musings from boston

screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Category: Boston Bands (Page 1 of 20)

The Campaign Begins Now: Bees Deluxe and Flippin’ for the Blues

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Here’s a wonderfully cool idea. Boston-based acid-blues band Bees Deluxe is taking their deep bluesy groove on the road to get out the vote and support Democratic (blue) candidates in their attempt to flip political districts from red to blue. They’re calling this noble cause Flippin’ for the Blues (get it?).

These guys are extremely soulful and accomplished musicians. Check them out.

First up is an event for NH-1 candidate for congress, Maura Sullivan. She’s a former Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs and senior Pentagon official in the Obama Administration, Marine Corps Veteran, and candidate for Congress in New Hampshire’s First District. This event takes place in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Friday, August 31 at Cisco Brewery. From there, it’s Syracuse NY, Allentown PA, Harrisburg PA, Cleveland OH, Columbus OH and Albany NY for various local candidates. For more information and advance reservations, see the official website.

BeesDeluxe

Help support this great cause — Donate To Their Kickstarter Campaign!

At the Portsmouth event, Bees Deluxe will be supported by the Jugghead Band, and after a few words from the candidate, the band will perform. Their set will include original songs from their new CD, Voice of Dog, along with their own interpretations of the music of B.B. King, Amy Winehouse, Billie Holiday, the Meters and other world class musicians. The band features Conrad Warre (lead guitar, vocals), Carol Band (keyboard), Allyn Dorr (bass) and Paul Giovine (drums).

If you like what you hear of Bees Deluxe, you can stream the new album on Spotify or purchase it from Amazon.

Flippin’ for the Blues: web | twitter | facebook | instagram
Bees Deluxe: web | facebook | twitter | soundcloud | youtube

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Jason Ebbs Pays Homage to some Familiar Villains

Original photo by Ingrid Angulo

Original photo by Ingrid Angulo

Ah, the exuberance of youth! At the tender age of 20, Bostonian Jason Ebbs is already writing and singing rambunctious rock and cheery pop songs about feeling isolated and relationships gone wrong. On his debut EP, Familiar Villains, there’s a grungy garage tune with a bit of experimentation (“Stone in the Road”), dreamy indie-pop (“First Trip to the Ocean” and “Atlantic Pathfinder”) and charmingly folksy storytelling (“Average Joe”). But a standout track, in all its goofiness, is “Please Have a Seat (on a Cactus).” For a ‘she done me wrong’ song, it’s a pretty funny one.

You don’t have any moon rocks to hold yourself down
I’m hanging up on Mars but you’re stuck on the ground
I’m in the mountains of Saturn looking down at your face
While you’re crying in the desert cause you left me in space
I know it’s all an act
Cause you treat all our fights like it’s practice
So please, have a seat on a cactus

Ebbs is a Northeastern University student and independent artist who has been making music for more than 10 years (9 or 10 years old? not too shabby). He’s inspired by the classic rock and psychedelic music of the ’60s and ’70s, which he blends with modern styles and sensibilities. He started releasing music in November of last year and the EP came out in mid-May.

Familiar Villains (is this a pointed reference to old girlfriends? I wonder…) can be streamed on Spotify or listened to and purchased (name your own price) on bandcamp.

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Miele Explores the Human Condition and Offers Sweet, Flowing, Therapeutic Sustenance

Miele

Music, for me, has always been therapeutic, a way to cut through unpleasant, undefinable emotions to get at the underlying truth of a situation and be more in touch with myself. Boston’s Miele likely understands this on a deeper level than most, since the band is entirely made up of mental health and special education professionals. Their music focuses heavily on mental health themes, such as in “Anxious Ghost,” a single from their upcoming Kickstarter-funded debut full-length album, Transience (out June 22). The song was first premiered at Sound of Boston.

“Anxious Ghost” begins at a frenetic pace and varies between edgy nervous energy and slow yet tightly-wound moodiness. It is the perfect musical expression of an anxiety attack, and feels like both a raging battle and an exploration of the darker mysteries of human existence. The ghost is one’s anxiety that haunts the spirit and lingers inside.

