Getting Off the Map — The Magical Properties of Jared Fairfield's 'The Protecting Cloak'

Island life is fuckin’ tight. There are no goddamn computers, feral children run naked through the woods, and everyone eats unidentifiable foodstuff from a giant clawfoot tub in an abandoned plot. ‘kay, that’s not totally true, but the difference between life on Portland and its peripheral islands is stark. And as anyone smart enough to know knows, once the shittiness and banality of city life piles up (it does), that once-innocent escape feels like a…

Homecoming: What Keeps Bebe Buell Rockin'

In a time where rock 'n’ roll has lost a lot of its shine, its sparkle, its bark and its bite, we need some artists to stay true to form. We need someone who never caves into the projections and the trends. Rock 'n’ roll used to be a real thing. An honest thing. It wasn’t so planned out and stripped of its rawness. It was there in the bloodline of the streets, swerving through…

Bully Mammoth Don't Play to the Base With 'Let It Bully'

As adult projects go, Bully Mammoth is as worthy as any. Their new LP, titled Let It Bully, is antisocial, stubbornly repetitive, and lacks immediate payoff. But the same could be said about gardening, studying for the bar, or running a meme farm. And those are great projects too. Now four years down, the Portland noiserock trio still make burly, lumbering, viscerally loud music. On Let It Bully, they’re as huge-sounding as the name suggests,…

Jeff Beam – We've Got Love for the Underdog

Somewhere buried deep in a beat up, but solid green army duffle bag is a bunch of cassettes and 8-tracks. There’s some Beck, Sean Lennon, Flaming Lips, Elliot Smith and a copy of The White Album outtakes. You’ll also find a pair of vintage orange pants lost by someone in San Francisco back in 1967, a thin yellow scarf, a Speak n’ Spell connected by Bluetooth, a sombrero type hat, a small paperback copy of On…

Buck This Genre — Tall Horse releases the achingly good 'Howl Mouth'

For a genre obsessed with freedom and the open road, country music can be pretty rigid. There's very little wiggle room among its adherents and players, and beyond the generational trend of deploying watered down hip hop beats beneath country anthems, there’s typically very little opportunity for cross-pollination. So it's refreshing as hell when a band playing in the constraints of country music carves out new ground. Sure, some puritans will hold their nose. But…

Why See the Same Live Show Again and Again?

The super fantastic Hall & Oates just played a show in Boston over the weekend with the equally awesome band Tears For Fears. Great bill. Because of my past outspoken passion and support for the inclusion of Hall and Oates into the Rock n’ Roll Hall Of Fame; people all year have been asking me if I’m going to the show. Did I get good seats? How excited am I?   One by one I’d explain…

A Man and His Logo — Spose drops fifth album 'Good Luck With Your Life'

For the generation in and entering their thirties, self-employment is a dream. Having watched parents toil in cubicles (and factories and restaurants) during the Reagan and Clinton years was hard, not just because we didn’t get to see them, but because we knew they were so unbelievably bored as they were doing it. Today, the memories of that boredom haunt our work lives, which combined with our generation’s other merriments of more debt, more distraction,…

Release It Already: Local Albums Dropping This Summer

Myles Bullen - Wake Up Century (out this week) Cover art by Anna Welch.  I came up with “Hippie Hop” a while back to describe all that is Myles Bullen. He’s a peaceful lad roaming around with a heart full of love spitting positive and encouraging rhymes to anyone who will stop and listen. I predict more people will listen to his latest record recorded with producer/vocalist, Earth Person. Even with one full length, some previous singles…

Burn This Album — KGFREEZE's Scorching 'Scapegoat'

Four albums into this form, bandleader Kyle Gervais (ex-Cosades, ex-Grand Hotel) has explored a lot of sounds since he began his KGFREEZE project in 2013, from R&B-meets-funk ass-wigglery to angular, incisive indie-rock. But on Scapegoat, released this spring at a trim 10 songs and 24 minutes, Gervais's gestural of dismissal to the genre explorations and contrivances of previous albums is dramatic. Gone are the funky affectations of Hypocrite; the party-ready dance-rock of Volunteer, the lo-fi weirdo-soul of…

Tired Mosh Pits: Should punk bands keep playing 40 years later?

I made it out to Aura last Saturday for one of the coolest lineups I’ve seen in a while: Flat Duo Jets, punk legends Agent Orange, and the always rockin’ headliners, Reverend Horton Heat. What a three-pack! As I walked in it was clear to see this wasn’t a 21+ crowd. It was more like a 31+ crowd. It was so refreshing to see more folks swearing off Netflix and couches for the night. Cool…
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