Category Archives: march april & may

March, April & May: 2017 year-end roundup

It’s that time again, right? 

Below are three un-ranked, un-quantified lists of ten LPs/EPs, songs and live performances that I enjoyed this year. Some of the recordings I listened to almost non-stop for long periods of time. Some of them I only listened to a few times, but they seriously made an impression. The list is not at all comprehensive. There were lots of notable releases this year, including music from A Certain Smile, Lisa Bouvier, The Primitives, The Darling Buds, Makthaverskan, Peaness, Star Tropics, The Luxembourg Signal and Panda Riot, just to name a few. Check out my top picks below.

LPs/EPs

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» Lilith – Apology Plant (Disposable America)

» Alvvays – Antisocialites (Polyvinyl Record Co.)

» Guggi Data – Pop/Rock (Luxury Records)

» The Courtneys – II (Flying Nun)

» Fazerdaze – Morningside (Flying Nun)

» Mini Dresses – Mini Dresses (Joy Void)

» Sunny Summer Day – Traveled Backwards (Lidia Records)

» The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Echo of Pleasure (Painbow)

» The Just Joans – You Might Be Smiling Now (Fika Recordings)

» Pale Spectres – Pale Spectres (Cloudberry Records)



SONGS

» Mammoth Penguins – The Child (from John Doe on WIAIWYA)

» Brad San Martin – Song about “Soul Finger” (from Shoot Tomorrow/Learn Tonight on Jigsaw Records)

» Laura K – Apologise (from Art is Hard Records’ Postcard Club series)

» Jens Lekman – Wedding in Finistère (from Life Will See You Now on Secretly Canadian)

» Diet Cig – Maid of the Mist (from Swear I’m Good At This on Frenchkiss Records)

» Frankie Rose – Love in Rockets (from Cage Tropical on Slumberland)

» The Fireworks – Better Without You Now (from Dream About You on Shelflife)

» Last Leaves – The Hinterland (from Other Towns Than Ours on Lost and Lonesome)

» My Teenage Stride – Christopher Come (from Living in the Straight World on Unblinking Ear)

» Girl Ray – Don’t Go Back at Ten (from Earl Grey on Moshi Moshi)



LIVE PERFORMANCES

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» Psychedelic Furs at Paradise Rock Club (Boston) – October 14

» Brian Wilson presents Pet Sounds at The Hanover Theatre (Worcester, MA) – April 30

» Alvvays at Paradise Rock Club (Boston) – October 3

» Belle & Sebastian at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion (Boston) – August 2

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» Jens Lekman at Brighton Music Hall (Boston) – March 15

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» The Pains of Being Pure at Heart at The Sinclair (Cambridge, MA) – June 14

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» Pants Yell (reunion benefit show) at Atwood’s Tavern (Cambridge, MA) – March 26

» The New Pornographers at House of Blues (Boston) – April 25

» Frankie Rose (opening for The Pains of Being Pure at Heart) at The Sinclair (Cambridge, MA) – June 14

» Colleen Green (opening for The Wedding Present) at Great Scott (Boston) – April 16

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Zine: March, April & May #4

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The fourth issue of the February Records zine, “March, April & May,” is now available to order. Shipping will begin on October 16.

This issue is 76 pages and includes interviews with Panda Riot, Chickfactor zine, The Fireworks, Sodastream, Brad San Martin, Lisa Bouvier, Rocketship, Lilith, and A Certain Smile. Plus: Show reviews and interviews with indie radio DJs.

Purchase also includes a download of the March, April & May Mix #2 digital EP with tracks from Lilith, Lisa Bouvier, Panda Riot, The Fireworks, A Certain Smile and Rocketship. Tracks are all previously unreleased — either new songs or live or acoustic versions.

The zine is limited to 75 copies and is only $4 (plus shipping). Order here.

Zine: March, April & May #3

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The third issue of the February Records zine, “March, April & May,” is now available to order.

The zine is 68 pages and includes interviews with Phil Wilson, Elizabeth Morris, Young Romance, Peaness, Knut from Eardrums Pop and Featherfin, Strange Passage, Kevin Alvir, Postal Blue, Emma Kupa and Ray Neal of Miracle Legion.

The zine also includes a download of the March, April & May Mix #1 digital EP with tracks from Postal Blue, Jason Bourgeois, Strange Passage, The June Brides, The Hairs, Emma Kupa and Featherfin. Tracks are all previously unreleased — either new songs, covers or live or acoustic versions.

