killingthecabinet Wed, 10 Sep 2014 20:39:23 +0000 en hourly 1 Up Next: The Lees of Memory Wed, 10 Sep 2014 16:00:56 +0000 matt BwEI54ZCEAAiTox Up Next: The Lees of Memory

by Matthew Downes

Every year we get older and every year the responsibilities get a little bit bigger.  While the former seems to be something that’s not in my future plans the latter is heavy.  Just when I think I don’t have time for music that weight is lifted by a Wizard or in this case, a Davis.

Its been many years since I saw Superdrag in Philly at a pizza place called Nicks I think?  I was maybe 19 or 20 years old. Someone snuck me in and John Davis (lead singer, producer, guitarist for both Superdrag and TLoM) was sitting at the bar writing his setlist on torn yellow legal paper (see pic below).  You might remember them MTving hard with their single “Sucked Out”.  I remember them delivering a deep set of tracks that captured a powerful sound reflecting 30 or 40 years of rock history.

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20 years later he’s singing “I want you to stay right where you are, Little Fallen Star” for a new band and still sounds unbelievable.  They call themselves The Lees of Memory.

“I can’t stop the world from trying to break your heart.”

You should buy their record.

I love their music.

Everything’s a little bit lighter.


TAGS: Guitars Drink Cymbals, Stars, Symbols, Love, Memories, Hurt, Deep Tracks, Loyalty

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And If You Don’t Know, Now You Know: Cymbals Eat Guitars’ LOSE Thu, 04 Sep 2014 16:00:40 +0000 Charissa CEG Lose 1024x1024 And If You Don’t Know, Now You Know:  Cymbals Eat Guitars LOSE

by Charissa Lock

As Why There Are Mountains was fantastical and a poetically disheveled work of genius, Lenses Alien was a realistic scripted marching forward of crawling keys and notes of perfection. LOSE is simultaneously a little bit of both and incomparable. As feelings and story lines portray reality, the underlying passion released either through D’Agostino’s wavering vocals or in a mysterious mood set by transient melodies breaches a dreamlike fantasy.  You become entrapped in an unknown world where you begin experiencing another’s moments through a seamless cyclone of instrumentation, lyrics, and passion drawn vocals.

Cymbals Eat Guitars has always been able to rip through my soul tearing at my emotions like no other band, and LOSE attacks deeper than their previous two.  Not even the pop’ier beats on most tracks can masquerade the spoken pain and uncertainty that covers the album theme.  In a recent interview with Wondering Sound, frontman D’Agostino shares the background of LOSE, allowing you to make sense of your soul swelling, eyes brimming, and fingertips tingling.

Speaking of that rock pop sound, there happens to be quite a few choruses on here. Not that it bothered me before that songs just went forth in a continuous transition traveling their own journey.  However, it has been fun being able to learn a chorus melody. The rocking-out-at-a-bar-knocking-back-Guinness’ track “XR” threw me for a moment, as is was not something from them I’d expect (namely, harmonica), but seconds later I was foot tapping and enjoying myself quite nicely with it easily enveloping CEG flavor.  Likewise “Lifenet” hits you with some Motown flavor, so that if you sped it up, threw in some trumpets alongside identical suits and choreography you’d basically be in Detroit circa 1965.  Of course, keeping in mind, the intensity in vocals indicates this song being a bit more involved.  Their glide into “ooh’s” and “ahh’s,” with a Jack’s Mannequin’esque track (“Chambers”) is welcoming to new listeners without dropping their over 5 minute pulsing guitar solos and is only 24 seconds shy of tying their longest song [“Rifle Eyesight (Proper Name)” still holds the record] on “Laramie.”

You not only can look forward to big smashing moments where your fingertips are bleeding while wielding an air guitar, there’s also these great moments of pause that stimulate your senses at just the right moment.  There sometimes isn’t even a huge moment that follows, yet the welcoming of this break is a second for recovery or in gathering oneself to complete the song.

