Tuesday, December 23, 2008

WTBU Staff Picks: Top Albums of 2008

I hate when numbers and music have to cross paths. I hate how Pitchfork "scores" albums out of ten, and I hate how Rolling Stone gives out "stars". I think that album reviews should speak for themselves, and numbers lead to lazy readers. But, in my opinion, there is something different about taking time to point out the year's best new albums. Sure, these lists usually never quite seem objective enough, but luckily, WTBU is not even going to try to make one definitive list. Though 2008 wasn't nearly as great as 2007 for new music, there were still far too many new albums for our staff to possibly make one "Top 10". Instead, we asked our DJs and interns to submit their individual top lists, and the genre of their show, so our readers know exactly what point-of-view each list is coming from. Here they are!
peace/love/happy holidays,
liz pelly

PS!!!!! All of these lists aren't necessarily in a specific order. Also, at last minute, I decided to include my favorite singles in my list, which I didn't ask everyone for, so if you want to, you should leave your picks in the comments.

DJ on "The Fleshy Fresh" (Indie/Alternative)

5. The Academy Is... - Fast Times at Barrington High
4. Conor Oberst - Conor Oberst
3. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
2. Dr. Manhattan - Dr. Manhattan
1. The Fashion - The Fashion
Honorable Mentions:
Ben Folds - Way To Normal
Kings of Leon - Only By the Light
Jeremy Messersmith - The Silver City
Chad VanGaalen - Soft Airplane

DJ on "Left of the Dial" (Indie/Alternative) & "Bumptastic Brothers of Funk" (Funk)

10. Los Campesinos! - We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed
9. Buena Vista Social Club - Live at Carnegie Hall
8. Thievery Corporation - Radio Retaliation
7. Raphael Saadiq - The Way I See It
6. F***ed Up - The Chemistry of Modern Life
5. David Byrne and Brian Eno - Everything that Happens Will Happen Today
4. Q-Tip - The Renaissance
3. TV on the Radio - Dear Science
2. Times New Viking - Rip It Off
1. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Real Emotional Trash

DJ on "You Are What You Love" (Folk/Folk/Folk)
Top 5 Albums:

5. Conor Oberst - Conor Oberst
4. Okkervil River - The Stand Ins
3. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
2. Bob Dylan - Bootlegs Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs, Rare & Unreleased
1. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
Honorable Mentions:
She & Him - Volume 1
Beach House - Devotion
MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
Vivian Girls - Vivian Girls
Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue
Cat Power - Jukebox
Best Singles:
MGMT - "Time To Pretend"
Beach House - "Used to Be"
Spiritualized - "Soul on Fire"
Fleet Foxes - "White Winter Hymnal"
Okkervil River - "Lost Coastlines"
Vivian Girls - "Wild Eyes"

DJ on "Girl Powa!" (Female Vocalists/Indie/Various)

6. Lady GaGa - The Fame
5. The Dø - A Mouthful
4. Gregory & the Hawk - Moenie & Kitchi
3. Thao - We Brave Bee Stings and All
2. Land of Talk - Some Are Lakes
1. Stars - Sad Robots EP

DJ on "Alphabet Soup" (Indie/Rock/Various)

10. Islands - Arm's Way
9. Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue
8. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
7. Dr. Dog - Fate
6. Conor Oberst - Conor Oberst
5. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
4. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
3. Human Highway - Moody Motorcycle
2. Jack's Mannequin - The Glass Passenger
1. The Decemberists - Always a Bridesmaid EP

DJ on "Meows & Muses" (Indie/Alternative)

10. Music Go Music - Light of Love
9. Santogold - Santogold
8. Deerhunter - Microcastles
7. The Magnetic Fields - Distortion
6. Lil' Wayne - The Carter III
5. Stephen Malkmus & the Jinks - Real Emotional Trash
4. No Age - Nouns
3. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles
2. Beach House - Devotion
1. Animal Collective - Water Curses EP

DJ on "Cal On a Hot Tin Roof" (Various)

10. Neil Young - Sugar Mountain Live at Canterbury House 1968
9. Fleet Foxes - Sun Giant EP
8. Ray Lamontagne - Gossip in the Grain
7. Railroad Earth - Amen Corner
6. Ryan Adams and the Cardinals - Cardinology
5. The Black Keys - Attack and Release
4. Dr. Dog - Fate
3. Beck - Modern Guilt
2. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
1. My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges

DJ on "High Fidelity" (Indie/Rock)

5. Lil Wayne - Tha Carter III
4. Flight of the Conchords - Flight of the Conchords
3. The Roots - Rising Down
2. Beck - Modern Guilt
1. Kings of Leon - Only By the Night
Honorable Mention:
Atmosphere - When Life Gives you Lemons, You Paint that Shit Gold
Cold War Kids - Loyalty to Loyalty
Death Cab for Cutie - Narrow Stairs
Gnarls Barkley - The Odd Couple

DJ on "Girl Powa!" (Female Vocalists/Indie/Various)

10. Britney Spears - Circus
9. Flight of the Conchords - Flight of the Conchords
8. Erykah Badu - New Amerykah, Pt. 1
7. Sia - Some People Have Real Problems
6. Death Cab for Cutie - Narrow Stairs
5. Adele - 19
4. She & Him - Volume 1
3. Santogold - Santogold
2. Land of Talk - Some Are Lakes
1. Cat Power - Jukebox

DJ on "Black and Blues" (Blues)

10. Cadillac Records - Music from the Motion Picture
9. Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials - Full Tilt
8. The Mannish Boys - Lowdown Feelin'
7. Janiva Magness - What Love Will Do
6. Susan Tedeschi - Back to the River
5. Buddy Guy - Skin Deep
4. Pinetop Perkins - Pinetop Perkins and Friends
3. Magic Slim & The Teardrops - Midnight Blues
2. Albert Collins - Live In Montreux 1992
1. B.B. King - One Kind Favor

DJ on "When The T's Closed" (Rock)

10. Motorhead - Motorizer
9. N.E.R.D. - Seeing Sounds
8. Motley Crue - Saints of Los Angeles
7. Disturbed - Indestructible
6. The Game - LAX
5. Slipknot - All Hope Is Gone
4. Everlast - Love, War and the Ghost of Whitey Ford
3. AC/DC - Black Ice
2. Guns 'N Roses - Chinese Democracy
1. Metallica - Death Magnetic

DJ on "Bratwurst and Buddha" (Indie)

10. Why? - Alopecia
9. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles
8. No Age - Nouns
7. Girl Talk - Feed the Animals
6. Hot Chip - Made in the Dark
5. Michael McDonald - Soul Speak
5. Los Campesinos - Hold On Now Youngster...
4. Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
3. M83 - Saturdays=Youth
2. Broken Social Scene Presents Brendan Canning - Something For All Of Us
1. Deerhunter - Microcastle

DJ on "The Hot Dog and Jesus Show" (Talk/Comedy)

5. Jason Collett - Here's To Being Here
4. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
3. Girl Talk - Feed the Animals
2. Tokyo Police Club - Elephant Shell
1. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive

DJ on "Fender My Gender" (Rock/Alternative)

5. Tech N9ne - Killer
4. Girl Talk - Feed the Animals
3. Thievery Corporation - Radio Retaliation
2. Lotus - Hammerstrike
1. Sound Tribe Sector 9 - Peaceblaster

DJ on "Turn It Up" (Alternative)

10. The Roots - Rising Down
9. TV on the Radio - Dear Science
8. Gnarls Barkley - The Odd Couple
7. The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely
6. ZZ Top - Eliminator: 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
5. Beck - Modern Guilt
4. The Black Keys - Attack & Release
3. Bob Dylan - The Bootleg Series, Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs, Rare & Unreleased 1989-2006
2. Eagles of Death Metal - Heart On
1. Ween - At the Cat's Cradle, 1992

Intern on "Bumptastic Brothers of Funk" (Funk)

9. Tea Leaf Green - Raise Up The Tent
8. Railroad Earth - Amen Corner
7. The Bridge - Blind Man's Hill
6. BB King - One Kind Favor
5. The Brew - Back To The Woods
4. Bob Dylan - Bootleg Series Vol. 8
3. Ray LaMontagne - Gossip In The Grain
2. Chick Corea and Bela Fleck - The Enchantment
1. Lotus - Hammerstrike

Intern on "Over Yonder" (Folk/Bluegrass)

10. Tilly & the Wall - O
9. Of Montreal - Skeletal Lamping
8. The Magnetic Fields - Distortion
7. She & Him - Volume 1
6. Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue
5. Stereolab - Chemical Chords
5. Dr. Dog - Fate
4. Brian Wilson - The Lucky Old Sun
3. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!
2. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
1. Why? - Alopecia

Intern on "Bars n Hooks" (Hip-hop/Rap)

