musings from boston

screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Category: Indie Music (Page 1 of 71)

Why Another Asks Why (the answer is complicated)

Uncertainty, impermanence and the oppressive passage of time — a hungry wolf that chases us down like prey, always vicious and never relenting. Or maybe it’s just me.

Boston’s Why Another takes us down a winding road of wistful inquiry and existential angst with their recent single “Why,” from their ambitious self-titled debut album.

So pretty, so sad. The album begins with somber piano, spirits drifting on the winds and quiet contemplation. As the pace picks up anxiously with visits from electronic demons, the band addresses some of those topics that we’re not supposed to obsess over. You know, like death, anxiety, depression, getting lost (either in a physical or spiritual sense). I often dream that I can’t remember where I parked my car, so I can completely relate to “Only at Night.”

The song “Why” ask those difficult questions and doesn’t really leave us with any definitive answer. As frontman and lead singer Adi Malka explains, “‘Why’ was written about a former band member who made me ask myself questions I’ve never asked myself before in my life.”

The mood ebbs and flows, from serene and melancholy to emotionally distraught, taking the listener through the human plight of chasing after peace and well-being, flailing from the inside, trying to get out of our own heads.

There are no more questions
No one knows what to ask
It feels far, we’re so behind
The answer’s already passed
— I Don’t Mind

“Of Forests and Seas” is a welcome respite from the restless overthinking, and it settles peacefully in the mind like a soothing balm.

The album stretches out luxuriously with gorgeous string arrangements, snippets of screaming or scurrying or dreaming guitars, ambient atmospherics and swirling percussion (such as on the stunning “The Secret” and the complex, overarching and beautifully untamed “The Air”) — it’s quite an adventure.

My street at night
Is full of animals
I clearly
I clearly don’t know how to appreciate what we have
— Here They Are

Why Another’s members are from around the world, though they’re currently based in Boston. They combine a searing rock energy with ethereal electronics and sophisticated composition. The band features Malka on drums, guitar, piano and vocals; Jordan Kerr on guitar and background vocals; Pietro Gennenzi on bass and Armando González Sosto on guitar, keyboards and computers. On this album, they’re joined by a very classy string quartet, and it all works beautifully.

You can purchase the ditital album (name your own price) on Bandcamp or stream it on Spotify.

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Who Was Kyle Yorlets? A Sad Tale from a Dysfunctional America

Kyle Yorlets

Kyle Yorlets

I was scrolling through my Twitter feed yesterday, when I came across this news headling — “Teens Charged in Shooting Death of Nashville Musician.” Sadly, people are murdered all the time in the U.S., and typically it doesn’t go beyond a local news story. This time, however, the story was so sad and so shocking that it was picked up by national news outlets.

The victim was 24-year-old Kyle Yorlets, lead singer of Nashville pop/rock band Carverton. The group first formed in the summer of 2014, when Yorlets and Michael Curry, both from Pennsylvania, moved to Nashville to pursue their musical dreams. They hooked up with Michael Wiebell and Christian Ferguson, and created a sound that blended rock, indie pop, pop punk and hip hop. Releasing their debut EP in 2017, they would go on to perform at the Firefly Festival, open for various bands, and were starting to make a name for themselves.

Tragically (as if the rest of this story isn’t tragic enough), they had just finished the debut full-length album, Chasing Sounds, which is set for release on March 29. The official video for the single, “Wildside,” was just released a month ago. Yorlets said about the album, “We hope our music can be both relatable and encouraging to those who need it. Life is crazy and unpredictable, and we want to portray that in our music.”

Life got especially crazy and unpredictable last Thursday, when five kids, aged 12-16, robbed and then fatally shot Yorlets outside his Nashville home. They had stolen his wallet, and when he refused to hand over the keys to his vehicle, they shot him. They were apprehended at a Walmart with stolen guns and a stolen pickup truck.

The mother of one of the young perpetrators blamed the shooting on “a failure of the system.” She claims that her family reached out for help with their troubled teen, but didn’t get any. That may well be true, but what exactly happens to kids that young to make them so angry and so full of hate that they no longer value human life?

Robbing someone is one thing, as is the ridiculously easy access to guns (how simple is it for children to steal guns in Tennessee, I wonder?), but to shoot someone at close range is quite another. Blind violence such as that doesn’t occur until a person is past all hope and beyond all reason. Mental illness may account for a single person committing a senseless crime, but five people, and young kids at that, committing murder together? That can no longer be blamed on mental illness, unless the entire world has gone mad.

