How'd you get in here?
This store is closed!
Please do join us over on the new website, Vanyaland.com.
We will try to not disappoint. We <3 you. Always have.
Very excited for next week.
Got them Rock and Roll Rumble withdrawals? Jonesin' for some Eddie Japan? Heartbroken over the lack of Glenn Yoder in your life? Wondering what Twin Berlin are like undrunk?
These shakes, they hit hard.
Thankfully, we'll all get to come together once again this evening in Cambridge when Rock Shop presents their Rumble Recap at the Middle East. It's like a reunion only informative: Find out how the competitive festival operates, why it rules, and how to get involved in next year's event. Organizer Anngelle Wood will be holding it down, giving new bands tips and scolding old bands for all their fuck ups.
Did you fuck up? Did you play nice? Can you play next year? Who is Gang Green?
Find out tonight!
It gets started around 6pm, and it's hosted by Rock Shop overlords Kevin Hoskins (The Middle East) and Steve Theo (Pirate!).
So this is a nice little bit of life convergence. Today I accepted a gig to be the social media director of the Boston Calling Music Festival, which debuts on City Hall Plaza this Memorial Day weekend, May 25 and 26. [Note: this won't conflict with the Vanyaland 2.0 re-launch scheduled for a week from today.]
The headlining act of the fest's second day, Sunday, New York's THE NATIONAL just unveiled their new music video for "Sea of Love," the first cut off new record Trouble Will Find Me. The album drops May 21, just before their Boston date near old Scollay Square.
The video allegedly pays tribute this this old clip from 1980s experimental Russian rock band Zvuki Mu. Or maybe it just rips it off (jk I <3 u Matty B.).
Cool to see this emerge just as I was walking out of the Crash Line Productions' Faneuil Hall offices. Boston Calling also features Marina & the Diamonds, Fun., Matt & Kim, and several others, including locals Caspian and Bad Rabbits. It is sold the eff out.
Allston based indie band THE SYMPTOMS first embedded themselves in my playlist last summer with the release of the experimental trip-pop gem "Don't Leave." Around that time, the band's principal songwriters Ben Berners-Lee, Drew Smith, and James Fraser left behind their Lexington High origins and relocated to the glorious pastures of Allston, planting the seeds of a new, more cerebral sound with their The World & Its Mistress EP.
Now the Symptoms return with a new follow-up EP, Contrasts,, recorded in an Allston bedroom over a six-month period that sandwiched their inclusion in January's Class of 2013 Best New Bands feature in the since-departed Boston Phoenix.
"It was born from a set of seven basic sketches named in chronology (first, second, etc.)," says Fraser. "The chronological numbering is marked on the back album-cover... lyrically the album focuses largely on the idea of loneliness -- also time spent in solitude, solipsism, and hiding."
The EP's first single, "All In All (Alone)," is a textured, disaffected ballad that sets the tone for the rest of Contrasts, which will be in full live display Tuesday, May 14, when the Symptoms release the EP at Great Scott in Allston. The video above, proudly premiered by Vanyaland, shows a series of collage-like images that reflect the mental trip of the Symptoms' sound, and stark outlook of much of their music.
First Italy, now Erie. Boston thrash dudes RAMMING SPEED have been rendered homeless in a Pennsylvania parking lot for three days now, living off the unforgiving asphalt and passing the time by drinking cheap booze, skateboarding, and grilling (admittedly-tasty-looking) meats.
The band that was robbed in Florence back in 2010 has had yet another tour plan thwarted by grim misfortune, this time the result of a tour bus that the fine folks of Erie can't figure out how to fix.
"Most bands sit at home being boring. We take to the road with an idiotic abandon," reports Ramming Speed drummer Jonah Livingston to Vanyaland. "We got a shuttle bus a month ago and this is its first tour, so we were bound for surprises. They cant figure out the problem, they keep telling us they've fixed it then we drive around for half an hour and lose all power behind the engine... it just drops to 10 mph with the pedal all the way down."
As a result, Ramming Speed have missed the final show on their current -- well, now concluded -- US tour. But they did present the world this sweet video to prove they're still in good spirits, and living better than most of us in Allston currently are.
Things might be a little quiet around here over the next week as we prepare the launch of our new-and-improved Vanyaland music website on Wednesday, May 15, 2013.