10. Atmosphere - When Life Gives You Lemons You Paint That Shit Gold
9. Jake One - White Van Music
8. The Knux - Remind Me in 3 Days...
7. Black Milk - Tronic
6. The Cool Kids - The Bake Sale
5. Little Brother - Justsus For All
4. Q-Tip - The Renaissance
3. Murs - Murs For President
2. Ludacris - Theater of the Mind
1. The Roots - Rising Down
The Carter III - Intentionally Omitted

Intern on "Digital Love" (Electronic/Dance/Indie)

6. WHY? - Alopecia
5. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
4. Megapuss - Surfing
3. Cadence Weapon - Afterparty Babies
2. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
1. No Kids - Come Into My House

Intern on "Bratwurst and Buddha" (Indie)

10. No Age - Nouns
10. Cut Copy - In Ghost Colors
9. Spiritualized - Songs in A&E
8. Sun Kil Moon - April
7. Lil Wayne - Tha Carter III
6. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
5. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
4. Why? - Alopecia
3. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
2. The Loved Ones - Build and Burn
1. Gaslight Anthem - 59 Sound

Intern on "Left of the Dial" (Indie/Alternative)

8. The Decemberists - Always a Bridesmaid
7. The Hush Sound - Goodbye Blues
6. The Killers - Day and Age
5. TV on the Radio - Dear Science
4. Amanda Palmer - Who Killed Amanda Palmer
3. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
2. Radiohead - In Rainbows
1. Beck - Modern Guilt

Intern on "White Chocolate Drizzle" (Hip-hop)

8. Nas - Untitled
7. The Roots - Rising Down
6. The Killers - Day & Age
5. Doomtree - Doomtree
4. MURS - MURS for President
3. Coldplay - Viva La Vida
2. Billy Bragg - Mr. Love and Justice
1. Atmosphere - When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold

Intern on "Left of the Dial" (Indie/Alternative)

1. Bound Stems - Family Afloat
2. Pavement - Brighten the Corners: Nicene Credence Edition
3. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Real Emotional Trash
4. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
5. Portugal. The Man - Censored Colors
6. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
7. Dear and the Headlights - Drunk Like Bible Times
8. Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer
9. Times New Viking - Rip It Off
10. Okkervil River - The Stand Ins

Intern on "Premium Blend"
10. Xiu Xiu - Women as Lovers
9. Why? - Alopecia
8. Stereolab - Chemical Chords
7. Portishead - Third
6. Gang Gang Dance - Saint Dymphna
5. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles
4. Pretty & Nice - Get Young
3. Lykke Li - Youth Novels
2. Frightened Rabbit - The Midnight Organ Fight
1. Tobacco - F*cked Up Friends

Intern on "The Fleshy Fresh" (Indie/Alternative)

5. Kings of Leon - Only By the Night
4. Carolina Liar - Coming To Terms
3. Tokyo Police Club - Elephant Shell
2. The Academy Is - Fast Times At Barrington High
1. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular

Intern on "Down With the Hipster" (Indie/Various)

10. Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
9. Empire of the Sun - Walking on a Dream
8. Of Montreal - Skeletal Lamping
7. Van She - V
6. Studio - Yearbook 2
5. Ladyhawke - Ladyhawke
4. Miami Horror - Bravado EP
3. Hatchback - Colors of the Sun
2. College - Secret Diary
1. Hercules and Love Affair - Hercules and Love Affair

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Free music on Saturday at the Channel Cafe

Hey WTBU fans/listeners/staff! Did you know that our very own Conor Loughman (who DJs on Thursdays from 6-8pm and owns Base Trip Records) books *free* shows at the Channel Cafe every Saturday night? The venue is a cool artist co-op space that doubles as a cafe, with a reasonably-priced menu of great coffee and food.

This Saturday, the line-up is especially awesome. Allison Francis of Base Trip Records fame will start the night off; following Allison will be my good friends from home, Fastizio. So, if you're free this Saturday at 7pm, we would all love for you to come down, hang out, and hear some awesome music!

The Channel Cafe is located at 300 Summer Street, which is walking distance from the South Station stop on the Red Line.


Monday, December 8, 2008


Hey Folks,

Due to some technical errors, the Vampire Weekend interview was not able to be recorded. Instead, we the DJs of Alphabet Soup had to revert to the old-fashioned way: pen and paper. We'll get a write up to you sometime this weekend, which you can read here and at Alphabet Soup's blog!

Friday, December 5, 2008


Mark your calendars, folks!

Tune in on Saturday December 13 from 5-6pm to hear Alphabet Soup's interview with Ezra Koenig, the frontman of VAMPIRE WEEKEND! Labelled as both "Upper West Side Suweto" and "trust fund frat rock," this indie pop quartet is coming to Boston's Orpheum Theatre this Sunday, December 7, and will be taking time out to talk to WTBU!

Like before, a downloadable version will be available shortly after the original broadcast (for those unable to listen live) at Alphabet Soup's blog.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Tune in this Friday, 12/5, to Alphabet Soup (2-4pm EST) to hear our interview with SONDRE LERCHE, the Norwegian singer-songwriter responsible for the soundtrack of the movie Dan in Real Life, as well as a handful of his own records, before his show at the Paradise Rock Club on November 22. We talked about sharks, Burt Bacharach and more...so come on and LISTEN IN!

You'll also be able to download the file at 4pm on Friday from Alphabet Soup's blog.


Don't forget to stop by WTBU's first-ever listening/viewing party TOMORROW NIGHT from 6-9pm in the COM Lounge! We're playing some great new music, along with the long-awaited Flaming Lips film, Christmas on Mars. Get your holiday season started with WTBU!

See you then!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Review: Pilfers Reunion Show @ The Middle East Downstairs, 11/22

Upon walking into The Middle East Downstairs venue in Cambridge last night (11/22/08), I look around the dark room lit by strings of Christmas lights, observing the merch tables pushing ska bands’ swag, watching a guy sporting a Toasters jacket saunter up to the bar, and I think to myself: I am home.

Pilfers, an NYC-based ska band formed in 1997, split up in 2001 after releasing only two albums. However, the band is making a return in 2008 by playing six reunion shows, starting in Philadelphia and making their way through Cambridge, Brooklyn, Asbury Park, Danbury, and Hartford. Tickets range from $15 to $20.

Sonic Boom Six, a female-fronted ska/punk/rap group from Manchester, UK, is opening for Pilfers on all the reunion show dates.

Having missed the first two bands – Boston Jolly Pirates and the Allstonians – I waited for the Murder Mile to take the stage. Based out of Boston, the Murder Mile is a 4-piece soul/punk/rock band. Although I’m usually not thrilled by non-ska bands’ sets at ska shows, these guys managed to get me to tap my feet and nod my head along with the melodies.

If Pilfers were looking for a high-energy band with an incredible stage presence and dance-able beats to get their crowd pumped, they could have done no better than to have Sonic Boom Six precede them. Laila, the spunky pink-haired singer wearing denim cut-off shorts and knee high socks, captured the audience’s attention by throwing her tiny body around the stage while belting out raps and choruses. The band opened with “Sounds of a Revolution,” a rap song with a ska beat about non-conformity and finding solidarity in music. Heavy on sing-along gang vocals and sound effects, SB6’s music is catchy yet original, a perfect precursor to Pilfers’ set.

I worked my way to the center of the crowd as soon as Pilfers took the stage. Former Toasters vocalist Coolie Ranx made sure to hop off the stage into the audience at least every other song, while I was literally astounded by the amount of talent trombonist Vinny Nobile, formerly of Bim Skala Bim, portrayed during their set. Pilfers played many crowd-pleasers, such as “Lay”, “Agua” and “Mr. Exploita.” They even had a new song to play – while it had a more relaxed, reggae beat than most of their previous ska songs, new Pilfers songs could perhaps mean new Pilfers records…? As a live set, the band could not get any tighter; every beat was perfectly on time and Vinny’s trombone solos were the epitome of polished horn lines. As nearly every person on the floor danced to Pilfers’ live songs, I was grateful that my $20 had not been wasted.

After attending the Pilfers show in Boston, I’m convinced that it will be well worth seeing them again on Friday in my hometown of Danbury, CT. Check out http://www.pilfers.net/shows.html for show dates in a city near you this Thanksgiving break.

- Jackie Reiss

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

From all of us here at WTBU, HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Programming will resume at 6am on Monday, December 1. And now...some potatoes.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Review: Gregory & the Hawk / Nicole Atkins & the Sea @ TT the Bear's, 11/13

TT's booked quite the double-whammy two Thursdays ago with Gregory and the Hawk at the opener spot and Nicole Atkins at headliner to clear the bases, so to speak. Besides the fact that the two acts reside on opposite ends of the music spectrum,—GATH is to acoustic fantastical voyage as Nicole Atkins is to blowout Fourth of July bash—the bill also served as a prime example of what the music industry looks like today. Indie Label Duo, meet Major Label Diva (Mainstream Radio Airplay has never become aquainted with either.).

