New Music | Pompeii – Loom

Pompeii

Austin, TX quartet Pompeii formed back in 2004 and filled a sonic void with their unique brand of atmospheric, surging rock that instantly found fans in an already busting at the seams music scene. Pompeii’s first two albums, Assembly (2006) and Nothing Happens for a Reason (2008), were met with critical praise and put the band in the same sentences with Mogwai, Sigur Rós, and other ambiently-swirling bands. It’s been 5 long years since Dean Stafford (vocals/guitar), Erik Johnson (guitar/keys), Colin Butler (bass), and Rob Davidson (drums) put out an album, and that hiatus comes to an end with their third release, Loom, due out via Red Eye Transit on October 14th.

I am pleased to share with you the title-track from the forthcoming album for your listening pleasure. “Loom” starts off subtly, with gentle piano and quite vocals luring you in as the song crescendos considerably into a massive wall of sound filled with drums and strings. It’s what Pompeii does so well and I’m very happy that they are back and ready to provide a sensory overload to fans across the country…..here’s to hoping a Boston stop is in the works.

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Photos | Bahamas at Great Scott

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We caught Bahamas last weekend on Saturday, as Boston welcomed Afie Jurvanen into a sold out Great Scott. Bahamas was celebrating the latest album release “Bahamas is Afie” which was just as good live as it the record, and we L-O-V-E the record. It was a jam packed crowd surrounding the stage as Jurvanen entertained with both music and story. Starting the night off was Canadian project, Weather Station, whose subtle, wistful and thought provoking folk music was on full display.

Be sure to check out some of favorite shots from the evening by our very own Jamie Reiley.

New Music | Spookyland – Rock and Roll Weakling

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An EP of the same name, Rock and Roll Weakling, from a pretty exciting Sydney based band dropped a few weeks back, and well I’m pretty crazy about the title single “Rock and Roll Weakling,” it’s got a raw, invigorating, irreverent kind of feel to it, but in that brashness lies a tune that totally rocks, has a great hook, and begs to be played at high volumes.

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Video | Field Report – Home (Leave the Lights On)

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Home for Field Report and specifically Chris Porterfield, is back in Wisconsin, where this video takes its beautiful backdrop. It evokes Porterfield thinking about what he leaves behind and what he comes back to after leaving for and returning from touring. Wrestling with the fact that he’s on the road most of the year, and hoping everything he left behind will be there upon his return. It seems he imagines himself driving his F100 around the beautifully sparse midwest, catching time in the middle of nowhere, attending to his truck, visiting the great lakes and taking some time for bowling and go-karting. It seems pretty perfect, and I can imagine I’d want to come home to that as well.

“Home,” will appear on Field Report’s sophomore effort, Marigolden, out October 7th on Partisan Records

Photos + Review | Sturgill Simpson + Cereus Bright @ Brighton Music Hall

Sturgill Simpson @ Brighton Music Hall
Photos by Boston Concert Photography

The night began with Cereus Bright, an act out of Knoxville Tennessee, who surprised us with their own brand of modern folk music, jangly, good harmonies, and catchy songwriting. They wooed us with an interesting cover of the Bee Gees, and some really catchy songs off of a few of their recent EPs. “Stella,” a tune from their Happier than Me EP, was particularly great, they made for an interesting opener and set us all up for a great show.

A picture’s worth a 1000 words but a word ain’t worth a dime, says Sturgill Simpson on his track “Voices,” so we can keep this short as I don’t think you can absorb just how a Sturgill Simpson show goes within a thousand words. We had the opportunity to take in a packed show last Thursday at the Brighton Music Hall and our first live experience with Sturgill Simpson. One thing that I certainly derived from the Kentucky born singer, he’s a true to god, authentic country music singer, with that perfect, country tenor, an awesome band, and a ton of great songs that span the universe of searching for salvation and not finding it.

The crowd was filled with the gamut of ages, young to old, people from all over New England, folks that saw him play the night before in Northampton. Everyone was glued to the stage from the second he stepped on stage, to the moment he left. Apparently getting on stage without a setlist, which he said was the norm, Sturgill and his fantastic band got on stage in a hurry, and started whipping out sonically perfect, wonderful country sounds that swept through the room, and it seemed as though the crowd hung on every word, and sang along to every song. The band was extremely tight, and led by a guitarist in Laur Joamets, who was something to absolutely behold, playing lead guitar and making a slide piece sound like pedal steel, he was by far a guy that could steal the show, absolutely fantastic to watch. Absolutely make sure you check these guys out if they are in your neck of the woods, and take a look at our photos and a few videos of Simpson and band as well as the fantastic opener, Cereus Bright.

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New Music | Happy Dagger – Indian Summer

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Portland, OR songwriter Jesse Robertson creates music under the moniker Happy Dagger and has recently released his first EP, available now through Soundcloud. The self-titled release is a 4-song collection of beautifully crafted, glam infused, psych-rock that is sure to make the day swirlingly better.

This is a 100% bedroom project, as he wrote, recorded, and produced everything you hear coming through your speakers on his own. Robertson taught himself how to play guitar, drums, and piano about ten years ago, and the now 20 year old musician has a collection of tunes that reflect the hard work and determination of an artist making it on his own. When Happy Dagger takes his show on the road he will do so as a 5-piece band to fully incorporate the intricate sound layered together in his debut. 

Check out the great track “Indian Summer” above and head over to Happy Dagger’s Soundcloud page to check out the rest of his fantastic eponymous debut. Someone needs to sign this guy quick!

