musings from boston

screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Month: February 2013 (Page 1 of 2)

Introducing… Jacco Gardner (at the Middle East Sunday night 3/3)

Jacco Gardner with MMOSS, Quilt and The Ocular Audio Experiment
at The Middle East (Upstairs)
presented by The Middle East and Boston Hassle
Sunday, March 3, 2013 – 8pm doors
18+ | $10 advance, $12 day of show | ::: tickets :::
facebook event

Oooh, psychedelic! It’s Jacco Gardner, a Dutch multi-instrumentalist, and it’s difficult to believe he’s just 24 years old, because I swear he’s been to some of the same parties I was at, well, many years ago. He has a new album, Cabinet of Curiosities (from Trouble in Mind Records), and is currently touring in the U.S. Mmmm… strings, harpsichord, flutes… love. Grab your magic mushrooms and head out to The Middle East (Upstairs) on Sunday night to enjoy this live and in person. It seems he’s received high praise from Pitchfork, but we won’t hold that against him.

U.S. Tour dates
3/1 | Wesleyan University, Middeltown CT
3/2 | Death By Audio, Brooklyn NY
3/3 | Middle East, Boston MA
3/5 | 9th and Beats, Washington DC
3/6 | Golden West, Baltimore MD
3/7 | The Pinhook, Durham NC
3/8 | Savannah Stopover Festival, Savannah GA
3/9 | Green Room, Athens GA
3/10 | The Earl, Atlanta GA
3/12-17 | SXSW, Austin TX
3/18 | The Bishop, Bloomington IN
3/19 | Empty Bottle, Chicago IL
3/20 | Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland OH
3/21 | Garden Bowl, Detroit IL
3/22 | Happy Dog, Cleveland OH
3/23 | Mercury Lounge, New York NY

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New David Bowie video: “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)”

After so many years away from the public eye (and so many years after I’ve uttered such a phrase, and not in this digital medium), it feels downright strange to type “here’s a new Bowie video, from his soon-to-be-released album.” But well, here it is. Called “The Stars (Are Out Tonight),” it’s both disturbing and hilarious. A man who is happily (boringly?) settled into a comfortable though uneventful life is besieged by fashionably dressed stalkers. Though of course in Bowie’s case, these are fashionista monsters of his own making. His wife is portrayed by Tilda Swinton, and Norwegian model Iselin Steiro does a dead-on reading of a young ‘Thin White Duke.’ Keeping with the whole androgynous theme, models Andrej Pejić and Saskia de Brauw play the stalker couple. Just brilliant.

“Stars are never sleeping / dead ones and the living // We will never be rid of these stars / but I hope they live forever.”

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Beck’s Song Reader comes to life with 150 Performers this Thursday!

Beck’s Song Reader—featuring 150 performers in music, dance and performance art
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Somerville Theatre
facebook event | ::: tickets :::

Back in December, Beck released his album Song Reader the way music was traditionally released—as sheet music, to be interpreted by those inspired to do so. This custom songbook contains 20 songs and over 100 pages of original art. It’s both a vintage and revolutionary idea, and was eight years in the making. A web site was set up where musicians (and budding musicians) could upload their renditions.


Inspired by this creative effort, 150 local performers (yes, that’s one hundred and fifty) have joined together to present their versions of songs from this album, ina live performance at Somerville Theatre in Davis Square on Thursday night. As stated in their press release, “On Thursday, February 28th Boston’s finest musicians & dancers are collaborating to bring Beck Hansen’s album “Song Reader” to life with live music & original choreography at the historic Somerville Theatre. Months in the making, this evening will feature over 150 musicians, dancers, performance artists and a choir performing new material based of Beck’s latest work. Don’t miss this ONE NIGHT ONLY show!”

To give you an idea of the scope of this, some of those performers are Sarah Rabdau, Molly Zenobia, SchoolTree, Jade Sylvan, UnAmerika’s Sweetheart Karin Webb, Kristen Ford Band, Mary Bichner, Vessela Stoyanova w/Tony Leva and Singer Mali. The show is produced by Burns and Webb. You can get a little preview of what’s planned for Thursday night on YouTube.

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Introducing… Tim Noyes

It’s unfortunate that I missed out on promoting Tim Noyes’ album release party last night at Church, but I’d like to give a little mention of his new music anyway. Tim Noyes was previously in a band called Aunt Martha, which was a violin-infused indie folk outfit. He’s now gone off on his own with a new band and debut album, just released, called In Hands. Acoustic guitar and violin have developed into a bigger sound with electric guitars, crisp drumming and synthesizers. What remains constant are Tim’s warm, wistful vocals and a moody melancholy. In Hands is the result of his collaboration with multi-instrumentalist and arranger Grant Zubritsky.

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In your tide

Grant me not equilibrium
I would be lost in a forest of placid faces
for the grace of a moment lingered
I gladly accept the agitation.

Disturb the air with abrupt movement
turbulent like the sea
push pebbles violently, without a care
onto the sand, with stubborn rage.

Vulnerable then, as a newborn child
bereft of a comforting embrace
are anxiously drawn back in again
as the water pleads for their return.

I am bound by an invisible strand, defying time.
No manmade construct can dissolve
this duty pledged by stronger laws
and no violent twist can cast you off
so in your tide I ebb and flow.

