Bradley's Almanac

[Music Docs] IFFBoston is back!

Posted on April 27, 2022 at 11:32 am | Comments Off on [Music Docs] IFFBoston is back!

Tonight, it returns.

Among the many, many things that were canceled in the wake of the covid’s arrival on U.S. shores in the Spring of 2020, one of the most personally painful was the almost-here 18th edition of the Independent Film Festival Boston. I’ve seen at least a couple films, and usually more, every single April since this incredible fest kicked off in 2003, including many that became fast favorites (and critical darlings), and I have countless memories of special post-screening appearances by various filmmakers & actors throughout the years.

It wasn’t the loss of a chance to see their meticulously-selected lineup that truly hurt, though – it was knowing how much year-round work goes into the fest by their all-volunteer crew. Countless hours of venue coordination, staff communication, local promotion, plus all the pre-fest selection screenings, sponsor-wooing, and guest-wrangling. All just for the pure love of it. I’m such a fan of their core staff, and could only imaging how crushing it must have been to make that cancellation call two years ago.

After going all-online for last year’s fest, I’m so very psyched that they’re finally returning to our beloved Boston-area indie cinemas starting this evening, Wednesday, April 27th, with the opening night premiere of “Emily the Criminal” at the Somerville Theatre.

Back when the Almanac was a more active concern (and not just sporadic f*cebook posts & ever-present relaunch plans), I’d do a yearly IFFB preview, usually music-doc-centric. In honor of the fest’s return, I thought I’d shine a brief but bright light on the four music-focused screenings this year, covering a ridiculously diverse list of artists: Courtney Barnett, James Cotton, Ronnie James Dio, & Mojo Nixon…

Anonymous Club
an intimate hang with Courtney Barnett

Screening on Saturday, April 30th at 4pm
at the Brattle Theater, Cambridge, MA / Tickets

From the SXSW film guide (where it made its premiere last month):

“With unprecedented, intimate access to the private life of Courtney Barnett, this innovative and stylised 16mm feature documentary follows a paradoxically introverted performer and anti-influencer, who, at the height of success, is ready to walk away. Long-time collaborator Danny Cohen’s feature documentary reveals a woman who finds power in sharing her vulnerability. Recording her innermost thoughts on a Dictaphone over a period of three years, Courtney begins her slow acceptance of Danny Cohen’s camera. This unique filming process mirrors Courtney’s gradual search for purpose and emergence as an artist embracing her place in the world.”

Bonnie Blue:
James Cotton’s Life In The Blues

WORLD PREMIERE

Screening on Monday, May 2nd at 7:30pm
at the Somerville Theatre / Tickets

Director Bestor Cram and Executive Producers James Montgomery & Judith Laster are expected to be in attendance at the screening

From the IFFBoston website:

Born in 1935 on Bonnie Blue plantation in Tunica, Mississippi, apprenticing with Sonny Boy Williamson II and Howlin‘ Wolf, and schooled by Muddy Waters, James “Super Harp” Cotton became a mentor to harp players around the globe as he brought the delta blues into mainstream rock ’n‘ roll. Orphaned at nine, Cotton‘s journey tracks America‘s history and his story is one of empowerment during a time when the weight of racial inequity made the journey seem impossible. BONNIE BLUE: JAMES COTTON‘S LIFE IN THE BLUES is a unique portrait of an era and its impact today. Cotton‘s music made history; his musical voice was unique, and the blues were never the same.

After the world premiere of BONNIE BLUE: JAMES COTTON’S LIFE IN THE BLUES, stick around for great music featuring members of the James Montgomery Band, including Grammy-nominated singer and harpist James Montgomery, Guitarist George McCann, Bass player David Hull (Joe Perry Project), and drummer Marty Richards with special guests blues and funk master Willie J. Laws and one of the world’s best blues duos Annie Raines and Paul Rishell.

