Category Archives: The Middle East

Phoenix blogs are down, so this can’t go up on the Phlog yet, unforch.

For those of you not at SXSW: If I may be so bold, I’d like to offer you a list of things to do this weekend (besides going to see Justice, or dancing your ass off at Hearthrob – which sounds like a tough decision for the types into those activities, aka moi), in flier form. LAB Boston is an unclassifiable Allston hotspot. I’d call it part clothing store, part art gallery, part party venue, and part space for graf artists to paint on semi-clothed women’s bodies on a Saturday afternoon. This weekend, they’re one year old and, of course, there’ll be a celebration:


Sunday is obviously going to be mainly about consuming beer and claiming to be Irish for most Bostonians, but if you’re in the mood to do something cause-worthy for the sake of Boston’s independent film scene (and also drink more, and maybe catch a sneak preview of an awesome, not-yet-released movie), the crew behind Twelve, a film I wrote about for the Phoenix, are throwing a fundraiser shindig. The obligatory flier:


There are other good things happening (not in Southie) on Sunday as well. A non-flier tidbit from my inbox:

READING AND PARTY: Sunday, March 16, 2008, 7pm, The Dirty Water Reading Series presents “Get Lucky”
“Get Lucky” is a St. Patty’s-themed reading at Grub Street Headquarters, featuring mad-libs of famous Irish writers and short readings by Sommer Browning, Steve Himmer, Nina MacLaughlin, and Felicia C. Sullivan. Organized by local journals Quick Fiction, Redivider, and Fringe, along with Black Ocean Press. Free food and drinks, plus door prizes. Come on down and have a pint!
FREE, Grub Street HQ, 160 Boylston Street

Nina MacLaughlin is a co-worker at the Phoenix, and a fantastic writer – check this awesome piece she wrote about Andre Dubus for last fall’s literary supplement.

And finally, Will will (sorry, had to do it) be DJing it up at ZuZu on Sunday around 10 pm – I’ve been eyeing up his record collection for months, and I can safely say the kid’s got good taste, and it’ll definitely be worth checking out.

Oh, and if you’re the “stay at home on the net”-type, maybe you should customize a shirt?

Au revoir!


Photo by beautifully unsound from Boston Street Art on Flickr.

The Saturday night conundrum: Frank Smith, Beach House, or Feist and Grizzly Bear?  Possible to do a three-way?

More on the Beach Housers.

More on the Grizzlies.

More about Feist.

Ok, and more about Bostonians-turned-Texans Frank Smith.

I’m going to be focusing my blogging energy on this for a bit – read it, if you so please.

Adventures with the law.

Wrote this for this Thursday’s Calendar:

Bianca Casady, who makes up the experimental folk duo CocoRosie with her sister Sierra, has a voice that’s astonishingly similar to the singer-harpist Joanna Newsom. Much like Newsom, CocoRosie are often labeled “freak folk,” a style of music that not everyone can stomach. Their music blends an unfathomable amount of sounds – everything from operatic solos (Sierra studied opera in Paris) to babies crying – and the result often feels more like a fusion of sounds than a song. Talking Heads frontman David Byrne is a fan, though – he invited them to play Carnegie Hall in February, as a part of his Perspectives series, which highlighted artists of the supposed “freak folk” genre. They’ll play the Middle East Downstairs on Wednesday, with Busdriver.

But that’s not going to happen. Apparently, Bianca and Sierra are having some troubles even D. Byrne can’t help them out of.

Art and metal.

Awesome poster art by Ben Sisto.

On an unrelated note, maybe you wanna experience a little Christian metal tonight?

Tomorrow night: Viva Viva at the Middle East – for the record.

This week: the overbooked edition

Finding the rockets in and around Inman Sq. is my new favorite in-transit game.

Rumbo A Las Grandes Ligas at the Somerville Theatre at 8 p.m. (Full disclosure: my roommate edited this film, but even if he hadn’t, I’d still go. Plus, Big Papi is rumored to be attending – score!) Read what Mike Milliard had to say about it, in the Phoenix’s extensive guide to the fifth annual Independent Film Festival of Boston.

