Herra Terra, l-r, Gregg Kusumah-Atmadja, Shawn Pelkey, John Tonelli, and Adrian Bettencourt Andrade (Photo by Molly McGrath)
The first few times I listened to "Hyperborean," the new 6-song E.P. by Herra Terra, I thought, "Well this is pleasant."
Singer John Tonelli's voice floated along, sometimes percolating into falsetto, as his band mates bathed the basics of guitar, bass and drums in electronic suds. Everything sounded clean and light, all trippy and danceable.
Then I started listening more closely to the lyrics. Deceit, despair, and desperation permeate these songs. The lead-off track "Portals" is actually sort of sweet. But things go downhill quickly as the realities of growing up sink in.
In "Burying Youth," Herra Terra feels the ground shifting but isn't quite sure what it means. The music turns darkest on "DeadEnds" and a cynicism seeps into the mix.
In the balance, the Boston-by-way-of-Worcester band finds some of the tumult liberating. On "Reason to Lose it," Herra Terra offers up "the big empty end" as an excuse to anyone just wanting bust loose. And in tackling the malaise summoned in the title track, Tonelli shoots a bolt of optimism with the line, "Keep filling it with rhythm and sound."
So to those who think all dance music is vacuous, and to those who think it takes volume and aggression to rail, Herra Terra will set you straight.
The band is part of this year's Rock and Roll Rumble (http://wzlx.cbslocal.com/category/rock-and-roll-rumble/), playing April 8, night two of the preliminary round, at TT the Bear's in Cambridge.
The band also cooked up a pretty vibrant video for "Reason to Lose it" with producer Torey Champagne. Check it out
So while everyone's all jeeped up about the Tuesday release of "Disarm the Descent," the new Killswitch Engage record with singer Jesse Leach back in the lineup, don't forget to scribble down a reminder that Death Ray Vision is re-releasing it's gem of a debut on May 14.
Killswitch bassist Mike D'Antonio is in Death Ray Vision along with Shadows Fall singer Brian Fair, guitarists Pete Cortese and Zack Wells, and drummer Colin Conway. Cortese, Fair, and D'Antonio were all in Overcast, the Mass band that pretty much led the way in smashing together hardcore fury and metallic intensity . Death Ray Vision picks up on Overcast's lean, aggressive sound.
The band made the 5-song "Get Lost or Get Dead" in 2011 at Mad Oak in Allston. Last fall, Bullet Tooth Records signed Death Ray Vision and will be putting out the band's new full-length this summer. In the meantime, Bullet Tooth is re-releasing the E.P. on 7" vinyl, CD, and as a download.
Miserable circumstances stoked Cormac McCarthy's latest album, "Collateral." The veteran folk singer and songwriter, like so many others, saw his savings evaporate during the economic free fall that began in 2008.
"At least I know I can't retire," McCarthy says by phone from his home in southern Maine. "That was a liberating moment."
And he laughed.FULL ENTRY
Dave Davidson performing with Revocation at last year's Deathfest. This year...Slaughter
Not only will Boston's thrashy tech-death titans Revocation be part of the Summer Slaughter tour_ which has really become the metal road show_ but also will be busting out new tunes along the way. Revocation guitarist and singer Dave Davidson says the band's fourth full-length album is done and should be ready to ship in time for Summer Slaughter, which so far has Dillinger Escape Plan, Animals as Leaders, Periphery, Norma Jean, Cattle Decapitation, The Ocean, and Aeon. More bands are expected to be added, and dates are forthcoming (last year the Slaughter landed at the Palladium in Worcester).
Even if the follow-up to 2011's "Chaos of Forms" is not available by tour time, Davidson says, "We'll definitely be playing some new material on that tour, can't wait for people to check it out!"
Me too. Hopefully we'll get a shot of the new stuff as well when Revocation plays the kick- off party for the 15th annual New England Metal and Hardcore Festival. That bash happens at the Palladium on April 18 with Acacia Strain, A Life Once Lost, Fit for an Autopsy, and others.
I knew the myth of Gram Parsons_ cosmic cowboy, pal of Keith Richards, mysterious desert burial after dying from a drug overdose in 1973 at age 26_ before I knew much of his music.
That wasn't the case for Patrick Coman.
"In some ways, I've been familiar with his music my whole life," Coman says. "I grew up in Oklahoma, and my mom was into country music. We listened to Flying Burrito Brothers in my house all the time when I was a kid."
The Flying Burrito Brothers will be one source of Gram tunes when the "For the Sake of the Song" series spotlights Gram Parsons Sunday at Johnny D's in Somerville. Mount Peru and Bryan Pero & Tired Horses join Coman and his band the Lo-Fi Angels in celebrating Parsons' work with the Byrds and Burrito Brothers and as a solo artist. Show time is 8:30 p.m.
The concert T from my ground zero.
I have Hivesmasher and Livver to thank for this. After writing about their records for a metal blog I was pumping out in my free time, I thought the homegrown metal scene really deserved more attention than it was getting. So I asked Boston.com about letting me park metal blog on its site.
By the time the conversation was over I signed on to cover not only metal but also every other kind of sound made in town.
And that suits me just fine since the education I got back in the day running around to the Rat, the Channel, Nightstage, Jack's, the Western Front, Jumping Jack Flash's, the Penalty Box, and other night clubs that made me an omnivore when it comes to music. I think most people really into music for music's sake are that way too.
That's how I want to treat this space, as common ground for decent sound. In my mind, it made perfect sense the other day to dip into Hivesmasher's grind gem "Gutter Choir," spin Cormac McCarthy's latest collection of dark ballads "Collateral" (we'll talk more about this next week before he comes to Passim), and float on the psychedelic ocean that is Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys' latest, "Soft Time Traveler."
There aren't many rules for what goes in and what stays out of Boston by Beat; a band or event simply needs to have a discernible greater Boston imprint. I know I won't write about the Eagles tour here (and hopefully not anywhere else as well), but I'm not closing the door on all visitors (that would be way too parochial for Boston).
Consider this a spot for CD reviews, show previews and reports, and other Boston music news.
I'll leave you with a little Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys, who are at Brighton Music Hall Saturday night.