New release: Woods - At Echo Lake


Lots of heavyweights on the "New Release" racks this week.  Broken Social Scene, Josh Ritter, The New Pornographers, The Hold Steady, etc.  However, the release that I'd like to focus on is Woods' At Echo Lake.  The songs that comprise At Echo Lake pick up where 2009's Songs of Shame left off - psych jams built on blues, country and pop foundations.  They continue to have a knack for writing songs that sound tossed-off at first glance, but reveal depth with each listen.  Folk songs with filthy blues guitar licks, sludgy jams laced with pop melodies - this is right in my wheelhouse.

After a few listens, Suffering Season is one of my favorites from At Echo Lake - enjoy and please support Woods:

Woods - Suffering Season


Kitchen Sessions #1: The David Wax Museum

Kitchen Sessions is the brainchild of visible voice contributor Steve Legare.  The idea is simple; great bands playing intimate house shows, filmed for all the world to enjoy.  Good deal.   

The first installment of Kitchen Sessions features the great David Wax Museum.  This amazing content comes courtesy of Kitchen Sessions - check out kitchensessions.net for more videos.  Also, huge thanks to guest contributor Maria Cristina Romero!


Combining many musical styles can be tricky, often resulting in mimicry, identity failure, or at worst, a total sonic nightmare. The David Wax Museum, however, pulls it off with seemingly effortless skill. Emerging at a time when indie roots-rock groups are a dime a dozen, the Boston-based band is an exciting exception, melding rural Mexican melodies with Mid-western folk. I was fortunate enough to experience this unique sound first-hand when The David Wax Museum brought its unparalleled musical chemistry into my living room last March.

Having heard only a few tracks off of the sextet’s second album, Carpenter Bird (September 2009), I didn’t know what to expect when Steve Legare, my housemate and Visible Voice contributor, told me the band would be coming to our apartment. Legare met Missouri-bred front man, David Wax, in February after an exuberant set at a sold-out Club Passim. When Legare invited Wax into our kitchen, he enthusiastically agreed. Just days later, The David Wax Museum was in our home, serving up its refreshing blend of Mexo-American roots-rock to an audience of intimate friends and new acquaintances.

Wax and Co. transformed the 15 x 24 living room with their effortless and ebullient play.  David stirred and strummed his guitar (and jarana), as Suz Slezak’s effervescent fiddling and occasional donkey jawbone rattling added melody and texture. Wax’s cousin and fellow Missourian, Jordan Wax, added extra flavor on accordion while Jiro Kobuko delivered masterful solos on the mandolin and dobro. With a set ranging from folk ballads to Andean-inspired chants, the foursome showcased its Latino alt-folk fusion, and left our eager ears wanting more. Despite being short two members—percussionist Greg Glassman and bassist Mike Roberts—the Wax Museum put on an unforgettable performance. Drawing us in with honey-smooth harmonies in “Beekeeper,” bringing us to our feet with “Colas,” and haunting us with hearty howls in “Unfruitful,” the band left with a roomful of Somerville fans that night. The evening culminated in the countrified son jarocho-inspired title track, “Carpenter Bird.” Jordan filled in for Glassman, the featured percussionist and vocalist on the album version, and the band performed beautifully, belting out verses from atop chairs scattered throughout the audience.

Using call-and-response techniques and an array of instruments, the group creates an engaging and authentic sound that is difficult to compare. Nestled somewhere in between Hank Williams and Calexico, The David Wax Museum carves an untapped niche for its distinct style. With more son influence than mariachi, and a lot more fiddle, “Boston’s homegrown answer to Calexico” (The Bostonist) effectively sets itself apart. What Wax lacks in natural fluency he makes up for with his smart lyrics and his infectious energy. Being tagged “one of Boston’s hottest new bands” is no easy feat, but The David Wax Museum lives up to its hype. See for yourselves this Sunday, May 2nd when the band returns to Club Passim in Harvard Square with Jiro Kokubu, Greg Glassman, and Mike Roberts. 