Gregory and the Hawk, the endearing Mike and Meredith, took the stage armed with just guitar and bass. They played a relatively short set of songs from their debut full-length album, the impressive Moenie and Kitchi. It was strange to hear the songs in a stripped down, live form; Meredith's vocals were true to their unusual, in-the-clouds character on the album, carrying favorites "Doubtful" and "Grey Weather." The surprise standout had to be "Stone Wall Stone Fence," in which Meredith seemed to channel a doll come to life coming to kill you in your sleep: "You've got a secret / But you won't share it..." GATH could not go wrong with so many strong tracks, but some kind of percussion could really add to their set (and allow them to play my favorite, "Voice Like a Bell"!).

Next came Salt & Samovar, rockers with Americana flair (and half of them part of Nicole Atkins' band, the Sea). They brought the house with their energetic folk gone wild, a nice lead-in to Nicole Atkins & the Sea's full-blown set.

The natural chemistry among Atkins and her band revealed itself from the get-go; you got the sense that this is what major label players look and sound like in the year 2008: tight, cool, natural and confident. And how satisfying it is to anticipate a big note and watch Atkins do it justice and then some with a knockout punch. Yes, a Nicole Atkins concert is a lot like fighting the computer on Easy with Roy Jones Jr. in Fight Night.

There were too many rad moments to count, but singles "Maybe Tonight" and heartbreakers' anthem "The Way It Is" stood out, along with sing-along anthem "Brooklyn's on Fire!," all off of 2007's Neptune City. Non-album cuts "Skywriters" and "Teen Creep" were favorites of mine as well - I'm a sucker for falsetto over a retro beat. We were sold on Atkins' big voice and theatrical arm waving easily enough; she made each song a celebration even when it wasn't ("If I were smart I'd never / Call you, call you ever again").

Not a bad night for ten bucks.

- Jessy Bartlett

This week's new adds

BELLE AND SEBASTIAN – The BBC Sessions. This release is very much what you would expect if you are a Belle and Sebastian fan. These performances are less produced than those on their albums.

LAST FRONT – Being Human. The brainchild of several science majors from Boston area colleges. These lyrics were written to appeal to the physicist in all of us.

LUKESTAR – Lake Toba. A collection of ambient melodic lines that somehow sound distinctly German.

THE RIVER RAID – The River Raid. The next in a long line of shouty dance-punk albums from the next in a long line of shouty dance-punk bands.

STEREOPHONICS – Decade in the Sun. Chances are you can find all of your favorite Stereophonics songs on this best of compilation.

--Keith Simpson

Sunday, November 23, 2008

WTBU Listening Party (Dec. 1, 6-9pm)

On Monday, December 1, from 6-9 pm, join WTBU (BU's student-run radio station) for a free listening party and film screening in the COM lounge. For the first half of the evening, we'll be listening to some new advanced releases of CDs that WTBU has received from labels, and some current rotation. (Let us know what upcoming albums you'd like to hear and we'll try to make it happen.) At 7:30, we will be screening the new Flaming Lips film "Christmas on Mars". (Brought to you by our friends over at Warner Music Group.)

This listening party is free and open to all. Feel free to stop by, get a sense of what kinds of music we play, ask our staff questions about WTBU, hang out, and see an awesome film for free.

Watch the trailer for "Christmas On Mars" here:

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Top Five Ska Bands You’ve Never Heard Of

OK, so let’s face it: ska fans nowadays gain their “street cred” by rattling off ska bands that anyone in the underground has heard of. Yeah, so you like Reel Big Fish? Saw Big D play last weekend? Sporting a Streetlight Manifesto shirt today? These bands are musically fantastic and certainly significant to the ska scene. However, these “big names” (…as big as a ska band can get, anyway) unfortunately overshadow some of the smaller, yet just as worthwhile, ska bands that make up today’s scene.

Bomb The Music Industry
Frontman Jeff Rosenstock (formerly of Arrogant Sons of Bitches) mixes ska with folk-punk and synthesizers, making for a completely unique – yet unwaveringly catchy – new genre. And here’s a completely new spin: BTMI’s music is offered completely free of charge via download on their website (…long before Radiohead thought of this idea, kiddies). Although BTMI’s lyrics are borderline depressing at times, Jeff has a knack for writing raw and relatable songs. And while Jeff’s scratchy voice takes a while getting used to, it just adds to the beautifully unrefined tone of the album as a whole. Each album has its own unique tone, but favorite songs range from post-apocalyptic “Side Projects are Never Successful” to happy-go-lucky “I Don’t Love You Anymore” to sing-along anthem “Happy Anterrabae Day!!!” Make sure to attend a BTMI show for the most fun you’ve had in all your ska-lovin’ years.
Album recommendation: Get Warmer

The Fad
This ska-core band from Long Island brings an energy that many ska bands simply miss: the double-sided coin of catchy, dance-able ska beats (like songs “Ska-Boom!” and “Bright Lights”) mixed with crazy-go-nuts hardcore (“Kill Punk Rock Stars”). Singer Jimmy Doyle has a voice no one can dislike – the perfect combination of sweet vocal skills slipping into energetic screaming. Make sure to attend a Fad show, as these guys bring a type of energy to the stage like no other. But beware: things can get a little out of control during mosh-heavy sing-alongs like “B2M”.
Album recommendation: Kill Punk Rock Stars

This Canadian ska band is unfortunately one of the least talked about in the States. Their music is some of the tightest I’ve heard in ages from a semi-local ska band; while there are generally no horns used, the guitarists and drummer have an uncanny ability to break the ska beat down. Singer Jeff Quesnel has a voice so smooth and easy, it’s hard not to start singing along upon first listening. Lyrics range from singing about animal rights (“A Little More of Chomsky”) to the revival of the ska scene (“Quarter to Seven”) to unwavering love (“Tattoo”).
Album recommendation: The Motions

Tri-State Conspiracy
Self-described as “murderous ska-swing-heavy metal,” Tri-State Conspiracy indeed crosses into all these genres, emerging with an original yet extremely polished sound. Don’t let singer Jeffrey Paris’s preference for old-school suits and retro microphones fool you: the band’s highly energetic stage presence and involvement with their audience make TSC one of the most enjoyable bands to see live. Based out of NYC, TSC has the attitude to prove it: lyrics range from plotting murder (“Murder Fantasy”) to expressing frustration with daily 9 to 5 life (“High Strung Mess”) to the maladies of war (“Frantic”). Definitely check this band out if you like to dance while shouting along to spunky lyrics set against ska/swing melodies.
Album recommendation: High Strung Mess

Mad Caddies
If you think that Reel Big Fish is still the best ska band to hit the 3rd wave, I highly recommend you listen to this California based ska band and reconsider. Singing lyrics reminiscent of RBF’s tongue-in-cheek humor (with less kitsch) and sporting what may be the tightest horns in North America, it’s nearly impossible to stay neutral to Mad Caddies. Singer Chuck Robertson has a gift that few ska bands singers have: a naturally talented voice! Mad Caddies sport excellent musicianship all around and seamlessly integrate poppy melodies into flawless ska beats. From impressively horn-heavy “Monkeys” to soft-sided “Drinking for Eleven” to quirky, yet strangely pleasing “Weird Beard,” the Mad Caddies are catchy enough to turn even the most elite indie fan into a ska lover.
Album recommendation: Just One More

- Jackie Reiss

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tonight: Support ALL of Your Favorite BU Artists!

Tonight there are two great opportunities to check out BU's best musicians. The best part? If you want to get to both shows, you can!

From 8-11 PM, catch Base Trip Records artists The Throwbacks, Rapper Steph, and Allison Francis at the The Third Annual Safe Sex Party. (All three of these artists have been featured on WTBU this semester!) The show will be held at the GSU Metcalf Ballroom. It costs $7 at the door ($5 in advance), and all proceeds will be donated to the AIDS Action Committee. It's hosted by ZBT and the Student Health Ambassadors. Other acts playing include Two Hour Change, Gentlemen Hall, and Green Line Inbound.

Later in the night, Spitzer Space Telescope headlines at the Middle East Upstairs! The show starts at 9, but Spitzer will be headlining, meaning he will play around 11:30. Opening for Spitzer are Beat Awfuls, Mighty Tiny, and Forsythe. Last week, Spitzer Space Telescope was featured on "The BU Today Sessions". Check it out here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Review: Jack's Mannequin @ the Paradise, 11/17

No one should feel guilty about listening to pop music, and nor should pop musicians be criticized for writing songs that appeal to a pre-teen crowd. Bands like Jack's Mannequin, Fun, and Treaty of Paris rock with familiar power riffs and melodic hooks that embed themselves in your ears for hours on end--for better or for worse. The material they put out may not be incredibly innovative, but these bands don't attempt to save the world.

Chicago's Treaty of Paris sang with the familiar voices of the post-emo era in their acoustic set at the Paradise Monday night. They play melodic-driven pop-punk in the usual sense of the genre, lamenting, "all I wanted was to be happy," again and again, as the 12-year-old girl accompanied by her mother next to me sang along.