The zine is limited to 75 copies and is only $4 (plus shipping). Order here.

March, April & May: 2016 year-end roundup

This is not a best-of list. This is not a top-10 list. 

Lately, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with year-end “best-of” lists. I love to read them and, usually, hate the results. Boiling down a year’s worth of music into ten (or 25 or 50 or 100) ranked bands or songs or albums just doesn’t really do the trick anymore. And let’s not even talk about number ratings. 

Below, is a mostly-random, un-ranked, un-quantified list of LPs, EPs, tracks and live shows that I enjoyed this year. Some of these I listened to almost non-stop for long periods of time. Some of them I only listened to a few times, but they seriously made an impression. The list is not comprehensive. There’s a lot I left out and a lot I didn’t get a chance to hear. I also included February Records releases because, let’s face it, I like them and I listened to them a lot.

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[LP] Flowers – “Everybody’s Dying to Meet You” (Kanine) — I love this band. Flowers’ first LP was my favorite album of 2014 and “Everybody’s Dying to Meet You” might be my favorite album of 2016, though I won’t commit to that. Check out track 4, “All At Once.”

[EP] Strange Passage – “Shine and Scatter” (self-released) — This Boston quartet channels late-’80s/early-’90s UK post punk. The four-track EP is the kind of thing you’ll listen to over and over. Check out track 3, “Shine and Scatter.”

[live] Miracle Legion (with Winterpills) at The Outer Space, Hamden, CT – July 16 — I’m so glad this band got back together. This show was great. It was also nice to get back down to the New Haven area for a show.

[live] Allo Darlin’ (with Simon Love, Chorusgirl and The Spook School) at Baby’s All Right, Brooklyn – NYC Popfest May 20 — I didn’t know at the time that this would be my last chance to see Allo Darlin’ (and possibly the last NYC popfest as it goes on hiatus). It was definitely worth the five-hour bus ride to New York for their set alone.

[track] Peaness – “Oh George” (House Plants Records) — A smart garage-pop anti-love song to George Osborne.

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[live] Teenage Fanclub (with Skylar Gudasz ) at the Sinclair, Cambridge, MA – Oct. 17 — First time seeing Teenage Fanclub. Did not disappoint.

[LP] Bent Shapes – “Wolves of Want” (Slumberland) — Literate indiepop with a touch of college-rock. From Boston. Check out track 5, “Realization Hits.”

[EP] half sour – “Charm School” (Disposable America/Too Far Gone) — Bratty, punchy “slacker-pop” from Boston. Check out track 1, “Ten Year Tenure.”

[LP] The Very Most – “Syntherely Yours” (February Records) — OK, just a little bit of bias here, but not much. This is a great record. We’d been talking with Jeremy for a long time about teaming up for a TVM release on February and we finally got around to it this year. Jeremy reworked nine TVM tunes into synth-pop songs with guest vocalists. Adriano do Couto of Postal Blue, Colin Clary of the The Smittens, Charles Bert of Math and Physics Club, Lisle Mitnik of Tiny Fireflies and more were featured. The album is still available to download. Check out track 1, “Good Fight Fighting” (featuring Adriano do Couto).

[track] The Monkees – “Me and Magdalena” (Rhino) — That Monkees album (“Good Times!”) that came out this year is actually pretty good. This song is pretty great even if it is written by Ben Gibbard. Gibbard should forget about Deathcab for Cutie and just write songs for Mike Nesmith and Mickey Dolenz to sing.

[EP] The Beths – “Warm Blood” (self-released) — Fun, upbeat New Zealand guitar pop. Check out track 3, “Idea/Intent.”

[LP] Fear of Men – “Fall Forever” (Kanine) — Atmospheric. Ominous. Beautiful. Check out track 6, “Island.”

[LP] The Tuts – “Update Your Brain” (Dovetown) — This album is infectious. Check out track 2, “Tut Tut Tut.”

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[live] Elvis Costello and The Imposters at the Orpheum Theatre, Boston – Oct. 25 — This is the third time I’ve seen EC and the first time I’ve seen him with a full band. Great show.

[LP] Math & Physics Club – “In This Together” (Fika Recordings) — Get some of the band’s best EP tracks, B-sides, rarities and unreleased songs all in one place. Check out track 16, “Weekends Away.”

[track] Dexys – “Both Sides Now” (100% Records / Rhino) — This cover from the album “Let The Record Show: Dexys Do Irish and Country Soul” has been a constant on my YouTube playlist. I want to live inside this video.

