Posts Tagged ‘Boston’

By 1999, The Magnetic Fields had long been darlings of the college radio circuit. The band, led by Stephin Merritt, emerged from Boston in 1991 with the single “100,000 Fireflies” on Harriet Records a small indie pop label that would itself enjoy a cult following during that decade, followed by the self-released full-length Distant Plastic Trees. In the years that followed, Merritt balanced a steady stream of Magnetic Fields releases with several side projects—The Sixths, The Gothic Archies, and Future Bible Heroes—all of which positioned him as one of the era’s most well-regarded songwriters. So, when “69 Love Songs”, a triple-CD collection that served as The Magnetic Fields sixth album, dropped on September 7th, 1999, it was an event. In fact, its release was supported by a two-night stint in New York, where the band played every song off the album, in order.

In a recent podcast, Merrit and author Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket—who was a collaborator on “69 Love Songs”—discussed whether or not it was the last great album of the 20th century or first of the 2000s. (Merritt explained that there was greater demand than there were copies pressed for the initial release, so many listeners couldn’t get the album until early in 2000.) Ultimately, 69 Love Songs bridges both decades and millennia. It was a culmination of the work Merritt and The Magnetic Fields had been building until that point, and it set the stage for what would come in the next two decades.

In many ways, 69 Love Songs was a novelty: a behemoth collection of cross-genre tunes, united under a broad theme and cheeky album title. But it definitely didn’t seem out of character for Merritt. Part of his appeal as a songwriter is Merritt’s knack for writing vivid, emotionally complicated love songs, well apparent on earlier releases like “100,000 Fireflies” and the previous year’s single “I Don’t Believe You” (later released on their 2004 album, I).

The album catapulted the band out of the college radio and indie circle at a time when the music industry was changing. They would remain a cult sensation—but one that got significant recognition. In 1999, 69 Love Songs was included on multiple year-end best of lists. Over the years, 69 Love Songs has spawned fan sites and a number of critical reassessments. In 2006, it got its own book in the 33 1/3 series, by LD Beghtol, also a collaborator on the album.

Meanwhile, four Magnetic Fields albums that followed—“i, Distortion, Realism”, and “Love at the Bottom”all hit the USA Charts. Merritt himself branched out into other projects, including writing the music and lyrics for the off-Broadway adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, which earned him an Obie. In 2017, The Magnetic Fields released another massive concept album, 50 Song Memoir, which essentially serves as Merritt’s autobiography. we offer 10 tunes from “69 Love Songs” to draw you into this now-classic collection.

 

“The Book of Love”

Beghtol’s 33 1/3 book notes that, in 1999, “The Book of Love” was voted number two in a 69 Love Songs “top 10” poll for the stephinsongs.com mailing list. By 2006, it had risen to the top spot. Both the book and Merritt’s recent Talkhouse podcast note that the song has been performed at multiple weddings by multiple members of the band. Clearly, it’s a fan favourite. It’s also popular amongst musicians, having been covered by a wide range of artists, including Peter Gabriel and The Airborne Toxic Event. Gabriel’s version was particularly successful;  it appeared on the soundtrack of the film Shall We Dance? in 2004.

“The Book of Love” says a lot about amour, but it also says a lot about this album; Merritt himself described it as a manifesto. “The book of love has music in it / In fact that’s where music comes from,” he sings in the second verse. “Some of it is just transcendental / Some of it is just really dumb.”

“Sweet-Lovin’ Man”

According to Merritt, per Beghtol’s 33 1/3 book, “Sweet-Lovin’ Man” began its life as a synth-pop song originally intended for The Magnetic Fields’ 1992 sophomore album, The Wayward Bus. It didn’t make the cut, and was reworked. Claudia Gonson, who sings lead here, said in the same book that she had hoped that “Sweet-Lovin’ Man” would go on to become “a major alt-country hit.”

