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|New England Music Scrapbook News|
|June 27, 2003 Number 19|
Since posting this issue, Number 19, of our newsletter, many of the artists reported on below have been in the news again. (It is now October 3, 2004.) For instance, we ran a later item in connection with Maybe Baby's announcement that Jennifer Kimball was pregnant. It seems to me that Kimball would have been due sometime this summer (summer of 2004), but we haven't heard any further word.
Also since this issue came out, Deb Talan's group, The Weepies, has released a debut recording, Happiness (CD, www.theweepies.com, 2003), and is presently on an ambitious national tour. To see our review of the Weepies disc, just follow this link:
Or scroll down this page for an item about Deb Talan's solo release.
Since sending this issue, Derrick Semler has won a Bob Dylan look-alike/sound-alike contest sponsored by Riverwalk Records of Montpelier, Vermont. For a bit more information, visit the Brief Items section toward the bottom of the Web page at the end of the following link:
Post-Last-Minute News Compiled by Alan Lewis
Toad's Hopping Tenth Anniversary
According to Family Jewels and Maybe Baby Mailings
We were interested in including more about the upcoming 10th anniversary of the intimate nightclub, Toad, when the following extensive item arrived in our inbox from the Family Jewels mailing list. Convenient. Here it is:
For ten years Toad, the tiny bar in Cambridge, has been one of the area's musical hubs, providing music every night of the week. Under the booking of Billy Beard (himself a working musician; who happens to play drums in a certain doo-wop/Rhythm & Blues
Mark Sandman played Toad in different incarnations, Dennis Brennan, Laurie Sargent, (our own) Asa Brebner, Meghan Toohey, Groovasaurus, and many many others cut their teeth in this intimate nightspot. Bands like G. Love and Special Sauce and (our own) Shaun's Slide held residencies there. Tracy Bonham was actually signed to Island Records after the label rep caught her act there. Patty Griffin has played there. The list goes on.
This week is the tenth anniversary of Toad. On Saturday there will be music running literally all day and night from 1 PM to closing. And free food all day.
Congratulations to Billy and to all the folks at Toad!
Come down on Saturday to celebrate a really great part of the New England music scene!
As always - no cover charge.
Toad is in Porter Sq. Cambridge, right next to Chrisopher's, the restaurant.
Well, here we are at last on the Maybe Baby mailing list. Ry Cavanaugh and Jennifer Kimball would love to tell us all about the
"Have you been to Toad? Its a tiny music venue in Porter Square in Cambridge, and we are celebrating its 10th anniversary on Saturday and playing Tuesdays in July. Our handsome and talented drummer, Billy Beard, is the club's musical and spiritual guide. Ry has played there for more than seven years now. Jenn played there before it even opened as Toad with Jonatha. Maybe Baby played its first gigs as Maybe Baby there. Don't miss this stuff no matter how hot it gets out there.
"Maybe Baby Band
with Billy Beard and Duke Levine perform
at Toad, Porter Square, Cambridge
"Saturday, June 28th at 9:15-9:45PM
"Tuesdays in July (all five of them) 7-9PM
This Maybe Baby mailing continued with the full Toad 10th anniversary celebration schedule, which we have already posted courtesy of the Family Jewels. For our review of Maybe Baby's debut album, What Matters, please visit
Jon Nolan and Hokum
with Jim Gambino on Keys
We've been busily signing up for mailing lists. Here's our first word from Jon Nolan and Hokum:
"Got some more shows and news for you. Jim Gambino of the Swinging Steaks has somehow been duped into playing piano & organ with the me and the band, poor bastard. The stuff is really coming together, but don't take my word for it, come see. Look for the album, which will be titled When the Summers Lasted Long, in late fall/early winter. Until then, come out and enjoy. Yours in Rock, Jon Nolan"
Nancy Neon's Underground Connection
As Only She Can Tell It
June 19 was Steve Nelson's opening for his photography exhibit at 75 Arlington St. in Boston. I noticed Steve right away in his Max's Kansas City t-shirt. MICKEY BLISS, mild mannered lawyer by day, Hammond pounding bandleader by night, whisked into the show from his day gig on Milk St.
