Compilations of Note: Revere Rock City

Revere Rock City is the Fall 2016 compilation from Spark and Fizz, a Boston-area blog and record label. All of the proceeds will go to buy instruments for the rock ensemble program at Garfield Middle School in Revere, MA. The program provides opportunities for children to learn to play in bands, and gives them a place to play where they can make as much noise as they want and not disturb the neighbors, something in short supply in Revere.

The tunes, provided by a variety of bands from the Greater Boston area, encompass a diverse array of musical styles. And, as a tremendous bonus, the hard copy version of the record comes with a zine done school newspaper style, including articles about local bands, art by students, and a custom crossword.

WHOOP-Szo, Citizens Ban(ne)d Radio

WHOOP-Szo, scrappy little band of my heart (Frozen North division) has released a new record, which, like previous efforts, is a multi-layered and -textured piece of music that blossoms afresh with each re-listen. It is, by turns, dark, twisty, fuzzy, bright and beautiful. Some parts of it sound like a choir; others like an oncoming storm. It is all well worth your time.

Video: Heart-Ships, Undress Me Down To The Bone

In keeping with what has become annual tradition, here is Heart-Ships with Undress Me Down to The Bone from FOIL, the record they released right before they broke up. You can listen to the rest of it at their Soundcloud. The video is by visual artist Irina Haugane.

Heart-Ships | Undress Me To The Bone | A Video By Irina Haugane

Superior, Self Defense Family

The real point of this post is to tell y’all that Run for Cover Records has put a whole lot of its catalog on bandcamp and that everything is “pay what you can” for the weekend, with the proceeds going to Planned Parenthood. They’re matching up to $5000, and last I looked the total donation was at $14,000.

Superior by Self Defense Family is one of the records available. Self Defense Family is an artistic/musical collective mostly from upstate New York, sufficiently fluid in composition and style that every record is distinctive and unlike the last, though they tend to drift on the hardcore-shoegaze currents. This particular record is more shoegaze, which for them means it’s a little softer and there’s no angry yelling.

Folk Music Friday: Laghdú, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and Dan Trueman

Today on Folk Music Friday: ALL FIDDLES ALL THE TIME.

Laghdú, which translates as “a lessening, a decrease, a reduction,” is Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and Dan Trueman‘s debut record. Both of them are accomplished solo artists; Ó Raghallaigh is also a member of The Gloaming and This Is How We Fly, and Truman, a professor of music at Princeton University, also recently collaborated with Adam Sliwinski and So Percussion.

On this record, they both play a 10 string instrument that is a cross between a Norwegian Hardanger fiddle and a viola d’amore. And as fiddle music goes, their tunes are unusual – experimental, even, in shape, structure and texture. The sounds are bold, sometimes hovering on the edge of irritating, but ultimately compelling; the songs expand, contract, and loop back and forth in intriguing ways.

While the tracks can be absorbed individually, I very strongly suggest listening to the whole thing straight through for a more immersive experience.

Video: Hallelujah, Leonard Cohen

I had a difficult time picking both a song, and then a video, for this post. I finally settled on this one because his voice is the strongest, and he sounds the most – like himself, for lack of a better term.

I had the chance to see Leonard Cohen at Madison Square Garden a few years ago, and I’m glad I took it. I was too far from the stage to take pictures; practically in the rafters. Even elderly and frail he held us in thrall. The Garden has never felt like more of a sacred space – a temple of song, to paraphrase one of Cohen’s own lyrics.

And, too, I am, like a lot of people, genuinely fond of this song.

Rest in peace, good sir. We shall miss you very much.

Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah

Luke De-Sciscio, Gossamer Rose

1. Luke DeSciscio is from Bath, England. Gossamer Rose is his debut LP.

2. His bandcamp lists his genre as “post-boatcore” which at first I thought might be related to yacht music.

3. As it turns out the “boat” in question was a coal barge from Manchester which he was living on for a while, on the Kennet and Avon canal, shuttling between Bath and Bristol.

4. The “-core” part is a reference to hardcore and post-hardcore, which he was listening to while making this record. The genre didn’t stick, but the suffix did.

5. The record grew out of his experiences on the boat. It is effectively the opposite of hardcore: there is no howling, screeching, or thrashing, just sweet guitar melodies and his sharp clear voice.

6. The thing that first hooked me on this record was the cover art. The splash of soft gold light playing against the muted rose-pink of the wall hits a very specific receptor that I can’t really explain other than to say I was distantly surprised there may be a ghost of a photographer in me yet, still in love with light, shadow, and the possibilities on the other side of the door. Also the patterns cast by the glass make me think of light playing over water, so I suppose we’re back to the boat again.

7. Overall the vibe is dreamy and melancholy, which I at least found soothing. You can make up your own mind:

Chill Out Drown Out: My Invisible Friend

Chill Out Drown Out: music for when you need to, well, chill out, and also drown out extraneous noise. Tunes for calming down and concentrating on important tasks or just having a peaceful time in the middle of a hurricane of a day/week/month/year/existence.

My Invisible Friend are based in Parma, Italy. Their self-titled EP is not their first EP, but it is the most recent; if you’re even vaguely interested in shoegaze, you should listen to it. It’s a magnificent mixture of droning fuzz, feedback, and bright clear tonal highlights. It’s a little more uptempo than some of the other bands I’ve filed to Chill Out Drown Out but, well, when the going gets tough, the tough step on the fuzz pedal and crank up the volume.

Chill Out Drown Out: TOUJOURS, In Vivid

Chill Out Drown Out: music for when you need to, well, chill out, and also drown out extraneous noise. Tunes for calming down and concentrating on important tasks or just having a peaceful time in the middle of a hurricane of a day/week/month/year/existence.

Ok kids. Here is your moment of zen for today.

TOUJOURS is the second record from In Vivid (Ben Snook), and it is a gentle soothing bath for your brain. The songs are chill but rich in texture, just enough grit to be perfect for background music, and not so slippery as to be instantly forgettable.