musings from boston

screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Month: December 2010 (Page 1 of 2)

2010: My Year In Review

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Eleven months into a year that’s felt more like twenty in the living of it, a thought swam into my mind that if I should happen upon a nice, freshly dug hole somewhere, I might have the inclination to crawl into it.

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2010: The Eastside L.A. Year In Review

A few of those great bands: The Deadly Syndrome, Radars To The Sky, The Henry Clay People, and Shadow Shadow Shade (photo by Jason O'Dell)

A few of those great bands: The Deadly Syndrome, Radars To The Sky, The Henry Clay People, and Shadow Shadow Shade (photo by Jason O'Dell)

For those new to ‘musings’… Often referred to as the ‘Silverlake region’, the Eastside of Los Angeles seems to have a ridiculously disproportionate number of awesome bands that call the area home (or at least, that’s where they regularly play). In addition to Silverlake, this also includes the neighborhoods of Echo Park, Los Feliz, Eagle Rock, Atwater Village, Highland Park… These artists comprise many different styles and personalities, having one thing in common – they’re all really good! I happened upon these guys (and gals) after first listening to The Airborne Toxic Event on MySpace back in January 2008, and then deciding to check out their friends’ bands, friends of friends, etc. Very glad I did. Here’s a rundown of those bands that had albums (or EPs) out this year. Some are well-known and touring internationally now; others not (yet).

For those not new to ‘musings’… My last Eastside L.A. update was way back in February, and I announced all these cool things coming up. Then, well, this year happened. What can I say? I lost the plot. Here it is again.

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My Top 10 Shows of 2010

Some of my favorite concert moments - Walter Sickert (& the Army of Broken Toys), Iggy Pop (and The Stooges), Sarah Negahdari (of The Happy Hollows) and Evelyn Evelyn

Some of my favorite concert moments - Walter Sickert (& the Army of Broken Toys), Iggy Pop (and The Stooges), Sarah Negahdari (of The Happy Hollows) and Evelyn Evelyn

While I didn’t get out nearly as much as I would have liked in this crazy year, what I did see was pretty wonderful. New Year’s Resolution: See More Live Shows! Here’s my top ten list, in chronological order.

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My xmas gift

Attention local bands and musicians, and those just passing through… just when you thought you opened all your presents, here’s a little one from me. I’ve just put up the beginnings of a “band resources” page (see the sidebar or check it out here). This will in time include all sorts of info like media outlets, promoters, places to repair instruments, rehearsal studios, etc. For now, I’ve got many of the important venues listed, with booking info and capacity. This is obviously a big project, so any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Happy Xmas.

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Community Profile: Victor Robert Venckus

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Consider this a “community profile” of an interesting local luminary. Victor Robert Venckus is well-known in Boston-area New Age/holistic and college radio circles as a dedicated radio show host and dj for many years, a gifted psychic and past life regression therapist.

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Review: Box Five’s full-length debut ~ Leave The Earth Behind

Mary Bichner and Eliza Kopczynska of Box Five (photo by  Justin Moore)

Mary Bichner and Eliza Kopczynska of Box Five (photo by Justin Moore)

It’s understandable that Mary Bichner of Box Five dreamt of one day being accompanied by a full orchestra. Her extraordinary, classically-informed vocals make her sound as though she’s been plucked from a Victorian salon. It’s amazing that Leave The Earth Behind is her debut full-length album, as its virtuosic performances, multi-textured complexity and overall cohesiveness would suggest otherwise.

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Expanding Awareness: Political Jesus

On this morning’s Expanding Awareness program, Victor will be discussing “The Political Jesus” with his guest, Stuart Weinberg, proprietor of Seven Stars bookstore in beautiful Central Square. Check them out (and call in with your thoughts) at 90.3FM in the Boston area or at wzbc.org. You can also listen after the fact by visiting the WZBC Archive (all of ‘ZBC’s shows are online for two weeks).

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Boston Bands this week…

The Kristen Ford Band, Lady Lamb The Beekeeper, Lori McKenna, and Cassavettes.

The Kristen Ford Band, Lady Lamb The Beekeeper, Lori McKenna, and Cassavettes.

No fancy embellishment; just a quick rundown of some Boston-area bands of note this week, before the week’s over. Thursday is a busy night. The Kristen Ford Band is at Precinct (Union Square, Somerville) with Goli, Box Five, and School for Robots. Thursday also brings newly transplanted from Maine but now Boston local, the absolutely brilliant Lady Lamb The Beekeeper, to the Lizard Lounge, along with Angeline and Naked On Rollerskates. It also begins a three-night residency at Club Passim for folk songstress Lori McKenna. And on Saturday, Boston Americana-folk-rock favorite Cassavettes sadly performs their final show at the cozy Middle East Upstairs, joined by the Luxury and the Autumn Hollow Band.

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Moga releases their debut album: Jamboree!

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I first mentioned Rhode Island-based Moga last March, and in the meantime, they’ve released their debut full-length album, Jamboree, a cornucopia of psychedelia, banjo-pickin’ hillbilly folkiness, bluesy gospel, and early Eno quirkiness; with some little Grateful Dead jams, doo-wop harmonies and calypso percussion added in for good measure. If it sounds wacky, it is, but it really works.

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Expanding Awareness: Hopi Prophesies

It’s a special “encore presentation” this week, probably from at least 20 years ago! Victor will be discussing Hopi Prophesies with his guest Steven McFadden, author of “Profiles in Wisdom” and “The Call of the Land”. It’s beginning as I post this (on 90.3FM in the Boston area or at wzbc.org); however, you can also listen after the fact by visiting the WZBC Archive (all of ‘ZBC’s shows are online for two weeks).

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