Dio: Dreamers Never Die

Screening on Friday, April 29th at 9:15pm
at the Somerville Theatre / Tickets

Director Don Argott expected to be in attendance at the screening

From the IFFBoston website:

This career-spanning documentary on heavy metal legend Ronnie James Dio delves deep into his incredible rise from 50’s doo-wop crooner, to his early classic rock days in Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, to replacing the iconic lead singer Ozzy Osborne in Black Sabbath, to finally cement his legend with DIO. Ronnie’s biography is completely unique to the tired sex, drugs, and rock and roll cliches. The film is about perseverance, dreams, and the power to believe in yourself.

The Mojo Manifesto:
The Life & Times Of Mojo Nixon

Screening on Thursday, April 28th at 9:30pm
at the Somerville Theatre / Tickets

Director Matt Eskey and “co-star and manager-for-life” Bullethead are expected to be at the screening

From the IFFBoston website:

Neill Kirby McMillan Jr. comes of age in Danville, VA, listening to records from his father’s soul radio station and plotting his escape from the confines of conservative small town life. On a bicycle trip across the country, Kirby experiences The Mojo Revelation and becomes Mojo Nixon, a primitive blues-inspired musician. Mojo then teams up with the enigmatic Skid Roper to form an outrageous duo. Relentless touring, a record deal, college radio airplay, and MTV exposure lead to unexpected mainstream success. The song “Elvis Is Everywhere” is a cult phenomenon, but his next single is banned by MTV and Mojo makes a decision that could jeopardize his career.

For some non-music recommendations, check out these previews elsewhere: Film critic Ty Burr’s “IFFBoston 2022: Ten Films to See” piece over on his Substack, the fest’s own write-up of “Women Directed Films at IFFBoston 2022“, a documentary run-down over at the Globe, and a list of “Seven must-see films at this year’s festival” over at Vanyaland.

Welcome back, IFFBoston. See you in the seats.

[Nac Faves] My Favorite Music of 2020

Posted on December 31, 2021 at 11:45 am | No Comments

No, that is not a typo. It really is supposed to say ‘2020’ up there and not ‘2021’. It’s my laughably late, overlong list of long-players I loved last year. I’d say “embarrassingly” late, but I’m way past caring about timeliness, just that it gets done before the current calendar ends. Besides, “laughably” has that whole alliteration thing going for it.

So last year was a loooong one. You know why. And I listened to a lot of music. More than ever, maybe? Comfort sounds, constantly. All the money I saved not going to shows? Bought more records, mostly mail-order, and lots of them thanks to the semi-regular Bandcamp Fridays. It really felt like too many LPs arrived then quickly disappeared straight into the ether. Without touring, the accompanying local press (if such a thing even exists anymore), and the much-missed in-person chats among music-loving pals, attention seems to move on to the next thing faster than ever. The online churn ever-increasing. Releasing an album during these times can be a scary thing (and that’s not even factoring in the ongoing vinyl-pressing delays). As always, but this year more pointedly, my faves run-down is a gentle attempt to direct some light back on some things you may have missed.


What follows is an alphabetical list of some LPs, EPs, reissues, and a few web-only releases that sustained me during 2020. A year unlike any other. I’ve never ranked the things I love, as relative positioning of art is folly, and my moods change on a whim. Hell, just whittling down this list to a reasonable length was tough enough. Obviously.

I’ve included label links for as-direct-as-possible physical purchasing if you’re so inspired (be inspired!), along with an embedded song for (almost) everything listed. I also pulled together (i.e. obsessed over the order of) a playlist, so those of you who subscribe to a certain hell-spawned streaming service can listen while you’re scrolling. Or save it for later, after you TLDR and move along.

I’ve been pulling these lists for together two decades now, and they live here: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 & 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, & 2001.

If you’ve got spare reading time, instead of those old posts, hit up these way-more-timely run-downs of last year’s high points from respected friends: Kumar’s Blizznog, Bryan’s “Proclamation Tracks” over at AGP, Allston Pudding’s Staff Picks & Local Faves, and Chris Porter’s 10 faves.

Alright, on to the business. I’ve included a bit of text for the LPs, maybe some info if the bands have released new music in the meantime (and that’s a lot of meantime). If any of it grabs you, keep an eye out for the next Bandcamp Friday (days when all of their fees are waived in support of the artists, and on which many donate their cut to worthy causes) and maybe pick up something then.

