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Awake: The Life of Yogananda 0

Posted: November 24th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Blog

Although he was not the first to bring yoga and Eastern spiritualism to the US, Paramahansa Yogananda’s extended 30-year residency in America significantly impacted its proliferation. His popularity was due in part to his dedication to living and working in America, which he believed was his calling, but extended to his relatable and scientifically-grounded teachings.

Yogananda’s first lecture in the US was delivered in Boson and titled The Science of Yoga. He spoke of restructuring the brain through the repetition of meditation, creating grooves he likened to those on a phonograph record. This analogy is now understood to be an early understanding of neuroplasticity, something that wouldn’t be studied for decades. Although Yogananda’s concepts may have been advanced, relating them to elements in the physical world as well as aligning them with science brought the mystical experience down to an approachable level.

Yogananda was a man of his times, describing everyday life as vivid cinematic experiences that could be fantastic while not authentic. The filmmakers of Awake: The Life of Yogananda run with this idea as seen through documentary footage, with the grainy quality to be expected from early film, spliced with surrealistic reenactments and manipulation of still images focusing on Yogananda’s arresting gaze.  The film attempts to create a historically accurate portrait of Yogananda and a record of his teachings in the United States while only hinting at reported scandals and accusations among his contemporary yogis. Focusing on the facts of his teachings and the beliefs of his followers without questioning their validity at times creates the feeling that one is watching a late-night infomercial. Still, the testimonials are from people such as George Harrison, Deepak Chopra and 30+ year practicing followers like Sister Premamayee. The facts of Yogananda’s life, as related by believers, make a strong case for a life of isolated meditation as the true path to self-realization.

The documentary montages of Yogananda’s Vedic teachings practiced in modern settings across the globe are entirely images of quiet, solemn meditation; that is, except for the images of a large group of spandex-clad women doing yoga in Times Square. While Yoganananda used popular culture to his advantage, the latter in turn may have adopted some of the more superficial aspects of the former’s teachings. The possibility that an individual would internalize the spiritual benefits over time seems to be an example of both his patience and confidence in his message. A particularly telling interaction is related by actor and jazz singer Herb Jeffries. Rather than forbidding Jefrries’ behaviors of drinking and womanizing in order to practice meditation, Yogananda slyly says he can’t promise that, through meditation, those behaviors won’t become less appealing. The filmmakers, with their ever-present, hypnotizing Eastern music and compelling imagery, similarly challenge you not to consider yoga and meditation as a serious lifestyle change.

Awake had a limited local run, but you can request a screening through Gathr.

BUST Holiday Craftacular: This Saturday 0

Posted: November 20th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Blog

This Saturday, November 21st, BUST magazine is hosting their first annual Holiday Craftacular in Boston, at the Boston Center for the Arts. I had the pleasure of talking to one of the women who has been working to bring the Craftacular to Boston.

This event has existed in New York City for 9 years, and will return to Brooklyn again this year. However, this is the first time that the Craftacular has come to bean town. More than 100 vendors will gather to sell their products, which makes it a one-stop holiday shopping experience. It is not just a NYC event dropped into a new city–it will be thoroughly Boston! The vendors will be Bostonians and New Englanders, selling products that are unique to this area. The women at BUST wanted to expand the event into our area because it’s such an accessible city, and because so many of them have personal connections here. It’s been in the works for years, and this year their dream is finally becoming a reality!

Two exciting and new events are coming to the Craftacular this year:

The first is the Cat Café, which is exactly as awesome as it sounds. BUST partnered with Broken Tail rescue, an organization that works with rescue animals throughout Massachusetts and New England. You can visit the café to get something warm, have a seat, and most importantly, cuddle with some adorable rescue cats.

There will also be an Ugly Sweater Selfie Booth with some incredible Christmas and Hanukkah sweaters.

The Craftacular is not just a fun place to get holiday shopping done, it is also a great way to support an independent publication like BUST. Melissa described it as a “light in the dark” and a “home space in the media” for women who are looking for something fresh to read about.

