musings from boston

screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Tag: Delta Spirit

Matthew Logan Vasquez – Solicitor Returns

Something ominous advances from just over the ridge. It’s a steady, persistent piece of machinery that’s demanding to be heard. Vasquez describes the 1:38 prelude of the title track of his new album, “a sonic palate cleanser.” And it’s immediately clear why we needed that forceful call to attention—and why Vasquez needed the full cleansing that came along with moving his family back to his early stomping grounds of Austin, Texas, (and ultimately perhaps) why has has embarked on his first ever solo album, Solicitor Returns.

Throughout this intensely personal and muscular record, you’re struck by both its brazen ferocity and its delicate intimacy. I wouldn’t call it a complete departure from his work with Delta Spirit. It’s more emphatic and gentler; both grittier and dreamier and all the while, with the poetic poignancy of a classic troubadour that has always been Vasquez’s calling card. This introspective album is like his musical diary for the past several years, and it barrels out like hot lava flow that has been building up, craving release.

For the full article and interview, see Ryan’s Smashing Life.

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Introducing… Matthew Logan Vasquez

Not exactly. After all, we already know this guy as the hyper-literate frontman of the wonderful Delta Spirit and one third of the “supertrio” Middle Brother. But Mr. Vasquez is striking out on his own now and like a wild stallion, has bolted out the gate fiercely with his first single “Everything I Do Is Out.”

When the man goes solo, he doesn’t mess around. Not only does he play all the instruments on this song. He also hand-drew the animations, shot and edited the video himself — and yes, all of those band members you see are him in different outfits. Reclusivity at its finest! Though that isn’t the case at all in his personal life. When Delta Spirit went on break, he returned to his hometown of Austin, Texas and he and his wife Marthe had their first child, Thor (how awesome of a name is that?).

Vasquez explained to Paste Magazine about his inspiration for this song: “‘This song was the catalyst for the whole solo project,’ he says. ‘The song is about my disdain for certain parts of (the) music industry and what it does to people. It’s also about maintaining the mentality that made me love rock ‘n’ roll in the first place. My only intention with this music is to play it in bars with my friends. I want to care less about caring at all.'” Indeed, the song is bursting with unbridled angst, freedom and determination.

The Austin EP which includes this fine and ferocious song was released last month and then followed by a 10-show residency in California. Limited edition vinyl is available at his official site. His debut solo album, to be called Solicitor Returns, is due out February 9, which can be pre-ordered from Amazon below. He recorded the EP by himself, except for a drum contribution on “Halfcolt” by Matt Aveiro (ex-Cold War Kids). From what we hear, this debut outing begins with an 18-minute track that the press release describes as “a psychedelic autobiography of sorts.” We can’t wait. For now, if you’re a Mac user, you can also order the Austin & Solicitor Mixtape Flashdrive. This very cool thing is the Austin EP plus music that he does not plan to release elsewhere, which means it’s a definite “must” for fans. You know what’s even cooler? This direct relationship with his audience, sans music business bullshit. Good job, Matt.

We’ll also mention the release party on February 9 at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn, where he’ll perform songs from the debut along with Delta Spirit and Middle Brother material, playing with a new live band. Leading up to that, he’ll be doing a month-long residency in Texas, and apparently he’ll also be at SXSW and additional places to be announced. See dates below. But before you do that, check out this lovely tribute to Steve Jobs, with Matthew’s trademark lyrical sophistication. Bravo!

Matthew Logan Vasquez 2016 Tour Dates:
01/05 – Houston, TX @ The Raven Tower
01/07 – San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger
01/08 – Austin, TX @ The Mohawk
01/12 – Houston, TX @ The Raven Tower
01/13 – Denton, TX @ Dan’s Silverleaf
01/19 – Houston, TX @ The Raven Tower
01/20 – Fort Worth, TX @ Lola’s Saloon
01/21 – San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger
01/26 – Houston, TX @ The Raven Tower
01/27 – Dallas, TX @ Three Links
02/09 – Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right

[Thanks to Consequence Of Sound, Paste Magazine and Brooklyn Vegan for all the info. Cheers, guys!]


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Delta Spirit blows the roof off The Middle East Downstairs (and has a new album coming soon)

Boston (and Cambridge) loves Delta Spirit. After Tuesday night’s FREE concert at The Middle East Downstairs, Bostonians are also quite fond of StubHub and Pandora, as they co-sponsored quite an amazing party for us. In addition to this free show with such a stellar band, there was also an open bar, complimentary posters (that were silk screened on site) and t-shirts. How could this not be great?