Somewhere in between its synth-pop beginnings and alt-country ambitions, The Magnetic Fields hit a sweet spot. It’s a lyrically straight-forward song; Gonson’s vocals have a sense of hopefulness to them, which is juxtaposed with dense production that combines actual strings with synth ones. “Sweet-Lovin’ Man” is an example of a bunch of the multitude of influences for 69 Love Songs coming together into one piece that defies clear categorization.

“When My Boy Walks Down the Street”

In “When My Boy Walks Down the Street,” the exuberance of new love is apparent already in the opening line, “Grand pianos crash together / When my own walks down the street.” This feeling of overwhelming attraction grows with each sharp, beautifully hyperbolic line.

“When My Boy Walks Down the Street” plays with the tropes of giddy ’60s love pop in a way that was radical for 1999. Merritt, who handles vocals here, subverts ideas of gender with the line, “and he’s going to be my wife.” He’s also introducing marriage as an inevitable end-goal five years before the first U.S. state legalized same-sex marriage. That he does this with one fragment of a sentence, so casually dropped in the chorus, is a powerful statement.

“Grand Canyon”

If electronic Americana were a genre, “Grand Canyon” could be the defining song. Merritt’s references here are distinctly drawn from U.S. geography and lore. “If I was the Grand Canyon / I’d echo everything you say,” he sings, followed in the second verse by, “If I was Paul Bunyan / I’d carry you so far away.” It’s written as a folk song meant for a night around a campfire, with voices joining in as the song progresses. Yet, it’s also heavily a synth song.

In “Grand Canyon,” the hooks are so strong, and Merritt’s delivery is so incredibly forlorn, that it practically demands repeated listens. What becomes more interesting after the first play, though, are the small details in the production, like subtle fuzz that gives the impression of through dusty vinyl, and the echo on Merritt’s own vocals that emphasize the Grand Canyon metaphor.

“If You Don’t Cry”

A synth-pop gem with Gonson on vocals, “If You Don’t Cry” taps into the nightlife ritual of hitting the bar and dancefloor to try and keep the tears at bay. At 139 BPM, its tempo is closer to what you would hear at a ’80s electronic night where DJs are dropping tracks by the likes of Ultravox and Soft Cell. Lyrically, it directly references that experience of nursing your broken heart with booze and lonesome dancing.

Then there’s the chorus, “If you don’t cry, it isn’t love / If you don’t cry, then you just don’t feel it deep enough,” a theme revisited throughout the album. 69 Love Songsis full of so many deeply tender moments that it can be an absolute tear-jerker. Listen with a box of tissues.

“Long-Forgotten Fairytale”

The Magnetic Fields had already made a fair share of songs that could be considered synth-pop, but “Long-Forgotten Fairytale” is perhaps their most unapologetically ’80s of these gems. The Pet Shop Boys are an obvious influence on the cut—Merritt mentions this in the 33 1/3 book—but listen closely and you’ll hear strains of others as well, perhaps a little ABC or (fittingly) Book of Love. Dudley Klute, who sang with Belgian synth outfit Kid Montana back in the ’80s, handles lead vocals on this track.

In 1999, using ’80s synthpop as a point of reference was far from hip and, with “Long-Forgotten Fairytale,” The Magnetic Fields were among very few in the indie world to mine a sound that wouldn’t come back into vogue for another few years. It may be a bit of a throwback, but “Long-Forgotten Fairytale” also foreshadowed the sound of the early 2000s.

“Papa Was a Rodeo”

Another fan favourite, “Papa Was a Rodeo,” was voted number one in the stephinsongs.com poll back in ’99. The country-tinged number with Merritt on lead and Shirley Simms dropping in for the final chorus, is narrative-driven with a twist that might bring a happy tear to even the most hardened cynics.

“Papa Was a Rodeo” begins with the assumption that this affair will go nowhere. Our narrator warns that long-term love isn’t an option for someone who “never stuck around long enough for a one night stand.” Flash forward, though “and now it’s 55 years later / We’ve had the romance of the century.” A romance flick condensed into a pop song, “Papa Was a Rodeo” gives listeners a well-deserved happy ending.