Saturday! 11am-6pm! Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts!
Be there!

For more information visit:

Fitz & The Tantrums at House of Blues Boston 0

Posted: November 20th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Blog

Michael Fitzpatrick, frontman for Fitz & The Tantrums, describes his band’s music as “soul-influenced indie pop”. Some listeners may hear motown, and some may hear straight-up alternative rock. For a band that has, since their start in 2008, opened for acts from pop-rock heroes Maroon 5 to soul-popstar Bruno Mars to ska legends The Specials, this is a narrow designation. If I had to explain their music, I’d say that it sounds like James Brown with modern pop sensibilities, but even that wouldn’t fully do it. After seeing them live at the House of Blues in Boston on November 16th, I won’t be trying to explain their music to anyone anymore. I’ll only tell them to go see the damn show.

The show started with the opener, Big Data, coming onstage to play for the largely under-30 sold-out crowd. They began by playing an automated voice, announcing itself as the NSA, telling us to post everything that we see tonight to our social media accounts. The motif of governmental monitoring (implicit in their name) carried on throughout their half-hour set, including them playing a cover of Hall & Oates’ classic “Private Eyes” (which left most of the crowd confused, as it was before their time). Many people knew their hit single “Dangerous”, which they closed with before Fitz & The Tantrums took the stage.

They swaggered onstage and got everyone clapping immediately as they took their instruments, lights flashing amongst a background of a flashing heart, as is shown on their most recent album, More Than Just A Dream. The beats were loud and the energy was unmatched. The stage presence of Fitzpatrick perfectly complemented the charisma of singer Noelle Scaggs, who snapped and smiled her way around the stage in between her verses.

The set included almost the entirety of More Than Just A Dream, with a few cuts from Pickin’ Up The Pieces, their first album, which were not received quite as well (with the notable exceptions of “Don’t Gotta Work It Out” and “MoneyGrabber”). The choruses were the big selling points for the crowd, as everyone bounced and sang along no matter if they knew the verses or not. The energy from the band (who finished the night covered in sweat) was palpable and contagious; they didn’t need to encourage anyone from the crowd of 2,300 to dance or sing along to their music.

Their cover of Eurythmic’s classic “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” was a pleasant surprise and went along with their sound quite nicely, as they added their own kick to it. A bigger surprise came during saxophonist James King’s solo in the middle of “L.O.V.”, when he played the riff to Jason Derulo’s current hit “Talk Dirty To Me”, which sent the crowd into hysterics (whether it was excitement or laughter, I’m not sure). “Fool’s Gold”, one of the singles from More Than Just A Dream was the best-received track before the encore; the hook is irresistible and even more so live.

The encore began with their biggest hit to date, “MoneyGrabber”. They jammed on the song, getting the crowd into it, for much longer than it usually clocks in, and finished it with confetti cannons pumping confetti into the crowd, giving a smaller venue the feel of an arena show. The show ended with “The Walker”, which sent everyone home happy. None were spared of an excellent night, and it was clear that Fitz & The Tantrums are one of the hardest-working bands on the scene right now. It’s no surprise that their popularity has skyrocketed.

The Graveyard Shift presents Monday Massachusetts Metal News 0

Posted: November 17th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Blog

The Graveyard Shift airs at 4 am on Saturdays and showcases metal bands from Massachusetts; from nu metal to black metal with no discrimination. You can contact the show with submissions, requests, questions, or for any other reason at graveyardshiftma@gmail.com, facebook.com/graveyardshiftradio, or @graveyrdshiftma on Twitter. This weekly column will keep you posted on the latest news related to local metal bands and shows. For more updates, visit the show’s website at graveyardshiftma.wordpress.com.


* The Keep Safe Boston 2014 compilation was released last week, which features 50 songs from 50 different local bands including progressive metal band Protean Collective. They contributed their song “Caldera.” You can read more details about the organization and compilation here, and you can download the album and name your price—whatever you pay goes to support Planned Parenthood—over on Bandcamp.