There are some flashbacks on LOSE from previous works, such as the alien-esque and unforgettable guitar effect on “Rifle Eyesight (Proper Name)” at the 6:15 mark making an appearance in “2 Hip Soul” at 4:24.  Just sprinkling on a tinge of excitement knowing a kickass jam session is about to leave you sore-necked and exhausted with a satisfactory smile spread on your face.  And this newest bridge may even take the win.  There are other moments where you hear familiar transitions or melody segments, and you just grin and thank CEG for not stripping itself of the grungy/punk/rock (not to be confused with grungy punk rock) they’re known for.

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Favorite track has to be “Child Bride,” with a melody incredibly intoxicating, seducing you with a piano version a few times before revealing the vocal melody to go along.  Therefore, on every listen you’re anxiously enjoying each verse – instrumental chorus – verse pattern waiting for the 2:20, but not wanting to rush anything.  It also feels like a quiet conversation with most instrumentation stripped away, which is a rare event.   Of course the entire album is unbelievably mesmerizing, emotionally difficult in some moments (or even all moments if you let it take over you), and chock full of gritty and elegant melodies stretching your awareness of a flawless blending of numerous instrumentation and effects.

Check out their tour dates after investing in their tuneage, or vice versa.

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TAGS: Sisi BakBak, Barsuk, Coachella, 2014, BestOf.


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Up Next: The Enigmatic Pop Princess VERITE Mon, 04 Aug 2014 16:00:09 +0000 Charissa  verite Up Next: The Enigmatic Pop Princess VERITE

 By Charissa Lock

Floating in the hazy topsoil of streaming music sites (such as Soundcloud, Spotify, etc.) appears the mysterious New Yorker.  VERITE‘s single “Strange Enough” takes you off guard with her classically smooth and passionate vocals that mosey around a catchy chorus, with the real treat found in the verses.  Written, drummed, produced, and programmed by Elliot Jacobson, there’s a strong sense of professionalism in the foundation of this one, which has provided VERITE with a respectable introduction to the world.  ”Strange Enough” can easily fall into the niche of blasting through your speakers on a hot summer night with the windows down allowing warm air to whip through your hair.  A perfect sing along with a retrospective look at relationships allowing to connect easy with your emotions, this is one I kept my eye on and began my search for more.

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Click here to view the video on YouTube.

After struggling to come up with anything besides what I gave you in the first sentence of this post (I saved you the trouble, you’re welcome), my intrigue had inflated into a determination to keep my eyes and ears open for when she would surface.  It seems that she did have a single in the relative past, but its been removed from all facets and is unreachable.  So now that I always have VERITE in the back of my mind, I have come to realize the sparkle of genius in this press mechanism.  When I find out more, I’ll be sure to let you know because after checking out “Strange Enough” you’ll be hooked.


For another spin of “Strange Enough,” check out EPISODE’s recent remix.




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Say Anything – House of Blues, Boston 6.29 Fri, 01 Aug 2014 14:40:33 +0000 Charissa DSC 0288 10 2 1024x685 Say Anything – House of Blues, Boston 6.29

By Charissa Lock

Photo taken by Kate Lock at her “own risk” as crowd surfers poured behind the barricade.

As assumed, the band flooded the stage following a minute or two of celebratory music you would hear at a Bah Mitzvah.  The assumption lies in the most recent album title, Hebrews, broadcasting both a specific and general perception of the “Jewish” ethnicity (in a very Max Bemis-y way).  While some eager audience members were dancing around, others were perplexed by the possibility Bemis had gone all ethnic on them.  Then there were a select few of us whose hearts sank as unknown band members were picking up guitars and striking keyboard keys.  Yeah, we all know that Alex Kent had left awhile ago, we’ve already been through the experience of not seeing Coby Linder rocking out on the drums, and the uncertainty of Adam Siska. Yet, the absence of the twins (Jeff and Jake Turner) and Parker Case was quite a sting.  Though Max rarely gave you the chance to feel sorrow, since of their 200+ songs the “next one” was always a pleasant surprise and needed my full attention.  Yet, at certain pauses, or when my voice required a break, I became very snotty towards these new fellows who I’m sure are great guys.  However, my allegiance towards Say Anything consisting of at least some familiar faces besides Max gripped me and only with the appearance of Lucy Jean, was I able to accept change.