Fun is the Nate Ruess's (of the Format) new band, formed with Andrew Dost (Anathallo), Jack Antonoff (Steel Train), and guests. The band has released only one song, "Benson Hedges," but that didn't stop Fun from playing a short but sensational acoustic set, complete with keyboard, xylophone, and electric violin. Although Nate Ruess's music is generally classified as standard pop, he is a musical genius. His intricate songs resemble symphonies full of astounding Queen-esque harmonies, creative musical arrangements, and a flawless sense of rhythm and rhyme.

Fun's songs are appropriately playful and upbeat, straying from Nate's last bitter work of art with the Format, Dog Problems. "At least I'm not as sad as I used to be," he sings, masterfully entertaining the young crowd and prompting round after round of semi-rhythmic clapping. Fun's first release will be available this February.

Minutes before Jack's Mannequin took the stage, the screaming had begun, evoking nostalgia for my N*Sync days. The volume increased exponentially when Andrew McMahon (formerly of Something Corporate) took the stage with vigor. McMahon slammed his piano with sincerity, full of energy to perform his irresistible pop-rock songs for an enthusiastic crowd. He writes from the viewpoint of a struggling idealist (e.g. every angsty teenager in America) so convincingly that he is able to deliver the spoken interlude of "I'm Ready" with earnest: "My life has become a boring pop song, and everyone's singing along."

If nothing else, Jack's Mannequin is endearing and personable all around, as showcased by McMahon's cheery disposition even after greeting fans outside for 45 minutes in the freezing cold after the show. How do I know? I will neither confirm nor deny fighting off the shivers to receive a hug from a man who wrote songs I'll forever associate with my adolescence. Appreciation for this music is impossible to maintain without a sense of humility. These musicians aren't too proud to cross into falsetto, and neither should you be too proud to let down your pride to sing along - at least for a night.

--Allison Francis

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Review: The Academy Is... @ The Roxy, 11/11

Last Wednesday night, “Bill and Trav’s Bogus Journey” tour made a stop at The Roxy for a memorable concert. The show featured up-and-comers Hey Monday and Carolina Liar as openers, with We the Kings and The Academy Is… as headliners.

Hey Monday welcomed concert-goers with their set, which started as fans entered the venue and was cut short due to doors opening later than expected. The band played three tracks off their debut release Hold On Tight and truly made a lasting impression while playing live. Lead singer Cassadee Pope’s liveliness gave the set an extra boost to fans that haven’t become familiar with the band yet.

Swedish band Carolina Liar immediately followed. Although much of the audience seemed unresponsive throughout the set, the band seemed submersed in their music. A band completely into their own music must receive some recognition and they seemed happy to play the venue. I give more respect to the band after talking with the lead singer (and only non-Swede), Chad Wolf, after the show. He was completely gracious and excited when he found out that Carolina Liar is on rotation at WTBU.

The anticipation built as the time came for We the Kings to play. Their set met expectations, with the band delivering an upbeat and noteworthy performance. Noteworthy performances include their cover of Gorillaz’s “Feel Good Inc.” and Cassadee of Hey Monday coming on stage to close their set by singing their hit song, “Check Yes, Juliet,” with the band. Although the band was great, they brought few variations to their set from the two times I’ve seen them play before. Hopefully the band’s soon-to-be released EP will help their live performance improve their already-catchy tunes.

Lastly, The Academy Is… closed the night with an unforgettable performance. The band varied the set with tracks from all three of their albums, giving fans ample memories from the night. Lead singer William Beckett’s absolute animation while performing brought the set to a whole new level, proving why they were the headliners of the tour. The band didn’t need any fancy stage gimmicks to excite fans; their music and pure stage presence excited them enough. They simply owned the stage and thrilled fans with their live music.

Carolina Liar’s album Coming to Terms is currently on rotation at WTBU.

-Adam Azahari

Review: The Decemberists @ Electric Factory in Philadelphia

The night after their November 6 date at Orpheum Theatre in Boston, The Decemberists traveled down the East coast to Pennsylvania, where they took the stage at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia.

Opening for the Decemberists on this tour were fellow Portland band Loch Lamond. Their chamber-music rock sounds a bit like Sigur Ros, only I could sort of understand what they were saying. Loch Lamond’s eerie tones incorporate mandolin, violin, bass clarinet, and drums, while singer Ritchie Young’s vocals range from high, floating sounds to full, belting, rocking thunder.

The soporific music left the crowd super mellow for the Decemberists, so it took a while to really get into their set. The set began with creepy red lighting and “Shanty for Arethusa”, which made me a little uncertain about the rest of the night, as this was not the jaunty Decemberists that I know and love. But soon enough singer Colin Meloy began talking to the crowd, making inappropriate-yet-hilarious jokes.

Before long, Meloy had the crowd cheering for Obama. According to Meloy, since November 4th, the grass is a little greener, the streets are a little cleaner, and “the air is more… quilty?” which made the crowd livelier before launching into a riotous “July July!” In the spirit of political activism, The Decemberists had “Valerie Plame” next in their set list.

Next, the band played a set of three mellow, beautiful pieces: “The Engine Driver,” “On The Bus Mall,” and “The Island,” relaxing the crowd--a perfect set up for the super-charged “Perfect Crime #2”, which was my favorite song of the entire show. Shortly into the song, Meloy started marching in place. Instrumentalist Chris Funk, accordionist and keyboardist Jenny Conlee, and bassist Nate Query quickly followed suit, prompting Colin to lead the entire audience in a brisk knees-up jog in-place. After double-timing and laughing the whole way through, Colin said “and now to the floor” and dropped. He gestured and said “Down! Seriously, sit down. It’s just a floor!” The entire crowd sat, along with the rest of the band. Chris Funk added in that, “everyone who was standing voted for Mccain,” which got all the naysayers in the back to plant their tushes on the ground as well.

Afterwards, we all jumped up and chanted along, “the perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect crime” and watched incredulously as Colin Meloy tied his microphone around himself and climbed up onto the balcony from the stage and hung on to the railing for dear life as he sang the rest of the song. The crowd went completely wild when he was up there, and doubled over with laughter when he couldn’t find a way to get back down. (Eventually he hoisted himself over the railing and into the crowd, making his way down to the stage from the bar amidst thunderous applause from everyone in the house, and amusement from his band mates.)

The rest of the night was a blur of ecstasy, including “Oh, Valencia”, “Meat is Murder”, “Cutting of the Fold”, and “Chimbly Sweep”, which was introduced by saying that, in a secret interview right before Obama gave his speech on November 4th, he answered a question with that song. The Obama reference was still strong in the end, when Colin led the crowd in cheers of “yes we can!!” and “yes we did!!” The set ended with 16 Military Wives, before the encore: “Raincoat Song” (an acoustic new song) and “Sons & Daughters” (which Loch Lamond came back on stage for). The concert ended with a general feeling of warm fuzziness, and a wonderful emotion (which is usually forgone for the jazzed rush that is felt at the end of concerts) was present in everyone: hope.

The concert can be streamed online through NPR at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=96585759

--Tara Jayakar

Friday, November 14, 2008

TODAY on Alphabet Soup!

Today at 3 PM on Alphabet Soup: Devon's interview with OF MONTREAL drummer Ahmed Gallab! Tune in to hear them discuss feather boas; Athens, Georgia; and lots more.

Alphabet Soup starts at 2. The interview starts at 3. Be there!

Read more about Alphabet Soup at alphabetsoupontheradio.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 10, 2008

This Thursday: Gregory and the Hawk in studio @ WTBU!

Attention Gregory and the Hawk fans! This Thursday at 4pm, the band is going to stop by WTBU before their show at T.T. the Bear's in Cambridge! Tune into WTBU to hear an exclusive 4-song in-studio performance and interview. (We'll air it all again at 8pm.)

In the Boston area and want to join us? Email WTBUradio@gmail.com with your name and contact information for a chance to win one of five spots in the studio!


Uno's Fundraiser Tomorrow

WTBU Radio is hosting a fundraiser at UNO Chicago Grill in Kenmore Square all day long on Veteran's Day, Tuesday, November 11th. Bring along the WTBU sheet and a portion of your bill will go towards supporting the student radio station here at BU. We will also be having contests and raffles in conjunction with the event throughout the day. Just make sure to print out the voucher, seen below, and present when you get your bill. It's even good for take-out orders!

See You There!!!

-Phil DiMartino
General Manager

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Album Review: Land of Talk, Some Are Lakes

Montreal's Land of Talk achieves a kind of musical suspension of disbelief with their full-length debut, Some Are Lakes. From in-your-face start, "Yuppy Flu," to the heartfelt, "Troubled" finish, it's easy to lose yourself in this curious ten-song collection that lives up to the band's name; Some Are Lakes' origins lie in a land far away from here.

