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.
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 BÃ˜RNS, 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 BÃ˜RNS 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 BÃ˜RNS.
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 BÃ˜RNS 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.
Her latest album is Castor, The Twin, and she’ll also be performing new songs from her forthcoming album, due out in the Spring. Castor, The Twin featured reworkings of songs from her debut album, A Badly Broken Code, with an ensemble that will also be featured in her live performance. This will include voila, stand-up bass, grand piano, mandolin, vibraphone and timpani.
(add these venues to your Boston-area clubbing circuit – coming soon!)
Valhalla International Restaurant and Lounge, and future sites of The Davis Square Theater and The Sinclair
Attention club hoppers – Davis, Central, and Harvard Squares will all be giving birth to brand new clubs this year. The Davis Square Theatre, which was formerly Jimmy Tingle’s Off Broadway Theater, will be adding live music shows to its schedule of theater productions (Spring); Valhalla is coming to Central Square, which is actually the All Asia Bar moving house (Summer); and The Sinclair in Harvard Square will be operated by Bowery Cambridge, the latest ‘outreach program’ by New York’s booking agency The Bowery Presents, much the same as they now do at The Royale with Bowery Boston (Autumn).