Tuesday, December 29, 2009

WTBU 2009 YEAR-END REPORT

Out of all the fantastic new music spun this year by WTBU's DJs, here are the charts for our most-played rotation albums and tracks...


WTBU's Top 10 Most Played Albums of 2009:

10. Monsters of Folk - Monsters of Folk
9. Passion Pit - Manners
8. Built to Spill - There Is No Enemy
7. Metric - Fantasies
6. Vivian Girls - Everything Goes Wrong
5. Of Montreal - Skeletal Lamping
4. Dark Was The Night compilation
3. Girls - Album
2. Yo La Tengo - Popular Songs
1. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion

RUNNERS UP: The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love, Dan Deacon - Bromst, Why? - Eskimo Snow, Matt and Kim - Grand, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart.

WTBU's Top 10 Most Played Tracks of 2009:
10. Girls - "Hellhole Ratrace"
9. Vivian Girls - "Walking Alone at Night"
8. Monsters of Folk - "Say Please"
7. Yo La Tengo - "Here To Fall"
6. Girls - "Lust For Life"
5. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - "Higher Than the Stars"
4. Animal Collective - "Summertime Clothes"
3. Matt and Kim - "Daylight"
2. Passion Pit - "Sleepyhead"
1. Animal Collective - "My Girls"

RUNNERS UP: Sondre Lerche - "Heartbeat Radio", No Age - "Losing Feeling".

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Interview: I Love You

Last month a radio promoter sent me Bell Ord Forrest, the new album by Kansas City band I Love You. It said "RIYL These Are Powers, Abe Vigoda" and those bands are both pretty cool. On their MySpace, I saw they'd be playing in December at Whitehaus, who I also like. Then I actually listened to their album, and it was really fun. I unfortunately had something else going on when they played Boston but was intrigued enough to interview the band about their music, Kansas City, and their Boston show. I totally recommend reading their responses and downloading that free mp3 down there!

How would you explain I Love You to someone who has never heard your music?
Art punk African house, or art punk African kraut rock dub punk. Loud obnoxious and weird.

What is I Love You's mission?
Be Your Own Boss

What is it like to live and play music in Kansas City?
Living here can be great. It's extremely inexpensive and there's a huge/supportive art scene. Lots of great things are happening here now because of bad things that happened earlier. Land here has always been cheap and at one point the cheapest in the nation; therefore, white flight hit us hard and now Kansas City is one of the most vacant cities in the nation. But that also means that half of the people I know bought a house or warehouse space for about $1000-$3000 at the land auction or through land trust. Urban farming is huge. Really though, the greatest thing about this city is that if you want to do something and need help there is always someone willing to help you out and that's how most of KC's finer points survive, like the bike collective or co-op housing.

If you had to make a 5-song mixtape of essential bands from Kansas City, what 5 bands would be on there?
Abbe Findley, Expo 70, New American Trance, Ad Astra Akrestra, Gross Plank

How was your recent Boston show?
It was a lot of fun! We were able to play with our friends in the band CAVE and the Whitehaus people are super nice. I've (Justin) have played with I Love You in Boston once before Charlie had joined the band. We played at P.A.'s Lounge. It was a nice place, but the show was not too awesome. Are you aware that the 'P.A.' stands for Portuguese American?

What were some high and low points of your recent tour?
Low: Having a cup of tequila go into a laptop and being told it would cost $1255 to fix it. High: Fixing the computer with a $5 can of electronic connection cleaner.

Free mp3: "The Colloquialism is simply Gas" - I Love You

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Taken Out of Context on Blabbermouth.net!

As we mentioned before, Josh Friedman of the Metal/Talk show Taken Out of Context interviewed the guitarist from Killswitch Engage last Thursday night. His interview was picked up by Roadrunner Records and Blabbermouth.net! Check out the audio recording of the interview here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Get to Know: Inspector 22

Free MP3: Inspector 22 - "Hey Man"

Inspector 22 is the Chapel Hill, NC-based project of Todd Emmert, who has been making music under this name since 1997. He has released several records, including 15-20 cassettes, an avant-garde a cappella album, a best-of album, and various others. His most recent album is the home-recorded Hey Man, I Understand, which was released on October 13, 2009 via Carrboro, NC-based label Odessa Records. Todd answered some questions for WTBU about his new album, North Carolina, and recording cassettes.

How would you describe Inspector 22 to someone unfamiliar with your music?
I would describe Inspector 22 as "home-recorded-avant-garde-folk-rock". Sometimes pretty sounding, sometimes not.

What is your favorite track on "Hey Man I Understand"? What is it about?
"Of Broom And Bride" is my favorite. It's about how not having a wife can make you feel sad and alone and fed up.

What is it like to live and play music in Chapel Hill? Is there a supportive DIY music community there?
Living in Chapel Hill is nice. It can be real laid back and easy going. There are quite a few people who play music in the area, so finding people to play music with is relatively easy. There is a supportive music community here, quite a few clubs, bars, and house shows to play and people that are genuinely interested in hearing your music.

Who are some of your favorite bands/artists from Chapel Hill?
My favorite bands from the Triangle area are Waumiss, Spider Bags, and Whatever Brains.

Your initial recordings were on cassettes. Why did you record to cassettes instead of pressing CDs or vinyl? What are the benefits to recording to cassette?
Cassettes for me were the cheapest way to duplicate and trade music with friends at the time. Cassettes can provide a different sonic and textural atmosphere than CD's or vinyl, sometimes a murky and more intimate vibe. All formats have their advantages and disadvantages I guess. Now I record mostly with a digital 8-track that I am very happy with.

How does recording cassettes affect your ability to distribute music? Why do you think so many artists are ditching CDs and going straight to vinyl/mp3s?
When I made cassettes, I really had no problem distributing them because the editions were all so small. Distributing the music was more dependent on postal rates than the listening format. A vinyl record seems more fun to interact with than a CD to me, cassettes seem better as well. CD's can seem cold and disposable sometimes. Adding a digital download of an album to the vinyl just seems like the decent thing to do.

If this sounds intriguing, read more about Inspector 22 and other cool North Carolina bands on the Odessa Records website, and/or tune in to Left of the Dial on WTBU next semester, where Inspector 22 will certainly be getting some spins.

Free MP3: Inspector 22 - "Hey Man"

Thursday, December 3, 2009

In-Studio Performance: REDEEMER'S CROSS on Re:defined, Fri 12-2a.m.


Tune in tomorrow night (Friday) to RE:defined from midnight to 2 a.m., to hear a live, in-studio interview and on-air performance by Redeemer's Cross, a new Christian band out of New Jersey!

Review: Russian Circles @ Middle East Upstairs, 12/2

Before you assume you would never like a metal band, consider seeing Russian Circles live. They’ll take you on a unique, orchestrated journey—without any lyrics. The instrumental metal trio from Chicago headlined a sold-out show at Cambridge’s Middle East Upstairs Wednesday night.

Hailing from Louisville, The Phantom Family Halo opened the show with “Blackouts and Runaways” off their double LP entitled “Monoliths and These Flowers Never Die” which came out in October. The song’s eerie, monotone verses are grow increasingly ominous when vocalist and drummer whisper lyrics like “saw you dancing in your dreams wearing a dead man’s shirt; saw you sleeping like a queen, your crown was covered in dirt.” Their music can be described as rock laced with LSD—meshing psychedelic bells and pumping whammy bars with classic 1970’s battle cry, rock chants. This oxymoronic juxtaposition results in surprisingly catchy music with a strong percussion backbone.