- Maria Cristina Romero

The David Wax Museum also play a free show in Harvard Square tomorrow (5/2) as part of the Harvard Square MayFair, and have a busy summer with many dates in the area.  Check out their full tour schedule here 


Si Te Vas

More videos at kitchensessions.net



New Music:  Phosphorescent

I've now heard two tracks from Phosphorescent's upcoming LP Here’s To Taking It Easy, and both have knocked me out.  It's Hard To Be Humble (When You're From Alabama) is propelled by a bouncy bass line and horn section.  The Mermaid Parade, on the other hand, rambles along at a more laid back pace - sounding like a Basement Tapes or American Beauty outtake, guitar licks dancing with honky tonk piano. 

The Mermaid Parade
It's Hard To Be Humble (When You're From Alabama)

Here's To Taking It Easy is out May 11 on Dead Oceans.  You can pre-order CD and vinyl here


Recommended: Wooden Dinosaur

This post has been a long time coming.  Nearly Lost Stars, the debut album from Vermont's Wooden Dinosaur, is one of my favorite albums of the year so far.  Michael Roberts' timeless lyrics are the centerpiece of these folk songs, but the band's interesting arrangements help flesh things out.  Horns, bells, banjo and strings add color to the sepia-toned fingerpicked acoustic guitar that forms the base of these songs.  Highly recommend checking this out - buy the record here, or check out more tracks on their myspace

One of many favorites from the album:

Wooden Dinosaur - Can't Be Me

The band plays All Asia in Cambridge on May 21.  Look for more on Wooden Dinosaur on visible voice soon.


The Low Anthem: Paradise Boston 4.20.10

I have seen The Low Anthem many times over the past year and while they are always great, Tuesdays show was on a different level.  I stood in shock, completely captivated by songs both old and new - this is a special band, and they seem to be hitting their stride.

The Low Anthem have come a long way (literally) since they last played the Paradise, when they played to a half-empty club in support of Blind Pilot last November.  Shortly after that show they embarked for London to play to a national audience on Jool's Holland.  In the months since, they have opened for Josh Ritter and The Avett Brothers, toured both sides of the Atlantic as headliners and holed up in a former pasta sauce factory to record their hightly-anticipated follow-up to 2009's Oh My God, Charlie Darwin.  Now they've returned to the road to test out the new songs.  As the band huddled around a single mic in the center of the stage on Tuesday night, I couldn't help but draw comparisons to Neil Young at Massey Hall in 1971 playing unknown classics to an awestruck audience.

As Ben Knox Miller's lyrics tumbled from the stage they were completely new, yet felt somehow familiar.  The new songs seemed more personal than the timeless parables that comprised Charlie Darwin.  The arrangements and delivery were both measured yet felt off-the-cuff, and nothing distracted from the songs. The older songs were played with confidence, fleshed by multi-instrumentalist Mat Davidson - the newest addition to the band.  The set was well-paced - folk songs were punctuated by electric blues romps, new songs intermingled with old favorites and everything flowed perfectly.  This is a band that seems in complete control; I'm grateful to have followed their arc, and I'm excited to see what comes next.

Full soundboard recording of the Paradise show is available for stream and download.  Sound is pristine - thanks to taper Steve Legare, the sound guy at the Paradise and, of course, The Low Anthem for making this fantastic recording possible.  Enjoy, and please support the band by visiting their site and buying their music

The Low Anthem

Paradise Rock Club - Boston MA
April 20, 2010

Cage The Songbird
Ticket Taker
Sally Where'd You Get Your Liquor From *
To The Ghosts Who Write History Books
Ghost Woman Blues
Charlie Darwin
Home I'll Never Be **
Cigarettes, Whiskey & Wild, Wild Women ^
Maybe So
This God Damn House
Don't Let Nobody Turn You Around %
Ain't No More Cane %
Dreams Can't Chase You Down
Love And Altar
I'll Take Out Your Ashes

* - Rev. Gary Davis
** - Jack Kerouac
^ - Jim Croce
% - Traditional

Full set downloads:  mp3 zip (new link) | FLAC zip (362MB)

The Low Anthem are back in the area this summer for the Green River and Newport Folk festivals


Recommended: Annie & The Beekeepers

Last night's Low Anthem show at the Paradise was one of those special nights where everything just fell into place perfectly.  The Low Anthem delivered a mesmerizing and heartfelt performance, but what made the night extra-special was the quality of the opening acts.  Visible Voice favorites David Wax Museum played a fantastic, energetic set and Annie & The Beekeepers started the night out with a excellent set of folk songs, highlighted by Annie Lynch's honest lyrics and complimented by upright bass, banjo and cello. 

