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

Album Review

Win Tickets to Born Ruffians at The Sinclair 10/29/2015

Posted on by Eric in Album Review, Concert Preview | 2 Comments

Born Ruffians at The Sinlcair

When Born Ruffians released their fourth full-length album, Ruff, earlier this month I was quickly reminded that their fabulous debut, Red, Yellow & Blue, was released over seven years ago. Oh how time flies when you’re making great music. The Canadian indie rockers have come a long way since their days performing in a Brooklyn club on Skins, but one thing hasn’t changed and that’s the band’s infectious energy. On Ruff songs like “Stupid Dream” and “We Made It” carry a similar torch to previous hits like “Needle” and “Hummingbird” while “When Things Get Pointless I Roll Away” is an immediate Ruffians classic and a contender for song of the year in my book.

This week the Ruffians bring Ruff and the rest of their lively stage show to the Sinclair on Thursday October 29 and we’re giving away a pair of tickets. All you need to do to enter for your chance to win is sign up for the M&T newsletter at the link below and we’ll pick one lucky winner on Wednesday. Until then enjoy some new Ruffians and get in the dancing mood for Thursday.

 Enter To Win Tickets

Long Time Set To Release Worth EP

Posted on by Eric in Album Review | Leave a comment

Long Time is a Boston based rock power trio. Guitar, bass, drums + vocals. True rock ‘n roll. An ordinary fan though may not realize that until they see the band live as these guys put out more noise than most 5 piece bands. Their first EP, Worth, drops on September 24th @ Great Scott. The trio’s sound is full rock ‘n roll, but there’s also plenty of soul locked within their new EP. And even more surprising is the fact that Thomas John Cadrin (guitar/vox), Andrew Nault (drums) and Colin Dinnie (bass) have only been playing together for just about a year.
From headlining Great Scott last November with The Box Tiger and Weather, to opening for Matt Pond PA @ Sinclair in April, and most recently crushing a night back @ GS alongside NYC rockers Highly Suspect, these guys have risen through the local ranks all the while managing to pull together some exceptional live recordings out of the well known Converse Rubber Tracks locations in Brooklyn, NYC (December 2014) and most recently, here at the new Boston HQ (July 2015).
Later on this month – on September, 24th @ Great Scott with The Color & Sound + Weakened Friends to be exact – they will be dropping their first studio release, the aforementioned EP called Worth.
Listen to “Bite Me Lovin”, the debut track off Worth, the new EP from Long Time, here:

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Album Review: Langhorne Slim & The Law – The Spirit Moves

Posted on by Ryan Schmitz in Album Review | Leave a comment

Langhorne Slim & The Law - The Spirit Moves

Fans of Sean Scolnick have waited a long time to read the following words… Langhorne Slim & The Law have finally put out a new album!  It has been years since the last record and now at long last The Spirit Moves has arrived.

The storied foot-stomper from Pennsylvania has waited a very long time since The Way We Move dropped in 2012, but not a lot has changed.  The Spirit Moves brings the same level of raw intensity mixed with the classic vulnerability expected out of one of this generations most dynamic singer-songwriters.  Overall The Spirit Moves may be Slim’s most complete work to date.  There is more than enough movement to be found in the up tempo tunes, but the real soul is found in the lighter tracks.

The album opens up strong and fast with the title track “Spirit Moves.” Scolnick reminds us right away exactly the kind of musician he is, brining the same heartfelt Americana flavor that has permeated his career from the first second of the record.  From there he moves seamlessly from low tempo ballads to foot stompers.  All of which come with the usual sincerity and intensity that one can expect with a Langhorne Slim original.

The album hits a high point at track six with “Life’s a Bell,” an R&B ballad with a horn lead crescendo reminiscent of the conclusion to “Hey Jude.”  From there the album moves to “Wolves,” a folksier tune carried by a strong beat and some of the most personal lyrics of the album.  The song is a conversation, where Slim opens up and describes himself in vulnerable detail.  While there are a few folk ballads the rhythm and blues vibes don’t ever really stop.  Right after “Wolves” comes “Bring You My Love,” and with it, a return to the bluesier feel from earlier.  Fueled by electric piano, there is a classic R&B tone accompanied by Selnick’s haunting vocals.

The Spirit Moves is full of twists and turns, constantly toeing the line between folk, the blues, and up-tempo Americana.  It’s that sort of genre-bending melting pot music that Langhorne Slim & The Law have built up a reputation for, but really needs to be listened to before it can be properly understood.  Just when you think you have a feel for the direction the record is going they change it on you in the next track.  At the end, what you’re left with is an absolutely complete album, all the sound you expect to hear is there, but with plenty of growth and maturity included.  The themes of honesty and vulnerability throughout the album are complimented perfectly by the sonic ambiguity.  The music can come off light and fun or heavy and brooding, and one can never really be sure when the shifts will happen.

Langhorne Slim & The Law are currently on a cross country tour and will return to the North East in mid-September for dates at The Sinclair in Cambridge [Tickets] and The Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn [Tickets].

