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Electro-popping and breakfast muffins - New and newer releases from Bearstonaut and Stereo Telescope

Posted by Jonathan Donaldson February 28, 2013 05:39 PM

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When I need to get up, I need two things to make the magic happen. Caffeine and music. Caffeine is my drug (and I bet it's safely yours too), but it's still worthy of Rick James at his most ambitious. In terms of music (my other fix), it's got to be either punk, rockabilly or electro-pop--that lovely little subgenre born out of '80s new wave and '90s techno whose clean lines and smooth sheen feel so good in the morning before that cynical side kicks in.

One record of recent note in this department comes from Bearstronaut (whom I have written about here), who recorded their dazzling Paradice EP (released Nov 2012) largely in their apartment--though you would never guess that was recorded in anything other than a limo with a portable studio roaming London in the middle of the night. Another dandy comes now from Stereo Telescope (whom I have also touched on here) who are just now in the process of letting music listeners like you and me pry the secrets of their debut LP On and Running (Released Jan 2013) away from their warm vibrant mittens.

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Sarah Rabdau (and 149 other Boston artists) team-up to interpret Beck's new "Song Reader" @ Somerville Theatre - 2/28

Posted by Jonathan Donaldson February 27, 2013 06:20 PM

dowepage.jpgPere Ubu's David Thomas once said something about how the Beach Boys' unreleased Smile album was the greatest album of all time because it only existed in the imagination of the listener. Now, that mischivous offspring of the Fluxus movement, Beck Hansen, has one-upped the Beach Boys by releasing an album that actually doesn't exist at all. Released in December of 2012, Beck's Song Reader is the first album to my knowledge to only be released as a book of sheet-music (released by McSweeney's), and the first to not only exist in the imagination's of its listeners, but via the interpretations of its listeners. In addition to the book, Beck also put up the website Songreader.net where fans can download sheet-music and upload their versions. Talk about crowd-sourcing. None of this really comes as a surprise from a guy who sounded so much like Serge Gainsbourg on 2002's Sea Change that he eventually scored the gig of working with Gainsbourg's daughter. To say that he likes to play in the spectrum of interpretation/ pastiche/plagarism/reappropriation would be an understatement, and so sharing that with his fans seems like a natural progression. Tomorrow night, 2/28, at the Somerville Theatre in Davis Square, 150 or so Boston musicians and dancers will come together to interpret the 20-song "album" in a two-hour performance that will be sure to intrigue both Beck fans and non-Beck fans alike. After all, this might turn out to not sound very much like Beck at all. A 50-person choir? Burlesque dancers? Sounds more like the kind of musical hot mess that is built precisely for a one-time only, no holds-barred performance.

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What the Ho-Ag?!? - Boston Prog-Math-Metal-Spaz-Rock band releases new album TONIGHT @ Oberon

Posted by Jonathan Donaldson February 20, 2013 06:52 PM

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Ho-Ag. It's a band name that gives you no warning as to what the music is going to sound like on the inside. A good omen, to be sure. My first thought was that is was related to MOAB (the infamous mother of all bombs), but as it turns out, it's actually an obscure astronomy reference that I'm simply not smart enough to explain.

On their new record, World Destroying Zig-Zags, Boston's Ho-Ag deliver a mother of a record by capturing the intensity and quizzical nature of good science fiction riddle, whilst maintaining the day-glo poster ambience of the perma-stoned teenager's bedroom where such theories might be contemplated.

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Shepherdess meets Corin Ashley - Q&A (+ Record Release parties!)

Posted by Jonathan Donaldson February 14, 2013 05:57 PM

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Welcome to installment #4 of Frankenstein meets the Wolf Man--where unrelated Boston musicians are asked to review each other's records. I am your friendly moderator (I like to think of myself as more of a Jack Kirby than a Stan Lee in terms of famous team-ups). In this installment we have two outstanding records from artists that take us deep into Boston's past and future. The first is from the Hilken Mancini-led Shepherdess. Mancini was a member of the great Boston '90s indie-rock band Fuzzy and has been active since in not only bands but also endeavors such as Girls Rock Camp Boston. As Shepherdess is a trio, to say that it also features Emily Arkin (the Operators) and Allison Murray (the Clear Deigns) would be a misnomer. I'm Saving Myself for Shepherdess would certainly not exist without all of them....And then over here we have the new record from alternate-dimension pop idol Corin Ashley, who is still quite giving birth to a promising solo career after rocking the '90s and part of the '00s with Boston power-pop legends, the Pills. Ashley's New Lion Terrace was brought to life over the past couple years in recording sessions near and far--from Q Division to London's Abbey Road (yes, crosswalks and Apple Scruffs).

This post comes in advance of two release parties--Shepherdess Saturday at the Cantab in Cambridge (see details below) and Corin Ashley Sunday at Johnny D's in Somerville. But now enough talking: commence rocking!

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About the author

Jonathan Donaldson is a Boston-based musician, writer, and second-generation music junkie. An Ohio native who moved to Boston in 1998, Jonathan's musical loves include R&B, psych, punk, bubblegum, country, electronic, More »

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