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Show Review: Bad Sounds at The Paradise Rock Club

Hailing all the way from Bath, England, Bad Sounds have been touring as the opener for Broods since the end of March and I was able to catch their show at the Paradise Rock Club on Sunday.

Walking into the venue only 15 minutes before they started, the room was already over half full with more people coming in every minute. When Bad Sounds came onto the stage they got a pretty big welcome and really matched the energy. Their stage presence was exciting and captivating and they were clearly having a good time. The two brothers, Ewan and Callum, really play off each other and have an obvious chemistry. The songs were punchy and energetic and the sea of people only got bigger after they started.

The song “Avalanche” stood out the most for me. The lyrics were easy to hear and sing along to, as well as the fact that it was so upbeat and fun. Near the end of the set, the brothers started jumping on the backs of the guitarist and bassist, reaching around and playing the instruments themselves –which was something I’ve never seen before. All in all, the show was very entertaining and when it was over it felt too soon. It had been a half hour and I felt like I was there for 10 minutes. Their sound relies on the back bone of the drums, bass, and guitar but the synthesizers really bring a fun and interesting color to the group. Bad Sounds will be gaining a lot of new fans on this tour judging by that performance!

 

Curtis’ Prime Slices (4/13 – 4/19): Crumb, Sun Records Curated Vol. 6

Crumb – “Nina” [single] – (indie psych pop)

Crumb has been gaining a ton of attention over the past couple years. Releasing their first EP Crumb in 2016, they now rake in over 1 million listeners with some of those songs now having over 7 million streams. With the release of their new single, “Nina”, and the announcement of their debut full length album, they’ve definitely got a buzz surrounding them. This single gives off remnants of early Tame Impala psych rock which is by no means out of character. The drum beat matched with the bass part creates a trance like groove with the synth being the icing on the cake. Lila Ramani (guitar/vocals) sings a hypnotically catchy melody alongside her soft guitar playing until the very end where she drops out as the rest of the band vamps on an eery three notes. Super excited for what’s in store so check this out!

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Album Review: English Rose by Connie Constance

At only 24 years old, Connie Constance has already made quite a name for herself and is continuing to leave a lasting impression on people with her music. Originally from Watford, the British artist grew up feeling like the odd one out as a mixed-race child. Her album, English Rose, perfectly  conveys the emotions Constance was struggling with at a young age. Between emotive vocals and a diverse sound of production throughout each song, this album is definitely one you will want to dive into.

The title track takes the listener through her emotional journey of feeling like an outsider. “Constance’s should-be-definitive version takes the historically white privileging term ‘English rose’ and re-figures it as a symbol for the porous, prismatic nature of British identity,” (Owen Meyers, Pitchfork). The track is filled with beautiful vocals and piano arrangements, really conveying the sense of sadness Constance is trying to let the listeners feel.

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Show Review: Emily King Live at the Sinclair

Following the release of her long-awaited album Scenery, Emily King is currently finishing up her 2019 tour, with Boston as her third to last show.

King’s opening artist, Jennah Bell, left the audience speechless with her performance. Bell is a Berklee alumnus, which made the Boston show extra special for many of the audience members. Jennah is a singer-songwriter originally from Oakland, California. Her influences are pulled from genres such as folk, soul, R&B, hip-hop, and bluegrass. Her quirky yet fluent style of writing is both compelling and easy to listen to. Her lyrics will hit you hard, and her melodies will leave you wanting more. Not only is Jennah a monstrous musician, but her presence has a surprisingly unique calmness to it. I had the pleasure of speaking to Jennah after her set, and she shared some encouraging words with me without hesitation.

Considering that I had never seen Emily King perform live, I had no idea what to expect from this show other than the fact that it was going to be great. King opened the show with her song “Remind Me,” the first track on Scenery. The moment King strutted out on stage in a show-stopping two piece black outfit with matching sunglasses, I knew this show was going to be one I would be talking about for a while. Her energy was infectious, and everyone in the audience was jumping and dancing around from the moment the song started. Between the tasteful choreography and the tight connection between the band and background vocals, it was impossible to keep your eyes off of the stage. There was entertainment at every moment, and King did not miss one note, even when she was running and dancing around the stage.

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Show Review: Dan Mangan at Cafe 939

Award-winning Vancouver-based singer-songwriter Dan Mangan made an appearance at Cafe 939 on March 13, promoting his new album More or Less.

Mangan, who has been coming out with indie folk hit after hit since the mid-2000s, brought a more intimate, stripped-down feel to the Red Room. He didn’t really have a rigid setlist, instead he used a scrap of paper towel with several of his songs scribbled onto it in marker as a frame of reference for what songs he could play, and he had nothing to really back himself musically except his own guitar. While this did limit what songs he could play slightly, with a fair part of his repertoire having a certain level of bombast that could be difficult to capture with a simple acoustic setup, the show being set up that way felt very humble. You could tell that everyone in the room was having a very personal experience.

