June Spotify Playlist of the Month


What goes better together than avocados and indie music? Maybe PBRs and a fixed gear bike? Well, we're not here to argue, but we Read More

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


On May 4th, Newport Folk quietly announced “Speak Out,” a set scheduled for Sunday evening, just before the headliner. Not much has been officially Read More

July Spotify Playlist of the Month


Coming back at you in July with another big-time playlist. This month features 65 fresh jams from the likes of Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Read More

Green River Festival 2016 Recap

Posted on by Mark Schafer in Concert Review | Leave a comment
Photo by Mark Schafer

Photo by Mark Schafer

The 2016 edition of the Green River Festival in Greenfield, MA was a triumphant weekend for the festival, this being its 30th anniversary. Having grown from what one festival organizer described as a “half-assed balloon festival” in the 1980s, Green River is now firmly established as one of the top music festivals in New England (and one of the highlights of my summer).

The weather for the weekend looked threatening, and while heading west from Boston to the Pioneer Valley, it seemed like a big part of the weekend might be washed out by thunderstorms. Thankfully, the lightning held off and despite quite a bit of rain throughout the weekend, everything went ahead as scheduled except for the hot air balloon rides, which were the main casualty of the weather.
On Friday, the rains held off for an evening of world music and nostalgic jams from NRBQ and Peter Wolf, while Sunday felt more like a one-day jam band festival featuring the Wheels of Soul Tour lineup Tedeschi Trucks Band, Los Lobos, and the North Mississippi All Stars. For me though, Saturday was very much the centerpiece of the whole weekend.
Starting with a short set from Lula Wiles on the main stage and ending with a blowout of a set by Dawes, every set I saw the entire day was remarkable. Ranging from local favorites like And The Kids, established favorites such as Shakey Graves and up-and-comers like The Suffers, there were more highlights than I could possibly cover in this article. Suffice it to say that a group of people just old enough to be cynical about music festivals with a baby in tow still had a fantastic time despite some dreary weather.
Here are a few of my favorite sets from the weekend:

Oh Pep!

Booked on the third stage, overlapping with The Suffers and The Felice Brothers, and performing during a downpour, Oh Pep! didn’t have the most advantageous spot of the weekend. Despite the challenging circumstances, there was a small but rapt crowd gathered for the duration of their set. They weren’t on my radar going in, but I was super glad to make their set and I put their new album Stadium Cake in my rotation as soon as I got back from the festival. A four-piece anchored by original members Olivia Hally and Pepita Emmerichs, they play poppy indie rock with a bit of folk influence thrown in (Emmerichs plays fiddle and mandolin). I currently can’t get the “I know what I want and it’s not what I need” chorus from their song “Doctor Doctor” out of my head, but I’m not sure I want to.

Shovels & Rope

Shovels & Rope came on just after Oh Pep! during the rainiest part of the day. The covered main stage seemed to provide little shelter for the husband-and-wife duo of Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst, who were singing at the top of their lungs with water flying out of their wet hair. The driving rain changed from a nuisance to a positive, only adding to the intensity of an already intense set. While I’ve been a fan of Shovels & Rope for a long time now, this set really cemented my respect for them as performers and they have jumped up several spots on my list of favorite bands.

Birds of Chicago

Coming off 12 hours in the rain on Saturday, it was a bit challenging to gather the energy for another day with rain in the forecast. But with a sunny start to the day and a short, packed schedule it was pretty easy to get excited once we arrived back on the grounds on Sunday. I caught Birds of Chicago on the second stage early in the afternoon, and they seemed to hold off the rain through sheer joy and revived everyone out of their soggy stupor with their gospel-inspired sound. Clarinet, hand claps and foot stomps accented singer Allison Russel’s soulful vocals, keeping me glued to the second stage despite competition from the North Mississippi All Stars.

