Let it be known that Low are one of the great enduring American rock bands. “Rock” is of course a term applied very loosely in this case, but the point stands. The Duluth, Minnesota based trio – centered on founding husband-and-wife duo Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker – have been subtly shaping and refining their slow, sad and majestic take on the traditional power trio since 1993, and they’ve never lost a step. September’s Ones and Sixes is right up there with their best work, and they showcased that uncanny consistency at a Brighton Music Hall show on the 26th. It was powerful, arresting stuff, drawing heavily on the new LP but cherry-picking from their extensive back catalog all the way back to their 1994 debut I Could Live in Hope. As a front row audience member I may have been the most audible part of the chorus convincing the band to play “Words” at the encore’s conclusion. I regret nothing. Photos from the show, including opener Andy Shauf, are below. Read the rest of this entry →
The extent of my knowledge of Scorpions prior to a week ago was that they were from Germany and wrote “Rock You Like A Hurricane,” which is kind of the ultimate Big Dumb Rock Song. Apparently, they’re celebrating their 50th (!) anniversary this year and boast a pretty extensive discography beyond said song. This is what I like about newspaper assignments – I end up learning about stuff outside my general sphere of music knowledge. Plus, Scorpions actually put on a better show than most bands would have any right to at the end of their fifth decade. Read the rest of this entry →
The dual projects of the inimitable Matt Pike present two very different models for the way a long-running band can function. Defining stoner metal trio Sleep didn’t manage to release a definitive version of their third LP until 5 years after they broke up, and have continued to operate at a glacial pace since reuniting in 2009. They occasionally emerge from a cloud of smoke to play a gig, headline a festival or, most shockingly, release a song, but it’s evident that the group are in no hurry to do much of anything else. High On Fire, Pike’s thrashier project founded in the wake of Sleep’s initial breakup, is an incongruous narrative of workmanlike precision. Ceaseless touring and a clockwork cycle of releasing consistently excellent records have established them as one of our most reliable bands, and they were eager as ever to please at the Boston date supporting their latest LP. Read the rest of this entry →
U.K producer Jamie Smith has stepped out from the shadows of his role with moody trio The xx this year to release his solo debut, the vibrant and appropriately titled In Colour. Though he holds onto the ‘xx’ surname as a solo artist, his own work is of a much more upbeat, dancefloor-appropriate nature. He brought all this into focus last Sunday night at a sold-out Royale gig, performing a 90-plus minute set that seamlessly blended certified summer anthems like “Gosh” and the prominently-Young Thug-featuring ”I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” with remixes and crate-digging obscurities (on actual vinyl, to boot). Plus, he earned style points with a room full of mirror balls and an elaborate light show. Check out photos from the evening after the jump. Read the rest of this entry →
It’s been rough going for a Sonic Youth fan since 2011. The band’s indefinite hiatus in the wake of Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon’s separation has gradually revealed itself to be a permanent dissolution, much to our collective disappointment. Although 2009’s The Eternal was a solid record to go out on, the simultaneous dissolution of one of alternative rock’s great bands and power couples can’t help but feel like a story with a downer ending. Thankfully, though, there has been an upside to all this. Time apart has given the former Youths time to delve into a diverse and rewarding body of solo work. Lee Ranaldo has pursued his inner Neil Young with The Dust, Steve Shelley’s spent time in the studio and on the road with Sun Kil Moon (as well as multiple ex-bandmates), Kim has continued pushing the envelope with her noise/drone project Body/Head, and Thurston has only pushed further toward peak-Thurstonism with Chelsea Light Moving and, now, The Thurston Moore Band. Read the rest of this entry →
I really never expected to see Television. They’re a legendary band with no ostensible reason to embark on proper tours, content to play one-off festival dates and the occasional NYC gig that I would inevitably not be able to get to (case in point: last year’s Rough Trade shows). I greeted the announcement of this out-of-the-blue Paradise show with the sort of enthusiasm I reserve for a select few “holy shit how can this really be happening” performances that come along once in a great while. Read the rest of this entry →
Sunday was one of the first legitimately beautiful days of the obnoxious faux-spring that has cloaked Boston in grey misery for much of the last month or two, and a gorgeous day faded into a warm, weird night in Allston where NYC heavy pysch space-rockers White Hills were set to wrap up a tour at our beloved Great Scott.