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Boston Calling returns for yet another impressive festival this May and of course, the lineup is brilliant. Along with continuing the trend of attracting incredible big-name talent--this spring’s headliners include: Beck, My Morning Jacket, Tenacious D, and Pixies--Boston Calling has also booked two powerful local opening acts in The Ballroom Thieves and Krill. Recently, I had a chance to exchange a few emails with Jonah Furman, lead vocalist and bass player for Krill. Though the group is known as a “Boston band”, Furman and crew are actually all originally from the suburbs of Chicago. Currently, Furman is the only member who resides in Boston (drummer Ian Becker and guitarist Aaron Ratoff moved to NYC in 2014). Despite the distance, Furman says it hasn’t been difficult to keep the band going.  “It's not tough to practice when you play shows every ten days or so!”, writes Furman. “It’s kind of weird doing a LDR [long distance relationship] band, [but] I don't plan to move to NYC anytime soon.” 

Click here to read an abridged version of the conversation. If you're too busy scrolling through pictures of food and cats on Instagram and want a synopsis: highlights include being offered to play Boston Calling, dealing with unexpected success, and the debilitating effects of consumerism on the world.

Main page photo credit: Ethan Long

May 08, 2015
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Earlier this week, Boston Calling announced the expansion of its summer Block Party series. In addition to the weekly Thursday evening events at Dewey Square (across from South Station), a monthly party has been added back in Downtown Crossing, the original site of the gatherings. All events will continue to feature cheap drinks (sponsored by Shock Top and Wicked Wines) and music courtesy of Boston-area musicians. The Downtown Crossing Block Party kicks-off tonight featuring Tigerman WOAH, with all subsequent events held on the first Wednesday of each month. The Dewey Square Party will launch May 14, with a performance by The Almighty Buck.

For more info about the Block Parties (and to see future performance schedules), check out the Block Party Facebook page.
-Dan McMahon (@dmcmhn)

May 07, 2015
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Horsehands’ latest creation, Pissing Rain, runs the sound spectrum from straight-up punk to electro-infused jams--and that’s just in the first two minutes of the EP. The vocals are reminiscent of some bizarre Bowie/Krill collaboration, which, after thinking about it for awhile, would be one hell of an idea. “Yon” was definitely my favorite of the songs--hard, fast guitarwork, complete with some pop-punk palm mutes and a bridge that seems to take off into the stratosphere before abruptly grabbing you by the collar and yanking you back into the mosh pit. I also appreciated the strategic placement of the synths/keys in songs like “Dinner Time!”--they provide well-timed accents, elevating the sound of the songs without overpowering the rest of the music.

If you’re itchin’ to get a physical copy of Pissing Rain, the band will be celebrating their tape release show on May 9th at Lily Pad in Cambridge, MA. For more info about the event, click here.

-Dan McMahon (@dmcmhn)

 

May 06, 2015
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Remants, the latest album from Cambridge/Boston’s The Living Sleep, is one of the most calming, beautiful collections of sounds I’ve heard all year. The tracks that incorporate viola and cello are the most impressive, reminding me of a more modern, less-stuffy version of chamber music--something you’ll actually want to listen to for more than twenty seconds.

The piano melodies are wonderfully arranged throughout the entire record, each played more delicately and deliberately than the last. When accompanied by the strings (ex: “The Last Serenade”), the result is a soothing composition capable of dissolving even the most stressful of days.

For updates about The Living Sleep, check out their Facebook page.

-Dan McMahon (@dmcmhn)
Photo credit: 
Adem Dayıoğlu

April 29, 2015
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 “Josephine”, the single from Honeysuckle’s forthcoming debut album, Arrows, is everything that is right with folk and country music. The intro immediately drew me in; there’s something about banjos and mandolins that makes me exceedingly happy, but banjos and mandolins played together--beautiful.

Along with the instrumentation, the lead vocals on this song are powerful, yet smooth, sweet and sorrowful. The band’s generous use of harmonies and backing vocals makes “Josephine” a song worthy of several plays on their Bandcamp.

Honeysuckle will be having their release show for Arrows tomorrow night, April 29, at Out of the Blue Too Art Gallery in Central Sq., Cambridge. For more info about the show, click here.

-Dan McMahon (@dmcmhn)

April 28, 2015
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Sun E-Shea's debut self-titled album sounds like it should be blasted from a cassette in a Sony boom-box rather than played through an internet link, but I guess that's why the duo proclaims they "are stuck in the past and...are staying for the music." The release boasts twenty tracks, with influences clearly rooted in late 80s/early 90s hip-hop. While they touch upon a variety of different artists' styles, I felt an A Tribe Called Quest vibe the strongest. Some of you may think that's ultra-high praise, but take a listen to Sun E-Shea's songs and you'll hear exactly what I mean. The samples, beats and lyrics are all super-smooth and well-written, with the Quest sound coming through particularly strong in their choice of bass lines and drum tracks.

One of my favorite lines from the record comes from the track "Clive": "More times than often, well-skilled and clean, learned how to rhyme from Shel Silverstein." I think I'll go home after work, listen to a few more of these tracks and try to find a copy of The Giving Tree on ebay.

For more info about these two seemingly unknown MCs, check out their (apparently) new Facebook page.

-Dan McMahon (@dmcmhn)

  

April 24, 2015
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Which of these emerging local acts should be The Deli New England's next Artist of the Month?

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