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

Tall Heights Ready New Tracks, Set To Play Boston and NYC

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Tall Heights

Boston’s Tall Heights have come quite a long way from their humble beginnings busking at Faneuil Hall. Since the release of their first EP, Rafters, back in 2011 the duo of Paul Wright and Tim Harrington have performed alongside acts like Laura Marling and Wild Child, released their full-length debut, a second EP, and a 2-song collaboration with another local hero, Ryan Montbleau. Though they made a name for themselves on cello and acoustic guitar, Harrington and Wright will be making a departure from their signature sound with the release of two live singles, “Spirit Cold” and “Horse to Water.”

With piano and electronic drum sounds now in the mix, the duo have injected their sweeping arrangements with a refreshing backdrop that seems like it has always had a home in their music. The one constant that continues to make Tall Heights so special though are the beautiful vocal harmonies delivered by Harrington and Wright. Clearly the focal point throughout previous releases, the harmonies still cut through on the two new tracks and are what keep you coming back over and over.

Lucky for all you readers out there, you don’t have to take our word for it since you can go out and see these new songs for yourself. Click the links below to grab tickets for upcoming shows at Brighton Music Hall in Boston on 4/25 and Mercury Lounge in New York City on 4/30, the latter of which will feature our pals in The Ballroom Thieves as well. Check out the full “Spirit Cold” video below, captured at the beautiful Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport, MA.

Brighton Music Hall Tickets  Mercury Lounge Tickets

April Spotify Playlist of the Month

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Maimed & Tamed Spotify Playlist of the Month April 2015To say that March was a big month for new releases would be quite the understatement. Over the past month we saw full-length releases from bands in the upper echelon of indie rock like Death Cab for Cutie, Modest Mouse, and The Cribs, along with M&T favorites such as Houndmouth, Lady Lamb (no longer a beekeeper I guess…), Twin Shadow and more. Not to mention fresh singles from our favorite new band, Great Caesar, and our favorite band of all-time, My Morning Jacket. As you might have guessed, this influx of incredible new tunes in March means an inflated playlist in April. Check out the full 40-track playlist below and remember to subscribe for fresh jams every month.

Years and Years at Royale 3/30/15

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Fresh off their prestigious appointment of “BBC Sound of 2015”, Years and Years have hit the ground running this winter. The electro-pop trio – hailing from London by way of Australia and Turkey – has swiftly snuck into everyone’s go-to party playlists. With Disclosure type jams, “King” and “Desire”, dispersed around other down-tempo 90s R&B influenced feelers, “Memo” and “Real”, Years and Years are clearing crowds on their way to the top.

On March 30th, lucky Boston will host the trio at Royale at 8pm. Having already moved venues in order to support massive demand, the show is a must-see and, consequently, we couldn’t be more excited to offer two free tickets. When you sign up for our newsletter you’ll automatically be entered to win.

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The hype is real, take a listen below.

 

Dwight Ritcher Trio at the Lizard Lounge 3/27 & 3/28

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Our friend Dwight Ritchter of Dwight & Nicole is making his triumphant return to The Lizard Lounge with The Dwight Ritcher Trio. If you’ve never seen his live show before you are in for some groovin’ vibes and face-melting guitars. Lucky for you we’ll also be giving away a pair of tickets to one winner who signs up for our newsletter through the link below. Check out Dwight and his trio shredding at Lizard back in ’13 in the video below and make sure you sign up for our newsletter now for your chance to win a pair of tickets to one of this weekend’s shows.

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The Western Den, Kevin William, and Billington Sea at Great Scott 3/23/15

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If you’ve heard the whispers, they’re right – The Western Den, Kevin William, and Billington Sea are folking up Great Scott on Monday, March 23rd.

After a year and a half stunning listeners with the spellbound folk tunes from their debut EP, Battle Hymns, The Western Den have returned with their highly anticipated new EP, All The Birds. In fact, March 23rd will be the first time to hear the haunting harmonies in the flesh and we’re shaking in our bones to get our hands and ears on it.

And although last summer’s shadow seems a world away, the stark romance of Kevin William’s Current Fears EP still remains. With the initial flicker and flame at its release in May 2014, Current Fears has now slipped into the go-to queue for late night feels and the singer/songwriter looks as though everything is ahead of him at the moment.

And, finally, fresh off the release of their self-titled debut album Billington Sea appears to be building steam. After a steady stream of shows up the east coast over the past month – specifically a killer set at Sofar Sounds Boston in February – the charming duo have set their sights on March 23rd to bring their playful tunes back to the stage.

On top of all that – Maimed & Tamed will be giving one lucky winner a pair of tickets to the show. All you have to do is sign up for our newsletter below and we’ll select a random winner who will get all sorts of folked up on March 23.