You'll recognize some of the dearly-departed Boston Phoenix's best music writers contributing to the new entity, like Daniel Brockman, Michael Christopher, and Jay Breitling, so it won't just be me babbling on about Charli XCX or whatever's at Great Scott later that night (though you'll get a lot of that, too).
And what you'll see in eight days (yikes!) won't be a finished product, but it will be a much more developed site, in scope and content, than this dirty ol' blog. It'll have a cleaner design, brighter layout and look, and better navigation. The music videos from VanyalandTV, powered by MediaBoss Television, will have a home on the site, and other widgets and portals will feature think-piece music writing, show spotlights, record reviews, live uStream interviews, drunken on-site reports, Google Hangout sessions, adaptable calendar listings, and other, more interactive stuff I'm pretty excited about.
It's all a work in progress and the goal is to evolve with the times and stay current and fresh without resorting to 25 Pictures of Lolabear Taking a Bath (though that might happen; Lolaland could still be a thing) or public polls on where they should bury Alfredo Aceves' career.
We might even do the "launch" live from MediaBoss' studios in Framingham, with live entertainment. More to come on that.
Oh, and why am I choosing to resurface on May 15? Well, that's the one year anniversary of me being informed by my former mentor and Phoenix editor Carly Carioli that WFNX 101.7 FM had been sold. Life pretty much took a nosedrive into a shit-swallowed cesspool from that instant forward, and it's been one suckfest month after another since.
So it's time to right the ship. It's time for a new way. And to paraphrase the now-batshit Dave Mustaine, we'll be the first in line.
It seems like forever ago that Boston rock behemoth GOZU announced new album The Fury of a Patient Man, and looking back on it while reflecting on the record's title, maybe it was all some weird sociological marketing experiment. Because fury soon caught up to our patience as we awaited this monster of a record's release; hell it was so long ago that WFNX Radio and the Boston Phoenix -- two of the original promoters of this event -- were still in business.
Indeed it feels like fucking ages ago we added "Salty Thumb" to regular rotation on the since-murdered WFNX, and it sure was another lifetime ago that it led off my spring music preview in the also-strangled Boston Phoenix.
Go nine songs deep into Gozu's new The Fury of a Patient Man — from the stoner chug of opener "Bald Bull" to the buzzing boogie of "Salty Thumb" to the upright guitar crunch of "Disco Related Injury" — and there's barely any room to breathe. Then, in comes the mountainous riff orgy of closing track "The Ceaseless Thunder of Surf," which clocks in at nearly 24 minutes and might be the most epic 20-plus-minute metal journey since Manowar dropped "Achilles, Agony and Ecstasy in Eight Parts" back in 1992.
Finally, the wait is over, but the Fury remains: GOZU hit up Radio in Somerville tomorrow and Saturday nights, a double-night twin-bill rock and roll destroyer that features Mellow Bravo, Birch Hill Dam, and Streight Angular on Friday on Night 1, and then Cocked N’ Loaded, Black Pyramid, Thunderbloods, and Hey Zeus on Night 2. And since the PHX nor WFNX is still around, we're co-presenting the show with our friends at Boston Bloghead.
Want to get on the Guest List +1 to Saturday's party? Email email@example.com with GOZU in the subject line, and we'll announce a winner around noon tomorrow (Friday).
Also we're dropping this science in tomorrow's Boston Metro, which asked us how to spend the weekend ahead:
The Fury of a Patient Man, the new record from Boston hard rock quartet Gozu, is so massive in sound and scope, it’s going to take two nights at Radio in Somerville to properly release this monster. The latest in a stellar line of New England releases from Detroit-based Small Stone Recordings (Mellow Bravo, Supermachine, Roadsaw), Fury is led by the buzzing boogie of “Salty Thumb,” which adds flash dashes of Urge Overkill to Gozu’s normally staid stoner rock template. The rest of the record is a blitzkrieg of riffage and smoky rock and roll rippers that solidifies Gozu as one of Boston’s sharpest – and heaviest -- bands.
And be sure to check out the intense video for lead track "Bald Bull," directed and produced by Tim Catz for Parentheses Productions, and shot and edited by Eric Goggin.
See you in the belly of the beast...
