Posts Tagged ‘Massachusetts’

Ever since the original Dinosaur Jr line-up reunited in the mid 2000s, they’ve been even more prolific than they were the first time around, and they continue to be consistently great, reliable lifers. You always kind of know what to expect from a new Dinosaur Jr album, and they always deliver quality stuff, “Sweep It Into Space” being no exception. There are a few unexpected moments to keep things fresh (plus production and musical contributions from Kurt Vile), but mostly it’s the Dinosaur Jr you know and love.

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Released April 23rd, 2021

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 a 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.”

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.

From the album, Giver Taker, out now. Vinyl/CD/Cassette/Digital Father Daughter Records

Underground rock festered and splintered as it spread through the U.S. in the mid-’90s, the alternative boom giving rise to microcosmic regional scenes singularly focused on feral powerviolence or screamo songs about breakfast. Boston’s Karate emerged as a force that could grip a national youth movement whose disparate tastes still commingled in the inky pages of fanzines overflowing with florid prose and on concert calendars for volunteer-run DIY spaces, community centres, and bowling alleys. In this world, Karate’s music was an enigma, one equally inviting to sneering punks and highfalutin indie-rock aficionados. Their 1996 self-titled debut, issued on Southern Records, set the standard. Lasooing together white-knuckle post-hardcore tension, sharply focused slow-core serenity, and resplendent jazz complexity, Karate eschewed settling in any one definiable style. But they certainly used the language of punk to get their point across; occasionally, guitarist Geoff Farina abandons his warm, hushed cadences for a hoarse shout that made him sound ragged, intensifying an aggression that burst out with every snaggle toothed guitar riff or drum snap that went off like canon fire. Few followed their path—but who could keep up? Karate could make pensive moods blossom into feverish rollicking (“What Is Sleep?”), gracefully tip-toe around aggressive punk explosions without getting bent out of shape (“Bodies”), and stretch out slow core’s quietest reveries till their reflective notes sound ripped from an improvisational jazz session (“Caffeine or Me?”). Karate formally introduced the trio as a vital part of an independent U.S. punk scene stubbornly flowering in the face of the major labels’ ’90s harvest. 

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Released April 1st, 2021

Over the past four years, Juliana Hatfield has kept fans engaged and intrigued as she oscillates between impassioned original releases (Pussycat, Weird) and inspired covers collections (Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John, Juliana Hatfield Sings The Police). This year she returns with her latest album of originals, “Blood”, out May 14th, 2021.

Her 19th solo studio album takes a deep dive into the dark side with a lens on modern human psychology and behaviour. “I think these songs are a reaction to how seriously and negatively a lot of people have been affected by the past four years,” says Juliana. “But it’s fun, musically. There’s a lot of playing around. I didn’t really have a plan when I started this project.”

With the pandemic limiting studio safety and availability, Juliana took the opportunity to learn to record at her Massachusetts home with recent collaborator Jed Davis assisting from Connecticut. “Usually I work in a studio,” explains Juliana. “I did more than half the work in my room—with Jed helping me to troubleshoot the technology, and helping with building and arranging some of the songs–and then I finished up with additional overdubs and mixing with engineer James Bridges at Q Division Studios in Somerville, MA.”

The first single, “Mouthful of Blood”, is gritty and abrasive yet groovy and melodic. That duality is represented throughout “Blood”. It is eminently hummable and thought-provoking. Sophisticated but catchy. Challenging but danceable.

“I always love coming up with melodies and then trying to fit words into them—it’s like doing a puzzle,” says Juliana. “And I always find places to use the Mellotron flutes and strings, on every album, because those sounds are so beautiful to me. They are a nice counterpoint to the damaged lyrical content.” 

Releases May 14th, 2021

There really aren’t many bands like Really From, whose of mix emo, math rock, jazz and more is as distinct as it is seamless, and their sound varies from song to song too. This second single from their upcoming self-titled album has more of an ethereal art pop vibe than the first single, and both are great. Drawing on influences of jazz improvisation, minimalist composition, and punk rock ethos, the Boston-based band Really From dismiss traditional genre and formulae in favour of explorative, indie rock amalgamations. Since 2014, their ever-evolving sound has incorporated stylistic touchstones from math rock to ambient, exploring themes of place, self, and culture through a dialect entirely their own. Michi Tassey (keys, synth bass) and Chris Lee-Rodriguez (guitar) exchange vocal leads regularly, shifting perspectives and ranges as their songs cascade through varied musical worlds, refracting their thematic questions concerned with intergenerational trauma, tokenism, and immigrant parenthood. Trumpeter Matt Hull and drummer Sander Bryce often take on lead voices of their own, further reconfiguring traditional notions of genre and songwriting.

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“Try Lingual,” the lead single from Really From’s self-titled and third album, sees the quartet at their most all-encompassing. Thematically, it’s an apt setting for exploring Lee-Rodriguez’s personal struggles with learning Spanish, and Tassey’s with Japanese, in order to better communicate with their families and communities. At first calm and collected, then brassy, chaotic, and disjointed, “Try Lingual” is wrought with the anxiety of struggling to keep up. Tassey and Lee-Rodriguez sing as foils to one another, as if to encourage the other to unlearn their self-blaming habits. Trumpeter Hull’s jazzy sensibility often sings in unison with his melodic counterparts, but when let loose between and around the beats, Hull’s calculated, eruptive wailing mirrors the eureka moments that abound when trying to learn a new language, as well reflecting the less conclusive and more challenging hurdles that come with learning a new tongue. Like a linguistic epiphany, new worlds are revealed. Previously impossible conversations become accessible. Yet the learning persists, and other doors remain to be opened.