Going back and forth between all five albums, leaving out their Rarities, they were able to throw in about three or four from each.   Never having played “Surgically Removing the Tracking Device” (In Defense of the Genre) before, this was a fresh one to hear live with the presence of Fred Mascherino (former lead guitarist for Taking Back Sunday) who was rocking on the guitar the entire show.  Bemis was jumping and partaking in his typical emotion-induced body movements as always and was beyond ecstatic to hear the crowd singing along with the new ones.  His conversing with the audience remained as humble, fluid, and realistic as usual, causing you to chuckle and think…this guy is wicked rad (note, House of Blues Boston).  Besides belting it out and offering the gang portion of the gang vocals, one of the best parts of the show was when wife Sherri came out to sing her parts of “Cemetery” holding their headphones-adorned daughter Lucy.  Now if you follow either Max or Sherri on any social media outlet, you are fully aware of Lucy’s cuteness and though your parents are great…you kind of wish you had parents as cool as Max and Sherri.  Either way, she’s adorable and while Sherri was waiting for her time to sing, Lucy was drumming away on the microphone.  When the song finished, and the audience was losing their minds, the Bemis family made a thirty second private circle.  Having been a Say Anything fan for many years, it was just extraordinary to witness the positivity and beauty Max’s life became where five years ago, he had quite a few things working against him to ever continue creating music, never mind starting this precious family.  As the two exited the stage, Max responds to the crowds screams with, “Have we killed you with cuteness?” inducing female high pitched reactions everywhere.

Sweat soaking through jeans is a very disgusting feeling, yet as physically uncomfortable I felt my adrenaline was still heightened as we were walking past Fenway Park on our way to the car.  Never disappointing, only rewarding in every sense remains my reaction to every Say Anything show I’ve ever been to.  Biased, absolutely, but only to the degree that I know every song sung.  My skepticism remains if Max were sitting, didn’t give his 110% or, besides being the wrong people, the band sucked.  I’m not telling you to learn all 200+ songs to have a good experience, just learn a few of the popular ones.  The energy and intensity surrounding you and thrown at you will suffice for the ones you don’t know.

Check out the rest of their tour dates to see if they’re playing near you and pick up the album here.

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TAGS: Lotus Gilded Age out now!5:30 am blogs, KiloWatts, Leo season, settling in to new chapters

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Boston Calling: Sunday Review Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:13:35 +0000 matt Boston Sunday 5 685x1024 Boston Calling: Sunday Review

by Charissa Lock

Here is our review of the entire festival.  You can find pictures from Sunday here.



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]]> 0 Drenching You In Huge Sounds and Flawless Talent: Vinyl Thief’s Fathoms Wed, 30 Jul 2014 14:08:59 +0000 Charissa FATHOMS FinalArt 1024x1024 Drenching You In Huge Sounds and Flawless Talent:  Vinyl Thiefs Fathoms

By Charissa Lock

The pressure of the heavily plucked strings in regular succession combat with delicate keys that flutter through upon Grayson Proctor’s sexy vocal transition into a deeply saturated euphoria of orchestration.  Only after do you realize the absence of a cello or flute, but the colossal sound and passion behind the larger than life choruses are monumental enough to have deceived your mind.  The buildup in every verse is a conniving and invigorating tease towards the next gravelly belting of Proctor. Two minutes into “Middle of the Night” you’re further enticed with a splendid bridge kicking things into higher gear until the swift conclusion.  As their second single from their first LP, Fathoms, Vinyl Thief gives you what they have to offer right up front.

The gentlemen from Nashville captured my heart awhile ago with their Rebel Hill EP that was put out a few years ago.  Yet, as they embark on their LP journey, the ease I have in remaining attached is quite simple as they continue to produce excellence.  The package here in Fathoms has included their past tracks off of EPs (including the favorite of mine, “Rebel Hill”), seasoned with delightful new songs including “Middle of the Night.

