New Music | Pony Time – Really Nice Guys

ponytime

Let’s get one thing clear at the outset: this is not about “Nice Guys” in the sense of the awful dudes you know who expect something out of you because they are “nice” and not monsters, as if that was worthy of reward and not just a baseline of how human beings are supposed to act. Am I going to share a song with you that lionizes that type of guy? Of course not. This is about the people who, while they’re great to hang out with, happen to be in just… really unfortunate bands. We all know these people. Don’t be ashamed to agree. And, sure, it’s a dating metaphor; similarly, some people are totally nice and fun but you don’t want to date them (or, sometimes, they don’t want to date you). Again, no shame.

Pony Time’s Luke Beetham gets real fuzzy, reverb all over the bass and the vocals, but somehow that combines with Stacy Peck’s no-nonsense drumbeats for something surprisingly spare. How? I don’t know. But have a listen and see if I’m wrong. And despite the subject matter, it’s hard to think they aren’t having fun playing this song.

And then, if you thought that was 2 minutes well spent of your life, start thinking about picking up their new album, Rumours 2: The Rumours Are True, which will be out Sept. 11th. That’s right: we’ve got Fleetwood Mac references here. They describe themselves as being just like Fleetwood Mac, actually, except that the dramatic romances are replaced with Arby’s; I think you can have a pretty dramatic romance with Arby’s. Listen to this song, and soon, this album, while pondering the depth of your love for embarrassing fast food (Taco Bell, you’re still #1 in my heart).

Pony Time Facebook / Twitter

Newport Folk Festival 2015 | A Love Letter of Sorts

'65 Revisited @ Newport Folk Festival 2015
Photos by Boston Concert Photography

It’s hard to believe that it has been a month since the Music Savage gang converged on Newport Folk 2015 for what is simply the best festival in the country. We look forward to those three glorious days for 362 days, and when that last note fades out across the harbor on Sunday evening we begin to make plans for the following year.

You see Newport Folk Fest isn’t just about the music, of course THAT is the main reason we all make our way to the island every year, but it is so much more than planning your schedule to catch every band on your must see list. It is a time to reconnect with friends, a place to let your worries drift away for the weekend, a feeling that everything can be made right with a single strum of a well-worn guitar. So, it’s that experience that keeps us coming back. We already know the music will be great, so we only need to focus our attention on finding hotels and collecting enough spending money to buy merch from our favorite artists.

Each new year we say to each other “There’s just no way that Newport can somehow manage to top (insert previous year here),” however we are always proven wrong. Festival producer Jay Sweet always seems to have another card up his sleeve just when you think his best hand has been laid out on the table. Think about how much goes into pulling a festival of this magnitude off year after year and you begin to understand why these three days hold such a special place in all of our hearts. Sweet and his spectacular team have to coordinate everything from artist schedules, to vendors, to stage set-up and break-down, and still find time to make everyone involved feel welcome and appreciated. As a member of the press, having the opportunity to see this all happen behind the scenes is extraordinary.

The tremendous effort put in this year paid off big time. I spoke to so many different artists, as well as various crew members and security, about their experience being at the Fort and one thing came across time and time again…

Gratitude.

Every single person involved with the festival talked of how grateful they were to be a part of the experience. Whether said person was playing the stage, guarding the stage, or gathered in front of the stage with hundreds or thousands of their closest friends, they were all so happy to be involved in their own unique way. This is why we love the Newport weekend as much as we do. The camaraderie spread throughout the grounds, both backstage and front, makes Fort Adams seems less like a impenetrable United States Army post built for war and more like a welcoming parapet (that’s for you Decemberists gang) built for a jamboree.

Let’s talk about that jamboree for a moment shall we?

From Friday’s haunting opening chords of Rhode Island’s own Haunt the House, to the closing number from the entire Folk house lineup in ’65 Revisited on Sunday night, the weekend was one highlight reel after another and everyone that took the stage brought their A-game with them for their all too brief moment in the sun.

Opening day pulled in the breezy, twang from Bahamas, a superstar making performance from Leon Bridges, and My Morning Jacket building a wall of sound with Roger Waters. Saturday saw a Spirited Family make the crowd soar, an outlaw cowgirl from Nashville make the crowd swoon, and New England’s favorite son finally finish his set having been interrupted decades earlier by a landing on the moon. On Sunday we were treated to a beautiful set/marriage proposal from everyone’s new favorite Brooklyn troubadour, a spectacular dance party from the soon to be Stephen Colbert bandleader, a foot stomping Nightsweaty hoedown, and a grave-shaking performance from a larger than life Texan.

At the time of this post there are only 332 days, 8 hours, and 30 minutes to go until Newport Folk Festival 2016. Not that we here at Music Savage are counting or anything.

