Finally! The B’s Knees of 2014 are ready to share with the world!
Check out Bubbles in the Think Tank every Saturday night starting at 11pm for all the silliness you can stomach, all the silliness you can shake your stick at. You’ll hear so much free form-y goodness that you’ll be back every week with us to share in the love.
Whet your appetite with this archive and then go buy as much of this fine music as you can at the links below.
And, as always, tell them Bubbles in the Think Tank sent you! We just want to make sure all of these fine artists feel the love from all the good friends of WMFO!
Behold the Knees!
A Tribute To Bob Dylan In the 80s, Vol. One – Various artists
Nobody’s Baby – Miriam
Pure as Coal – Tim Carroll & Midnight Orange
Spring is around the corner, how can you tell? The spring concerts are starting up. As noted in an earlier post, the NEHCMF will be in Worcester in April and just recently finalized, the headliners for Boston Calling. Boston Calling started in 2013 and the goal was to hold the event not once but twice a year! Full disclosure, I have never been to this event and the price for these tickets are a lot more than I am willing to spend but thats just me. The general admission ticket is $175 for the three day event. The top three headliners are – Beck, The Pixies and Ben Harper. This all happens in Downtown Boston at city hall plaza. The event will be held May 22nd, 23rd and 24th. Please checkout their website if you have the cash and nothing to do after your finals!
Well that was fast! Not only has L7 reformed but their tour dates are starting to trickle in! As mentioned in the last post, L7 needs people to start their army to help promote a world tour. I signed up a few days ago and yesterday I got a link to download (legally!) their first album and one of their promo pics! Today I got word of their tour with full details to be release on January 28, 2015! By signing up I’ve already gotten my money’s worth and it was FREE!!! What next? A kickstart project to help fund their documentary – L7: Pretend We’re Dead. If you haven’t listened to their music, go now. I’ll wait!
Last Sunday, 1/25, the students of WMFO elected their next Executive Board, the members of which will be active in their new positions starting in summer 2015. Here are the new board members and their respective positions:
General Manager: Ben Stern**
Assistant General Managers: Joe Palandrani** & Shreenath Bhanden
Programming Directors: Jane Acker** & Hunter Howard**
Music Director: Alex Golin*
Publicity Directors: Deena Alexander* & Haley Short
Ops Director: Daniel Meyer
Volunteer Coordinators: Ceili Hale** & Mollie Beek
Training Director: Jon Garcia
Facilities Director: Ben Tanen
Archivist: Madeline Doctor
Ticketing Coordinator: Daniel Komanoff
Booking Coordinator: Hannah Levin
Events Coordinators: Daniela Torres* & Alex Spring
New Media Officer: Helen Sibila
Sandbox Director: Jamie Juviler
*Continuing 2014-2015 Exec Board position; **On 2014-2015 Exec Board, but in a different position than listed for 2015-2016
Looking forward to another great year of freeform!
Or you could pretend to be dead – your call! I was searching through some videos on youtube the other day looking for Nina Gordon’s (Veruca Salt) cover of NWA’s Straight Outta Compton – Please see my website for the actual youtube link – NSFW. Anyway, looking to the right side for additional videos I came across L7. I was a fan of their music but over the years they kinda fell off the radar and it makes sense because they went into their hiatus 14 years ago. That was then, this is now. Apparently there has been a groundswell of activity calling for the band to do another tour. L7 have spoken among themselves and have decided, Yes! They would like to tour, however they are going to need a lot of people to help spread the word. Where do you fit in? Join their mailing list and help spread the word. If you’ve never heard them before you can also listen to their stuff which is streamed off of their website. They are a fun, energetic band and if they pull off a tour, you can thank me later!
