Tag: Boston MA

Throughout the course of this site’s eight year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the Brooklyn dance pop act and JOVM mainstays Rubblebucket. Although the band has gone through a number of lineup changes and iterations, there’s one thing that’s been consistent — founding duo and primary songwriters Alex Toth (trumpet, vocals, percussion) and Kalmia Traver (lead vocals, tenor sax and baritone sax). Toth and Traver can trace the origins of their collaboration to when they met while playing in  Burlington, VT-based Latin jazz act. Quickly bonding over being horn players, a love of Afrobeat and Afro pop, and their preternatural connection, the duo relocated to  Boston in 2006, where they did fairly respectable things to survive  — Traver spent time as a nude model for art classes, while Toth spent time hustling $50 a performance marching band gigs. And while being completely broke in Boston, the duo began Rubblebucket.

Relocating to Brooklyn some years later, Toth and Traver, along with a fully-fleshed out band emerged on to the national scene with the release of 2011’s critically applauded sophomore album Omega La La, and an already established reputation for a relentless touring schedule full of ecstatic, energetic and mischievous, dance party-like live sets. Since Omega La La, Rubblebucket’s recorded output has revealed a band that has graduated crafted, then cemented a signature sound — and with their most recent releases, subtly expanding upon it. Simultaneously, Traver fully stepped into the role of the band’s frontperson with a growing self-assuredness.

Slated for an August 24, 2018 release through Grand Jury MusicSun Machine, Rubblebucket’s fifth full-length album may arguably be among the most personal that Traver and Toth have ever written as the album’s material is largely inspired by the end of the duo’s longterm romantic relationship and the duo’s deep and lasting connection both personally and creatively but the album also draws from a number of major life-changing events over the past few years — namely Kalmia Traver’s diagnosis with ovarian cancer back in 2013, followed by rounds of surges and chemotherapy treatments; Alex Toth’s decision to get sober after a long struggle with alcoholism; and the couple’s three-year-long attempt at maintaining an open relationship. Reportedly, the end result is something strange, complex and beautiful in its own right, as the material still finds the duo crafting ebullient party jams rooted in a radical mindfulness while also an aching breakup album, imbued not with bitterness and accusation, but with a palpable love, making it the rare album with a truly kind and adult sensibility. Musically and sonically speaking, the album reportedly finds Rubblebucket’s duo tapping back into their jazz training with many moments throughout the album completely driven by improvisation. “There’s a lot of moments on this album that happened from us being in a trance-like zone, and coming up with weird sounds in the middle of recording, sometimes by accident,” Alex Toth says in press notes. But at its core, the duo hope that the album will encourage listeners and fans to see the possibility of transformation in painful experiences. ” When I got cancer and Alex quit drinking, that was the beginning of a huge journey for both of us,” Kalmia Traver says. “So much of that journey has been about giving myself the freedom to exist on my own terms, believing in my ideas instead of self-editing. I think this album represents both of us allowing ourselves that freedom in a totally new way, and hopefully it’ll give people inspiration to be creative in their own lives, and to just soften up a bit too.”

The album’s second single “Lemonade,” was written by Toth, who notes, “As the lyrics came together I realized I was kind of writing the song from Kal’s perspective, singing to me. I didn’t know what project the song was for (my solo record, a friend’s band, a pop star?) but when Kal and I realized Rubblebucket wasn’t ending with our breakup, but gaining new life, this song made perfect sense.” As a result, the song manages to convey a confusing array of emotions — wistful and bittersweet reminiscing over what once was and will never be again; the joy of knowing rare, sweet, frustrating and profound love and always having that connection with someone, even if they may have been an asshole at some point; the realization that the closure that everyone talks about is utterly impossible in this life; and the hope of maybe one day stumbling upon that sort of love again. Sonically, the song meshes swinging jazz, thumping and breezy pop with an aching, old school ballad in a way that’s vivacious and life affirming in a necessary way. We all know that life can be wondrous and heartbreaking — sometimes simultaneously, sometimes independently; but love and music make it all easier in the end.