Fellow Louisville natives, Young Widows, followed with a more direct metal sound. Steady, pounding drumbeats and screeching guitars exemplified the rougher and heavier sound Young Widows aggressively bring to the table. The epitome of this loaded style was their performance of “Old Skin;” in which, lung-emptying screaming and almost mechanical guitar sound sufficiently riled up the crowd and the hardcore head banging ensued. Once Young Widows finished, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by lyrics being screamed into my face, rampant crying guitars, and the constant swelling of the drums thumping.

Russian Circles provided the pleasantly surprising alleviation from the smothering math rock of Young Widows. Their music was refreshingly narrative and it constantly developed into something bigger and better within each song by itself.

Their songs are epically progressive, beginning like an elementary, dreamy lullaby evolving into a full-blown, melodious medley. Russian Circles take their listeners through the transformation from a simplistic, intimate moment into a fully developed symphony. The band was like a three-member orchestra, conducted by the pulsing energy of the audience. Intricate guitar riffs, packed drum patterns, mile-a-minute bass lines, and looping all fused together seamlessly to create a musical ensemble much like a classical orchestra. A combination of this synthesis and the music’s natural ability to connect with the live audience without the band having to utter a single word on stage is the pivotal factor that makes them unmistakably more than just another metal band.

So don’t deem off metal until you hear to Russian Circles play live. Their newest album, “Geneva,” frankly cannot stand up to their live versions of their title track and “Malko.” As a member of the audience accurately said, “The thing about falling in love with live bands is that listening to their album almost always breaks your heart.”

-Renée Trilivas

Video: WTBU Presents The Static Jacks @ the Middle East

Check out this video from Tuesday night's cosponsored show at the Middle East, featuring New Jersey band THE STATIC JACKS! More videos to follow!

The Static Jacks - My Parents Lied from Peisin Yang Lazo on Vimeo.

Killswitch Engage on Taken out of Context Tonight, 8-10pm!



Tune in to Taken out of Context from 8-10 p.m. EST tonight to hear an on-air interview with Joel Stroetzel, guitarist of Killswitch Engage!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Two of the founding members of Whitehaus Family Record are guest DJing on WTBU this week


This Wednesday, Atomfoam and B-Law of the Whitehaus Family Record will be guest DJs on American Folk Festival from 2-4 p.m. Atomfoam and B-Law are two of the founding members of Whitehaus, a Jamica Plain-based community of musicians, poets, and artists, who host shows and other happenings at their house.

Atomfoam and B-Law will be spinning tracks by Whitehaus regulars, talking about the origins and history of the Whitehaus, and playing some tunes for us live in-studio! It should be an exciting, fun, and interesting two hours, so be sure to tune in at 2 p.m. via wtburadio.org!

Learn more about the Whitehaus Family Record at whitehausfamilyrecord.com.

Friday, November 27, 2009

WTBU Presents: The Static Jacks with Nightmare of You, 11/30 @ Middle East Downstairs

Nothing like partying on a Monday night.
DEFINITELY nothing like partying on the first Monday back from Thanksgiving break.

Click here to find out more about the Static Jacks and hear some of their music.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

WTBU's Night at BU For Show!




What better way to start back after Thanksgiving than an impromptu jam?

WTBU is hosting an open mic night at BU Central as a part of the BU For Show series on Tuesday, DECEMBER 1 @ 7-10 pm.

Interested in performing? Contact liveevents@wtburadio.org.


For more information and to RSVP (not necessary to attend, but you know, just for a reminder!), check out the Facebook event.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Review: Alternative Press' Fall Ball @ HOB, 11/5





Each year, Alternative Press magazine forms a tour of the music industry’s current noteworthy rising acts. Although that tour usually rolls around every spring, 2009 gave AltPress so much good music, they decided to create a special tour called “The Fall Ball,” stopping at the Boston House of Blues on Thursday, November 5. With the show approaching capacity, the night was filled with a highly energetic crowd and an even more energetic lineup for a night to remember.

UK up-and-comers You Me At Six opened the show, owning the stage for their first time playing in Boston. The band found the exact balance of hard rock, guitar riffs, and screaming with their catchy melodies and easy-going swagger to please many ears throughout the set. Although the band had few singing along (simply because many haven’t been exposed to the band yet), audience members’ ears perked up as they went into a cover of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face.” As they closed out the set with their catchiest tunes, “Save It For The Bedroom” and “Finders Keepers,” many knew that You Me At Six would be a name to watch out for.

The Secret Handshake kept up the momentum as the audience got down to their pop-inspired dance-rock set. As the only apparent dance act of the night, The Secret Handshake stood apart from other acts with its fusion of dance beats and rock sounds. Their covers of Skee-Lo’s “I Wish” and Miley Cyrus’ “Party In The USA” added some extra excitement to their already upbeat set.

In what was unarguably the most hardcore set of the night, California rockers Set Your Goals lit up the stage. The band brought a different kind of energy to the night as mosh pits popped up around all parts of the floor. While following a pop punk and a dance act, this energy brought a new element to the show. Midway through their set, the band changed and came out in Hurley T-Shirts supporting their Living The Dream foundation.

Then, it came time for co-headliner, Mayday Parade. After recently releasing their new album, Anywhere But Here, the band found a good mix between new songs and old favorites for their set, getting the crowd to sing louder than they had done all night. The feel-good vibes generating throughout Mayday’s music jumped off the stage filling the audience making every body dance and move. Members got the sense that their songs came alive before them as the band brought out the right amount of energy at fitting times. Overall, Mayday Parade proved how they gained the co-headlining spot on the tour.

The Academy Is…, the other Fall Ball headlining act, closed out the night with a fifty-minute set making the tour a memorable experience overall. While many criticize the band for making their latest full-release, Fast Times At Barrington High, somewhat lighter than previous material, these critics have not seen TAI’s live set. The breakout songs from Fast Times fit in well with the overall set. Just like my previous TAI experiences, the band’s stage presence blew the audience away. The expressions William Beckett (lead singer) gives while performing keeps eyes peeled to the stage, and the energy from the rest of the band keeps them glued there.

The energy felt throughout the night from The Academy Is… and Mayday Parade, as well as the other acts, previews a year of high energy in the music scene. As rumors already swirl over Alternative Press’ spring tour, the Fall Ball made its mark as an exciting start to the music of 2010.


-Adam Azahari

Review: Medeski Martin and Wood @ HOB, 11/13

As I entered the House of Blues on November 13th, Medeski Martin and Wood sat unassumingly on stage, practically dwarfed by their setup – John Medeski hunched over a gigantic keyboard contraption, Billy Martin tinkering with a loaded drum kit, and Chris Wood between them, upright bass in hand. Once the trio started to play, however, opening with a lively rendition of “Flat Tires,” there was nothing low-key about their presence. MMW played an electrifying show, rocking the House of Blues until almost 1:00 a.m.

The group moved seamlessly between songs, deftly swinging between jazz and funk in their extended jams. MMW teased the audience with these improvisations, dipping into arrhythmic, discordant sections that kept the audience on their toes before melting into yet another groove, during songs such as “Is There Anybody Here That Loves My Jesus.” The constant motion of the band’s performance kept the crowd’s attention riding high all night.

I was constantly bowled over by each of the members’ musicianship—together, Medeski, Martin and Wood delivered an incredibly tight performance, but they each shone solo as well. Billy Martin wowed the crowd with his drum solo following “Agmation,” while John Medeski’s work on the keyboard was nothing short of virtuosic. Chris Wood was impressive on both double bass and bass guitar; I was particularly excited to watch him playing slide bass, a unique and funky touch.

Though MMW played for well over two hours, the audience only seemed to grow in excitement throughout the show; even the encore, “F*ck You Guys” had the crowd in a frenzy. Medeski, Martin and Wood put on an impressive show that’s sure to be one of the most memorable at the House of Blues this year.