The Boston Groupie News was represented by Miss Lyn in a sexy sleeveless dress showing off her colorful tattoos and Blowfish who wasn't wearing a dress or sporting tattoos!! Miss Lyn was excited about a BGN anniversary gift she received - a Tim Buckley biography.
Chuck White, ever personable, was especially animated talking up his Live at the Rat show at the Regent Theatre in Arlington, July 19. Slated to appear are WILLIE ALEXANDER, REAL KIDS, UNNATURAL AXE, Rat All-Stars with JOHN KALISHES, ASA BREBNER, and MACH BELL. Chuck introduced me to THE MODS/ORPHEUS drummer, Harry Sandler. "Can't Find The Time To Tell You" never loses it's swoon appeal!
Helanie Saad's favorite photo was HOOD AND THE BOYS featuring Warhol stars ED HOOD and PATRICK FLEMING with The Sidewinders' ANDY PALEY. When I asked Steve when he'd do another show, he said "In another 30 years!" Just as I was leaving, Peter Wolf arrived, looking even better than he did in his photo from about thirty years ago.
June 20 was Mickey Bliss' 10th Anniversary of booking Club Bohemia. I had to say "hi" and taste his gourmet
. . . before rushing over to the Abbey Lounge for the Boston Groupie News "We're back" party. The room looked great with giant posters of vintage BGN covers (I hadda snatch the Real Kids cover!!!) The entertainment included THE OTHER GIRLS, The Last Ones, KENNE HIGHLAND AND THE VATICAN SEX KITTENS with special guest Mach Bell, and THE PRIME MOVERS. There were so many people I wanted to converse with - that I barely had time to say "hi" to - that I'm yearning to do it again. BGN should do it again - next time it should be an all-day, catered affair, so we can break bread with our
and Her New "A Bird Flies Out" CD
Singer-songwriter Deb Talan has a new album, and Daniel Gewertz gave her and her record good coverage in Monday's Boston Herald.
"Deb Talan," said Gewertz, "seems like the rare folk-pop singer who would have record label executives reaching for their checkbooks.
"Her music is both fresh and familiar. She has been widely compared to Shawn Colvin and vocally, the tag fits snugly."
Speaking of the disc, Gewertz wrote, "The new CD has unusually bright textures and lively dynamics for such introspective material."
Deb Talan's A Bird Flies Out was released last (Friday) night at the Somerville Theater.
2003 Boston Blues Challenge
(formerly the Battle of the Blues Bands at Harpers Ferry)
From the Boston Blues Society:
"And don't forget boys and girls next week the semi-finals of the Boston Blues Society 2003 Boston Blues Challenge will begin on July 3rd and run through July 6th, at Harpers Ferry in Allston. We will have four great bands every night and the winner of each night will advance to the finals to be held on July 17th. Check out www.bostonblues.com for a complete line up of all the bands and more info.
"The winner receives $1000 in cash, a feature article in Boston Blues News and a chance to represent Boston in the 2004 International Blues Challenge in Memphis!
"If you would like to volunteer to help at a BBS table any night of the Challenge please let us know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org"
charles river valley boys
Burlington, Vermont's Seven Days
News from the Shore of Lake Champlain
For the whole time this newsletter has been running, I've routinely checked New England alternative weeklies; and for local music coverage, in my view Seven Days is currently the best in the region.
The most interesting item in this week's Seven Days is Ethan Covey's lead review of the self-titled, self-released CD by the Lazy Songwriter.
"[D]uring his group's two years of action here," wrote Covey, "[Arthur Adams] was one of Burlington's most entertaining young songwriters. Continuously rocking crowds around town - often at their adopted home of Radio Bean - the Lazy Songwriter brought inventive instrumentation, bittersweet melodies and an irrepressible wit to the scene."
Lazy Songwriter leader Arthur Adams has since traded the West Coast of New England (Lake Champlain) for the West Coast of the United States.
I looked and didn't find Arthur Adams/Lazy Songwriter contact information.
