Category Archives: allston

On Paint Pens in Purses (aka a totally rad female urban art collective).

Photos from a series I shot for the Boston Phoenix of the Paint Pens in Purses art show at the recently-closed Marty’s Liquors space. See the whole series here.

Previously: Photos, video and a write-up of the Paint Pens gals muralizing LAB’s windows

“Paint Pens in Purses” #2

From the Phlog:

Don’t try to say the name of the show three times fast, just go see it. I was lucky enough to loiter around LAB – the city-hip clothing store/experimental art space/purveyor of weird Japanese toys/record seller and occasional DJ party spot – on Friday night, while store owner Kim Harris, “Paint Pens in Purses” founder Shayna Shenanigans, and other artists hung prints and photographs on the store’s walls, and created a large, trippy, animal-filled mural on LAB’s front windows, before the eyes of anyone passing by on Brighton Avenue. (Transforming windows into canvases, thus taking advantage of the instant audience: Allston’s heavy sidewalk traffic, is the LAB crew’s thing – check out photos and time-lapse video of past works here and here.) Shenanigans and friends were at LAB till the wee morning hours, prepping the space for the opening of the second installment of PPP, the “all-female urban art series” – the first was at Via Matta in August. From the looks of the packed reception party Saturday night, it was worth it. Here’s hoping there’ll be a third, fourth, etc. installments. Look here or here, for more information about the show. Below, you’ll find photos of PPP coming together.

Dodos and other news.

FOLKY, NOT FOLKSY: Sarah Palin couldn’t compete with the Dodos last Thursday.

Even though the Dodos’ show a week ago Thursday at the Museum of Fine Arts sold out, the San Franciscan duo were aware of a conflicting engagement. “Welcome to the 2008 Vice-Presidential Debates,” singer Meric Long joked with ironic solemnity.

The timing was all the two events had in common. Whereas Sarah Palin spewed folksy, confused verbiage, the Dodos (signed to Les Savy Fav’s Frenchkiss Records last December) played endearingly folk-y music — acoustic guitars and percussion, peppered with avant-garde elements — for a stuffed Remis Auditorium. And unlike their flightless namesakes, they often seemed on the verge of flying off, that due in part to Logan Kroeber’s frenzied drumming (augmented by a clattering tambourine strapped firmly to his shoe). Long sat hunched over his guitar, as though channeling the energy to keep up with Kroeber, alternating between quick strums and even quicker fingerpicking. Percussionist Joe Haener, who’s accompanying the band on tour, hopped in to give a metal trash can a whack or plunk an enormous xylophone.

Read more here.

PS – The answers. Sarah Vowell voiced the character Violet in The Incredibles. Juana Molina voiced Elastigirl for the Argentinian dub of the film.

PPS – Age Rings’ new singles, “Rock and Roll is Dead,” and “Caught Up in the Sound” are officially out! Largehearted boy has already caught wind of them. Check the songs out here, and come see their single release show with Hooray for Earth, Viva Viva, DJ Die Young, and Baltimoroder this Saturday at Great Scott!

Caribou talks math and Zombies

Via OTD:

The Ontario-born, London-dwelling, math-whiz musician Dan Snaith has been kicking around the electronic music world since 2000, when he released an EP called People Eating Fruit, under the moniker Manitoba. Originally, music was a part-time gig, pursued on the side while Snaith taught and pursued a PhD in math. Just before earning that degree, he was forced to abandon his musical claim on Manitoba, when former Dictators frontman Richard “Handsome Dick” Manitoba decided to sue… even though, you know, Manitoba is the name of a Canadian province, and not just Handsome Dick’s. Luckily, Snaith got over it, and switched to Caribou after a meaningful LSD trip, then ditched math to make music his full-time job. His excellent, multi-instrumental 2007 album, Andorra (Merge), saw Snaith confidently wading into the world of 60s-referencing psych-pop music, and not in a bad way. He’ll play the Paradise with Fuck Buttons tonight, and he chatted with us last weekend, from the snowy roads of Canada (I meant to post this earlier, but I was held back by technical snafus – bummer!).

When asked about his political preferences in a recent interview with XXL magazine, DMX admitted he didn’t know who Barack Obama was. Do you consider yourself well-informed, in terms of world news?

That’s definitely shocking to me. I’m not the most informed, but I definitely can confirm I’ve heard of Barack Obama. If he hasn’t heard of Barack Obama he probably hasn’t heard of previous political leaders in the past decade or so.

You may be sick of this question, but there’s an obvious transition from psych-electronica to psych-pop on your latest album, Andorra. How did this come about?