July Spotify Playlist of the Month

Posted on by Eric in Playlists | Leave a comment

Maimed & Tamed Spotify Playlist of the Month July 2016

It’s hot as hell in New York City today, so what better way to take you into the weekend than with a fresh batch of hot new jams straight out of the oven. This month our playlist features new songs from 35 artists including Wye Oak, Band of Horses, My Morning Jacket’s Carl Broemel, The Low Anthem, Flume and even a little treat for all of you Game of Thrones fans out there (that finale though).

Check out the full playlist below and remember to subscribe for new tunes every month.

Green River Festival Preview

Posted on by Mark Schafer in Concert Preview | Leave a comment

Green River Festival 2016

Somehow festival season is now upon us and we’re getting ready to head out to central Massachusetts this weekend for the Green River Festival in Greenfield, MA. Last year was my very first time at Green River, and it was one of the highlights of my summer.

With this year’s lineup the Green River Festival certainly punches above its weight with acts like Dawes, Shakey Graves, The Felice Brothers, Los Lobos, Peter Wolf (of the J. Geils Band) and Tedeschi Trucks Band topping the bill. What’s great about Green River is it’s got more than enough talent and star power to make your friends jealous of your weekend, but it’s small and laid-back enough that you can actually enjoy yourself. And somehow there are still tickets left if this post is making you want to come join in on the fun this weekend.

Beyond the obvious highlights of the weekend (you’re going to catch Shovels & Rope RIGHT?) here are a few acts slightly lower on the lineup that we’re especially excited to check out:

The Suffers

In just the last two years, the Suffers have gone from local bar band playing gigs around Houston to playing one of David Letterman’s last episodes of The Late Show and Newport Folk Festival. I recently had the opportunity to see them open for Lake Street Dive, and the Suffers basically stole the show. That’s no small feat, because L.S.D. are one of the very best live bands out there. The ten-piece bands churns out tight and funky “gulf coast soul”, and lead singer Kam Franklin was clearly born to be a star. It’s infectious, and you can’t help but having a hell of a good time. Do not miss this set under any circumstances.

Lula Wiles

It’s so tempting to overlook the bands playing the first sets at music festivals and show up later on in the afternoon. Lula Wiles, playing first thing on Saturday, are a perfect example of why you’re completely blowing it by sleeping in. Well-known to aficionados of Boston’s sprawling folk scene, Lula Wiles picks from bluegrass, old-time and country without being a niche folk act. Seriously, if you’re into gorgeous tunes and harmonies in any genre, it’s well worth your while to arrive a bit early and catch this set.

Winterpills

This was a new discovery for me as I’ve been getting ready for the summer with a Green River playlist on Spotify. Made up of veterans of the Northampton, MA music scene, Winterpills stand out as straightforward radio-ready pop rock band in the jam/funk-heavy Sunday lineup. I’ve had “Celia Johnson” running through my head on and off for days, and so you will after you throw it on once. Definitely a set that shouldn’t be missed this weekend.

The Balloons

Okay fine, this isn’t a band, but it’s one of the cooler features of the fest. Green River began as a hot air balloon festival 30 years ago, and while it’s easy to dismiss the balloons as something “just for the kids”, there’s nothing quite like watching gigantic glowing orbs rising into the sky shortly after dusk during an outdoor musical performance. You kind of just have to be there to get it.

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

Posted on by Caroline in Newport Folk Festival Spotlight | Leave a comment

Father John Misty

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 oil papi ☯.” Please take a moment with that. We are working with a quintessential bb of the internet here, and them youngsters are all about embracing their strange. The twenty-year-old’s two albums pull from a grab bag of genres, ranging from rap to trap to soul to folk, naturally. This chaotic blend of influences mixed with Raury’s self-assured star power guarantees an unmissable set. Based on Raury’s prior shows, prepare for: crowdsurfing, his pausing the show for ten minutes to hand out free vinyl, social justice rants, and just maybe a cameo from collaborator and NFF alum, Tom Morello.

