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The Prefab Messiahs -- Peace Love & Alienation

When I first listened to Peace Love & Alienation, without knowing a thing about The Prefab Messiahs, I thought I had downloaded the wrong album by mistake. This was real garage-pop from the 80’s. After a brief peruse of the internet, I came to the conclusion that these guys are the longest-lived band to last only two years (1981-1983). Three ambitious Clark U. undergrads with barebones rigs, no money, and a lot to say combined punk, surf-rock, and garage-pop to create an unaccredited style of lo-fi pop-rock that is still relevant 30 years later,

Peace Love & Alienation brings together 8 newly remastered tracks, including both tracks produced by Bobb Trimble, that show the versatility Prefab Messiahs had in their heyday. With a strong influence from post-punk innovators “Swell Maps,” Prefab Messiahs coin a sound of their own. It’s as if the Ramones teamed up with Joy Division, took some LSD, listened to The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, and then decided to write an album. The Album starts off with two of my favorite songs Beyond All That and Cousin Artie. In each of these songs we hear everything from surf-rock guitar licks, analog synth, punk chord progressions, and psychedelic refrains and bridges.

Then comes Prefab Messiahs’ most “famous” song, Desperately Happy. Catchy and fun reverb-soaked vocals over a simple but grooving, slightly out of tune, guitar line make this song an instant classic for any and every Prefab fan. Their creativity is certainly showcased in the next 50-second track, Prefab Dub. What was an eclectic instrumental grooving heady dub song doing in the middle of a post-punk compilation album? I’m not sure, but I listened to this short track three times in a row as any doubts that I had about this band being way ahead of their time vanished.

I suggest all music fans buy or at least check out this album. Especially for all those lo-fi, modern garage-punkers out there (fans of Wavves, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, etc.) who might find some satisfaction in listening to the roots, this is a must-have album.

--Michael Giordano





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

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