Traver and Toth are in the middle of a tour to build up buzz, and then to support their new album. Check out the remaining tour dates below.

Tour Dates

7/5: Burlington, VT @ Battery Park (The Point Summer Series)

7/7: Portland, ME @ Thompson’s Point^

7/13: Canandaigua NY @ Lincoln Hill Farms#

8/1: Troy, NY @ WEQX Riverfront Event+

8/2: Dennis, MA @ Cape Cinema+

8/3: Westerly, RI @ Paddy’s Beach Club

8/4: Asbury Park, NJ @ Asbury Lanes+

9/8: Holyoke, MA @ Gateway City Arts

10/6: Arrington, VA @ The Festy

10/25: Fairfield, CT @ Warehouse

10/26: Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer

10/27: Washington, DC @ Black Cat

10/29: Asheville, NC @ Grey Eagle

10/30: Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge

10/31: Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West

11/2: Burnett, TX @ Utopia Fest

11/4: Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom

11/6: Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom

11/7: San Francisco, CA @ August Hall

11/9: Seattle, WA @ Neumos

11/10: Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom

11/12: Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory

11/13: Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge

11/14: Denver, CO @ Gothic Theatre

11/17: Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge

^ w/ Lake Street Dive

# Star Rover supports

+ And the Kids supports

Live Footage: Introducing the Arena Rock-Friendly Sounds of Up-and-Coming Los Angeles-based duo Migrant Motel

Initially formed back in 2013 in Boston, the Los Angeles-based rock duo Migrant Motel, comprised of Peruvian-born David Stewart, Jr. (vocals, bass, guitar) and Mexican-born Chava (drums and live loops) have developed a reputation for a power chord-based arena rock friendly sound, largely influenced by the likes of Royal Blood, MUSE, The Struts, Grandson, Foals and Foo Fighters. So far, 2018 has been a breakthrough year for the band, as “New Religion,” off their Peder Etholm Idsoe-produced full-length debut Album One has received over 350,000 Spotify streams — and building upon the growing buzz, the band released the album’s second single “Blue,” a swaggering and self-assured track that that will further cement the duo’s growing reputation for crafting an enormous, arena rock sound centered around the blues, rock and metal. 

The recently released video for “Blue” is comprised of live footage shot while the band was relentlessly touring the country — and it gives you a sense of the up-and-coming band’s live set. 

New Video: The Mischievous Silent Film-Inspired Visuals for Barrence Whitfield and The Savages’ “Let’s Go to Mars”

Formed by founding members Barrance Whitfield, Peter Greenberg, who has also played with Lyres and DMZ and Phil Lenker in the mid 80s, the Boston-based blues and soul act Barrence Whitfield and The Savages quickly developed a reputation for crafting primal and soulful blues, centered around Whitfield’s full-throttle soul screaming (in the spirit of Little Richard, Solomon Burke, and others), and for sweaty, dance party-like live shows. With their original lineup, the band released several attention grabbing records through Rounder Records, and as a result they toured with Bo Diddley, Tina Turner and George Thorogood, were a favorite of BBC DJ Andy Kershaw and won seven Boston Music Awards. The band reunited in 2011 with a new lineup that features Whitfield, along with Andy Jody (drums) and Tom Quartulli (sax), which has released three albums Savage Kings, Dig Thy Savage Soul and Under the Savage Sky and building upon their long held reputation, the band has toured with The Sonics, played at SXSW and have played on the BBC’s Later . . . with Jools Holland. 