Though they make it look easy, LoT paces each song with expert precision. Like a poet utilizes each syllable, they take care that each riff, phrase and break resonates with purpose. On "The Man Who Breaks Things (Dark Shuffle)," things are breaking at every deafening drumbeat and cymbal crash. In the same vain, a hook has never embodied somber resignation so much as it does on the title track. With a chord progression that savors of disappointment, lead singer Liz Powell wearily resolves, "And I'll love you like I love you / Then I'll die." If Powell is the narrator, the music tells the other half of the story, complimenting her at every unpredictable twist.

The upbeat, pleading "Young Bridge" picks up where EP Applause Cheer Boo Hiss's "Speak to Me Bones" left off. However, where Powell's frustration was voiced with volume and noise on the EP, it's translated into a calmer, less rushed animal here. Still, the passion and urgency has not been lost. In fact, it may be more apparent than ever, especially on "Give Me Back My Heart Attack" where raging guitars are preceded with a dangerous, "But sleeping out of key / Only f*cks the waking world!"

The distorted guitars and far-off vocals echo a certain other Canadian troop of art rockers, which can only be a compliment (LoT is currently opening for Broken Social Scene). The two bands share a dreamy yet passionate, pressing sound that speaks to the very souls of us; each song is life or death! Literally, the topic of death seems to be a recurring theme ("Death by Fire," anyone?) only matched by the hopeful idealism behind such lines as, "Didn't I tell you there was no such thing as a bad bad day? / And baby, even if there was, I won't believe it anyway."

The band's maturation is most evident on the album's closer, "Troubled," an intimate acoustic number. Powell's voice was born for this; her vulnerable vocals devastate, half sung in French over a haunting instrumental backdrop. The song slowly builds until it goes out like a lone flame in the dark, and Powell seems to wince at each painful word: "Troubled heart folded / And doubled right over...."

Some Are Lakes plays like the most precious secrets being whispered in your ear; listen closely and you might make some profound discoveries. It may be a bit of a downer at times, but such is the nature of the tragedy and wonder of truth in a song.

- Jessy Bartlett

Monday, November 3, 2008

One Last Friendly Reminder From WTBU Election Talk

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Find out where to vote by entering your address at voteforchange.org.

WTBU's High Fidelity Featured in the Globe!

A feature article in today's Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, titled "Cool College Radio Shows", included a profile of WTBU's High Fidelity. Congrats to DJs Peisin, Garrett, Jack, and Zach! Here's some of what the Globe had to say:

There's a sort of Zen state that occurs when you play the right Jay-Z and Bob Dylan songs back to back, and the show's four DJs pick well over and over, from all across the genre map. Inspired by the film of the same name, High Fidelity includes a weekly top-five list that's addictive -- its "Top Five Solo Albums" easily prompts your own "Top Five Lesbian Guitarists."

Read the whole story here: http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/articles/2008/11/02/from_dylan_to_deval/?page=2

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Show Review: Railroad Earth @ Paradise Rock Club [10/18]

Railroad Earth rode into Boston last Saturday night, delighting the sold out crowd at the Paradise Rock Club with their laid-back mix of bluegrass and jam-rock.

Playing a collection of their older material mixed in with some songs off their 2008 album Amen Corner, the band combined impressive songwriting with stomping, danceable rhythms that engaged the crowd, even those who did not know their music beforehand.

As a relative newcomer to Railroad Earth’s music, the show was a pleasant surprise, as the band continually showcased just why they have such a loyal following of fans that style themselves “Hobos.”  Songs such as “Lordy, Lordy” and “The Forecast” showcased the talents of violinist Tim Carbone and multi-instrumentalist Andy Goessling, who switched back and forth between the mandolin and acoustic guitar. “The Forecast” especially showed the two playing dovetailing riffs that brought a warm coherence to the song in the middle of a lengthy jam.

First set closer “Peace On Earth” as well as “The Happy Song” helped to illustrate the optimistic and carefree vibe that the band brought to the venue, a mood similar to the laidback atmosphere that permeates the live recordings of the Grateful Dead.

Singer and guitarist Todd Sheaffer epitomized this light-hearted mood, smiling throughout the two sets and bantering occasionally with the crowd, while drummer Carey Harmon was inspiring to watch, playing with his eyes closed for the entire show and seemingly having the time of his life.

Show opener “Been Down This Road” and show closer “Hard Livin,” which featured Goessling sporting two saxophones simultaneously, are both found on the band’s newest release, which Jambase.com called their “most complete, coherent record” to date.  And, if the show at the Paradise is anything to go by, Amen Corner is a must-have for anyone looking to get into one of the best touring bands around.

-Dan Rys

WTBU Interview w/ Ben Kweller

On October 16, Ben Kweller played a particularly folksy set of old favorites and unreleased songs to a sold-out Paradise Rock Club. His current "Pre-Horses Club Tour" promotes his upcoming album, Changing Horses, set for an early 2009 release on ATO. A few days before the Paradise show, WTBU interviewed Kweller about the new record and new influences, his favorite singer/songwriters, what it means to be "distinctly Ben Kweller", and more. Download the interview here!

WTBU Event Next Monday! (November 3)

Next Monday, Mix 98.5's daytime on-air personality Erin O'Malley will speak to WTBU about working for a radio station, how to break into the industry, and more. The lecture/Q&A will take place at 9pm in COM101. It is free and open to all. Hope to see you there!

Friday, October 24, 2008

WTBU Logo Contest

In the spirit of this ludicris (yes, spelled like the rapper) election, BU Today and WTBU are giving YOU the chance to make your voice heard. You can now vote for the new face of WTBU, our logo.

We are changing it up, and you have the say in what we will look like from here on out.

You can vote for the new logo here, on BU Today's website.

Remember, every vote counts, so join in the fun and let us know how you want WTBU to look.

-- Phil DiMartino
WTBU General Manager

Review: Glactic @ Paradise Rock Club (10.15)

If that’s what goes on every night in the clubs of New Orleans, then punch my ticket, for I have found my earthly destination.
Wednesday night at the Paradise Rock Club, New Orleans funk-rockers Galactic blew the minds of everyone in the crowd with their driving, intense grooves and incredible musicianship.

The five-piece band, who toured last year with a number of rappers such as Chali 2na, Boots Riley and Mr. Lif in support of their latest album From The Corner To The Block, came out following the set of openers the Crown City Rockers with some serious instrumental funk.

The opening few songs were highlighted by “The Moil” from their 2003 album Ruckus. The song’s monster opening riff started a huge dance party in the crowd that lasted for the rest of the night.

Joining Galactic on stage after “The Moil” and staying for most of the set were trumpet player Shamarr Allen, winner of the Best Emerging Artist award in the Big Easy in 2008, and trombonist Corey Henry, “two of New Orleans’ finest musicians” according to Galactic saxophone player Ben Ellman.

That statement barely did justice to just how good the band was with the added musicians. Operating with a full horn section, Galactic took off and ran through a two-plus hour show that had too many highlights and mind-blowing moments to remember.

Emcee Raashan Ahmad of the Crown City Rockers joined the band on stage during one song, and guitarist Jeff Raines and keyboardist Rich Vogel were on fire throughout the night, controlling the jams and playing expertly off the horns while drummer Stanton Moore’s enthusiasm was infectious.

The band ended the night’s set with the title track “From The Corner To The Block,” with Allen rapping the first verse and Henry rapping the second and everyone joining in for the triumphant chorus, which saw Ellman, Allen and Henry dancing in sync with each other while playing the horn lines.

While the set closer was easily the greatest moment of the show, the encore produced perhaps the most remarkable moment. Ellman introduced the crowd to his cousin, who came out on stage and unleashed a blistering ten-minute saxophone solo that left the rest of the band clearly impressed.

Galactic’s Brass Tacks Tour with Allen and Henry was definitely one of the greatest and funkiest things I have ever seen. With talent like this coming out of New Orleans, Boston can only hope they come back soon.

-- Dan Rys

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Show Review: Yonder Mountain String Band @ Somerville Theatre

The grass was bluer on the Somerville side on Thursday night when Yonder Mountain String Band took the stage of the Somerville Theatre to entertain a sold-out crowd with their fast-paced and energetic bluegrass.

Comprised of Jeff Austin on mandolin, Adam Aljala on guitar, Dave Johnston on banjo and Ben Kaufmann on bass, the band began the first of their two sets at eight o’clock and didn’t stop playing until well after eleven, with Austin even telling the crowd “if they opened up the parking lot across the street, we’d play until 2 tonight.”

With Massachusetts-born Aljala’s parents in the crowd and a positive atmosphere emanating throughout the theater, Yonder opened the night with a series of quick songs that showcased each member’s individual abilities. “Keep On Going,” a song from the first volume of their five-part Mountain Tracks live album series, saw the band switch tempos and genres, from folk to reggae and back again, numerous times and had the entire audience on their feet dancing and singing along.

All four members shared singing duties, with each having at least one song on which they took lead vocals and everyone chipping in with harmonies.