Check out a few of the amazing shots our NFF shutterbug Steve Benoit took of all the fun below and make sure you get yourself to the fort next year.

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Review | Tape Stacks – Six Rooms EP

TapeStacks

Summer may be waning but don’t try telling the members of Tape Stacks the news as they can easily counter this information with their brand new EP titled Six Rooms, out independently this week. This charming release is a shimmery time capsule filled with tunes about sunshine, thunderstorms, wanderlust, romance, and heartache. All things associated with the season, which means the EP is just what the doctor ordered for any type of weather related disorder.

Six Rooms opens with the breezy little number, “Sun Breathing,” perfect for cruising the California 1 in a convertible on a beautiful day with the top down. Followed by the day-dreamy, “Counting Mountains,” a song about laboring through the daily 9-5 grind in order to make it to the adventures the weekend brings, and you have yourself two perfectly crafted traveling tunes. “Thunder Room” is a delightful shoegazer reminiscent of early Lush, while “Cowboy”, “Heart in Half,” and “Split End” each examine the complexity of relationships and the positivity that can be found traveling through life together despite the less than positive outcome.

The Seattle-based 4-piece, Kara McPhillips (guitar/vocals), Josh Buser (bass), Layton Hayes (keys), and Mandy Hubbard (drums/vocals), formed in 2012 and have been infiltrating the area’s music scene one legendary venue at a time. They had already graced the stages of The Crocodile, Tractor Tavern, and The Sunset before the release of the first EP, and are now focused on spreading their jangly, indie-pop goodness beyond the Pacific Northwest with their latest effort.

Tape Stacks record release show takes place Friday, August 21st at Conor Byrne in Seattle. Here’s to hoping they find their way to the East Coast this year. After all winter is coming, and we will need their summery vibe to survive the long, cold months.

Facebook / Twitter / Band site

Buy Six Rooms

 

 

New Music | Son Little – Lay Down

Son Little -Photo by Anthony_Saint_James

The first thing you notice on Son Little’s “Lay Down,” is a golden, buttery smooth vocals pairing with harmony that’s just as sweet. The song just seems to exist on another plane, it breezes by before you know it, a fleeting intimate moment between two lovers. The vocals, and the sparse instrumentation over a guitar and some light percussion gives this song a perfect pocket to exist in.

Good luck listening just once. Look for “Lay Down,” to arrive on his upcoming record, October 16, on ANTI records.

More from Son Little
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Photos | Trampled By Turtles + Spirit Family Reunion @ Columbus Theatre

Trampled By Turtles @ Columbus Theatre
Photos by Boston Concert Photography

For a handful of years, I’ve been lucky enough to spend the last weekend in July at The Fort for Newport Folk Festival, partaking in what many call the best weekend of the year.

Note: I still don’t say this openly around family, but for some reason I’m comfortable putting it on the internet.

I bring that up for good reason. If you spend a long weekend with Newport Folk, it takes a toll on you both physically and emotionally. It’s the best kind of exhaustion—but make no mistake—it is most certainly exhaustion. Once-in-a-lifetime moment after once-in-a-lifetime moment leaves your body completely void of enthusiasm and, in some ways, really suffering from the separation blues.

Normally, my post-fest routine involves a solid week of drying out and recuperating. But this year, with the wife and kids visiting family, I decided to try a different tack. I would hit a few shows in the week after Newport to try and transition slowly back into reality.

Thankfully, the music deities provided a few great opportunities for me to do so. The first was Rayland Baxter at Atwood’s and the second was Trampled By Turtles and Spirit Family Reunion at one of my favorite venues, the Columbus Theatre. Visual evidence of that amazing show, attached.

SFR opened up the show to an already crowded main theatre down in Providence, and by the time they’d finished their set of foot-stomping, big-lunged hollering, there wasn’t a dry brow in the place. The energy and the temperature were on the rise.

As with most Trampled By Turtles shows, the anticipation was palpable. As the lights dimmed and the music started you could feel that the audience was primed to blow the roof off the place. Thankfully, the roof remained intact, but the energy and enthusiasm certainly reached a pitch that night that I’ve yet to see in the main hall of the Columbus. As the band made their way through the set, they took us on an emotional rollercoaster similar to that of the previous weekend. And everyone in the house was on board for the full ride. It was worth every drop of sweat from beginning to end.

Did my little experiment work out? Well, all three of the acts I took in are Newport alum, so that certainly helped the separation blues.

As far as the physical exhaustion… that’s what Red Bull is for, right?

