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October 2014
Mumblr
"Full Of Snakes
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The major takeaway for Mumblr’s new album Full Of Snakes (Fleeting Youth Records) is that it really takes balls to write songs that truly say nothing. As counter intuitive as it may sound, there really is something admirable in using music to not really express all that much. Any jerk with a voice and a few chords can say a whole lot about how their ex is horrible; what really matters is how much of that content is actually worth hearing. And brother, Mumblr has found a way to make saying nothing profound.

On the surface, the album initially sounds like some sort of early 2000’s generic pop-punk; the first song “Got It” opens with that familiar sense of vague, safe anger. It’s very “high school” reminiscent, right off the bat, with lines like “I got it if you want it” and “I’ll invite you to my room.” But as the song closes and we drift into “Sober,” the tone very gradually starts to feel off. It starts to feel a bit weirder, with this sense of reckless abandon that you only hear in a Violent Femmes song. And it’s not that one is true, and the others is not; this album is walking a razor’s edge between the most self-aware of indie post-punk and the obliviousness of adolescent guilty pleasures.

And while that may sound like a chaotic mess, the seventeen-track full-length really is the having-and-eating of one's cake. We get the indulgence of grandiose guitar riffs and over the top shrieks, but with just enough originality in the composition to give it a sense of being slick and even avant-garde. Don’t let the outward sense of crazy abandon fool you - this thing is airtight. And a lot of that can be chalked up to Nick Morrison’s vocals; he brings a real sense of cleverness to the whole thing, in no small part to the fact that he can turn his voice on a dime.

One endlessly fascinating reoccurring theme is the use of repetition in their lyrics, with phrases like the aforementioned “I got it” and “someone’s been sitting in my chair” echoed over and over again, beyond the point of simple parody. It’s that old artistic trope of repeating something until it becomes meaninglessly applied to lyrics, and it’s interesting to hear expressions of youthful angst to become so alien and meaningless.

They take these universal touchstones of adolescences, including the use of “shock” lyrics such as “if God is a woman I’m going to hell” and gleefully drive them into the ground while enjoying the ride. It’s fun, it’s cool, and will leave you thinking more than any other post-punk album in months. And it does so while still being a genuinely fun throwback to a sort of music that you don’t really hear in earnest these days. - Daniel Ludwig


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Fear Nuttin Band -- Move Positive

Fear Nuttin Band is a reggae outfit from Boston who are creating a genre of their own. By infusing dancehall, the consciousness of Hip Hop, with a dabble of alternative and heavy metal, Fear Nuttin Band is musically diverse and intricate from other reggae bands. You can certainly preview a taste of this musical diversity on the band's album, Move Positive.

All thirteen tracks include heavy acoustic guitar, positive vibrations in which you want to sway side-to-side, or run to a live show of theirs to witness them live in action. Each track, especially Move Positive, tells a great and real story about standing up and partaking in the positive things that life has to offer, even if life throws curveballs from time to time. Another great single on the album, Rebel, is a redemption song that tells a story about being a leader within, instead of being a follower, and not being a slave to fads of the world.

The band's mission is to "Unify the music, unify the people." If you are an aficionado of dancehall, hip hop, and alternative music, you will definitely feel, understand, and vibe to the unification of the musical fusion of Fear Nuttin Band.

You can catch them tomorrow night, Nov. 23, at Ironhorse Music Hall in Northampton MA with Zamia. 10pm, All Ages.


Fear Nuttin Band - Rebel

--Andrea Camille


Elephants -- The Sea EP

Lo-fi junkies and lovers of all things acoustic rejoice; Elephants has just released their sophomore contribution, The Sea EP, onto the Boston music scene. The Boston duo released the EP earlier this month and is hoping to make their name known around the city. The four-track EP shows clear influences from Ted Leo and Elliott Smith, but with a stronger lo-fi feel. The third track, A Stone to the Rain, is probably the best example of this. The melodic lines and cadences remind me of a female Ted Leo if he were singing through a radio speaker. I found lead-singer Lauren Garant’s vocals to be one of the major highlights of the EP, held down by solid rhythm guitar work from both Garant and Ryan Young.