Basia Bulat on Friday July 22

Basia Bulat’s instrument of choice has long been the autoharp, which is definitely up there in terms of indie cred (especially ever since the ukulele jumped the shark). But on her latest album, Good Advice, she dresses up her harp and other folksy sensibilities with a new experimental energy and sound. Bulat’s latest now sports resonant drums and electro-pop synths, providing a startling freshness that had me quickly committed to stopping by her set. Let it not be a surprise that the otherworldly yet precise production on Good Advice was helmed by none other than Jim James of My Morning Jacket, which gives us all the more reason to A. listen to her new tunes B. plan for some magical guest appearances on stage.

Father John Misty on Saturday July 23

I’d give FJM the freak folk crown right now if I had to declare its fearless leader. Father John Misty a.k.a. Josh Tillman has already blessed us with a set at Newport in 2013, which was charged and awkward and beautiful and featured much mom dancing. Since then, Tillman has only doubled down on his flamboyant troubadour stage act, one that won’t fit in at the Fort as much as it will stand out. Tillman is billed to perform solo this year, which has me both curious and wary (were we not promised a mariachi band?), but given his reputation as one of today’s best songwriters and biggest liabilities, I’ll be there to witness his singular presence, no questions asked.

There are many exciting, unusual acts to look forward to at the Fort this year. Your time is precious, so I only wrote about three. Who did I miss? Let us know in the comments.

May/June Spotify Megamix

Posted on by Eric in Playlists | Leave a comment

Maimed & Tamed Spotify Playlist of the Month May/June 2016

So you’re going to judge us for not putting out a May playlist? Take it up with the cow. Don’t fret, since we still love all of you we’re back in business with our biggest playlist yet, the 70-track May/June Megamix. We had to fit so many incredible jams into one playlist so you’ll hear new ones from M&T mainstays like Har Mar Superstar, You Won’t, Frightened Rabbit, and Grey Season, mixed in with newcomers like Baba Sonya, Japanese Breakfast, The Wild Reeds and many more. There’s even a previously unreleased b-side from My Morning Jacket’s deluxe reissue of It Still Moves, so it’s safe to say there’s a little something for everyone.

Check out the full playlist below and remember to subscribe for new tunes every month.

Newport Folk Festival Spotlight: The 5 Most Intriguing Sets From the 2016 Lineup

Posted on by Eric in Newport Folk Festival Spotlight | Leave a comment

Newport Folk Festival 2016

With the lineup set for this year’s festival we take a look at the 5 most intriguing sets and raise a lot of questions that will hopefully be answered next month at the Fort.

Ryan Adams with The Infamous Stringdusters featuring Nicki Bluhm on Saturday July 23

Adams makes his triumphant return to the Fort, but this time with The Infamous Stringdusters and Nicki Bluhm in tow. This is sure to be an interesting set mainly because Adams can be so unpredictable when it comes to song selection on any given night, but pair that with a brand new backing band and it’s anybody’s guess. The collaboration with the Stringdusters and Bluhm suggests he’ll be exploring the twangier side of his catalog, but here’s one far-out theory– Heartbreaker. Adams put out a deluxe reissue of his seminal album this year and this backing band would be a perfect fit on tracks like “Come Pick Me Up”, “To Be Young”, and “My Winding Wheel” among others.

Middle Brother on Sunday July 24

First let me say that I hope and pray that this set will be at the Quad Stage for old time’s sake. Knowing Newport and their reverence for even recent history, I think it would be quite fitting to put the Middle Bro boys back where it all started in 2011. Everyone loves a good reunion, a supergroup reunion especially, but what makes this set most intriguing to us is the potential of new Middle Brother music. Could there be a follow-up to their 5-year old eponymous debut on the horizon?

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats on Saturday July 23

At the 2015 festival Rateliff and co. seamlessly transformed their now mega-hit “S.O.B.” into a cover of The Band’s “The Shape I’m In” featuring a ripping guitar solo from J Mascis and we proclaimed that big things would be coming from the band after a performance like that. Last year the band seemed immediately at home at the Fort and we’re interested to see what collaborations they might have up their sleeves during their second year as part of the Newport fam.

