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November 2013
Wooden Shjips
"Back to Land
"
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Hailing from San Francisco, psychedelic group Wooden Shjips, has just released their newest album Back to Land. The album brings together a sound crafted from inspirations that range from psychedelic music to classic rock.

The album is an entire trip in itself.  One can hear hints of 80s music, classic rock, and modern garage rock styles in the record, but they always resolve back to their classic psychedelic sound. With tracks like “In The Roses,” which brings a very spacey, low volume vocals, and a lo-fi sound that is not too cheesy or under produced. to “Ghouls,” which is a much faster, much more psychedelic rock sounding song that takes influences from classic rock guitar chords, while still utilizing classic psychedelic synthesizers.

Most songs on the album carry a jam-band sound, without becoming too abstract or getting too carried away. And in some cases, the music is so vast in genre diversity, one is surprised at the resulting sound, such as in the track, “These Shadows”, which starts off with an extremely catchy intro guitar riff and carries a vague David Bowie meets Velvet Underground sound.

“Back to Land” is a great piece of work that utilizes the potential of each member of Wooden Shjips effectively and thoroughly.

Most importantly, “Back to Land” is an experimentation of how far the psychedelic genre can stretch while still successfully staying true to its roots.


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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


Fear Nuttin Band -- Move Positive

Fear Nuttin Band is a reggae outfit from Boston who are creating a genre of their own. By infusing dancehall, the consciousness of Hip Hop, with a dabble of alternative and heavy metal, Fear Nuttin Band is musically diverse and intricate from other reggae bands. You can certainly preview a taste of this musical diversity on the band's album, Move Positive.

All thirteen tracks include heavy acoustic guitar, positive vibrations in which you want to sway side-to-side, or run to a live show of theirs to witness them live in action. Each track, especially Move Positive, tells a great and real story about standing up and partaking in the positive things that life has to offer, even if life throws curveballs from time to time. Another great single on the album, Rebel, is a redemption song that tells a story about being a leader within, instead of being a follower, and not being a slave to fads of the world.

The band's mission is to "Unify the music, unify the people." If you are an aficionado of dancehall, hip hop, and alternative music, you will definitely feel, understand, and vibe to the unification of the musical fusion of Fear Nuttin Band.

You can catch them tomorrow night, Nov. 23, at Ironhorse Music Hall in Northampton MA with Zamia. 10pm, All Ages.


Fear Nuttin Band - Rebel

--Andrea Camille


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