Ok, maybe not the raydio listed above but the radio of which a lot of us grew up listening to. Why I love college radio stations. Let’s face it folks, this is really the last bastion of music in general. Commercial radio is unlistenable and that is not new. Real djs have essentially gone away. This has been going on for over 40 years. I used to produce a radio show in N.H. growing up and all I did was plug in carts which had the djs voice pre recorded. Today you can tune it to WZLX and hear Alice Cooper during the evenings. I don’t hate Alice but it robs listeners of a local feel. Younger generations will never know what it was like to have great radio stations such as WCOZ 94.5 and their block party weekends (they were the first from what I remember to do this). There was also a time where WBCN 104.1 were the forerunners of the punk scene and of course the now defunct WFNX which has been relegated to the web only. However I digress, there was an article in the Chicago Reader about bands which are now trying to make small limited copies of their releases and one band refuses to post their music online. I’m not going to get into the holy war of whether or not this is a good thing or bad thing. My stance is clear, if you want to adapt to the future of music, you are going to have to embrace the web as your new form of promotion. This is where radio used to play a significant part of the music industry. Most major labels have since forgotten what had made them rich in the first place. I believe that radio can still play a major part of the music business but the partnerships will have to change from labels to dealing directly with the artists themselves. This is where college radio comes in. This resource is certainly used but I feel like most free things are very seldom used to their greatest potential. WMFO offers quite a bit, from community service announcements, offering a wide variety of music and talk shows to recording singles for local acts. We have a studio that should always be busy but it takes people too. Which brings us to another benefit of college radio, bringing the community together. Every DJ brings something special to the radio station and everyone I’ve met have been really nice people. This is also what makes you want to listen to their shows. After all, would you really listen to anyone who was a jerk? Probably not. To skew a famous quote “Ask not what WMFO can do for you, ask what you can do for WMFO!
I can’t believe this festival is almost 20 years old already. If you’ve never been its a great time to be around your favorite metal bands. It’s three days of madness. No doubt from the initial schedule the big day of course is saturday. I’m surprised that Testament is the headliner, I think Exodus is the bigger draw here. After all, the last album they released that I enjoyed was Practice What You Preach and that was released back in the stone age. No need to split hairs here, I enjoy them both but Exodus a little more. If you’ll notice just under them is the final New England appearance of Nuclear Assault. I was a huge fan of theirs out of the gate, with such albums as – Game Over, Survive and Handle With Care I’ve owned the album, cassette and finally(?) cd of these albums and they are just as good today as yesterday. The story on their retirement can be found on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. I will certainly miss these guys. There are still some holes in the schedule but you can be sure the Sunday band will be HUGE! Yeah the show is still a ways off BUT tickets go fast. The last couple of years the tickets have gone within two to three weeks of the event. As for my show on WMFO (WMFO Regular Show), I play a metal themed show every once in a while and its a blast. Of course if you’re looking for a steady metal show don’t forget Matt’s show on Saturday mornings called The Grave Yard Shift. Check it out.
Songs from the Squid Pod appears every Tuesday morning from 7-9am. Contact info: @squidpodmusic or email@example.com.
80s fans take note: The Pop Group has reissued their 1980 release, We Are Time, and are planning on a studio reunion release, Citizen Zombie, in early 2015. A compilation of live and unreleased material, We Are Time has been digitally remastered and now available as a CD on the Freaks R Us label.
Originally formed in Bristol in 1977 by Mark Stewart (vocals), John Waddington (guitar), Gareth Sager (guitar), Simon Underwood (bass) and Bruce Smith (drums), their multi-genre influenced style of punk soon had them on the cover NME magazine. Nick Catsis, who joined later, is also credited on the album. Before disbanding in 1981 they released three studio albums: 1979’s Y (Radar Records), For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder? (1980, Rough Trade/Y Records), and We Are Time (1980, Rough Trade/Y Records). Drummer Bruce Smith went on to join New Age Steppers where he met Neneh Cherry who was also with New Age Steppers. The two married and put together Rig Rig + Panic with the help of Pop Group guitarist Gareth Sager in 1981. The sound of Gang of Four comes to mind but judge for yourself with “Colour Blind” (link below). Other notable tracks: Track #3, “Genius or Lunatic” recorded live in 1978 in Brussels, and Track #9, “Sense of Purpose.” DJs will want to avoid Track #8, “Springer” for FCC reasons.
The modern music community is obsessed with compartmentalizing artists into specific genres. In a couple of recent album reviews, Pitchfork (the indie blog that has become synonymous with what is new and “interesting”) has given artists labels such as “minimalist no-fi ambient” and “blackened punk”. This feeling of responsibility to neatly sort musicians is a futile one. For example, it doesn’t take long for the differences between punk-pop, pop-rock, power pop, and synth-pop to break down completely. How can you be completely one and not the other?
