Photos + Review | Shovels and Rope + John Fullbright @ Royale

Shovels and Rope at Royale Boston
Photos by Boston Concert Photography

We have come to expect great things from a band like Shovels & Rope. They have given us amazing performances in the past, from the days when they were the little engine that could, playing opening shows for Butch Walker, Hayes Carll, or Jason Isbell; to now the inspiring husband-wife duo that delights our ears, eyes, body and soul on two awesome headlining nights at the Royale. I personally got to catch Cary Ann and Michael (I’m on a first name basis obviously) sing their hearts out on Saturday night, and although Cary Ann may have been suffering from laryngitis, the band found a way to play a rockin’ show spanning all three of their records, that even included a few songs from Michael’s fantastic solo record, the Winner. I was so glad they got Birmingham out of the way, and dug deep into their new record, and the songs seemed to have had more vibrance and life, and rocked a lot harder than on the recorded versions. To anyone further along the line on this tour, I highly suggest you don’t miss their live show, it’s always special, and the music comes from a wonderful place, and I think they come out in our photos (below) of the night.

Video | Max Jury – Black Metal

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The heavy yet simple piano chords that carry Iowa born Max Jury’s “Black Metal,” jump out right away, creating a somber, smoky and intimate feel that is powered by falsetto vocals and lyrical notes of unrequited love. The stark composition seems to mirror his midwest upbringing, wide open spaces and the quiet, and his influences from Ryan Adams to Lucinda Williams stick out, but the modernity comes out with the tinges of vintage americana/soul breadth laid over an elegy about a girl.

Jury will be releasing an EP, The Sonic Factory Sessions on October 13 and is on tour in the UK selling out shows from London to Edinburgh. Look out for the EP in a couple of weeks.

Video | Tweedy – Low Key

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The spectacular, Nick Offerman, directed video for the fantastic new single, “Low Key,” from the marvelous debut album, Sukierae, by the awesome band Tweedy, formed by Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy and his son Spencer, is out now for your viewing pleasure. Now that’s a whole lot of superlatives right there I know, but I’m a sucker for all things Tweedy!  His new album is a love-letter of sorts to his wife (Sukierae is her nickname) and the long-awaited “solo” project is decidedly different from the Wilco sound, while being comfortingly familiar at the same time.

The video is chock-full of cameos from Jeff’s long list of famous friends, including his Wilco bandmates. And just to make it extra special it starts off with my favorite cameo… Michael Shannon as the record company goon. Pretty great stuff from everyone involved. Enjoy!

Buy Sukierae

New Music | Pompeii – Loom

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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

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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.