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Flight Facilities at The Sinclair 3/10/15

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It’s perhaps no surprise Flight Facilities are headlining The Sinclair tonight in Cambridge. They are, after all, the OG’s of that sunny electro-goodness to which Boston seems to finally be graced with – in more ways than one.

After a rather lengthy spell since their initial touchdown, the Aussie production duo returned in October to release their first full-length, Down To Earth. Pulsating with the same airy catch-tunes that we’ve come to expect from the duo, Down To Earth represents somewhat of a compilation of pre-released hits (“Stand Still”, “Claire de Lune”, “Two Bodies”, “Crave You”) while still offering a healthy dose of surprises. After all, everyone knows it’s impossible to talk Flight Facilities without including “Crave You” – an absolute gem that still makes summer feel like summer.

The ever-perceptive LA via Sydney based DJ, Touch Sensitive, will preface the Aussies with his electro-drenched 80s disco jams. Despite the bill’s lack of consideration for cold weather and snow, I think they’ve lined this one up for a winner. I might even stretch to say that the club is, in fact, set to go up on a Tuesday.

 

Jose Gonzalez – Vestiges and Claws

Posted on by Woody Black in Album Review, M&T Favorites | Leave a comment
Photo: Malin Johansson

Photo: Malin Johansson

Adrift in the milieu – José González emerges once again a teacher and student of his own craft on his third LP: Vestiges and Claws.

Almost ten years removed from Veneer – González’s debut LP – the Swede remains more or less unscathed. While a decade typically leaves its mark on a folk singer – usually a few more mediocre tattoos or perpetual whiskey-breath – González has emerged the same whispery apparition that he entered as. And for it Vestiges and Claws picks up from the last chord strummed on the 2007 release In Our Nature and wanders on.

Laced with the intimacy and intricacy of an ex-lover, the work almost breathes familiarity. As the nylon-stringed arpeggios dance and drape the bedroom environment on the opener, “With The Ink Of A Ghost”, a kind of confession is made. González seems to say; I’ve returned, I’m the same, take it or leave it. For a natural recluse, a non-verbal statement of the like is about the closest González will ever get to combative, yet this statement seems more about communication than confrontation. González seems to express his true desires, or better yet true self, in this message to the folk community through his decision to remain sonically consistent once again. Although remaining unchanged seems, at times, stemmed from a lack of artistic direction, it can be a very thoughtful and active choice all the same. González appears to have made attentive decision and, still regardless of its similarities – Vestiges and Claws remains a somewhat novelty to the folk community.

As the record ambles on, the essence of the work begins to take shape. Sheparded at times by González’s punctual vocal and then at others by assemblies of claps, snaps, and shakers, “Let It Carry You” serves as the lone up-tempo track visited by Vestiges and Claws. While many, undoubtedly, will recall the briskness that gave Veneer its charm with this track, “Let It Carry You” seems to solve a different riddle. It’s freshness and resolve allows the track to exist not only as nostalgia for González’s previous work in Veneer, but also as a composition in and of itself too – a piece that can stand on it’s own two feet. The ability to remain interesting while remaining homogenous; thus is the brilliance of José González. While many folk singers fall victim to the tides of criticism and critique – González seems to live outside it and remains attentive to his self and his craft.

It can be argued that the development of craft is not always synonymous with the achievement of stardom in pop music. However – in the folk community – craft most of the time precedes even stardom and José González is no exception. Having been born in Sweden to Argentine parents, González was introduced to Latin and Caribbean folk music in his early years while learning to speak (and sing) in English too. This exposure to the broader folk communities proved effective in González’s return to the classical guitar after several hardcore-punk trials in the early 2000s (Rajagopalan). When the singer returned, though, he returned with the dexterity of a proficient guitarist.

In many of the same ways Nick Drake became well known for his unity and ability with a guitar in the 1960s, José González attracted acclaim for his fingerpicking style and proficiency after the release of Veneer in 2003. After the subsequent release of In Our Nature in 2007, the evolution of González’s craft was – as somewhat expected – very gradual. Besides the introduction of multi-tracking guitars and vocal doubling, the sound of In Our Nature did not fall too far from the tree of Veneer. The result, however, was a more refined, more deliberate sound that brought the Swede’s craft closer to the resonance featured on Vestiges and Claws.

Intertwining soft-spoken phrases with long drawn-out vowels, the vocals rise and fall throughout Vestiges and Claws. Without an alarm or place to be it’s easy to disappear into the music and lose track of time. While most of the time Jose González’s consistent craft serves as his strong suit, there are moments through the interior of the album that it also flirts along the line of a downfall. “The Forest”, in particular, feels more like a watercolor painting than a consequential character study. Yet, the deliberateness of his work remains all the while and compels attentiveness rather than analysis. It becomes clear eventually that González’s outward charm has been discovered by the folk-singer himself, and that his work is a direct result of that discovery. González, it seems, understands the relationship between steadiness of character and consistency of craft in creating a legacy. And a legacy he’s made.