* Sorrowseed vocalist Lilith Astaroth appears in the new sci-fi/action/horror film, Gilgamesh, which involves a failed military expedition, Communist takeover, gods fighting on earth, and apocalypse. First, view the trailer here, then see how you can attend the movie’s premier at Showcase Cinema De Lux at Legacy Place in Dedham this Thursday at 7:30 pm.

* Converge vocalist Jacob Bannon released a new set of prints on his website for purchase. He really is a fantastic artist.

* Killswitch Engage vocalist Jesse Leach rants about celebrity nonsense and terrible music over at Gunshy Assassin.

* Hivesmasher and Unearth talk about the worst bandmate habits over at Metal Injection.

* Spruce up your Christmas tree with this new Godsmack ornament.

* Not to be outdone, Lich King also has a Christmas ornament out, and you can grab one as part of a number of different Do-Over EP pre-order bundles. The EP will be released on December 25, which will now be known as “Lichmas.” The band posted a preview of the EP on YouTube.

* Play guitar? Abnormality is looking for a new lead guitarist. Meanwhile, Death Rattle is looking for a new rhythm guitarist.

* In a metal band? Sciomancy is looking for acts to play with them at Allaboutrecords in Taunton on November 28.

* Years Since the Storm announced a hiatus as they regroup for 2015.

* Grue posted a video of their entire set from their show at Church last month.

* Centerlink unveiled a new band logo. Check it out here.


* Buried Electric, Livver, The Summoned, Macedonia, Forevers’ Fallen Grace, and Lunglust are all in various stages of recording, mixing, and mastering music soon to be released…

New Music

Three brand new songs for you:

Technical death metal band Parasitic Extirpation released “Spiraling” featuring guest vocals from Brian Forgue (Syphilic/Gutrot) off their upcoming Putrid Crown EP. While the EP’s release date has been pushed back, you can still pre-order it from the band’s online store. It will be the first release since 2010’s Casketless and the first to feature the band’s revamped lineup, which includes Mallika Sundaramurthy (Abnormality) on vocals, Jim Fitzpatrick (Boarcorpse) on drums, Damon Psarris (Boarcorpse) on bass, and original guitarists Blue Spinazola and Chris Kessaris. Check out the song below.

Instrumental band Chronologist released a brand new single, “Sky Garden,” which you can listen to below and download for free (!) at their Bandcamp page. To celebrate, the band headlined at The Middle East last Saturday.

And finally, metalcore stalwarts All That Remains sent fans on a scavenger hunt last Friday night for a new song off their upcoming 2015 album. You can check out “No Knock” on YouTube. Brace yourself for lots of Phil Labonte cussing. Also, if you hated A War You Cannot Win (just like Labonte apparently does), then you are in luck, as they head back towards a heavier sound.

 Concert Calendar

Thursday, November 20

Cambridge Elks Lodge: La Armada, Opposition Rising, Disaster Strikes, Neighborhood Shit, Reason To Fight

The Sinclair: Converse Rubber Tracks Live Tour with Deafheaven and The New Highway Hymnal

Ralph’s Rock Diner: Local musicians perform cover sets from Napalm Death, Megadeth, and Cathedral

Friday, November 21

Dublin’s Sports Bar & Grill (New Bedford): Kowalski, Weld Square, The Roman Numeral Three, The Fateful Hour, Sciomancy

Sammy’s Patio: Stormbringer (Deep Purple Tribute), Mamá Ladilla, Forever’s Fallen Grace, Chin Strap, Goat Felch, The Humanikins

Palldium: Eternal Enemies Tour feat. Emmure, The Acacia Strain, Sylar, Fit For a King, Kublai Khan, A Fathom Farewell, Handsome Bastards, Hitlist, Murdoc, Widow Sunday, Great American Ghost

Westfield State University: Thunderforge with Lowpoints, Your Way Out, Like Changing Seasons, Values, and The Days Ahead

Saturday, November 22

Palladium: The Black Mass 2014 feat. Black Veil Brides, Falling in Reverse, Set it Off, and Drama Club