The crimes of a child should be blamed, at least partially, on poor parenting. But it has to be thrown at the feet of American society, as well — not just the gun culture, but widening income inequality, rampant poverty in a land of plenty (for some) and a sense of hopelessness among the disadvantaged. Until all of these issues are seriously addressed, I can see no hope for improvement, and I feel just as badly for those confused, angry kids as I do for Kyle, his friends, bandmates, fans and family.

A GoFundMe campaign was launched for Kyle’s parents, Pennsylvania dairy farmers, to help them with funeral and travel expenses. The money will also help keep their business running while they deal with the unpleasant task of burying their son and settling his affairs in Nashville. They have stated that any leftover funds will “go towards scholarship opportunities arranged by the Yorlets family in Kyle’s honor.”

Kyle’s band released this statement:

On February 7, 2019 we lost our brother, best friend, and bandmate Kyle Yorlets. We are in a state of shock and are having to grasp the reality that is now in front of us. We are heartbroken. Our condolences for his family and loved ones and all the lives that he touched. We will never forget Kyle, and though he is gone too soon his legacy is here to stay. We thank you for your support and will talk to you soon.
Love,
Michael, Christian, and Wiebell

Because this is a music blog, at least part of the time, it seems fitting to end with some more of the band’s music. May we all find a way out of this darkness.

Carverton: web | facebook | twitter | instagram | bandcamp | soundcloud | spotify | youtube | Listen To / Purchase Their Latest Single

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The Deep Philosophy of Bony Macaroni

BonyMacaroni

We’re just a month into this fresh new year, still ripe with promise! Do you already feel like putting on some emo music and curling up on the couch in a fetal position? Well, here ya go, then. It’s Bony Macaroni, an unlikely name of a self-loathing bummer band if I’ve ever heard one. They’re from Amsterdam, which seems like a pretty nice place to be so miserable, but that’s probably presumptuous on my part. We’re humans — we can be miserable anywhere.

And with that as an introduction, here’s their third single, “Bony The Philosopher.” The video is by Leon van Engelen.

what’s the commotion ’bout finding that ocean
i paddle along, but i don’t long for god
i don’t fear the water, i don’t fear the father
but, i hope there is meaning, i miss that a lot
– Bony The Philosopher

This cheery ditty, along with its close friends, the bouncy and forlorn “Piece of Shit” and “Doom,” can be heard and enjoyed on the trio’s bandcamp. Any band that names their debut single “Piece of Shit” deserves close listening. This triptych of musical delights forms their debut EP.

Bony Macaroni is Stefan Bonestroo on guitar and vocals, Rik van der Muelen on guitar/vocals and Jeroen Dammers on bass/vocals, with Job Zijlstra on drums/vocals. And if you plan on being in Amsterdam on February 22, you can attend their EP release party at Cinetol.

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My Year In Concerts (such as it was)

Violent Femmes - The Royale, Boston - October 30, 2018

Violent Femmes – The Royale, Boston – October 30, 2018

In a typical year, I would be writing my “10 Best Concerts” article around this time. But this year has been anything but typical. It wasn’t completely awful, as I learned a lot of important things about myself and made some key decisions. But as far as live music was concerned — not much. In fact, I only saw a total of six shows this entire year, although one was a festival where I managed to catch a half-dozen different acts. I got to see a few favorites whom I’d never had the pleasure of seeing before (and they were amazing), plus a year with a live Violent Femmes performance is infinitely better than a year without one.

Photos, when I have them, are by me. Video is by others, courtesy of YouTube (see individual credits).

Emmylou Harris / Ry Cooder at Tanglewood, Lenox, MA – July 1, 2018

  EmmylouHarris_Tanglewood_2018-01EmmylouHarris_Tanglewood2018-03EmmylouHarris_Tanglewood2018-04  RyCooder_Tanglewood2018-01RyCooder_Tanglewood2018-03RyCooder_Tanglewood2018-04

::: See my write-up :::


by Manuel


by MysticFollower

Lowell Folk Festival, Lowell, MA – July 29, 2018

In the following order: Big Country Bluegrass, Kyle Huval & the Dixie Club Ramblers (briefly), Salar Nader & Mustafa Saeed (Afghan tabla and rubâb), Burnurwurbskek Singers & Dancers (Penobscot drummers and singers), Sidi Touré (Songhaï guitar music from Mali), a bit of Mariachi band and dancing in the street, plus Bernard Allison Group (blues, and a mean guitar).