Perhaps my only negative criticism of the EP is that it seemed incomplete. I thought several of the tracks could be bolstered by rhythmic accompaniment (drums or other percussion) or filled out by additional instrumentation (keys, bass, etc.); even Elliott Smith decided to throw drums and other instruments in on his recordings from time to time.

As a whole, The Sea EP maintains a great vibe throughout and I am eager to see where Elephants decide to roam from this point forward. You can check them out live with Jeff Sheldon and The Four Point Restraints at All Asia in Cambridge, MA on Thursday, Dec.1. Show starts at 6:30pm, $10 for 18+; $6 for 21+.

--Daniel McMahon


Joey McIntyre Self-Releases Holiday Album, Announces Two Boston Performances

Joey McIntyre (NKOTB) has announced plans to release a holiday album, Come Home for Christmas. The singer will also be performing two (free) shows in Boston within the coming weeks.

For the holiday standards that make up the self-released Come Home for Christmas, McIntyre set out to record versions of some of his favorites that evoke holiday memories, but still retain their traditional sound. With several duets on the album, one highlight in particular is the holiday classic Peace on Earth which finds McIntyre accompanied by longtime friend and fellow New Kid on the Block, Jordan Knight.

McIntyre will perform two tracks from the album at the Macy's Tree Lighting Ceremony in Boston's Downtown Crossing on Friday, Nov. 25. An in-store CD signing will immediately follow. The singer will be back in Boston on Thursday, Dec. 1, when he will perform at the annual City of Boston Tree Lighting on Boston Common.

Come Home for Christmas will be available on iTunes Tuesday, Nov. 29.

--Chrissy Prisco


Nick LeBlanc & The Pink Beans -- S/T

Amidst hardcore screams, pounding double bass, and a slew of pop-punk acts, Nick LeBlanc and the Pink Beans certainly stand out from their surroundings. While many bands in their hometown of New Bedford, MA are working on catchy choruses and how to get the right “chug” out of their guitars, Nick LeBlanc and the Pink Beans take a different approach, sometimes abandoning choruses all together. Their self-titled debut album is testament to that.

The six tracks are filled with intense energy, solid guitar playing and a powerful rhythm section. Perhaps the most striking feature of the album lies in the backing vocals. Leblanc brought in Easton resident Kristin Santangelo to give the album more soul and, well, it certainly worked.  Her backings can be heard scattered throughout the album, but her most striking performance is on track four, I Think It Might Be Right.  She closes the track with an emotionally-charged vocal solo, reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s Great Gig In the Sky. This song is particularly interesting because it makes use of a chorus (accompanied by Santangelo and a host of other singers,including recording engineer/producer of the album Trevor Vaughn) to supply the hook for the song, unlike the rest of the album which relies heavily on music-driven hooks in place of choruses.

Overall, the album is a pleasant mix of punk rock, jazz, and classic and indie-rock influences with subtle hints of an ostentatious, "look what we can do” attitude.”

--Daniel McMahon


Buffalo Tom Announce 3-Night 25th Anniversary Celebration at Brighton Music Hall

Buffalo Tom have announced a three-night 25th-anniversary celebration at Brighton Music Hall 

Lineups are as follows:

Friday, Nov. 25: J Mascis, Ted Leo, Eugene Mirman, plus more TBA
Saturday, Nov. 26: Mean Creek, Bob Weston, Hilken Mancini, plus more TBA
Sunday, Nov. 27: Tanya Donelly, Thalia Zedek Band, plus more TBA

Doors for all nights open at 7:30 PM, shows begin at 8:30 PM. 18+, $22 advanced box office price

--Chrissy Prisco


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