-Lana Tkachenko

Saturday, November 14, 2009

WTBU & the WRC present: Open Mic Night


Come one, come all! WTBU and the Women's Resource Center at BU are teaming up to host Open Mic Night on this Thursday, November 19 at 7 p.m.

All artists are welcome. Sing a song, read your poetry, do magic?... Just do it up right! If you would like to perform, please give a shout on the Facebook event wall, send us a message, or sign up at 6:50 p.m. before the show begins.

The evening will take place at the WRC, in the basement of the GSU (775 Comm Ave) and will be hosted by WTBU's/WRC's own Jessy Bartlett!

ALL are welcome in this comfy space and we hope to see you there for a great night of music and fun!

Review: Bassnectar @ the Paradise, 11/10



I found myself standing in the middle of a sweat bath. As I turned to check out the crowd around me, I noticed a girl crouched on the ground next to me, with her hands touching the floor. Out of nowhere she yelled, “it feels like the floor is going to cave!”

Earlier, as I walked into the Paradise on Tuesday, November 10th, it seemed so serene—with only a few people smoking cigarettes and the bouncers flirting with the occasional passer-by—but on the inside a massive party was brewing. The entire floor of the Paradise was packed, making it impossible to move without elbowing someone covered in glow sticks. The stage emanated light and the floor shook from the sheer force of the bass. Who was the cause for all this madness? Lorin Ashton, otherwise known as Bassnectar. Bassnectar has grown in popularity, and his new album, Cozza Frenzy, has created fresh buzz within his fan base. He played to a sold-out crowd.

When trying to explain Bassnectar’s music it might be easy to compare him to the well-known DJ Girl Talk—both sample songs that are known for their catchy, dance-heavy beats. Bassnectar, however, has a unique method to creating his songs that focuses more on the underlying bass track of a song, rather than creating a mash-up like Girl Talk. His sound centers on heavy tempos that you can feel throughout your entire body. At a Bassnectar show, it is impossible to just stand around and bob your head; Bassnectar will force you to dance—for hours. This show was no different. For over two and a half hours, the crowd was enveloped by the Bass.

Bassnectar’s show at the Paradise was incredibly free format. He remixed old and new songs alike, in addition to playing entire tracks from his albums. “Cozza Frenzy” stood out during the show. As described by Lorin, the song is “an electro based song with a dup step beat and heavy vocals.” Bassnectar shows are addictively fun. It is possible to see him again and again and never get bored because of his huge repertoire of music. After getting through the playlist he had made for the show around midnight he announced, “You are all welcome to take the train home if you like but if you want stay I’m going to keep playing.” Not even one person stopped dancing or turned to leave. Bassnectar kept the crowd moving for another 45 minutes.




It is evident by watching Bassnectar on stage that his music means a lot to him. He uses projectors during his shows, which present not only "trippy" or hallucinatory pictures but pictures of soldier’s abroad, death, capitalism etc. The images are a powerful compliment to the music, exposing the audience to issues that Bassnectar would like them to think about throughout the show. During my interview with him, Lorin mentioned several times that he would like his music to lead to a social movement. He received a bachelor’s degree in community studies and uses his music as a vessel for change—offering an alternative to a faith based perspective. The next step for Bassnectar is convincing listeners to harvest the energy they get at shows to make a difference in their communities. To participate in Bassnectar’s community, and to download his new album, visit bassnectar.net.

-Lana Tkachenko

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Concert Review: 11/4 Justin Nozuka @ the Paradise



Paradise Rock Club featured Ontario native and soulful crooner, Justin Nozuka, on November 4. His current tour is an attempt for the singer to test out some of his new music on the crowd to see how receptive the audiences are to them.

Justin had two openers lined up to play before his set. First were Elizabeth and the Catapults hailing from Brooklyn, whose folk inspired melodies and infectious choruses attracted much crowd involvement. She showcased songs in which she sings about being "vertically challenged adults," boyfriends who wish their girlfriends were their mothers, and not taking yourself not too seriously. Her voice was soft, but soared unexpectedly when she would occasionally hit those high notes, sending the crowd into a state of shock. Her refreshing alternative styled music was a lovely way to start the night.

The next opener was Sam Bradley, a 23-year-old English native whose band hails from Vancouver. Perhaps you've heard the song "Never Think" sung by Robert Pattinson in the film, Twilight during a dinner scene between R-Pattz and Kristen Stewart. Perhaps you haven't heard it. Perhaps it's for the better. His set seemed to have dragged on for quite a bit. His musical style sounded like Americana folk rock, if such a combination is even fathomable coming from a Brit. Unfortunately his songs live sounded like a conglomeration of the same thing.




After waiting for quite some time and enduring the two opening acts for nearly two hours, Justin Nozuka finally graced the stage ever so charmingly. The soft-spoken 21-year-old commanded the attention of the audience before the lights were even turned on. A single candle was lit near the drums and an ambient environment was channeled. Each song had an instrumental opening in which he would stand in the center of the stage with his head leaned back directed toward the ceiling. It was as though the vibrations from his acoustic guitar and the slow vibrations produced by the wa-wa pedal from his electric guitarist were consuming his entire being. It wasn't until after his fourth song that he finally approached the microphone and thanked everyone for coming out to his show. He then explained how earlier in the day he had a freak skateboarding accident in front of a huge crowd of people. His awkward and timid nature was quite endearing for the entirety of the evening. He played eight new songs all of which sounded as though they had great potential. The rest were songs from his debut album Holly that was released in 2007. He is working on his sophomore album entitled, Gray. The release date is still tentative.

-Stephanie Ciotta

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Concert Review: Thievery Corporation 10/26 @ House of Blues


As I was studying for a midterm on Monday evening, October 26th, I seriously considered skipping the Thievery Corporation show later that night. It was cold and drizzling out, and I was comfortably settled on the couch with a nice warm cup of coffee. Then I remembered last semester when I saw Thievery Corporation at House of Blues; the band had blown me away. Though it took a lot of energy, I somehow dragged myself out the house. As soon as I arrived at the House of Blues, the scent of incense and the first few notes of Garden State hit “Lebanese Blonde” enveloped my senses.

The band had a similar demeanor that they did last year: relaxed yet with an uncanny ability to make the crowd want to dance. [While Thievery is notable for having a rotating ensemble of players, the main cast of characters stayed mostly the same. Founders Rob Garza and Eric Hilton hung toward the back of the stage, mostly serving as DJ’s, with two drummers were on either side of them. Two horn players and a bassist completed the band, while a variety of vocalists performed solos. One major difference between the two shows is that instead of the two Jamaican main singers the band performed with last time, this performance featured a vocalist who toured with Femi Kuti this summer.

Thievery Corporation is known for their funky Brazilian jams, and these definitely came through. The band seemed to be having a good time and was particularly energized. They got they involved the audience into many songs by encouraging them to sing along. I was surprised that although they played hits like “Radio Retaliation” and “Amerimacka,” there was not much deviation from the show they performed in Boston in February. The lighting and backdrop were the same, and they even played the same songs. Thievery Corporation has not come out with a new album so I was surprised that they even went on tour. I thoroughly enjoyed the show but the entire time I felt like I was experiencing déjà vu.

Even though the show felt familiar, there were still a few songs that stood out. At one point, bassist Ashish Vyas sat down in the middle of the stage and began playing his bass upright. As always, he played without shoes, and seemed really into the music. The bass was so distorted that the audience could feel the bass vibrating in their chest. Vyas was a highlight of the show—his presence is incredibly animated on stage. In addition to Vyas, another exciting part of the show were the performances from vocalist LuLu, who sang “La Femme Parralle” and “Sweet Tides,” two hits of Thievery Corporation’s newest album, Radio Retaliation. The crowd seemed delighted with her tunes and she got the most applause at the end of the set. Overall, Thievery Corporation played a great show; unfortunately, it was a show that I had seen before.

