musings from boston

screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Category: Boston Bands (Page 1 of 19)

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.

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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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Walter Sickert and The Army of Broken Toys – Up to their Old (New) Tricks with Come Black Magic!

Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys (Courtesy of Jenny Bergman)

Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys (Courtesy of Jenny Bergman)

Performing LIVE at The Sinclair on Friday, September 9 with Ruby Rose Fox and Mount Peru == ::: BUY TICKETS NOW!! :::

Now for something entirely different. Well, not so different if you’ve been a regular reader of Musings from Boston, as we’ve often spoken fondly of Walter Sickert and The Army of Broken Toys. As always, they’ve been up to crazy big doings. Their amazing new album Come Black Magic will be officially unveiled at The Sinclair in Cambridge in what promises to be one of those legendary events that people will bragging about having been at years from now. The new album was premiered with a fascinating profile of and interview with the band by WBUR’s The ARTery.

As I’m racing to get this posted, all I will say about this fine music is 1) It’s ever bit as powerful and completely overwhelming as anything this phantasmagoria of a musical theatre troupe has ever done, and then some and 2) you might not want to listen to it just before you go to bed.

Get thee to The Sinclair on Friday night in your most exotic finery. And sweet dreams.

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Introducing… The Motivated Sequence

It’s a strange juxtaposition at first, the swelling strings and campy vintage sci-fi footage. But when the storyline kicks in for the title song from the debut album The Science. The Fiction. from Boston-based The Motivated Sequence, it makes a lot more sense.

“I am the science, I am the fiction, I am the novel that’s poorly written
I am the silence, I am the sound, I am the one that you never found
I’m the horizon, I am the shore, I am the calm just before the storm
I am the science, I am the fiction, I am the novel that’s poorly written

I stretch my arms down the East Coast to reach the conclusion
that no one really knows where they came from or where they are going
but they know the places that they miss the most.”

– The Science. The Fiction.

In this first single and throughout their ten-track album, there’s a feeling of melancholy and disconnectedness, despite the poppiness and hopeful exuberance of the lush strings, jangly guitar, organ melodies and driving percussion. There’s just something in lead singer Zach Burt’s voice that’s vulnerable and compelling. It draws you in to his story which, truth be told, is a little sad. It speaks of relationship misfires, miscommunication and disillusionment. In light of this, the clips of hapless travelers lost in space, floating around with their antiquated equipment, is perfectly apt.

The Motivated Sequence will be releasing the album at their record release show on November 2nd at the Middle East Upstairs (the show starts at 7 p.m.). Before that, they’ll be playing at O’Brien’s Pub on September 20th. Meanwhile, you can listen to the single on Spotify or check it out on Soundcloud.

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Introducing… The Runouts and Feculent Creatures

No, this isn’t an article about the current election season and all the incessant tweeting, baiting, name-calling and general appalling mayhem that has infected our daily existence. But you could be forgiven for thinking it was. No, The Runouts is a dirty, thrashy Boston punk band and “Feculent Creatures” is their wonderfully-titled single from their debut album, Pet Noises to be released September 8.

Feculent creatures
they walk among us, some disguised as children
abominable bipods
they’ve learned our ways, and they’ve formed their own culture
how did they do it
right under our nose? We should’ve sniffed out these monsters
sliding out of their dark, slimy tunnels
loudly spewing waste from their faceholes

I wish I could laugh, I wish I was kidding
but I feel I’ve got to stay vigilant
I thought I was jaded, I thought I was a cynic
was gonna check myself into a clinic
but I saw one day, through my mind’s x­ray, much to my dismay
all these people have shit for brains

you better watch out or you’re gonna turn into a feculent creature

here we go, the cycle never ends
I hate all of you, I hate you all

– Feculent Creatures

Wait a minute, maybe this is about Donald Trump supporters? In any case, it’s 2:01 of good ol’ “I’m from Boston, go f*ck yourself” brilliance. You know, maybe I actually do like living here. Or sometimes.

Though you can probably get the gist of what this band is all about from this one brief, beautiful frantic outburst, here’s the lowdown —

“Though The Runouts are known as a band that likes to have a good time (see: “The Runouts do Drunk History,” featuring lead singer Nolan Hill attempting to explain the Monica Lewinsky scandal while highly intoxicated), their lyrical content shows that the band has a definite message that they’d like to get across. On top of their pop-punk-esque music, the band features angry, sometimes downright hostile lyrics attacking society, religion, the family unit, consumerism, 9-5 culture, and everything else that has typically been held sacred under the American sun.” (from their press release)

Pet Noises was recorded, mixed, and co-produced by Richard Marr at his Galaxy Park Studios in Watertown, MA. The album was mastered at Peerless Mastering in Boston, MA by Jeff Lipton and his assistant mastering engineer Maria Rice. The album’s cover art was designed by Johnny “Peebucks” Bonnel from punk-pioneers the Swingin’ Utters, one of the band’s major influences.

If this seems to fit your mood at the moment, you can download “Feculent Creatures” for free from the band’s Soundcloud page. They also have a mini-tour of the East Coast coming up, with the official CD release show on Saturday, October 1 at the Cantab Lounge in Cambridge, with Mercury on Mars, Carissa Johnson, and DCDR. See their FB events page for details.

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Introducing… Ryan McDowell

It is often said that to be a true artist, you should be able to take your pain and turn it into art. Massachusetts-bred musician Ryan McDowell has taken that concept one step further — out of a profound rejection in his young life, he has created a four-part, 23-track concept album. Berklee Reject is exactly as its title suggests. As he wrote, recorded and performed music through his high school years, it was the dream of this talented teenager to attend Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music. The college’s unfortunate decision caused him to reassess his life and explore his identity. In doing so, he has created a masterpiece. Continue reading at Ryan’s Smashing Life.

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Air Traffic Controller’s On The Wire Video

A quick bit of catching up is in order. Boston band Air Traffic Controller released their latest album, ‘Black Box’ back in March. Recently released is a video for a song off the album, “On The Wire,” which tells the story of female empowerment and the bonds of friendship, following a “Thelma and Louise” road trip.


The band is currently touring. See their Bandsintown page for more information.

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Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling Forsake Boston for L.A. – Bon Voyage!

::: Give them a raucous send-off at the Middle East Downstairs TONIGHT! :::
with special guests Psychic Dog, Endation, and Petty Morals – plus drummer Jess Townsend

Those of you who follow the Boston music scene will already know that the dynamic duo of Sophia Cacciola and Michael J. Epstein, two of the area’s creative luminaries, will soon be packing up to move west to Los Angeles. Before that happens, though, they have a special going-away party at the Middle East Downstairs — and they’ve given us a lovely going-away gift.

First, the show. They’ll be joined tonight (June 23) by special guests and friends Psychic Dog, Endation and Petty Morals, and drummer Jess Townsend will join them onstage.

As for the gift, it’s a shiny new three-song EP called In The Village. It’s very pretty, moody, ethereal and dark. How’s that for an endorsement!? Could this be a new direction for the band? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

For everyone who has been following along, DNFMOMD is devoted to the 1960s British television series The Prisoner — hence their name and their raison d’être. The first two tracks of the EP are, in fact, episodes 13 and 14 in their Prisoner project and the third track is an absolutely hilarious and quite wonderful cover of Loverboy’s “Working for the Weekend.” Because, you know, Loverboy.

Check out their features on Boston Emissions on WZLX and Vanyaland And if you can, join them at the show!

Safe travels and best of luck, Sophia and Michael. We’ll miss you!

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