It was one conscious decision to switch styles. In the past my music has been made by building loops on top of one another. I wanted to make pop songs with big melodies and not just a hypnotic kind of music. The last 3 of the 4 albums have been psych influenced. I like the ambition and the scope, big headspace music, rather than the stripped down post punky kind of sound. Im kind of a record nerd, so I’ve got piles of obscure psych rock bands that I might only like one or two tracks from. This last record, the Zombies were a big influence – they do this baroque psych pop – and they embodied a lot of what I wanted to do. That’s probably something that won’t continue. I’ve done what I wanted to do with that.

You studied and taught math for several years, but now you’re a full-time musician. Have you always juggled the two? Now that music is your full-time gig, do you ever miss math?

I‘m a nerd, and I just love learning about things so I ended up learning about both music and math. But there came a time when I had to make a decision. I’ve always wanted to be a musician. I don’t really miss math – I never do mathematics at all since I got my PhD. I grew up in such a mathematic environment – almost everyone in my family has a math degree – so I don’t feel entirely away from it.

Technically Caribou is your solo project; music created while you were holed up in your bedroom. But for live shows, you perform with other musicians. Why?

There’s four of us on stage. I do everything on the records myself. Doing it all day everyday is sort of something that makes more sense on my own, but the live thing is different – it’s better when it’s very much a collaboration.

Your albums are amalgams of instruments and sounds. How many instruments do you play personally?

I’d probably only say that I play piano well, but that’s an open ended question. Other instruments [on the album], I learn enough to get what I want out of them.

When did you start writing music?

I started playing piano when I was 5 but it didn’t really consume me till I switched teachers at 13 or 14, and they started to emphasize improvisation, and understanding how music fits together. It was a weird little town that I grew up in. The kids were into Rush and Yes, or the Grateful Dead so I was into that. But I was also into Aphex Twin, so my high school band was this terrible car crash of the two things. It sounded like a teenage misindulgence in music. But it was a good starting point in learning how to make music.

LISTEN: Caribou on MySpace



Photo by  Eric Levin.

I really had no idea that this article would become what it has – most e-mailed and viewed, a topic of debate with WFNX DJs and amongst message board members, etc. – I just thought it was right along the lines of what I love writing about: ordinary people doing extraordinary things. It’ll most likely be a 15 minutes thing, but it’s an enjoyable 15 at least, especially for Weth, who gave me this update today:

“The media frenzy continues! It’s interesting to note that the article appears to be the “Most Viewed” and “Most Emailed” article on the Phoenix this past week. So far, Weth has given interviews to three radio stations (KXPX in Phoeniz AZ, WXLP in Iowa / Illinois, and on the Jay Thomas Show on Sirius 102), three magazines have expressed interest on doing articles on Weth (the tabloids National Examiner, National Enquirer, as well as the somewhat more reputable MIT Alumni Review), and there have been discussions with both CBS Morning News as well as Good Morning America. Weth hasn’t heard back from GMA since Monday, but CBS Morning News is tentatively scheduled to film a segment at Weth’s house this coming Saturday.”

World premiere: Hooray For Earth’s “Warm Out” video

I can’t decide which part of this Hooray For Earth video I like best  – Noel Heroux in a sleep mask, the canoeing on Lake Winnipesauke scene (a reference to the classic film What About Bob?, which was also filmed there), the abundance of lamps, or the “happy springtime retreat ruined by axe-wielding creepy guy” theme. Or maybe it’s just that “Warm Out,” from Hooray For Earth’s upcoming Cellphone EP, is an effing fantastic song; one that follows HFE’s trademark amalgam of rumbling, snarling guitar, sweet blips of synth, and “goosebump melodies,” as one Phoenix scribe so adequately put it. Both the song and the video debuted at HFE’s Cellphone listening party at Middlesex last night, along with a hilarious film montage of Jagermeister-fueled “failed interviews” with the band (which is sadly not on YouTube). No word on whether there’ll be a re-screening at the EP release show at the Middle East Downstairs on February 29, with Caspian, Age Rings, and Zambri (a grungy NYC glam pop band who need to be seen live “because they’re animals, and if you capture any of them and return them to the zoo, you get 50 grand,” according to their MySpace), but if hearing “Warm Out” live is a guarantee, I’ll be there.

Also, February 29 is the single release show for Age Rings, and they’ve got a spiffy new website up, where you can listen to their songs, “Big Black Hole” and “Vanessa’s Neck,” from the upcoming double album Black Honey. Go! Do it!

The penny, defended.

Read more here. Also, go see some drag photography.


Photo by Kelly Davidson, from “Drag Me Out, Drag Me In,” at the Paradise Lounge Gallery through March 7.