This wonderful evening was part of StubHub’s Next Stage Concert Series, which will also be stopping by Nashville and San Francisco. Their mission is to present “emerging artists in iconic clubs in exclusive live shows across the nation.” Nice.

It probably makes sense that Matt Vasquez and the boys have recently relocated to Brooklyn from Los Angeles. Though I have no doubt that their West Coast fans were sorry to see them go, the experiences I’ve had with them clearly show a bigger East Coast following. The last time I saw them, it was in Costa Mesa supporting Airborne. Despite being 45 minutes south of L.A., that OC audience was completely clueless as to who they were. Having seen the band about a week before at The NINES Festival in Devon, MA in front of a delirious crowd, all I could do was shake my head in disbelief.

Here now, back in Boston, they were clearly in their element, playing for a large number of fans who were there for the band first and the free booze second. Not to say that the open bar didn’t contribute to the mile-long line that snaked down Mass. Ave., but there were plenty of fans who had braved the rain and were pressed up against the stage, singing and swaying along. Their set was deeply satisfying, even given The Middle East’s abysmal basement acoustics. It was an overflowing basket of delectable classics — “Parade,” “Strange Vine,” “White Table,” “People C’mon,” “Trashcan,” “Children,” “California” and my teary-eyed favorite, “People, Turn Around” (which was performed as a triumphant encore – see below). They also unveiled three new songs from their upcoming album, Into the Wide, which is due out September 9, and which seems to be very much worth waiting for. They played “Live On,” “Language of the Dead” and “The Wolf.” It was a muscular and exhilarating performance; they’re definitely one of the finer live bands out there.

Setlist: Strange Vine, Tear It Up, Live On, Parade, Empty House, Language of the Dead, White Table, Money Saves, The Wolf, People C’mon, Bushwick Blues, Trashcan, Children, California // People, Turn Around

Here’s a teaser for the new album.

And here’s another teaser: Matt said they’ll be back in September.

Other videos filmed: Parade | White Table | People C’mon



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My Musical Highlights of 2013

(clockwise from upper left): A blessing to see all my favorites this year - The Henry Clay People, The Happy Hollows, Malcolm Sosa's 123Death and The Airborne Toxic Event

(clockwise from upper left): A blessing to see all my favorites this year - The Henry Clay People, The Happy Hollows, Malcolm Sosa's 123Death and The Airborne Toxic Event

I’ll be honest — 2013 was a bitch of an “all work and no play” year, but the times I did get to cut loose with some fine music were pretty spectacular. There were a few really nice festivals (not a format I’m typically fond of), an intimate backyard deck show in Echo Park and the swan song of a beloved L.A. band. What might have lacked in quantity was well compensated in quality. Due to my work circumstances, I had to select carefully, so what you’ll find here are mostly old favorites. As the year winds down, it does so on a rather ominous note, and I’m not entirely certain what the future holds. Ok, no one is ever certain; I’m especially not certain. If there’s anything in a musical vein that I hope for in 2014, it’s that however my life changes, it does so in a way that I can experience a wider range of musical delights in the new year. For a comprehensive overview of top recordings released in 2013, visit Ryan’s Smashing Life for his ’50 Best Albums of 2013.’ Meanwhile, here are six of my personal live performance highlights, in chronological order.

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Lost and Found (X of XII)

A Los Angeles story of madness and awakening, in twelve parts

The Airborne Toxic Event with the Pacific Symphony at the Pacific Amphitheatre

The Airborne Toxic Event with the Pacific Symphony at the Pacific Amphitheatre

Part X: Impressions of Costa Mesa, missteps at Laguna Beach and the Wavelength Festival with Delta Spirit and The Airborne Toxic Event

Driving around Costa Mesa, looking for a decent vegetarian breakfast, it occurred to me how much the city is like a sprawling Simsbury, Connecticut — or, for you Bostonians, perhaps Newton. There were the endless upscale shopping centers, pristine landscaping and not a single non-white person to be seen at the outdoor yuppie-style cafe I finally came across in one of the many fancy yet nondescript strip malls. Even the name was vaguely elitist: Haute Cakes. Perfect. Two haute couture women were sitting next to me, chattering non-stop, while their equally stuffy and primped little dog wound itself around my leg. The food was good but no match for the ‘Angel’s Mess’ at Millie’s in Silver Lake, which was life-affirming.

