We’re stretching it out a bit this week, swapping our usual indie rock, hip-hop, and electro-pop singles for an all of the above 43-minute mix from Boston veteran DJ KNIFE. The Good Life resident hip-hop/pop mix-master dropped “Strange Brew” on an unsuspecting interweb last month, and with spring right around the corner it’s time to start planning those extended weekend road trip soundtracks.
It’s November 17 of last year, and the Billy Ruane memorial party is slowly creeping towards midnight. Nearly five hours deep into a marathon of performers and presenters, the Middle East downstairs suddenly jolts with energy. BUFFALO TOM has taken the stage (with Ed Valauskas filling in for bassist Chris Colbourn), and by the first few jangly alt-rock chords of set opener “Guilty Girls,” it’s evident the beloved Boston trio is back.
Weymouth-based indie label Aurora 7 Records follows up last year’s Girlfriends “Gov’t Seizure” seven-inch with three new tracks on wax from THICK SHAKES. Although hard copies of Why Buy the Cow won’t hit the spinning wheels of dingy nightclubs and bedroom dance parties till spring, this collection of blurry garage-rock racket has already invaded Bandcamp.
Perhaps the most famous ribs in Boston last year were the ones Jacoby Ellsbury fractured, ribs that forced the Red Sox outfielder to sit out most of the 2010 season. Now that the Fenway heartthrob is all healed up, 2011’s ribs to watch are of the rock-n-roll variety. One of the louder members of our Class of 2011, RIBS the band are poised for a breakthrough.
Last year, Deftones frontman Chino Moreno dropped by the Los Angeles studio where BAD RABBITS were recording their debut album with New Jack Swing über-producer Teddy Riley. The multi-genre rock band released a video of the visit and revealed themselves as huge fans of the California alt-metal veterans.
The holidays are over, the memory of New Year’s Eve exists only in hazy party photos, and now Boston is left with a winter wasteland of dirty slush, towering snowbanks and freezing cold-floor mornings spent trying to extract yourself from the maternal-cocoon shelter of your Star Wars bedsheets. But springtime is a state of mind, and the warm sunshine-pop glide of MOUNT PERU'S “Summer Jinx” is already giving us daydreams of care-free beach trips and flip-flops and lost weekends on the Cape -- a top-down joyride number that shows off the sunnier side of alt-Americana Mount Peru.
Everyone’s pairing Yuletide joy with indie-rock riffage this holiday season, from the Target compilation featuring jingle-ball lovers Best Coast and Wavves to the Organ Beats’ charity single to benefit the MSPCA, “This Christmas.” But local indie-pop dudes the HUSH NOW may be tops when it comes to seasonally appropriate jingles.
Last time I checked up on Mattapan native Singapore Kane, the Big Shug affiliate and underground slugger told us that – unlike most of his exalted peers in Bay State hip-hop – he's hardly content with subterranean acclaim. You can't blame him; in addition to clocking tour props in Europe with the Snowgoons and a rep among the game's top street cats, Singapore has an accessible cadence fit to tap mainstream demographics.
Few Boston bands can look back on as crazy a year as Ethio-pop consort DEBO BAND — two trips to Addis Ababa and Zanzibar, a scene-busting residency at the Western Front with guest stars from both coasts in several languages, and a debut EP, Flamingoh (Pink Bird Dawn), that dropped in September. A full-length is brewing, but let’s celebrate the sly perfection of Flamingoh’s closer, “Lantchi Biye,” a dusty update of the East-meets-West parlor jam made famous in Ethiopia by pioneers Mulatu Astatke and Tilahun Gessesse.
Urban Dictionary defines “sexcrement” as . . . well, you can look it up for yourself. Within the grizzled Massachusetts underground, however, SEXCREMENT are defined by Schlitz-drunk death-metal brutality filtered through rock perversion. “Well Hungover,” off this year’s XXX Bargain Bin Vol. 1 EP and following in the smutty footsteps of previous singles “Whiskey Tits” and “Granny Tranny Midget Fetish,” continues Sexcrement’s twisted sonic fantasy in which you feel as if you were being dragged across a sea of broken glass while leathery dudes in jean jackets get off to it.
As Boston’s electronic solo projects continue to emerge from bedrooms and DJ booths and onto a rock-club stage near you, the sonic scope of these artists continues to expand. Jimmy Rossi’s Avoxblue has raised the bar with “Dreaming Thru Your Eyes,” a crystal dagger of an underground synth-pop journey with both the ocean-floor depth of a full band and the pop personality often lacking in experimental machine music.
These days, it ain’t easy being Mephistopheles. As the Lucifer henchman responsible for rounding up the souls of those already perceived to be damned, he’s got his work cut out for him. (And that’s not even getting into the whole drama of that cheesy ‘90s ska band abusing his not-so-good name.) But ol’ Meph appears to have struck up a fancy on our local streets, finding himself constantly up in the grill of Noel Kelly.
Boston, like most cities gripped by cruel winters and at times crueler inhabitants, is fully appreciated only when abandoned. Jamaica Plain’s THE POINTS NORTH found redemption in our olde towne upon returning from a two-month tour in Australia, penning “We Have Opened Up” as a sing-along love letter to the folks walking the cobblestones and the blanketing snows that come between them.
Although electronic music is all the rage, with more “-waves” than Cape Cod, Boston has always been a town built on noisy, fuzzy, deliberately sloppy guitar-fueled alt-rock. Allston’s YOU CAN BE A WESLEY (full disclosure: bassist P. Nick Curran is a Phoenix contributor) are the next to emerge from the city’s underground, built on the strength of Saara Untracht-Oakner’s seductively searing morning-after vocal howl and a gritty sound nodding back to the alternative nation of the early ’90s.
If this cut doesn’t make the hairs on your arms stand up, then you must have waxed them along with that hollow chest of yours. Although “Bricks” may sound like a too-good-to-be-true remixed remnant from Aesop Rock’s Float days, it’s actually the work of Boston’s young, bold, and bright Fameless Fam. Here, the crew’s TIME CRISIS production duo spatter drums, keys, and synthetics on the canvas while Fam MC Virtue rips enlightened Gandhi rhymes and vocalist Exquisite Corpse cracks a hook that transcends all and any hip-hop expectations.