-Lana Tkachenko

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Kids and Guitars, 10/24/09

Saturday night at the Democracy Center in Harvard Square, Mama Bird Recording Company put on a sea-songs-themed hootenanny.

The event, which had previously found its home in an attic in Allston, was held in a VFW-hall-style, historic, public space. And it was pouring. The rain made it difficult to trek all the way over to Cambridge, but it was well worth it. The dim chandeliers with electric candles and wood paneling lent itself perfectly to the sea-inspired folk. Acts like Vikesh Kapoor, Old Hannah, Barna Howard and Spitzer Space Telescope, were coupled with other kids who just wanted to sing some songs, touting their guitars, voices, violins, and banjos. Theses acts, associated with Mama Bird Recording, put on fantastic performances. Red-faced and shaking Spitzer Space Telescope belted out (a cappella) a powerful traditional sea shanty. Old Hannah performed some originals that loosely fit the theme. Vikesh and Barna also put on solid performances. And what's more, there were some gems performed by nameless kids who showed up just with a song to play.

The next hootenanny could be anytime and anywhere. You’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for posters at Espresso Royale, ask around with those kids who ride fixies and wear flannel, or ask that cute girl who you’ve always had a crush on. You know, the one that wears all those grandma dresses and rings. You always see her smoking cigarettes outside Allston Café and Urban Renewal. She’ll know where it is.

For now, you can catch Vikesh Kapoor at the YMCA theatre (820 Mass. Ave.) October 26 with Faces on Film at 7 p.m.

-Joe DiFazio

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Music of "Entourage"

"I put in work and watch my status escalate,” rapper Guru, the vocal half of Gang Starr, proclaims as Vince and the boys walk in to a Bentley showroom in the first season of HBO’s wildly successful comedy Entourage (Episode 2, “The Review”). Of course, Guru had no intention of summarizing in 1998 the premise of a television show that didn’t premiere until 2004. The producers—or editors or sound engineers or whoever gets the enviable job of choosing a television show’s soundtrack—however, have their ears on the pulse of the music scene. They also have a time machine, because they have a knack for finding songs from various eras. By not limiting themselves to whatever the top 10 charts say that month, they can find whatever sound fits the scene best.

That’s not to say Entourage doesn’t date itself. Years from now, when our children look through and watch our DVD collection from the ‘00s, they will laugh when they hear both “Hey Ya!” by OutKast and “Cold Hard Bitch” by Jet in the pilot episode. They will also cringe when they hear “Ms. New Booty” is Turtle’s ringtone (“Crash and Burn”). In order to keep the show current and hip, the soundtrack needs to have some of those regrettable track choices.

Entourage, since its inception, has always had a strong relationship to music. Unlike a more serious show in which the entire score is orchestrated and rehearsed and arranged and composed, Entourage is more like a Quentin Tarantino (Death Proof comes to mind) movie in that most, if not all, the music comes from prerecorded pop songs. This gives a facet to the show that further engages the music nerds in the audience. I remember watching my first episode of Entourage in the summer of 2006 and feeling very proud for recognizing Jane’s Addiction as the performers of the theme song. I’ve also been known to send my friends very excited texts saying things like, “Holy balls, The Cool Kids just came on Entourage!” Not only does it make me feel cool to recognize a little-known group on a big-name show, but it also makes the show look very “with-it” to include something like that. Street cred all around!

Entourage, beyond using music well, has been a unique source for new music. In season three, Turtle became the manager for an up-and-coming rapper, Saigon. Saigon is an actual rapper who got a gig on Entourage to play a fictionalized version of himself, illustrating how his manager helps him become popular. Unfortunately, even after being on the show and putting his raps in the soundtrack, Saigon is still a relative unknown and it appears as though his fifteen minutes are over. He did prove, however, as Turtle explains to Ari, “All rappers act!”

Saigon isn’t the only rapper to have a debut on Entourage. Before Episode 53, “No Cannes Do,” America had not heard the song “Good Life (feat. T-Pain)” by Kanye West. To promote the album “Graduation,” Mr. West made a cameo. Thanks to him, and his superior thoughtfulness and success, the boys can go to the Cannes Film Festival on ‘Ye’s private jet; apparently he and Turtle are close friends. However, debuting “Good Life” on Entourage was a smart move; the show becomes an important player in pop culture, and Kanye caters to a target market.

In addition, HBO’s website offers an episode-by-episode breakdown of the songs used and in which part of the episode. If you hear a track you like, you can jump on your laptop and see that the song played during the end credits of Episode 74 (“The Sorkin Notes”) was Yeasayer’s “Sunrise,” another musical sighting (hearing? listening?) that triggered one of my blast texts.

Which brings us to the end credits. In any motion picture, from TV commercials to feature films, the music in the background tells the audience how to feel about what’s happening on screen. The score sets the tone. Think about it: would Up have made you cry without sad orchestration in the background? The music adds another emotional dimension, and nowhere is this truer than in Entourage. Every episode, almost without exception, ends on only a handful of feelings: happy and auspicious, dubious or doubtful, or completely dejected. Usually, the characters will say something that illustrates this emotion, there will be a short pause while the characters look at each other, and then a corresponding song will play over the entirety of the final credits. It’s an excellent formula, because no matter how you feel, it makes you want to watch next week. If you’re happy, you want to keep that going. If you’re worried about Vince’s next career move, or how he and E are getting along, then you want to keep watching next week to see if things get better. All these thoughts are set to a song that tells you how to feel. For example, when we learn that Vince may not get to act in “Smokejumpers” because Ed Norton has the lead and the project is fronted by a man who hates him, we’re a little bummed (“Fire Sale”). But then we’re totally skeptical when Cold War Kids’s “Something Is Not Right With Me” comes on and we hear singing that’s just off-key enough to be off-putting, rather than grating.

Season 6, the most recent iteration, has continued the show’s tradition of excellent music, crossing boundaries of genre, chronology, and obscurity. Some artists included this year: Eazy-E, The Cure, The Verve, Santigold, LL Cool J, The Buzzcocks, Paul McCartney, Van Halen, Three Dog Night, NWA, Testo, Vi, Yeasayer, Cut Chemist, Aqua, Pop Levi, Marvin Gaye, Andre Allen Anjos, The Stooges, and, of course, Michael Jackson. Admittedly, there are some obscure names on this list, and there are people who I’ve honestly never heard of before. However, even those little-known artists are talented. I’m not sure if I’ve consciously said to myself this season “Damn, that scene was cool, but that song sucked!” That only happened when Gnarls Barkley’s dismal cover of The Violent Femmes’s “Gone Daddy Gone” came up during season 3 (“Vegas Baby, Vegas!”).

Unfortunately, if you were to go on Amazon and find the CD soundtrack for Entourage, you’d be disappointed. Because of the nature of ongoing TV series, the official soundtrack for the show is lacking. Only 14 tracks long, HBO released the disc in 2007, so it’s already several seasons behind. The show’s songbook is too vast to be released on a compilation CD. To truly nerd out and appreciate the show’s repertoire, even a casual viewer will need the DVDs and an Internet connection, perhaps with a bookmark to Wikipedia.

Entourage is not the kind of show to jump the shark or start declining in quality as it gets older. This is partly because of HBO: being a premium network, it can afford to cancel shows that are still going strong, such as Rome. The feeling is that more important than keeping a show running is making sure it stays a quality show. However, Entourage is also too tight a show to slip, and it is too broad in scope. The characters are well rounded, the show is exceptionally well-written, and there will never be a dearth of things for our five main characters to do in the heart of Hollywood and the movie industry, which is itself vast enough to fuel a series such as Entourage. Not only will the show continue to be great television, but its soundtrack will never be exhausted. Music, new and old, mainstream and indie, will continue to “put in work” for Entourage, always creating another level to the narrative of the lives of Vince and the boys.