Big Country BluegrassKyle Huval & the Dixie Club RamblersSalar Nader & Mustafa SaeedBurnurwurbskek Singers & DancersSidi TouréLowellFolkFestival06LowellFolkFestival07LowellFolkFestival08LowellFolkFestival09LowellFolkFestival10Mariachi band and dancing in the streetBernard Allison Group


by Randy Kohlenberger


Mustafa Saeed


by NDNsoldier2008


The Kennedy Center


by MoJoeVision

Rodney Crowell, Concord, NH – September 20, 2018


Rodney Crowell

Violent Femmes at the Royale, Boston, MA – October 30, 2018

ViolentFemmes01ViolentFemmes02ViolentFemmes03ViolentFemmes04ViolentFemmes05ViolentFemmes06ViolentFemmes08ViolentFemmes09


by Melvin O

Richard Thompson with Sisters of Slide at the Paradise, Boston, MA – November 14, 2018


by Amy Karibian

Willie Nile, City Winery, Boston, MA – December 29, 2018

WillieNile01WillieNile02

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Quentin Sauvé: Two Extremes of Human Existence

Photo Credit : Flo Forks

Photo Credit : Flo Forks

Update: The new single “Love is Home” will be out on January 18th with a video.

Put down whatever it is you’re doing to watch this achingly beautiful video from French artist Quentin Sauvé. It’s a story about love, companionship and the passage of time, set to the music of “Dead End,” a melancholy yet stunning song from his debut indie folk album, Whatever It Takes, due out February 1.

This is a quiet and fragile side of Mr. Sauvé, full of vulnerability, self-examination, and at times, despair. These are the sort of thoughts one has when one is alone. It’s all too human.

I’m a recluse, don’t wanna go out
I’m on the edge and it freaks me out
Surrounded by water, I’ll surrender
I wallow in loneliness, I swallow my distress

How can I ever go the distance?
With no peace, no sleep, no silence?

It’s a dead end, I can’t go out
It’s a dead end and if freaks me out

The upcoming album features gorgeous shimmering guitars, ethereal synthesizers and soft yet powerful vocals that reach out over a wide tonal range. This is a very personal collection of songs — extremely intimate and quite haunting. It is as though the artist has allowed us into his head to bear witness to his memories, regrets, longings and innermost thoughts. It feels like a sacred place. This is the perfect musical collection to envelop oneself in on a rainy Saturday or a lazy Sunday morning with a cup of herbal tea.

But Quentin Sauvé has another side that’s a bit different from this one.

As bassist and vocalist in experimental post-hardcore punk/metal trio Birds in Row, Sauvé has sought to channel inner demons in an angrier and noisier way. In bands since before he was a teenager (As We Draw, The Brutal Deceiver, Birds in Row), Sauvé is not yet 30 and has already toured the world and pursued activist passions.

All songs on Whatever It Takes were written, composed and performed by Quentin Sauvé. Quentin’s brother Amaury Sauvé recorded and mixed the album at The Apiary Studio in Laval, France last winter. It was mastered by Thibault Chaumont at Deviant Lab in Poitiers, France. Artwork is by Romain Barbot.

The new solo album will be available on vinyl, cd, DL and K7 (I guess this is another kind of format?), co-produced by the following labels: Ideal Crash (France), I Corrupt (Germany), Skeletal Lightning (US) and Ugly & Proud (Bulgaria).

If you’d like to see and hear Quentin up close and personal, he’ll be touring the U.K. and Europe in 2019. Hopefully U.S. dates are not far behind.

Meanwhile, Birds in Row’s latest album is available on Bandcamp, digitally or in limited edition vinyl, or from various other places. It’s called We Already Lost The World. Though I try my best to remain optimistic, I fear they may be right.

Quentin Sauvé: facebook | instagram | bandcamp | soundcloud | youtube

Birds in Row: web | facebook | twitter | instagram | bandcamp | soundcloud

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Paris Combo

photo by Jorge Fidel Alvarez

photo by Jorge Fidel Alvarez

Performing January 19th at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston.