The Dingo Babies, a five-piece Boston-based band, accept that many people may desire to have a label for the group. but they reject it by what tagline they choose. On their website (thedingobabies.com) they self-identify as “Folk Pop Piano Rock!”, which is about as broad as one can get. Their desire to avoid labels is emblematic of their authenticity and broadness of their influences.
When the band speaks about their music, they identify The Beatles as the common influence between the members. As bassist/vocalist Tommy Ng puts it, “In a small way that’s why we’re THE Dingo Babies and not just Dingo Babies.” But, Ng also identifies Tame Impala, The Avett Brothers, Radiohead (“[Radiohead] embodies a freedom from labels and restrictions”), and Kurt Cobain (“my hero”) as main influences. Keyboardist/vocalist Jim Connolly mentions a couple of non-musicians among his musical influences. “Writers like Shel Silverstein, Tom Waits, and Dr. Suess inspire me by keeping it simple while creating their own little fantasy worlds.” The band members also mention artists from Modest Mouse to Kevin Devine. As The Dingo Babies’ sound is clearly a fusion, Connolly describes it best when he says that the band is “A saucy romance for your ears to hear.”
The Dingo Babies met at an open mic in their dorm basement on their first night of college, and they were inspired by each other. Drummer/vocalist Jamie Rowe said that it all clicked that night. “Basically, we all just were on the same page musically, but in kind of tangential ways.” The result was a band complete with guitars, keyboard, multiple vocalists and a cello.
Their debut album, “Breakfast”, certainly includes all of their stated influences, bringing them together to produce their own sound. Many songs begin with just an acoustic guitar and end with rock-club electric. Throughout the album, the stark contrast between the songs is what grabs you. For example, if you listen to the light and keyboard-heavy “The Color In My Veins” and “The Price of Greed” (which Rowe describes as “A punch in the face”) back-to-back, the difference is stunning. It’s these differences that make “Breakfast” eclectic, interesting, and accessible. It also makes them ultimately lacking a label that adequately sums them up.
In a way, “Wake A Daydream” is representative of the group and album as a whole, a worthy microcosm in only just over two minutes. It features heavy drums, strong cello, a dark keyboard part, and choruses full of harmonies. Rowe agrees with this. “I love how it’s the second track on the album and lets you know not to expect anything.” The vocal harmonies on the refrains are particularly beautiful on almost every track, especially on “Completely Unsure”, “Pain” and “Windows & Mirrors” (the latter of which is lo-fi, feels almost bluegrass-y, and sounds as if it could have been recorded in an empty New England barn. The result is beautiful).
On tracks like the opener, “Completely Unsure”, they call on lyrical themes that are familiar to any music listener: love. “Pain”, a song about getting over a lost love, is the true gem of the album, featuring an irresistible chorus, a catchy opener, and a stellar keyboard solo (and cello solo!). The raw emotion of it is obvious, and Ng confirms it. “We kept most of the first vocal take for that one, because I didn’t have it in me physically or emotionally to do the ending more than once for the record.” “Pain” is also the track that packs the most punch in their live show, with the drums being particularly impactful on the chorus at the end of the track. Rowe says that it’s his favorite song to play live, and Ng says it’s the song that he wants to smash his guitar to during the show.
Some of their lyrics come across as silly and mundane in an entertaining way, songs like “Sometime” (“Make a sound and repeat it/It’s your life get excited/Add it up and divide it back down”), and then take a turn for the metaphorical: “You’re my hero, you’re like me/Waving to yourself in the riptide/I’m standing on the shoreline/Redefining what it means to guard a life.” And, some of the lyrics are just plain silly, like “EZ”: “I should start flossing my teeth/But it makes my gums bleed/I can’t believe people actually do that.”
They wear their political leanings on their sleeve. In “Price of Greed” (a heavy song that is both lyrically and slightly musically reminiscent of Rage Against The Machine), they discuss income disparity and the differences in power that results. In “Burden of Concern” (a soothing complete with reggae bass and top-notch piano), they urge the importance of independent thinking.