- Adam Lauria

Friday, October 16, 2009

Artist Profile: Allison Francis

Taken from the author's blog, The Fleshy Fresh.


She stands idle and alone at the center of a black stage with an acoustic Fender six-string around her neck. The flashiest apparel she wears is her pair of red and white Nike kicks that walk life into the rest of her otherwise plain outfit: a white T-shirt and jeans. Her physical appearance is unassuming and pure. The look on her face is half mystified and half terrified as she looks out at a sea of people crowding the basement of BU Central. And then she sings, and the depth within Allison Francis is released.

Her voice is rough, like a smoker who has lit enough cigarettes to make her voice warm and scratchy, but not enough to warrant a laryngectomy. She remains humble when the first song ends, saying thank you between sips of her water bottle before quickly launching into the next folk tune.

It is this simple and grateful attitude that sets her apart from an indie-alternative Boston music scene that spins around music snobbery and elitism. What Francis has that the rest are lacking: authenticity.

Many artists these days spend their time trying to convince other people how ironic their lives are because of how misunderstood they are, says Conor Loughman, the founder of Base Trip Records who signed Francis in the summer of 2008. ”There’s a hipster folk scene but I don’t think many of them actually like folk. They’re just trying to be cool,” he said.

The 21-year-old folk singer-songwriter will not admit to being better than the other musicians of her genre, because that would not be her style, and that would not fit her description here. ”I think it’s so funny that people take themselves so seriously,” Francis said, and that is about all she has to say on the matter.

Loughman met Allison Francis in a dining hall while she was telling people about her music. While some artists would waste money and time coming up with fancy promotional artwork and designs, she was handing out pieces of paper torn from her notebook with her MySpace address written on them, Loughman said.

In some ways, though, Francis fits the mold perfectly. She presents an alternative image, but only as though it was an accident. She fantasizes about fronting a flashy indie band but worries that it would come across disingenuous. And after spending the entire summer collaborating with other songwriters and playing in parks in and around Boston, she said that she has found new confidence in more natural song writing. ”It’s the only way I can really get high these days,” she said.

Despite a more sophisticated musical style and significant street cred among other musicians, Francis is not ashamed to say that she started playing guitar seven years ago because of an obsession with Avril Lavigne, someone to whom most people would not admit listening.

The paradox is thus: she is as much a part of the hipster, indie-folk-rock scene as horn-rimmed glasses and plaid t-shirts, but she sets herself apart from it with her down to earth perspective. The odd thing, Loughman said, is that she is secretly confident. ”It’s this weird contrast where she doesn’t think she is better than anyone, but she still knows she is awesome,” he said.

Stephanie Barrak, another singer signed to Base Trip Records describes it as subdued determination. Francis is able to express and share her talent to other people, without being overpowering. ”Some people whore their music out, but she doesn’t do that,” Barrak said.

The simple fact is that Francis fits into the indie-music scene because that is where she has made friends and set up her life. She enjoys the niche of artists that has cropped up around Boston University, but wishes that there was more of an overlap between genres. ”Most people here appreciate good home grown music,” she said, and that is enough to satisfy her.

It is clear, though, that Francis” relationship with music is more than one of appreciation. ”I think music can connect with people in their soul almost. It connects with emotions that they’re not necessarily even conscious of or in touch with,” she said.

Jennifer Brown, the music director at WTBU, Boston University’s student-run radio station, said that Francis offers more than the average indie musician and has the opportunity to fill a void in the music industry that is lacking a female folk musician like her. ”She captures something real about the way human beings are,” she said. ”She’s not afraid to show who she is in her lyrics and to put it all out there.”

Francis does not have much to say about all of this except that she has nothing to hide. ”I do not usually try and disguise what I am saying in my songs.” She insists that music will always be a part of her life and if she is able to make a career out of it then that is just an added bonus. “I just want to make music that connects on a really personal level with people.”

Back at BU Central, the cluster of people who have gathered to see Francis play sit on the floor in total silence, taking in every word out of her mouth and every chord from her guitar. The room is comfortable, like a gathering of friends enjoying some honest music. ”I liked that one,” someone comments between songs. Clearly, connecting with people is something that she can check off of her bucket list.

-Joey Gerber

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Big D and the Kids Table on Speak Easy, Girl!


Big D and the Kids Table will be on Speak Easy, Girl tomorrow (Thursday, October 15) from 2-4 p.m!



The Allston-based ska band will be talking about their do-it-yourself work ethic, their rise in popularity and that good ol' student newspaper we all call the Freep! Big D and the Kids Table is playing a two-night set at the Paradise on October 29th and 30th.

Review: Islands Open for Psychedelic Furs @ HoB, 10/10/09

Syndicated from the writer's blog, http://archipelagogo.wordpress.com/!


Dear Nick (Thorburn, Diamonds, whatever),

Listen. I know you're really talented. I've accepted the sad truth that you know it, too. The Unicorns were genius. Return to the Sea was a turning point of epic proportions in the lives of college radio stations everywhere. I loved and defended Arm's Way even in the face of cynical critics who ripped it to shreds, claiming you "sold out." And I still hold that Islands' show at the El Rey during the summer of 2008 was hands-down one of the best of the year.

We get it: you're great.

I was even going to accept Vapours as the obligatory Under the Blacklight album of the band's evolution. But now...now, I have a serious bone to pick with you, and all over a simple, easily avoidable issue: your shitty attitude.

You're not the only musician to ever gain a cult-like following. In fact, I'd say there are a few other musicians who are worshipped a bit more for their songwriting abilities. So when even your live performances, which require a stage presence and an act that demands entertaining qualities, it's disturbing that you seem to find your emotional funk wildly adorable to everyone in the room.

Nick Diamonds

Not only could we see on Saturday that you were not in the mood (yes, yes; we saw your tweet about having had a rough show in New York the night before), but it translated into an egotistical barrier that completely alienated 99% of the people in the room, including those (of whom I am a part) who came specifically to see Islands.

You did not want to be at the House of Blues, and sure, that's okay. But for god's sake, you're wearing white cutoff gloves with rhinestones you probably bejeweled yourself. ACT. And if you can't act, at least remember why you are a musician, because I pray (to whomever will hear it) that you didn't pick up a guitar because you wanted to be a god--you started a band because YOU LOVE MUSIC. So next time, when you feel like hating yourself and everyone else, don't let it affect the jam. "Swans" was great, because you and the gang actually seemed like you were enjoying yourselves. But honestly, I could've done without the rest of the zombified, dispassionate set. Where's the heart, Nick?

I don't want to see you fail. I know there's another Return to the Sea in you guys. And I know that your attitude can actually be kind of charming when you balance it with musicianship. That's why I say this. Because I can tell you that, even though I'm not one of them yet, there's a decent number of people who are quickly turning their backs on The Redeemable Nick Diamonds and His Band Called Islands. Do something about it.

Very sincerely yours,

Devon Maloney

Blues Traveler @ Paradise, 10/6/09



When I saw that Blues Traveler was going to play the Paradise Rock Club on October 6th I immediately did a double-take. I remember hearing hits like “Run Around” and “Hook” when I was a little kid but I didn’t realize that the band still toured. Intrigued, I bought a ticket right away.

The show kicked off with “Back in the Day,” off their sixth album, Bridge. John Popper wailed away on the harmonica, showcasing his remarkable skills. If anything, his playing has improved since the late 90s. He continued to showcase his technique on “How You Remember It,” a song from the most recent album, North Hollywood Shoutout. The band focused on heavy jams and fluid transitions between songs. They brought a specialized sound and lighting rig, transforming the cozy and comfortable Paradise into a full-sized amphitheater, which added to the intensity of the show.