That noise you might have just heard off in the distance was my head esploding after seeing that Charli XCX, she of 2013 Song of the Year contender "You (Ha Ha Ha)", and Marina, leader of those dance floor Diamonds, released a new collabo track yesterday, "Just Desserts." Oh. My.
It was inevitable for the two touring partners, who cross the US this month and hit Boston on Memorial Day weekend at two different-but-related events, to get us all worked up with this joint effort. "Just Desserts" is a nice slow-groove electronic number that's pretty much what you'd deserve from these two queens of a new era in pop.
And it's available for free download.
Marina and the Diamonds are in town May 25, performing at Day 1 of the Boston Calling music festival on City Hall Plaza. Because she and Charli are in the middle of a US tour together, Ms. XCX has picked up a date at Great Scott that same night, a sort of club-show halftime gig for the festival. It all works out so well, and no one gets left out, including Boston.
Here's the duo's full tour itinerary, which includes solo dates and appearances; they partner up May 6 at the Warfield in San Francisco, then go their separate ways at the end of the month. But what a run right there in the middle. I love that Charli is playing a smaller room in Allston, but I would have loved to see these two somewhere, most likely House of Blues, back-to-back in one night/venue.
05/02 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox SoDo *
05/03 – Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom *
05/04 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom *
05/06 – San Francisco, CA @ The Warfield
05/07 – Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory
05/09 – Las Vegas, NV @ Boulevard Pool at the Cosmopolitan *
05/10 – San Diego, CA @ House of Blues
05/11 – Los Angeles, CA @ Shrine Exposition Center
05/12 – Las Vegas, NV @ LAVA Nightclub #
05/13 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Club Sound
05/14 – Englewood, CO @ The Gothic Theatre
05/16 – Lawrence, KS @ The Granada
05/17 – St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant
05/19 – Minneapolis, MN @ Skyway Theater
05/20 – Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theater
05/22 – Detroit, MI @ St. Andrews Hall
05/23 – Toronto, ON @ Sound Academy
05/24 – Montreal, QC @ Metropolis
05/28 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
05/29 – Central Park Summerstage at Rumsey Playfield
05/31 – Brooklyn, NY @ Glasslands ^
06/01 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer ^
06/03 – Washington, D.C. @ U Street Music Hall ^
06/04 – Norfolk, VA @ The NorVa ^
06/06 – Orlando, FL @ The Social ^
06/08 – Miami, FL @ Grand Central Miami ^
06/10 – Charlotte, NC @ Visulite Theatre ^
06/12 – Indianapolis, IN @ Deluxe, Old National Centre ^
06/13-16 – Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival #
* = Marina only ^ = Charli XCX headlines # = Charli XCX only
Black Light Dinner Party and Vanyaland go way back. More than three years ago one of their former members was friends with my then-roommate, and tipped me off to their first single, "Older Together." It had 39 plays on their MySpace page, and pretty much nothing was known about the group of producers as they prepped one of their first gigs, a weekday night at All Asia Cafe in Cambridge. My first post on them, in January 2010, remains one of the most hit pages on this blog.
Since then, the electronic-pop band has rounded out to their current form, relocated to New York, released a string of incredible singles -- "Small Boxes," "Gold Chain," "Leave It All," "We Are Golden" -- an EP to showcase them, generated huge buzz, and released a music video with Ron Jeremy in it.
Through their rise, I've booked them to play the pill and the WFNX Funeral Party series, and spotlighted them in the Boston Phoenix Class of 2012 feature. They've come a long way since that first show at All Asia, and they have a long future ahead of them. It's been fun watching their ascent, and I'm excited to catch up with them again tonight at Brighton Music Hall when they play the latest in the RadioBDC +1 live music series.
As an added bonus, my BFFs The Field Effect are also on the bill, now fair game for RadioBDC since WFNX was killed off in March. Field Effect were pretty much the FNX house band, but I'm glad they're getting love from the remaining online alt-rock radio station as well. Sweet, we can all be friends again.
So yeah, this will be one giant love-in tonight, and maybe we'll film a VanyalandTV segment on site as well.
RSVP for the +1 series here, and check out the seemingly endless brilliance of BLDP below.