What Vinyl Thief is known for are their seamless transitions, the extraordinary vocals that ignite goosebumps in your soul, those unexpectedly supreme bridges, and of course the catchy electro pop atmosphere mushed with a rock foundation.  So coming into Fathoms the bar is set pretty high, having to not only remain consistent with the expectation, but to possibly stretch a little further in creating greatness.  The single “Middle of the Night” has easily accomplished the tiptoe, arm reaching extension of success on its own.  Yet, the other three fresh tunes are right there, track two “Fathoms” focuses its attention on slyly drifting you along, impacting you suddenly as you have already been succumbed to your journey.  “Compact” was their first single and with a more formal composition, the catchiness playing a significant role.  The synthy organ-like melodies provide uniqueness, and even though you can feel a little Smallpools at the bridge, you tend to leave the comparisons at the bridge and with a Brian Eno-like final note, you’re hooked.  Last but not least, the anthemy “Alright” concludes Fathoms with an intricate softness that floods over, cascading by the bucketful in quickly increasing increments beginning halfway through the song.  Not heightening as in a techno number, but moreso in a thick intensity with, surprisingly, minor tempo changes.

Wrapping around you tightly, focusing all of its attention on pleasing you, Fathoms comes across as deliciously superior and effortlessly intricate.  Captivating you track after track, there is almost a need for a break in between to re-experience the essence and significance each song possesses.  Heightening the volume is a must as you excitedly enter through these soaking rich songs again and again.

Check out their Stop Motion EP review and stay tuned for upcoming tour dates!

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TAGS: Hooray For Earth tonight, Cymbals Eat Guitars Pitchfork love, STS9 to open up for…STS9 @ Red Rocks this September

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Feeling Quenched Thu, 24 Jul 2014 01:55:52 +0000 Charissa

littleNewMusic Feeling Quenched

By Charissa Lock

Wherever you search for new music, go to that place.  This year has been slightly stagnant with blase albums and singles and there’s a possibility I have lowered my music standards this summer.  Even during my mini Minneapolis trip, my soul was scratching to be replaced in my vacuum of tunage upon my return, but I had little to offer it (if Vinyl Thief had not put out Fathoms I may have lost it).  Starving for something I could tap my foot to and not fall asleep to, I’ve been feeling like a fish out of water.

I opened this with a direction for you to find your music source.  My personal preference is Hypem for a few reasons.  The first being, the freshness is slathered all over this site and they even house a “Latest” section if the new “Popular” music is not quite new enough for you.  Another reason is the simplistic maneuvering and personal nature… you can quickly heart the song you love so that you can build your own playlist and choose to listen to tracks “sans remixes” style.  Their downfall?  My non-iPhone, cellular device is not keen on fluidly portraying streaming websites and there doesn’t appear to be an app for tablets.  Therefore, anytime I want to enjoy all the magic Hypem has to offer, I’m subjected to my laptop (which doesn’t get as much use during the summer).

Needless to say, I was refreshed like a baptized heretic in the Bible this morning as I pulled out the good ole’ laptop and let fresh new music envelop me.  I think I favorited the first five songs I heard, probably overcome with the joy of hearing new beats and melodies.  Of course, the twelve o’clock plans I made are now seeming way too early.

Here are some of my fabulous finds this morning:

Clean Bandit’s “Rather Be” feat. Jess Glynne  - A hair tousling tune reminiscent to Whitney Houston with Katy Perry undertones set to electro pop goodness.

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Click here to view the video on YouTube.

Northeast Party House‘s “The Haunted” –  A little Gold Fields-like, with blasting club sirens perking up the rather chill attitude.

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Click here to view the video on YouTube.

Prelow‘s “Mistakes Like This” -  I was jamming to this song and the phallic line threw me every time.  The vocals and melody have won me over though I’m not usually into the mellow r&b of white dudes.

2 Feeling Quenched

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

Oslo Parks‘ “Twin” -  A duo from UK releasing their first track July 15th (talk about latest), this whispery electro track has great background synth melodies with a chorus that broadens their genre range.