Miele formed in 2014, when therapist, keyboardist and lead vocalist Melissa Lee Nilles met fellow therapist and guitarist Joseph Spilsbury in graduate school. Miele, Italian for honey, is an appropriate name for the band, both as an apt description for Nilles’ velvety, supple vocals — and because the band is known for drinking the yummy substance from the stage. Their fans even bring them treats.

Musically, the band is beholden to no singular style, but instead they honor wherever the personality of the song takes them. At times, it’s hard-driving rock with propulsive drums and electric guitar; at other times, the music is slow and dark, melodic and mysterious, with gently picked guitar and piano trickling like a meandering stream. Nilles’ vocals travel effortlessly through their many moods — frantic and biting, forceful and determined, melancholy and dreamy, exotic and magical. It is one wild ride through the ebbs and flows of human experience.

The complexity, depth and fast-changing moods of the songs on this ambitious first album makes perfect sense for people who work closely with human emotions. Besides which, any band that has a song titled “Klonopin Automatons” (a standout track in a sea of discoveries) instantly has my heart. They describes the inspiration behind their album thusly:

As a unifying artistic vision for the album, Transience aims to explore the passing of ephemeral experiences such as anxiety, dreams, love affairs, travel, connection, existence, and the creative process.

The band has played Boston-area venues such as the Middle East Downstairs, ONCE Lounge and The Plough and Stars, and they’ve received airplay on WMFO, WAAF, WEMF and elsewhere. They’ve also gotten some attention from WBUR, The Boston Globe and Cambridge Day, in their efforts to save Cambridge rehearsal space EMF from closure.

Miele celebrates the release of their debut album on June 22 at The Burren, along with other female-fronted bands Man Trouble and Boketto The Wolf.

web | facebook | instagram | bandcamp | soundcloud | youtube

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Ouch! The I Want You Gets All Beat Up

TheIWantYou

Have you ever felt that life just keeps punching you in the face? Jim Gerdeman of the Boston band The I Want You knows that feeling well. Their new song “All Beat Up” was written as part of the annual RPM Challenge that has artists writing and recording an entire album in the month of February. The video portrays singer/songwriter Jim Gerdeman getting the sh*t kicked out of him. But no worries, kids, this was an entirely artistic and not physical brawl, conceived and directed by the band’s 8-string bassist and producer Blake Girndt (who is also a member of Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys. The video features some very realistic and disturbing “makeup” from violence artiste JoJo Lazar (also of the Broken Toys). It’s upsetting to watch, but as the protagonist readily admits, it’s his own fault.

As Gerdeman explains,

In a world of so much conflict and social media hosility I think it’s easier than ever to feel beat up by it all. But for me personally I tend to beat myself up worst of all and it’s impossible to get a restraining order on oneself.

The latest incarnation of The I Want You includes Gerdeman on vocals, Girdnt on 8-string bass, Jeff Norcross(Weisstronauts, Betty Goo, Paula Kelley) on guitar and drummer Chris Walsh(Speedfossil, Bittter Bastids). They’ll be releasing more singles and videos in the coming months. You can see their other inventive videos on YouTube.

You’ll find the “All Beat Up” single on Bandcamp, along with two interesting B-sides. “Come On’ was inspired by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students in Florida and their gun control activism, while “The Rise and Fall” is a very clever tribute to David Bowie. It’s a comprehensive biography in song that encorporates elements of his life, music and stylistic phases. Very nicely done, boys.

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Maxwell Bailey — Love and Music in the Face of Hate

Maxwell Bailey

photo by Brandon Keith

Think of Maxwell Bailey’s smooth-as-silk falsetto vocals and gentle, loving guitar picking as a soothing balm against all the hate and sadness of today’s world. In “Melody,” a song from his soon-to-be-released In Between Live EP, he contemplates what can be done to fight against the endless waves of violence, hatred and intolerance. He finds his answer in his music, which he sees as an expression of his love that he tries to send out into the world.