Ralph’s Rock Diner: October 31, PanzerBastard, Seax, Roadhorse

Midway Café: Crown of Malice, Silver Beast, Marianne Toilet and the Runs, and OK Potato

13th Floor Music Lounge (Florence): Problem with Dragons, The Humanoids, The Uncomfortables, Set, and Dead Empires

Sammy’s Patio: “Thankskilling 3” with Epicenter, Heavy Necker, Alterius, My Missing Half, and Sonic Pulse

Sunday, November 23

TT the Bear’s Place: InAeona with 28 Degrees Taurus, The Modern Voice, Shutup

 The Graveyard Shift’s playlist for November 15, 2014

1. Shadows Fall – The Light That Blinds (The War Within)

2. Parasitic Extirpation – Spiraling (Putrid Crown EP)

3. All That Remains – No Knock (2015 album TBA)

4. Chronologist – Sky Garden (Sky Garden)

5. **Stoner Hit of the Night** Cortez – Johnny (Cortez)

6. Protean Collective – Caldera (The Red and the Grey/Keep Safe Boston Compilation)

7. Carved in Stone – Rise of a Kingdom

8. Seeds of Negligence – Death March (2014 EP)

9. The Fateful Hour – Behold This Is Guilt (An Everlasting Silence)

10. Halfhearted Comeback – He Was My Son and Today Was His Birthday

11. Forevers’ Fallen Grace – Bane of Harmony (Firebound Manifesto)

Scent of a Winner: Jon Stewart’s “Rosewater” 0

Posted: November 16th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Blog, Reviews | Tags:

Rosewater tells the true story of journalist Maziar Bahari (Gael García Bernal), an Iranian national working for Newsweek Magazine covering the 2009 presidential elections in Iran.  While covering the civil unrest that follows Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election, Bahari is arrested and taken to the infamous Evin Prison.  What follows is an intensely personal examination of the 118 days Bahari spent in prison, repeatedly interrogated by a government “specialist” played by Kim Bodnia.

Bahari’s memior, Then They Came for Me serves as the basis for the screenplay written by Jon Stewart (this is both his first time writing and directing a film).  The memoir is powerful and translates to the screen well for the most part, but it’s a shame that the film version doesn’t get to know Bahari better.  His motivations are clear enough: he has a pregnant wife (Clair Foy, good in her limited screen time) at home, and comes from a family of people who never capitulated to authority (Haluk Bilginer and Golshifteh Farahani as his deceased father and sister, who appear in flashbacks and as hallucinations during Bahari’s imprisonment).  And García Bernal plays Bahari with an undeniably endearing warmth.  So it feels like a bit of waste that despite all that, Bahari never becomes much more than a proxy for the audience; he comes to Iran from the UK with a camcorder, truly an outsider despite being born and raised in Tehran.  The interrogation scenes that take up the latter two acts of the film feature some impressive tête-à-tête acting between Bernal and Bodnia — yet I couldn’t help thinking that the movie would be better served if it was following the more fleshed-out protestors Bahari meets on the streets of Tehran.

Led by Dimitri Leonidas as a local cab driver who meets Bahari upon his return to Tehran, the group of anti-Ahmadinejad activists illegally selling satellite dishes provide the early parts of the film with a electricity that the latter sections lack.  Stewart’s Tehran (convincingly shot in Jordan) is a place of bustling dichotomies, striking a balance somewhere between Times Square affluence and Mumbai shantytowns.  The most effective tension occurs in these scenes, yet the early parts of the film still maintain a sense of adventure, and the drama between the oppressive Ahmadinejad regime and the protestors that take the street after his re-election wound up having more impact for me than the drama-by-numbers second and third acts. 

