The Beths – “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” – (indie rock)
Well as fate would have it, I have another spicy Christmas release for you all to listen to. The Beths, who put out their third album, Future Me Hates Me, just a few months ago, did up a nice cover of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” It has a really wonderful Doo-wop vibe through the start and then kicks in with a crunchy electric guitar playing the melody and eventually taking off into a Beths style solo, it quiets down and sweetly ends with the string section vamping with the band. It’s one of my new favorite versions of the classic and honestly my favorite song of the week. Put this on your next Christmas playlist!
Continue reading “Curtis’ Prime Slices (12/9 – 12/15) The Beths, Starcrawler”
When I walked into the Royale to see Tall Heights I was going in with a blank slate. I had read a brief bio and their instrumentation had piqued my interest (cello, guitar, bass, drums, synth, and trumpet). But I wasn’t too familiar with their songs or genre and I’ll tell you right now, don’t hold your breath.
I walked in just as the first opening act, folk singer-songwriter Old Sea Brigade, played their last couple songs. Next up was Frances Cone who had a very similar vibe but more electro folk. Her songs weren’t bad but really nothing to note other than that the trumpet player for Tall Heights came out to play a song with them which was a nice collaboration. Both openers didn’t have much stage presence which is a bit of a turn off for me. They also didn’t really have any hooks in their tunes, which of course isn’t necessary for every song you write but I believe every band should have those few songs that everyone can pick up the lyrics or melody in a matter of seconds. Continue reading “Show Review: Tall Heights at the Royale”
Los Straitjackets – Complete Christmas Songbook – (surf/ska)
Well it’s December 1st and you know what that means! Christmas albums coming to us from all directions. This week we got Los Straitjackets’ sweet new holiday record, Complete Christmas Songbook. Any fans of Dick Dale or Link Wray are probably going to have this on for the majority of the month. The songbook has a total of 27 tracks ranging from classics like “Frosty The Snowman” and “Jingle Bells” to brand new ones like “Holiday Twist” and “Groovy Old Saint Nick.” The sound is a nice blast from the past and it really stands out from just any other Christmas album. It’s chock full of danceable tunes that’ll be sure to liven up any holiday family gathering!
Continue reading “Curtis’ Prime Slices (12/1 – 12/8): Los Straitjackets, Sticky Fingers”
Moving Panoramas – Baby Blues [single] – (indie rock)
This week, indie rock band Moving Panoramas caught my attention with their incredibly groovy new single, “Baby Blues.” It has a great energy that reminds me of bands like Soccer Mommy and The History Of Apple Pie. This is the first single from the highly anticipated sophomore album In Two and if this is what’s to be expected, I can’t wait either. The compressed bass and drums together give the song a very driving feeling that really makes you wanna tap your feet. The melody and lyrics compliment each other nicely and get stuck in your head pretty fast. Give it a listen!
Continue reading “Curtis’ Prime Slices (11/18 – 11/24): Moving Panoramas, Theia”
Poppy – Am I A Girl? – (future pop)
Probably one of the more memorable albums of this year is Poppy’s second album Am I A Girl?. After the first record it was hard to tell where she would go stylistically and the answer is heavier and even more strange. Going track by track, each one has a distinct theme, whether it be poking fun at pop culture or even herself, they’re all adding to the robotic character that is Poppy. The Song “Time Is Up (feat. Diplo)” describes her waking up in the factory she was made in and finding herself in a dying world she doesn’t understand; eventually saying there’s no going back and that humankind will inevitably be erased. The title track then talks about her programming not being able to process whether she’s a boy or a girl despite everyone saying she’s a girl. Now, as far as genre, the album is pretty consistent. That is until the last two songs. Continue reading “Curtis’ Prime Slices (11/11 – 11/17): Poppy, Y La Bamba”
WAAX – Wild & Weak EP – (Hard Rock)
On Tuesday, female fronted hard rock band WAAX gave me a good start to my shift with their new EP, Wild & Weak. I got that excited feeling that happens when you first listen to something really good. And it happened for every song. The release holds so much energy in each track that it feels like you’re listening to a live show. The drums are well rounded and sound full, the guitars are punchy and tight, and the vocals are raw and in your face. None of these songs sound out of place or thrown in. they sound like they’ve been shedding these tunes for awhile and needless to say, it’s paid off.