Really From are especially adept at bending their somewhat unusual instrumentation of trumpet, keys, guitar, and drumset into both abstract and intentional forms. On the album’s second single, “Quirk,” a warm swell of synth welcomes listeners into a bouncing, odd-timed exploration of inherited trauma, qualities, and laughter. Underscored by JD Beck-like flourishes of drummer Sander Bryce, the opening 5/8 groove builds unpredictably, but with a precise foundation for Lee-Rodriguez’s lyrical unpacking of intergenerational trauma. While “Quirk” might not offer definitive resolution to its raised questions, its lines are punctuated with poetic acceptance—“As you sow your seed / I’ll reap from everything that stays.” “Your father knew this / your mother did too / the fault’s not on them.”

Releases March 12th, 2021

Really From is Chris Lee-Rodriguez, Sander Bryce, Michi Tassey & Matt Hull
Chris Lee-Rodriguez – Vocals, Electric Guitar, Classical Guitar
Sander Bryce – Drum Set
Michi Tassey – Vocals, Piano, Keyboard, Synth Bass (Tracks 1 and 7)
Matt Hull – Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Trombone
Sai Boddupalli – Sound Design, Programming, Synth Bass (Tracks 2, 4-6, 8), Bass Guitar (Track 3)

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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.”

http://

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.

This month I’m releasing Deadstock: Uncollected Recordings 2005 – 2020, an album gathering up the songs no one got to hear: unreleased tracks and alternate versions from six studio records and scattered sessions, that form a kind of alternate history. ‘Here’s bunch of songs so good I never put them out,’ but these are as good anything I ever wrote, and we’ve played some of them on the road for years. They didn’t make it onto albums because I still think of albums as the unit of measure, and it’s more important to me to make a record work than it is to make sure a particular song sees the light of day. They tend to find their own way out the door anyway. Deadstock isn’t a documentary, it’s an album.

It’s arranged and meant to be heard that way, with seven new original songs – and two released prior only in Europe – as well as new full-band takes of back catalogue numbers like ‘Mesa, Arizona,’ ‘Ghost Repeater,’ and ‘Pretty Hands.’ Some of these are blood relatives, like ‘Real Love,’ ‘Any Town Will Do,’ and ‘Mesa, AZ’ (three songs written in three days driving around the desert southwest before the Ghost Repeater sessions) while some show the obverse side of the coin, like ‘Cold Late Spring Bark River’ (a less austere telling of a night I wrote about in ‘Heart to the Husk’ from Horse Latitudes), and ‘Crown of Smoke,’ the present-tense companion to the narrative flashback in ‘Little Warble,’ from Blood Brothers.

There’s a song I wrote for one of my heroes, the late great Rainer Ptacek of Tucson, and a song called ‘Jacaranda’ that I wrote while driving up the 101 in California years ago, feeling lucky; there’s a song called ‘Adios Mexico’ that I co-wrote with my friend Airon Kluberton – an airplane mechanic in Talkeetna, Alaska – when I was up there on tour, and there are two songs I always loved from the Cold Satellite collaborations with poet Lisa Olstein and guitarist David Goodrich, presented in new versions. The band is mostly the one you know from the last many years (featured on the Wolves and Blood Brothers records, and on the road), and then the Iowa boys from Ghost Repeater on two tracks, plus guest appearances by Kris Delmhorst, Pieta Brown, and Caitlin Canty on backing vocals. Deadstock won’t be streaming until 12/18, but you can pre-order copies for everyone you know right damn now to get it early, and in time for the holidays. To make that decision easier, you can go listen through all sixteen tracks right now, and hear/see the full single of ‘There’s a Destruction on This Land,’ (from the Salt As Wolves sessions).

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All the older (in-print) albums from the back catalogue are available all this month 20% off, with the promo code JF2020. That’s right, I have a promo code. I’m having it tattooed on my ass. I’m not going to play a livestream concert this month, but I’ll be back in the new year to play through Blood Brothers, and maybe Deadstock too. In the meantime, keep an eye on the Store, as we’ll announce a few more things in the next few weeks. And then, if you would, please share the link for Deadstock around with your people, and add it to a playlist. I’m not hiring publicity or touring to promote this record, it’s just something to keep the party faithful amused, and a way to make a little cash in a lean year. You’re all deputized Junior Publicists now. Badges and hip boots will arrive by mail. I’m grateful to all of you out there, for taking care of each other, and for looking after us in a hard year. It’s meant the world. You’re all just aces.

Released December 18th, 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

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The first album Lou Barlow released under his own name celebrates its 15th anniversary with a 2-LP reissue, marking its domestic debut on vinyl. Housed in printed paper sleeves inside a gatefold jacket with lyrics. Includes full album download plus 8 digital bonus tracks of demos from the era. If you don’t know who Lou Barlow is, But you should, to celebrate one of indie rock’s key figures.

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All Songs by Lou Barlow except “Round-N-Round” by DeMartini/Pearcy/Crosby

EMOH, the title, was conceived by Adam Harding

released July 31st, 2020