M&T Best Songs of 2017

We've compiled a playlist of the 75 best songs from the year that was and highlighted our top 10 below. Make sure to subscribe Read More

M&T Best Albums of 2017

The moment you've all been waiting for...our favorite albums of 2017. We've compiled a list of the 40 best albums of the year and highlighted a Read More

February 2018 Spotify Playlist of the Month

We're rolling deeper into 2018 and into Super Bowl weekend (Go Pats) so if you're looking for your soundtrack to February look no further Read More

M&T Favorites

8 Incredible Late Night TV Performances

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My Morning Jacket– “One Big Holiday” Late Night with Conan O’Brien (2003)

Jim James’ voice cracks multiple times, the timing is far from tight, but I’ll guarantee that you’re mopping your melted face off of the floor after watching this performance of what is now MMJ’s go-to set closer. There are so many things that make this performance a classic, but the best part is Jim and his cousin Johnny Quaid trading ridiculous solos just months before Quaid left the band. A close second though is Conan’s reaction after the performance, as he is clearly floored by the band’s majestic shredding abilities.

Cursive– “From The Hips” Late Show with David Letterman (2009)

It took Cursive more than 10 years and 8 records to finally get their due on Late Night TV, but when the Letterman crew came calling in early 2009 following the release of Mama I’m Swollen, the band certainly made the most of it. Much like the aforementioned My Morning Jacket performance, you don’t need to know anything about the song or the band to feel the pure electricity of the performance. Lead singer Tim Kasher immediately brings you in with the soft yet deliberate intro of the record’s lead single and from there all bets are off. Pure, unadulterated, rock ‘n roll at its finest.

Arcade Fire– “Neighborhood #2 (Laika)” Late Night with Conan O’Brien (2005)

Boundless energy from Win Butler, Will Butler, and Richard Reed Parry on this track from the band’s debut LP Funeral. The latter two band members are almost like toddlers at playtime, playing percussion with anything they can get their hands on including each of them banging drumsticks on the helmet that the other is wearing.

Villagers– “Becoming a Jackal” Later… with Jools Holland (2010)

Conor O’Brien can do a lot with just his voice and a guitar to grab a crowd’s attention, and he did just that on Jools Holland’s BBC Two program. A one-man performance on Late Night TV can be tricky, but the range of emotion displayed by O’Brien’s facial expressions throughout the performance keeps you glued to the screen. The real icing on the cake though is the closeup on O’Brien’s face as repeats, “I’m selling you my fears,” over and over in the song’s outro. Late night gold.

Death From Above 1979– “Romantic Rights” Late Night with Conan O’Brien (2005)

Also a candidate for grimiest/heaviest performance by two people on Late Night TV ever. The best moment is when Late Night bandleader and E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg hops behind the kit to drive home the song’s epic climax. Oh and not to mention Conan awarding the duo with “Best Name for a Band Ever” as he strolls up for the post-performance handshake.

Wu Lyf– “Heavy Pop” Late Show with David Letterman (2012)

It seemed like this quartet out of Manchester, England was destined for indie rock greatness (see our Best Tracks and Best Concerts of 2011), but then all of the sudden they called it quits before they seemingly even had a chance to catch their stride. Luckily for us though, this wasn’t before they were able to make their mark on Late Night TV with a stellar performance of the standout track “Heavy Pop” on Letterman. If you had a chance to catch the band while they were still touring you understand the raw emotion that they brought to each note, and this performance is no different.

Jim James– “A New Life” Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (2013)

Of all the Late Night hosts, Fallon arguably brings in the best musical guests and of course Mr. Yames is no exception. It seemed a bit redundant to include this performance after already having My Morning Jacket on the list, but it’s just too damn good to ignore. As the song slowly builds so does the number of members in the backing band until the stage behind James is filled with a full-blown 20-person orchestra including members of The Roots. The moment that seals the deal for us though is at the 3:50 mark, when just as the song peaks, James is thrust backward into the band and the camera goes right with him. Magic.

At the Drive-In“One Armed Scissor” Late Night with Conan O’Brien (2000)

Just watch. Words cannot explain.