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“It’s a Crime”

“Swedish reggae” is the descriptive used for “It’s a Crime” in the 69 Love Songs 33 1/3 book, but the mellow cut with Klute on vocals has more of a new wave vibe. In fact, if there’s one song that sounds like a true predecessor to “It’s a Crime,” it’s Blondie’s version of “The Tide Is High,” at least at first listen.

Tune in a little deeper and you’ll hear the killer dub bassline bubbling underneath the vocals and electronic squiggles. It’s what gives “It’s a Crime” strength, an indicator that The Magnetic Fields were both studied in their approach to covering multiple genres and willing to have fun with it.

“The Death of Ferdinand De Saussure”

“The Death of Ferdinand De Saussure” is, on the surface, one of the most confusing entries on 69 Love Songs. Other narratives in this collection are very clearly about falling in and out of love. This one depicts a meeting with the pioneering linguist, who explains, “So we don’t know anything. You don’t know anything. I don’t know anything about love. But we are nothing. You are nothing. I am nothing without love.”

Then our protagonist shoots the academic and makes the proclamation, “It’s well and kosher to say you don’t understand, but this is for Holland-Dozier-Holland.”

The song writing team of brothers Eddie and Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier helped define the Motown sound—and thus wrote some of the most memorable love songs of the 1960s and early ’70s. Amongst their credits: “Baby Love,” “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” and “Stop! In the Name of Love.” They also wrote heartbreakers like “My World Is Empty Without You,” “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” and “Band of Gold.” If anyone knows anything about love, it’s Holland-Dozier-Holland.

In a sense, “The Death of Ferdinand De Saussure” is about the power of love songs. Can you really argue that humans don’t know about love after listening to The Supremes?

“I Can’t Touch You Anymore”

“I Can’t Touch You Anymore” might be one of the more quintessentially ’90s tracks on 69 Love Songs—check out that sped-up trip-hop beat that comes to a gloomy grind at the conclusion. It wouldn’t sound out of place in a mix alongside Garbage and Blur. Despite the acclaim that 69 Love Songs received upon its releasethis song’s potential as an indie dance song was perhaps overlooked.

What’s also interesting about “I Can’t Touch You Anymore” is the way the production mirrors the lyrics. There’s a sexy groove throughout that’s put on hold at several points within it, mimicking a second thought about returning to a lover who’s bad for you. With the refrain of “I love you, I can’t touch you anymore,” that’s all too perfect.

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On his opulent debut album “Giver Taker” Anjimile’s most powerful and enchanting instrument is his voice. The project which serves as a testament to the different stages of healing is a sparse nine-track undertaking that reveals just how resilient our protagonist truly is. Anjimile’s story is an uncommon one, but an uplifting one nonetheless: A trans person in the midst of battling his own demons excavates the most troubling parts of his past and ultimately seeks out catharsis. Giver Taker is captivating in its detailed storytelling, luscious harmonies and admirable vulnerability. On Giver Taker, the gorgeous debut album by Anjimile, death and life are always entwined, wrapping around each other in a dance of reverence, reciprocity, and, ultimately, rebirth.“Giver Taker” is confident, intentional and introspective. Anjimile Chithambo (they/them, he/him) wrote much of the album while in treatment for drug and alcohol abuse, as well as while in the process of living more fully as a nonbinary trans person. Loss hovers over the album, whose songs grieve for lost friends (“Giver Taker”) and family members (“1978”) along with lost selves (“Maker,” “Baby No More,” “In Your Eyes.”) But here, grief yields an opening: a chance for new growth. “A lot of the album was written when I was literally in the process of improving my mental health, so there’s a lot of hopefulness and wonder at the fact that I was able to survive,” says Chithambo. “Not only survive but restart my life and work towards becoming the person I was meant to be.”

