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Folk/Country

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Get Introspective with The Mallett Brothers' Lights Along the River

It’s not easy to write a song that’s universally relatable without an ounce of cliche, but that’s exactly what Portland, Maine natives The Mallett Brothers Band accomplished on the title track of their fourth studio album, Lights Along The River.  The story of reflection on a long journey home is delivered in layered vocals that rise to a powerful climax, while bluegrass-style instrumentals manage to evoke the feeling of floating down river as clearly as the lyrics themselves. The Mallett Brothers are currently touring New England to promote their new album - find a list of their upcoming shows here: http://www.mallettbrothersband.com/#tour-section

-Glori Blatt
Photo credit: Nicole Wolf Photography


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Dressed for the Occasion Invite You to "The Devil's Rodeo"

Boston’s favorite road-house rock and roll band, Dressed for the Occasion, transports listeners to a fantastical world “somewhere out in the western desert” in their new single, The Devil’s Rodeo.  Two parts mythic adventure, one part pure escapism, this song hooks you from the first twang of the slide guitar. Lead singer Addison Chase imbues poetic lyrics with equal parts grit and soul and leads listeners down an enthralling rabbit hole, while electric guitarist Pat Hopkins’ explosive riffs dance with the promise of a dangerous adventure. Catch them live at The Middle East Downstairs on Friday, September 4th.

-Glori Blatt
 

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Richmond folk duo Sleepy Brother are playing a release show for their new album, "Let in the Light", 7/18 at Sound of Music Recording Studios

Sleepy Brother, a folksy acoustic duo from Richmond, VA released a single called "Glimpse" last month featuring lulling plucks on guitar and smooth vocals explaining an upbringing inspired narrative. This month they are preparing for the full unveiling of their upcoming album "Let in the Light". They will be celebrating this achievment with a performance at Sound of Music Recording Studios on 7/18 accompanied by fellow Richmond based band Ocean Versus Daughter and NC's Bear Stevens. Heather Wiederholt's voice enters the sacharine, her lyrics encouraging nostalgia and optimism, while Nathan Burns brings the grounding keys, guitar, and percussion.

- Leora Mandel     

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Wicked Man Releases Single - Soil Leaking Water

Oakland's Wicked Man is an undeniably unique act with influences ranging from Fela Kuti and Ali Farka Touré to the songwriting prowess of John Prine and Andrew Bird. The group’s new single, Soil Leaking Water is an eclectic blend of bluesy fingerpicking, soaring synths, electronic drums, and darkly haunting vocal melodies.

The track is birthed in sounds of sweltering, trance­-like guitar licks, comes of age in its jazzy­pop­funk groove, and builds strength with eclectic frontman Yonatan Tietz’s soulful vocals, keyboard master Andrew Kunz’s synth work and drummer/percussive coordinator Max Denny’s self­-sampled electronic functions. As a band, their sound has evolved and expanded upon the bold 2014 debut Fingership EP, growing into a more intricate tapestry of fantastically enticing rhythms that leaves us all chomping for more.

Give this track a listen. Hell, give this track ten listens. Put it on at yer July 4th backyard BBQ. It’ll grow on you, that’s for sure. Wicked Man will be releasing their next EP in September and touring the West Coast in the fall. More info is available on their official website, wicked­man.com. - Justin Kohlberg

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We Danced the Night Away with Ezra Bell, The Bevelers and Fanno Creek

Music like the music that Ezra Bell makes is living proof that not all musicians need to hide behind heavy effects: fuzz, distortion, reverb, and even auto-tune to make music that people really enjoy listening to, and that was very apparent at their EP release last Wednesday. They played alongside the Bevelers and Fanno Creek, gracing Mississippi Studios with some deeply beautiful, danceable and heartfelt tunes.

The Bevelers played first as the crowd filtered in, and although the two-piece group has a soft demeanor, it was impossible not to pay attention. The foundation of their whole set is their two beautiful voices creating harmonies so sad and lovely at the same time that you want to get lost in the world that their voices create.

Ezra Bell played second in the evening when attendance was at its peak, kicking off their set with a few familiar songs. Ezra Bell is such a complex machinery of humans and instruments and it seems like having 7 people on stage, something shouldn’t work about their set-up. But everything works. Their music is complicated yet not cacophonous, focusing more on interesting sound pairings than everyone fighting for focus. Even the bass and drums took turns being the lead rhythmic force of a song, which felt uncommon, but was just one of many facets of their music that sets them apart from other folk-pop bands around Portland and beyond.

The audience at Mississippi Studios was stoked to see them, cheering loudly between songs and singing along with their older music, which sounds every bit as tight as their recordings. It’s rare that a local band can get an entire audience to dance along rather than stand stoically, arms crossed, but it’s really hard not to dance when you listen to them.

Fanno Creek ended the night with a surfier, and less folk influenced set by comparison. Ezra Bell was the ideal middle point between Fanno Creek and the Bevelers because unlike the previous bands, Fanno Creek is heavier and more bluesy. They were the perfect choice to end the night though, because, despite a big chunk of the audience leaving, those who stayed were ready to dance and Fanno Creek is dance-y as hell.

Together, all three bands were a match made in lineup heaven, giving the crowd a solid range of folk and pop music to groove along to all night long. You can check out Ezra Bell’s new EP, We Came by Canoe here:

- Photos and story by Sarah Eaton

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