Newport Folk Fest 2017: Highlights


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. Read More

August + September 2017 Spotify Playlist of the Month


After a month long hiatus we are back with 75 fresh ones from Covey, Mondo Cozmo, Mr Jukes, Ted Leo, Dwight & Nicole, Grizzly Read More

October 2017 Spotify Playlist of the Month


After a slightly bizarre Indian summer the weather has started to cool off and the leaves have finally started to turn in the Northeast. Read More

Newport Folk Festival Spotlight: Ray LaMontagne

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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

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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.

March Spotify Playlist of the Month

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M&T Spotify Playlist of the Month March 2016

Did a lot of incredible music come out in the last month or is that just us? This month we’ve got a whopping 50 new tracks to share with all of you from newcomers like Kavoossi, Pinegrove, and Big Thief to indie vets like Frightened Rabbit, Bloc Party, Dr. Dog and everything in between.

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

February Spotify Playlist of the Month

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M&T Spotify Playlist of the Month February 2016

Another day another dollar, another month another playlist. And so the world goes. This month our playlist selections range from the raucous guitar riffs of White Denim to the effortlessly flowing verses of Anderson Paak with a little bit of everything (including Bowie) sprinkled in between.

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

January Spotify Playlist of the Month

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M&T January 2016 Spotify Playlist

The holidays are over, all of the best-of-2015 lists are out, the fireworks have been shot off, and the doors have shut on another year. 2015 you were great, but it’s time to dive into 2016. Our first playlist of the new year features new tunes from New York natives Frankie Cosmos and Adrian Daniel along with M&T favorites like Saintseneca, Miike Snow, and more.

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

M&T Best of 2015

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M&T Best of 2015

That’s it folks, 2015 is a wrap. We’re off to Brooklyn Bowl to catch our old pals Deer Tick tonight, but before we go we’ll leave you with a few quick links to check out all of our favorites from the year that was. Thanks for a 2015 filled to the brim with music, see you on the other side.

Top 10 EPs of 2015

Top 50 Songs of 2015

Top 40 Albums of 2015

M&T Best Albums of 2015

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M&T Best Albums of 2015

We’ve compiled our 40 favorite albums from 2015 and you can check out the full list below and take a listen to each album via Spotify. We’re such nice people that we also put together a playlist featuring one song from each album, which you can check out on Spotify by clicking the link below. See you all in 2016 for more good jams and good times.

Full Spotify Playlist

40. EL VY- Return To The Moon

39. Amason- Sky City

38. Deerhunter- Fading Frontier

37. Courtney Barnett- Sometimes I Sit And Think, Sometimes I Just Sit

36. Here We Go Magic- Be Small

35. Darlingside- Birds Say

34. Kendrick Lamar- To Pimp A Butterfly

33. Tame Impala- Currents

32. Ratatat- Magnifique

31. Mini Mansions- The Great Pretenders

30. Action Bronson- Mr. Wonderful

29. Bad Bad Hats- Psychic Reader

28. Rah Rah- Vessels

27. Only Real- Jerk At The End Of The Line

26. Rayland Baxter- Imaginary Man

25. The Vaccines- English Graffiti

24. Modest Mouse- Strangers To Ourselves

23. Alabama Shakes- Sound & Color

22. The Decemberists- What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World

21. Lady Lamb- After

20. Toro y Moi- What For?

19. Grimes- Art Angels

18. DILLY DALLY- Sore

17. Father John Misty- I Love You, Honeybear

16. Sun Club- The Dongo Durango

15. Desaparecidos- Payola

14. Born Ruffians- RUFF

13. Bully- Feels Like

12. The Cribs- For All My Sisters

11. Saintseneca- Such Things

10. The Ballroom Thieves- A Wolf In The Doorway

As we mentioned in our Best Songs of 2015 post yesterday, A Wolf In The Doorway was well worth the wait. Unlike many people I still listen to CDs in my car and I can safely say that this one never left the #1 slot in the CD changer all year.

Essential Tracks: “Archers”, “Lantern”, “Oars To The Sea”, “Wolf”

9. The Arcs- Yours, Dreamily,

I wish The Black Keys could still be this cool. Or maybe Richard Swift could just join The Black Keys and make them cool again. Either way it’s great to see Dan Auerbach putting out an incredible record again.

Essential Tracks: “Put a Flower in Your Pocket”, “Stay In My Corner”, “Chains of Love”

8. Wilco- Star Wars

If you read this blog you know it’s not surprising that Wilco’s surprise album made its way into our top 10. And if you were lucky enough to catch Wilco on tour this summer you probably heard this album performed live in its glorious entirety.

Essential Tracks: “More…”, “Where To Do I Begin”, “Random Name Generator”

7. Built To Spill- Untethered Moon

Question: Has Doug Martsch ever made a bad album? Answer: No.

Doug and co. return to vintage BTS form with Untethered Moon and prove they can still hang with all the young guns in the world of guitar rock.