March Spotify Playlist of the Month

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Maimed & Tamed Spotify Playlist of the Month March 2015

March means the flowers are starting to bloom, the birds are starting to sing, and there’s still 6 feet of snow on the ground…Can’t win ’em all right? Good thing for you though is that we here at Maimed & Tamed aren’t going to let a little snow keep us from delivering you some brand new jams this month. We’ve even added an additional 10 bonus tracks to our normal 20 song playlist because we love you all that much. This month features the return of various M&T favorites including Two Gallants, Built to Spill, Alabama Shakes, Krill, and more. Check out the full playlist below and remember to subscribe for 20 new tracks every month.

The Districts @ The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA 2/12/15

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Photo: Press/Ryan Farber

Seeking refuge and revival, a lucky collection of listeners bundled into Cambridge’s dark horse, The Sinclair, for a shot of that soundgood-feelgood. Besides The Districts, the bill featured another four-piece from New Jersey Pine Barons, and the buzz worthy barrage of Boston locals, Vundabar.

As the dark, dimly lit overheads illuminated the foyer, a lone cry came from the concert hall. The source, buttoned-up in dark cottons and hair-covered eyes, became recognizable immediately as Brandon Hagen of Vundabar. Shifting from Ed Sullivan-esque Beatles upstrokes to Bowie-like vocal exaggerations to Bombay Bicycle Club-ish melodic riffs, Hagen challenged and frequented the stereotypes. The self-proclaimed jangly pop-ers of Boston – although mostly harmless – aroused a sense of self-indifference with their stage antics, but the crowd was all together amused.

The half-dancing soon subsided with the arrival of Pine Barons – an eclectic and rather erratic rock quartet from southern New Jersey. As the group dipped and dove between fingerpicked folk tunes and full-on post-punk ballads, the soundscape wandered off at times unattended, but the lyrical content remained potent. The set soon became an extended assemblage of tracks with little post-song banter and ultimately found its conclusion on a particularly electric rock-n-roll tune.

Not too long after a new drink and a new friend, the wait was over. Shepherded by the curly-haired Eric Grote, The Districts assumed the stage now studied by several hundred onlookers. After a few long and illustrious years impressing heads at Fat Possum, then Bonaroo, and recently Late Night with Seth Meyers, the Lancaster-based casual-rockers have found their way out of the trans-lantic indie circuit and into the buzz. Halfway through the opening ballad it became clear what the buzz was all about.

Reviving the all-too-familiar upbeat stop-start of Spoon, The Districts filled the room with an almost refined nostalgia as they chipped and chirped through the softer anthem “Long Distance” while the young audience sang word for word. Despite allusions of Spoon, though, Grote’s versatile vocal seemed to distinguish the four-piece from their influences and moved them into what’s becoming known as “The Districts” sound. The result was all-together spellbinding as Grote along with guitarist Mark Larson, bassist Conor Jacobus, and drummer Braden Lawrence chugged through “Lyla” and into a goosebump-inducing finale.

As whistles and wails rose from the crowd of believers and converts alike, The Districts withdrew from the stage for several minutes before returning again to even more deafening applause. It was the 12-minute volley of foot stamping and yelling that ensued as “Young Blood” built to the top from the bottom, though that left its final mark on the night with a healthy dose of ear ringing to remind the lucky listeners that The Districts are sticking around.

Jessica Pratt – On Your Own Love Again

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Nostalgia lovers gather ‘round. Light your candles, your cigarettes – Jessica Pratt has returned with her sophomore full-length, On Your Own Love Again via Drag City.

Time-traveling through history, Pratt manages to visit Greenwich Village in the 60s, West London in the 70s, and Los Angeles in the 2000s throughout the album; all the while distinguishing herself from those to which she bears resemblance in her unmistakable air of gentility.

Resting upon the shoulders of her self-titled debut, On Your Own Love Again features the familiar delicate vocal idiosyncrasies and nasal vibrato. Yet, the whole work itself feels more refined, more crafted. The production recalls the clarity and intimacy of Joe Boyd’s Pink Moon sessions with Nick Drake while it retains a certain level of individuality through its vocal layering and multi-tracked guitars. However, the sound – without a doubt – will evoke some degree of nostalgia depending on age or inclination towards dusty records.

Bringing the lo-fi back into bedroom recordings, Pratt seems penned on the cultivation of a feeling rather than a statement. As the nine-track record ambles on, it becomes clear that the wayfaring musings of the 27 year old are mostly benign, light-hearted even (i.e. “Jacquelyn in the Background”). Although the homogeneity of songs sometimes invites daydreams rather than attentiveness, the overall effect is natural and, thus, fully realized.

Whether On Your Own Love Again echoes Vasti Bunyan in its songwriting, Sibylle Baier in its sincerity or Joni Mitchell in its underlining folkness, the result silhouettes a much fresher shadow and that is the shadow of Jessica Pratt.