[live] The Go-Go’s (with Best Coast and Kaya Stewart) at House of Blues, Boston – Aug. 8 — This show was so much fun. Lots of dancing. Lots of singing along. Lots of beer.

[track] The Pretenders – “Holy Commotion” (BMG/Clouds Hill) — I don’t even want to hear the rest of the album that this track is on — the Chrissie Hynde/Dan Auerbach (Black Keys) team-up that is “Alone.” I enjoy this song, though.

[live] The Cure (with the Twilight Sad) at Agganis Arena, Boston – June 16 — I’m not usually one for arena shows, but I can’t be blamed for sitting in the nosebleeds to see The Cure. Playing a lengthy set and then four encores, I got to hear everything I wanted to.

[LP] V/A – “Constant and True: A Tribute to the Songs of Rose Melberg” (February Records) — Here’s another little bit of horn-tooting. Jeremy Jensen of The Very Most curated this amazing tribute compilation to Rose Melberg and we got the honor of getting to promote it. In all honesty, this album has been consistently playing in my car or in my headphones since it came out. Every one of these 21 tracks is a winner, with covers by The Hermit Crabs, Rocketship, Boyracer, Emma Kupa, Marc Elston, John Girgus, Seapony and more. Copies are still available. Check out track 21, “My Broken Heart,” covered by Rocketship.

— Danny

‘March, April & May’ No. 2

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The second issue of the February Records zine, “March, April & May,” is now officially available to order through our Bandcamp page. Inside are band interviews, essays and even a little bit of humor. Interviews include: Duglas T Stewart of BMX Bandits, The Arctic Flow, Tiny Fireflies, Jigsaw Records, Lost Tapes, Big Quiet, The Very Most and Cozy Catastrophes.

The zine is limited to 50 copies and is only $2. Order here.

2015 year-end list

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I wasn’t planning on writing a year end list this year until Danny convinced me to. Being an adult took over this year – I changed jobs, I bought a house, and then proceeded to spend the last 6 months fixing up said house. Suffice to say, I didn’t listen to a lot of new music. There is definitely some overlap between Danny’s list and this one, but I feel that’s to be expected.

In no particular order:

The Arctic FlowThe Luminous Veil

Lost TapesLost in Youth

Owl & MouseDepartures

Postal BlueOf Love & Other Affections

Tiny FirefliesThe Space Between

Funeral AdvantageBody is Dead

Alpaca SportsWhen You Need Me The Most

Tim the MuteWhy Live?

The Spook SchoolTrying to be Hopeful

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Share your favorite albums of the year with me! What have I missed out on?

Happy New Year, everyone. We’ll see you in 2016!

— Kristin

2015 year-end list

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Every year I waffle back and forth around this time trying to decide if I’m going to do a year-end list. This year, it really wasn’t until I saw Knute’s from Eardrums Music wonderful month-by-month lists that I decided to put one together.

There was a lot more really great music this year than I had originally thought. Some standouts for me were The Go! Team, who I’d never really listened to before this year. Cozy Catastrophes, who we released an EP with last year, put out a great full-length this year on Jigsaw Records. Boston’s own Funeral Advantage had one of my favorite albums this year.

Here, in (mostly) no particular order are fifteen of my favorite releases from 2015. Kristin will be posting her’s later this month. — Danny

The Go! Team The Scene Between
(Check out the track “Catch Me on the Rebound”)

Funeral AdvantageBody is Dead
(Check out the track “You Sat Alone”)

TigercatsMysteries
(Check out the track “Wheezer”)

The FireworksSwitch Me On
(Check out the track “Runaround”)

Mammoth PenguinsHide and Seek
(Check out the track “When I Was Your Age”)

Tiny Fireflies The Space Between
(Check out the track “Youth”)

Lost TapesLost in Youth
(Check out the track “Slumber Party”)

Joanna Gruesome Peanut Butter
(Check out the track “Honestly Do Yr Worst”)

Wild Honey Sleep Through It
(Check out the track “Sleep Through It”)

Space DazeCapture a Thing
(Check out the track “Was Never”)

Cozy CatastrophesHave You Ever Heard of Cozy Catastrophes?
(Check out the track “Hideaway”)

Big Quiet Big Quiet
(Check out the track “Punk Floyd”)

Alpaca SportsWhen You Needed Me the Most
(Check out the track “Just Like Them”)

Virgin SuicideVirgin Suicide
(Check out the track “There is a Glace Over my Eyes”)

SeaponyA Vision
(Check out the track “Everyday All Alone”)

… March, April & May: (Not a) Popfest Preview: Going Up The Country

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As we have now come full circle and we’ve reached out to just about every alldayer, weekender, or Popfest that we possibly could think of, this will be our last in the Popfest Previews series. We’re very happy to be able to include Going Up The Country!

