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Q&A with December Artist of the Month: Waves Crashing on Face
by Chrissy Prisco

How did Waves Crashing on Face start?

The band started off as a Ben Garrett solo record. I hired Scott initially to produce the record and play guitars. We needed session musicians, so I recruited some friends. These were folks who I’d played with in various groups in college or after college, plus our original drummer Tony who was Scott’s friend from another group. it was basically an all-star line up brought together for a one-off recording project. That project eventually resulted in Waves Crashing on Face the album. But it took a while, and somewhere in the middle of the process we got bored and decided to play a few live shows for a change of pace. We also did some stints as a Marley cover band and an ‘80/’90s cover band just for kicks, because we were waiting on one thing or another for the record. Somehow, over like a year or so, Waves became something of a live act phenomenon in the Boston area, packing small and midsize clubs, keeping the flurry of cover songs in the repertoire to the delight of local hipsters and popsters alike. We also cater to nerds, as I’m a scientist, and nerds rule. We’re currently working on our second album, to be ironically named later.

Where did the band name, Waves Crashing on Face, come from?

It’s funny, because everybody in the band seems to have a different theory on this: Zach says “We’ve had to stick with a variant of our original name Waves Crashing on Face or Waves for short. The name likely came to Ben in a dream or some other fit of anxiety, along with a list of a dozen others, and it was selected from a pool of other not-so-worthy options. Ben tries to change our name every couple of months, but we all like Waves, so we go through the rigors of tying him down and making him submit via tickle tortures of various sorts so we can just keep our name and identity.” I always thought it was how I described the chorus of our song Lost Feeling.

Truthfully, the name was kind of a running name for the project and due to the nature of how we started playing out and became a band it just sort of stuck. It originally came up when I was discussing the demos with a friend in another band. He was like, “So what does it sound like?” and I was like, “Like waves crashing on your face!

What are your biggest musical influences?

We like a lot of different kinds of music. We switch genres on the album and during shows like nothing. We’re like the anti-Pandora. I think we can all agree we have some major roots in classic rock, Beatles, Dylan, Pink Floyd, The Who, all those guys. We also love Marley and roots reggae in general. A lot of different stuff, actually. We are children of the 80’s and teens of the 90’s so there is a big influence from those decades too. I guess we can cite big name bands that were also built on classic rock influences: Flaming Lips, Arcade Fire, My Morning Jacket, Wilco, Beck, Phish, Radiohead.

What artists (local, national and/or international) are you currently listening to?

We’re all listening to different stuff. I’ve been listening to stuff like TV on the Radio and the Fleet Foxes this week. Scott says he’s been listening to P-Funk, Sam Cook, vocal jazz from the forties, Miles Davis, Goldenboy and Porcupine Tree and locally, Comanchero. Adam is hearing Sons of Otis, Jucifer, Black Pyramid, and Blue Aside. Jim is listening to the O’Jays and Hot Chocolate. Zach is hearing Arcade Fire, Lee Family Curse, The Dodos and Paul Simon.

What's the first concert that you ever attended and first album that you ever bought?

My first concert was Duran Duran in the 90s, first album that I think I bought was Eddie Money, but I forget which one. Scott’s first concert was U2, first album, Europe's The Final Countdown. Zach’s first concert was Paul Simon in the Park in 1991, his first album De La Soul – 3 Feet High and Rising.

What do you love about New England's music scene?

I love that it’s really strong with a lot of quality music. It doesn’t suck. In Boston, I can go out in Allston or Cambridge or Somerville and not know who’s playing or what and just walk around and hit 3 clubs with really good local bands of all genres almost any day of the week. That’s just disgustingly nice if you like live music. Also, there's a real community of musicians out there in the Boston scene, which we dabble in and it's great to hang and see and support eachother's music. There are also cool rooms to play and many neighborhoods of music enthusiasts seeking inspiration.

What would you like to see change in the local music scene?

I’d like to see more people look to go out and see local bands, not only if it's their friends' band or whatever, but just as a night out. As I said, I’m constantly impressed by the awesome talents around our city, but you never know what’s what and who’s good until you go out to the clubs, and trust me you will not be disappointed when you do. But for non-musicians or enthusiasts, the scene needs more general interest. More small venues. We also would like to be able to play longer sets instead of being showcased sometimes, which always happens in town. But eventually, I think we’ll get that wish...

What are your plans for the upcoming year?

