve been exploring their back catalog since. Their power-pop sound has a bit of a harder punk edge, like The New Pornographers laced with the Buzzcocks. Couple that with lyrics like, “Circuitry has soldered me like fuses to a frame/a tiny dial, and love erupts on broadband” (from “Crush on Radio”) and I’m a goner. The best part? It looks like they are set to release a new album this year, their first since Sunset in 2004, so I’m crossing my fingers for a chance to see them live.
Seattle’s alt-country-garage group The Moondoggies played a free show on the HUB lawn of the University of Washington campus last Friday afternoon. As far as venue locations go, this one was pretty unimpeachable, being just a few hundred metres from my office. The lovely spring day and campus buildings were a perfect backdrop to The Moondoggies’ Southern-rock-style twangy guitar and three-part harmonies.
The Motion Sick is Boston’s Best Local Band! We are psyched to congratulate z=z friends and faves The Motion Sick on being the Boston Phoenix Best of ’09 Reader’s Pick – “nerd meets quirk meets Steampunk meets pop meets Kurt Vonnegut.” What more excuse do you need to go check them out?
Even if you can’t make it to Austin this year, you get an excellent side benefit – the SXSeattle Sendoff show at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard. The lineup includes z=z faves New Faces and Hey Marseilles, together with Battle Hymns (pictured), the new band of Cameron Elliott, formerly of the Western States. I’m really looking forward to hearing their Silver Jews-esque Americana live. Headlining are Champagne Champagne, who I didn’t really think were my speed, but I’ve only heard great things about their live show (like this Seattle Subsonic review). Top to bottom, it’s a great lineup and well worth checking out on a Friday night. Doors at nine, and a very modest $8 cover, which will help keep the bands in gas and tacos.
In keeping with my current trend of not being in the same city as the shows that I want to see, what I would be doing if I was in Seattle on Saturday night is going to this show. Chop Suey is hosting “Dancing on the Valentine,” a benefit for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, and it’s a tribute to Factory Records. So go watch 24 Hour Party People, dig out your t-shirt with the radiofrequency pulses or the yellow happy faces (as appropriate), and channel the spirit of Tony Wilson. And then go to Chop Suey on Saturday night.
Lineup: Peter Parker, Hotels, Police Teeth, Haunted Horse, Leaders of Men, Motorik, This is Friendly Fires, Funkscribe, Atticus & the Arteries
(to be perfectly fair, part of the reason I won’t be in Seattle is because I’ll be going to this show)
To quote (and, well, repurpose) Hippocrates: “Life is short, art long.” So I have to appreciate The Hush Now‘s decision to make their self-titled debut available as a free download, in its entirety, in advance of tonight’s release party (February 12 at TT the Bear’s in Central Square, Cambridge). You have a few hours to listen to it in the warm glow of your computer before deciding whether you want to venture out into the cold Boston night to hear The Hush Now play live. Having given it a hearing myself, I think that their shoegazery-but-not-aimless music would be worth the effort.
Clatter Clatter is another Boston-based band with roots at Berklee (gee, you’d think they were educating musicians or something). They just released their debut album, Too Many Boxes, in January. The songs range from gorgeously atmospheric (“Just to Say”), to Ben Folds-style piano-driven tunes (“Downpour”), to almost 70s rock sounds (“Australia”). It’s short notice, but they are playing at TT the Bear’s in Cambridge tonight (Tuesday, February 10th); if you miss them, you can check out their Myspace page for additional upcoming shows, including an opening spot for Youth Group in April.
[Left Coasters, I promise I'll have some more Pacific Northwest bands soon!]