“What type of melody can encapsulate the enmity, pity and pain we feel? How can a word be sung and spoken in love translate to medicate our wounds?”
— Melody

I wrote this song in response to America’s issue with hate. After dozens of mass shootings, incidents of police brutality, terrorist attacks and the general negligence of the less fortunate that we’ve all seen in this country, it can be hard to feel like anything an individual can say or do will have any sort of lasting positive effect. I’m a songwriter, but what good is a song in the face such tragedies? After months of writer’s block at the time, I penned these lyrics in search for an answer to this question. Through the songwriting process, the answer I came up with was, of course, in the form of more questions: ‘When we wave our lights and sway, what does it fix today? Does it make us feel inside? Help us feel alive?’ Life is a complicated web of cyclical emotions. Some good. Some bad. Many indifferent. What I found out from writing this song is that there’s good and bad in all of us. Every perspective sheds unique light on situations. Perhaps, that’s something we all can rally around. Sometimes, at least for me, confusion is comforting. We don’t know the answers, but pushing love out into the world can’t hurt.

Bailey is a Boston-based artist who sees himself as more of a communicator than just a musician, with songwriting as an outlet and a way to connect with other people. His EP was filmed live at an AirBnB in Roxbury. It’s folky, jazzy and soulful, with articulate lyrics, in search of some answers for life’s most difficult problems. Above all, how do we stay in a place of serenity, with chaos all around us, so that we can radiate positive feelings out into the world?

In addition to being a singer songwriter and guitarist, Bailey is also an MC and music promoter. He hosts weekly open mic nights every Sunday at 6B Lounge on Beacon Street in Boston, and the Noise Floor Sessions concert series at various Boston area venues. Focused on showcasing local musicians, Noise Floor Sessions has a six-month residency at Aeronaut Allston (and various pop-up Allston locations).

On June 20, they’ll be hosting Jakals, Caleb Gore and Maxwell Bailey’s EP release party. To keep apprised of future sessions, sign up to be put on the mailing list.

The In Between Live EP will be released on Spotify on June 15.

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Introducing… The Northeastern Railroads

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With all the heavy shit going on in the world right now, sometimes you just need to zone out with some pleasant dream pop. So, if you’re feeling rather overwhelmed and yearning for simpler times, The Northeastern Railroads can help you out. This shoegazy goodness is courtesy of Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Tony Moureilles. He has just released his debut album, quite aptly named Hope, which is something we could definitely use more of. The first single is “Wet Streets Before Dawn.”

The album was engineered, mixed and mastered by Ian Van Opijnen, who previously worked with Boston’s Funeral Advantage. He and Moureilles shared producer duties. As for the album cover, I’m not so sure that a half empty beer glass is the best illustration of “hope,” but keep in mind that this is, after all, a Boston band. Maybe that glass is actually half full? Nah.

The Northeastern Railroads had their premiere in January of last year. Their musical inspiration comes from bands like The Radio Dept., Slowdive, Ride and The National.

You’ll find Hope here (sorry, couldn’t resist). The limited edition CD includes lyrics and notes. If you’re in the Boston area and would like to catch the band live (Moureilles has a few friends who join him for shows), they’ll be in the following places:

​Saturday, April 22, 2017 – Out of the Blue Gallery, Cambridge, MA
Saturday, April 29, 2017 – East Coast Block Party in Lawrence, MA
​Sunday, April 30, 2017 – The Plough and Stars, Cambridge, MA
Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 – PA’s Lounge, Cambridge, MA

web | facebook | twitter< | bandcamp | soundcloud | instagram | youtube

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Introducing… Workman Song

Workman Song

Photo: Sakare Anderson

When literary prowess meets golden throated tones, it’s a beautiful thing. Sean McMahon of Workman Song will likely remind you of Bob Dylan, except that McMahon can actually sing. Heh. Sorry Bob, that’s harsh. But seriously, this guy is really something. He’s the sort of storyteller that can really draw in an audience — warm and engaging. In this wonderful video, he sits down for a One on One Session in the Garden during The Outlaw Roadshow in New York City on October 20, 2016.

Based in Western Massachusetts, singer-songwriter Sean McMahon spent five years in Brooklyn, where he created his alter-ego Workman Song. As a member of Brooklyn/Auckland indie-folk band Streets of Laredo, he toured with bands like Cults, Albert Hammond Jr. and The Kaiser Chiefs. He is now back in his hometown of Northampton, MA. He has released two EPs, Lamb (2014) and Ion Zelig Vol. III (2015), and is now working on his full-length debut with his bandmates Monte Arnstam (Outer Stylie) and Marc Seedorf (Seth Glier).