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

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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 vintage-inspired quintet has exponentially honed the skill they showed back then. The crowd reacted instantly to the group’s silky harmonies and synths. Our favorite tracks of the set, “Summer Rain” and “Find It of Use,” were carried by the indulgent vocals of Elisabeth Ellison. Ellison adorably strained towards the mic on her tiptoes to float her voice into the dense soundscapes, and the crowd loved every moment of it. So for fans of Foxygen, Jens Lekman, any variant of psych-pop since the 60s, and dancing Zou Bisou Bisou-style… please, give Rad City a spin.

Typhoon followed, who crammed no less than eleven band members onto the BMH stage. Due to a childhood illness that left him near death, frontman Kyle Morton’s music is haunted by anxiety and preemptive grief. And yet, Typhoon is anything but bleak on stage. The group’s two percussionists shared a double drum kit at front and center stage, which added a fun visual element to the set (especially when Pieter Hilton played so vigorously that parts of his kit fell off stage and into the crowd). Add in some group vocals and a horn section, and each song became a downright celebration, despite the seriousness of the lyrics. Though the imminence of death casts a shadow over many of Morton’s verses, Typhoon played each song with a true lust for life, as if that show may be their last. To Morton and Co.’s credit, I don’t know many bands out there that could cause me to ponder my own existence, all while dancing and woo-ing like a sorority girl. I guess it’s only right that a guy who almost died can make music that reminds us how freaking great it feels to be alive.

Tales of Olde and The Suitcase Junket at Tommy Doyle’s 9/24/2013

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UPDATE: Due to some unforeseen circumstances that were out of our hands, this show has been postponed. We are working on a new date and will hopefully have some exciting news for you soon!

The last Tuesday of the month means one thing around these parts, killer live music presented by M&T + Young Giant (aka Tame the Giant) at the Loft @ Tommy Doyle’s in Harvard Square. On September 24, we are beyond excited to be hosting two artists that are currently among our favorites in the Massachusetts music scene. Tales of Olde and Suitcase Junket both bring something a little different to the table, and for only $5 there’s no reason for you not to come out on a Tuesday night and check out some local music. Read on for more info on both artists and join us next week at 8pm when all of the fun kicks off.

Tales of Olde

If you’re an avid M&T reader you know that Tales of Olde headlined The Middle East Upstairs last month and that they’re one of the most promising new bands in the local folk scene. The band is currently hard at work on their debut EP, but that hasn’t stopped them from playing all around Boston and releasing some tantalizing live videos, like their cover of Justin Timberlake’s “Pusher Love Girl” below. When we first heard Tales of Olde we immediately knew they were a band after the M&T crew’s collective heart. With acoustic guitar, strings, and male/female vocal harmonies, discovering Tales of Olde was a similar experience to the first time we saw The Head and the Heart back in early 2011.

The Suitcase Junket

To call Matt Lorenz aka The Suitcase Junket, a one-man band would be quite the understatement. Armed with his deft slide guitar skills, a hi-hat, a gas can turned kick drum, and an accordion case that doubles as a bass drum, Lorenz takes multi-tasking to a whole new level. With the EDM craze inescapable in the music world these days, it’s incredibly refreshing to hear Lorenz creating layers of ear-pleasing music with no loop pedals or other electronics needed. And what makes The Suitcase Junket even more impressive is Lorenz’s secret weapon– throat-singing. Lorenz has perfected his throat-singing skills over the past five years and you can hear it in action about two minutes into the video below. With two full-length records under his belt as The Suitcase Junket, Lorenz has developed a catalog of songs that one could compare to the style of The Racontuers or Thickfreakness era Black Keys. Whatever your thoughts are on The Suitcase Junket it’s Lorenz who puts it best himself when he calls his music, “one guy making a racket.” Trust us, you won’t want to miss this racket at Tommy Doyle’s come Tuesday.

Grey Season Is Coming To A b.good Near You

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If you’ve ever visited one of the many b.good locations around Boston and Cambridge you know that they pride themselves on their fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Now the b.good team at the Mass Ave location will be taking the same approach to the music they are playing in their lounge. Starting this week, the newly renovated lounge at the restaurant location by Berklee will be featuring a playlist of music by local artists over their speakers and on their TV screens. Part of each playlist will be the Maimed & Tamed Track of the Month, a fresh song from a local artist chosen by yours truly.