Essential Tracks: “So”, “Living Zoo”, “Never Be The Same”

6. Houndmouth- Little Neon Limelight

Houndmouth is 2-for-2 in releasing nearly perfect albums. No pressure for album #3 guys.

Essential Tracks: “For No One”, “Black Gold”, “Say It”, “Honey Slider”

5. The Districts- A Flourish And A Spoil

They own our top song of 2015, and with A Flourish And A Spoil, The Districts prove they’re no one-trick pony.

Essential Tracks: “Young Blood”, “Hounds”, “4th and Roebling”, “Peaches”

4. Sufjan Stevens- Carrie & Lowell

What can we say about Stevens’ masterpiece that hasn’t already been said? At this point you’ve probably read a billion and one interviews with Stevens about the content covered on the record, but if you haven’t read this Pitchfork interview with Lowell himself then definitely take a few minutes to understand this work of art from his perspective.

Essential Tracks: “Should Have Known Better”, “Fourth of July”, “All of Me Wants All of You”, “John My Beloved”

3. Hey Rosetta!- Second Sight

One of the best indie bands to descend from the Great White North in the past 10 years, Hey Rosetta’s Second Sight is certainly their best effort to date and one that’s more than worthy of a spot in our top 3 albums of 2015.

Essential Tracks: “Soft Offering (For The Oft Suffering)”, “Neon Beyond”, “Kintsukori”, “Promise”

2. Hop Along- Painted Shut

Hop Along’s 2012 release Get Disowned flew under the radar a bit (not on our watch though), but in 2015 everybody was watching (and listening) after they dropped Painted Shut and deservedly so.

Essential Tracks: “The Knock”, “Well-dressed”, “Waitress”, “Powerful Man”

1. My Morning Jacket- The Waterfall

The greatest live band of our generation (said it, sue me) has broken through to critical acclaim with their recorded material once again in 2015. The Waterfall is one of those records where I wish I could capture and bottle up the feelings of wonderment, awe, and excitement I experienced the first time I listened to it, even though those feelings have barely waned with subsequent listens. It’s safe to say that The Waterfall is My Morning Jacket’s best since 2005’s Z and is an album that we’re sure will stand the test of time as well.

Essential Tracks: “Spring (Among The Living)”, “Tropics (Erase Traces)” “Compound Fracture”

M&T Best Songs of 2015

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M&T Best Songs of 2015

To say 2015 was an incredible year for music would be an understatement. That means sifting and sorting through hundreds of tracks to choose the “best” songs from the year was quite the tall task. In the end we settled on 50 tracks, though we easily could have created a list double or triple that size with tunes that were just as good as those included below. Take a look at the full list and make sure to subscribe to our Spotify playlist of this year’s top tracks using the link below.

Full Spotify Playlist

50. Wolf Alice- “Your Loves Whore”

49. Natalie Prass- “My Baby Don’t Understand Me”

48. Lady Lamb- “Penny Licks”

47. Diet Cig- “Sleep Talk”

46. Long Time- “Victory March”

45. Tunde Olaniran- “Namesake”

44. Gallant- “Weight In Gold”

43. Miike Snow- “Heart Is Full”

42. Trails and Ways- “Skeletons”

41. Sjowgren- “Seventeen”

40. My Morning Jacket- “Spring (Among The Living)”

39. DILLY DALLY- “Desire”

38. Sun Club- “Tropicoller Lease”

37. EL VY- “Return To The Moon (Political Song for Didi Bloome to Sing, with Crescendo)”

36. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats- “S.O.B.”

35. Only Real- “Backseat Kissers”

34. The Tallest Man On Earth- “Timothy”

33. Sam Cohen- “Let The Mountain Come To You”

32. Wilco- “Where Do I Begin”

31. Weezer- “Do You Wanna Get High?”

30. Foals- “Mountain At My Gates”

29. Ratatat- “Cream On Chrome”

28. The Arcs- “Put A Flower In Your Pocket”

27. Sufjan Stevens- “Should Have Known Better”

26. Saintseneca- “River”

25. The Cribs- “Different Angle”

24. The Vaccines- “Denial”

23. Bully- “Trying”

22. Desaparecidos- “City on the Hill”

21. Built to Spill- “So”

20. The Decemberists- “A Beginning Song”

Not only is it a damn good road trip song, it’s just a damn good song period.

19. Titus Andronicus- “Fatal Flaw”

A full-on romp of a jam with a singalong chorus makes it the standout track from TA’s 90 minute opus The Most Lamentable Tragedy.

18. The Ballroom Thieves- “Lantern”

We’ve been following this Boston trio nearly from the very beginning and after years of waiting we can safely say that their debut LP surpassed any and all expectations. It was tough to choose just one track to include, but it in the end it always came back to “Lantern.”

17. Hop Along- “Well-dressed”

Again, tough to pick just one here, but “Well-dressed” takes the cake for the most intriguing offering from Frances Quinlan and co.

16. Houndmouth- “For No One”

This time around Houndmouth’s true winner of a track wasn’t when they pushed the foot-stomping into overdrive, it was when they peeled back all the layers and got down to the basics.