Photos + Review | Rayland Baxter @ Atwood’s Tavern

RayLand Baxter at Atwood's Tavern
Photos by Boston Concert Photography

On Tuesday, July 28th Atwood’s Tavern played host to Nashville musician Rayland Baxter as he graced the stage of the intimate venue to share tunes from his forthcoming sophomore LP, Imaginary Man, out August 14th via ATO Records. Atwood’s (otherwise known as Little Nashville) regularly showcases some of Music City’s finest artists, and Baxter was back in familiar territory when he stepped up to the microphone with a quip on how his van broke down on the way to Newport.

The first song of the evening was the beautifully haunting number, “Bad Things,” from his 2013 EP ashkeLON, and the capacity crowd roared with approval as the first notes of the song were played. Sure he has a new album on the way, but this musician knows how to reel in the audience on the first line out. Baxter pulled us all on board Imaginary Man with the next song, “Mr. Rodriguez,” which he has been playing live for a few years now under the title “Me & Mr. Rodriguez.” He and his fantastic band have it honed to perfection.

In fact that statement rings true for the entirety of the evening’s performance. With a wide collection of songs to choose from off the debut album, feathers & fishHooks, the above mentioned EP, as well as the new material, Baxter and band wove tails of heartache and loss beautifully together with songs of hope and redemption. The new single, “Yellow Eyes,” is a standout track, a hopeful-heartbreaker if you will, and unsurprisingly those in attendance already knew the words. A scan of the crowd during another new song, “Rugged Lovers,” saw couples with arms around each other, quietly singing along as if they were being serenaded in their own living rooms.

Rayland Baxter has only been on the scene for a little over 5 years now, starting it all off with fellow Nashville musician Caitlin Rose back in 2010, and it is obvious the impact his music has already made, seeing as how he can roll into a Northeast town on a Tuesday night and pack the place with fans who know all the songs on an album that was yet to be released.

Here’s to hoping we see you at Newport Folk Festival next year Rayland! Providing your mode of transportation successfully delivers you and the band to your worthy destination.

Check out the great photos and videos our very own Steve Benoit of Boston Concert Photography took of the show below.
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New Music | Raccoon Fighter – I’m So Proud

Raccoon Fighter

Yesterday, I instructed you to shake your butt. Today, Raccoon Fighter wants to countermand that order, saying “I don’t want you to shake it no more.” Well, when you listen to their new tune “I’m So Proud,” off their just-released EP Spiral Flag, I say to you: Good luck.

From the first second, you’re going to be, at the least, bobbing your head. Garage guitars with lots of jagged pauses, making me consider changing my air guitar routine in time for the Dark Horse competition (but I won’t, it’s in a week and that’s not enough time), and then distorted vocals kick in and – oh, look, see? You’re shaking it. Again. Just like they told you not to. Tsk tsk tsk.

Get more of this by picking up Spiral Flag right here!

Raccoon Fighter website / Facebook / Twitter

New Music | Moondog Matinee – Put Me Right

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Moondog Matinee hail from Reno. I don’t know much about Reno except for what I know from a Throw Rag song, but going by that metric, this feels just about right. It’s bluesy, singer Peter Barnato’s voice is so gravelly it sounds like he just ate a driveway, and “Put Me Right” is a song about things going wrong.

It starts out pretty subdued; then the horns and “hoo-hoo”s kick in at the chorus and you look up and you see your hands are in the air. I don’t know how it happens either! Things get a little funky farther in, so if you look down and you see your butt is shaking, don’t blame me.

Have yourself a quick little sweaty dance party to “Put Me Right” right now (it’s a sweaty party because it’s about 90,000 degrees out today, obviously – everything you do is going to be sweaty), and watch out for their album Carry Me, Rosie coming out August 25th!

New Music | Big Scary – Organism

big scary

Hardly a band to be nailed down by style, Australia’s Big Scary duo of Tom Iansek and Jo Syme crafted this quirky pop song, Organism, that’s got a dance vibe with little stabs from the deep end of a saxophone. In my head it’s reminiscent of a Menomena tune, and it’s got me dancing in my chair.

The band is taking the song and some others on the road to cut their teeth before recording, and we’ll see them here in Boston at the beginning of October.

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New Music | Yuck – Hold Me Closer

YUCK

As soon as you press play, and the distortion kicks in, the fuzz blows into your ears, there’s a pop connection on this new track from Brit rockers, Yuck. I don’t think Yuck is being held back at all from losing their former frontman, “Hold Me Closer,” is a gem, full of those 90s guitars and lo-fi vocals that we’ve come to love (again?!). This track and a handful of US shows is all we know about any upcoming album (out sometime in 2016). I for one need to hear more and would like to see a Boston date as soon as possible.

Yuck’s tour dates:

08/05 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny’s Brenda
08/06 New York, NY @ River Rocks / Pier 84
08/07 Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery
08/08 Raleigh, NC @ Kings
08/09 Atlanta, GA @ The Wrecking Ball