And with this done, I can officially start working on my 2021 post. Yeeesh. Thanks for reading, and may 2022 bring you only good things. Or at least fewer not-good things.


‘Nac Faves of 2020 – Spotify playlist


My Favorite LPs of 2020


Alex the Astronaut

“The Theory of Absolutely Nothing”

[ on Nettwerk Records ]

Irresistibly catchy indie-pop from Australia’s Alexandra Lynn. A debut album stuffed with single-worthy songs, and soma.fm plays at least four or five of ’em. A new song, “Growing Up”, was released last month.

[ Stream songs at Soundcloud / Buy the LP from a record store ]


Beach Bunny

“Honeymoon”

[ on Mom & Pop Music ]

Beach Bunny have just released a new holiday song, “Christmas Caller”, which you can find right here.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from the band ]


Andy Bell

“The View From Halfway Down”

[ on Sonic Cathedral ]

The Ride guitarist/co-vocalist has released a few EPs since this full-length arrived, with non-album tracks, remixes, & acoustic versions.

[ Stream & buy the LP at Bandcamp ]


The Beths

“Jump Rope Gazers”

[ on On Carpark Records ]

The Beths released an excellent live recording back in September, the perfect primer for seeing them during their U.S. tour in 2022. So very psyched for their sold-out show at the Sinclair in January.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Carpark ]


Phoebe Bridgers

“Punisher”

[ on Dead Oceans ]

She’s here, she’s there, she’s every-fuckin-where. 2020 sure felt like Phoebe Bridgers’ year. Every once in awhile someone who deserves it hits the big time.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Dead Oceans ]


Califone

“Echo Mine”

[ on Jealous Butcher ]

We were very fortunate to get a preview of some of this record when Tim Rutili & company played Kay’s place in Somerville back in 2019, and it did not disappoint. His live shows are the stuff of magic.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Jealous Butcher ]


Caspian

“On Circles”

[ on Triple Crown ]

The pride of Beverly MA, remaining remarkably, consistently inspired after so many years together. Frontman Philip Jamieson recently shared a solo covers record on Bandcamp.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Triple Crown ]


Coriky

“Coriky”

[ on Dischord ]

Ian MacKaye returned in recorded form at last, in this trio alongside Amy Farina (The Evens/The Warmers) and his former Fugazi bandmate Joe Lally.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Dischord ]


E

“Complications”

[ on Silver Rocket ]

Thalia Zedek (Come, Uzi, Live Skull), Jason Sanford (Neptune), and Gavin McCarthy (Karate) gave us their second killer full-length.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Silver Rocket ]


Flower

“None Is (But Once Was)”

[ on Ernest Jenning ]

The news of Flower’s return was such a welcome surprise after 30 (!) years, and this record crushed the lofty expectations I had for it. Just crammed full of great songs, and the pandemic deprived most of us a chance to see the live versions. Was really hoping to make it to their cancelled dates with Sebadoh. Alas.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Ernest Jenning ]


Fontaines D.C.

“A Hero’s Death”

[ on Partisan Records ]

The remarkable sophomore record from this Dublin quintet. The band served up on of the best full-show lockdown livestreams of last year when they played Brixton Academy in late November, and also shared an excellent set recorded in Dublin as well.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Partisan ]


Kyle Forester

“Hearts In Gardens”

[ on ‘Tis So Referent Records ]

Kyle Forester (Crystal Stilts/Ladybug Transistor/Woods) gave us his second solo record, and has since shared an excellent, laid back cover of Leiber/Stoller’s “Poison Ivy” (popularized by the Coasters in the late-50s).

[ Stream & buy the LP via Bandcamp ]


Guided By Voices

“Mirrored Aztec”

[ on Rockathon Records ]

I could have put two or three other GBV-related releases on this list (not to mention the ‘hot freaks’ subscription series, mentioned below), but I’ll settle on my fave of the bunch. Pollard is just a never-ending fountain of sonic joy.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Rockathon ]


Hum

“Inlet”

[ on Earth Analog Records/Polyvinyl ]

This album appeared out of nowhere and absolutely blew my mind. I had no idea that a new Hum record was even in the works, so there was no lead-up, no anticipation, just a simple “here it is” from the band. Amazing.