We'll be spending the first part of 2012 writing, arranging, and recording our new album. No shows.  Its going to be a full band album, with input from all of us, and recorded live in one studio rather than multi-tracked in various places. We’ll still throw in some found sounds though, for sure. Then we’ll be back on the scene, playing more local shows and probably NYC and a few other major northeast cities.

What was your most memorable live show?

We have lots of good memories. Our first Middle East sellout last summer was super cool. I remember playing a couple of fantastic shows early on at random places, like a bar in Allston (The Draft) that I think we got banned from after for being too loud. (They no longer have live music). Some cool festival shows up in Maine and Vermont. Early on, some guy tried to sell me a trash bag full of clothes at our show. We have an archive linked from our facebook page where you can download a bunch of these for free. Also , Waves has had the chance to play for two of our bandmembers' weddings this past year. What's more memorable than that?

Is there someone who has helped your band grow through support?

We have many fans and friends who have been there along the way, and continue to stand by and listen to our work. Hear Now Live! deserves a special shout out, I think, for believing in us and keeping us booked and on stage. Our friends in Comanchero deserve a similar shout out.

Is there a piece of equipment you couldn't live without and why?

Scott: A three-way tie between my Strat, Jekyll and Hyde overdrive and my HeadRush delay. With that gear and any amp I can play the vast majority of our set. Zach: My Fender Rhodes 73 Suitcase Piano. Even though it rarely works anymore without constant care and expenditure, and even though it weighs 250 pounds and is a bitch to take anywhere, just knowing it's there gives me great comfort. It's unique vintage sound has been the foundation that I base all other sounds on. If I could, I'd always have it on stage with me.

Why do you read The Deli?

The Deli supports and highlights local music! We like to get introduced to local acts that we might not have otherwise become privy to.




Waves Crashing on Face



Waves Crashing on Face
Crashing on Face





Empty Phrases -- Groundhog Day (single)

Empty Phrases' new single Groundhog Day is jam-packed with enough rockin’ riffs to get any indie-rocker up and dancing. The two songs included on the single, Groundhog Day and Captain, are part of a new record the band plans to be releasing this spring.

After listening to both songs, it is quite clear where the band gets many of its influences. Groundhog Day is reminiscent of Minus the Bear with its spacey effects and intricate guitar lines. One can hear a bit of Radiohead thrown into the mix as well. This is a track that can certainly get people up and moving on the dance floor.

The infectious lead guitar on Captain, accompanied by a pounding rhythm section, begs a comparison to Incubus, with lead singer Ben Raymond’s powerful voice blending well with the instrumentation.

Overall, this single was very impressive. If these two songs are any indication, Empty Phrases’ new album will be well-worth hearing.--Daniel McMahon

Surrounded by Holidays -- Sun Thief EP

Surrounded By Holidays’ latest release, Sun Thief EP, takes traditional ideas about pop-punk and garage rock and transforms them into its own unique sound. The opening track, Cerulean Skies, reminds me of Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion, with its heavily effected instruments and reverb-soaked vocal melody.  However, that sound is not kept for long, as the second track, Backflips, bursts to life with a surge of energy. The driving force behind the track is an unlikely source for a traditional pop-punk style song: the synth. Catchy synth lines are peppered throughout the EP, adding a refreshing layer to the music.

The EP takes another sharp turn during Don’t Fall Again, starting off with a finger-tapping bass riff, then emerging into a Dinosaur Jr.-esque rock song.

Overall, I enjoyed Surrounded By Holidays’ new material.  My one major critique would be that the production and mixing seemed unbalanced at times, but for the most part this was a solid set of songs.  Not many bands are open-minded enough to experiment within a genre (or multiple genres) and I think this is a band that understands the importance of drawing on a multitude of styles to achieve a good sound.  The entire EP is available for download on their bandcamp site, so be sure to head on over and give it a listen.

Also, try to catch them tomorrow, Sat. Jan 7, at 3065 Live in East Wareham, MA. The show starts at 5, it's all ages and there are a bunch of other bands playing. For more details click here.--Daniel McMahon

The Doctors Fox, School for Robots, Daniel Harris -- Fri. Jan 6 @ PA's Lounge

If the week’s monotony has you feeling delirious, it would be a good idea to start the weekend off with an eclectic night of music in Somerville. PA's Lounge will be host to three Boston-area artists for a show this Friday, January 6th. On the bill are The Doctors Fox (pictured above), School For Robots, and Daniel Harris.