To kick off the campaign this month, we’ll be bringing our friends from Grey Season to b.good in the form of their track “Aragon Mill” from their debut EP Troilus. After having such a blast with Grey Season at Tommy Doyle’s last month, it was a no-brainer to bring them on board for our partnership with b.good. You can check out “Aragon Mill” below and also at the Mass Ave b.good location throughout the month of September!

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

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

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, cello, bongos and howling vocals. So how could a hell-hath-no-fury track like “Master Hunter” possibly translate without its token tabla percussion? What about the looming background vocals that render “Alpha Shallows” so haunting?

About ten minutes into the opening raga from Once I Was an Eagle, I quickly resolved that Laura Marling has very little need for a backing band. In fact, she doesn’t even need a guitar tech (“it’s a frivolity,” she claimed, and joked that she spends about 20% of each concert tuning up).  Tuning breaks and all, Marling’s performance was painfully bare, which is just the point – it put the entire focus on her raw confessional lyrics. Song after song contained a line that felt stolen from my own thoughts (if I were ever to be so articulate, that is). And if I’d had a few more glasses of wine pre-concert, I might have even been brazen enough to shout an “Amen, sister!” here or there. Yet instead of hoots and hollers, the room remained pin-drop quiet for the entirety of the show; each listener arrested by their own private relationship with each song. Upon witnessing her live performance, it is all the more clear that Laura Marling has achieved the ultimate in songwriting: she has penned tracks that are equal parts intimate and universal, revealing yet relatable. And they deserved every moment of the spotlight.


Best of 2013 So Far

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As we are already past the halfway point in 2013 (scary, I know), Caroline and I took some time to look back on all of the amazing music that has been released thus far. We each chose a song and an album to highlight from our growing list of favorites and explained why you need to hear these artists right now if you haven’t already. And since we’re such nice and considerate people we also created a Spotify playlist that features a spattering of additional songs from our favorite artists of 2013 including Houndmouth, San Fermin, Phox, Caroline Rose, Vampire Weekend, Tallahassee, and more. Read on to hear about our favorites and make sure to subscribe to the playlist at the bottom of the page to hear the finest that 2013 has had to offer.

Eric’s Picks

Lady Lamb the BeekeeperRipely Pine

Many times when an album comes out early in the year it can be difficult for those songs to stay top of mind when making your year-end lists. Even though we are just past the midpoint of 2013, I highly doubt that Lady Lamb the Beekeeper’s Ripely Pine will soon be forgotten when December rolls around. Ever since Aly Spaltro released her debut LP under the LLTB moniker back in February, I haven’t gone more than a week without listening to it and that’s no lie. With a full band to support her songwriting, Spaltro created a sprawling, epic, and breathtaking album that has not yet been topped in 2013, at least in my book. The raw emotion, and passion in Spaltro’s songwriting is what makes me keep coming back and listening again and again. Try out “Bird Balloons”, “You Are The Apple”, and “Crane Your Neck” and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

Charles Bradley– “Strictly Reserved For You”

In 2011 former James Brown impersonator, Charles Bradley, burst onto the scene with his debut LP No Time For Dreaming which featured the massive hit “The World (Is Going Up In Flames).” By now we all know his inspiring story of hardship and struggle that has led to his fairytale success, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit skeptical as to how he would follow all of that up. To say I was pleasantly surprised with 2013’s Victim of Love would be a vast understatement. The album is dripping with soul as Bradley pours his heart into every lyric, with his cohorts in the Menahan Street Band putting the exclamation point at the end of each phrase. This is especially true on the album’s opening track and lead single, “Strictly Reserved For You.” From the first hum of Bradley’s voice, to the distorted guitar lick that makes you want to melt, and all the way through the final guitar solo, this song has so much soul it’s hard not to get up and bust a move every time I hear it.

Caroline’s Picks

Laura MarlingOnce I Was An Eagle

“The voice of a generation” is an expression that gets thrown around loosely. When talking about Laura Marling, I offer up that phrase at every chance I can get – and come at me bro, I’m ready to defend it. Ever since 2008’s “New Romantic,” Marling has nailed the plight of young love in the most authentic way I’ve ever heard.  Singing over stormy guitar and percussion on Once I Was An Eagle her vocal performance effortlessly reflects the infinite emotions that she’s working through. Sometimes scarred and fragile, sometimes burned and ruthless, and often somewhere in between, Marling’s lyrics and delivery are always real. By revealing her own self so earnestly, Laura Marling ends up speaking for us all.