Each song on the album is its own micro-journey, adding up to a transformative epic cycle created in collaboration with bandmate Justine Bowe of Photocomfort and New-York based artist/producer Gabe Goodman. “1978” and “Maker” both begin as Sufjan Stevens-esque pastoral ballads with Chithambo’s mesmerizing voice foregrounded against minimal instrumentation and swell into the realm of the majestic through the addition of warm, steady instrumentation (informed by the mix of 80’s pop and African music Chithambo’s Malawi-born parents played around the house) and harmonies by Bowe. “In Your Eyes” starts out hushed and builds to a crescendo via a mighty chorus inspired by none other than The Lion King. The allusion is fitting: each song encapsulates a heroic voyage, walked alone until accompanied by kindred souls. The choirs present throughout are equally deliberate. Chithambo grew up as a choir boy himself, and several songs (notably “Maker”) grasp not only towards reconciliation between his trans identity and his parents’ strong religious beliefs, but towards reclaiming his trans identity as an essential part of his own spirituality. (“[Less] Judeo-Christian, more ‘Colours of the Wind.’”) There is a boldness to this borrowing and shaping, a resoluteness that results from passing through hardship and emerging brighter, steadier. As a closing refrain on “To Meet You There” might sum it up: “Catalyst light of mine / now is your time.”

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Giver Taker was recorded in Brooklyn, Boston, and New Hampshire by Goodman, thanks in part to the Live Arts Boston Grant by the Boston Foundation. All songs written by Anjimile Chithambo

“Maker” by Anjimile From the album, Giver Taker, out now.  released September 18th, 2020.

Indie singer/songwriter Anjimile has announced his debut album “Giver Taker”, out on September. 18th via Father/Daughter Records. The quiet, sprawling lead single “Maker” is now. Self-discovery shines through on this soft, acoustic ballad—laden with exceptional harmonies and synths. On Giver Taker, the gorgeous debut album by Anjimile, death and life are always entwined, wrapping around each other in a dance of reverence, reciprocity, and, ultimately, rebirth.

Giver Taker is confident, intentional and introspective. Anjimile Chithambo (they/them, he/him) wrote much of the album while in treatment for drug and alcohol abuse, as well as while in the process of living more fully as a nonbinary trans person. Loss hovers over the album, whose songs grieve for lost friends (“Giver Taker”) and family members (“1978”) along with lost selves (“Maker,” “Baby No More,” “In Your Eyes.”) But here, grief yields an opening: a chance for new growth. “A lot of the album was written when I was literally in the process of improving my mental health, so there’s a lot of hopefulness and wonder at the fact that I was able to survive,” says Chithambo. “Not only survive but restart my life and work towards becoming the person I was meant to be.”

Each song on the album is its own micro-journey, adding up to a transformative epic cycle created in collaboration with bandmate Justine Bowe of Photocomfort and New-York based artist/producer Gabe Goodman. “1978” and “Maker” both begin as Sufjan Stevens-esque pastoral ballads with Chithambo’s mesmerizing voice foregrounded against minimal instrumentation and swell into the realm of the majestic through the addition of warm, steady instrumentation (informed by the mix of 80’s pop and African music

Chithambo’s Malawi-born parents played around the house) and harmonies by Bowe. “In Your Eyes” starts out hushed and builds to a crescendo via a mighty chorus inspired by none other than The Lion King. The allusion is fitting: each song encapsulates a heroic voyage, walked alone until accompanied by kindred souls. The choirs present throughout are equally deliberate. Chithambo grew up as a choir boy himself, and several songs (notably “Maker”) grasp not only towards reconciliation between his trans identity and his parents’ strong religious beliefs, but towards reclaiming his trans identity as an essential part of his own spirituality. (“[Less] Judeo-Christian, more ‘Colors of the Wind.’”) There is a boldness to this borrowing and shaping, a resoluteness that results from passing through hardship and emerging brighter, steadier. As a closing refrain on “To Meet You There” might sum it up: “Catalyst light of mine / now is your time.”