The Somerville Theatre, with its 900 capacity crowd, had a welcoming and informal atmosphere, prompting Austin to encourage everyone to feel comfortable, commenting, “in a place as intimate as this, we’re all in this together.”

The band was able to form a close relationship with the audience, often pointing out individual members of the crowd (one person wearing a New York Stock Exchange shirt caused Austin to refer to him as an optimistic soul) and even taking some song requests, accepting a challenge to play “Troubled Mind” from their self-titled album as their encore.

The second set was significantly more adventurous than the first. Johnston took the microphone for the Bob Dylan song “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry,” and the band worked their way through originals such as “Half Moon Rising” from their debut album Elevation as well as a series of covers. Towards the end, a twenty-minute extended jam came out on the other side as the rollicking set-closer “Peace Of Mind.”

Throughout the night, Yonder was continuously grateful and looked to be having a great time on stage. “The last time we played the Somerville Theater there were about nine people here over in the corner,” Austin told the crowd. “We thought you hated us back then, so it’s nice to see a balcony full of people this time around.”

“Next year we’ll come back and lock all the doors, serve pancakes and play for two nights, how about that.”

- Dan Rys

Show Review: All Time Low @ Roseland Ballroom in NYC

With the amount of tween girls packing New York’s Roseland Ballroom last Sunday, a man on the street would have thought the Jonas Brothers rolled into town. But this time it was different. These tweens came out for All Time Low’s "Compromising of Morality, Integrity, and Principles in Exchange for Money Tour" featuring The Maine, Mayday Parade, and Every Avenue.

Every Avenue took the stage first and simply put, they kicked ass. Every Avenue performed high-energy pop-punk tracks off of their latest release, Shh Just Go With It. With fans in the crowd dancing, fist pumping, and lip-syncing, these guys put themselves on the map as a band to be watched.

Directly following were Fearless Records label-mates, The Maine, who played mostly songs off of their recent album, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop. Although the band did an amazing job playing hits like “Everything I Ask For” and “Count ‘Em One, Two, Three”, the set might have been stronger if they played more songs off of their older EP, The Way We Talk.

Next to perform was arguably the most hardcore band of the night, Mayday. The band’s song choices were predictable, starting with “Three Cheers for Five Years,” off their EP, Tales Told by Dead Friends. After playing a couple of songs from their latest release, A Lesson in Romantics, the entire band went backstage except for the lead singer who acoustically played “Miserable at Best”. Surprisingly, the rest of the band came out for accompaniment halfway through the song, which is fully acoustic on the CD. After playing “When I Get Home, You’re So Dead, ” and “Jamie All Over,” (which are their two officially released singles) the band played fan-favorite “Jersey.” Although they seemed too hardcore for All Time Low fans, Mayday Parade kept concertgoers entertained the entire set.

With lights flashing all over the ballroom, All Time Low came out performing their latest single, “Poppin’ Champagne.” The band was especially proud of this tour because it was their first full headlining tour, meaning they had time to play more than just popular songs. The band's fifteen-song set included older favorites like “The Girl’s a Straight-Up Hustler,” “Shameless,” “Holly (Would You Turn Me On?),” and “Circles” from their lesser known release, The Party Scene. ATL pulled out every trick in the book to excite fans with strobe lights, confetti, streamers, a large All Time Low backdrop, and the classy bras hanging off guitarist Jack Barakat’s mic stand. Although the wait was unbearable, the concert was absolutely worth it and is a must-see performance.

The Compromising of Morality, Integrity, and Principles in Exchange for Money Tour rolls through the rest of the country until the end of November, including a stop at the Palladium in Worcester, MA on November 26.

--Adam Azahari

Monday, October 13, 2008

Dr. Dog & Delta Spirit @ Middle East Downstairs, 10/10

There is a certain type of show that stays with you for a good, long time...and the Americana rock trinity who took a sold-out Middle East Downstairs by storm on Friday night certainly delivered one of them.

It is not often that a first-opener does anything for you except give you a chance to grab another beer, go outside for a smoke, and/or hold your ears shut and scream in agony. Not so, however, with Hacienda, a San Antonio quartet who stayed true to their roots with a solidly talented 45-minute set of Beatles-infused soul rock. Songs like "Hear Me Crying" and "She's Got a Hold On Me" had the audience thoroughly converted; then, a strange thing happened: these scruffy Texas boys got the hipsters to dance. Indeed, a considerably large circle of plaided, skinny-jeaned kids in the center of the dance floor began moving, to the beat of the music, and apparently enjoying themselves. The set ended with a guest harmonica appearance by the fedora'd and well-received Scott McMicken (of Dr. Dog)--this show was to be henceforth fraught with collaboration, one of the most impressive qualities of the performances. It should go without saying that Hacienda went above and beyond the call of duty and demonstrated what opening bands should have had from the beginning: talent. Take note, fledglings.

Up next was the grungy blues-folk powerhouse, Delta Spirit. It's a miracle and a blessing how Matt Vasquez (lead vocals, guitar) keeps his larynx intact after so much screaming. The lyrics "If you're feelin' what I'm feelin', come on/All you soul-searchin' people, come on!" resonated throughout the club, with a couple hundred people screaming it back onto the stage. Delta Spirit seemed relatively indifferent to their adoring fans, smiling only once or twice if at all, but it's safe to say that the fans themselves could not have cared less. Yet again, hipsters (and bros alike!) danced, and the set ended with even MORE collaboration, with every member of Dr. Dog flooding the stage with drumsticks, maracas, and awesomeness.

Finally, after hours and hours of waiting, the headliners arrived onstage—and by no means was the waiting in vain. Dr. Dog, the charismatic indie-blues quintet birthed in Philadelphia, kicked off a power hour of punch-you-in-the-gut folk rock with the song “The Old Days” from their newest album, Fate. Following this was a whirlwind of old and new material, including songs like “Hang On,” “The Girl,” “100 Years,” and “The Beach.” And the encore…oh, the encore. While the crowd had been shouting for a number of songs throughout the set, no one song title was thrown out more than “Die Die Die,” which rumbled into existence as the band re-mounted the stage and every voice in the club began singing—or wailing—along. By the end, every member of both Hacienda and Delta Spirit had joined the band onstage, Vasquez complete with a coffee pot full of beer, in a full-blown cacophony of what can only be described as the very essence of thumping, rasping, good old American blues. As a fan put it numerous times, screaming over the crowd’s roar, holding his hands to the sides of his head in disbelief, “Oh my god! This! Is! Incredible! Best night of my life!”

To put it simply, listening to recordings of this band is not enough to appreciate the full talent that is the work of McMicken (lead guitar & vocals), Toby Leaman (bass & vocals), Zach Miller (keys & vocals), Juston Sens (drums & vocals), and Frank McElroy (rhythm guitar & vocals). With each song’s performance came even louder, more soulful laments than their albums could have communicated. There’s definitely something to be said for a band that makes great records and then manages to render the music even more spectacular by roughing it up completely. The grating harshness of Dr. Dog’s live set qualified the whole night as an unforgettable show, one that should not, under any circumstances, be missed when it comes to town again.

- Devon Maloney

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tegan and Sara @ The Palladium in Worcester, 10/4

A packed, impassioned Palladium welcomed the beloved Tegan and Sara last Saturday night in Worcester. The twins lived up to the hype and then some with their live act, a three-pronged attack of technical effects, the girls' famed back-and-forth, and their vast collection of infectious hits.

Rockers Girl in a Coma were the first of two opening acts. The trio from San Antonio's peformance was not unlike a Texas hurricane leveling everything in its path; together they manifested the passion and energy punk rock was built on, headbanging and all. Lead singer Nina's raw delivery of every syllable was simply undeniable, even when her vocal style made understanding lyrics difficult. She followed each song with a fervent "gracias" and then shifted back into crazed, raging rocker mode for a poweful set.

Acoustic singer-songwriter Dallas Green of City and Colour came out next, second on the bill. He had many fans in the crowd and his pure, wholesome vocals filled the room. Still, his somewhat one-note performance registered some notches below Girl in a Coma's unpredictable thrill ride.

Loud, moody bass sounds played over the PA after City and Colour's set; the eerie atmospherics built anticipation up to new highs while the tech. men prepped for the headliners. Then, out of nowhere, the noise gave way to the hopelessly catchy classic, "You Can't Hurry Love" by The Supremes. It seemed fitting that hook-happy T&S would give a nod to the original queens of the chorus right before they walked onstage.

The girls and their band played through most of 2007's The Con along with many past favorites from 2004's So Jealous, plus other random treats (like a cover of "Umbrella"). Every song seemed to be an event in itself; each carried a unique vibe with the help of different lighting schemes and special effects. The girls showed their knack for spontaneous storytelling by leading into some songs with an explanation of its origins. Between their tangents and witty jabs at one another, we laughed as much as we cheered. Topics included their father, ninjas & throwing stars, and Sarah Palin.