Are you in the mood for some slinky, silky jazz, Parisian style? Take an exotic trip without straying too far from home. The eclectic Paris Combo will be embarking on a tour that will feature their delightfully exotic music that combines “swinging gypsy jazz, cabaret, French pop, plus Latin and Middle Eastern rhythms.”

Starting on January 6, they’ll be in Washington, D.C.; Seattle; Berkeley and Folsom, California; Minneapolis, Chicago and Boston, before heading back to perform in France. Incredibly, this will be their 20th tour. Their most recent studio album is Tako Tsubo, and earlier this year they released an album of remixes from some of France’s top DJs, Paris Combo, Remixed. They’ve been working on material for a new album, and will premiere the songs on this tour.

The band features the seductive vocals of their charismatic chanteuse Belle du Berry (who also plays accordion), along with Django-influenced guitarist and banjo player Potzi, Australian-born trumpeter and pianist David Lewis, drummer-crooner François Jeannin and virtuoso bassist, Benoit Dunoyer de Ségonzac. For certain shows, they will also be joined by Rémy Kapriélan on percussion, vocals and sax.

Each member has a unique musical pedigree. Belle du Berry was in post-punk bands in the late 1980s, with influences as diverse as the B-52s, Arletti (a French singer-actress of the 1930s) and the Surrealists. Potzi’s guitar stylings are influenced by his own North African heritage and Belgian-born Romani-French jazz guitarist and composer Django Reinhardt. Lewis previously played with various Parisian bands, such as Arthur H and Manu Dibango. François adds his ska or Latin grooves to the potent mix.

They released their debut in 1997, and their second album, Living Room (1999), went gold. In 2004-5, they played three shows at the Hollywood Bowl. After a five-year hiatus, they returned to performing in 2011 and once again performed at the Hollywood Bowl, with a symphony orchestra. A fifth album followed, with a national U.S. tour in 2013-2014, in addition to other shows around the world.

Last year, they put out their sixth album (Tako Tsubo) and touring the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Tako Tsubo embraces a wide variety of musical styles, from their tight-knit combo to lush orchestral music to ’60s retro with psychedelic touches. They describe the subject matter as being about “the human physique and the way our emotional and physical beings interact.”

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A Rasta Hanukkah – The Temple Rockers’ Festival of Lights

It seems like an unlikely pairing, yet when you first hear The Temple Rockers’ just-released Hanukkah album, Festival of Lights, you’ll be amazed at how seamlessly (and beautifully) they blend sleek reggae with jubilant, horn-laden traditional Jewish klezmer. The Temple Rockers celebrate Jewish and Rasta traditions, finding common ground for their deeply spiritual and heartwarming music.

The Temple Rockers, based in Ithaca, New York, features members of 10 Ft. Ganja Plant, John Brown’s Body and Big Man Sound Machine. Festival of Lights was produced by their bassist David Solid Gould and is the premiere release on his new label, Fresh Roots Records. On the album, the band is joined by legendary Jamaican singers Ansel “Meditations” Cridland, Wayne Jarrett and Linval Thompson. The album features songs commonly heard during Hanukkah. It’s tremendously uplifting and hopeful, at a time when we need it the most.

Discover the perfect soundtrack for the holiday season (and something to lift your spirits, anytime at all). Download the album from the band’s bandcamp. It can also be purchased on Amazon.

web | facebook | instagram | bandcamp | youtube | fresh roots records

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Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys Get Cozy Under Your Covers

Having been released at the start of this fast-moving year, this one nearly got by me. I’d glad it didn’t. Boston’s own Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys has always been a personal favorite. This charming collection of cover tunes, appropriately (and somewhat menacingly) titled Under Your Covers, is a loving tribute to a diverse selection of fan favorites — from Iggy Pop’s “The Passenger” to Destiny’s Child’s “Bills, Bills, Bills” to “The Toys Go Winding Down” by Primus. The choices were specially requested by the band’s Come Black Magic Kickstarter backers.