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Giver Taker was recorded in Brooklyn, Boston, and New Hampshire by Goodman, thanks in part to the Live Arts Boston Grant by the Boston Foundation.
Released September 18th, 2020

All songs written by Anjimile Chithambo
Produced by Gabe Goodman & Justine Bowe

Anjimile From the album, Giver Taker, out September 18th, 2020. Father/Daughter Records

 

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Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, but ordinarily, artists who draw too hard from one source let down their own muse, and short-change the listener too. Not so Boston-based, Texas-raised Anjimile, whose debut album introduces a fully formed, confident voice – one that sounds slightly familiar.

Non-binary, trans and of Malawian heritage, this intense indie singer-songwriter identifies foremost as a Sufjan Stevens fan. Their hypnotic orchestral folk songs “Come Howling After” an unfathomable god. Like Stevens, Anjimile’s vocals can whisper, swoop and trill lines like “It’s a miracle to behold, it’s a miracle to be held in your arms”.

But derivation is not the whole story here. Tracks like “Maker” or “Ndimakukonda” boast compelling African instrumentation and cadences, putting significant stylistic space between Anjimile and Stevens. Throughout, the production – also by relative unknowns – is pin-sharp and generous. On debut album Giver Taker, released earlier this month, Anjimile charts their recovery and rebirth from both a bad relationship and addiction. “In Your Eyes” zooms the focus out a little, with the non-binary artist asking “Was my body denied?” over a soothing bed of acoustic guitars and lilting melodies.

Although the alternative take on masculinity provided by Moses Sumney might be another valid comparison, these nine songs chart Anjimile’s own self-development and recovery, both from a relationship (Baby No More, Not Another Word) and addiction; this is no one’s story but theirs.

Writing a song about a fading romance is never easy. Writing a song about a fading romance where you bear the brunt of the blame is even harder. Writing a song about a fading romance where you bear the brunt of the blame, but the song still simmers with the kind of alluring energy that makes it feel like it’s not a song about a fading romance at all feels practically impossible — but that’s exactly what Anjimile does on “Baby No More.” Anjimile first released an acoustic version of the song on his 2019 Maker Mixtape, but this new take streamlines the nimble pluck of its lead-guitar riff and buoys it with the pure dance-floor groove of shuffling drums, an elastic bass line, and some sublimely tasteful keyboard plunks. Anjimile balances the song’s bubbling energy and the suave tinge in his voice with lyrics that boast a brutally frank edge: “Am I dead? Must be dead/Am I sick in my head?/Am I wrong? Must be wrong/Best get gone/I can’t be your baby no more.”

The new track will appear on the Boston-based singer-songwriter’s upcoming album, Giver Taker, out September 18th via Father/Daughter Records. In a statement, he explained that he wrote the song a few months before getting sober, when the relationship he was in was suffering because he was no longer taking care of himself: “I quite literally felt like I was losing my mind, vis-à-vis alcoholism,” Anjimile said.

“Active alcoholism and committed romantic relationships generally do not mix well, and ‘Baby No More’ is more or less what happens when you’re not a good boyfriend,” Anjimile said. “Although it’s got a very groovy and relatively lighthearted musical vibe, some of the lyrics are quite dark.”

“Baby No More” is the second offering from Giver Taker, following, “Maker,” which was released in July. The album marks Anjimile’s label debut, though it does follow a string of independent releases he’s shared over the past few years.

Giver Taker is released on 18th September

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U2 will celebrate the 20th anniversary of All That You Can’t Leave Behind on October 20th with the release of a super deluxe edition of the album. It will be available both as single disc remaster of the original LP and a 51-track Super Deluxe box set packed with B-sides, outtakes, remixes and a complete show taped at a Boston stop on the 2001 Elevation tour.