Toward the middle of the set, Blues Traveler surprised the crowd by playing Sublime’s “What I Got.” As the audience began to sing along, I realized that everybody in the crowd was at least 30 years old. This contradicted what bassist Tad Kinchla told me during our interview last week about the band building up a younger fan base. I saw maybe five other people with “X’s” on their hands during the night. While reminiscing about their teenage years, a packed Paradise crooned “lovin’s what I got.” After the Sublime cover and taking an on-stage cigarette break, the band transitioned into popular four song “Run Around.” Even though “Run Around” seemed to please the crowd, I couldn’t get their smoke break out of my head. Why was it okay for a band to smoke on stage during a show but people were getting kicked out of the audience for doing the same? Despite my mild irritation, “Run Around” still brought back memories of driving in the car when I was little and of 90s TV specials, making me happily nostalgic. “Run Around” then transitioned into another song—“Support Your Local Emperor” off Blues Traveler’s second album, Travelers and Thieves (1991).

After “Support Your Local Emperor,” the band shifted to a new song about American troops, “Borrowed Time.” Tad had mentioned that the band consistently performs on USO tours and supports the troops. Although I found the song to be a bit slow, it was a worthy testament to military troops nonetheless. After a few more slow songs, Blues Traveler began to play “I Want You to Want Me.” The crowd roared. I had never imagined that a blues version of the song would sound good but it actually worked because the song was still recognizable. At this point in the night, I noticed many people began to leave the show. While Blues Traveler had opened playing to an almost full house, by the end of the show about a quarter of the audience had left. The concert was on a Tuesday, so I assume people either had work in the morning or Blues Traveler did not quite meet the standards the audience had held them to in the 90s.

The final song of the first set was “Hook,” one of Blues Traveler’s most popular hits. It pleased the crowd, and me. Everyone was singing and dancing along to John Popper’s exceptional harmonica solos. This would have been a perfect place for the band to end their set but like every classic 90s band, Blues Traveler came back for an encore. After a brief break, the band came on to perform last song, “The Path,” off of What You and I Have Been Through. The show ended a song earlier for me, but the fans that stuck around seemed to enjoy one more tune. Blues Traveler met all of my expectations during their show. They played a good mix of new and old songs and most of the crowd seemed to really bond with the band. Playing the Paradise was a good choice because it created an intimate, yet stadium-like feeling. In spite of the fact that Blues Traveler may not have been particularly innovative in developing their sound over the past ten years or so, they still put on a lively, energetic, and ultimately worthwhile show.

-Lana Tkachenko

WTBU at Warped Tour 2009

When it starts getting this cold out there, what better way to fight the frost than with a summer throwback? Check out these sweet photos taken by WTBU DJ Adam Azahari (DJ on Wow, That's Legit, Sundays 2-4pm this fall) at WARPED TOUR 2009!



3OH!3 hit the Main Stage with special guest Lil' Jon in Uniondale, NY.


The Warped Tour crowd gets pumped as 3OH!3 take the stage in Uniondale, NY.


Hit The Lights lights up the stage with their energetic rock in Uniondale, NY.

Canadian artist Lights entertains music fans in Uniondale, NY on her first Warped Tour.


There For Tomorrow kick off their set in Uniondale, NY.


All Time Low rocks the crowd at the Main Stage as they close out another stop of the Warped Tour in Oceanport, NJ.


VersaEmerge showing of some serious head-banging skills at their set on the Ernie Ball stage in Oceanport, NJ.


The Maine play to a crowd of screaming fans in Uniondale, NY.


The White Tie Affair gets the audience moving during their set in Oceanport, NJ.

-Adam Azahari

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

SERVICE ENGINE SOON on RE:defined this Friday!



Tune in to RE:defined, THIS Friday night, midnight to 2 a.m. to hear from special guests SERVICE ENGINE SOON, a new and upcoming Boston band! We will be playing songs from their brand new album, soon to be released.

Be sure to check out their website at http://www.myspace.com/sestheband!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tomorrow-- WTBU Interviews PETA Author Marta Holmberg

Tomorrow on WTBU, American Folk Festival will be briefly interrupted for an interview with Marta Holmberg of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Marta is the coauthor of PETA's Vegan College Cookbook: 275 Easy, Cheap, and Delicious Recipes to Keep You Vegan at School, which includes numerous cruelty-free dorm-friendly recipes. Marta will be talking to WTBU about the new book, and about quick/healthy/affordable eating for college-aged vegans/vegetarians.

If you've ever thought about going vegetarian/vegan but thought it would be too difficult or too expensive, tune in tomorrow at 2pm hear what Marta has to say! She will also be speaking at the Boston University Bookstore tomorrow at 7pm.

For more info, check out peta2.com.

[edit 10/9 --> download an mp3 of the interview here!]

Monday, September 28, 2009

Get To Know El Rio Humano

This Friday, NYC-based 3-piece rock band El Rio Humano will perform at WTBU's Michael Jackson Tribute show. As a band that usually appeals to fans of bands like The Mars Volta or Queens of the Stone Age, their interpretations of MJ songs will undoubtedly be interesting and awesome.

Over the past year, the band's frontman, Mike McManus, and drummer, Johnny Hoblin, have played a couple of house shows in Allston under the name Fastizio. They also did an in-studio performance at WTBU last year as Fastizio. Now playing with their new bassist, Nick Lee, the guys decided to change their name from Fastizio to El Rio Humano. Their upcoming EP, Das Boneyard EP, is set for release on Dinosaurs in Vietnam Records later in the month.

Mike took a few minutes today to answer some questions for WTBU:

WTBU: How has Michael Jackson influenced El Rio Humano and why did you guys want to play this show?

Mike McManus: Michael Jackson has always been a huge influence. John and I grew up on his music (my grandparents had a VHS of the Thriller video, which I used to dance along to as a child) and still rock out to it. I don’t think mainstream listeners really understand how dense and insane his recordings are. It was a real challenge preparing these cover songs. He is a beautiful singer and dancer as everyone knows, but his song structures and lyrics are often very far out there. We wanted to play this show to give our love to his music and his memory.

WTBU: What does the new El Rio Humano EP sound like and how does it differ from how you guys sounded as Fastizio?

MM: The new EP is reflective of what we’ve been through as a band since our first album came out two years ago. Basically, the name change was to signify a new momentum and to exorcise the bad energies that have held us back throughout that time. So I’d say the new EP is still us (Fastizio), but it shows a band that is stronger and less afraid to do exactly what it wants to.

WTBU: What have your experiences with Boston shows been like and are you guys excited to be coming back?

MM: Boston has always been very good to us. The people are so sweet and are really respectful of what we’re trying to do. Every time we make the trip up to play a house party or at a café it seems like everyone treats us like family. John and I have been joking that Boston has become our band’s second home. I really feel that’s true. So Of course, we are very excited to be coming back and I hope we can even be back again before the end of the year.

Stream tracks at myspace.com/elriohumano or download mp3s from Fastizio's WTBU in-studio performance here.

-Liz Pelly

Saturday, September 26, 2009

IT'S ALMOST HERE: The Michael Jackson Tribute Show!

BU CENTRAL AND WTBU PRESENT:


A Michael Jackson Tribute Show
@ BU CENTRAL, Friday, October 2nd
doors @ 8 PM
with DJ Brothers & Nooka Jones
Featuring NYC bands The Rosies & El Rio Humano
and the Boston bands Black or White & The Novel Ideas
And BU a cappella groups Chordially Yours & The Bostones
FREE W/ BU ID, $5 without


Thank you to Dellaria Salons for their support!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The New Collisions on BU in the Morning!




