Album: Country and Eastern
Released: September 2010
From: Providence, RI
Joke-name bands usually leave me cold. I bullied my way past the silly name and was handsomely rewarded by Girl Haggard's Country and Eastern. If the Dropkick Murphys are punk rock's answers to Celtic music, Girl Haggard are its answer to country music. Mandy Allan's vocals are equal parts Loretta Lynn and X’s Exene Cervenka. Come to think of it, it would be fair to describe Girl Haggard's music as a mash-up of the two as well.
The Susan Constant
Released: March 2011
From: Brighton, MA The Susan Constant's debut EP, Rayonnement is a pleasing, three-song introduction to their classic Eighties Boston rock sound. Their straight-ahead delivery brings to mind the college rock of Boston-scene originals, Scruffy The Cat and Dumptruck.
Kuuluuko is the duo of Stephen Salazar (guitar, vocals) and Cullen Corley (drums, keys, vocals). The cheap and easy way to describe them would be to invoke images of early White Stripes and Black Keys. And I suppose that there's a fair bit of both in the bluesy soulful racket that Kuuluuko make, but it's their influences that separate them from their more well-known peers. The heart of Kuuluuko pumps to the rhythms of Led Zeppelin, but they express themselves through the filter of more contemporary influences like Nirvana. Easy Things' opening tracks "Want It Need It" and "Your Back" bring the Rock like the one-two punch of "Black Dog" and "Rock And Roll" from Led Zeppelin IV. The wandering ballad "Door" brings the tempo down and shows a more delicate side of the band before building back up to a glorious racket in the last moments -- the perfect transition to the pummeling "Green Lion". With "Blue Queen" they explore their progressive influences with a loud-soft-loud, multi-part delivery that shows also their mid-nineties influences. Easy Things closes with "Sweet Pea" and "Hello", a pair of ballad-ish songs that brings things full-circle. What makes this EP so fun is Kuuluuko's inability to stay quiet. Even at their most tender they just can't help bringing the noise. What's fantastic about this tendency is that it's not incongruous -- it reflects the real world -- moments of tenderness interrupted by stabs of jarring reality. --George Dow
The iTunes Live: SXSW EP featuring Astralwerks recording artist Dom is available on iTunes. The 4 track EP was recorded live on 3/17 at Central Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas.
Worcester, MA based Dom have been hailed by fans and critics alike for their breezy summer pop jams. The iTunes Live: SXSW EP comes hot on the heels of the band’s critically acclaimed EP, Sun Bronzed Greek Gods, which was re-released by Astralwerks Records on February 15, 2011. Dom will be embarking on a US Tour, they are playing the Paradise Rock Club in Boston on Friday, April 15.
Lia Ices probably couldn’t have written “Grown Unknown” without taking a break from Brooklyn. Released in January 2011 on Jagjaguwar, the singer’s sophomore album collects nine impressionistic fairy tales, each song a misty sylvan dream world unto itself. The music is airy, uncluttered, and untouched by civilization. Prospect Park and Green Wood Cemetery have their dark, secluded spots, but as refuges from civilization—places capable of inspiring the kind of wonder and dread hissing beneath the quietude of this record—Brooklyn’s premier green spaces have nothing on rural Vermont, where Ices spent last winter writing. - Read Ken Partridge's interview with Lia Ices here.
Lia Ices graced the cover of the winter 2011 issue of The Deli - read it here. This is the video of the single Daphne.
Boston's Eksi Ekso new LP, Brown Shark, Red Lion was released last week via Mylene Sheath (label home to Giants, Caspian, and more.) Paired with a 28 page book of artwork, the album tells the story of a photographer and amateur astronomer who disappeared mysteriously in Eastern Turkey in the late 1800's.
Brown Shark, Red Lion shows a band comfortable exploring areas of orchestral pop (with a nine-piece chamber orchestra), synth-soaked dance, and hard-hitting rock in ways that can appeal to the crowd who just want a catchy vocal line as well as the kids who go to the front of the stage to see what's in a band's pedal boards. The vocals are memorable and well-arranged, the melodic instruments make hooks out of refreshingly atypical chords and melodies, the rhythm section pummels with a deft blend of creativity and back-beat. Strings and brass are not haphazard novelties that show up when the band runs out of ideas; they propel the song when need be or billow beneath the din when subtlety is best.
