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Newport Folk Fest 2017: Highlights

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Newport Folk and its now-veteran booker Jay Sweet has proven itself to fans year after year. This year, the festival asked us to trust. With three unannounced sets and more newcomer acts than usual, there was less clarity and star power to orient around leading up to the weekend. Of course, the surprises were well worth the wait. Here are our highlights from one of the most memorable Newports to date. The Wild Reeds – “Capable” The Wild Reeds converted …

Making Newport Dangerous Again: Predictions for NFF’s Speak Out Set

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On May 4th, Newport Folk quietly announced “Speak Out,” a set scheduled for Sunday evening, just before the headliner. Not much has been officially stated about the set, simply – “Since our inception artists have challenged injustice, fought for equality and exercised freedom to sing the truth. This tradition continues with SPEAK OUT, a celebration of the power of song.” Firstly, we’re proud to see NFF shining a spotlight on protest music given the code-red status of American politics today. …

Keeping Newport Weird: Three Folk Fest Acts We Can’t Wait For

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Newport Folk Fest has a history of perfectly curating its weirdness. The weekend is always punctuated with truly unique, unexpected acts, and they’re often the ones we remember the most. We’ve been entranced by world acts like Bombino, awed by the DIY polyrhythms of tUnE-yArDs, and kinda terrified by Reignwolf’s primal shredding. Below are a few acts likely to join these rare ranks at Newport Folk this year. Raury on Friday July 22 On Twitter, Raury identifies himself as “coconut …

Best of 2014… So Far

Posted on by Caroline in Best of 2014, M&T Favorites | Leave a comment

(Somehow) we’re more than halfway through 2014 already, and over the past 6+ months we’ve had our headphones in ~85% of the time. Throughout the year we’ve been compiling our monthly playlists featuring 20 new tracks each, but we wanted to share some of our early favorites in the running for the ‘Best of 2014’ designation. Eric and Caroline highlighted an album and a song each from this year’s ‘Best Of’ crop and compiled a playlist with those artists and …

Sofar Sounds Boston 3/26/2014

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Another month means another Sofar Sounds show, and March’s offered a trinity of homegrown folk and bluegrass. First up was Tall Heights, a Boston-based guitar and cello duo. Simply put, I’ve never met two voices more perfectly matched to one another. Singing seamlessly in unison or close harmony, the two presented vocals tight enough to rival Simon and Garfunkel… but thankfully without black turtlenecks or awkward power struggles.* Beyond their handwritten tunes, Tall Heights somehow managed to add new layers …

Newport Folk Festival Spotlight: Shakey Graves

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Armed with the loyal affection of fans from his hometown of Austin, TX, Shakey Graves is shipping his signature blues/rock fusion up north for this year’s Newport Folk Festival. While Shakey Graves (known off-stage as Alejandro Rose-Garcia) is a solo act, it’s much more than a “man and his guitar” situation. His kick-drum and tambourine are jerry-rigged out of a suitcase which he plays by foot, all while laying vocals that are so gritty they could sand your floors. Rose-Garcia’s …

Typhoon and Radiation City at Brighton Music Hall 9/29/2013

Posted on by Caroline in Best of 2013, Concert Review, M&T Favorites | Leave a comment

Typhoon took the stage at Brighton Music Hall on Sunday night to an all-smiles crowd. Maybe it was because this mini-indie-orchestra was playing to their Boston fanbase for the first time, or because their latest LP White Lighter is just that effing good, but the excitement in the crowd was unprecedented. Another huge factor to the crowd’s straight-up giddiness was opening act, Radiation City. We first saw Radiation City in 2011 at the tiny O’Briens Pub in Allston, and the …

No Frills, Jus’ Feelings: Laura Marling at Somerville Theatre 9/3/2013

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Talk about minimalist. While my expectations for Laura Marling’s live band weren’t huge, I definitely didn’t expect a “girl and her guitar” situation. So on Tuesday evening when Marling stepped on stage in a shapeless black frock and leggings, bearing one single acoustic guitar, I confess I was disappointed. Marling’s records have become a staple in my music catalog, particularly due to her acute ability to start a track delicately, only to later swell that melody into a frenzy of guitar, …

Phox: A Best of 2013 Already?

Posted on by Caroline in Best of 2013, M&T Favorites, Music News | Leave a comment

  There’s been an abundance of excellent folk/indie/whatever popping up lately, but one thing tends to be missing for me: the element of surprise. Enter Phox. This Wisconsin septet (and recent SXSW darling) just released Confetti, a six-track album that provides a listening experience equivalent to riding Space Mountain: you have no idea where you’re going or what’s coming next, but all you know is that IT’S FREAKING AWESOME. Exhibit A: “Slow Motion” begins with a rhythm as random as …

“Sacrilege”: Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Best Single since “Maps”

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I’m more of a Karen O enthusiast than a Yeah Yeah Yeahs fan. Her raw vocals and unfiltered stage presence have always inspired me to root on YYY, though I haven’t truly loved any of their material since their debut, Fever to Tell.  The best song off that album, “Maps,” continues to floor me just like the first time I heard it. (Yes, the song did come out in 2003, which was my freshman year of high school a.k.a. the …