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.

Jessica Pratt – On Your Own Love Again

Posted on by Woody Black in Album Review | Leave a comment

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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.

Low Key Release Debut EP Ship Without An Anchor

Posted on by Eric in Album Review | 1 Comment

Whoever said don’t judge a book by its cover certainly is not alway right. Case in point, Low Key’s debut release Ship Without An Anchor. I mean, how awesome is that album artwork? Luckily for the band, and for us, they’ve got the musical chops to go with the album cover. The local quintet blends styles ranging from funk to folk and rock to dance-pop all in the span of 6 songs. It’s quite the feat for a debut release, but it shouldn’t come as any surprise since the band’s members have been hard at work on these songs since early 2012. The EP’s first single, “Natalie”, showcases the band’s pop/funk side along with some tasty harmonies, but it’s the title track and EP closer that caught our attention. It’s a swirling epic that captures the seafaring vibe from the album’s artwork, and also makes for the perfect closer for the band’s first release.

You can grab yourself a copy of the full EP for a measly, and very much worthwhile, $5 via the bandcamp link below.

Download EP

 

Will Dailey Releases National Throat & Gives Away Signed Vinyl

Posted on by sandmanmusic in Album Review, M&T Favorites | Leave a comment

Will Dailey National Throat Album ArtIn January of 2013, Will Dailey published a mission statement that proclaimed his artistic freedom after breaking up with his record label and concluded with the following declaration:

The goal of this song collection is to celebrate this journey and the rewards of enduring artistic struggles. With you, I’m fully confident that the mission will be a success. What we leave behind will be an honest and invigorating album. You are the ears and hearts where my songs find a home.

Mission accomplished. This week, one of Boston’s finest delivered that ‘honest and invigorating’ album that he so passionately foreshadowed 20 months before with the release of National Throat. A three time Boston Music Award winner for Best Male Singer-Songwriter, Will has set the bar high for himself and others as one of our city’s best songwriters and he soars right over that bar with his most rounded work to date.

National Throat’s sonic landscape is full of rich instrumental textures that draw from pop, rock, folk and blues, setting the perfect backdrop for skillfully crafted lyrics about love, fatherhood and navigating life as an independent musician. The album addresses Dailey’s split from his label both metaphorically and head-on, leaving little to the imagination. Not many artists can lay it all on the line like Dailey does, but with National Throat he has made an honest record that is sure to resonate with his peers and fans alike.

National Throat quickly found a home in our ears and hearts, and it’s not leaving anytime soon.

Check out Will’s first-ever official music video for the lead track on National Throat, “Sunken Ship,” and enter to win a free signed copy of his 180 Gram Blue/Gold Vinyl. See details below.

NATIONAL THROAT VINYL GIVEAWAY

We’re helping Will give away a signed copy of his 180 Gram Blue/Gold Vinyl pressing of National Throat. Head on over to our Facebook page now to enter. All you have to do is  tell us about your favorite Will Dailey moment – be it a song, lyric, live moment, video, etc – by commenting on the pinned post at the top our feed. Will will be reading what you wrote and choosing his favorite comment. There were only 250 of these babies printed, so let’s hear it!

Grey Season To Release Debut LP at Middle East Upstairs 4/26/2014

Posted on by Eric in Album Review, Concert Preview | Leave a comment

We’ve been big fans of local alt-bluegrass (yea we just went there) group Grey Season for a long time now and with the impending release of their debut LP we’re prepared to become even bigger fans. The band will be celebrating Time Will Tell You Well this Saturday April 26 at The Middle East Upstairs and if you plan on joining in on the fun (which we highly advise) you better grab your tickets while you still can. We were lucky enough to score an advance copy of the album, which was recorded at Levon Helm Studios with producers Benny Grotto and Justin Guip, and we can safely say that all in attendance on Saturday will be in for quite the treat.

If you’ve been to a Grey Season show over the past 6 months you’ll recognize some beautifully produced versions of songs that are staples of a Grey Season live show, like “Aragon Mill”, “Satellites”, and their impeccable cover of Richard Thompson’s “1952 Vincent Black Lightning.” From beginning to end Time Will Tell You Well is a captivating rock ‘n roll album, and we can guarantee that Saturday’s show will bring much of the same enchantment found on the album.

Buy tickets to the show at the button below and name your price for a download of the album’s lead single, “Satellites” via bandcamp.

Get Tickets

The Ballroom Thieves Set To Release New EP + Play Sinclair 10/4/2013

Posted on by Eric in Album Review, Concert Preview | Leave a comment

It’s no secret that we’re huge fans of local trio The Ballroom Thieves round these parts. Their debut EP was one of our favorite releases of 2012 and we had an incredible time traveling to Summerfest with the band, documenting their journey to open for Dispatch in Milwaukee. This Friday the band is set to release their self-titled follow-up to The Devil & the Deep at The Sinclair, where they will be joined by fellow M&T favorites Caroline Rose and Tales of Olde. We were lucky enough to get a sneak peek of the EP, and all we can say is that you are in for quite the treat. Ahead of this Friday’s gig we exchanged emails with Thieves frontman Martin Earley where he gave us the inside scoop on The Ballroom Thieves EP. Read on below for the full interview and remember to get your tickets for this Friday’s show while they last!

