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The Shins @ House of Blues 8.2.17

The muted response that greeted The Shins’ new album Heartworms felt like a sign that James Mercer’s time as king of the indie-pop hill had reached its end. Yet anyone in the sold-out House of Blues crowd could tell you that, at least as a live band, The Shins are only continuing to improve. Tennis are an affable indie group with melody to burn- no wonder they’ve been opening for… continue reading


Garbage and Blondie: The Rage and Rapture Tour @ Blue Hills Bank Pavilion 7.30.17

Last night was the first time in my life I wore blush: girls don’t wear makeup for boys, they wear makeup for Debbie Harry. (Boys wear makeup for Debbie Harry, too.) On this stop of the Rage and Rapture Tour I saw several pairs of icy blue lips, a pink wig, a copper satin jumpsuit – and other rapturous declarations of vivid femininity. There was at least a little leather…. continue reading


Toad the Wet Sprocket @ Wilbur Theatre 7.21.17

Toad the Wet Sprocket never quite got their due. Their plaintively earnest, unflashy craftsmanship put them at odds with the irony-besotted ‘90s alt-rock zeitgeist, but decades later their bittersweet songs of interpersonal and spiritual longing hold up remarkably well. While Toad’s recent performance at Boston’s Wilbur Theatre often felt more comfortable than revelatory, it was largely enjoyable nevertheless. Between singer/guitarist Tommy Cantillon’s glittery jacket and his group’s synth-embellished, lightly syncopated… continue reading


Echo and the Bunnymen/Violent Femmes @ Blue Hills Bank Pavillion 7.15.17

Quite the clever move, pairing Echo and the Bunnymen and Violent Femmes for a co-headlining tour; despite sounding nothing alike, both bands became early-to-mid ‘80s college-rock titans by writing songs that disaffected teenagers will cherish forever. While both groups delivered strong, satisfying performances, one of them came dangerously close to stealing the show. Violent Femmes bassist Brian Ritchie personally introduced experimental guitarist Ava Mendoza, and her opening set proved his… continue reading

Local Photos: Zac Brown Band @ PNC Bank Arts Center 7.7.17

Country music stars, the Zac Brown Band played to a packed crowd at the PNC Bank Arts Center in New Jersey on their “Welcome Home” tour.  Photographer Lauren Scornavacca’s coverage can be seen below!  


Jay-Z – 4:44

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Jay Z’s highly anticipated 4:44 was announced with a short, black and white clip of Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali practicing his punches with the help of Danny Glover. A soft piano instrumental, backed with hi-hats and a choral loop carry the scene forward, introducing Hov’s lyrics to the song “Adnis,” not included in the digital release of the album and only available as a 30 second sample to date…. continue reading


(Sandy) Alex G @ The Sinclair 7.5.17

On his recent Cambridge tour stop, (Sandy) Alex G wowed the sold-out Sinclair crowd with his mastery of a ludicrously broad range of styles, solidifying his position as one of the most unique talents to emerge from Philadelphia’s fertile indie scene. Porches drummer Cameron Wisch fronts the band Cende, whose brisk, catchy opening set started the evening on a relatively light note. While their brash power-pop held few surprises, a… continue reading


ZZ Ward @ Le Poisson Rouge 6.14.17

“It’s been a long time coming, and nothing’s stopping it this time. Thank you all so much for sticking with me.” Those were a few of the final words spoken to the crowd before ZZ Ward’s last song of the night at Manhattan’s Le Poisson Rouge. She is referring to her upcoming LP The Storm, a project that over the last half-decade has gone through quite the battle. The album was… continue reading


For Those About to Co-Op, We Salute You

Fall co-op has begun. For many of us, music is essential to staying focused and enjoying our time at work. Nothing kicks in that productive drive and focus like the perfect beat in your ears. But finding the right music to listen on the job can be a challenge sometimes; songs that are too lyrical or melodically complex can be distracting. With this in mind, here is a playlist of… continue reading


Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory

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Technically Vince Staples’ second studio album, Big Fish Theory struggles to find a message—on purpose. It’s as anxious, intense, exhausted, and angry as Staples himself. The first track released, “BagBak,” was an overtly political Black anthem that moved along quickly and held nothing back. As the lead single, it christened the project with an on-brand dedication: “This is for my future baby mama/ Hope your skin is black as midnight.” The… continue reading


Snoop Dogg – Neva Left

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On cusp of this decade, millennial and new-school rappers are constantly shaping and re-shaping the characteristics of rap music – from lyricism, to delivery, to even production. As we observe this ongoing change, the probing question becomes: where does this leave the older rappers? Snoop Dogg, one of the most beloved and revered old-school emcees, takes a clear note of this anxiety, yet calmly reassures in his fifteenth studio effort… continue reading