Still, Stewart is a humorist at heart, and he injects those latter interrogation scenes with enough absurdist humor to keep them from being one-note — although the bizarre fixation Bahari’s interrogator has with New Jersey massage parlors falls squarely in the category of “slightly too absurd”.  Stewart also provides the interrogator — the titular “Rosewater”, named for his fragrant choice of cologne — with enough pathos (he’s a slave to the bureaucratic machine, just like the rest of us) to keep their interactions from being a purely good-versus-evil showdown.  Yet I wonder if this treatment might undermine the primary message: in his memoir, Bahari details physical and emotional torture miles beyond what comes across in the film, where the near-comic ineptitude of his captors occasionally ventures into cartoon villain territory.  Somewhere buried in the film, there’s a very timely message, one about the harsh treatment of the hundreds of journalists held captive around the world, but that message isn’t always fully allowed to fully make its case.

Those quibbles aside, there’s something infectious and refreshing about the earnestness of Stewart’s direction that make it impossible to dislike.  Featuring one of the best uses of a Leonard Cohen song put to film, this is clearly a labor of love, and by the time the credits rolled I was thoroughly won over by its sincerity.  And I wasn’t alone — the audience in my screening stood and applauded through the credits.

It doesn’t hurt that Stewart is surprisingly good as a first-time director. Pre-release buzz pegged the film as something of a mea culpa for him, as an appearance on The Daily Show may or may not have played a role in Bahari’s real-life arrest and imprisonment. But Rosewater is a well-made film that deserves to be seen regardless of the press narrative surrounding it.  Stewart’s camera is constantly in motion, hemming in on it’s subjects closely, evoking the camcorder of a field journalist in the first act, then transitioning to the too-close manner in which Rosewater closely inspects his prisoner — and the whole time you feel like you’re an integral part of the action.  By the time it’s over, you’re thankful for the ride.

The Graveyard Shift presents Monday Metal News for November 10, 2014 0

Posted: November 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Blog | Tags: , ,

The Graveyard Shift is a new show on WMFO that airs at 4am on Saturdays and showcases metal bands from Massachusetts; from nu metal to black metal with no discrimination. You can contact the show with submissions, requests, questions, or for any other reason at graveyardshiftma@gmail.com, facebook.com/graveyardshiftradio, or @graveyrdshiftma on Twitter. This weekly column will keep you posted on the latest news related to local metal bands and shows.


October was a busy month, so we bring you some of the top stories from October, all the way through today:

– Voting for the Boston Music Awards opened on October 4, and the nominees for Metal/Hardcore Artist of the Year are: Converge, Doomriders, Gozu, Summoner, and The Proselyte. You can get in on the voting here: bostonmusicawards.com. The awards ceremony takes place on December 14 at The Revere Hotel.

– The 2015 Decibel Magazine Tour lineup was announced and features Converge. You can catch them along with At the Gates and Vallenfyre at Royale on April 10.

– Also related to Decibel (the one magazine The Graveyard Shift endorses for all things metal), The Proselyte was recently featured with an interview and free stream of their latest album.

– In other magazine notes across the pond, Godsmack graces the cover of Fireworks Magazine, and Brian Fair of Shadows Fall penned a column on depression for Metal Hammer, but you’ll have to pick up hard copies of each for more details.

– Along the same lines, Jesse Leach of Killswitch Engage created a video for the You Rock Foundation’s suicide awareness and prevention campaign in which he discusses his own experiences.

– Even more bands have joined together to promote suicide awareness by playing a benefit show for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention THIS FRIDAY at Ralph’s Rock Diner in Worcester. Worcester Magazine previewed the show.

– Escape to Everything announced their farewell show at The Middle East on December 19 with Nullset and Genuflect

– Another band bade farewell as Cocked and Loaded played their final shows at O’Brien’s this past weekend, which included a reunion set from Motherboar

– Lich King announced their “Do-Over” EP to re-record older tracks they weren’t happy with and reveled the cover to be an homage to/parody of D.R.I.’s Crossover. D.R.I. didn’t like that very much, which led a whole brouhaha you can read about at Metal Sucks and …And Justice for Art.

– Jeff and Reid from Lunglust appeared on WEMF’s Duncan Disorderly show to discuss beer and why on earth they’re releasing a cassette. You can check out the podcast here.