Full show reviews (+ incredible audio!) for both The Low Anthem and David Wax Museum are coming very soon - but in the meantime check out the following track from Annie & The Beekeepers, and pick up the band's most recent EP here.  Enjoy!

The Wine Song

Annie & The Beekeepers are back in Boston at the Hyatt Regency for a Mother's Day brunch show with Ollabelle on May 9.  Get tickets here


The Morning Benders: TT's Cambridge 4.17.10


The Morning Benders released one of my favorite records of 2010 so far in Big Echo.  The record is full of big ideas executed beautifully, and it has a sheen and prettiness that would turn me off if the songs were anything but perfect - which they are.  It is a near-perfect pop record.

My expectations were high for their show at TTs last night - and all things considered, they delivered.  The band was tight, charismatic and sounded great.  Compared to Surfer Blood, a band which I had similarly high hopes for, The Morning Benders were heads and shoulders above.  However, the encore-less set came in at a disappointingly short 50 minutes.  9 of the 10 tracks on Big Echo were played - only the Grizzly Bear-esque closing track Sleeping In was missing.  While I expected the set to be heavy on Big Echo material, I was surprised that debut Talking Through Tin Cans was completely ignored.  A headlining set that comes in under an hour is disappointing, especially for a band with two albums under their belt.  Overall, though, the quality of the songs and performance far outweighed the negatives.

Full set is available for stream/download below - sound on this one is very good, thanks to excellent sound in the club.  No photos or videos this time due to some technical difficulties.  Enjoy and please support The Morning Benders by buying their music

The Morning Benders
TT The Bears - Cambridge MA
April 17, 2010

Wet Cement
Cold War (Nice Clean Fight)
Pleasure Sighs
Hand Me Downs
Mason Jar
All Day Daylight

Full set download (mp3 zip)


Record Store Day is TOMORROW (4/17)

 Record Store Day, to me, is better than Christmas.  It is the one day of the year that I can fully celebrate my music nerdiness.  Last year I missed out on a few of the goodies on my list by sleeping in and not getting to my local Newbury Comics BEFORE doors opened.  I will not make that mistake again this year.

Below are a few of the exclusives I hope to bring home, full list is here.

Josh Ritter - So Runs The World Away (vinyl early-release for RSD)
Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball 10" (b/w Ghost of Tom Joad w/ Tom Morello)
John Lennon - 7" Box Set (3 7" singles w/ postcards, etc)
Joe Strummer - Global A Go-Go / Streetcore vinyl reissues (first time in vinyl!)
The Love Language / Let's Wrestle - split 7"
Jimi Hendrix - Live at Clark University (4 tracks live in Worcester, only available on RSD)

...and plenty more




New music from The Love Language

Libraries - out July 13 on MergeThe Love Language's self-titled debut was one of my top-5 albums of 2009.  The lo-fi garage soul sound is right in my wheelhouse, and the super-catchy melodies came along just at the right time to drag me out of winter's dreariness.  The album is still in regular rotation and Providence, Lalita, Sparxx, etc still get my toes tapping and head bobbing uncontrollably.  So, it is with great pleasure and excitement that I post NEW MUSIC from The Love Language!

Heart to Tell is the first single off The Love Language's upcoming Merge debut, Libraries.  This picks up right where the last album left off - the mop-top melodies are still there, as is the driving percussion.  The production is slightly cleaner than the last record, though it still has the rough-around-the edges sound that gave the last record so much of its charm.

The Love Language - Heart to Tell

In other news, a Love Language / Let's Wrestle split 7" will be available on Record Store Day!

Check out this behind-the-scenes video of the making of Libraries.  Surprised to see that, like the debut record, Stuart McLamb again plays everything himself (though this with the benefit of a producer and studio).  Can't effing wait to hear this record:

Snowed in with The Love Language from Jason Arthurs on Vimeo.


Page 1 ... 55 56 57 58 59 ... 60 Next 9 posts »