The crowd played an influential role, singing along to almost every song. Tegan and Sara fans are the passionate, screaming fans you see in movies (there was a line snaking around the building an hour before doors opened). The Palladium seemed to explode with the kind of love and enthusiasm you might expect at a U2 or Madonna concert. Tegan and Sara reciprocated that love by playing a long, charged set and just being their kooky selves, which worked for everyone.

- Jessy Bartlett

Friday, October 3, 2008

Interview with The Acre

The Acre is an indie/folk rock band from Worcester, Massachusetts. Tonight, they will open for Drew Danbury at BU Central. Their manager and WTBU DJ, Zach Kohn, caught up with frontman Nick Murphey to tell us about the bands origins, sound, and influences.

How did the band form originally?
I met Sebastian in high school and we occasionally played music together with one of our other friends, freshmen and sophomore year. We lost touch when we both went to college, and there I started another band called Sidelined Season. I sang in Sidelined Season and was still working on my voice when I met Courtney who helped sing some high parts. Sidelined Season disbanded, but Courtney and I remained good friends. When I started writing music again, she was there to add a little more color. At the time I was very much into Damien Rice and the Frames, so I wanted to add a bowed string instrument. I remembered that Sebastian not only played bass, but also cello, so I asked him to sit in, and he was willing. Once we met Chris Anthony, who filled out our sound beautifully with the drums, we knew we were ready.

How did you decide on the cello sound, rather than going with a normal bass player?

Well I think it had a lot to do with the music I was listening to. Damien Rice is one of my favorite artists, and what people don’t realize about him is his live show is so much more intense than his album. I think I just liked how he did things; it adds color and texture that a bass just cannot. We still use bass on most songs, but it’s nice to have the option of using cello. I think at some point, well probably be doing both live.

You cite a really eclectic group of musicians and bands as your influences, from Wilco to the Arctic Monkeys. How do you think having such a large variety of influences helps with your sound?

I think being incredibly diverse as musicians as well as music lovers really enables us to do whatever we want. That may sound jocular, but it’s true. A lot of bands get pigeon holed into one sound, or they feel as if they can’t really stray from their original sound. With me at least, my taste is really always changing. We like to compare ourselves as the Joker, we have no rules, so we’re completely free to make any music we want with no boundaries. I was really hooked on Bon Iver a few months ago and now it’s changed over to Ryan Adams “Jacksonville City Nights.” One is very ambient and ghostly sounding; the other is pretty much a country album. I think the same can be said about everyone else in the band. I’ve been giving Chris a lot more “experimental” and ambient sounding music to listen to Radiohead’s Kid A and Sigur Ros as well as Explosions in the Sky. Bass has been turning me onto bands like Brand New and Kevin Devine.

You’re playing a show at BU Central on October 3 with Drew Danbury, do you think its going to be different from the shows The Acre usually plays?

It’s going to be bigger, that’s for sure. And Bass won’t be there for it so we’re having our good friend and wonderfully talented producer, Steve Rice, fill in the bass and cello parts on bass. But we’re going to approach it in the same manner as we do if we’re playing to 3 or 300. We’re going to have fun and leave our blood sweat and tears up there. We love to play out; personally speaking, its one of my favorite things in the entire world. Bur we’re really excited to put on a good show.

The Acre on myspace

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

High Fidelity Interview w/ Girl Talk

Before the infamous Girl Talk show at the GSU on September 20, Greg Gillis caught up with WTBU for an interview. Here are some links to the interview, led by WTBU DJs Peisin, Garrett, Jack, and Zach. The interview aired on their show, High Fidelity, last week.

High Fidelity Interviews Girl Talk- Part 1
High Fidelity Interviews Girl Talk- Part 2
High Fidelity Interviews Girl Talk- Part 3
High Fidelity Interviews Girl Talk- Part 4

For more awesomeness, listen to High Fidelity on Thursdays from 4-6pm, and check out highfidelitybu.blogspot.com!

Friday, September 26, 2008

WTBU Election Talk 2008- Recap, Interview MP3, & Upcoming Event!

WTBU Election Talk airs on Tuesdays from 4 to 6 pm, featuring policy topic discussions, interviews with student activists, recaps of important speeches, and more. Every week, we put callers on air to voice their opinions on topics discussed.

So far on the show, topics discussed have included the vice presidential candidates, third parties, the importance of the youth vote, and corporate governance. Two weeks ago, we interviewed activists from an awesome voter registration organization called Head Count, which goes out to concerts and registers young voters.

Last week, WTBU Election Talk was lucky enough to interview David D. Burstein, the 19-year-old founder of 18 in '08, a film that discusses the significance of the youth vote in this election. Since its creation, the film has evolved into a national movement across college campuses, including film screenings, voter registration events, speakers, etc. Click here to download the interview!

Throughout the rest of the semester, WTBU Election Talk also plans to discuss foreign policy, fair/free trade, energy/sustainability, the environment, health care, net neutrality & first amendment rights, immigration, affirmative action, women's rights, and gender issues. If you are an activist who would like to be interviewed on-air, email Liz Pelly (lizpelly@gmail.com) or Melanie Duzyj (mduzyj@gmail.com).

Don't miss our first event on Tuesday, October 7. WTBU is teaming up with the Community Service Center to register voters and play music in the the GSU Plaza all day, followed by a rally from 4-6. The event is supported by the Dean of Students, who will be present at the rally, along with on-campus political groups, musicians, and speakers. The rally will air live on WTBU! More details to come.

MP3: WTBU Election Talk Interviews David D. Burstein, Founder of "18 in '08"

WTBU & BU Central Present:

WTBU is teaming up again with our friends over at BU Central to put together another great live show.

Next Friday at 8pm, stop by BU Central (775 Comm. Ave) and check out DREW DANBURRY with THE ACRE and VIKESH KAPOOR.

As always, the show is free for BU students and $2 for non-BU students.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Juliana Hatfield @ the Brattle Theatre, 9/14

Boston area native Juliana Hatfield performed at the cozy Brattle Theatre last Sunday night in Cambridge.

Canadian folk rocker Hayden opened, and his easy nature quickly made him a favorite with the crowd. He and his band played through a balanced set of ballads and more uptempo rock numbers. Highlights include the full audience partipation on "Where and When," a well told (and hilarious) story from the road, and some great solos.

Juliana Hatfield took the stage around a quarter to 11 to quite an ovation. She started out a bit stiff as she seemed to feel out the hometown crowd: a blend of older folks who had grown up with Hatfield in contrast with young people relatively new to (but just as enamored with) her music. About halfway through, she asked for the stage lights to be turned down—a turning point in the night. What followed was a change in mood; she relaxed and began to take more liberties with her songs and voice. It was then clear that Hatfield had found her comfort zone among us in the intimate theater.

She played through much of How to Walk Away, her latest, and included some older material that drew appreciative, nostalgic applause. The setlist left something to be desired, though that seems inevitable, as it would be impossible to sufficiently cover 20 years and 10 full albums worth of great music in one night. Still, Hatfield delivered, especially during her solo encore in which she played the classic "My Sister" and an inspired "Law of Nature."

It takes a dedicated group of music fans to put their entertainment second to the musician's attitude toward a performance, but such thoughtfulness seems to be the order of the day for Juliana Hatfield fans. Between songs lived a silence that only the highest regard and respect can command; it stemmed from a shared eagerness to somehow convey our unwavering loyalty and support for someone whom we want so badly to just smile! So we collectively held our breaths for the alt. rock phenomenon and notorious loner before us when emphatic cheering wasn't in fashion, and crossed all our fingers.

- Jessy Bartlett

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Tomorrow: BUITM Interviews Chuck Palahniuk!

Tomorrow morning, Chuck Palahniuk (author of Fight Club, Choke, and more) is calling into BU In The Morning Monday for a phone interview to promote the release of Choke, his film set for release on September 26. BUITM airs five days a week from 10 a.m. to noon. Tune in!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Review: The Mars Volta @ Orpheum Theatre, 9/14

Say what you want about The Mars Volta, but they can make some music. Despite losing longtime drummer Jon Theodore and taking a much more intense approach with their new album, The Bedlam In Goliath, Sunday's show at the Orpheum Theatre proved that they are still a world-class band.

Make no mistake; the entire feel and sound of the band is different with new drummer Thomas Pridgen on the throne. However, the spirit of The Mars Volta remains the same. From the opening twenty-minute "Goliath" jam to the closing song "Ilyena", the band kept the whole crowd on its feet. The Mars Volta were unrelenting, firing on all cylinders for over an hour and a half with no breaks, maintaining constant hard rock fueled by Omar Rodriguez-Lopez's hypnotic guitar riffs, Cedric Bixler-Zavala's melodic wails, Pridgen's onslaught of drums, and a wall of sound created by keys, guitar effects, saxophone and percussion.