The Cambridge new wave indie pop band The New Collisions will be joining the DJs on BU in the Morning tomorrow! Check out BUITM from 10 am to 12 pm to hear an interview with the band.

The New Collisions are playing a show, presented in part by WTBU, at the Middle East Downstairs THIS THURSDAY NIGHT! The band has been making a splash recently, opening for Blondie and spending the summer touring with The B-52s. They will be releasing their first CD, going on another national tour, and doing two CMJ showcases this fall.

The lineup for Thursday night is, from headliner to first:

The Luxury
The New Collisions
Hot Protestants
Muy Cansado
Oranjuly

There will be DJing before, after, and between sets is the always awesome ROGUEWAVES.

Doors at 9pm, 18+, and admission is $7 w/ a student ID, $10 without.

It's a "Back to School" show, featuring the best of the Boston scene. So get educated on BUITM tomorrow, then come dance with us on Thursday!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Eric Johnson From FRUIT BATS and THE SHINS Gives Me A Few Minutes While On His Way To An In-store...

The Sub Pop band The Fruit Bats toured through town last week. I was able to catch a few words with them before they left Boston and then did a quick phoner with the lead member Eric Johnson while he was on his way to a Chicago in-store yesterday in Wicker Park. The Fruit bats have been number one on the CMJ charts with their new well-received album, The Ruminant Band.

Click here to access MediaFire and hear the interview/listen to the title track of the album.

--Jen Brown

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ever wanted to be on a morning talk show?

BU in the Morning staff is looking for new voices!  We want to add fresh opinions and outlooks to the dynamic of our show! BUITM djs always have great interviews, interesting conversations, and a damn good time!

If you didn't know already, you can do your own show and BUITM!  Plus, you get station involvement points!

If you are interested in joining the BUITM staff, please contact me at buitm@wtburadio.org!

BUITM airs every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10am-12pm!

Thanks,

Annie

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

WTBU Named in Top 50 College Radio Stations Nationwide

WTBU was voted among the Top 50 Best College Stations in the Country yesterday!

The voting is part of MTVU's College Radio Woodie Awards, which "recognizes the music voted best by college students from around the country. The College Radio Woodie recognizes the best of the best in college radio." ...Hey, they said it; we didn't.

Check out the folks up in Ithaca who won last year:





But the race is far from over, WTBUers! To make the top 25 we need our friends, family, and fans to keep voting... so continue to spam your friends until September 28!

CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR WTBU!

NOTE: You can vote as many times as you want, so go ahead, sit and click until your fingers are sore!

Thanks, everyone! and spread the news to everyone you know!

The winner will be honored on MTV November 18th 2009.

9/30: WTBU PRESENTS: THE BYNARS CD RELEASE @ GREAT SCOTT



On Wednesday September 30, help WTBU celebrate the release of The Bynars’ “3rd and greatest record yet,” Party All Nite. The record's artwork and poster art were created by talented Boston artist and friend Vanessa Irzyk. Also premiering that night is The Bynars' first music video, created by video mastermind Steve Schinnerer/Quarter Productions.

Joining The Bynars will be Yoni Gordon & The Goods and the Young Leaves. Yoni is described by the Bynars as “an amazing songwriter, performer, and friend, guaranteed to melt your heart with rock and roll.” The Young Leaves, likewise, will “make you wince in rock delight.”

To hear more about the Bynars, check them out:

on Myspace
on Facebook
on Twitter
on Sonicbids

Boston Music Conference 2009

Conference Brings Music Industry's Attention to the Region's Talent

BOSTON, MA - The second annual Boston Music Conference (BMC) will be held September 24 and 25, 2009. The mission of the Boston Music Conference is to educate and empower aspiring artists by providing them with information and tools necessary to pursue a career in music.

The Boston Music Conference is a two-day event that includes workshops, showcase performances, panel discussions and various networking and social events. Topics to be covered include “Brands, Bands and Fans”, “Deals and Distribution”, “Breaking into Crossover Markets and International Deals”, “The Digital Age of Music”, “Getting Your Music in Games”, “Audio Engineering”, “Songwriting” and more. Complete information is available at www.BostonMusicConference.com

The overarching theme of the conference this year is the impact of digital technology on the music industry. Some of the subcategories to be covered include how new digital distribution platforms are creating opportunities, new channels of digital revenue and some of the innovations that are fueling growth.

The BMC brings the attention of the music industry on a national level to the talent and opportunity that exists here in Boston. Top music industry executives and A&Rs from major labels including Sony, EMI, Universal and Motown will be present to share their experiences and advice with attendees, view the talent Boston has to offer during the showcases and talk one on one with attendees.

Some of the industry’s top music industry companies, iZotope, Harmonix, SonicBids, Nimbit, BMI and the Recording Academy will be present at the Boston Music Conference as well.

Artists who would like to participate in the showcase performances are encouraged to submit samples of their music through SonicBids.com or via email at info@bostonmusicconference.com.

The conference is $99 in advance and $150 if purchased at the door. Students at Berklee, New England Conservatory, Emerson, AI and Northeastern can receive a 40% discount by sending an email from their school email address to info@bostonmusicconference.com and they will receive a discount code. To get your school added to the list of schools eligible for a discount call (617) 834-0552 or email jody@bostonmusicconference.com. Attendees are encouraged to bring their bio and promotional kit to the event because this is a rare opportunity to meet top music industry executives.

Workshops for the event will be held Thursday September 24, from 11 to 5:30 at Mojitos at 48 Winter Street in Downtown Crossing, followed by Showcase Performances from 6 to 11 at Mojitos at Pearl in the Roxy Complex located at 279 Tremont Street. The conference will be held at the Roxy Tremont Ballroom at 279 Tremont Street in the Theatre District, Friday September 25 from 11 to 6.

The goal of the Boston Music Conference (BMC) is to educate and empower the city’s aspiring talent who are interested in pursuing a career in music by bringing the resources and information to them in Boston. The BMC is part of an organized long-term initiative to bring national attention to Boston as a source of major talent within the music industry and develop local talent.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Staying Pretty (and nice) While Touring

The Boston indie-rock group Pretty & Nice just left Beantown Saturday afternoon to go on tour with The Getup Kids.

The band had a couple East Coast intro shows to start up the tour (played a festival with Deerhoof), but they're currently on their way to Denver for their first Getup Kids show at the Marquis Theatre Wednesday night.

If you're a Pretty & Nice fan, you probably know by now that they're trying out a new website design and that they've unveiled secret downloads on the site over the past month. If you didn't know about the new design, now you know.

In addition to fun downloads and other media the band will be posting on the site, they're going further and creating a tour blog for all to see. It's a friendly day-to-day update on behind-the-scenes happenings for Pretty & Nice. It'll be interesting to read--especially once the band joins The Getup Kids and tours large venues for the first time. The tour is no easy task; the guys are up first out of three bands (Australian band Youth Group being second). Let's hope for fun and success as they embark on this West Coast venture and conquer all crowds!

For a detailed list of their tour dates, check out http://myspace.com/prettyandnice.
More importantly, check out their new tour blog at http://www.prettyandnice.com!

The David Wax Museum's CARPENTER BIRD

The David Wax Museum, a Mexo-Americana folk band from Somerville, is releasing their first full-length album titled Carpenter Bird on September 18 at Club Passim in Cambridge. It's no surprise the band chose the well-known Cambridge folk venue for its release considering the profound mark they've made on the local music scene over the last year--particularly with the crowds at Passim. Tickets have sold so fast that the venue decided to create a second show for the release, selling tickets for both 7 and 10 P.M. slots.

Led by multi-instrumentalist David Wax, the folk group consists of five musicians who play various instruments (including a few Mexican guitars) and sing in often echoed call-and-response form. Carpenter Bird is void of technical studio embellishment; the details of the album are incorporated amongst the numerous instruments played and the complexity of the songwriting.