The sudden loss of their incredible drummer, Bryan St. Pere, not long after its release, was just crushing. One of my favorite players, and it’s an understatement to say I was looking forward to seeing him smashing out these songs on a stage someday. Such a huge loss in a year of losses.

[ Stream & buy digitally at Bandcamp / Buy vinyl from Polyvinyl ]


Jetstream Pony

“Jetstream Pony”

[ on Shelflife (US) ]

After a string of singles & EPs, Jetstream Pony’s wonderful debut full-length arrived last year. Just a couple weeks ago they shared a six-song follow-up EP, “Misplaced Words”.

[ Stream & buy at Bandcamp ]


Will Johnson

“El Capitan”

[ on Keeled Scales ]

Another ace solo LP from Will Johnson, who can write no wrongs in my book. The recent reunion show (and plans for more) by his band Centro-matic has me positively giddy.

[ Stream & buy at at Bandcamp / Grab vinyl from Keeled Scales ]


Kestrels

“Dream or Don’t Dream”

[ on Darla Records ]

Cross one off the wishlist: I finally got a chance to see Kestrels play live when they came down from Halifax for some dates opening for Mr. Bob Mould, including here at the Paradise in Boston. One of my first indoor, all-masked, crammed-crowd experiences since this whole shitshow started, so yeah, it was weird. And yet, it ruled.

[ Buy direct from Darla ]


Kiwi Jr.

“Football Money”

[ on Mint Records ]

It’s been long enough since this Toronto quartet released “Football Money”, their debut record, in January 2020, that they’ve already released the full-length follow-up, “Cooler Returns”. That arrived in January 2021, so does that mean we’ll get a third next month? I’ll take it.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Mint Records ]


Knot

“Knot”

[ on Exploding In Sound ]

Knot, filling the hole left by Krill’s absence. I’ll follow Jonah Furman & his bandmates wherever they go.

[ Stream it at Bandcamp / Buy direct from EiS ]


Emma Kupa

“It Will Come Easier”

[ on Fika Recordings ]

Emma’s first solo full-length, after many years of making music in bands I utterly adore (Standard Fare, Mammoth Penguins, Suggested Friends). It’s been my absolute honor to have recorded some songs with her, and hopes are high that you’ll get to hear them before too much longer 🙂

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Fika ]


Land of Talk

“Indistinct Conversations”

[ on Saddle Creek ]

So grateful that Elizabeth Powell’s musical return in 2017 (with the excellent “Life After Youth” LP) has seen her stick around for more. “Indistinct Conversations” contained what may be my most-listened to track of 2020 in the gorgeous “Compelled“. She and her LoT bandmates have recently gifted us with another EP, “Calming Night Partner“.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Saddle Creek ]


Lo Tom

“LP2”

[ self-released via Bandcamp ]

The second (and final?) LP from this veritable supergroup of a band, and it’s an absolutely unabashed arena rock record. Trey Many, Jason Martin, TW Walsh, & David Bazan. Giant riffs, shimmering keys, powerful drums… immaculate production that just begs to be played loud. Shame we’ll probably never get to see these songs played from a stage. Who wants to start a Lo Tom cover band?

[ Stream & buy direct at Bandcamp ]


The Luxembourg Signal

“The Long Now”

[ on Shelflife ]

My brain keeps thinking that the Luxembourg Signal is a “new” band, and suddenly they’re on their 3rd full-length in 7 years. Time is weird! Each record is ace in its own way, but this one feels like my fave of them all. Psyched to see they’re working on new songs.

[ Stream & buy the LP at Bandcamp ]


Mamalarky

“Mamalarky”

[ on Fire Talk ]

The excellent debut LP from this Atlanta-via-Austin-via-LA quartet, which followed a series of singles and a 2018 EP. In the handful of bands who released great records in 2020 that I’ve actually been able to see perform its songs in front of me, they may be the most appreciated (see also: Slow Pulp).