In other news . . . In a booking that's certainly different, the Laotian National Rehabilitation Center has hired Burlington bluesman Derrick Semler to develop a music therapy program. Sounds interesting.
The current issue of Seven Days also announces the fifth 3-inch CD release by local label Icebox Records. This disc is by one of the label's leaders, Eric Olsen.
Boston the Band
Sues Its Label, Artemis Records
If you're a big fan of Tom Scholz and his band Boston, then chances are you've heard already that Scholz is suing the group's label, Artemis Records, for, he says, failing to promote the latest Boston album as promised. It seems to me that this could be a worrisome development for businesses as notoriously fickle as the recording industry's major labels.
Both the Globe and the Herald covered this story on Thursday.
The Boston Globe ran the fuller report.
by Nancy Neon and Alan Lewis
Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl
The album opens with the novelty nugget Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl?. This is a garage anthem and it's totally catchy. The song lyrically could be a double edged sword. Yet instead of being self effacing, it makes fun of squares who would ask the gender question.
The Barbarians do crowd pleasers that are evidently favorites of their own because it has gotta be a labor of love to tackle Dylan's "Mr Tambourine Man" and "House Of The Rising Sun" made famous by The Animals. The combo has to be confident because these songs will automatically be measured against Dylan and The Animals.
The Don Ho Fan Club no doubt appreciated "Marie Elena" which sounds more influenced by Paradise Hawaiian Style than by South Of The Border. The Barbarians pick up the pace with "Bo Diddley". They are revved up and punked out. Whereas as Bo Diddley, the man himself, delivers the deliberate beat, creating his own trademark groove, the Barbarians are manic like Bo tanked up on espresso.
Chuck Berry's "Memphis", which became a trademark to Johnny Rivers, chugs along at a cool pace. "What The New Breed Say" is a great stomper. "Take It Or Leave It" sounds like "Hang On Sloppy". The song is a combination of raw, primal garage punk and melodic, harmonic romanticism.
"I'll Keep On Seeing You" carries on the swoon appeal of "Take It Or Leave It". "Linguica" is fast paced with a Latin feel. This one is a love song to sausage. On "Susie Q.", the band puts their primal Barbarian stamp on this classic. It is primordial punk with clean, low amplified guitars high in the mix.
The Ray Charles' number, "I've Got A Woman" comes across fast and raw, but very white bread compared to the original. With a more soulful vocal and ballsier guitars, this would have had more impact. "Moulty" tells the story of how Moulty lost his hand and how he found the strength to carry on. It is a pep talk backed by The Hawks who later became The Band.
My favorite is the Rolling Stones' flavored "Hey Little Bird" which is written by Tommy Kaye. Moulty's singing is pure snotty punk. There's a natural fuzz bass, created by overamplification and speaker distortion. "You've Got To Understand" sounds like "Hey Little Bird", quality wise. The band sounds more confident. The vocals are stronger and pushed more to the forefront as is Moulty's understated drumming which blends well in this mix. Strangely enough, these last two cuts which I feel are greatly superior to the rest were recorded first. Nothing in the liner notes accounts for why the band lost impact over the next year.
If you want more Moulty, he has two cuts on Varulven's Rock and Roll Anthology
Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl
(CD, Sundazed Music SC-6153, 2000)
The Barbarians started performing at Provincetown, Massachusetts in 1964 and in October played the T.A.M.I. Show at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. The 1965 feature film of that event was a rock milestone. On record, the group had its greatest success with a nasty little single, "Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl."
One beauty of this disc is that the band left the recording studio with an album that's not so very far removed from its garage-rock origins. You can take the boy out of the garage, but apparently you can't take the garage out of the Barbarians. "Marie Elena" and "Linguica" may not fit; but on "Susie Q," the gritty enthusiasm that powered '60s insurgent rockers comes through. The
The Barbarians' "I've Got a Woman" is more rockabilly than rhythm and blues, while "House of the Rising Sun" draws inspiration from the Animals' hit, without quite being a faithful copy. The percussive "What the New Breed Say" represents the generation-gap genre aped by the "Monkee's Theme." The jangly "Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl," a garage-punk classic, is as strange as the day it was recorded. This CD's secret weapon, though, is one of three bonus tracks: "Hey Little Bird" alternately snarls and wails.