If you’ve been at any major Popfest or festival in the UK in the last year, you’ve likely met Christie the Bear and her compassionate companions, Kevin and Linda. Christie accompanies Kev and Linda to various events, indiepop or otherwise, to help raise awareness and donations for Macmillan Cancer Support. Kev and Linda also happen to be the organizers behind Going Up The Country.

GUTC is what Kev and Linda call a “charity indiepop mini weekender.” Taking place each year at The Church in Congleton, this year’s charity pop weekender is being held on the 13th and 14th of June with bands such as The Swapsies, The Mersey Belles, Bodyheat, and many more!

Can you give us a history of Going Up The Country (dates, previous organizers involved, etc.)? How and why did you come to be involved?
The inspiration came from Bentley Cooke of Manchester-based band Help Stamp Out Loneliness back in 2011. At a gig he made a throw-away comment about wanting to play somewhere in the countryside. That weekend we were guest DJs at a Charity Scooter event at The Church House, our local pub. They had bands playing on a truck outside and we thought ‘Could we put something on here?’ Bentley loved the idea so, in memory of his mum, he chose Christies, the world famous Cancer Hospital, as the Charity and Going Up The Country was born. This year will be our 4th. Previously, it’s just been one day but we’ve added a totally acoustic Sunday this year. We aspired to give it a mini-Indietracks feel, our favourite festival in all the world … I hope we’ve succeeded!

What is the process of choosing bands like? Do you contact them or do they have to apply to play? Are there any rules as to who can or cannot play?
Having never done anything like this before, the process was a bit scary! Kev approached bands that we’d seen and enjoyed, so pretty soon we had our first great line up. Disaster struck when Help Stamp Out Loneliness split up (please get back together!). Luckily, The School stepped in as a replacement so our first stab at promoting an event was a great success. As GUTC has become more known, bands now approach us to play too, so if we have space and they have the right Indiepop feel, then they’ll be considered.

What has experience taught you when it comes to organizing the event?
Don’t have flyers printed too soon. It pays to have someone calm and laid back on the team (Kev) to counteract the one who panics and worries (Linda). Help from friends like Jamie Harrison and Pete & Jo Dale have been invaluable.

When does organization start? Is there a timeline you follow? How soon after the festival ends do you begin to plan the next one?
At the end of the very long day you think do we want to do this all over again? Then you wake up and remember just how much fun it was, add in the wonderful feedback and the answer is a resounding YES. Planning is mainly booking the bands so it’s pretty much straight after. If we see any and think ‘WOW we’d love them to play Going Up The Country,’ we usually ask them there and then.

Do you have any inside tips for attendees?
Congleton is pretty sleepy in comparison to Manchester but it is accessible by train and a fair amount goes on musically and artistically. Cheshire is a beautiful part of the world, so come along and have a pint or two of our real ale Pristine Christine, see some excellent musicians, dance your socks off and, to quote one of the best tweets we ever had, have “the most fun ever in a pub car park.” We finish off with an Indiepop Disco in the pub … the locals just love watching everyone bouncing around and think Pristine Christine is made of cherries ….

What are some of the best and worst GUTC moments you can remember?
Nothing catastrophic has happened yet so fingers crossed for 2015, but there have been a few hairy moments. Rain and cold temperatures in our English Summer is always a worry, although we do have adequate shelter! Bands who forget their instruments … yes they do! Highlights are too numerous to mention just so many talented, friendly and extremely generous people from all over the country — even Spain & Germany — having a really great time … can’t wait …

As always, all profits from the weekend festivities will be donated to Macmillan Cancer Support, so why not feel good about watching some of your favorite pop bands? Tickets for the weekender are now on sale. Visit the GUTC Facebook group for more info on the lineup and where to purchase your ticket.

… March, April & May: (Not a) Popfest Preview: Pop! South Weekender

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As you’re probably already well aware, the Pop!South 2015 weekender is already behind us and we are entirely at fault for failing to post this in a timely manner! We can only hope that our lovely Scottish friends can forgive us.