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Fire Talk ]


Mint Mile

“Ambertron”

[ on Comedy Minus One ]

I figure as long as Tim Midyett (Silkworm/Bottomless Pit) keeps making records, they’ll keep ending up on these lists.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from C-1 ]


Jason Molina

“Eight Gates”

[ on Secretly Canadian ]

“Eight Gates” is the final collection of solo studio material that JM recorded before his passing. Eight years gone. Never forgotten.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Secretly Canadian ]


Mourn

“Self Worth”

[ on Captured Tracks ]

The Spanish band’s first record as a trio after parting ways with their original drummer, and my personal favorite so far. Absolutely cannot wait until I get a chance to see them on a stage.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Captured Tracks ]


Nada Surf

“Never Not Together”

[ on Barsuk Records ]

Another set of heart-on-sleeve songs from Caws & company, one that took a little longer than I expected to resonate with me, but once it did, it got in deep. “Just Wait” has become one of my all-time Nada Surf faves. The band has since released a companion collection called “Cycle Through” that includes outtakes & alternate versions.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Barsuk ]


New Dog

“The Songs of Townes Van Zandt”

[ self-released via Bandcamp ]

Former Metal Hearts/Travels co-founder (and now former-Bostonian) Anar Badalov continues his solo output as New Dog with this super-limited 10-inch of TVZ covers. His latest project is ARANANAR, a collaboration with Adam “Aran” Nenadál that they call “a collection of odes and laments to the borderlands of the Czech Republic”. Their debut full-length arrives in just a few days, and you can listen to three tracks over at Bandcamp.

[ Listen & buy at Bandcamp ]


Oceanator

“Things I Never Said”

[ on Polyvinyl ]

Elise Okusami’s stunning debut, and seeing her band is high on my list of future hopes. I got shut out of their recent stop at the Paradise, opening for Slaughter Beach, Dog & Jeff Rosenstock (sold out so fast!), but fingers crossed a headlining show happens nearby in 2022. Y’know, virus willing.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Polyvinyl ]


Gary Olson

“Gary Olson”

[ on Tapete Records ]

Ladybug Transistor founder, Marlborough Farms studio chief, and traveling trumpeteer Gary Olson’s very first solo record, concocted partly at his own Brooklyn space and partly in Norway. He has since released a stand-alone digital single, “A House in Provence”, which hopefully portends another LP not too far down the road.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Tapete ]


Peel Dream Magazine

“Agitprop Arena”

[ on Slumberland Records ]

There’s a like a 90% chance that any new Slumberland release will end up on this list. Such is Papa Slumber’s sky-high batting average. PDM’s second full-length flaunts its influences openly, but what perfect influences they are.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Slumberland ]


Joe Pernice

“Richard”

[ on Ashmont Records ]

One of two full-lengths this prolific Pernice brother released in 2020 (the other being an inspired Barry Manilow tribute), and its arrival coincided with some semi-regular Instagram live streams. Hearing him play these songs in that setting so often really allowed them to burrow down deep. Up next from JP is another Pernice Brothers full-length in 2022.

[ Stream & buy the LP via Bandcamp ]


Pilkington

“Pilkington”

[ self-released via Bandcamp ]

Pop-rock perfection from Philly’s finest. A series of stellar singles heralded this self-titled debut LP, and did it ever measure up. Not just right up my alley, but a dead-on, 10-pin takedown.

[ Stream & buy via Bandcamp ]


Porridge Radio

“Every Bad”

[ on Secretly Canadian ]

I’d been regrettably unaware of Porridge Radio until this record, so “Every Bad” was a revelation. Dana Margolin & company have since released three singles, and most recently, a Sub Pop 7-inch with Wolf Parade & Shins covers.

[ Stream it at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Secretly Canadian ]


Pure X

“Pure X”

[ on Fire Talk Records ]

Somehow a six year gap between records turned Pure X from a band I kinda like into a band I absolutely love. This self-titled LP, their fourth, completely clicked for me. They followed it up a few months later with “Rare Ecstasy: 2009-2019”, a collection of b-sides, demos, & covers.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Fire Talk ]


Shell of a Shell

“Away Team”

[ on Exploding In Sound ]

Another killer release from Exploding In Sound, a fantastic full-length that follows SoaS’s 2018 debut EP. And yes, another band I would probably have seen a couple times by now in the alternate universe where the world is not a touring band’s total nightmare.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from EiS ]


