Curtis’ Prime Slices (10/20) Bleu, Soccer Mommy

    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 3 minutes long. CHECK IT OUT!

    Soccer Mommy – Henry – (Indie Rock)

To slow it down a bit, Indie Rock star Soccer Mommy released a rerecorded version of her song “Henry” from the album For Young Hearts. Why she decided to do this I’m not quite sure but it’s a nice new take on the song. The tempo is a little slower and the instruments sound full, more so than the album version. Continuing on the topic of love, the songs protagonist discusses wanting to be closer to her lover and how he never opens up to her about most things. it’s clear to her that “Henry” will never love her like she loves him and so they go their separate ways. Accompanying her song is a slow and solemn cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire.” The cover caries the same mood and leaves you very melancholy by the end.

Jean-Michel Blais Live from the Red Room

Tune in to birnCORE Wednesday, November 28 at 8:00 p.m. for a live performance by pianist and composer Jean Michael Blais.

A Canadian pianist whose primarily improvised work recalls composers such as Erik Satie and Maurice Ravel, Jean-Michel Blais music is spontaneous and emotional rather than critical and technically precise; Often including experimental production techniques into his recordings.

Blais Grew up in Quebec and started playing organ and piano as a child. Beginning his life in the music world he began training as a classical pianist at the Trois-Rivieres Music Conservatory. However, the constraints of formal training changed his musical course, when he rediscovered his love for music while settling in Montreal.

His music is imbued with an emotional depth that belief its wordlessness. His playing and composition are poetic, with an inspired understanding of the inherent lyricism in instrumental music.

Blais’s debut album Dans ma main went on to amass 50 million streams worldwide, reaching no. 1 on billboards classical chart in Canada 14 times. This sophomore release is an expansive album of post-classical piano with strands if electronic detail, blending his conservatory skill and precise pop sensibility with synthetic accompaniment.

Click here to listen to birnCORE!

Erin’s Prime Slices (10/18): Ocean Alley, Snail Mail

Ocean Alley – Chiaroscuro (psychedelic-surf-rock / reggae)

While the instrumentation and air of this album screams rock, the vocals by lead singer, Baden Donegal, evoke more of a reggae vibe. This six-piece band from Australia has made quite the name for themselves, racking up more than 539,000 monthly Spotify listeners as well as their latest album ranking #15 on the ARIA Chart. I really like “The Comedown”, a song about waking up with a mean hangover. Overall, this is a really chill album that is easy to sway along to during any mood.

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Erin’s Prime Slices (10/11): Mountain Man, The Jack Moves

Mountain ManMagic Ship (intimate folk)

This album seems perfectly timed with the emergence of the recent fall weather, and would accompany a brisk walk under changing leaves quite nicely. The harmonies between Amelia Meath (of Sylvan Esso), Molly Erin Sarlé, and Alexandra Sauser-Monnig sound as if they are coming from one voice while the scarce accompaniment gives each the appropriate space to exist individually. Amelia Meath, specifically,  has one of the most thoughtful and genuine sounds I have heard in a while. Definitely  give this group a chance is you like Sylvan Esso – although its a bit more acoustic and bare, I think that Magic Ship by Mountain Man evokes a similar vibe vocally and aesthetically.

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Curtis’ Prime Slices (10/9 – 10/13): Johnny Payne, Sune Rose

    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 (10/9 – 10/13): Johnny Payne, Sune Rose”

Show Review: Terri Lyne Carrington with Jas & Chums

By Liv Field

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum plays host to a live monthly music series called RISE. The series, curated by Shea Rose and Simone Scazzocchio, brings pop, rock, and hip-hop artists into Calderwood Hall, a space that is usually reserved for classical music. This series is a whole new way for audiences and musicians to connect in a hall described as the Gardner’s “sonic cube.” Holding a capacity of 300 people, this space creates a unique design, allowing for an intimate connection between the performer and audience while also providing top notch acoustics and aesthetics.

This RISE showcase was headlined by Grammy Award-winning drummer, producer, and educator, Terri Lyne Carrington. Carrington is celebrating 40 years in music. She played her first show at ten years old and was considered a “kid wonder” in publications such as People, Ebony, and Modern Drummer. She has worked with several luminary artists including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Al Jarreau, Esperanza Spalding and many more. She attended Berklee on a full scholarship, then ventured to New York City and LA where she was a drummer for late-night TV on the Arsenio Hall Show and Quincy Jones’s VIBE TV. Continue reading “Show Review: Terri Lyne Carrington with Jas & Chums”

Show Review: Liz Phair at Royale

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”

Curtis’ Prime Slices (10/2 – 10/6): Hotel Mira, Husky Loops

     Hotel Mira – Hotel Mira EP – (Modern Rock)

Having been a fan of these guys ever since they started (originally under the name JPNSGRLS), I was very excited when I saw their newest EP pop into my E-mail. Hailing from Vancouver, BC, my very own hometown, Hotel Mira are nothing less than a power house band. They kick down the door and have everyone on their feet after the first song. The main thing I love about everything they put out is their wanting to convey a message and not revert to typical bubblegum lyricism. The first single, “3AM Lullaby,” seems to have an overarching theme of the pain in trying to find a comfortable life. Most kids live a pretty sedated life growing up with not a whole lot of responsibility other than school. Getting thrown into the open world with little training is scary for most and the urgency to get back to a stress free life can be overwhelming. Now go relax check this EP out!

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Erin’s Prime Slices (10/4): Hippo Campus, Cumulus

Hippo CampusBambi (indie/alternative rock)

Opening with an atmosphere of spacey synths, droning strings, and harmonious vocals that I can only describe as a barbershop-quartet-of-the-future, Hippo Campus has truly thrown their fans a curveball with their latest album Bambi. While in the past, the band has been more focused on having fun and creating for the sake of creating, it seems this latest project has taken a more meaningful and concrete form. Overall, if you have jammed to Hippo Campus in the past, I think it is important that you get to know this album. Hippo Campus has shown the world another side of themselves that I hope they continue to explore in the future.

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birnCORE Live featuring Margaret Glaspy at the Red Room on 10/20

Tickets are now on sale for birnCORE Live featuring ATO recording artist, Margaret Glaspy! birnCORE Live is the BIRN’s annual live music party hosted at the Red Room at Cafe 939. Past artists have included Kaki King, and Taylor McFerrin.

Glaspy will perform an intimate solo show in support of her latest EP, Born Yesterday. The new EP, is a bookend to her lauded 2016 debut LP, Emotions and Math (ATO Records). Emotions and Math was featured on many year-end lists from prominent publications when it was released in 2016, including the New York Times, NPR Music, Billboard, Mother Jones, and more. Glaspy toured the record intensely, playing countless shows throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.

Touring was the catalyst that led to the writing of the new songs. “I wrote these songs on the road, in my hotel, on the plane, and at soundcheck,” said Glaspy. “They were the product of the little time that I had to myself—three songs about different sides of love: love gone wrong, love gone right, and love at a distance.” Glaspy self-produced the EP, which frames these love stories in catchy choruses, dark harmony, and her ever-evolving sense of the electric guitar. Her finely tuned ear for production and tone shine on Born Yesterday.

birnCORE Live takes place on Saturday, October 20 at 8:00 p.m. Admission is $20, with student discounts available, and can be purchased here.