In an effort to both upgrade and expand the reach their existing homepages and unify their various music venue calendar pages under one aesthetic, Crossroads Presents on Monday quietly unveiled new designs for the calendar webpages of the Paradise Rock Club, Brighton Music Hall, and Orpheum Theatre. The House of Blues, Boston, the largest in Crossroads' local network of rock clubs, did not receive a facelift and its web presence remains consistent with other similarly-named venues across the county.
"We will be adding more and more to the Crossroadspresents.com portal over time (we just launched this version on Monday and are still working out all the kinks)."
"We are still working on the sites, and this is what smarter tech people may call a beta launch," Crossroads talent buyer Ryan Vangel told Vanyaland this afternoon. "But we have been wanting a better web presence for years and to also dedicate more of our resources to online marketing including website revamps.
"We will be adding more and more to the Crossroadspresents.com portal over time (we just launched this version on Monday and are still working out all the kinks)."
That Crossroads portal will now act as a central calendar hub for the Cambridge-based booking company, which is affiliated with Live Nation, listing their upcoming shows as a vertical scroll regardless of venue.
Each venue's specific page has added features like a photo and flyer gallery, a "Booker's Blog" side column, larger artist imagery and ticket links, and a more visible social media presence.
The pages are also displayed in more vibrant colors than the previous sites: the Dise in red/orange; BMH in two shades of green; and Orpheum in brown/yellow. The Dise and BMH previously had black backgrounds.
There's also a separate page for "Other Events," which includes Crossroads booked shows at the Middle East, Cafe 939, Church, and other venues around Boston and Cambridge.
According to on-site credits, the pages were designed by Northern Lights Industries.
The good thing about a venue with two stages is that you can absolutely stack the lineup deck when necessity calls. Tonight in Somerville, Radio puts its two floors to great use tonight for the RADIO LOVES BOSTON benefit show to raise money for victims of last month's marathon bombings. The lineup is massive: from the dance grooves of COLOR CHANNEL to the sludgy rock of VUNDABAR -- who have a new record, Antics, fresh out of the Cambridge scene oven -- to the garage rock veteranship of MUCK & THE MIRES and JJ AND THEE CUBAN HEELS, which is Jen D'Angora performing Downbeat 5 tunes.
There's even my current favorite Boson band, BURGLARY YEARS, who might even whip out that My Bloody Valentime cover they sonically serenaded us with last Friday at the pill.
Indeed, there's something for everyone!
And true to form, there's also raffles, silent auction, and cash prizes. And shhhh, but Radio might sling a few PBRs your way for showing this kind of support on a Wednesday. Music starts at 6pm.
Here's a taste of the tune-a-roos:
Three days after their new LP American Love hits the streets from here to everywhere, Boston's BAD RABBITS will make their national network television debut on May 17 with a live performance on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Well hot fucking dayum. Is it possible to get pregnant watching TV on a Friday night? We'll soon find out, as there might be a lot of babies born around St Patrick's Day next year.
The following weekend after their TV look, the Rabbits kickstart Boston Calling on City Hall Plaza, with the first set on Saturday's slate that also features fun., the Shins, and Matt & Kim.
Buckle up. Shit's about to get real.
In honor of PRETTY & NICE's fantabulous new album, which was officially released yesterday, with a celebratory release performance tonight at Great Scott in Allston and a pre-party event at Store 54 just up Harvard Avenue, let's take a quick look back at their Vanyaland Plan of Attack from a few weeks ago, which included info on Golden Rules For Golden People and an interview with the boys in their van during SXSW...
One of the various features in the re-launched Vanyaland (coming later this month, I promise you like When in Rome!) is VanyalandTV, powered by MediaBoss Television. And one of those audio/visual components, in addition to a live uStream series, on-site band interviews, and tour spotlights, is an early-'90s MTV style video show.
Why? Because it's 2013 and we're living in the post-MTV Golden Age of music videos. YouTube has opened the floodgates for music video culture, and we're thrilled to share the stuff that catches our attention. Each time I hook up with MediaBoss, we film a set of three to six videos, and each set will include at least one Boston video, because there's some magic shit going down in our great city and VanyalandTV wants to help spread the word.
Like Justin warned us last night -- it's gonna be May, and it's gonna be awesome. In the meantime, my chubby ass needs to hit the gym.