Frightened Rabbit– “Acts of Man”

With Frightened Rabbit’s latest album Pedestrian Verse, lead singer Scott Hutchinson has quickly become pop culture’s latest and greatest antihero. Hutchinson drags us through his tormented highs and lows on each stunning track, particularly the album opener “Acts of Man.” Hutchinson becomes every woman’s worst nightmare realized when he mourns: “Man, he breeds although he shouldn’t/ He’s breeding just because he comes/ Acts the father for a minute/ Til the worst instincts return.” Seriously, Don Draper much? Yet soon after he admits, “I have never wanted more to be your man/ And build a house around you,” and suddenly all is forgiven. How such self-loathing, sorrow, and ultimately hope can be packed into one short song still baffles me. Pedestrian verses, these are not.

Charles Ellsworth- “Arizona Pines” Video

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The last time we heard from folk balladeer Charles Ellsworth he had just released his newest album, Charles Ellsworth and the Dirty Thirty, which we called a perfect piece of Americana. Now Charles has floated back onto our radar with a new video for our favorite track from his album, “Arizona Pines.” The video brings a contemplative perspective to life on the road for Ellsworth, which for stretches seems to be a solitary undertaking. The song is still the same story of desperation and isolation, but the video certainly breathes new life into an already spectacular song.

And the Giraffe Release New Video for “Sorry”

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We’ve been fans of the Gainesville, FL duo And the Giraffe since we first heard their transcendent debut EP back in 2011 and we were immediately hooked. Late last year ATG released a follow-up to Something for Someone, in the form of a 6-song EP entitled Creature Collector. We featured a track from Creature Collector on our December 2012 Playlist of the Month, and now the duo has returned with a brand new video for another track off the EP “Sorry.” The dreamy aesthetic of the video blends perfectly with ATG’s sound, and we were immediately entranced as soon as we clicked play. If this is your first time listening to And the Giraffe, the video for “Sorry” will be the perfect intro to the magic that these guys are capable of creating.

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.


The Ballroom Thieves Play Summerfest…TONIGHT!!

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On Wednesday I left Boston on a journey that would take me halfway across the country, and quite honestly, did not know what to expect from it at all. I was enlisted to help one of my favorite local bands, The Ballroom Thieves, document what is probably their biggest gig yet– direct support for Dispatch at Summerfest. Leaving Boston I felt a bit apprehensive, not knowing what would come of this 5-day 1,000 mile adventure, but it seemed as if the band knew exactly what needed to be accomplished. Not only with logistical items facing every touring band such as how to pack the van, and which route to take westward, but also with their Summerfest performance.

On Day 1 the mood in the van was light, with obvious excitement building as we drew closer and closer to our final destination. Day 2 brought us through Chicago and into Milwaukee, and the focus of conversation became increasingly centered around the big gig. Topics included details of the set list, timing of sound checks, and even on-stage spacing between the band members was discussed at length by the band and their manager. Although it may only be an hour out of a week-long festival for all of the Summerfest attendees, it’s been months of prep for the band and what seems like an eternity of waiting to take the stage. And with the day of the big gig upon us, these seemingly minute details like how far Devin (percussion) should sit from Martin (guitar), are magnified ten-fold.

With only about 7 hours between now and the performance, the scene has turned more into the calm before the storm. The band called it early last night (while this guy rocked out to LL Cool J) and today will be a check list of show preparations from loading and unloading the van, to running through the setlist and making sure all of the instruments sound just right.

If you’re in or around Milwaukee you won’t want to miss tonight’s Summerfest performance from The Ballroom Thieves, you’ll be able to say, “I was there when…”

So come one and come all to the BMO Harris Pavilion at 8pm for The Ballroom Thieves and Dispatch, followed by an exclusive after-party at Translator on Menomonee St in downtown Milwaukee. You’ll have to come to the show if you want all of the details for that after-party, and believe me, you’ll want to be there.