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Concert Reviews

The Gourds – 07/14/2011 – Smiths Old Bar

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I gotta tell ya, there are many forms of “alternative music’. When it comes to “country alternative”, I bet Google comes up with The Gourds. From the opening of the show, there was nothing but an awesome display of too many instruments to count, and definitely no novice players behind them. Formed in Austin, Texas in 1994, it is quite apparent that this band have tightened up to the point of excellence with each other over the years. Kevin Russell’s vocals really define the band, especially when he has the mandolin in his hands. Jimmy Smith really keeps the low end rockin’ as well with very structured and tasty bass lines. I really enjoyed how up-beat the entire show was, but my attention was really caught when they broke into a song called I Want It So Bad that is to be released in September on the album “Old mad joy”. If that song is any indication of the rest of the material on the album, it will definitely be a don’t miss!!

Being a musician myself, I was amazed at how big a sound they got with some of the instruments and amps that they were using. My attention was first turned when I walked in and saw an old Peavey Bandit amplifier. When I was in high school I was always told that was a practice amp, but what a sound out of that thing. Jimmy Smith was playing an old Fender Bassman, which is actually a great amp, but he was playing through a cabinet that looked like it had to be put back together after every show, but it carried the low end through the room perfectly. Needless to say I enjoyed the whole show thoroughly, and if you enjoy a ton of instrumentation along with a ton of talent, check out The Gourds the next time they come around, and check out Old Mad Joy upon it’s release September 13th, 2011.

Concert Reviews

Jonah Parzen-Johnson at Lilypad

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Jonah Parzen-Johnson has an innate ability to make the baritone sax sound like bagpipes, and maybe that’s why I cried.

Mostly I cried because Jonah tells radiant stories with his saxophone and analog synth, working the brass and pedals to recreate the framework which surrounds his album Remember When Things Were Better Tomorrow: Parzen-Johnson wanted to make “something of myself that’s for everybody else.”

Jonah opened his set with “Stay There, I’ll Come to You,” showcasing the harmony between synth and sax right off the bat. With haunting lilts, the two combined into a ribbon of melody, pulsating inside the ear as well as the heart. Much like the song’s title, Jonah was the one approaching the audience as an experimental troubadour of tête-à-tête.

The back stories and thoughts behind each song tied in so well with the raw, almost throaty sax, developing such strong, emotional resonance with the musical layers. The skeleton shook.

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Concert Reviews

Speedy Ortiz “riiiiise above and gliiiiiide away” at The Sinclair

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The Sinclair was a packed house Wednesday night for the Speedy Ortiz CD release party; as a hometown gig for the Northampton, MA-based band, kinetic warmth buzzed through friends and fans alike as Sadie Dupuis and crew played their freshly-release Foil Deer track-by-track.

What’s a party without some guests, though? That’s where Krill and Mitski come in.

Krill kicked off the night with some tracks from A Distant Fist Unclenching, other goods from Lucky Leaves. Lead singer/bassist Jonah Furman brought to mind early (read: good) Billy Corgan, which I’m not sure he will appreciate. But I think he’ll appreciate this: I couldn’t stop laughing because then I kept thinking about Marilyn Manson telling Billy Corgan that he looked like Charlie Brown.

Opening with “Theme from Krill,” the Boston trio has a knack for rhythm and melody that burrows into your brain. The dreamy bleakness of “Purity of Heart.”  The discordant garage rock and hiccupping guitar and warbly Scooter-ness of “Foot.” Krill’s sound is a good, comfy noise that keeps you wiggling and all that good stuff. Be sure to catch the band at Boston Calling.

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Concert Reviews

Years & Years at Royale Boston

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During winter storm Juno, UK electro pop group Years & Years were forced to cancel the first show of their two-night stint in New York City back in January. After the snow finally melted, they made the rounds again this past March, playing several shows in California, South by Southwest before finally landing in Boston.

Due to popular demand, the show was moved from The Sinclair to the Royale in downtown’s Theater District.

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