– I am become Death released a limited number of their self-titled release on vinyl.

– A Wilhelm Scream announced their 2015 tour dates with Pennywise and Anti-Flag.

– Goblet launched their new website: gobletband.com.

October Album Releases

There was a boatload of album releases last month. This section will almost never again be this large, but here’s what you may have missed:

Unearth – Watchers of Rule

One of the state’s original metalcore bands shake things up with an album that amps up the aggressiveness – especially on vocals – and keeps them from falling into that generic metalcore rut the genre has seen over the past decade

The Acacia Strain – Coma Witch

I still don’t understand deathcore, but I have enjoyed this release a bit more than the band’s earlier stuff. Listen up for the djent influence.

Genuflect – A Rose from the Dead

While some metalheads might cringe, the band that formed out of the ashes of Reveille sticks to what it knows best: politics and blending nu metal with rap.

Ichabod – Merrimack

An album that was put together over the course of many years, lineup changes, and interim releases. It is a tribute to the Merrimack River and intended to be enjoyed in one sludgy, doomy, stoner sitting.

Birch Hill Dam – Reservoir

A bit more straightforward stoner/southern rock out of Fitchburg that packs a big punch and is a worthy follow-up to their previous release, Colossus.

Sexcrement – XXX Bargain Bin Vol. 2

I mean, it’s Sexcrement. Check out the grimy, NSFW video for “Salt Peter” here.

Revocation – Deathless

Revocation is (was?) the next big band to break out from the state, although this release tends to sound a bit more homogenous from track to track than previous releases, especially the epic Chaos of Forms. However, David Davidson continues to beast.

Concert Calendar

A listing of the upcoming week’s shows at venues across the state that feature metal bands from all over the world.

Tuesday, November 11

TT the Bear’s Place: Wolvhammer with Mortals, Livver, and Stranger

O’Brien’s Pub: Seax, Axe Ripper, Thronehunter, Horrible Earth, Meth Valley

Wednesday, November 12

The Palladium: Bam Maregera as FFU with Polkadot Cadaver, Howitzer, I Bear Witness, Machete, Moments, and Subverted

Thursday, November 13

Ralph’s Rock Diner: Godmaker, Drones for Queens, and Set

Ramrod: Visions of War, Wrathcobra, Panzerbastard, Ramlord, and Ratstab

Friday, November 14

Ralph’s Rock Diner: Benefit for the AFSP (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention) with Faces of Bayon, The Fateful Hour, Stone Crown, and Vacant Eyes

Saturday, November 15

Sammy’s Patio: Psychostick with Downtown Brown, Fungonewrong, Apollo’s Resurrection, Don’t Cross the Streams, and Carved in Stone

The Middle East: Chronologist, Vivisepulture, Barishi, NightSlasher, Seeds of Negligence

The Waterfront Tavern: Composing the Apocalypse, Halfhearted Comeback, Rise & Resist,

I Bear Witness, The Days Ahead, To Die a Legend

Sunday, November 16

Midway Café: The Humanoids, Mamá Ladilla, The FU’s, Chin Strap

The Palladium: Twelve Foot Ninja with Protean Collective, Zombie Frogs, Vivisepulture

 The Graveyard Shift’s playlist for November 8, 2014

We’ll end by recapping what you heard (or missed) last Saturday.

1. Tester – New Beginning (Operation World Domination)

2. Tester – All Awake (Operation World Domination)

3. Unearth – To the Ground (Watchers of Rule)

4. The Acacia Strain – Cauterizer (Coma Witch)

5. Genuflect – Till We Burn (A Rose from the Dead)

6. Ichabod – The Ballad of Hannah Dustin (Merrimack)

7. Birch Hill Dam – Coming Apart (Reservoir)

8. Sexcrement – Salt Peter (XXX Bargin Bin Vol.2)

9. Revocation – Deathless (Deathless)

10. Soul Remnants – Chopwork (Plague of the Universe)

11. Coffin Birth – The Bowels of Chaos (single)

12. Lunglust – Broken Idol (As Guilt Collects Dust)

13. Jack Burton vs. David Lo Pan – Based on the Evidence (Based on the Evidence EP)

14. Seax – Molten Iron (High on Metal)

A Page from Aretha Franklin’s Diary 0

Posted: November 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Blog

I dreamed last night that I found Aretha Franklin’s diary. As I began to read, I uncovered the back story to her new album, “Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics.”

