Steve Goldberg and The Arch Enemies are coming to the North Star Bar tonight. Goldberg and Co. are pop through and through, but think a lot less GaGa and a lot more brothers Wilson or The Zombies. Goldberg skillfully orchestrates lush pop numbers including full string and horns, like on the modernized Medieval folk tune “The Garden of Forking Paths”. The delivery is straightforward with very little effects being utilized, but the songs sound full realized and bursting with sound. The song “Julia” has a timelessness to it that makes everything from the lovesick lyrics to the harpsichord intro sound familiar even on the first listen. Goldberg has a deep and intricate knowledge of popular music and uses that knowledge to create a pop Frankenstein with a heart of gold. Goldberg is joined by the slick indie sounds of The JeanMarie, who make bouncing pop-rock fronted by Rob Thomas (not really.) Filling out the bill is folky songstress Dani Mari. North Star Bar, 2639 Poplar St., 8pm, $8, 21+ - Adam G.
Meet the strange and wonderful Lawrence and Leigh. When I first saw photos of this group, I thought.. "...another Brooklyn folk duo." 30 seconds into "Glow", these preconceptions were immediately abandoned. One thing they're not is a typical folk duo. Whatever magic these two share together as singer-songwriters is matched equally by an intense interest in studio trickery. Complimenting their soaring harmonies with collage effects bordering on musique concrete, Lawrence and Leigh's sound is brimming with ideas that keep obvious categorizations at bay. The music of Andrew Kalleen and Kristin Stokes seems to reinvent itself after every listen, so be prepared to spend some time with these tracks as they move from bare acoustic arrangements to electronic 4-on-floor grooves and back again in epic and rewarding proportions. Head on over to their myspace where you can stream all tracks from their newly released 6 song EP Odyssey Vol. III: Hills and Masts. No, you didn't miss anything... they have decided to release the third volume of this odyssey before releasing the first two. That's just something these arty musicians are into. See them at SXSW at Revolution Bar on 03.17 - Mike Levine (@goldnuggets)
On Saturday, March 19, Vermont-native Justin Levinson will take the stage at The Lizard Lounge in Cambridge. Levinson offers up a catalog of songs covering everything from hooky piano-pop to soul-baring alt-country. With lyrics that range from lively to brutally honest and an undeniable passion for his craft, he has won steady praise from audiences and critics alike since his 2005 debut.
Five years and three acclaimed albums later, Levinson maintains a solid presence that has seen him share the stage with acts as diverse as Apollo Sunshine, Serena Ryder, and Band of Horses. He has also made several major network television appearances and been nominated for several awards.
Levinson's most recent release is 2009's "Predetermined Fate," a full-fledged dive into alt-country. The album brought him his strongest reviews to date, bolstered by the success of Sirius radio staple "Waiting For Someone To Love Me"; the song has gone on to win Justin a nomination for Sirius' "Singer-Songwriter Discovery of the Year".
Also performing are Brooklyn's Nini+Ben. Having spent years performing all over the US, Europe, and Australia, in 2009, they self-released their debut full-length LP, “The Reasons we Try”. They are an innovative band with up-tempo music that's energetic, folksy and bluesy. They are currently working on new material and touring the East Coast.
Sat. 3/19. 21+.
Doors: 8:30. Show: 9
The Lizard Lounge
1667 Massachusetts Avenue
Nothing soothes my musical soul better than a good dose of folk infused jazz. With smooth soulful vocals and blusey mellow guitar melodies, duo Suzanne Santo & Ben Jaffe of HoneyHoney put the two-step back into the dominating LA indie shuffle. Their cover of Smashing Pumpkins “1979” almost tops the original, taking a great alternative oldie and giving a fresh spin without losing their novelty. “Come on Home” drenched in bluegrass roots with driving bass drum, cranked up guitar and rivating violin medleys by Santo. HoneyHoney are currently on tour with Xavier Rudd to expose and trot out their newly released album First Rodeo.
If you can’t find the time to become a groupie and join them on tour, you're in luck, because HoneyHoney will be sharing an intimate anonymous evening of music and free-form love with you every Monday night at the Bootleg Theater through March (14th, 21st, 28th).
With this years buzz bands Wild Nothing and Beach Fossils already in their stable, Captured Tracks’ newest addition, The Soft Moon, seems like yet another step in establishing the Brooklyn based label as a force in the indie record scene. The music of Luis Vasquez, otherwise known as The Soft Moon, has been identified by some as post-punk, but that narrow categorization fails to recognize the unique elements of his work. He has created a modern sound that is uniquely his own by crafting a highly textured series of songs that relentlessly build to create an overwhelming mood, albeit often somber in nature. At times the debut self-titled album almost seems to serve as an homage to the 1980’s Goth music movement, with beats that closely resemble that of early Joy Division albums.
