Balto: Monuments (EP)


Way back in September, Daniel Sheron of Balto wrote to announce the arrival of Monuments, the band’s follow-up to 2011’s October’s Road.  In his letters, Daniel stressed that the album was a new direction for Balto – a step forward for him and the band.  Given how much I loved October’s Road, this was certainly intriguing.  In one e-mail, he wrote:

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Other Stuff You Might Like: Sleepover Shows


Sleepover Shows is the brainchild of husband and wife duo Kelly and Rob Ribera (with emeritus member Aviv Rubenstein).  The site is dedicated to filming musicians as they pass through Boston in my home state of Massachusetts.  The results are impressive, covering a wide range of styles and settings in much the same vein as They Shoot Music or La Blogothèque.  Here’s how Sleepover Shows describes its mission:

Sleepover Shows are three song sets of acoustic or stripped down versions performed by bands that we love as they make their way through Boston. Though it started as something we did when bands needed a place to crash on the night of their shows, we now mostly film the sessions before or after a show and let the bands find their own ways home (though the offer still stands).

Basically, we try to use our spaces as creatively as we can.  We’ve filmed in the back seats of cars, on top of playground equipment, in doorways and alleys, in bathtubs and stairwells.  We try our best to get the bands to take their music outside of the confines of the studio and have some fun.

And that’s the point: to capture some great music that maybe isn’t always as polished, but shows these artists having a good time doing what they love. We’re doing what we love too, and hope you enjoy the videos!

Gathered here are some of my favorite sessions from the site, but I strongly encourage you to head over and browse for yourself!

Marissa Nadler:

Damien Jurado

Horse Feathers

Boston String Players

Mailbag: Funeral Club – In the Fire LP

Founded in 2006, Funeral Club is the stage name of husband and wife duo Jenny and Joseph Andreotti.  The band – whose sound evokes memories of Nick Cave, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and the best parts of early-80s Cure – completed their magnificent third album, In the Fire, in Spring of 2011.

As the band tell it: “In The Fire was influenced by the idea of paying homage to experimental film makers Maya Deren and David Lynch, film composer Ennio Morricone, and to Pulp’s wonderfully sleazy film-noir inspired This is Hardcore. ”   An eclectic set of influences, to be sure, but not surprising from a band that says its beginnings were inspired by “their grandparent’s journey from Oklahoma to Bakersfield, California during the great Dust Bowl migration, 1960s spaghetti westerns, David Lynch soundtracks, and the late 70s punk movement.”  All of these diverse influences combine with haunting lyrics and sinuous, sensual melodies to produce an album that is both atmospheric and enveloping.

The band’s considerable talent for creating dramatic canvasses shines on “A Soapbox Serenade,” which crackles and moves with a sense of danger.  It’s like stepping in to the climax of an obscure, foreign art piece.  Beautiful and mysterious… have a listen:


Since the release of In the Fire, the band have kept busy, and have recently released a new EP – Waves & Waves – on Pale Noir.  The eponymous “Waves & Waves” is a gorgeous, brooding track that features a superb combination of saxophone, ethereal vocals, and an arrangement that reminds me of Disintegration-era Cure.  Why not have a listen?


If you’d like to learn more about the band, I strongly encourage you to visit their website, or check them out on Facebook.  (It should also be noted that they’re lovely people who never once yelled at me for holding on to their music for an eternity… So, thanks, Funeral Club!)

I’ll leave you with the video for “Shadows” from the Waves & Waves EP:

Happy New Year! – Albums I Loved in 2011

Hi, Everyone!  Well, it’s that time of year again!  The time when I get to pontificate about the top releases of the year.  However, as usual, I have a really difficult time ranking things.  This is something that carries over from my work as a professor.  After all, what is the difference between a 93 and a 94?  I know it when I see it, but just how to explain?  So, I’m just going to wimp out present some of the albums I loved in no particular order.  For those of you looking for a more ordered (and possibly comprehensive) list, I would recommend checking in with Pitchfork, Slowcoustic, or NPR Music.  All right, let’s get on with the show!

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First Listen: New Songs from Katie Davis

Photo by: David Speranza
Photo by: David Speranza

Friend of the blog, past feature, and all-around excellent singer-songwriter Katie Davis has released three new songs via YouTube, and you lucky devils can hear them after the jump.  The songs are currently in the form of home recordings which feature just Katie and her guitar.  The result is three wonderfully intimate recordings that feel both confessional and cathartic, with a haunting quality that remains long after the songs have ended.

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