Dear Diary,

I can’t take it anymore! All these so-called “divas” have had hits with some really extraordinary songs, but I know deep in my soul that I can sing them better. I am the Queen of Soul! I’ve been keeping it in, but I can’t stay silent for one more minute. I must record MY versions of these songs to show the world how it should be done. If they want to believe that I’m paying tribute to these women, that’s fine. Only I will know that what I’m really doing is finally singing these songs the way they were meant to be sung.

Aretha Franklin

It all makes sense to me now! The tracks that make up this new collection exist to proclaim her continued reign as the Queen of Soul.

She begins with “At Last,” a song that was a Billboard Top Ten hit for Glenn Miller in 1942. Still, the 1960 Etta James’ signature version, which was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999, has remained the definitive version to this day. It has been recorded by many people over the years, including Cyndi Lauper and Beyoncé (who in 2009 performed it for President Obama, much to Etta’s dismay). Aretha’s rendition begins with the same orchestration as James’ and follows it through, building on Etta’s dreamy interpretation with classic Aretha flair. If any of the tracks on this album are a tribute to the one who popularized the song, Aretha’s version of “At Last” would be it.

The next track brings Aretha into the new millennium, taking on Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” accompanied by a chorus of background singers that add a ’60s girl group vibe to the song. When their vocals segue into Diana Ross’ “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” Aretha takes off on a passionate tour of her vocal range. From the lowest depths to the tallest mountain, Aretha’s still got it.

Aretha’s diva-topping journey continues through a danceable version of Gladys Knight’s “Midnight Train to Georgia,” and a new spin on Gloria Gaynor’s anthem, “I Will Survive,” in which Aretha finds new emotional ground, turning the disco classic into an R&B-infused declaration of independence. When the song briefly transitions into Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor,” you know that Aretha gets it. Music is a continuum. Great music didn’t end with the ’60s or ’70s.

Next Aretha sets her sights on the biggest diva of them all, Barbra Streisand. Who else could tackle Barbra Streisand’s “People” and not only get away with it, but totally dominate? Aretha.

Aretha creates a reggae groove as a jumping off point for her soaring vocals on her version of Alicia Keys’ “No One.” A medley of Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” and her own classic, “Respect,” in her words, “pumps up the groove.” When she sings, “I’m the queen behind the king,” who can argue?

Dinah Washington’s “Teach Me Tonight” and The Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” get the Aretha treatment before Sinéad O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” closes out the disc. (Does Sinéad even qualify as a diva? I think not.) Aretha elevates Sinéad’s mopey song to a jazzy romp where she breezily scats to make Ella Fitzgerald proud. (Should we read anything into the fact that Aretha didn’t cover Ella on this disc? Just wondering…)

At 72 years old, Aretha Franklin still conveys her confidence, strength and grit with a powerful voice that uniquely qualifies her to be recognized as a true diva. This album is a testament to Aretha’s incomparable talent, her perseverance to stay relevant over more than five decades and her unending mastery of conveying emotion with her voice. Long live the Queen of Soul!