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Introducing…. Many Embers

Two days ago, I wrote about Haunted Summer. It was about something beautiful coming out of a painful break-up. Two break-ups, in fact. Out of endings come new beginnings, and the results can be quite lovely. Today, I’ve been completely captivated by a new project called Many Embers. As with Haunted Summer, Many Embers was born out of sadness. After about 6 years of recording and performing, Eastside L.A. band Death To Anders called it a day. But instead of finding a a sensible day job, lead singer and guitarist Rob Danson, along with George Glass guitarist Nick Ceglio, embarked on an experiment. With no particular goal in mind, they started recording together.

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Introducing… Gospel Claws (and their sophomore album, Put your Sunshine Away)

photo by Susan Jordan Anderson

photo by Susan Jordan Anderson

I was already impressed with Gospel Claws at their debut album back in 2010, C-L-A-W-S (I remember being somewhat mystified by this title; turns out some early reviewers would misspell their name “Gospel Clause”). At once, I was swept away with their ’50s style, surf and doo-wop influenced music, set off with dark lyrics, Joel Marquard’s crooning vocals, and a touch of, well, gospel. On their latest album, Put Your Sunshine Away (released last November), there’s still that delightful vintage vibe, though it’s a fuller sound which at times (as on the soaring “Pale Horse Dry Cleaning”) becomes a full-on orchestral production with Marquard belting it out. “Hambone,” though curiosly titled, is a wildly romantic moonlit dance. “Looming Darkness” is also dreamy and romantic, though with a melancholy underbelly (“I’m feeling lonesome and I’ve got no one to blame / I can’t seem to break out of my 20-something cage.”). For this second album, released on Common Wall Media, the band had a very successful Kickstarter campaign which partially funded the project. As with the first, it was recorded by Bob Hoag at Flying Blanket Recording.

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Introducing… Haunted Summer

Out of two highly respected Eastside L.A. bands, Torches and Seasons has come something very dreamy and quite different. Haunted Summer features Bridgette Moody and John Seasons, who share songwriting and performing duties in a true collaboration. Despite the growing success of both their former bands, creatively neither was completely happy. In a moment of serendipity, things began to fall apart simultaneously, and the two found each other at just the right time. The result is a very pretty, psychedelic sound with ethereal vocals from Bridgette, who comes into her own as a lead vocalist. They’ve recorded six demos which are up on soundcloud. Though the core band are just those two, they’re recruiting friends for their live band, which will have a harp player and string quartet (strings to be composed by Kaitlin Wolfberg of Seasons). They’re recording this month, joined by Sheridan Riley (Avi Buffalo) on drums and (possibly) Scott Bassman (Kind Hearts and Coronets – if I’ve got that right) on bass. No live shows planned for now. Have a listen below, and stay tuned.

For all the gruesome details and the story of the phoenix risen from the ashes, read this excellent interview from Radio Free Silver Lake. I am completely indebted to this esteemed publication for all their great info, and to Kathryn Pinto for her exceptional interviewing skills.

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Torches | Seasons

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Introducing… Hey Anna – debut EP and a “Tiny Kiss”

After that moody goose poem from yesterday, I felt you all earned something light and fluffy. So here it is. It’s some pretty pop music to usher in the coming of spring, even though that mangy groundhog is a complete fraud. Hey Anna are three sisters—Katie, Erin and yes, Anna—singing in that close mesh of sibling harmony. They share the lead vocals and switch off playing keyboards, rhythm guitar and bass. Keeping the whole shebang nicely grounded in an exuberant danceable pop vibe and providing the yang to the sisters’ yin are Andrew and Matthew on lead guitar and drums. It’s an arrangement that works out pretty well. They released their debut EP back in September.

Upcoming Shows
1 March @ 10th Street Live – Kenilworth, NJ
30 March @ Pianos – New York, NY
16 May @ Rockwood Music Hall – New York, NY
13 June @ Bitter End – New York, NY

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Different Geese

Alone I struggle with the snow
the anger with the sadness grows
can’t seem to rise up from below
I feel so blindly lost.

I’m out of step and out of time
how difficult to find that rhyme
where life flows, not in fits and starts
I curse the bitter cold.

Participants in the parade
march by me in the grand charade
they seem to speak in unknown tongues
outside I stand unknown.

I’m not part of this perfect game
internal rhythms not the same
I wander just outside the maze
locked in a different time.

The geese have said “it matters not,
for we’ve taken you into our flock”
I cease my work to gaze above
into the sullen sky.

I hear them first, then see their flight
the violent wind they’ve caught just right
though sideways turned, they’re in formation
passing overhead.

Above my roof they pause at once
and hover motionless like clouds
a bold display on my behalf
in wonder, I laugh out loud.

They stay suspended, for seconds hover
fly back across with sky as cover
away to distant shores.

The message I believe is this:
to those of you who feel adrift
a novel twist and you will lift
to sky with wind at back.

This flight may be to you at first
uncomfortable, not of this earth
but in the end you’ll see with mirth
you’ll land just where you’ve wished.

Take heart, my struggling little bird
and listen to our feathered words
for soon you’ll glide free of concern
at once I understand.

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