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New Music | We Were Promised Jetpacks – I Keep It Composed

We Were Promised Jetpacks

Everytime a new single is released from the forthcoming We Were Promised Jetpacks album, Unravelling, I scratch my head in amazement that the Scottish 5-piece are not yet filling up stadium sized arenas full of crazed fans. The latest track to be shared from the band’s third album is the surging “I Keep It Composed,” a bass-heavy, emotionally driven song, hell-bent on grabbing a hold of your head and not letting go. The addition of multi-instrumentalist Stuart McGachan has added an intensity of sound to an already energetic, and tightly composed, sonic machine. These guys are the real deal! You know it, I know it…eventually everyone else will too.

The new single “I Keep It Composed” will be released September 22nd via FatCat Records, with the new album following shortly thereafter. 

Review | Cory Branan – The No-Hit Wonder

Cory Branan - Nicole C Kibert

The rag on Cory Branan is he’s too Country for Punk, and too Punk for Country, but I think what we need to start realizing is Cory Branan is a damn fine musician, and an excellent songwriter. His new record, The No-Hit Wonder, follows up his 2012 critically acclaimed record Mutt, and was released yesterday on Bloodshot Records. Over the course of the last month, I’ve turned this record on again and again, it’s been in heavy rotation, and for great reasons. Branan’s songwriting is top notch, it’s vivid and bright and a bit tongue-in-cheek. We’ve all been saying it, but I think this is his most accessible effort to date.

The album opener “You Make Me,” is a nod to Branan’s new wife, new kids, and shows a different Branan, he’s loose, having fun, and just enjoying himself, how could you not when you are recording with Jason Isbell? The second portion of Branan’s 1-2 punch is the titular single, “The No-Hit Wonder,” which features Craig Finn & Steve Selvidge from the Hold Steady. It’s a rockin’ tune that should be played at high speeds and high volumes, the song may be written as a self-deprecating joke, most of the press surrounding Branan has mentioned he should be bigger than he is, writing a song about it might be one way to ditch the stigma, and it’s one hell of a song.

Digging deeper into the record, Branan shows his eclecticism with the rockabilly “Sour Mash,” the ragtime crying in your beer song “C’Mon Shadow,” the traditional C&W “All the Rivers in Colorado,”
even a bit of Springsteenian travel song in “Taking the Highway Home.” The No-Hit Wonder is a full album effort that puts Branan’s songwriting front and center, his songs seemingly always have a hook, can make you laugh, and hit the right chords in a bevy of different genres. If the question still lies whether Branan is too country for punk and too punk for country, who really gives a shit? This record is fun to listen to, and it not fitting in is not going to stop me for a second.

Do yourself a favor, and buy The No-Hit Wonder. Today. Now.

Review | Shovels & Rope – Swimmin’ Time

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There is an inherent sense of foreboding and unease layered throughout the new sophomore release titled Swimmin’ Time from Charleston, South Carolina duo Shovels & Rope, which is almost a complete 180 from the uplifting merriment found in the pair’s first album released under the moniker Shovels & Rope, 2012’s O’ Be Joyful. It’s as though our favorite southern charmers, Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst, took a peek through the curtain of popularity that was opening wider for the singer-songwriters and were slightly taken aback by the response of the ever-growing crowd.

Now, don’t read that opening paragraph as a condemnation on the more introspective outlook the new Shovels & Rope album brings to the (turn)table. I am crazy about this record and have been listening pretty much non-stop since it arrived at Music Savage, however with each push of the play button I can’t help but wonder what the catalyst was for creating this musical shift in gears.

There are quite a few heavy topics Hearst and Trent wade through throughout Swimmin’ Time, most notably (as the title suggests) the songs focus on the power of water and the struggle to move forward through fluctuating tides, or to pick oneself up and dry off after the storm subsides. Whether it’s the plea for guidance and hope found in the beautiful song, “After the Storm,” the impassioned call of the album’s title track to swim or drown as the ocean waves pull you away from shore, or the true story of “Thresher,” a submarine lost at sea in 1963 with 129 souls on board, the main theme here is the struggle.

The struggle of ol’ fashioned good versus evil is also explored. The album’s stellar opening track, “The Devil Is All Around,” focuses on finding salvation and turning against temptation. With the glory of a church organ, and the almighty power of a kick-drum, the song perfectly sets the fight or flight tone of the album. You also find the theme in the 50’s inspired numbers as well. The Doo Wop style of “Coping Mechanism” looks for answers away from the obvious inebriants, and my favorite track, the rockabilly, “Mary Anne & One Eyed Dan,” delves into the topic of redemption through love.

While the emphasis of Swimmin’ Time is on the trials and tribulations of a life in the spotlight, I think the message is pretty clear. The road (or river) may be tough going but if you keep your chin up, and swim against the current, eventually you will find your way back to shore. As with most sequels the storyline cautiously dives into the heart of the conflict with the determination to rise above and conquer. Shovels & Rope have created the Empire Strikes Back to their Star Wars, the Superman II to their Superman: The Movie. We all know the heroes win in the end!

Buy Swimmin’ Time

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New Music | The Del-Vipers – The Sonic Deterrent

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Austin, TX purveyors of old school surf-rock, The Del-Vipers, are anglin’ the release of their double spinner of a debut album titled Terror of the Del-Vipers, which will be available digitally Tuesday, August 26th via their Bandcamp page. I am stoked to share the bitchin’ new track “The Sonic Deterrent,” and I know you gnarly hot-doggers will think it’s as boss a rock n’ roll number as I do.

Ross Ott (guitars), Sam Rich (drums), and Dave Hawkins (bass), kick-out the pipeline laid down by the likes of Dick Dale and the Del-Tones, The Ventures, and many other notable legends of the genre, while infusing their brand of punk style into the kamikaze sound. This may be the trio’s first wave but they are clearly not poser gremlins.

The excellent video for “The Sonic Deterrent” is above and is sure to make you yell BANZAI!

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