2 Feeling Quenched

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

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TAGS: Elliot Lipp @ The Mint tonight, Ryan Adams 1984, TOOL album delays explained in Rolling Stone interview, Astronauts “Fuss”




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If Your Throat Isn’t Sore, You’re Doing It All Wrong: Say Anything’s Hebrews Thu, 26 Jun 2014 17:24:18 +0000 Charissa Hebrews 612 coverart If Your Throat Isn’t Sore, You’re Doing It All Wrong:  Say Anything’s Hebrews

By Charissa Lock

Say Anything is of the singing to nature, not just the listening kind.  The connection to every emotion displayed in full throttle throughout each piece is incomplete until you join forces.  Once your vocal cords begin to vibrate and you have left all proper behavior behind, you will experience Hebrews for what it is.  One of the best parts of Say anything releasing a new album is knowing they’ll be touring shortly after.  There is nothing that compares to Say Anything in a live setting.  Max writes these guttural and honest lyrics, tending to not follow politically correct word usage, set to the catchiest pop rock tunes – a perfect combination for every soul to belt out.

These song types with gang vocals and featured artists tended to be lost in their last Anarchy, My Dear.  The focus appeared to be on the evolution of their instrumentation and technicality, which every band tends to do in their lifetime.  With the stepping down of drummer, Coby Linder, in order to pursue other careers, the Say Anything fans of the world were quite nervous of what this would mean for the duo that had been creating music together since their high school days.  Due to Max being the lyricist and having the larger role in composition, hope was not all lost…just a little shaky.

Hebrews has unknowingly bled together the rock ambiance and catchy melodies from Say Anything (2009) and snappy lyrics with a more electronic backdrop of In Defense of the Genre (2007).  Once Max has a relatable story to preach, his lyrics seem to spill more effortlessly (I’m refraining from using his last name because all I can picture is a grunge chick discussing “Bemis” like they were best friends at a recent show…and frankly I’d rather not imagine her).  Fueling his creative senses of the more obtainable nature (unlike the ideology of anarchy, though it certainly is a valid concept), Hebrews spits and bustles the umbrella feelings of being an outcast whether by choice or by stereotypical force.  Things become a bit more specific with songs like “Kall Me Kubrick” and “Hebrew,” involving the minority in ethnicity, specifically the latter with the connection to Max’s own genetic background.  In Hebrew he cunningly extends, “They say to be a minority is melting in their pot but this soup is foul, I wear a scowl and pine for what I’m not,” when exploring the ignorance of those who feel superior others.

Max breaks things down a little more personal, like we would expect differently, with the actual reaction of those who disregard him as an artist now that he has cleaned up, married, and has a child.  I in fact personally remember reading blog post reactions when Say Anything was released featuring the eclectically marvelous Sherri on a few tracks and lyrics were a bit more pop-like than past albums.  Say Anything “fans” were quite upset by all of this and there were quite a few wishing Max would go back to being off his meds and supplementing them with alcohol and drugs so that he could create music like Is A Real Boy again.  A pretty distasteful reaction and though I haven’t read many recent comments, I’m sure the birth of beautiful Lucy Jean was not celebrated by those who only have confidence when offering their opinions on a keyboard.  Max’s reaction to all of this?  “Judas Decapitation” of course.  Not just saying that there are people out there that suck, he actually throws in quotes by those who protest his happiness,

“I hate that dude now that he’s married.  He’s got a baby on the way, poor Sherri.  That’s not apropos. He’s not the wretch we know. Chop his family up, so we can feed them to the front row. Spike his fifteenth espresso with drugs so he’s convinced it’s a manic delusion to know true love. Be 19 with a joint in hand. Never change the band. Never ever be a …real man.”

He of course answers back in the chorus, which I’ll allow you to enjoy for yourself.  He continues with his personal fight back to haters in “Lost My Touch,” all of which he remains humble at most and other times a tad sarcastic.

There are many great artists who attach themselves to Hebrews, notably Andy Hull from Manchester Orchestra and Tom Delonge from Angels & Airwaves and Blink-182.  All twelve tracks are sprinkled with featured artists, not necessarily duets but rather swirling background vocals, collaborated choruses, or heightened bridge solos. Unlike In Defense of the Genre, which also housed multiple artists, this recent album seems to be a tighter fit of vocals to the song, having a song that is missing a specific voice and needs that artist to complete the sound.

