Saturday
Jun262010

Festival Express: New England summer music festivals

As June rolls into July the temperatures are warming up and it's finally festival season in New England.  There's no massive festival to rival Bonnaroo or Coachella, but that doesn't mean there aren't world class festivals in our neck of the woods.  Below is a roundup of just a few that we're looking forward to - check back throughout the summer for full coverage of each, including previews (with free downloads) and post-festival recaps with photos, video and - in some cases - live audio.

Nateva Music & Camping Festival
When:  July 2-4
Where:  Oxford, ME
Tickets:  $89 / $229  BUY HERE
Bands:  FURTHER, THE FLAMING LIPS, SHE & HIM, PASSION PIT, GRIZZLY BEAR, DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS, GEORGE CLINTON, THE FELICE BROTHERS, YOU CAN BE A WESLEY, BRENDA, MAGIC MAGIC and more

Free track:  Magic Magic - Jellyfish

 

 

Green River Festival
When:  July 17-18
Where:  Greenfield, MA
Tickets:  $39.95 / $59.95  BUY HERE
Bands: CALEXICO, OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW, ALLEN TOUSSAINT, CAKE, THE FELICE BROTHERS, THE LOW ANTHEM, DAVID WAX MUSEUM, RED STICK RAMBLERS, CHATHAM COUNTY LINE, JOY KILLS SORROW and more

Free track:  The David Wax Museum - Colas

 

 

Newport Folk Festival
When:  July 30-August 1
Where:  Newport, RI
Tickets:  $69 / $125  BUY HERE
Bands:  LEVON HELM, JOHN PRINE, THE AVETT BROTHERS, ANDREW BIRD, THE SWELL SEASON, SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS, YIM YAMES, THE LOW ANTHEM, JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE, DAWES, BLITZEN TRAPPER and more

Free track:  The Low Anthem - Home I'll Never Be (Live in Boston)



Solid Sound Festival (curated by Wilco)
When:  August 13-15
Tickets:  $91  BUY HERE
Bands:  WILCO, JEFF TWEEDY (SOLO), THE NELS CLINE SINGERS, ON FILLMORE, AUTUMN DEFENSE, VETIVER, MAVIS STAPLES, AVI BUFFALO, MOUNTAIN MAN, BRENDA, TODD BARRY, KRISTEN SCHAAL and more

Free track:  Jeff Tweedy - Bob Dylan's 49th Beard (Live in Northampton)

 

Monday
Jun212010

New music: Soft Pyramids

  

Soft Pyramids hail from our neighbor to the north, Cambridge MA.  Not a hard sell here - they make catchy garage-pop, and they're giving away their demo for free here.  If you're still not convinced, check out a free track below:

Soft Pyramids - Howling at the Moon

Monday
Jun212010

Vote for David Wax Museum to play the Newport Folk Festival!

For those of you who have daydreamed about curating your own music festival - here's your chance (kind of).  Magic Hat has teamed up with the Newport Folk Festival for a contest that lets fans select one of the bands that will play at the festival later this summer.  From over 150 submissions, three bands were selected as finalists - and it just so happens that visible voice favorite The David Wax Museum are one of the three!

The David Wax Museum's organic Mexo-Americana sound suits the festival perfectly, and they put on one of the most energetic and fun live shows I have ever seen - they will undoubtedly win over many new fans if given the chance to play Newport.  Check out a free track from their fantastic record Carpenter Bird:

David Wax Museum - Colas

Of course, feel free to vote for whoever you like - but my vote and full support goes to DWM.  It takes only a minute to vote, let your voice be heard:  http://magichat.net/opener/voting

Then, once you've voted, make sure you have tickets to the festival.  Avett Brothers, Swell Season, Levon Helm, Yim Yames, John Prine, Justin Townes Earle, Dawes, and many more.  Get tickets here

 

While we're on the topic of David Wax Museum, check out this fantastic video from a house show a couple months ago, courtesy of kitchensessions.net

Friday
Jun182010

Preview: Brenda "Silver Tower"

      

Brenda makes classic, American indie rock - and they do it well.  The Portland Maine band caught a huge break when Jeff Tweedy took a liking to their still yet-to-be-released debut record, Silver Tower, landing them a spot on the bill for the Wilco-curated Solid Sound Festival.  After spending a few days with the record, I know what Tweedy sees in these guys.

Silver Tower owes a heavy debt to 90s indie rock.  Packed with guitar hooks, bouncy bass lines and major-chord progressions, it's obvious that these guys have worn out their Pavement and Guided By Voices records.  But, that's just one of many influences at play here - there are also hints of folk-rock, power-pop, and 60s pop melodies.  Ghandi and Intro (the curiously named fifth track) are soaring anthems that wouldn't sound out of place on a Band of Horses record.  Pill Hill starts with a frenetic guitar and hi-hat attack before suddenly changing into a meandering, mellow jam.  Across The Bay is a swaggering slow burn that breaks down, finds a tight groove and then builds to a distorted, discordant finish.  It's this build and release that makes Silver Tower so dynamic and so interesting - just when the band settles into a groove they shake things up and take a new direction.  Despite the laid-back vibe, the band is tight and musicianship is fantastic.  