Maimed & Tamed: Tell us a little bit about the recording process for the new EP. Where was it recorded? How long did it take? How sweaty did Devin get?

The Ballroom Thieves: Well, we had ventured out to Oakland, California to record 12 songs in early January, but when we got the masters back later on in the year, we realized that the band had progressed quite a bit in the meantime and no longer felt comfortable releasing those tracks. We were adamant about the idea of delivering the energy of our live show on the record so we started over from scratch, right here in Boston. We worked with Mike Davidson (who also recorded our previous EP, The Devil & the Deep) at his Plaid Dog Studio in Allston, MA, and we got the whole thing done in just under a week. We were working hard because wanted to make sure we got everything done before October 1st, so (as you can imagine) Devin got extraordinarily sweaty. The whole process was a great time, and we can’t recommend Plaid Dog and Mike enough.

M&T: The band utilized a Pledge Music campaign to help fund the EP, what were your favorite pledge rewards to fulfill?

TBT:  We had an interesting balance between serious rewards and more whimsical, funny ones. The framed lyric sheets were really nice to produce, just because it’s fulfilling to know that someone actually wants my words in a frame on one of their walls. The dispensable cameras (which we’re still working on) are one of the more fun rewards; the people who got those may not have realized what they were signing up for…

I also know that Devin had a great time designing the drum heads, and that he’ll probably be knitting until next summer to get all of the scarves done.

M&T: For fans who have seen the band live [Editor’s Note: You’re dumb if you haven’t] we know that you’ve got more than four new songs in your repertoire that didn’t appear on 2012’s The Devil and The Deep. How did you choose the four tracks that ultimately made the cut for the new EP?

TBT: Like I mentioned above, we recorded 12 songs in California, and then we wrote about 2 or 3 more in the following months, so the decision-making process wasn’t easy. We wanted to produce a coherent set of songs that would be appealing to our long-time fans, while giving those people who haven’t seen us play live a taste of what it’s like to be at a Ballroom Thieves show. The EP doesn’t come with whiskey or sweat, though.

M&T: You guys have a new cellist since we last saw you, could you tell us about her addition to the band and how that fits in with the release of the new EP?

TBT: Callie had her work cut out for her, but she’s done amazingly over the last week and a half. Not only has she learned our repertoire of songs (on cello and vocals), but she’s also written new parts to several songs, including a brand new one that we may or may not debut at the Sinclair on October 4th. Oh, and she’s done all of that while putting up with the other two-thirds of the band. We couldn’t be more excited to have her with us, especially since this new EP is in many ways a rebirth of the band. Our first EP was a bit of an exploration; we were still trying to find our own sound. It took two years, but I think we’ve found it, and we couldn’t be more excited for Callie to help us shape the direction of the band in the future. 

M&T: After The Sinclair gig on Friday what else is in store for the band? What can your fans expect for the rest of 2013?

TBT: We’re closing out the year with some really fun shows, including an opera house performance with The Last Bison, who happen to be one of our favorite bands at the moment. We’ve got some surprises in store for all of our friends in Boston, and we’re psyched to make a trip out to the West coast – not solely to escape the inevitability of the New England winter. These are really exciting times for the band, and we can’t wait to share the experience with our accomplices.

M&T: Who is your favorite blogger in Boston?

TBT: I can’t mention his name but it rhymes with Schmeric Schmea. [Editor’s Note: Does that rhyme with Eric Shea?]

Jay Kill & The Hustle Standard- Stuck On The Sunrise EP

Posted on by Eric in Album Review, M&T Favorites | 1 Comment

Today is a glorious day in the world of Maimed & Tamed, as our friends Jake Hill and Charley Hustle  have released the follow-up EP to New Men Old Boys, which featured one of our favorite tracks of 2011 in “Howlin at the Moon.” Stuck On The Sunrise comes nearly two and a half years after New Men and it is well worth every single minute of waiting. For the new EP Jay Kill & The Hustle Standard enlisted the help of various friends and musicians to create the soundscape that weaves its way throughout four tracks and one tasty remix of the title track by Mr. Hustle himself. Each of the four songs on SOTS has its own distinctive character, from the slow build-up into the singalong chorus on “Never Seen Runaway” to the summery perfection of the title track, yet the whole EP flows effortlessly from song to song. Don’t say that we didn’t warn you, but you’ll have this one on repeat for the rest of the summer.

You can stream the full EP below via Soundcloud, support some badass musicians by purchasing the EP, watch the video for “Never Seen Runaway,” and hear Jake and Charley chat about the making of the EP. It seems like a lot, but oh man is it worth it.