Say Anything has certainly upped the band’s anty on their latest album, inspiring a distaste towards a newer collection of haters.  Within Max’s ravenous lyrics, tempos are tampered with in comfortable transitions within songs opening up for delicious dynamics, the inclusion of the two minute- fifteen second “Boyd” displays a heavy rock anthem, and “My Greatest Fear is Splendid” is quirky and energetic sounding off with a fiddle solo.  Hebrews is exactly what we were wanting from Say Anything, keeping in perspective the beauty of finding, creating, and maintaining love outweighing the ugliness of an uncertain assumption.

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TAGS: Phish release Fuego today, 36 hospitalized after Boston Avicii show last night, Santa Monica Summer Concert Series

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Boston Calling: Saturday Review Fri, 13 Jun 2014 16:00:47 +0000 matt BC2 685x1024 Boston Calling: Saturday Review

by Charissa Lock  Pictures by Kate Lock (Yes, they’re sisters)

With the looming possibility of a torrential day, the sun peaked through the clouds as opener, Magic Man, was devouring the crowd’s attention.  The sun hung around as the bands played on, until it could stay no longer and let the rain filled clouds take control as The Decemberists took stage for their third show after a three year hiatus. Death Cab for Cutie silenced the rain to conclude the magical Saturday portion of the festival.

Check out our pictures from Saturday below and read my more comprehensive review of the festival here.


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The Rundown of Memorial Day Weekend’s Boston Calling Music Festival Thu, 12 Jun 2014 16:00:33 +0000 Charissa BC11 685x1024 The Rundown of Memorial Day Weekend’s Boston Calling Music Festival

by Charissa Lock

Since last Memorial Day Weekend’s Boston Calling, there have been a few upgrades and improvements as there would be for any newly created festival, particularly one in the heart of Massachusetts’ bustling capital.  From multiple food venues, separate press entrance, and volunteers helping those on the outside – trying to find the entrance to the inside, to the smaller things like wristbands for the press instead of stickers (though my iPod case is still strutting last year’s sticker) or multiple locations for alcohol purchases.  As long as great artists continue to be a part of Boston Calling, I will always attend for those who will continue to fix and create better ways of making a music festival a flawless experience, will continue having an even better event than the year before.

Let me start off by saying I didn’t think there were that many Chipotle followers.  No, I’m not talking about an indie band, I’m actually talking about the Mexican fast food joint.  Food is essential for festivals and consequently the line for the bathrooms wasn’t as long as the line for burritos and tacos.  Though I wound up at a Chipotle for dinner anyways, I ended up leaving the festival and traveling to an actual establishment with tables and chairs (which is a really cool option for a festival, shedding more reasons why having it within a city is pretty sweet).   Besides Chipotle, there were other delicious food choices on site, for all types of eaters and really good ones at that; Flatbread Company, the inevitable hot dogs and sausages, wings, and Vietnamese to name a few.  With my lunch choice being the latter, the coconut chicken Banh Mi sandwich was divine and between that and the burrito, it was probably my healthiest weekend in awhile.

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As with the first Boston Calling, every band began right on time.  This year you were able to “see” the band preceding the one you just rocked out to, though in some cases you weren’t able to hear them.  With construction preventing their September set up of stages across from one another so that there wasn’t overcrowding, there was a bit of overcrowding for this spring event.  Yet, most festival-goers don’t find those types of situations all that frustrating since they’re there to get hot and sweaty and rock out with strangers and friends alike.  There sure were a ton of people there.  I thought last year was packed, but this certainly felt like a quarter of Boston was at City Hall Plaza.  Smaller bands, like Magic Man or Maximo Park (or others who played before 3) were able to impress the socks off of plenty new listeners, which is a big piece of what live music is all about.  At one point one of the bands made a comment about it being such an exceptional festival because there was only one band going on at a time, which forced everyone to listen to that band.  He wasn’t saying this to be arrogant; he was humbly accepting the position of having everyone be tuned in to one band at a time.  This also allows fans to not miss anything, though they may be far off and only catching the live performance via a screen while waiting closer to the other stage for the more favorited band.