Opening act Daniel Harris -- who also provides glockenspiel, guitar, and vocals for The Doctors Fox-- plays experimental anti-folk and aims to create ambient soundscapes. Following Harris is School For Robots, a band that has been putting out material since the early 2000s. School For Robots play an experimental mix of upbeat, alternative rock with funk influences as well as occasional electro-mariachi tendencies.

Playing last are The Doctors Fox, a smorgasbord of bluegrass, rock, pop, klezmer, reggae, funk, and general whimsy. Expect violins and new material in addition to songs from their 2009 album, Plural Non-Possessive.

Both School For Robots and The Doctors Fox will be debuting new band members at the show.

PA's Lounge
Union Square, Somerville MA
9:00 p.m. (doors at 8:30), 21+, $10

--Sarah Ruggiero

Deli Best of New England 2011 -- Open Submissions Results

Our Deli jurors just finished rating all the New England artists that submitted to be considered for our Year End Best of New England Poll for Emerging Artists - and here are the results for you to check out! The artists in this list will qualify for the next phase of the poll, and will be added to the bands nominated by our jury of local scenemakers.

P.S. If you are interested in understanding how our Year End Poll for Emerging Artists works, please go here.


1. Night Fruit

night fruit

Boston's Night Fruit blew the deli editors away, this shoegaze trio came out on top in New England and it's no wonder why. With a dreamy ambience, their music drifts along pulling you into their undertow giving you just enough time to breathe before their music swells up again leaving you gasping for more. Check out their bandcamp for their latest release, Dark Horse.

2. Guillermo Sexo

Arty noise rock, alt-rock, psych-folk. All those terms have been used to describe Guillermo Sexo's sound and, to be honest, they're all appropriate. Having been around for several years and coming off the heels of just releasing their fourth album, Secret Wild, Guillermo Sexo know how to keep it interesting, maintain their own sound, and keep it fresh and exciting while doing so. Peppered with '90s influences, from the nitty-gritty likes of Sonic Youth to the ambience of Mazzy Star, this is one band we suggest you start listening to if you haven't already.

3. Radio Control

It's hard to believe that the huge sound of Radio Control comes from just two people, but maybe that's why it's so great; there's not much getting in the way of this duo's natural talent. A self-proclaimed "punk rock pop" band from Somerville, their sound is raw and energized. The best part is, they're not trying to rip off other famous duos (White Stripes). No, they're doing their own thing and we only expect them to get better. Catch them on their Northeast tour this month with Thick Shakes, dates are listed here.

4. Dirty Bombs

This Boston-based electro-rock band sure knows how to have a good time all the time. A "supergroup" of sorts, (the members are comprised of ex-members of Televandals, The Luxury, and Conservative Man) they've taken their talents and combined them into synthpop beats that will find you out on the dance floor going berserk. They're not the cheesy kind of dance music, they're the kind that are the whole package: good vocals, great lyrics, and a synthesizer that will make you want to dance for days. Overall, this band is a hell of a lot of fun.

5. I Kill Giants

This four-piece math/jazz-rock band (all students at Berklee College of Music) reigns from Boston. They blend genres seamlessly, but at the core of it, one can’t help but rock out to the captivating hooks and bellowing chants. Although we feel the best is yet to come, what they've given us so far is pretty damn irresistable.

6. Il Abanico

The core of Il Abanico are native Columbians Juliana Ronderos and Nicolas Losada who met in Boston. Their music is a refreshing conglomerate of worldly rhythms, indie rock guitars, and lightly accented vocals. The sound is at once familiar and exotic, combining for a sprightly, whimsical treat of an EP.

These artists had outstanding ratings from our editors (they all shared a final score of 7.75 out of 10) but won't qualify to the next round of our poll based on this round. They are all really good though, so we recommend you check them out!

Movers & Shakers

This rootsy Americana band packs a punch. If you think "Americana" isn't your thing, you'll be singing a different tune once you give Movers & Shakers a listening to. With garage rock organs on some tunes and country-tinged slide guitar on others, there's something refreshing and uplifting about this band.

Sore Eros

Dreamy, fuzzy, warm and hazy psychedelia. Sore Eros have the ability to put the listener to sleep, but in a good way. It's music to drift off to, whether you absorb it or it absorbs you, it's a pleasant, blissful feeling.

The Suicide Dolls

This Connecticut-based trio draws on influences from bands like Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth and The Pixies. Now, you might think a lot of bands cite those same influences, and you're correct. However, the Suicide Dolls turn their influences into some major inspiration. With their searing lyrics and heavy hooks, this band is running full steam ahead, never stopping to look back.


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