These lyrical themes tie in to their values as a group. “Breakfast” is available for free on their Bandcamp. As Rowe puts it, “I didn’t want $5-$10 to be the reason somebody wouldn’t have our music easily accessible to them, that feels lame.” Ng also points out that they have to get their music out somehow, and having it be free is just one way of doing that. “When you’re an independent band with little commercial promotion and you’re not in CD stores, no matter how awesome you are sometimes the opportunity to give your music to someone comes few and far between. I think we really wanted to be able to just give “Breakfast” to someone no strings attached in hopes that they find something in it and want to show it others who may appreciate it too.” This attitude shows their genuine commitment to their music.
The Dingo Babies have also become involved in charities such as Calling All Crows, The Ally Coalition and The Berklee Movement recently. Ng describes the rationale behind it. “Having our music serve something bigger than our egos is incredibly good for the soul, and if that’s in good shape then the music flows better in my mind.. it creates a positive feedback loop. I hope everything we do artistically can encompass that somehow.”
What’s next for The Dingo Babies? They’ve been playing shows in the Boston area recently, trying out some new material that didn’t make it to “Breakfast”. They say that Facebook is the best way to keep in touch for show updates and releases. But Connolly points out the ultimate goal for the band’s direction: “Forward. I’d like to continue.”
Twenty years ago this month, 2 women were shot and killed in 2 separate Brookline reproductive healthcare buildings, 5 others were wounded. In response to this, Massachusetts passed a law to create buffer zones around clinics that provide abortions, and metal detectors were installed, all in an attempt to keep employees and clients safe. In the summer of 2014, the buffer zone law was struck down by the US Supreme court, and Governor Patrick enacted a new law to ensure safety for those entering reproductive health facilities. As a result of this and the continuous stream of news stories that involve violence against women, Keep Safe Boston was born.
The Boston music community has a long history of pulling together to put on shows and raise money to help causes – from individuals who need financial support to larger organizations that serve the greater Boston community. If there’s a need, Boston bands show up, and show up big. Twenty years ago, a compilation called Safe & Sound: A Benefit in Response to the Brookline Clinic Violence was released to raise funds for organizations that help women in who need it. This inspired Anngelle Wood put out the call to artists to contribute songs to be included on a pay-what-you-can digital compilation when Keep Safe Boston was formed, the songs poured in. Download the 50-song Keep Safe Boston compilation here. It’s a pretty amazing collection of current Boston bands, and as a collection is a beautiful mix.
Wednesday night’s show at Brighton Music Hall will feature hip hop artist Jass Bianchi (above), Boston Music Award nominees Parlor Bells, 2014 Rock and Roll Rumblers The Color and Sound, pop songwriter Corin Ashley, lo-fi grunge rockers Drab, and alt-americana rockers The Rationals. There will be vendors at the show, and raffles for really cool stuff – like tickets to sold out shows – with all proceeds to benefit Planned Parenthood. Wednesday is also Human Rights Day, and was purposefully selected as the date for the performance.
This benefit show and compilation is part of something much bigger. “Keep Safe Boston is a movement to ensure we raise our voices to create a safer, more compassionate community. It is about violence against women, the growing rape culture, human rights issues, domestic violence, dating violence, bullying and more,” says Wood. The KSB team is working with other human rights-type organizations like Amnesty International and local colleges and their safety programs.
Another organizer and WMFO’s On the Town with Mikey Dee DJ Pam van der Feest explains the ‘keeping your friends safe’ ethos that is so familiar to those who are clearing out of a rock club at 2AM:
“At the end of the night, we make sure our friends can get home safe. Do they have a ride? Do they need to be walked to their car? Keep Safe Boston is about instilling this same attitude into the young people in our city. How do we as a city look out for each other?”
As 2014 comes to a close, Keep Safe Boston has its eye on 2015. “KSB will continue to build its voice and presence in the community. My goal is to support like-minded organizations, team with college campuses, local politicians, and directly involve the music and arts community in this mission,” says Wood.
The Keep Safe Boston benefit for Planned Parenthood is on Weds, Dec 10, 2014 at Brighton Music Hall
KeepSafeBoston.org Facebook.com/KeepSafeBoston, and @keepsafeboston on Twitter.