Tomorrow night, via Globe Calendar:

When Johan Hedberg and Peter Gunnarsson, otherwise known as Suburban Kids With Biblical Names, sing, ”I’m making out tonight with my computer,” on their song ”Loop Duplicate My Heart,” they aren’t kidding. The Swedish electro-pop duo’s debut album, ”#3,” lovingly utilizes electronic beats, mixed with tinny, music box-like piano, acoustic guitar, and what one Pitchfork reviewer recently described as ”Napoleon Dynamite deadpan” vocals. Much like Napoleon Dynamite, their music possesses a certain lovable geekiness, complete with silly lyrics (”Noodles are the smell of denial”), an experimental array of instruments, and the infectious pop sensibility that’s become synonymous with the recent onslaught of Swedish bands.

Wedesday night, choices choices:
Age Rings, with the Everyday Visuals, Summerbirds in the Cellar, the Televangelist and the Architect at T.T. the Bear’s Place. (Full disclosure, again: I wrote about T & the A for the Globe last December. I’m also dating an undisclosed member of Age Rings. But I’d still go if neither of those things were true, even though Big Papi is not rumored to be attending.)

Or, via Calendar – again:

In a recent interview, Trans Am member Philip Manley said, ”People often bring up the eclectic quality of our music, almost like it’s genre-hopping.” That pretty much sums up both Trans Am’s career and its eighth and latest album, ”Sex Change” (Thrill Jockey). The trio has been creating tunes that are part techno and part prog-rock, though the exact proportions vary depending on the album. ”Sex Change,” the band’s first album after a three-year break, feels like an attempt to bridge any inconsistencies in their musical catalogue, possibly as a career closer. According to Manley, Trans Am will likely resume hiatus following their current tour, which makes their show at Great Scott on Wednesday, with Zombi and Psychic Paramount, all the more appealing.

And speaking of Swedish pop, it should go without saying that PB&J are only four days away. Cue up “Amsterdam” on your iTunes one more time. If you’re not one of the lucky few with a ticket, catch PB&J live on Friday, on WERS.

Now. Now.

Looks like my typical Thursday afternoon.

You are probably not immune to Annie Clark’s powers, so don’t try to fight it. That’s essentially what I was aiming to say here, but the Globe generally frowns upon writing things like “Go see St. Vincent now, or I’ll come to your house and make you go!” So I had to write this instead:

It’s no surprise that Annie Clark, the slender, Oklahoma-bred curly-haired beauty behind St. Vincent, sounds like the female version of Sufjan Stevens. She has played with Stevens, as well as the Polyphonic Spree, everyone’s favorite choir-robed purveyors of uplifting pop. The surprise is that, as a solo artist, St. Vincent creates anything but lo-fi indie pop. Instead, she combines simultaneously sweet sentiment and boldly experimental instrumentation. ”Now Now,” for example, from her upcoming debut, ”Marry Me,” is a shifting fusion of music-box-like tinkling and whispery, call-and-response vocals that dissolve into screeching guitar distortion. Beggars Banquet will release ”Marry Me” on July 10, but you can catch a preview tomorrow night, when St. Vincent opens for John Vanderslice at the Middle East Upstairs.

St. Vincent, “Now. Now.”

Planning ahead.

Via Calendar, if genre-mashing Mexican guitar duos aren’t your thing:

Usually breakup songs are either sadly introspective or determinedly empowering (ask Kelly Clarkson). Rarely are they as cheerful as “Goodbye,” by the Miami-based indie-pop trio the Postmarks. The song pays homage to ’60s-era pop, with triumphant horns and tinkling xylophone mingling beneath lead singer Tim Yehezkely’s whispered, woozy musings, setting the perfect backdrop for an amicable breakup. Luckily for the lucky-in-love types, the Postmarks’ recently released, self-titled debut album is packed with orchestral pop songs concerning other topics – the weather, for example. They’ve expanded to a six-piece for their current tour, which includes an early show at the Middle East Downstairs on Tuesday, with Harry and the Potters, and Smoosh.