Slaughter Beach, Dog

“At the Moonbase”

[ on Lame-O Records ]

A little late to the SBD boat, which is weird because I dug Modern Baseball, but glad to finally be on board. Next time they come to town, I’m buyin’ my tickets early.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Lame-O ]


Slow Pulp

“Moveys”

[ on Winspear Records ]

I had the pure pleasure of seeing Slow Pulp a few weeks back, and it’s been a very, very long time since I’ve experienced such a complete love-fest between audience & band. Just absolute joy from the crowd, myself included, and singer/guitarist Emily Massey’s constant on-stage smiling showed that she felt it all. The band has released a couple of singles since “Moveys” (their first full-length), an original called “Shadow”, and a studio recording of their show-closing Sum 41 cover.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Winspear ]


Smokescreens

“A Strange Dream”

[ on Slumberland Records ]

Like I said above, if it’s on Slumberland, it’s probably on here. Produced by the Clean’s David Kilgour, Smokescreens’ third full long-player is jangle-pop at its finest. There are moments when I believe album-closer “I Love Only You” is my favorite song of the year.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Slumberland ]


Squirrel Flower

“I Was Born Swimming”

[ on Polyvinyl ]

Even if she’s no longer living in Boston, I’d still like to pretend she’s ours, just as a point of absolute pride. “I Was Born Swimming” is such a fully-realized debut full-length, and she’s already released another great one with “Planet (i)”, which arrived on Polyvinyl in June. She’s also got a new EP showing up in late January.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Polyvinyl ]


Suburban Living

“How To Be Human”

[ on EggHunt Records ]

Wesley Bunch’s third album, and his most electro-leaning record yet. The guitars are still very much there, the knack for shimmering melodies remains, but the production has jumped up a notch. He’s found that retro-futuristic sweet spot that bands like M83 mine so well.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from EggHunt ]


Supermilk

“Death Is The Best Thing For You Now”

[ on Keroleen Records ]

I can pinpoint the exact moment I discovered, and got completely hooked on, Jake Popyura’s Supermilk: A live-streamed virtual release party that Happy Accidents hosted for their latest (last?) LP. Jake was one of their guests, and about halfway through his solo version of “Agony Anne“, he had me. He’s already got another ace full-length out, “Four by Three”, that arrived over the summer.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Keroleen ]


Throwing Muses

“Sun Racket”

[ on Fire Records ]

The fact that Throwing Muses are still releasing records this good after 30-something years is both surprising and completely not surprising at the same time.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Fire ]


The Very Most

“Needs Help”

[ on on Lost Sound Tapes> and Kocliko Records ]

Of all the Very Most releases that indiepop-lifer Jeremy Jensen has given us, this one is my very mostest favorite. Joined by a crack team of golden-voiced guest vocalists, it plays like the most cohesive pop mixtape you’ve ever heard.

[ Stream at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Lost Sound or Kocliko ]


Young Jesus

“Welcome to Conceptual Beach”

[ on Saddle Creek ]

After their 2018 “The Whole Thing Was Just There” LP put them on my radar, and their live set later that year (opening for Ian Sweet at Great Scott/RIP) utterly blew me away, I can’t hear new Young Jesus without picturing the songs coming at me from a stage. Spending so much time with this record and not getting that in-person payoff is a promise unfulfilled.

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Saddle Creek ]


A Few Favorite 2020 EPs & Singles


Barrels

“Barrels” EP

[ on Arctic Rodeo Recordings ]

[ Stream the EP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Arctic Rodeo ]


Brief Candles

“Tape Deck” single

[ via Bandcamp ]

[ Stream & buy at Bandcamp ]


The Loyal Seas

“Strange Mornings in the Garden” debut 7-inch

[ on American Laundromat ]

[ Sold out at ALR, but full-length coming in 2022 ]


Peel Dream Magazine

“Moral Panics” EP

[ on Slumberland Records ]

[ Stream it at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Slumberland ]


Seablite

“High-Rise Mannequins” EP

[ on Emotional Response ]

[ Stream it at Bandcamp / Buy from Emotional Response ]