All That You Can’t Leave Behind brought U2 back to the center of the music universe after their 1997 LP Pop underwhelmed at record stores. (They faced large sections of empty seats during some shows on the American leg of the PopMart tour.) It was the album that put the band back on the charts and heralded something of a return to form after some experimental excursions in the mid-to-late ’90s. The Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno-produced album won seven Grammy Awards including Best Rock Album, Song of the Year (“Beautiful Day”) and, for the only time in history, two consecutive Record of the Year nods (“Beautiful Day” in 2001 and “Walk On” in 2002). “Beautiful, Day,” “Elevation,” “Stuck in a Moment That You Can’t Get Out Of” and “Walk On” all became sizable worldwide hits, all reaching the Top 5 in the U.K. (with the first three going straight to No. 1 in their native Ireland), and All That You Can’t Leave Behind remains one of their biggest-selling albums.

Hit singles like “Beautiful Day,” “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” and “Elevation” helped All That You Can’t Leave Behind sell by the millions and rack up seven Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year and Record of the Year. “This is our night,” Bono said at the ceremony. “It is a very unusual emotion I am feeling. I think it is called humility.”

The Super Deluxe edition of the album will come with a 32-page hardback book, previously unseen photos by Anton Corbijn, B-sides like “Summer Rain” and “Always,” 11 remixes, 19 songs taped at their 2001 Boston concert and outtakes from the sessions, including “Levitate,” “Love You Like Mad” and “Flower Child” along with “Stateless” from the soundtrack to the Million Dollar Hotel. There’s also an acoustic version of “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of,” which they’re promoting with a new lyric video.

U2 wrapped up the international leg of their Joshua Tree tour on December 19th, 2019 with a show at DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai, India. Since then, they have focused a lot of their energy on the new SiriusXM station U2 X-Radio. They are also working on their followup to 2018’s Songs of Experience.

The set also includes a disc of B-sides and session material, and a further disc of hard-to-find or unreleased remixes. Among these bonus tracks are “Levitate,” Flower Child,” and “Love You Like Mad,” three tracks that make their wide-release physical media debut here. Prior to this set, they were only available on an iTunes-exclusive bonus album or a fan club-only CD pressing of that collections. The new 20th Anniversary box set will also feature the soundtrack stray cut “Stateless,” and a wealth of non-album tracks, including the Johnny Cash cover “Don’t Take Your Guns To Town.”

The 11-LP super deluxe set contains all the material from the 5-CD, presented in eight sleeves: one for the remastered album, another for the B-Sides and Demos disc, and a further one for the 19-track Boston set. The remixes will be spread across 5 discs, each in its own sleeve.

“We did some recording last year that got us some really great starting points and complete songs,” bassist Adam Clayton told Rolling Stone in July. “There’s an album ready to go, we’re just not quite sure when we want to press that button. When I say ready to go, I mean ready to be completed. Let’s put it that way.”

As we’ve come to expect from U2, the design of the box promises to be impressive.

‘Sun Racket’ is the brand new album from legendary Boston trio Throwing Muses, consisting of Kristin Hersh, David Narcizo and Bernard Georges. The follow up to 2013’s ‘Purgatory/Paradise’ is an outpouring of modal guitars, reverbed shapes, echoey drums and driving bass set behind Kristen Hersh’s well-thumbed notebook of storylines.
A ten-song opus of suitably wrought tales set against a wall of sound that’s at once calm and ethereal before building into glorious cacophonous crescendos. When Throwing Muses wrote their last album, they were shattered. Pieces were coming and going, elements repeating and charging the whole. “It sounded beautiful jumping around like that”. Two-minute songs reappearing as twisted instrumentals or another song’s bridge.
They mimicked the effect live which kept them on their toes. Whatever was happening was already over in other words. ‘Sun Racket’ is the opposite. It refused to do anything but sit still. It says, “sit here and deal”.
“All it asked of us was to comingle two completely disparate sonic vocabularies: one heavy noise, the other delicate music box. Turns out we didn’t have to do much. Sun Racket knew what it was doing and pushed us aside, which is always best. After thirty years of playing together, we trust each other implicitly but we trust the music more” – Kristin Hersh

New album from the legendary Boston trio consisting of Kristin Hersh, David Narcizo and Bernard Georges. Sun Racket is an outpouring of modal guitars, reverbed shapes, echoey drums and driving bass set behind Kristen Hersh’s well-thumbed notebook of storylines. A ten-song opus of suitably wrought tales set against a wall of sound that’s at once calm and ethereal before building into glorious cacophonous crescendos.