Singer Bixler-Zavala was superb, hitting every mind-blowingly high note in "Goliath" flawlessly, all while performing his usual mic stand-destroying and throwing in some "Dirty Water" lyrics to the bemusement of the fans. Lead guitarist and creative center Rodriguez-Lopez was reminiscent of Miles Davis; he is undoubtedly the brains of the whole operation, changing a song with a glance or a flick of his hand, even going too far as to duel with Pridgen during "Cygnus...Vismund Cygnus", starting and stopping simultaneous machine-gun riffs with him and lengthening them until you could see Pridgen grimace and grunt with strain. It's an exciting stage trick, and if it was improvised, that's even more impressive.

However, The Mars Volta is not a band into crowd-pleasing; the only words said to the crowd were a short "thank you" at the end from Bixler-Zavala. There was no encore, and mostly songs from Bedlam were played. Fans were disappointed that there was nothing at all to represent the stellar De-Loused at the Comatorium, although they did include in their Cygnus jam their mainstream breakthrough "The Widow", preserving the order from Frances the Mute. But The Mars Volta is about the music anyway, not about the show. No one leaving the theatre could complain about having heard a poor band that night. The Mars Volta truly put on one of the best concerts I personally have ever heard, and I feel bad for those that missed it.

--Dan Cardillo

Monday, September 15, 2008

Thanks again, sponsors!

WTBU would once again like to thank all of its sponsors for helping to make this week's Elliott Smith Tribute Show possible. A huge thank you goes out to:

Boston Pizza and Grill
At the show, two lucky raffle winners will be able to go back stage, meet the bands, and enjoy free catering from Boston Pizza and Grill.

The Dugout Cafe
Host of the Offical After Party!
722 Commonwealth Ave.

Uno's Chicago Bar and Grill
Located in both Kenmore Square & at Harvard Ave.

Hotel Buckminister
645 Beacon Street
(617) 236-7050

Better Place Realty
1038 Beacon Street
(617) 713-4404

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mission of Burma @ Newbury Comics, 9/12/08

In a way, I was almost disappointed that the Mission of Burma show at the Newbury Comics on Newbury Street was merely excellent. When you swallow without question stories from Our Band Could Be Your Life about how every Mission of Burma show was either terrible or transcendent, it's hard not to be let down. A part of me wanted the show to have been terrible, in light of stories like that, to prove they still had transcendence in them.

On the other hand, that part of me sucks, and the trio of middle-aged men put the dreamy young bands you see at BU Central to shame. Yes, they played the hits, such as they were. "Peking Spring", "Academy Fight Song", and, of course, "That's When I Reach For My Revolver", all made their expected appearances, all played exactly as on the records but with even higher energy (and it bears repeating, even in the same paragraph, that these are middle-aged men playing songs they wrote and recorded in their twenties).

In the band's defense, they played the hits because they didn't apparently have a setlist, and took requests from the audience, a mix of old punks and young fans who wanted to hear the anthems.

Further, they played a fair mix of old and new material, with "Fame and Fortune", off of their old Signals Calls and Marches EP, acting as a launching pad for "2wice", the opener from 2006's The Obliterati, and the disco-meets-"Thunderstruck" bass line of "Donna Sumeria", from the latter album, complementing the Gang-of-Four-on-stimulants "Outlaw", from the former one. They even dragged out "New Nails", one of the most abrasive songs from Vs., by audience request. It sounded better than the record, and that's pretty good for a band whose reputation as a touchstone of alternative rock has largely survived based on their albums.

Just about the only disappointments of the night were the crowd, which made it hard to see the band, and the lack of deviation from the recordings. Even a little improvisation is probably pretty hard in jerky post-punk, but it wouldn't have killed them to change things up a little to show they're not getting complacent as well as old.

Towards the end of the set, Miller asked the crowd if the guitar was loud enough. The crowd consensus was that everything should be louder. "You have all the time in the world to destroy your ears," he said, "and we're glad to help."

--Scott Zaramba

(setlist after the jump!)

Trem Two/1001 Pleasant Dreams/New Nails/Peking Spring/Weatherbox/That's How I Escaped My Certain Fate/Donna Sumeria/Fame and Fortune/2wice/The Enthusiast/Academy Fight Song/Prettiest Girl (?)/That's When I Reach for My Revolver/Outlaw/I Don't Wanna Go Down to the Basement
Type rest of the post here

Friday, September 12, 2008

Allison Francis & Stephanie Barrak @ The Channel Cafe, 9/6

Much buzzed about Base Trip Records kicked off the school year with acoustic performances from two of its artists at The Channel Cafe in South Boston last Saturday night. Friends and supporters of the BU-based record label gathered in the spacious cafe to eat, laugh and sing with featured performers Allison Francis and Stephanie Barrak.

Francis went first with her impassioned, youthful take on folk. Her songs tell tales of the hope and sorrow of growing up; from Portland to Boston to Massapequa, Francis related tales of her travels with her earnest, unshy vocals. She mixed favorites like "Lost on this Side" in with newer material like the solemn "In June pt. II." She ended with a cover and some help from a friend, complete with an impromptu run-through of choruses from such amusing pop hits as Shaggy's "It Wasn't Me."

Stephanie Barrak and her back-up band (someone's little brother with an avocado-looking maraca) stepped up next. Always the comedian, Barrak kept things light during her set. While she never takes herself too seriously, her songs speak for themselves: honest and simple, and always comprised of pretty melodies. She played early material like the catchy "Drift With It," which never fails to draw "this should be in a movie" comments. Barrak also debuted some new songs, one of them with her two friends harmonizing on back-up vocals to make for a particularly moving performance.

The night then turned into a free-for-all as friends pushed friends to the front to perform a song or two on guitar. If there is a common thread in the Base Trip camp, it is one of community and appreciation for music and for everyone. Be sure to check them out at a gig sometime, as they will be making appearances in and around BU throughout the year.

- Jessy Bartlett

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Meows & Muses (Monday 8am-10am)

As the sun sets on the summer, brighten your Monday's on WTBU with Sarah J. Berg and St. Jen Choi on Meows & Muses [Mon 8am-10am].

Superbly placed, early enough to brush your teeth to but not so late it spills into your classes and intense study, Meows & Muses can and will change your life.

While promising the day's greatest indie, alternative, rap, soft rock, smooth jazz, aboriginal tribal hymns, and CCM, be prepared for the year's best banter as two of Boston's wittiest kittens muse about topics like: urban poverty, the war on drunks, loneliness, campus happenings, off-campus happenings, Andrew W.K., and of course, CATS!

It'll be absolutely purrrfect.

Liz Pelly of the Pelly Twins calls it:
"Seriously Jen?! I am showering!"

As Boston University, College of Communication, sophomore Sam Inchausti says: "Wow, I can't believe they gave you show this semester."

So, check out their blog for weekly track listings, music news, and other great reads!

"Meow Meow Lullaby" - Nada Surf (2008 MDR Sputnik) Acoustic

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

WTBU @ Jammin Thursdays

If homework or studying is keeping you from checking out Jammin Thursdays, the new weekly dance parties held in the back court of the GSU, tune in to WTBU's alternate stream (visit WTBUradio.org and under "listen now", click "alternate stream") for weekly live broadcasts from 10 pm to 2 am!

Thanks to our sponsor!

WTBU would like to thank Better Place Realty for helping to sponsor our upcoming Elliott Smith Tribute show. Better Place Realty is located at 1038 Beacon Street in Brookline, MA.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Interview: Michael Runion (Elliott Show Performer)

On Thursday, September 18, WTBU will proudly present an incredible line-up of artists for its Elliott Smith tribute show. WTBU caught up with Michael Runion, the show's headliner, who talked to us about Elliott's influence. Michael Runion is an LA-based singer/songwriter who has shared the stage with Jenny Lewis, Rilo Kiley, Feist, Death Cab, and others.

How has Elliott influenced you as a musician?

I first saw Elliot in 1999 at Yo Yo A Go Go Fest in Olympia, Washington. A friend had introduced me only a week prior. He played by himself, and I was immediately a fan. When I started writing my own songs in 2003, I wanted to write songs that were sad and pretty. I think that's the strongest influence. And his guitar playing is beyond incredible. I wish I could say the same for my own.

Why do you think Elliott has proven to be so influential on musicians in general?

I think he's been influential on musicians because of his timing. He was a singer/songwriter in indie rock while people were still getting over the anti-melody of the early to mid 90's. So much stuff was distorted and abrasive--very unpolished. If you look at a lot of label rosters from that time, it's all post-fuzz, bands that weren't comfortable referencing The Beatles or Simon and Garfunkel. So I think he made it okay to be a singer/songwriter that wasn't a singer/songwriter, someone that wasn't just fingerpicking to bad diary excerpts at a coffee shop.

Why are you most excited to be playing at an elliott smith tribute show? Have you played any shows like this in the past?

I'm most excited because his music has meant a lot to me. (I also happened to record my first album at his studio, New Monkey, two years after he passed.) Either/Or is one of my favorite records ever. I hope I can do some of his songs justice. I've never played anything like this before. Very exciting...