Matthew Logan Vasquez on Friday July 22

Of course the focus will be on his impressive debut solo LP, Solicitor Returns, but think of all the potential for collaborations from this lineup. McCauley and Goldsmith are shoe-ins to make an appearance, and knowing Vasquez’s flair for delivering one-of-a-kind performances I’d say it’s a safe bet to expect at least a few other faces from the lineup to make an appearance.

Elvis Costello on Sunday July 24

With Taylor Goldsmith scheduled to make an appearance with Middle Brother on Sunday, might we see him join Costello on stage to perform some material from The New Basement Tapes? Will Elvis put in a call to Jim James to join in on the Dylan revival? Could that lead to another unannounced My Morning Jacket set with the rest of the MMJ boys already scheduled to appear with Ray LaMontagne? So many questions, not enough answers.

Newport Folk Festival Spotlight: Villagers

Posted on by Eric in Newport Folk Festival Spotlight | 1 Comment

Newport Folk Festival Spotlight - Villagers

Back in 2010, while on a study abroad trip, I became slightly obsessed with Later… with Jools Holland. Instead of doing what little work was required of me during that semester (sorry Mom and Dad), I spent most of my downtime scouring the internet for videos from the late-night BBC Two show. It was during one of these trips down a YouTube rabbit hole that I discovered an unassuming, boyish solo performer who went by the name Villagers. To this day I distinctly remember sitting in my tiny London apartment, clicking onto the video for his performance of “Becoming A Jackal,” and immediately being drawn in. I was absolutely floored and in awe of how one man could command an audience with such a performance. His wild-eyed gaze was locked into the camera for nearly the whole song and his delivery of each word was so precise and deliberate that it made me feel like he was singing directly to me each time he repeated the song’s refrain, “I’m selling you my fears.” Of course now that Villagers has been added to the Newport Folk Festival lineup, and I have an excuse to blog about this 6 year-old video, it seemingly no longer exists on the internet…WHY ARE YOU SO CRUEL INTERNET?!

Since that fateful performance O’Brien has released two studio albums and another live record under the Villagers moniker. 2013’s {Awayland} saw O’Brien experiment with different sounds and arrangements whereas its follow-up, 2015’s Darling Arithmetic, was back to basics with most songs featuring only an acoustic guitar, piano, and O’Brien’s beautifully breathy vocals. Villagers is certainly an under the radar addition to this year’s lineup, but not one that should be under-appreciated. If anyone can find that video from Later… please, please, please post it in the comments, but until then the performance below will just have to do.

April Spotify Playlist of the Month

Posted on by Eric in Playlists | Leave a comment

M&T Spotify Playlist of the Month April 2016

Another 50 song playlist comin’ at ya this month featuring plenty of new music to be excited about from Har Mar Superstar, Peter Bjorn and John, Deep Sea Diver, You Won’t, Soft Fangs, Great Caesar, and many many more.

Check out all those artists and more on the full playlist below and remember to subscribe for new tunes every month.

Newport Folk Festival Spotlight: Ray LaMontagne

Posted on by Eric in Newport Folk Festival Spotlight | Leave a comment

Ray LaMontagne - Ouroboros

Between now and July the M&T crew will be taking a close look at the lineup for this year’s Newport Folk Festival through a series of NFF Spotlight posts. Being the first artist announced for this year’s festival, we thought Ray LaMontage would be the obvious choice to kick off this year’s Spotlight series.

The New England native recently released Ouroboros, the tremendous follow-up to 2014’s Supernova. Though LaMontagne is known for being very solitary in his creative process, he enlisted the help of none other than Jim James for his latest record. If you read M&T you know that we salivate over anything even remotely related to My Morning Jacket and this is no different. With Ouroboros James enlisted a band of frequent collaborators like Dan Dorff (who you Newport diehards out there might remember for playing percussion with James, Ben Sollee, and Daniel Martin Moore for their 2010 performance at the Fort) on keys, synths, organ, etc. as well as Floating Action‘s Seth Kauffman on bass. What resulted is an epic two-part, 40-minute long journey that’s meant to be listened to all in one sitting.