I’m not going to go too much into each performance, I’d rather let the pictures do the talking (forthcoming in another post).  However, I do want to give a brief highlight/lowlight of Saturday.  First off, Boston-based Magic Man kicking off the Saturday show was an epic beginning.  During the performance I recalled their first Real Life Color album and found it quite impressive how they were able to switch from genius laptop composers of dreamy wonder to catchy pop heartthrobs.  Simply amazing.  I felt a little sadness for their former sound’s disappearance, but I know they have it in them to possibly drop hints of it here and there… and their new niche is quite lovely on its own.  The audience went ballistic over lead singer Alex Caplow’s carefree rocker stage presence and good looks and we were all moving right along with him and their upbeat songs.  Another highlight was Walk Off The Earth who probably did the best job of getting the peace and love atmosphere rolling for this city harbored festival.  They also threw a bunch of instruments back and forth on the stage causing cheers amongst the swirling of herbs and laid back vibes.

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Lastly, my lowlight would be The Neighbourhood.  You may be boo’ing me from afar because you sweat Jesse Rutherford’s neck tats or Nick Carter 90’s middle parted hairstyle he was rocking.  However, going into this performance blindly, I had no clue what to expect from this band, I just remember loving “Sweaterweather.”  Thinking it was a dude with a Mac and keyboard (yes, I live under a rock when it comes to certain bands), my jaw literally dropped as he came out all tatted up looking like a taller metalhead version of Jared Leto and acting just as cocky.  He put on quite a performance, grinding on stage to the shrill screams of many females in the audience and jumping off amps here and there.  That was my lowlight, and mostly because I was taken aback by his love for himself rather than the quality of music (it was a little boring but not dreadful).

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A Flawless Representation of Music: Sia’s “Chandelier” (music video) Thu, 15 May 2014 16:00:21 +0000 Charissa sia chandelier 480x269 A Flawless Representation of Music:  Sia’s “Chandelier” (music video)

By Charissa Lock

Sia – Chandelier …as soon as humanly possible,” was the text I received last week from our friend Matthew Downes.  I figured I should probably get around to watching it sooner rather than later if it indeed was that necessary.

Through more than half of “Chandelier” you are watching in disbelief as the absolute freeing nature from both song and video have your senses so solidly captivated.  It is only then that you can actually regain consciousness and acknowledge that you’re watching a music video in your house on your couch.  Of course, that might not even happen until the screen goes black.

I had the distinct pleasure of not having heard the song until the visual magic was unveiled in front of my eyes empowered by Sia’s powerhouse vocals.  I must say, it was a toss-up of which piece was taking control, since they were so effortlessly entwined, and if anything was off just one bit (girl’s age or hair length, camera movements and angles, etc.) the song would have been given the upper hand.  Yet, there was nothing to correct only to be fascinated with.

It’s not just the flawless ability of Maddie Ziegler (11 year old dancer, actress, etc. appearing on “Dance Moms”), or the phenomenal choreography that spirits this video into the top spot for 2014.  Of course, those pieces are essential in order for you to feel in the gut of your stomach the feeling we find so hard explaining.  A combination of yearning and appreciating of Zielger doing exactly what our soul desires upon the bold emotion sucking our breath away in music such as “Chandelier.”  That intensity our body feels listening to a song bursting with the ideology of letting go is unable to really have an outlet for it.  Typically we just let it smooth itself out and though we carry a piece of it with us, mostly it just vanishes as quickly as it came.  But it’s with other artistic outlets, such as painting, dancing, singing, or even writing that we can let those energies out.  Sia chose dancing as her emotional channel for her newest release.

The vision of Ziegler catapulting or moving with such soft fluidity around a dungy apartment floods my soul with the idea of that person being inside each of us.  That’s my soul ricocheting, drifting backwards onto a couch, and gliding around with such elegance as I’m introduced to the pop song of the year “Chandelier.”  It’s exactly what I would do, if I could, when hearing something so powerful.  Ziegler is able to portray exactly how we’re feeling at that very moment in time with no constraints and in such a beautiful way.  Viewing her as my inner self, I didn’t gain a sense of concern or even question a young girl dancing contemporarily to ideas that are older (i.e. drinking). Instead, I’m so grateful that she has the distinct ability to take all of my energy and emotion and let it pour through her in perfect lyrical movements.  It’s art in the purest sense.