I think that Boston’s Logan 5 and the Runners pretty much had me at their name (if you are not as much of an über-geek as I, this is the reference. If you are, there might be a new version coming out next year.) But it’s their Britpop-esque sound that sealed the deal – if Pulp and Roxy Music, had a bastard love child who was born in the 90s and is now an avid consumer of TV, movies and the Internet, it might sound like Logan 5 and the Runners. Singer David Berndt (who bears a resemblance to actor Michael York, which inspired the band name) has a voice which sounds raw and sexual with an overlay of sophistication, or possibly the other way around. As befits their sci-fi namesake, Berndt’s vocals are backed by synthesizer hooks and tense guitars, coalescing into a catchy and memorable sound that evokes an alternate-history 1980s London.
They’re playing at the Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain on Friday, February 6th, in support of their recently-released debut album, Featurette. Check them out.
Word on the street (well, actually, in the coffee shop) is that the Seattle’s famed Crocodile Cafe, which closed abruptly nearly a year ago, is on track to re-open. While the Croc is still pretty mum and the website is still under construction, The Ting Tings are scheduled to play on April 12th. zed equals zee didn’t relocate to Seattle until after it closed, so I am really looking forward to checking it out.
(thanks to Peter for the tip!)
Hey Marseilles nearly made me miss a flight. I saw them at the Three Imaginary Girls holiday party, and they were so good that I decided to catch their headlining show at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard last week, even though I had a 4:45 am wake-up call for a 5:15 am cab to the airport the next morning. Unfortunately, the late night meant that I slept through my alarm and only woke up when the cabdriver called my landline.
It was totally worth it, though. The Tractor show started with a procession by the band through the crowd, and I do mean ‘procession’ – with seven members, the band is quite a crowd themselves. Matt Bishop’s appealing voice is backed by viola, cello, trumpet and accordion, in addition to the more conventional rock instruments. They sound like a rather less fey version of The Decemberists – more grounded and earthy.
MP3: Hey Marseilles – Rio
[click image for full version]
The head of BBC Radio 1 thinks that Cambridge, MA’s Passion Pit are the next big thing. Radio 1 is unusual in that it is simultaneously non-commercial and mainstream and, at least in the UK, getting added to its playlist means you’ve made it to the big leagues. The Guardian recently posted an interview with Radio 1’s head of music, George Ergatoudis, about the process by which artists get chosen for airplay. It’s kind of nice to read about their involved process of meetings and how their challenge is to balance music that is accessible and that which is more difficult (rather than, say, about how they are beating off promoters with a stick or quietly doing pay-for-play). To be perfectly precise, Ergatoudis says that Passion Pit are the next MGMT, which makes sense given that they occupy a similar point in the happy, catchy, danceable pop-electronica space.
Incidentally, the image above is a charming review of both a Passion Pit concert and their album, Chunk of Change, by artist Andrew Kuo; click on it to see the full version.
Regular readers know that zed equals zee temporarily relocated its headquarters from Boston to Seattle this summer. Well, debcha is back in Boston for the week, and here are some songs commemorating her adopted hometown. First up is a terrific live version of “The Ice of Boston” by the late, lamented Dismemberment Plan. Next up is the Dropkick Murphys doing “I’m Shipping Up to Boston,” with lyrics by Woody Guthrie. It’s off their 2005 album The Warrior’s Code, but you may have heard it on the soundtrack to The Departed. Finally, the Dresden Dolls‘ unassumingly titled “The Jeep Song,” from their self-titled first album, is a hilarious and painful tale of a black-Jeep-driving lost love on the streets of Boston.
Nothing is forgotten on the Internet. A friend of mine turned me on to Seattle-based synth-punk band, The Cripples, that were around a few years ago when he lived here. As far as I can tell, they are defunct-ish (the most recent update on either their homepage or Myspace page seems to be 2005), and I can’t really find any evidence that they’re doing shows. And while I think the picture above is of them (I ganked it from their site, after all), it does seem little short on synths for a synth-punk group.
None of this changes the fact that they sound really cool, like the Buzzcocks, only with keyboards. And it begs the question – why aren’t there more synth-punk bands? But if anyone in the area knows if The Cripples are still doing gigs, or if the principals have moved on to other bands, feel free to share it in the comments.