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And so, they continue. Business unusual.

Released September 4th, 2020

Anjimile Chithambo, who records as Anjimile, is on a road to self-improvement on their debut album “Giver Taker”, and their folk-pop vibrancy certainly adds to that revitalizing spirit. There’s an earthy spirituality and youthful determination, boosted by radiant vocals and lyrics of patience and compassion. One highlight “Maker” blooms with nimble, bubbly guitars and rapturous percussion—it’s a symphony of wonder as Chithambo asks, “Have you ever seen anything quite like this?” Another key track, the reflective, downtempo “In Your Eyes,” grapples with identity and acceptance: “Was my body denied? / I can’t see what’s in your eyes / No, I can’t be what’s in your eyes.” Its warm rootsiness, indie-pop vivacity and African-influenced rhythms make for an incredibly inspired first LP.

“Maker” by Anjimile From the album, “Giver Taker”, out September 18th, 2020.

On Giver Taker, the gorgeous debut album by Anjimile, death and life are always entwined, wrapping around each other in a dance of reverence, reciprocity, and, ultimately, rebirth.
Giver Taker is confident, intentional and introspective. Anjimile Chithambo (they/them, he/him) wrote much of the album while in treatment for drug and alcohol abuse, as well as while in the process of living more fully as a nonbinary trans person. Loss hovers over the album, whose songs grieve for lost friends (“Giver Taker”) and family members (“1978”) along with lost selves (“Maker,” “Baby No More,” “In Your Eyes.”) But here, grief yields an opening: a chance for new growth. “A lot of the album was written when I was literally in the process of improving my mental health, so there’s a lot of hopefulness and wonder at the fact that I was able to survive,” says Chithambo. “Not only survive but restart my life and work towards becoming the person I was meant to be.”

“Baby No More” by Anjimile From the album, Giver Taker, out September 18, 2020.

Each song on the album is its own micro-journey, adding up to a transformative epic cycle created in collaboration with bandmate Justine Bowe of Photocomfort and New-York based artist/producer Gabe Goodman. “1978” and “Maker” both begin as Sufjan Stevens-esque pastoral ballads with Chithambo’s mesmerizing voice foregrounded against minimal instrumentation and swell into the realm of the majestic through the addition of warm, steady instrumentation (informed by the mix of 80’s pop and African music Chithambo’s Malawi-born parents played around the house) and harmonies by Bowe. “In Your Eyes” starts out hushed and builds to a crescendo via a mighty chorus inspired by none other than The Lion King. The allusion is fitting: each song encapsulates a heroic voyage, walked alone until accompanied by kindred souls. The choirs present throughout are equally deliberate. Chithambo grew up as a choir boy himself, and several songs (notably “Maker”) grasp not only towards reconciliation between his trans identity and his parents’ strong religious beliefs, but towards reclaiming his trans identity as an essential part of his own spirituality. (“[Less] Judeo-Christian, more ‘Colors of the Wind.’”) There is a boldness to this borrowing and shaping, a resoluteness that results from passing through hardship and emerging brighter, steadier. As a closing refrain on “To Meet You There” might sum it up: “Catalyst light of mine / now is your time.”

Sun Racket

“Sun Racket’ is the brand new album from legendary Boston trio Throwing Muses, consisting of Kristin Hersh, David Narcizo and Bernard Georges.

The follow up to 2013’s ‘Purgatory/Paradise’ is an outpouring of modal guitars, reverbed shapes, echoey drums and driving bass set behind Kristin Hersh’s well-thumbed notebook of storylines. a ten-song opus of suitably wrought tales set against a wall of sound that’s at once calm and ethereal before building into glorious cacophonous crescendos. when Throwing Muses wrote their last album, they were shattered. Pieces were coming and going, elements repeating and charging the whole. “it sounded beautiful jumping around like that”. two-minute songs reappearing as twisted instrumentals or another song’s bridge.