The tracks are, for the most part, fast-paced yet with a persistently dark and foreboding feel. Vasquez’ vocals are often overwhelmed by the heavy synthetic background. This is not to say that the album is sloppy--quite the opposite, actually. Each song maintains a systematically ordered progression, with each note carefully constructed, in its right place, building to a coherent whole.
The tracks on the album seem to fulfill a pattern of build up and release, with whispers that sound like chants building to the emergence of a powerful sound. The first minute of the song “Dead Love” is spent building anticipation with a fast paced drumbeat and an even faster bass line. Vasquez’ vocals kick in as we hear him whining, “don’t leave me alone.” The song maintains it’s beat as Vasquez’ lyrics continue until a break when the song starts to build once again.
In the first 20 seconds of the song “We Are We” there is an even more obvious progression of sound and feeling as the volume itself actually increases as the song progresses. These songs feel like expressions of emotion or more precisely, emotional discovery.
“When it’s Over,” arguably the standout track on the album, breaks from the pattern we see in his other songs. Vasquez’ vocals seem higher and stand at the front of track, creating a dreamlike aesthetic with a softer, slower, drumbeat and an overall less unsettling quality. The song stands out as a comforting break from many of the dark tracks on the rest of the album.
The Soft Moon has delivered a solid but unique debut, one that shines through the mass of bay area bands with a new take on an old sound.
This Friday, March 11, marks the first installment of This Blue Heaven's spring residency at the Rosebud Bar (2nd Fridays of March/April/May).
This Blue Heaven is female-fronted power pop bursting from the heart of the Boston indie rock scene. Catchy but never canned, the quintet’s rich, melodic offerings, delivered with brazen innocence by front-woman MacKenzie Outlund, beckon you into a vibrant world of shimmering guitars, hooky synths, and driving beats. In three years together, the band has drawn comparisons to Cyndi Lauper, Death Cab For Cutie, and U2. Fans crowd clubs across New England and beyond to join the colorfully clad group in their signature handclaps and "whoa-ohs".
The group’s latest project is "Spinning and Shining," a five-song EP produced by Paul Q. Kolderie (Radiohead, Pixies) and released in August 2010.
Forever will I remember the first time I heard "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey", and (I shamefully admit, now) that I didn't even know it was Paul McCartney. I bought the album Ram as soon as I could, and grappled with the beautiful horns of that beast for ages. I could easily say that Ram is one of my top ten albums of all time. All time. Sorry George and John (and Ringo, I guess), Paul did a good number on this one.
Portland's own multi-project-multi-instrumentalist Dave Depper has taken this sweet lamb with horns under his musical wings to create quite the cover album, full of intricate liberties that sets The Ram Project apart, just enough to give you chills. I've been listening to it for the past few days, and I have to join multiple other music journalists in saying that at times, when I heard Dave Depper's falsetto hanging in the air from another room, there is a moment where I forget that it's not Paul and Linda on the turntable. The album comes out on Jackpot RecordsMay 5th.
Expect a full review of The Ram Project soon (it's like getting to review Paul McCartney right after The Beatles broke up! Kind of...kind of.), and for now, enjoy Dave's rendition of "Dear Boy" - Mike Harper
Our band of the month, Pet Peeve, will be performing at Quenchers this Saturday with Thin Man. The show is free, but the are accepting $5 donations. The band will also be performing live today at 5pm on WRBC The Blaze which is the internet radio station of Roosevelt University. You can stream the audio through the website or through iTunes.
The band's bedut album An Attic Abroad turns one this month and you can stream it on the band's website.
Whether or not I have a vested interest (I do, I do, very much so), it's still valid to say one of the best upcoming early-early SXSW lineups is happening at the Ghost Room, Tuesday, 3/15, hosted by Frog Music Licensing. A grand total of thirteen Austin bands are on the bill, starting at 4:00 pm and running all night long...and like many of the off-Sixth happenings we've been talking about, this one's absolutely FREE, no badge, no wristband, no problem.
Last month we announced that Gypsyblood had singed to Sargent and would be releasing their debut album Cold in the Guestway in April. They have not released another track from the LP called "My R.K.O. is M.I.A".
The band will be performing at Lincoln Hall on 3/11 with Maps & Atlases and then heading down to SXSW for 6 shows.