Having pulled up some of the originals to hear how the Broken Toys’ re-imagingings compare, I can happily report that these songs are performed with due reverence, yet with the Toys’ trademark Gothic elegance and ominous magnificence. It’s “all hands on deck,” with Mr. Sickert on vocals, piano, guitar, effects and programming; Edrie playing with her ‘broken toys’: Rachel Jayson wielding viola and melodica; jojo the Burlesque Poetess making magic on uke and flute; Matt Zappa on percussion; Brother Bones on guitar; Mike Leggio with both stand-up and electric bass; and the legendary Mary Widow lending her vocals and mandolin. It’s a potent witches’ brew.

The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” is given a harsher modern industrial makeover, with male and female warrior vocals making this 47-year-old song seem starkly relevant. Powerful vocals and strings plus driving percussion adds immense tension to the disturbing lyrics of “Chaos & Confusion.” In “Bills, Bills, Bills,” the Army conjures a completely different song and mood, threatening serious damage and retribution. One can hardly expect to improve on Iggy Pop’s masterpiece, “The Passenger,” and in fact, I would normally cringe at the very thought of a cover of one of my Top 10 songs EVER. However, Mr. Sickert and Company do this song justice and are very faithful to the original and respectful of the Master. Rachel’s mournful gypsy viola is a gorgeous addition that I’m sure Jim would highly approve of.

At the risk of insulting hardcore fans, I won’t say which cover versions are, in my humble opinion, far superior in style and depth to the original. Several of them are. Run, don’t walk, to their Bandcamp page, name your price and download this eye-opening yet nostalgic and loving tribute. And be sure to click into each song’s page, so you can enjoy Walter’s mind-melting original art. They’re the perfect visuals for this magical mystery tour through our musical past.

Track Listing

Who We Are, from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Original Motion Picture – Imagine Dragons (2013)

The Toys Go Winding Down, from Frizzle Fry – Primus (1990)

The New Zero, from How We Quit the Forest – Rasputina (1998)

Baba O’Riley, from The Kids Are Alright – The Who (1971)

10538 Overture, from The Electric Light Orchestra – Electric Light Orchestra (1971)

Chaos & Confusion, from Space Age Senior Prom – Zerobot

Bills, Bills, Bills, from The Writing’s on the Wall – Destiny’s Child (1999)

The Passenger, from Lust for Life – Iggy Pop (1977)

Trip, from Wake No More – Porcelain

Don’t Come Around Here No More, from Southern Accents – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (1985)

Kingdoms & Castles, from The Triples – Abbie Barrett

Freaks, from Secret Samadhi – Live (1997)

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Seattle’s Becoming Bristol addresses suicide and promises brighter days

BecomingBristol_2018

Becoming Bristol gives us upbeat alternative pop songs that contain important messages. Their latest single, “Brighter Days,” was written by their singer/frontman Britt Espinosa, and is about an experience he had with a friend who was contemplating suicide (fortunately, they’re still with us). September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and the band will be donating 100% of all sales and streaming proceeds during the month to Anthem of Hope, a non-profit that’s “dedicated to illuminating hope for those battling brokenness, depression, anxiety, self-harm, suicide and addiction.”

“Brighter Days” is available for streaming and purchase. The song has a snappy beat that’s definitely danceable, and even more importantly, its lyrics are comforting and hopeful in times of great difficulty.

We all know what the poets say
Pain only ends when your dead
I don’t think it’s got to be that way
I think there’s brighter days ahead
I know life’s not okay
It aches beyond any words
But my friend this will only make it worse

It’s easy to throw away
A life riddled with cuts and scars
There’s something still left to save
It’s at the core of who you are
So push on to the brighter days
You don’t know what you’re worth
Oh my friend, you don’t know what you’re worth
– “Brighter Days”

The single was produced and mixed by Brooks Paschal at Mockingbird Studios.

Formerly known as The Exchange, Becoming Bristol is a pair of brothers (Britt and Jack), along with Tyler Mays and Manny Gounder. They began touring when Britt was 16, and the band is completely self-booked and self-managed. They’ve performed at more than 500 shows, with 8+ national tours.

Previous singles include “Sort Myself Out” (with producer AKA Wolves, released in June) and “Liars and Thieves” (released in July). The former is about taking responsibility for where you end up in life, rather than blaming someone or something else, and the latter addresses the idea that good and evil exists within all of us, and the need for empathy.Important messages for these perilous times.

The line between right and wrong cuts through all of us… the face of god is hiding inside

For the rest of 2018, the band will be releasing a new song each month.

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

flippin_logo_x400

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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