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Annalise Emerick -- Starry-Eyed

On her album Starry-Eyed, singer-songwriter Annalise Emerick blends folk music with pop sensibilities as she crafts melodies as pretty as her name. The album follows the story of a young woman who learns to stand her own ground and rely on herself, but without sounding jaded. Emerick opens the album with You Win, a breakup song to her dear Nashville-- the city that became the takeoff point for her career as a singer-songwriter. In the beginning, she admits she was “starry-eyed and full of hope,” but when she gets her heart broken, she knows better than to let others get the best of her.

With its innocent and thoughtful lyricism, Starry-Eyed focuses some of its attention on looking back, like in I Came Around, which analyzes the should-haves of life and love and shows off Emerick’s tough side. But more importantly, the core of the album is about moving forward. Emerick has the soul of a traveller, and she’s not afraid to pick her life up and go when she needs to; She’s a Texan who has settled down in Nashville and Seattle before planting her roots in Boston, at least for the moment.


Annalise Emerick -- A Runner and a Singer

--Sarah Ruggiero

Crashing Cars -- Coming Alive to Fall Asleep

From the first chord to the last swells of feedback, Crashing Cars latest release, Coming Alive to Fall Asleep, is an invigorating ride on a rock rollercoaster. Their sound spans everything from Nirvana and Modest Mouse, to Foo Fighters, At the Drive-In and even subtle hints of Death Cab and Elliott Smith. It also became quite apparent to me that lead vocalist Jon Kohen must be an avid Kurt Cobain fan. At the end of Something to Burn, I’d swear Kohen was channeling Kurt from beyond the grave with an “All Apologies”-esque scream.  I thoroughly enjoyed songs like Empty Seas and My Mind--a track that any fan of Elliott Smith (or just music in general) would be sure to love. The somber cello line really thickens the mix and provides a perfect accompaniment to Kohen’s vocals.

My favorite song would have to be the title track. I loved the slow Modest-Mouse type build-up into an At the Drive-In surge of emotion and power. I found their use of dynamics on this track (and throughout the entire album), to be quite excellent.

Overall, Coming Alive to Fall Asleep is a great album. It was nice to finally hear a band making honest garage rock instead of Micro-Korg driven dance beats. From what I could find online, they have no upcoming dates, but head over to their bandcamp page and give them a listen. You won’t be disappointed.

--Daniel McMahon

The Fagettes, The Jitters, Radio Control, Cooling Towers : Friday, 12/2 @ Ralph's

The Fagettes (no, that isn’t a typo) will be performing live at Ralph’s Rock Diner in Worcester, MA this coming Friday, December 2nd. Hailing from Allston, MA, the group combines garage, punk and a tinge of the blues in an effort to resurrect the 60s garage punk scene. If you’re a fan of 60s rock (and how could you not be), go check out The Fagettes this Friday alongside The Jitters,Radio Control, and Cooling Towers. Show starts at 9pm.

--Daniel McMahon

Old Abode -- Before the Day

Cascading guitars and energetic riffs introduce the title track of Before the Day, the ten-song album from Old Abode, a band hailing from North Hampton, New Hampshire. The album’s overall sound is smooth pop-rock, and the overall vibe is uplifting and peaceful. Singer Shea Ellis is a capable and pleasant-sounding vocalist, and his guitar work is eloquent throughout.

The band cite The Beatles as well as My Morning Jacket and Band of Horses as some of their biggest influences, but while they identify themselves as an indie rock group, they prove to have an affinity for a diverse set of musical styles: bluegrass twang, epic guitar solos, and even a cameo by the mandolin,

Northern Sky shows off an intricate mandolin part as well as folky guitars, making it one of the album’s standout tracks. Ellis serenades his muse, “Elusive Aurora / She came to me on a summer breeze / Whispering right through the trees.” This song segues into Leaves, a continuation of Ellis entwining a romanticized nature with his various muses.

Old Abode manage to throw down a surprise at the very end of the album with 314, the punchiest tune of the album. The band show their funky side as Ellis sings, “The coward sits in silence / Quietly plotting his revenge / To those who left him in defiance / And pushed him over that pathological, psychological edge.” The song lasts nearly seven minutes, but it’s exactly the kind of jam session that would still have heads bobbing even if it were twice as long.


ComScore

--Sarah Ruggiero

Chillingsworth -- Sir Roger

According to the band’s bandcamp bio, Connecticut's Chillingsworth brings “excitement and fun energy to every show they play” and from the first chord of their EP, Sir Roger, one can easily hear why that very may well be the case. The EP is full of energetic drumbeats and catchy, upbeat melodies. Traces of jazz and ska are woven throughout each track, probably most obviously heard in the final track, Stay Fly. The vocals remind me of Matt Skiba or possibly Geoff Farina, singer of Karate. 

I found myself listening to the opening track, Cloud, and feeling an overwhelming urge to get up and dance.  The use of bells is very prominent throughout the track making them a nice addition to the song, adding a poppy layer to their jazz-infused sound. There are moments on the track where one can hear Vampire Weekend peeking through the melodies. This leads me to believe that Chillingsworth has a solid grasp on how to make a good pop song.

Overall, I was very pleased with this release. I think the band has a great jazz-pop sound, which can most certainly appeal to a wide audience. I am interested to see what they come up with next and would definitely recommend checking these guys out next time they come around your hometown.

--Daniel McMahon

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