Slow Soak

“Freedom From Happiness” EP

[ on Waterfall of Colours ]

[ Stream it on Spotify / Buy direct from Waterfall of Colors ]


Wye Oak with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus

“No Horizon” EP

[ on Merge Records ]

[ Stream it at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Merge ]


Some Favorite 2020 Re-Issues


The Lucksmiths

“A Good Kind of Nervous”

reissue/first time on vinyl

[ on Lost & Lonesome ]

[ Stream the LP at Bandcamp / Buy direct from Lost & Lonesome ]


New Order

“Power, Corruption, & Lies”

Definitive Edition Box Set

[ on Rhino ]

[ Buy direct from Rhino or from the band ]


Pale Saints

“The Comforts of Madness”

30th anniversary vinyl release

[ on 4AD ]

[ Buy direct from 4AD ]

Replacements

“Please To Meet Me”

Deluxe Edition reissue

[ on Rhino ]

[ Buy direct from Rhino ]

Jonathan Richman

“I, Jonathan”

reissue/first time on vinyl

[ on Craft Recordings ]

[ Buy direct from Craft Recordings ]


Elliott Smith

“Elliott Smith”

Expanded 25th Anniversary Edition

[ on Kill Rock Stars ]

[ Buy direct from KRS ]


Yo La Tengo

“Electr-O-Pura”

25th Anniversary vinyl reissue

[ on Matador Records ]

[ Buy direct from Matador ]


A Few Favorite 2020
Digital-Only Releases


Guided By Voices

“Hot Freaks” weekly subscription club

[ from Rockathon ]


Tanya Donelly

“Sunday Series” digital singles

[ via Bandcamp ]


Heathers

“Goodbye For Now” digital LP

[ via Bandcamp ]


Plus/Minus

“6.19.20” digital EP

[ via Bandcamp ]


And there it is. Consider my bloggers-block officially behind me. Support your favorite artists, now more than ever. And try not to let the bastards get you down.

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  • Handy links

  • BOSTON-AREA LIVE SHOW ACTION
    Tuesday, November 22nd
    The London Suede
    Manic Street Preachers
    @ the Orpheum

    Friday, November 25th
    The Sheila Divine
    Valleyheart
    The Rupert Selection
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday, November 26th
    Dinosaur Jr.
    Guided By Voices
    Eugene Mirman
    @ the House of Blues

    Sunday, November 27th
    The Sheila Divine
    @ the Paradise

    Wednesday, November 30th
    Mclusky
    Minibeast
    @ the Sinclair

    Wednesday, November 30th
    Chris Brokaw
    "Duets With Strangers"
    Live scores of guitars,
    electronics, & percussion
    for interview videos
    Free @ 8pm @ MIT Building W97
    Thursday, December 1st
    Archers of Loaf
    Weird Nightmare
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, December 3rd
    Stars
    "The Christmas Anyway Tour"
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Sunday, December 4th
    Morrissey
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Sunday, December 4th
    Laura Cantrell
    @ Atwood's

    Sunday, December 4th
    beabadoobee
    Lowertown
    @ Roadrunner

    Tuesday, December 6th
    Local H
    "Here Comes The Zoo"
    20th Anniversary Tour
    @ the Middle East Downstairs

    Thursday, December 8th
    Blake Morgan
    Janita
    @ Rockwood Music Hall

    Friday, December 9th
    Patrick Watson
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, December 10th
    Pterodan (Dan McCarthy)
    Rawbell Sounds
    Tim Traynor & the Gulf Club
    The Maethtro
    @ the Lilypad

    Saturday, December 10th
    Oneida
    Martin Bisi
    Thalia Zedek
    @ the Lilypad

    Sunday, December 11th
    Mint Green
    @ Crystal Ballroom

    Monday, December 12th
    The Sinclair's 10th Birthday
    with Deer Tick
    @ the Sinclair

    Monday, December 12th
    Lightning Bolt
    @ the Royale

    Tuesday, December 13th
    Bonny Light Horseman
    @ the Sinclair

    Wednesday, December 14th
    Men I Trust
    Feng Suave
    @ Roadrunner

    Friday, December 16th
    "A Very FUNdraising XMAS"
    with Buffalo Tom, Mary Lou Lord,
    The Bags, members of Fuzzy,
    Merrie Amsterburg, members of
    Scruffy The Cat, and more
    @ the Burren