Pop!South has been booking pop gigs in the south side of Glasgow for a few years now. Their first weekender, more aptly known as the “All Day-and-a-half-er”, occurred in 2014 and they have kept up the tradition this year, adding an extra night to the festivities. The event, which took place at The Glad Café, included two nights of all-out pop and an afternoon of acoustic sets. February Records band The Swapsies as well as our friends The Mini Skips played alongside bands such as The Just Joans, Withered Hand, Shambles Miller, and many more. From all accounts, the weekend was everything you’d expect: friendly, welcoming, and full of top-notch pop.

Before the weekender, Chris Gillies, one of the many organizers involved with Pop!South, was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.

1. Can you give us a history of Pop!South Weekender (dates, previous organizers involved, etc.)? How and why did you come to be involved?
We started Pop!South around May 2013 and enjoyed the gigs we were putting on so much that we thought it would be nice to try something bigger. The first event in 2014 consisted of one full day of music on the Saturday and a slightly shorter acoustic day on the Sunday – this year we’re going even bigger by adding a Friday night gig too.

2. What is the process of choosing bands like? Do you contact them or do they have to apply to play? Are there any rules as to who can or cannot play?
Basically the main group of us in Pop!South get together in the pub and decide on the bands we’d like to play – simple as that! Obviously you have to have a certain number of acts that are going to guarantee you get people in and you have to make sure you’re not going to bankrupt yourself, but otherwise it’s pretty much all personal choice. Occassionally bands contact us anyway and sometimes that works out, sometimes it doesn’t.

3. What has experience taught you when it comes to organizing these events?
That if people have too good a night on the Saturday then they may not be physically able to turn up on the Sunday even if they have a ticket for it! That’s what we learned last year!

4. When does organization start? Is there a timeline you follow? How soon after the event ends do you begin to plan the next one?
We were pretty late in getting going last year and it’s amazing to find how quickly bands can get booked up in advance. With the level of bands we’re dealing with that might be that they have another gig or simply that they have to work or go to a wedding that day! We had planned on getting started much earlier this year but it was a busy Summer for everyone and it was September before the first band was asked. Seems to have worked out ok though and we’re very nearly there already. We’re never going to have the venue booked a year in advance like the Nottingham alldayer though!

5. Do you have any inside tips for attendees?
Buy your tickets now – we had to turn people away last year!! If you’re coming from outside Glasgow then have a wee jaunt round the Southside. Most tourists won’t make it this far and they’re missing out. Actually some Glaswegians never make it this far!

6. What are some of the best and worst Pop!South moments you can remember?
Selling out our first show was pretty special. Only 14 people may have turned up for our second show, but at least we already had that memory to look back on! I thought the Haiku Salut show was pretty magical too and pulling off the weekender last year with so many people having a great time was pretty rewarding. Any time you find yourself wondering why you’re putting in all this time and effort for nobody to turn up at your shows though, you can almost be guaranteed that someone will come up and say to you that they appreciate what you do or put on a show that blows you away. We meet the nicest folk from all around the world and it’s great!

Just because the 2015 Weekender has passed doesn’t mean there won’t be any Pop!South gigs for you to attend in the future. Keep an eye out on the Pop!South website for more info on upcoming events!

FEB041: 5: A February Records Anniversary Compilation


 
February Records turned 5 in 2014 and to celebrate, we are releasing a CD compilation featuring 14 bands spanning the length of our catalog. Most of the songs have never been released and are exclusive to this comp. We wanted to make this project special. We think we have.

Bands featured on the compilation are: The Swapsies, Brilliant at Breakfast, Ry Smith, Onward Chariots, Summer Library, Boy Genius, Lunchbox, Finnmark!, Ghost of Chance, Secret Charisma, The Halamays, Cozy Catastrophes, The Month of June and The Pretty Greens.

In addition to the compilation, we’ve produced the first physical edition of our zine, “…March, April & May.” The 60-page zine includes interviews with 14 bands plus articles on DIY culture in New England and some February Records history.

There are three ways to order — all through our Bandcamp page:
1. The compilation and zine combo is limited to 100 copies and includes a digital download.
2. Download the digital version of the compilation from our bandcamp page.
3. Order the “March, April & May” zine on its own.

Orders of the CD/zine combo received before midnight (U.S. Eastern Time) Wednesday, February 4, will be entered for a chance to win a February Records feltie keychain made by Lynn Chan, The Quirky Girl Crafter.

Click here to order.

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