Continue reading “Curtis’ Prime Slices (11/4 – 11/10): WAAX, Mike Molnar”
Big Bliss – At Middle Distance – (Post Punk)
Sliding into my DM’s this afternoon was Post Punk band Big Bliss. I seriously haven’t heard a band who nails this genre quite like they do since Interpol’s, Turn On The Bright Light’s. This being the bands first album release after only one EP and two singles, I’d say they’re at a pretty good place musically. There’s songs like “Conscious Being” that turn you into a human bobblehead and others such as “Richard Race” that make you want to aimlessly sway back and forth. Each song throws something different at you yet their sound still stays in it’s place. Straight ahead with reverb that makes it sound like an arena. Rarely does a new band strike me like this so definitely check them out.
Carbonas – Your Moral Superiors – (Punk)
Released just yesterday is a big compilation of singles and rarities from Carbonas. It’s just under a half hour but don’t worry because there’s a total of 37 tracks on this thing! Again this is the first time i’ve listened to this band and they too absolutely kill it in the genre. These guys sound like they belong in the 70’s/80’s punk scene but their first release wasn’t till 2003. Although Punk is considered a very simplistic style, I can only agree so much. Anyone can play 3 chords but it’s the emotion, anger, and attitude that’s inside the 3 chords that a lot of musicians can’t convey whatsoever. Carbonas on record, sound exactly how they would live. Raw, unapologetic, and spitting in your face.
Bleu – Love You So – (pop)
It took about 10 seconds for me to decide I needed to review this single. “Love You So” is the feel good single I’ve been so desperately waiting for this year. Written by one of Berklee’s own, Bleu (a.k.a. William James McAuley III), the songs simple chorus and infectious melody have your finger on the repeat button every time it ends. As well as the chorus, the verses are simple. With just a few words it gets across the message easily, talking about the panic of being madly in love with someone and feeling undeserving of that level of happiness. The chorus then sums it up by saying “Why do I love you so? I don’t know, but that’s all I need to know.” It’s catchy, it’s sweet, and it’s three minutes long. CHECK IT OUT!
Continue reading “Curtis’ Prime Slices (10/21 – 10/27) Bleu, Soccer Mommy”
Johnny Payne – Johnny (pop indie rock)
Something I’ve noticed about most modern pop-based groups is the lack of hooky innocence that a lot of 50’s and 60’s bands used to have. Perhaps I’m old fashioned but I love a good song about holding hands. Which is why when I heard Johnny Payne’s new EP Johnny, it was like a breath of fresh air. Known previously as the co-frontman for The Shilohs, Payne has decided to leave and pursue a career of his own. This release gives off feelings of hope as he discusses trying to find comfort in letting go of the past. Songs like “Lazy Love” and “Alice On the Other Side,” are great examples. To sum up Johnny’s sound, as described by himself, it’s chipped champagne glasses, smeared bathroom mirrors and a lone romantic standing under the disco ball waiting for a slow dance.
Continue reading “Curtis’ Prime Slices (10/13 – 10/20): Johnny Payne, Sune Rose”
By Curtis Heimburger
Last night at 10:15 on the dot, Liz Phair took the stage during her fourth to last show of her tour, as thunderous applause filled the venue. This tour being a recognition of the 25th anniversary of her influential debut album Exile In Guyville, there was no shortage of old tunes as it made up almost half of the setlist. This tour was definitely one for her fans and they couldn’t have been happier.
Before her ’93 debut release, Liz was living and playing in Chicago. At the time, the indie rock scene was heavily male dominated, making her stand out from the crowd quite a bit. Exile In Guyville was an instant hit in the underground, selling just under half a million copies in only a few years. Soon after her success, labels started signing and recording more singer-songwriter type acts that might’ve been viewed as risky before. Even today her influence is still prevalent in bands such as Snail Mail and Soccer Mommy. Continue reading “Show Review: Liz Phair at Royale”