Released earlier this year, Soul Flowers of Titan is Barrence Whitfield and The Savages fourth full-length album since reforming after a 25 year hiatus, and the album, which derives its name from the largest moon of Saturn, a planet which astrologically symbolizes pain and struggle was recorded in Ultrasuede Studio in Cincinnati, a town that was home to a number of classic and somewhat unknown independent labels, including King Records and Federal Records that were best known for a fostering a frayed and raucous sound during the 50s and 60s. Of course, knowing that history, the band couldn’t resist the urge to celebrate and expand on that legacy — with the album finding the band sonically meshing blues, punk, rock, garage rock and soul while thematically, the album’s material focuses on people shooting guns, separating, coming home (someday), falling in love, running around, leaving earth in search of someplace better, going crazy, drinking way too much coffee and thinking about the legendary Sun Ra. As a result, the material features a much heavier sound, B3 and Rheem organ playing from the band’s newest member Brian Olive and a live-in-the-studio urgency. 

Soul Flowers of Titan’s latest single “Let’s Go To Mars” is centered around a boozy, and shuffling power chord riff that brings Howlin’ Wolf and George Thorogood to mind but paired with lyrics inspired by an early 70s documentary on Sun Ra that its songwriters Peter Greenberg and Phil Lenker saw multiple times, and as a result there’s a mischievous yet plaintive ache to go off someplace that may be better than Earth — or least someplace, where you can live freely and not be bothered by the cruelty and viciousness of humanity. Directed by Eric Baconstrip, the recently released, animated video further emphasizes the song’s mischievous vibes while nodding at classic, silent films. 

 

Arieh Berl is an Oakland, CA-born and raised singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, producer and creative mastermind behind psych pop act Pink Skies. Interestingly, Berl has a lengthy history playing in a number of Bay Area-based punk and indie rock bands and while writing for one of those bands, it became clear to him that the material he had been writing were meant for a completely different project, as he began writing songs that drew from psych rock, pop, R&B, 70s AM rock and chillwave — or as Berl describes his sound in press notes, “Escapism Pop.” Although he initially didn’t intend on releasing his personal, home recordings made in Oakland, Boston and Los Angeles, Berl decided to release the material after attending a creative retreat in the Berkley Hills.

Last year was a big year for Berl as he released his first Pink Skies single “Start.End,” played guitar on BOSCO‘s b and released a re-interpreation of 6LACK‘s “Gettin’ Old.” Adding to a growing profile. Berl signed to Huh What & Where Recordings, the label home of KAYTRANADA, Fwdslxsh, Pomo and others. Building upon his big 2017, Berl’s latest Pink Skies single is the decidedly Tame Impala-like “Just To Get By,” a song that Berl recall was written “when I had been in Silver Lake for a little bit, and was feeling pretty lost. I was kind of in a zone where every time I tried to take a step forward, I fell two steps back. I was feeling like an outsider, being in a new place with no real direction to go.  I just eventually holed away in my room for a couple months, and really isolated myself unintentionally. This song really consumed me in an obsessive and passionate way. Sometimes the pain comes from life, and music is the place to exercise that out of your body. That’s what I did with this song.”

 

Grant Goldsworthy is a Central Pennsylvania-based multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter, who over the past 15 years has played with a number of bands across Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Boston and New York — and with his latest project, Snow Villain, which he started in 2015, Goldsworthy began collaborating with a rotating cast of musicians from Philadelphia, Harrisburg, PA and NYC. Although some have said that Snow Villain’s sound nods at Death Cab for Cutie, Smashing Pumpkins, St. Vincent, Nine Inch Nails, Weezer, Ween and Beck, the project’s latest single “Torches.” off the forthcoming EP 1 strikes me as nodding heavily at early Rage Against the Machine, as the song is centered around enormous power chords, rousingly anthemic hooks, and politically-charged lyrics delivered with a swaggering, hip-hop like flow.