Eksi Ekso will be playing at 10pm Saturday, March 26, at The Rosebud Bar in Somerville. The line-up is as follows:
BONJOUR-HI!, the innovative Burlington/Montreal DJ collective noted for their energetic, collaborative live shows, has released their debut, Banana EP. This is their first official release and represents the culmination of their influences from holding dance parties across four continents and playing alongside notable acts such as Chromeo, Ninjasonik, and many others. Their Banana EP is a collection of original tracks with a tropical bass influence set to make you get up and dance. The EP was co-produced by Craig Mitchell and was released on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 by Burlington, VT label, Slanted Black Records.
“The whole BONJOUR-HI! crew is super excited for the release of our debut EP. We’ve worked really hard on it, it’s great to see the record getting looks from DJs that have been inspiring us for years,” said Tomie Marosy, founding member of BONJOUR-HI!.
Banana EP is available on Beatport exclusively for the next two weeks. It will be available on iTunes and all other major download locations shortly after.
Released: August 2010
From: Providence, RI
Rhode Island's Moga bring a homey, rootsy take to psychedelia on Jamboree. They add banjos and piano to straightforward American rock and end up with something that sounds like music played in the parlor with family and friends. Songs like "Wakey Wakey" stretch into jam-band territory and would be right at home opening for Ratdog or Further. When their shades of The Band mix occasionally with electronic effects the result is something entirely new -- "ambient Americana," a sound that the boys from Moga should explore in more depth.
Big White Clouds
Album: small white clouds
Released: December 2010
From: North Andover, MA
The folksy, acoustic music of Joe Solof comes to life with the full-band treatment in Big White Clouds. Solof enlists the help of mates Mike Moschetto, Mike Wolfeden, and Amory Siverston to create pretty folk indie-pop in the vein of early Bright Eyes. Solof's quavering vocals only bolster the comparison, sounding like a less dramatic version of Conor Oberst.
No Evil Star
Album: Beach Reading
Released: February 2011
From: Boston, MA No Evil Star hails from the mind of Adam Quane. Beach Reading is an odd amalgamation of downbeat folk, glitchy electronica, and lo-fi indie rock. The genre jumping that takes place from track to track may give you the jitters, but if you stick with them you’ll be rewarded with a truly interesting listen. For those who find bands like Animal Collective challenging, you may find a safe harbor in No Evil Star's more traditional song structures.
Album: We’ve Got Problems
Released: March 2010
From: Burlington, VT
Whenever a 10-track record clocks in at under 25 minutes you know you’re in for a full-on punk rock assault. Y69's We've Got Problems doesn't disappoint in that department. The dual vocals of Chris and Glenn help keep things interesting -- one sounding like The Meatmen's Tesco Vee, the other like Rancid's Tim Armstrong -- both touchstones that would make any self-respecting punk proud.
A few summers ago, I met Andy Cary at one of the collective houses in Worcester. Grass Widow had just played and we were standing around in the garage, I told him about the Mika Miko show I had coming up and he already knew about it. He was cool. A few months later, at the stArt on the Street Festival , Andy came up to me and was like, "Dude you gotta hear my band, we're awesome!" Now, don't get me wrong, I give every band a good listen to, but when he said this, I imagined a sloppy new band, barely keeping time trying to rip-off whichever act was hot at the moment. He told me his band's name was Golden Girls. I laughed. Well. it turns out Pitchfork got around to listening to GG before I did, and other indie blogs were going nuts over their song Amateur Teen Sex Attics because, like he said, they're awesome.
I like what these guys are doing for many reasons, but the biggest reason is that they represent Worcester… hard. The scene there is definitely underground, but also definitely thriving, with awesome places like the Fuck Yeah Center, the collective houses and the skater punks who are building Worcide. All this and a couple of bands getting some national press ain't too bad, if I do say so myself.
Golden Girls' new single is Freebird, again they make me laugh. Right now they're on tour with Truman Peyote.