To me, the concert felt like a conversation or a literal “evening with” just as much as it felt like a performanceDan spent a lot of time in between songs sharing his experiences and background to his music and it felt like every song he played had a story behind it. For example, “Jude” was a song he wrote for his son, and to go along with that, he shared his experience writing it for the film Hector and The Search for Happiness.

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Featured Article: Who is Nick Hakim?

Get to know singer-songwriter Nick Hakim in advance of his solo performance at birnCORE Live, Friday, April 19 at the Red Room at Cafe 939.

Nick Hakim has made it, or at least he is on his way to making it. The 26-year-old musician and songwriter has had a unique path to get to where he is now. The Berklee graduate has reached millions of SoundCloud and Spotify users and is now signed to ATO records, which is home to the Alabama Shakes, Emily King and David Grey, to name a few. Nick’s success, however, is not by just luck. His upbringing and the struggles he faced as a teen directly lead to his raw talent and a strong drive to succeed.

Hakim’s parents emigrated from Lima, Peru, to New York City in the early ’80s after his father received a Fulbright scholarship to study economics at the New School in Manhattan. His family moved to Washington D.C. shortly after, where Hakim was born and raised. “He was surrounded by a diverse array of sounds at home,” said an interviewer from Pitchfork. “There was the Nueva cancion—political folk music—of his mother’s native Chile; ’60s and ’70s touchstones like the Beatles and Al Green; D.C. hardcore bands like Fugazi that were beloved by Hakim’s older brother—though Nick preferred the reggae-infused Bad Brains, especially since one of his teachers performed regularly with the band’s vocalist, HR; and Latino rappers like Big Pun and Fat Joe”(Moreland, assistant editor of Pitchfork).

Liv’s Prime Slices (4/6 – 4/12): Michelle Blades, The Murlocs

 

Michelle Blades – Visitor – (indie pop rock)

Michelle Blades has just released a collection of songs infused with multiple sounds of an extension of her nomadic life spent between Panama, Mexico, Florida, and France. Picking bits and pieces from each place to form Visitor, Blades fuses together a unique sound that embodies qualities of Frank Zappa in her liberty of creation and of David Byrne and Mort Garson in terms of musical experimentation. In the first song on this album, “Politik!,” she plays with language tones, wordplay and texture to create a delicious package of new vibrations for our ears. “Dr. Psych” experiments into the psych rock realm, pushing the boundary of the genres she is defying further with this release. Looking forward to hear more from Blades and can’t wait to see the different turns she takes into the sound she continues to identify with. Continue reading “Liv’s Prime Slices (4/6 – 4/12): Michelle Blades, The Murlocs”

Curtis’ Prime Slices (4/6 – 4/12): The Chats, Stef Chura

The Chats – “Pub Feed” – (punk)

This band of Aussies blew up big time when they released their hilariously catchy debut single “Smoko,” accompanied by a video that now has over 6 million views. If you haven’t seen it yet I suggest you do that ASAP. Anyway, after a year, they’ve finally released another song that is just what was expected to follow up. Following the foot steps of “Smoko,” which is slang in Australia for a smoke break, “Pub Feed” is another term for havin’ a pint with your steak, gravy, and chips at the local pub. This group a lads really know how to write good, simple punk songs that are super catchy and funny at the same time. They’ve been packing venues in Australia and are doing a small North American tour this month in only a few cities so if you’re nearby one of them you better buy a ticket!

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Q&A with Danielle Ponder

Singer-songwriter and vocal powerhouse from Rochester, NY, Danielle Ponder was kind enough to answer some questions we had for her. She, along with Nick Hakim is a featured artist at this spring’s edition of birnCORE Live on Friday, April 19 at 8:00 p.m. She will also be joining us on Saturday, April 20 for BIRN Alive at 4:00 p.m. for an exclusive interview and live set.

Interview by Liv Field

Being a strong female performing artist, what advice would you give to other aspiring female musicians when it comes to commanding a room, and not being underestimated?

D: I never think I can’t command a room I never think I am not strong. Being a woman is powerful and I carry all of that power with me on stage. I’ve never doubted it. I looks at those who came before me, Nina Simone, Lauryn Hill, Big Mama Thornton, there was nothing small about their presence

What are some of the foundational values that help you in the music industry?

D: Always create to inspire. Always create from an authentic place. Worry not about the industry just keep creating. No one can do what you do, no one.

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Liv’s Prime Slices (3/30 – 4/5): Weyes Blood, The Foreign Resort, MorMor

Weyes Blood – “Movies” – Indie

Weyes Blood (a.k.a. Natalie Mering) is soon to release a full album called Titanic Rising. She dropped a 3 track EP to raise hype for the full-length album, which includes the tracks “Movies,” “Everyday,” and “Andromeda.” This collection of songs is a beautiful sandwich of conversational songwriting that takes a different turn to pop music, commanding your mind to a broader musical realm. My favorite track is “Movies,” which starts with an arpeggiated and hypnotic scale, moving up and down followed by the haunting yet clear sound of Mering’s choral voice. Each song brings a different idea but ties together with the same foreground of the sound Mering has so meticulously claimed as her own. Her video for the track “Movies” is out now, and her full length album will be released April 5th.

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