15. Billington Sea- “Goodbye Old Friend”

Folk songwriting at its finest.

14. Level & Tyson- “Tied Up”

Hopefully this year’s Gruesome Twosome isn’t the last we hear from these Norwegian indie darlings.

13. Toro y Moi- “Empty Nesters”

Chazwick Bundick strikes again. This time with more guitars.

12. Hey Rosetta!- “Neon Beyond”

Dare we say the best Canadian indie band of 2015?

11. Here We Go Magic- “Ordinary Feeling”

A criminally underrated band and a criminally underrated jam.

10. Born Ruffians- “When Things Get Pointless I Roll Away”

“I feel like it’s nice to think the world falls apart when I go to sleep. Then I like to think the world comes together the second I wake.”

If we had a list for best lyrics of the year this one might be near the top.

9. Tame Impala- “‘Cause I’m A Man”

Didn’t think it was possible to have a song stuck in my head for a whole summer until I heard this one.

8. Unknown Mortal Orchestra- “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone”

Instead of looking at your Instagram every two seconds, dance to this jam instead. It’s much healthier for you.

7. My Morning Jacket- “Tropics (Erase Traces)”

That guitar solo though…

6. Hot Chip- “Huarache Lights”

I don’t know who, where, or what Huarache is, but I’m glad it existed to inspire this oh so danceable jam.

5. Diet Cig- “Harvard”

Another challenger for best lyrics of the year.

4. Animal Flag- “Cathedrals”

Savor every second of this 10+ minute epic because you’re going to wish it was longer as soon as it ends.

3. Iron & Wine + Ben Bridwell- “Coyote”

Somehow this collaborative track is a cover of this song. I don’t know what Sam Beam and Ben Bridwell were on when they re-arranged this one, but I want some of whatever it was asap.

2. Alabama Shakes- “Gimme All Your Love”

The lyrics, the power of Brittany Howard’s voice, the guitar tone in Heath Fogg’s solo, all of it is just perfect.

1. The Districts- “Young Blood”

Holy guitars Batman. Don’t be scared off by this track’s nearly 9 minute long runtime, because much like Animal Flag’s “Cathedrals,” you’ll want to run this one back as soon as it ends. Often albums released near the beginning of the year are forgotten when it comes to best of lists, but A Flourish and a Spoil and this track especially, stood the test of time. Do yourself a favor and go see this band live whenever you can because 1) This song is even more epic in concert 2) They’re going to start selling out theatres before you know it and 3) Because I said so. Shouldn’t that be reason enough?

M&T Best EPs of 2015

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M&T Best EPs of 2015

2015 is nearly over, but we’ve still got a few more days to share our favorites from the year that was. This year we’re kicking things off with our favorite EPs from the last 12 months. Some may argue that EPs should be lumped in with albums when it comes to end-of-year lists, but we like to do things the logical way here at M&T so we’ll be comparing apples to apples and keeping the oranges separate. Check out the list below and subscribe to a playlist of one track from each EP here.

10. Baba Sonya- How To Land A Hot Air Balloon

Quite a fine debut from this New York based duo and we’re certainly excited to hear what’s next.

9. Zuli- Supernatural Voodoo

Yet another fine debut from another fine New York based band.

8. Eryn Allen Kane- Aviary: Act 1

No doubt a superstar in the making.

7. Mates of State- You’re Going To Make It

After a four-year absence they’re back and better than ever.

6. Hamilton Leithauser + Paul Maroon- I Could Have Sworn

Former bandmates reunite for five splendid tracks that make you wish The Walkmen never broke up in the first place.

5. Stars- Lost & Found

The Toronto group follow up their acclaimed 2014 LP with a short, yet oh so sweet, set of three nostalgic tracks that are better than any other b-side album leftovers we’ve heard in quite some time.

4. Diet Cig- Over Easy

If you missed this one you were probably living under a rock for all of 2015, and we’re sure the firecracker that is Alex Luciano will be everywhere in 2016 too.

3. Tall Heights- Back To Autumn

We’d be lying if we said we weren’t feeling like a proud uncle after seeing this one skyrocket up over 1 million plays on Spotify.

2. Billington Sea- Billington Sea

Not only are this duo of Jake Hill and Hayley Sabella some of our favorite people around, they also made some of our favorite tunes from 2015.

1. Animal Flag- EP 2

We’re loving this revival of emo and post-rock that has taken over in 2015 and you better like it too because this Boston based group led by Matt Politoski will be huge in 2016 and beyond. You heard it here first.

December Spotify Playlist of the Month

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Maimed & Tamed Spotify Playlist of the Month December 2015

It’s December which means this is our final monthly playlist of 2015, which also means the iconic Christmas pigs have returned. In order to go out with a bang we’ve got the best of the best of new music for all of you lovely readers. This month’s playlist features freshies from M&T mainstays such as Dr. Dog, Weezer, and Hey Marseilles along with some Boston favorites like Animal Flag and Amy & The Engine.

Check out all those artists and more on the full playlist below and remember to subscribe for new tunes every month in 2016!