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”
I was really happy to catch this performance Tuesday night at the Sinclair. I got there early enough to hear the very first openers, Halfsour, a three piece classic indie rock band. Front woman, Zoë Wyner, doubled on vocals and bass, speaking for the band but making it clear that talking in between songs was her least favorite part of being on stage. They were a pretty quirky little trio and had a great set, but their level of quirk was nothing in comparison to the next band, Palberta.
Palberta was peculiar and off beat, but completely on brand. All three members switched instruments multiple times which kept the audience on the edge of their seats (in a general admission standing room). They conversed with the audience like they were making weird small talk with a stranger in an elevator, but everyone laughed through the uncomfortableness and seemed to enjoy the bands personality and overall sound. Continue reading “Show Review: Speedy Ortiz at the Sinclair – 11/27”
Since this week will be cut short by Thanksgiving, I only had one prime slice pick: Speedy Ortiz’s newest album Twerp Verse. Although beginning the recording process all the way back in the fall of 2016, the band decided to rethink a lot after election day (for obvious reasons). As a band that prides themselves on releasing politically driven music from their very first project, Speedy Ortiz felt that they couldn’t release some of the tracks that had focused on more frivolous topics. The title “Twerp Verse” is a phrase coined by front woman Sade Dupius to describe “when a musician guests on a track and says something totally outlandish – like a Lil Wayne verse – but it becomes the most crucial part.” This album acts as one big “Twerp Verse” for Speedy Ortiz, holding some pretty substantial messages about the struggles faced in the current, skewed world we live in.
Continue reading “Erin’s Prime Slice (11/25-12/1): Speedy Ortiz”
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”
Rose Droll – Your Dog (singer-songwriter)
The only reason I classified this album as “singer-songwriter” is because I could not think of a single other way to fully encapsulate all that I was hearing. It begins with a bass line reminiscent of Lou Reed’s “Take a Walk on the Wild Side,” accompanied by a looping drum machine and breathy background vocals. The second track, “Hush” completely caught me by surprise by opening with a line from “This Little Light of Mine,” followed by some seriously cutting rap verses spoken in an almost whisper. This album is seriously unique and, to top it all off, Rose played every single instrument on the record. The lyrics are complex and completely honest, but definitely require a few listens to fully unpack.
Continue reading “Erin’s Prime Slices (11/18-11/24): Rose Droll, Maiah Manser”
Filing in from around both sides of the sidewalk were mostly young girls excitedly anticipating the show at the Sinclair last Wednesday, November 7. Although I think the hype in the air was mainly for the headliner, MAX (best known for his song “Lights Down Low”), I was there to see the first opener, EZI. EZI is a younger artist who just released her first EP, Afraid of the Dark, this year. She is a former Nickelodeon star that rebranded herself after being selected as the very first artist signed to Steve Madden’s 5Towns Record label, and she’s been putting out some pretty awesome tunes ever since.
Continue reading “Show Review: EZI at the Sinclair – 11/7”
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”
New York based electro-pop duo Overcoats, consisting of singer-songwriters Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell, perform their originals “I Don’t Believe in Us” and “Walk On” on BIRN Alive.
Check out this intimate session with the two talented artists and see more videos on the berkleebirn YouTube channel.
Joji – BALLADS 1 (dark electro pop)
After receiving this album in my inbox, I suddenly started seeing a ton of Spotify video ads promoting Joji. Although I had already given each track a brief listen, like any good millennial, I decided to revisit the album after realizing people online thought it was a big deal. And it totally is! BALLADS 1 opens alternating between a simple piano line and distorted heavy bass in its first track “ATTENTION” grabs just that from the listener. “CAN’T GET OVER YOU (feat. Clams Casino)” is super unique, relatable lyrically, and probably one of my favorite tracks off of the album. Definitely check out Joji and keep up with him as I am sure this is not the last we will hear from him. Besides, when is the last time you listened to an album with song titles in all caps that didn’t turn out to be a complete success??
Continue reading “Erin’s Prime Slices (11/11 – 11/17): Joji, Charles Bradley”
Folk-rock violinist, vocalist, and songwriter Aisha Burns stopped by the BIRN studios recently for a live performance and interview.
Burns was raised in Texas and is now based in Massachusetts. She began her journey in the folk-rock world in 2005 and was touring and recording by 2006. Aisha released Life in the Midwater, her debut album, in 2013, and this May released Argonauta. NPR points out the “delicate intimacy” of her music while Dazed Magazine describes the works in Life in the Midwater as “twisting, ethereal, and arresting.”
BIRN Alive is home to great live performances and insightful conversation every Saturday at 4:00 p.m. EST on BIRN1.