They mimicked the effect live which kept them on their toes. whatever was happening was already over in other words. “Sun Racket’ is the opposite. it refused to do anything but sit still. it says, “sit here and deal”. “all it asked of us was to comingle two completely disparate sonic vocabularies: one heavy noise, the other delicate music box. turns out we didn’t have to do much. “Sun Racket’ knew what it was doing and pushed us aside, which is always best. after thirty years of playing together, we trust each other implicitly but we trust the music more” – Kristin Hersh and so, they continue. business unusual. “a ground-breaking band who changed the face of alternative music rather than follow the rule book.” Mxdwn “pioneers of the 80s/early 90s college rock sound” pitchfork “one of America’s finest guitar bands”..

Taken from the new album ‘Sun Racket’, out on Fire Records 4th September 2020.

Before the 90s. Before the internet. Before Nevermind. Back when something called “independent music” first began reaching a wider audience, through college radio, word-of-mouth, and that small “underground” record store you seem to find in every town…there was a band from Boston called Lemonheads

This Deluxe 30th Anniversary Edition of The Lemonheads ‘Lovey’. A 2xLP/CD Deluxe Book with expanded liner notes and unseen photos – this is the definitive document of Dando’s first steps towards the mainstream.
The lovingly repackaged remastered release is accompanied by a second disc, ‘Triple J Live at the Wireless’, taken from their legendary 1991 trip to Australia.

‘Lovey’was the major label debut for Evan Dando’s Lemonheads from 1990,caught up in Grunge mania and following three ramshackle punk albums that only hinted at what was to come.
‘Lovey’ includes the classic cover of Gram Parsons ‘Brass Buttons’ and fan favourites ‘Half The Time’ and ‘Stove’.
‘Live At The Wireless’ includes a cover of Big Star’s ‘Nightime’. The lovingly repackaged LP is accompanied by a second vinyl, Triple J Live at the Wireless, an unearthed radio session taken from their 1991 trip to Australia. The major label debut for Evan Dando’s Lemonheads from 1990, following three “ramshackle punk” (©Select magazine) albums for Taang! Pivoted on a more approachable set of sweet melodies still rife with punky spirit. A light and dark album, polished in the arrangements, nodding to the excess of American culture (Manson and Gummi Bears), hectoring Reagan’s drug laws (Lil’ Seed), riffing on everyday life. Remastered with a freshly-dusted off second album featuring a full radio session recorded during their trip to Australia to promote the album.

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Dando never completely abandons punk-pop but he balanced it with excursions into jangle pop and country-rock” All Music

Pivoted on a more approachable set of sweet melodies but still rife with punk spirit. Polished in the arrangements, nodding to the excess of American culture (Manson and Gummi Bears), hectoring Reagan’s drug laws (‘Lil’ Seed’) and riffing on everyday life.

Releases October 24th, 2020,

Sam Moss is a songwriter and instrumentalist based in New England. His 2018 album ‘Neon’ was acclaimed by NPR and The Boston Globe. Since 2014 he has been on the road playing hundreds of little shows around the country, and occasionally opening for folks like Joan Shelley, Diane Cluck, and Doug Paisley.

Moss plays violin on a recent duo album with guitarist Rob Noyes (‘Rob Noyes & Sam Moss’) and can occasionally be seen accompanying singer-songwriters like Kris Delmhorst and Jackson Emmer. He also carves spoons.

“Marvelous, resonating, magnetic stillness.” – Boston Globe “This fingerpicking guitar virtuoso characterizes the folk spirit in its finest sense.

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Released July 30th, 2020

The Band:
Sam Moss – Vocals, Guitars
Stephen Ambra – Cello
Michael Siegel – Bass
Benjamin Burns – Drums