Top 20 Albums of 2018

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With a huge output of great records and songs this year, there were a ton of contenders for this year’s best albums.  So many of pop’s biggest names either took a gap year to tour last year’s records (Taylor Swift, Lorde), take time to build hype (Carly Rae Jespsen, Adele), or indulge in passion-projects (Beyonce, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar), this year has been an open opportunity for a number of smaller acts and newcomers to make a big splash, and there’s been a ton. Continue reading

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Sidney Gish on Songwriting, Ed Buys Houses, Local Music and More

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via Bandcamp

Singer-songwriter Sidney Gish has slowly been building her presence in the Boston music scene since the release of her debut album, Ed Buys Houses.  Still, Gish has been prolific in her short career, releasing large amounts of material in a short time via Soundcloud and Bandcamp, while studying the music industry at Northeastern University.  Her songs are often catchy and silly, but incredibly well-crafted, especially when you realize that Gish does everything herself.  We got a chance to speak to her shortly after the release of Camino ‘84’s new single, “Sounds Fake But Ok,” which she’s featured on.

 

BAD: What is it like collaborating with a different artist where most of your other work is solo? Continue reading

Top 10 Albums of 2016

Despite deaths and elections, 2016 was an excellent year for music.  There were so many great albums that it was hard to keep up.  That being said, it’s time for the most controversial list, where the top 10 are decided.  Take a deep breath.

10. Panic! At The Disco-Death of A Bachelor

When A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out first arrived in 2006, Panic! At the Disco was the most exciting mainstream rock band in the world.  Pretty. Odd. in retrospect, isn’t a bad record, but it doesn’t have the same life that Fever does.  In fact, the band didn’t even scratch that excitement until the release of the song “This is Gospel,” but on Death of a Bachelor, Brendon Urie sounds refreshed.  The faux Sinatra songs like “Impossible Year” are irresistible, but he really shines on the songs that serve as bangers.  “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time” or “LA Devotee” are genuine pop hits, and P!ATD’s best records are still to come if Urie can keep up this output. Continue reading

Monday Mixtape: 11/28 (The Weakerthans, My Chemical Romance, Chance the Rapper)

The Weakerthans-“My Favorite Chords”


Following an excellent cover by Aaron West, I’ve been listening to a lot of The Weakerthans lately. Since there is not a lot of new music out at this time of year, I’ve found myself listening to Left And Leaving a lot lately.

Kanye West-“Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1”


Yeezy is still in the hospital, but The Life of Pablo is sure to be on many Album-of-the-Year lists. Most of the tunes that have been played lately have been checking back on old songs for the year-end lists.

Joyce Manor-“Reversing Machine”


This cut from Cody sounds the most like an old Joyce Manor song, and it’s perfect foe late fall and early winter.

Modern Baseball-“Note To Self”


MoBo have been one of the hardest working bands of the year, while touring behind Holy Ghost. They’re about to close out the year at the inaugural Something in the Way fest, and “Note to Self” is one of the best most restrained tracks on Holy Ghost.

Chance the Rapper-“Same Drugs”


Coloring Book was one of the best mixtapes of the year. Where a lot of the music was celebratory gospel-rap, “Same Drugs” is the kind of soul ballad perfect for cuddling up with some tea or hot chocolate.

Brand New-“Degausser”


The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me just turned ten, and there have been a number of pieces about the importance of this album. One of the most memorable moments from seeing Brand New on their most recent US run was during “Degausser” as the stage was soaked in red lights.

Mitski-“Happy”


Mitski’s Puberty 2 is sure to appear on my year end list, and “Happy” has been a stand out since seeing her recent Webster Hall show.

My Chemical Romance-“Welcome to the Black Parade (Steve Aoki Remix)”


While a MCR reunion seems unlikely, Steve Aoki has kept the spirit of their breakthrough album alive by turning it into an absolute fucking banger.

Mitski: Webster Hall, New York, NY 11/21/16

Walking up to Webster Hall on a cold November night, the thought of seeing Mitski at a sold out show in the 1,500 capacity Grand Ballroom is surreal.  This is a room where I’ve seen The Wonder Years and The Front Bottoms, pop-punk superstars.  I’ve been invited to see Mitski at house shows throughout the Hudson Valley.  I’ve tried to see her at the Music Hall of Williamsburg or Brooklyn’s Shea Stadium to no success.  Seeing her name posted below the venue’s name along with the words “Sold Out” filled me with the kind of excitement you only get from seeing a quality artist reach a level of success they deserve.  Mitski has placed herself as an artist that can deliver the sort of huge show that Webster Hall calls for.

Opening up the show were Canada’s Weaves, who really delivered more than the audience bargained for.  Jasmyn Burke can control the stage with a very laidback demeanor.  Weaves sound a little bit like Vampire Weekend in the way they make feel-good music that can jump from sounding punky to ska-influenced in a matter of seconds.  It’s been such a long time since an opening act had caught my attention the way Weaves had.  The end of the set was sexy with Burke and her bassist singing into the same microphone, and the music made the audience move at the very least.

The UK’s Fear of Men had the middle set, but their brand of mellow, synthy post-punk didn’t translate very well in a live setting.  The band isn’t bad, but the energy that Weaves brought into the room lost momentum once Fear of Men started playing.  The band was fine though.  I’d be willing to give them another shot at a different show.

Mitski’s popularity has soared to the point that her stepping on stage to setup her gear elicited cheers.  Her past two albums have shown that she can make classic songs that are equal parts catchy and emotional.  From the opening of “Dan the Dancer” to “Class of 2013,” Mitski showed just what has made her an indie-superstar.  The louder numbers drew larger reactions from the audience as you could hear everyone singing along to the choruses of “Townie” and “Your Best American Girl,” but Webster Hall was dead silent during the softer songs.  Mitski is equally powerful for both, whether she’s singing “Fuck you and your money” or “Please don’t say you love me.”  The classical training she’s received has always shined through in her intricate instrumentals and wide range of vocals, but it was shocking to hear how soft-spoken Mitski is between songs.  When she made note that this was a safe-space for everyone, it was much more reserved sounding than any other declaration I’ve heard at a show.  Her reserved demeanor only makes the powerhouse vocals on a song like “My Body’s Made of Crushed Little Stars” all the better.

Mitski followed Monday’s show with a much smaller scale at Brooklyn’s Villian.  While it seems Mitski may never leave the DIY realm entirely, her headlining gig at Webster Hall only seems to be the start of a much bigger stage of her career.

 

James Crowley is on Twitter.

Burger A Day is on Instagram and Facebook.

Artists Vow to Keep Shows Safe Following Trump’s Election

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Following Trump’s election, various artists are calling for help to make their shows safe spaces.  Kevin Devine has called to help anyone who may feel unsafe to contact the God Damn Band, Petal, Julien Baker, Pinegrove or himself.  Mitski posted a similar message on Instagram: Continue reading