I was thinking about the importance of the show I would be seeing that night. I’d been a fan of The Airborne Toxic Event since 2008, and though they’ve performed with an orchestra before, this was the first time they’d done so in the Los Angeles area. It was part of the Wavelength Festival, and they’d be appearing with the 85-piece Pacific Symphony at the state-of-the-art Pacific Amphitheatre. Fellow Angelinos Delta Spirit, a marvelous band and headliner in their own right, was opening for them. Over the five years I’ve known Airborne, they’ve continuously raised their game. They’ve become more accomplished musicians and performers, and their musical arrangements, particularly for the orchestral shows, ever more impressive. I can’t imagine how much time and energy it takes to work out parts for 85 additional players. Add to this the majesty of performing in a world-class amphitheatre with a world-class symphony orchestra, in front of what most certainly would be Southern California’s finest in terms of sophisticated music aficionados. All of that was bound to add up to a beautiful experience, right?

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The NINES Festival: 1 Day of Peace & Music (plus stand-up comics, recycled art and people who like to play with hot flames)

If you’re a wannabe hippie like me who didn’t go to Woodstock because you were too young — or if you were at Woodstock and have been wondering where all the East Coast hippies went, most of them were at the glorious NINES Festival in Devens, Massachusetts earlier this month. Although an embarrassing three weeks have elapsed, warm and strong remembrances of a pleasant and peaceful day in the sun with a truly stellar musical line-up, beautifully organized event and super-cool vibe is still putting a big smile on my face. This was the first year for this newly-minted festival that was presented by 3Rivers Arts and Great Northeast Productions, Inc., and I hope it’s just the first of a many-year tradition. If these fine folks can be accused of anything, it’s being overly ambitious for their first time out — but those lucky enough to be in attendance benefited from being at the best-kept secret in Massachusetts that weekend.

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The NINES Festival, part II ~ Saturday, August 10

Before I continue with the rest of the wonderful bands at next Saturday’s NINES Music + Art + Discovery Festival, here’s a little info about the other happenings there, as it’s more than just great music. It goes without saying that with all the interactive art, comedy and music (plus quality crafts, great food and beverages – both for kids and adults), this is going to be a great time for the whole family. The “Stich” comedy tent is curated by Harvard Square’s The Comedy Studio, hosted by impresario Rick Jenkins. Two of the featured performers are Erin Judge (Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham”) and pop culture maven Ken Reid.


There will be art installations, exhibits, and interactive art projects curated by art director and RISD alum Christopher Cyr and “art with a re-purpose” visual design visionaries Fireseed Arts.

Parking lots open @ 11:00am, gates at noon, music from 1-11pm. BUY TICKETS

If you like to “go in style,” they have very special Patron of the Arts” VIP tickets, which include many cool perks. This is going to be a beautiful event, in bucolic surroundings. So then, on with the music!

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Don’t miss The NINES ~ music + art + discovery festival ~ Devens, MA – Saturday, August 10

The NINES Music + Art + Discovery Festival
featuring: Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys, Air Traffic Controller, Shuggie Otis, Matt Pond, Walk Off The Earth, K. Flay, Delta Spirit, Kid Koala, Dr. Dog and Explosions in the Sky
Saturday, August 10 at Willard Field, Devens MA
1:00 PM – 11:00 PM (parking lots open at 11; gates at noon)
::: BUY TICKETS :::

COOL EVENT ALERT! The sleepy little village of Devens, Massachusetts is going to be the home of a dazzling cornucopia of musicians, multimedia artists and comedians on Saturday, August 10th. Because that’s the day that The NINES Music + Art + Discovery Festival rolls into town. In all the flurry of concerts and bigger-name summer festivals, one might inadvertently skip over this brand new music and arts gathering, but that would be a mistake, as it features an impressive line-up of both internationally-known and up-and-coming artists.

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Artists in Aid Benefit with Red Cortez, and members of Delta Spirit and The Airborne Toxic Event – Friday, December 18, 2009

by Tammy Asaki – Huntington Beach, CA

I had the pleasure of attending the Artists in Aid Benefit on Friday. It was held at Edgar Varela Fine Arts Junglerush gallery in Los Angeles, which was a very cool venue for this event. There was a cozy outdoor patio where people could hang out on couches and chat and smoke under red paper lanterns and moonlight. Upstairs was the loft where the bands played surrounded by pieces of art from artist, Tommy Mose Abbot. An open bar and free wine tasting provided for a lively atmosphere.

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