 

 

 

 

 

Live Concert Photography: The Goodnight Darlings with herMajesty at Mercury Lounge 2/28/18

Featuring core members Kat Auster (vocals); Wilson (guitar), who has had lengthy stints touring with in the backing bands of The Fugees and Wyclef Jean; and Jaramillo (drums), the New York-based indie act The Goodnight Darlings have received both local and national attention for a sultry, dance floor friendly sound that draws from 80s pop, hip-hop, Combat Rock-era The Clash, New Wave, post-punk and shoegaze. The local indie rock stalwarts headlined an early show at Mercury Lounge that featured JOVM mainstays herMajesty as the night’s opener. Check out photos from the show below.

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Over the years, I’ve written quite a bit about the New York-based art rock/glam rock/indie rock act and JOVM herMajesty. And although the band has gone through a number of lineup changes, the band which is currently comprised of founding member and primary songwriter  JP (vocals, samples, guitar), David (bass, lead guitar), Joan (bass) and Konrad (drums) has maintained a reputation for crafting lush, moody and contemplative material that’s heavily indebted to Roxy Music, David Bowie, U2 and others. Since the release of the My Body Your Mind EP and a series of standalone singles, which included gorgeous cover of Patti Smith’s “Dancing Barefoot,” “One by One” and others, the band has developed a regional profile with the New York-based rock act opening for the likes of  The B52s, Tom Tom Club, Say Hi to Your Mom and The Boxer Rebellion — and have made frequent tour stops in Rochester, Providence, Philadelphia and Boston, as well as regular shows at Rockwood Music Hall and The Bowery Electric in the Lower East Side. Of course, their set included those singles and their latest single, the shimmering and disco-tinged “Weightless,” which you can check out below.

 
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For these photos and more, check out the Flickr set here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmgRTPnz

New Video: Matthew Stubbs and the Antiguas Release Surreal and Psychedelic Visuals for “Bastille Day”

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few months, I’ve written a couple of posts on the Boston, MA-based guitarist and songwriter/composer and bandleader Matthew Stubbs. And as you may recall, Stubbs, has split his time as a member of Charlie Musselwhite’s touring band and as a solo artist, who has released two solo, instrumental albums — 2008’s Soulbender released through Vizztone Records and 2010’s Medford and Main released through Chicago, IL-based Blue Bella Records that drew from the  Memphis, TN soul/blues sound. In 2016 Stubbs added bandleader to his resume, with his backing band The Antiguas, which feature Just Lopes (organ), Chris Rivelli (drums) and Marc Hickox (bass)  — and while continuing with the instrumental composition approach of his previously released work, his newest project is influenced by the work of Duane Eddy, Link Wray, and Booker T but meshed with elements of garage rock, B movie soundtracks and Afrobeat, while focusing on putting the energy and vibe of their live sets on wax.

The band’s self-titled debut was released earlier and this year, and as you may recall album singles “Death Grip” and ” Unwinder,” possessed a decidedly retro feel, bringing to mind late 60s and early 70s B movie soumdtracks, complete with a tight groove —with Death Grip” being inspired by the wild, chase scenes in the cult, car racing movies of the 70s while “Unwinder,” found Stubbs and his Antiguas drawing from 60s psych rock and surfer rock and blues, complete with an organ sequence that brings to mind The Castaways’“Liar Liar.” The album’s latest single “Bastille Day” is a greasy and downright funky track that draws from the blues, Afrobeat, dub and rock within what sounds to my ears like a 12 bar blues — and while expanding upon the sound that has caught attention, the composition will further Stubbs’ reputation for crafting slick and trippy hooks.

Directed and edited by Jack LeMay, the recently released video was shot at the Yawkey T stop in the Boston area, and stars Stubbs, waiting for a train when he encounters the absolutely radiant Monishita Ray, dressed in traditional Indian garb. The video turns into a psychedelic experience when the two look into each other — and the rest of the video splits between following Ray as she dances around the train station, Stubbs’ and company’s rehearsal space and other industrial-like locales, adding a surreal sense of beauty to everything in her path, and Stubbs playing the song’s main riff, before getting even trippier.