There's a lot to like on Silver Tower; you will probably hear pieces of a lot of your favorite bands in these songs, yet they still sound fresh and new.  This is elemental indie rock, music for record junkies - my kind of music.  Highly recommended. 

The first two tracks off Silver Tower are available for stream and download below, along with a great video for Blackout:

Brenda - State Lines
Brenda - Blackout

Silver Tower is out on Mckeenstreet Music on July 29th.  Catch Brenda at the Nateva Festival in Maine on July 3rd and at Wilco's Solid Sound Festival in western Mass in August.

Wednesday
Jun162010

New music: Peter Wolf Crier "Inter-Be", live review

Peter Wolf Crier at Great Scott in Allston (6.14.10)

Peter Wolf Crier is just a duo, but they make a very big sound.  Their debut record Inter-Be, recently re-released by Jagjaguwar, has totally knocked me out.  At the core these are organic folk songs influenced by early rock n' roll, soul and Phil Spector's wall-of-sound - the lazy comparisons are M. Ward or Bon Iver (especially considering Peter Pisano's bell-clear falsetto).  However, drummer Brian Moen's dynamic percussion shares the spotlight here, adding another dimension to these songs.  Like The Dodos and Local Natives, rhythm is at the forefront - adding texture and propulsion to the songs.  Enjoy the first two tracks off of the fantastic Inter-Be here:

Peter Wolf Crier - Crutch and Cane
Peter Wolf Crier - Hard As Nails

Before Monday's show at Great Scott, I was curious how the duo would be able to pull the songs off live.  When the pair opened with Crutch and Cane the answer was obvious - the songs sounded even better live.  More intensity, percussion even more upfront, and an incredibly layered sound made possible by bass pedals and vocal looping.  Don't miss Peter Wolf Crier when they open for Heartless Bastards at the Middle East on July 17. 

Sunday
Jun132010

New music: The Young Veins "Cape Town"

    

I thought it appropriate to post this track from the The Young Veins as the World Cup is getting underway in South Africa.  The band formed when Ryan Ross and Jon Walker defected from emo-pop band Panic! at the Disco, citing creative differences.  The music is retro garage-pop and the songs tend to be a bit more rough-around-the-edges than their previous band (in a good way).  "Cape Town" sounds to me what like Vampire Weekend might sound like if they listened to more Kinks than Peter Gabriel and Paul Simon.

The Young Veins - Cape Town

Friday
Jun112010

New Music: Deer Tick "The Great Smoke Off" + live bonus tracks


Deer Tick's newly released Black Dirt Sessions delivers another solid album of raw, shambolic bar-band-roots-rock.  When my limited edition vinyl arrived today, I found an unexpected bonus CD with the curious title "The Great Smoke Off".  Turns out that it's a hilarious story song about a Yankee Stadium ganja showdown.  It's completely ridiculous, but also a lot of fun.

Deer Tick - The Great Smoke Off

Also including a few tracks from Deer Tick's recent set opening for Dr. Dog at the Paradise.  This is a soundboard recording, but the quality is sub-par due to almost no guitar going through the soundboard at all, which is why I'm only posting a few select tracks.  Included is a great new MG&V song "Me Me Me", two brand new Deer Tick songs (not included on Black Dirt Sessions) and a great version of Diamond Rings from War Elephant, performed by John McCauley solo.

Me Me Me (MG&V)
New Song? (Ian O'Neil on vocals)
Born At Zero (new song)
Diamond Rings (John solo)

Newly remastered and fantastic-sounding recording of Dr. Dog's set from the same night is available here.

Thursday
Jun102010

New music: if and it "Cicada Sunset"

"Cicada Sunset" from Portland's if and it is a beautiful slice of folk-pop that is perfectly suited for the warm summer nights that lie ahead.  The simplicity of the song is what makes it work so well - fingerpicked acoustic guitar, shuffling percussion and singable lyrics.  A perfect campfire song.

if and it - Cicada Sunset

Get if and it's fantastic new record Buffalo Heart here - highly recommended.

 

Tuesday
Jun082010

visible voice goes to Sasquatch

 

visible voice has returned from the Sasquatch Music Festival, and it has to rank as one of the greatest weekends of my life.  As festivals go, it was like a smaller, indie-er Bonnaroo -- but the breathtaking views made it completely surreal.  While I went primarily as a fan, I vowed to return with some content for the site.  My photos somehow didn't really capture the atmosphere of the festival (those two above might be the best of the bunch), so I decided to put together a roadtrip video.  I hope you enjoy:



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