The opening track, "Jalopy Heart," is about an emotionally worn person still looking for love. With lines like, "What could you want with my antique-music-box voice?" the male and female vocalists question whether love is still an option. Instrumentally, the track features mandolin and piano parts that stream in and out between verse and chorus.

Interpretations of traditional Mexican folk songs, the tracks "Colas," "The Persimmon Tree," and "Carpenter Bird," all draw from the son jarocho tradition. Wax wrote new lyrics for the songs, but kept some of the themes, melodies, and chord progressions. "Colas" is an upbeat track with lighter lyrics--"You couldn't get out of Mexico / But you got in / Now you're gonna have a baby / It should be a Mexican." Part of the song is also in Spanish.

"Beatrice" is another quick-strum song with playful, clever rhyming about a female love interest. The song relies on a catchy chord progression accompanied by fiddle and mandolin. The song is full of "if only" lines, such as, "If you only you hadn't bloomed like a jacaranda tree / If only things were up to me / If only I were the sand of the wide Balsas River / Where I watched you dry off and shiver."

The fiddle/mandolin duo then take the lead in "Beekeeper." Lyrically, the track unfolds detailed imagery full of metaphors about love; it's a slower, more classic folk song with bouts of horns in the verses. The male/female chorus harmonies are their purest in "Beekeeper."

The title track, "Carpenter Bird," is another one of the slower songs on the album and features a second male lead vocalist for the first time. Exemplifying Wax's Mexican influence, the song reaches out to listeners and tells the story of the "Carpenter Bird," which is the literal translation of the Spanish word for woodpecker--"el pajaro carpintero." The new male vocalist in "Carpenter Bird" also sings in the delicate and nostalgic "Be Like A Ghost."

Beginning with an isolated low bass line and growing to include colorful bar-room piano, "I Have Wasted My Life," is a song much less melancholy than the title suggests. It brings the band back to signature echoed lines and long vowels that carry a country influence, making the song stand out amongst the others.

Wax strips the last two songs on the album clean and focuses on singing and guitar playing. "When You are Still" is written carefully and with precision; the song creatively alludes to other tracks on the album. It prepares listeners for the final track, "Let Me Rest." The only song on the album that directly references the "Lord," "Let Me Rest" is simple with soft chord progression and building vocals. The band sings a Cappella at the end--a fitting complement to an album that relies so much on its lyrics.

Check out The David Wax Museum at http://www.davidwaxmuseum.com and http://www.myspace.com/davidwaxmusic.

To purchase a ticket to the album release show, click here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

You Can Be a Wesley and You: Another Assessment by Joe DiFazio

Once upon a time I was in Allston following the bassist of You Can be a Wesley and his friends. They decided hopping a fence was better than going around a street. He got my jeans ripped and he got me drunk on Gin, which I later puked out with an alarming amount of blood.

I was not ready for their fun, but you should be. You Can Be A Wesley is an indie-pop gem bred at BU and on the streets of Allston.

The twee pop essence of the music is given backbone by Nick Curran’s bass that he sometimes punches through a distortion pedal. He takes his cue from bands like the Pixies and Joy Division. Winston McDonald too finds influence in these indie pioneers. The music swells and calms because of his lead guitar which goes anywhere from sharp riffs to gentle finger picking. Dan Goldberg’s steady drumming provides the backdrop for everything going on up front. He too drags the music from the gentle to frantic with soft steady light high-hat and snare based beats that transition through tight fills into crashy cymbals and loud snare pops. Saara the lead singer plays a driving rhythm guitar with power chords galore. Her singing is a unique combination of sweet and sad. She exudes a wistful kind of sexy. Winston jumps in to sing when the songs climb in to sing-a-long choruses that make you want to scream with them. These guys are indie-pop with a serious spine. They are the kind of band that if you throw things at them they will throw and spit right back.

Over the summer the band released their album Heard Like Us (on vinyl and CD). If you want to be happy in a sad sort of way, this is an album for you. You Can Be Wesley is yet another gem in the rough of the Boston music scene. Lucky for you, you can catch them Friday at WTBU day at BU Central.

Magic Magic & Me: An Assessment by Joe DiFazio.

Am I friends with Magic Magic? Semi-sorta. Sometimes I would call up Mike Hlady (drummer) to hang out. He was always with Dylan Gough (other drummer) and they were always playing Street Fighter, watching Mortal Combat the movie, or building a knife shooter out of an umbrella to pierce muffins with. John Murphy (singer) once took me to a video arcade and also tried to gyp me out of the money we made playing a show together. Demitri Swan (bassist) once video taped a consumer research study I did on condoms. Brendan Hughes (lead guitarist) I don’t know as well.

Many publications say that they are from Salem. This is wrong. They are from Dedham, a crappy, depressing suburb of Boston. The Salem thing was a hair-brained scheme thought up by their British booking agency. Many publications say they sound like Arcade Fire. This, too, is wrong. They do create gigantic and intricate sounds but are nothing like Arcade Fire. They are grittier, more accessible, better.

Their music is rhythm-based. They have two drums, a bass, and a guitar dedicated to rhythm. From this base they derive a powerful, colossal sound. Sometimes the two drummers will play the same thing just to make the beat louder and accentuate it. Slid over this is Brendan’s biting guitar, distorted and drawn out by delay pedals. Amid all this carefully planned noise is John’s anxious vocals. He sings and moves like a child who really has something to tell you, with a voice so high and desperate you can’t help but want to listen. His lyrics are weird and beautiful, ranging from becoming a jellyfish to acid to odd odes to people he loves.

Raised on every start-up indie band of the nineties such as Built to Spill and Modest Mouse, and going back a little further, The Cure, this band takes on the same sort of dark ambiance. Magic Magic is not yet signed and are in a shameful sort of limbo as a result of being from Boston instead of NYC or LA. Still, Magic Magic are making are making a name for themselves and are the next big thing from here, and hopefully soon the next big thing to grace all hipster-indie blogs. Screw Passion Pit.

-Joe DiFazio

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Bored To Death HBO Screening at Harper's Ferry this Wednesday, 9/9

Have you heard about the new HBO show called Bored To Death?

It'll start airing on September 20th, but Bostonians get to catch the premiere early at Harper's Ferry in Allston this Wednesday from 8-11 PM! All you have to do is go to http://tinyurl.com/nwwn67 and RSVP down at the bottom of the screen!

The show features Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson, and Zack Galifianakis. Jason Schwartzman (AKA Coconut Records) performs the theme song to the show which he wrote along with Jonathan Ames. Check out http://www.hbo.com/boredtodeath to for more info and sign up for the show's newsletter!

See you at Harper's Ferry!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

WTBU & (RED)TM VIP Ticket Giveaway: Ingrid Michaelson & Sondre Lerche

WTBU & (RED)TM are giving away a pair of VIP tickets to two (RED)NIGHTS shows this time: Ingrid Michaelson and Sondre Lerche!

Ingrid plays the Paradise Rock Club on Saturday 9/12 and Sondre follows at the same venue the next night, on Sunday 9/13.






As a VIP for either show, you'll get to meet the artist, score some (RED)NIGHTS goods and check out the concert.


Here's how this one is going to work. The first TWO fans to call in to the show ALPHABET SOUP on THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, from 10pm-12am, will win the VIP tickets!


Good luck, WTBUers! The contest winner will be announced here on Friday (Sept 11) morning.

(RED)NIGHTS is a concert series that saves lives. A portion of the proceeds from every (RED)NIGHTS show goes directly to Africa to help those affected by AIDS.

Must be 18 or older and a legal resident of Boston or the surrounding areas (within 75 miles) to win. Please click here to view official (RED)TM sweepstakes rules.