    Friday, December 16th
    Modest Mouse
    Mattress
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday, December 17th
    The Lemonheads
    "It's A Shame About Ray"
    30th Anniversary Tour
    with Juliana Hatfield
    & On Being An Angel
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday, December 17th
    Foals
    @ Roadrunner

    Tuesday, December 27th
    The Return of the...
    Aimee Mann & Ted Leo
    Christmas Show!
    with special guests
    @ the Wilbur

    Thursday, December 29th
    Cave In
    Piebald
    Kal Marks
    @ the Royale

    Friday, December 30th
    Caspian
    Junius
    Som
    The Burning Paris
    @ the Sinclair

    Wednesday, January 24th
    Jon Spencer & the Hitmakers
    @ the Middle East

    Friday, January 27th
    Slaughter Beach, Dog
    Whitmer Thomas
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, January 28th
    Gregory Alan Isakov
    @ Roadrunner

    Friday, February 3rd
    Patty Griffin
    Raul Malo
    @ the Wilbur

    Saturday, February 11th
    Maggie Rogers
    Del Water Gap
    @ Roadrunner

    Friday, February 24th
    Elle King
    Red Clay Strays
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday, February 25th
    Gramercy Arms
    (featuring Dave Derby
    of the Dambuilders)
    @ the Midway Cafe

    Sunday, February 26th
    Kula Shaker
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Monday & Tuesday
    February 27th & 28th
    The Beths
    Sidney Gish
    Hans Pucket
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, March 3rd
    Pile (LP release)
    @ the Somerville Armory

    Friday, March 3rd
    Arctic Monkeys
    Fontaines DC
    @ the Garden

    Friday, March 3rd
    The "Remain In Light" Tour
    with Jerry Harrison
    & Adrian Belew
    @ House of Blues

    Sunday, March 5th
    Weyes Blood
    @ the Royale

    Tuesday, March 7th
    Elvis Costello &
    the Imposters
    @ the Cabot, Beverly

    Tuesday, March 14th
    Quasi
    Bat Fangs
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, March 17th
    Dawes
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday, March 18th
    Hallelujah the Hills
    Eyelids
    @ Atwood's

    Sunday, March 19th
    White Reaper
    Mamalarky
    @ the Royale

    Monday, March 20th
    Bruce Springsteen
    & the E Street Band
    @ TD Garden

    Friday, March 31st
    The Church
    @ the Sinclair

    Sunday, April 2nd
    Robyn Hitchcock
    Kelley Stoltz
    @ City Winery

    Monday, April 3rd
    Tennis
    Kate Bollinger
    @ the House of Blues

    Thursday, April 6th
    Caroline Rose
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, April 8th
    Emma Ruth Rundle
    @ Crystal Ballroom

    Sunday, April 9th
    Bikini Kill
    @ Roadrunner

    Thursday, April 13th
    Andrew Bird
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Sunday, April 16th
    Dead Can Dance
    @ the Wang

    Friday, April 21st
    Fruit Bats
    @ the Royale

    Saturday, April 22nd
    Unknown Mortal Orchestra
    @ Roadrunner

    Wednesday, April 26th
    Andy Shauf
    @ the Royale
    Saturday, April 29th
    Lucius
    @ Roadrunner

    Sunday, April 30th
    Placebo
    Deap Vally
    @ Roadrunner

    Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
    May 19th, 20th, & 21st
    Taylor Swift
    Phoebe Bridgers
    Gayle
    @ Gillette Stadium

    Sunday, May 21st
    Blink 182
    Turnstile
    @ the Garden

    Tuesday, May 30th
    Crowded House
    @ the Wang

    Sunday, July 16th
    First Aid Kit
    The Weather Station
    @ Roadrunner

    August 5th
    Foreigner
    Loverboy
    @ Xfinity Center
    Wednesday, October 11th
    The Mission UK
    The Chamelons
    @ Brighton Music Hall