And a salute to Boston impresario Ryan Spaulding’s brave and fearless The Outlaw Roadshow, which defies the odds in today’s mean and treacherous music biz to give the world’s brightest indie musicians a shot at greatness. Or at least the ability to pay their rent.

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Boston’s Bearstronaut gets especially dreamy with “Begonias”

Bearstronaut

Although they’re technically from Lowell, I’ve always thought of Bearstronaut as a good ‘ol Boston band. And I probably don’t cover Boston bands as much as I should. So let’s catch up with them. They released a full-length album Telecoast last June, which has a strong dreamlike quality in addition to being deeply satisfying for those who enjoy their take on shoegazey Brit-pop that incorporates elements of electro for today’s dance floors. What does this mean? It’s my lame way of saying that their music has considerable heart and soul while still being infectiously dancey. Put it this way: these songs wouldn’t be out of place with flashy strobe lights, but at the same time, it’s not completely inappropriate for a romantic evening at home.

It’s good to see the band still going strong and putting out good music seven years after their debut album Broken Handclaps back in 2009, which honestly seems like a lifetime ago. Here’s the latest single from that album, titled “Begonias.”

The current band lineup is Dave Martineau (guitar, vocals), Paul Lamontagne (guitar, synth, samples), Phil Boisvert (bass, synth, vocals) and Nate Marsden (drums). They’ll be performing at The Sinclair in Harvard Square on January 24 with Austra and LAFAWNDAH.

web | facebook | twitter | instagram | bandcamp | soundcloud | youtube

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The Rebel Light’s Goodbye Serenade feel-good newsreel

“Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do.”
– David Bowie, Space Oddity

Are you feeling a little down? Boston lads The Rebel Light have created an amazingly inspirational video for their emotional song “Goodbye Serenade.” As they said in the email accompanying this breathtaking masterpiece —

“It has been a very dark and divided few days, so in the spirit of trying to remain positive in the face of so much adversity and negativity, we would like to share with you the video that we put together ourselves for our song Goodbye Serenade.

“We wanted to visually create something that highlights the power of the human spirit and the incredible accomplishments that mankind has achieved…

“It’s about how great we as a human race can truly be when we focus our energy into creating something positive in this world. It’s also a reminder that regardless of our differences we are all brothers and sisters.

“Our greatest achievements in history have come from tearing walls down… not by building them.”

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Live from the Caprice – Overdue Films’ New Boston Music Web Series

Live from the Caprice

Overdue Films, a Boston-area film collective, is launching a new web series that puts the spotlight on Boston music. “Live from the Caprice” isn’t a slickly produced television music program filmed in a swanky nightclub. Rather, this series documents musicians performing in the back seat of a 1985 Chevy Caprice as it takes us on a guided tour around the Boston area.

Their first installment features indie duo FBGM, who performs three songs while on a leisurely Sunday drive down route 117 from Waltham to Bolton. It’s a low-budget production with lavish musicianship. Check out their first song, “Dog Collar.”

This very cool ‘music on the move’ series was masterminded by filmmaker Jean-Paul DiSciscio and sound designer Ross Matthei. DiSciscio explains how their movable venue came to be.

“Ross and I had the idea to film mini-concerts in my 1985 Chevy Caprice after recording sound effects for our film, Bloody Henry, which features the car prominently. I tried to sell the Caprice for a hot minute, but only received low-ball offers. It made sense to just keep it on the road — it’s pretty much like driving a couch with wheels. The enormous size of the car fits five people, various instruments, and recording gear comfortably.”

And with that, a star was born. And hey, the musicians aren’t too shabby either.

FBGM hails from Arlington, Massachusetts and consists of Matt Jatkola and D. Orxata (formerly of Boston synth pop band, The Bynars). For the cruise in the Caprice, they performed, along with “Dog Collar,” their song “Sassy Fran” and a cover of the Breeders’ “Fortunately Gone.” The rest of the session can be seen and heard on the series’ website.

Follow the exploits of Live from the Caprice for future sessions. Vrrrrrooooom!

Live from the Caprice: web | facebook | twitter | youtube playlist

FBGM: facebook | twitter | instagram | bandcamp

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