Featured Interview: BIRN Station Manager, Pooja Aggarwal

Pooja Aggarwal is a Professional Music major at Berklee and the current station manager at the BIRN. She is in her last semester of Berklee and graduating in December. I got the chance to sit down with Pooja a couple of weeks ago and asked her a few questions about her time at Berklee, her goals, and her post-grad plans.

Pooja is from Montville, New Jersey and is a voice principal. She has been singing all of her life, and always knew singing was something she was passionate about. Her parents signed her up for voice lessons when she was eight, and after that, she continued to sing and perform all throughout middle and high school. She was in her school’s theatre program and both a cappella and choir groups in high school.

Berklee actually wasn’t Pooja’s first choice for after high school, she started off her college experience at Boston University studying nutrition. Soon after arriving at BU she realized that she missed having music in her life and that studying nutrition wasn’t what she was most passionate about. Pooja then applied to Berklee as her only transfer option and got accepted. She transferred to Berklee during her second year in college. Continue reading “Featured Interview: BIRN Station Manager, Pooja Aggarwal”

Curtis’ Prime Slices (10/28 – 11/3) Big Bliss, Carbonas

     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.

Erin’s Prime Slices (10/28-11/3): Valley Maker, Ian Sweet

Valley Maker – Rhododendron (indie / folk rock)

This album is lyrically intricate while also maintaining an airy atmosphere that is easy to listen to casually. Austin Crane, the man behind Valley Maker, named the album after “the common plant which springs up in both Crane’s native south and his current home in Washington” –  a metaphor that is very central to the overall theme of each song and transition. It is honestly hard to pick favorites on this one, so just chill out and listen to the whole album whenever you get the chance.

Continue reading “Erin’s Prime Slices (10/28-11/3): Valley Maker, Ian Sweet”

Curtis’ Prime Slices (10/21 – 10/27) 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 three minutes long. CHECK IT OUT!

Continue reading “Curtis’ Prime Slices (10/21 – 10/27) Bleu, Soccer Mommy”

Erin’s Prime Slices (10/21 – 10/27): Ocean Alley, Snail Mail

Ocean AlleyChiaroscuro (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.

Continue reading “Erin’s Prime Slices (10/21 – 10/27): Ocean Alley, Snail Mail”

Erin’s Prime Slices (10/13 – 10/20): 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.

Continue reading “Erin’s Prime Slices (10/13 – 10/20): Mountain Man, The Jack Moves”

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!

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

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.