With the advent of streaming we understand that it’s very rare for most people to sit down and actually listen to an album all the way through, but I implore you to please, please, please take 40 minutes out of your day, clear your mind, kill the lights, and melt into this record. You won’t regret it.

Oh, and one other minor detail we forgot to mention– Ray’s backing band for his summer tour will be some dudes named Patrick Hallahan, Bo Koster, Carl Broemel, and Tom Blankenship. Never heard of ’em? Neither have we…

 

Newport Folk Festival 2016 Lineup Predictions

Posted on by Eric in Newport Folk Festival Spotlight | Leave a comment

Newport Folk Festival 2016 Lineup Predictions

The best weekend of the year is still 4+ months away, but that won’t stop us here at M&T to speculate on who will be joining what is sure to be an incredible lineup at this year’s Newport Folk Festival. The rolling lineup announcements have begun with some stellar acts already confirmed like Norah Jones, Glen Hansard, Fruit Bats, The Staves, Father John Misty, and Ray LaMontagne (accompanied by My Morning Jacket minus Jim James), among others.

Who else will be joining those amazing acts at The Fort this summer? Here are seven predictions and reasons why we think they’ll make an appearance on Narragansett Bay this July.

1. Lucius

With a new album out and an upcoming tour this summer, Lucius would be an obvious choice to join this year’s lineup especially since they were everywhere at The Fort last year (except on the official lineup that is). They are scheduled to be at the WayHome Music Festival in Ontario the same weekend, but we’ve seen plenty of acts double-dip in the past and the ladies of Lucius love Newport too much not to make an appearance.

2. Eryn Allen Kane

A newcomer to the scene in 2015, Kane burst onto the scene after a feature on Prince’s protest song “Baltimore”. With The Purple One on the bandwagon it won’t be long before others start realizing the brilliance of this Chicago-based artist. We featured Kane’s ridiculously impressive track “Have Mercy” on our December 2015 Spotify playlist and each time we listen to both of her EPs, we can’t help but picture her performing on the Quad Stage this summer. Listen to the singalong refrain at the end of “Dead or Alive” and tell me that wouldn’t make for a magical live performance at NFF.

3. My Morning Jacket

Everyone except for Jim will be there already, so why not? Though they sort-of headlined last year along with Roger Waters, wouldn’t it be fitting if they had a chance to finish what they started in 2012 before the rains washed it all away?

4. Jonathan Wilson

Another NFF vet who has promised new music in 2016, Wilson would be a welcome addition to the lineup and one who is sure to join plenty of on-stage collaborations throughout the weekend.

5. 1966 Lineup Reprise

Last year Newport celebrated the 50 year anniversary of Bob Dylan famously going electric with an epic tribute led by Dave Rawlings, Gillian Welch, and Dawes. Why not keep the gold anniversary streak going and bring back someone from the 1966 lineup this year? A few viable options include Buffy Sainte-Marie, who is already scheduled to make a handful of festival appearances this summer, Tom Rush, who I don’t think has stopped touring since 1966, or Tom Paxton, another legend who tours non-stop. With Newport’s recent track record of facilitating unique performances we wouldn’t be surprised if all three were added to the lineup to perform in a round together either.

6. Frightened Rabbit

This one might be more wishful thinking than a prediction, but who wouldn’t love to see the boys from Scotland at Newport this summer? There’s plenty of overlap between fans of the festival and fans of the band and with a new record due out next month, 2016 seems to be the perfect year to make this booking happen. Plus I can guarantee that everyone at The Fort will fall in love with Scott Hutchison and his hilariously witty and self-deprecating between songs banter. Everybody wins.

7. Bruce Springsteen

Back in 2011 festival producer Jay Sweet told us in an interview, “The fact that Bruce Springsteen has never played a solo acoustic set either is really disheartening.” We also know that Jay reached out to Jack White’s team every year until he finally delivered a powerhouse performance in 2014, so here’s to hoping that Sweet’s persistence pays off in 2016 with The Boss as well. Plus with the impending release of Bruce’s completed solo acoustic record it would seem that all of the stars just might be aligning for Springsteen to make an appearance at the Fort in July.