Tag Archives: john shade

Take Five – The Autumn Almanac Edition

Another Friday, another installment of Take Five! And, oh yeah, it’s officially autumn. Here’s what the Kinks have to say about that:

LIVE MUSIC

As I wrote in a previous post, upon seeing that both John Shade and the Acorn (sorry, Basia Bulat) were going to be sharing a bill at TT the Bear’s, I was determined to overcome my early bedtime ways and get out to the show. I even brought my friend Chris.

John Shade’s album “All You Love is Need” is a real delight, and his live performance is no different. He has an endearingly awkward stage presence in between songs, but when he sings, he commands the room. His songs rang true — they seem to come from a genuine place without guile or malice.

Now, I’d heard a few songs by the Acorn, enough to intrigue me to come out to the show. I knew I would enjoy these Ottawa boys, but what I didn’t expect was to be blown away. Their performance of “Crooked Legs” completely drowned out the thumping bass seeping through the floor from the Middle East Downstairs and filled the room with electricity. My ear is untrained in this respect, but I swore I could hear the stomping French-Canadian influences infiltrating their melodies. The Acorn’s songs are epic and enthralling; they are a tight, tight group. I’m really, really glad I manned up and went to this show. Oh, and my friend Chris? Couldn’t stop talking about how awesome the show was. Rightfully so.

FINDS OF THE WEEK

  • I don’t recall if it was Ryan’s Smashing Life or Boston Accents on WFNX where I got tipped off to This Blue Heaven. But either way, after hearing the power pop delight that is “Nova Love,” I had to buy their EP. They’re part of the lineup for the Oct. 2 Mixtape show, which this time around trains the performers’ talents on the songs of 1967. Sadly, I am out of town that weekend. But they ARE also playing Tommy Doyle’s in Harvard Square TONIGHT, so you should go. Hear and buy their EP:
  • Speaking of Boston Accents, Dave played this old gem the other night — Digney Fignus’ “The Girl With The Curious Hand.”
  • Hooray Music Choice’s Classic Alternative, my favorite cable channel! Thanks to Music Choice, I rediscovered three awesome songs, which I proceeded to download on iTunes: Wang Chung’s “Dance Hall Days,” Oingo Boingo’s “Dead Man’s Party” and Peter Murphy’s “Cuts You Up.” The 80s were awesome.
  • Who said haphazard clicking didn’t pay off? I clicked on a random link via Twitter about Elvis Costello that took me to the CBC Radio 3site, and I ended up hearing Said the Whale‘s pop gem “Gentleman.” What a fun discovery — upbeat indie pop from Vancouver.

AROUND THE WEB

  • Cloud Cult released a video for “Running With The Wolves,” a song from their new albums “Light Chasers.”
  • Some neat thoughts on playlists by debcha. Do you live and die by playlists, or do you shuffle your way through life? If the former, what are some of the playlists you’ve been enjoying lately?
  • Dave introduced me to the wonders of the Fake Craig Finn Twitter account. A sampling: “She said, ‘Don’t call until you put yourself together’ / But lots of the pieces are still at her place”
  • Girl Talk and GIFs collide.
  • I had the pleasure of meeting Jessica from the New Music Collaborative at the John Shade/The Acorn show on Tuesday night.She is compiling a mixtape of Boston bands and is in search of artists to include, designers to help with a cover and any other input.
  • Spotify Poetry: poems or stories written entirely using song titles as displayed via Spotify.
  • Matt Dyson and debcha take a closer look at the National’s “Fake Empire.”
  • Andy revels in the listastic glory of Liz’s 1001 Albums project.
  • Jonathan Woolson tipped me off to a couple of fan videos for XKCD’s take on the Discovery Channel’s “Boomdeyada” video. Here’s the punk version:

IN THE NEWS

  • Amie Street, one of my favorite sources for digital music, recently announced their buyout by Amazon.com, spelling the end of their demand-based pricing model that enabled attentive, in-the-know buyers to snatch up great music at low prices. I love Amazon MP3 as a service, but I am sad to see Amie Street go. I think their model was an important option in the digital music marketplace.
  • Here’s a dream tour: Brendan Benson/Posies/Aqueduct. They come to Boston Nov. 16.
  • The next event by the Boston Societies of Spontaneity (SOS) is a reprisal of their MP3 EXP, where people are invited to download a song, gather in a large public space and hit play at the exact (and for the first) time. The event takes place at 3:30PM on Oct. 10, location TBA.
  • Jack White, hipster producer of choice for the female country legends, has produced the upcoming album by Wanda Jackson, “The Party Ain’t Over,” due out Jan. 25. Wanda Jackson is pretty badass, and White did a great job with Loretta Lynn’s “Van Lear Rose,” so this should be good.
  • The next Boston Music Hack Day is Oct. 16-17. Hackers conceptualize and build out the projects (from applications and devices) that could shape the future of music. I’ll be in attendance for the hack demos on the 17th and will report back here.
  • I recently stumbled across RootMusic‘s Bandpage, a service that offers bands a better way to create Facebook fan pages. It’s not bad. The only thing that’s kept Myspace holding on is what it offers musicians. Looks like between Bandpage, Bandcamp and whatever comes next down the pike, that grip may loosening.
  • New release news for two Johns (though not They Might Be Giants): 1) John Wesley Harding has a new collection of acoustic demos out, “John Wesley Harding Sings to a Small Guitar Vol II.” 2) John Vanderslice, nice guy that he is, released a free digital EP, “Green Grow the Rushes.”

SECOND THOUGHTS

The other day, I was thinking about the music I listened to in high school. I really started coming into my musical own around 1995 (which, coincidentally, is when I started coming into my own in general). My childhood love of R.E.M. would be the foundation of a (t0 date) lifelong fixation on modern rock. But as of 1995, I was still dependent on what MTV, VH1 and commercial radio fed me (granted, back then they were pretty damned good — Jen Trynin’s “Better Than Nothing” even made it to the airwaves in South Florida and was one of my favorite songs).

I was an avid Columbia House customer, and one of the purchases I made was the 1993 No Alternative compilation, created by the Red Hot organization to raise money to fight AIDS. The songs on this collection just blew me away, and looking back, I realize how much that album really laid the groundwork for my future musical explorations. It featured my first exposure to Bob Mould, Mark Eitzel, Uncle Tupelo, Jonathan Richman and Buffalo Tom, artists that are now (or spun off artists that are now) mainstays of my catalogue. It showed me a Breeders beyond “Cannonball” and a Nirvana beyond “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” It introduced me to artists like Barbara Manning and the Verlaines that, while they would not resurface in my collection down the road, broadened my musical horizons at the time.

A similar album (also acquired through Columbia House) was DGC Rarities vol. 1, which introduced me to Teenage Fanclub, the Posies and the Sundays. I enjoyed the offerings by Nirvana, Weezer and one of my favorite bands at the time, Counting Crows. Looking back, DGC Rarities vol. 1 provided more in the way of genre exposure than artist exposure. It was full of early 90s pop gems and their more grungy counterparts. I have to say, there are few things I wouldn’t do to get a DGC Rarities vol. 2. Sadly, there was never a second installment released.

It’s interesting to think of how these amazing collections were made possible by the powerful bankrolls and distribution channels of the major labels, and how that model — for this kind of music, at least — has totally shifted. Nowadays, it’s much easier for an isolated 15-year-old in South Florida to get her mind blown by new music. But back in the day, I made do with what I had. So, thanks, Columbia House, for helping sow the seeds of a life of music nerdery.