GGGGHOSTS attempts to play a SSSSHOW (a Tufts band exposé) 0

Posted: October 30th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Blog

Everyone has different reasons for deciding to come to Tufts. For me, it was the bands. As a bassist and member of two bands in high school, being in a college band was high on my priority list. I fell in love with the student band scene here, from Applejam to the Battle of the Bands, just listening to music put out by Waldo and Bad and Blue made me excited to come here. So, it took me approximately three weeks to find myself a founding member of two bands. One of which, GGGGHOSTS, has been practicing, writing, and most importantly attempting to play in our first show. Through this experience I have come to recognize that there are some key aspects of starting a band that are universal in these situations. I have listed many of them here:


  1. Forming the band with the promise of a show one week after the third member has just joined.
  2. Practicing three times in one week just to at least be mediocre in this show.
  3. Aaaaaaaand the show is cancelled.
  4. Recording terrible-quality iPhone recordings of our setlist.
  5. Quickly photoshopping the band members faces onto a picture of the scooby-doo cast for album artwork.
  6. Picking up a second gig, and subsequently cancelling your plans for that weekend, despite making them like 3 weeks before.
  7. Aaaaaaaand the show is cancelled.
  8. Hastily making an facebook page and inviting everyone who you think won’t be annoyed by the facebook notification.
  9. Taking a screenshot of when the page has 69 likes.
  10. And finally, rescheduling the gig for a second time, still maintaining hope (Thanks Obama).


So here we are, practicing for a gig that we can only hope won’t be cancelled at the last minute. Just three lonely freshman trying to make it out here, with dreams of one day having 699 likes on our facebook page (facebook.com/gggghosts). So come see GGGGHOSTS play on November 8th in the Crane Room (though you’ll probably miss us because no one comes for the opening act) and whatever you do, watch out for Broad-Winged Hawks, they’ve been known to attack humans with no warning.


Peace, Love, GGGGHOSTS


Andrew Tegeler

Mavis Staples In Boston November 8 0

Posted: October 29th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Blog

Mavis Staples has been at this music thing for a long, long time. Nearly 65 years, actually. When she was still a child, she began singing with her family’s gospel, soul and R&B group, The Staple Singers. Comprised of her father, Roebuck “Pops” Staples, and older siblings Cleotha, Pervis and Yvonne, the band had numerous charted hits, including two #1 songs: “I’ll Take You There”(1972) and “Let’s Do It Again” (1975).

Since 1969, Mavis, a powerful vocalist with a diverse musical palette that spans soul, R&B, jazz, gospel, rock and blues, has released 14 solo albums. She’s collaborated with acts such as The Band, Prince, Ry Cooder and, most recently, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, who produced her last two albums, including last year’s “One True Vine.”

Now 75 years old, she’s still touring in support of her music. I had the opportunity to see her in 2012 when she toured with Bonnie Raitt and made an incredible appearance at the BoA Pavilion in Boston. She remains an expressive vocalist who brings a sense of history to her music while remaining relevant to today’s world.

Lucky for Boston, Mavis Staples will be making a stop at John Hancock Hall on November 8th, and as of this writing, there are still good seats available. You won’t want to miss the opening act, Amy Helm, the daughter of none other than the late Levon Helm from The Band.

On November 19th in Chicago, Mavis Staples will be celebrated by an incredible roster of artists including Bonnie Raitt, Otis Clay, Gregg Allman, Eric Church, Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris, Taj Mahal, Michael McDonald, Keb’ Mo’, Aaron Neville, Joan Osborne, Widespread Panic, Grace Potter, Jeff Tweedy and Marty Stuart. The show, “I’ll Take You There: Celebrating 75 Years of Mavis Staples,” will be filmed and recorded for multi-platform distribution.

Don’t miss your chance to see Mavis Staples in Boston!

Mavis Staples, Saturday, November 8, 2014 at 8:00 pm
John Hancock Hall, 180 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116
Tickets: www.mavisstaples.com or call (617) 531-1257


Rumble Finals Friday Night 0

Posted: April 24th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Blog

The Information perform on Fox 25 Boston in 2005 “A Simple Plan”

The 9th and final night of the Rock and Roll Rumble is on Friday night at TT the Bears. 2 finalists + 1 wildcard will “battle” it out for the coveted Rumble crown. In addition there will be a special performance by The Information, who participated in 2003’s Rumble. This 35th year of the Rock and Roll Rumble has seen many great bands bring their best to perform night after night. Friday night is sure to sell out, so get your tickets early so you’re not listening from the sidewalk.

Read more for the bands playing the Finals:

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