The old LP jacket said, "One of the most colorful groups ever to appear on the American Record Scene." They'll get no argument here.
Famous Blue Raincoat
Bringing an Infectious Sense of Fun to Well-Crafted Songs
I've been seeing the name, Famous Blue Raincoat, for a while and got curious; so I backtracked to last week's Hartford Advocate for a good-size item on the band in Thomas Pizzola's column.
Pizzola wrote, "They bring an infectious sense of fun to their well-crafted, hook-laden, piano-driven, pop-rock songs that is contagious."
In the picture on the front page of the band's site, does one of those guys remind you of a young Donald Sutherland?
Nervous Eaters, DMZ, Prime Movers, and USM
Live at the Middle East Downstairs
Here's an awesome gig coming up: The Nervous Eaters, DMZ, The Prime Movers, and The USM at The Middle East (Downstairs) Friday, July 11th (Doors 8, Music 9)
This is the first time in five years The Eaters have played in Boston/Cambridge!!! They have just released a new CD, Eat This! on No Tomorrow Records and it's due in stores any day now! And have another CD due out in Septemeber. If you heard anything about The Nervous Eaters show recently up in Salem at The Dodge Street grill, you know these guys are hot. They have reformed and are rarin' to go!!
This is a show not to be missed! All you Boston and South Shore & Metro West people now have your chance to see the Nervous Eaters too!!
The Nervous Eaters put out a nearly full-length demo two or three years ago and rocked like crazy from start to finish. If that's what the album's like, a lot of people are going to want to hear it. A whole lot of people. - AL
Rocking at TT the Bear's Place
The Friday Boston Globe's "Rock Notes" column is among the region's most important weekly popular music features.
Here's a quick item that ran in yesterday's issue:
Putney, Vermont-based Lisa McCormick has a new album, Mystery Girl (CD, Ruthie's Noise Productions, 2003). Recently, we acquired two articles connected with that album and decided to run them here as a two-parter. Both articles are written by Dave Madeloni. Part One ran last issue. Here is Part Two.
Mission of Burma
Saves the Day for Boston Fans
Certainly one of the big stories of the week was the unexpected Wilco/Mission of Burma pairing at the FleetBoston Pavilion on Monday night. Jim Sullivan of the Globe, to my experience at least, seems to have the inside track on MoB news. He previewed the show in his "Go! Monday" column.
In case you missed it, Mission of Burma filled in for Sonic Youth. Sullivan also announced that the MoB lads are working on their first album of new material in over twenty years.
The reviews by the Globe and the Herald were quite different. The Boston Globe's emphasis, both in the headline and the main text, was clearly on Wilco. Only part of one short paragraph reported MoB's opening set. "Both bands wield a natural feel for the noisy spot where art and rock collide," wrote Joan Anderman sounding a pet theme, "and Burma's set - dominated by favorites like 'That's When I Reach for My Revolver' but also peppered with strong material from a forthcoming album - was a powerfully spirited testament to musical ideals that endure over time."
"Mission of Burma Saves the Day in Wilco Pairing," said the Boston Herald headline.
The body of the review also gave more space to Mission of Burma. "Familiar numbers," said Brett Milano, "sported some new touches: 'Einstein's Day' pulled off a few dizzying key changes during the long instrumental break; their underground hit 'That's When I Reach for My Revolver' found drummer Peter Prescott adding vocal harmonies. A pair of new songs,
madison smartt bell
Keeping It Together
"Enthusiastic thanks to everyone who has stuck with us for so long.
We're a pretty damn lucky
Guster, on Tuesday's release of the band's
new album, Keep It Together
Both the Globe and the Herald covered Guster's performance at Boston's City Hall Plaza on Tuesday.
"Almost four years have passed," wrote the Boston Globe's Steve Morse, "since the release of its previous disc, Lost and Gone Forever, featuring the radio hit, 'Fa Fa.' But the new Keep It Together is a
Rest in Peace
William Morris Hunt II (expert on theater in Boston), Radio Free Brattleboro (RFB was a
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