2 A Flawless Representation of Music:  Sia’s “Chandelier” (music video)

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

The music video for “Chandelier” has already over 5 million views since it’s release on May 6th and I personally haven’t watched a music video more than once in quite some time.  And on my fourth watch, I still get chills and an outpouring of connection.   Sia’s sixth album (1000 Forms Of Fear) is set to release in June and if the other songs are on the same caliber as the one featured here, I’m sure you’ll be hearing all about it.

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An Explosion of Independent Female Subtleties: Ingrid Michaelson’s Lights Out Thu, 01 May 2014 17:08:05 +0000 Charissa Ingrid Michaelson Lights Out 2014 1200x1200 1024x1024 An Explosion of Independent Female Subtleties:  Ingrid Michaelson’s Lights Out

By Charissa Lock

“Girls Chase Boys” pulls you in fairly quickly with its simplistic descending piano melody and just as simplistic but equally cheeky and fun vocal melody.  The verses especially strike my fancy as Michaelson’s vocals swirl so easily from the top to the bottom of her range.  Just “checking out” the rest of her sixth album I found myself going back to the fourteen songs during the start of my spring vacation.  The multitude of catchy melodies that all individualized themselves was impressive, from the slower ballads to upbeat foot-tappers, I was on the Ingrid Michaelson train.

Michaelson’s voice isn’t the most unique.  It does have a deeper base (without going all Lana Del Rey) that we don’t much hear in the pop world.  However, that’s not what does it.  Rather its in her effortlessly  transitioning her range throughout melodies which allows your attention to stay fixed to the movement of the song.  Of course, that’s what all great singers are supposed to do, but having this ability and using it naturally and not forced is a pleasantry to one’s ears.  Because she can travel so fluidly in her range, staying ears perked and breath held, you’re conscious of her every move.

Often notable vocals can trump catchy melodies, but the fourteen tracks on Lights Out are filled with great sing alongs where you’re wanting to stomp over those who have doubted you with stilettos and a pair of schnazzy eyeglasses (“Afterlife”).  She instinctively spreads the independent and confident woman charm whether or not that’s even the meat of the song,  Take “Warpath,” how could you not want to appropriately Willow Smith along to the chorus and wish for that one moment you had black leather pants.  Clapping along, you easily fold into character, nevermind the fact that it’s one of the most submissive tracks.   Michaelon’s slower tracks fan out from darker landscapes (“Handsome Hands”) to emotional lyrical [“Ready To Lose (feat. Trent Dabbs)] where along the spread appears a Fevers-esque “Open Hands (feat. Trent Dabbs).” All extremely delicate and soft with a wide range of emotional outputs attached.  Actually, now thinking about it, I can picture this entire album being performed by dancers with different specialty backgrounds, wouldn’t that make a lovely show?

As you noticed, there are a few guest singers on Lights Out .  Trent Dabbs, a singer-songwriter out of Nasvhille is featured on two tracks and the brains behind “Girls Chase Boys.”  Chris Martin-esque vocalist Mat Kearney also joins Michaelson for “One Night Town,” and he remains on my list of artists I know from somewhere, but I can’t quite put my finger on where.  Releasing his own album ( I Was Going to be an Astronaut) this year, Greg Laswell softly provides the other half of a duet on “Wonderful Unknown.”  Of course you’ve heard of the infamous duo, A Great Big World, where in this case you can actually hear Ingrid’s vocals, unlike their “Say Something” where the fact that Christina’s name is included as an artist is pitiful.   Last but not least, Storyman closes out the list of guest appearances and will accompany Michaelson on her upcoming tour.

If there are any criticisms, they lie in a track that has such wondrous potential.  “Time Machine” has so many great qualities; trendy hooks, the brief pre/post-chorus horn fad, piano-solo-into-strings bridge, even a stomping/clapping transition into the final chorus.  Okay, so you probably see the problem already.  There are too many good things going on here.  In some cases, there is too much of a good thing.  This one song, should be broken up into two and the best part (the horns, obviously), should take an exaggerated role.  If I could rip apart and put back together this track, I would in a heartbeat, and Lights Out would certainly be closer to the top albums of the year.  Besides my personal frustration with this one track, I can compensate with the other wistfully emotional and heavily we are women songs.

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