blog

Liv’s Prime Slices (4/20 – 4/26): Wand, Amyl and The Sniffers

Wand – Laughing Matter – psych rock

The band Wand releases their album Laughing Matter and it is a haunting collection of songs that is marked by the confidence and fervor of a band that has grown together throughout the years of dedicated jamming, recording, and touring across the world. Having already released four records, Laughing Matter takes an obvious turn with the more ambient and synthetic songs. Yet it’s still keen to their hand-crafted rock ‘n’ roll sound they have so meticulously crafted, creating a different atmosphere that highlights the changes this band has gone through. My favorite tracks off the album are “Scarecrow” and “Wonder.” “Scarecrow” starts the album with their classic psych rock feel, but infused with sounds of Radiohead, giving it an unworldly sound. “Wonder” starts out with a heavy distorted guitar, giving it that gritty rock texture, with a powerful melody, reminds me I’m listening to true rock stars. Wand says, “Laughing Matter is a record about love in a time of terror; it calls you down from panic room labyrinths, to work the deep tissue of unraveling trauma we all carry so dear.”

Continue reading “Liv’s Prime Slices (4/20 – 4/26): Wand, Amyl and The Sniffers”

Video: Tow’rs play BIRN Alive

The Flagstaff, AZ, band Tow’rs stopped by the BIRN studios to play two of their intimate originals “Holy Water” and “The Kitchen.” Band members Kyle Miller, Gretta Miller, Kyle Keller, and Dan Bagley found each other through their deep love of music and storytelling, exploring the questions that haunt us, the pain that marks us, and the hope that redefines everything.

BIRN Alive is home to great live performances and insightful conversation every Saturday at 4:00 p.m. EST on BIRN1.

Listen to Valley Maker, The Palms and Anna Clendening this week on the BIRN!

Tune in to the BIRN for a full week of outstanding live events and special programming.

On Monday, April 22, the monthly Roots Roadshow returns to the Red Room at Cafe 939. The April edition of this celebration of America’s musical heritage features Ariel Wyner, vocalist, mandolinist and founding member of Boston based bluegrass band Ruta Beggars. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. and you can stream it here.

Los Angeles-based band The Palms drops by the Red Room at Cafe 939 on Wednesday, April 24, in the midst of a 12 show North American tour to support their brand new independent release, Televised Daydream. Tune in for a night of psych pop, with a side of hip-hop and folk. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. and you can stream it here.

On Thursday, April 25, the Red Room plays host to two great performers as Greg Holden and Ben Thornewill grace the stage. Holden is a celebrated LA-based singer-songwriter that has placed songs in shows including Sons of Anarchy, Private Practice, and One Tree Hill. Thornewill is the pianist and voice for popular Washington, D.C. trio Jukebox the Ghost. Tune in at 8:00 p.m. to stream the show here.

Continue reading “Listen to Valley Maker, The Palms and Anna Clendening this week on the BIRN!”

Curtis’ Prime Slices Of The Week (4/20 – 4/26): Courtney Barnett, Field Medic

Courtney Barnett – “Everybody Here Hates You” [Single] – (indie rock)

Courtney Barnett is one of those artists that when you thought they couldn’t possibly release another awesome song they seriously surprise you. This song fits right in with her other repertoire and is just as catchy. Courtney sings with that typical, tired and lazy sound through the entire song which seems to give the song a lot more personality. The song is about the paranoia of everyone you’re around hating you. Courtney answers the song title in the chorus, “you said, ‘it’s only in your head, they’re probably thinking the same thing.'” The music video also plays with that idea, as the majority of it is the band playing inside of her own head. The guitar solo that ends the song is very swampy and messy; going wild on her whammy bar and open strumming. The song gets stuck in your head like all her other songs so check it out!

Continue reading “Curtis’ Prime Slices Of The Week (4/20 – 4/26): Courtney Barnett, Field Medic”

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!

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

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.

Continue reading “Album Review: English Rose by Connie Constance”

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.

Continue reading “Show Review: Emily King Live at the Sinclair”

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.

Continue reading “Show Review: Dan Mangan at Cafe 939”

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).