screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Tag: Cambridge MA

Introducing… The Northeastern Railroads


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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Avid Dancer at The Sinclair in Cambridge 10/20/15

Every once in a while, and it’s awkward to say the least, you show up to a heavily hyped and sold out show — to see the opener. Such was the case for me on Tuesday night when I arrived at The Sinclair to see Avid Dancer. I had heard about, listened to and really liked this Los Angeles band, and they were partway through a big national tour. They were the supporting band for BØRNS, an artist who currently has a HUGE buzz and a rabid growing audience which I completely respect but who, for me, is the sonic equivalent of eating too much candy corn in one sitting. So with profound apologies to his completely over-the-moon audience last night, I’ll move on to Avid Dancer, a band that quite simply stole my heart.

It actually helps to have the contrast with BØRNS to highlight just what it was that made Avid Dance so special for me. Music is terribly subjective, of course. This is why I never “review” bands, but I’m inspired to share those that touch and inspire me. For myself, when I listen to a piece of music, I’m always looking for a certain amount of gravitas, a sense of somber or at least serious reflection. In my humble opinion, joyous celebration loses some importance without also experiencing the flip-side of the coin. In terms of this deeper meaning, I seek it out in everything from folk music to hardcore, from singer-songwriter ballads to instrumentals. Introspection doesn’t even require lyrics; it can be heard within the music.

Avid Dancer’s music is solemn and sophisticated, but never grim. There’s a hopeful optimism born out of life’s trials and tribulations.

“Throw away all things not worth living
Open your eyes and start believing”

“Find your joy today // Don’t have to look so hard // Don’t have to look so far
Try to be one way // Just be who you are.”

– All Your Words Are Gone

Avid Dancer caresses the ears with joyous, melodic guitar and life-affirming rhythm, and the band overflows with sensuality and soul. You can hear it in their debut album 1st Bath, but it completely envelops you in their live show. Dreamy, slightly psychedelic and with Jacob Summer’s honey-smooth vocals, I would argue that they’re just as much the ideal “date night band” as the overtly romantic and sentimental BØRNS.

Summer’s down-to-earth banter was quite heartwarming as well and dovetailed nicely with the band’s genuine and passionate music. It sounds funny and maybe a little ridiculous to say this, but knowing his background as a Marine, I found his gentle demeanor and the vulnerability in his lyrics somewhat surprising. Hey, ex-marines can be sensitive guys, and why the hell not?

Avid Dancer will be continuing their tour with BØRNS on November 10, beginning in Canada and moving through the Midwest and West Coast. See their tour schedule for details. And go see them! You’ll be glad you did.

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Sad Boston-area news: the passing of Cambridge storyteller Brother Blue

from The Boston Globe

from The Boston Globe

(Cambridge Community Television press release):

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of storyteller Dr. Hugh Hill, known as Brother Blue. Brother Blue, perhaps the original performance artist, has entertained generations of children and adults with his tales, often accompanied by tambourine and foot stomping. He is survived by his wife, Ruth Hill; together they produced hundreds of hours of storytelling in CCTV’s studio, on Cambridge Community Radio, and BeLive.

CCTV will show a retrospective of Brother Blue’s programs in December.

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Laura Lee Imhoff w/Hugh McGowan at Toad, Cambridge, August 19, 2009

(from her MySpace page)

(from her MySpace page)

Wow. Seriously… wow. Yes, it’s been four days since the show and much of this time has been spent fretting about my camera meltdown (more about that later), but I have to say something about this wonderful performer, before more time goes by, and just ahead of another show she’s doing tomorrow night at The Lizard Lounge.

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