Dispatch Celebrates Release of America, Location 12 at Newbury Comics

It’s hard to pin down another act from New England that has had more success than the indie-roots band Dispatch over the past 20 years. Their initial final concert in 2004 at the Hatch Shell in Boston was attended by over 160,000 people, the biggest crowd an independent act had played for at the time. They have had a few subsequent reunions and since 2011 the trio of Chadwick Stokes Urmston, Pete Heimbold and Brad Corrigan have been back at it while still venturing through their various side projects. The band’s sixth studio album America, Location 12 is being put out to the masses on June 2 and they celebrated its release with a mini-tour of three Newbury Comics stores on June 3. The stops on the tour included the shop in the Providence Place mall, Norwood, MA and Manchester, NH.

“We’re wicked psyched to have America, Location 12 finally out and to be playing some of the tunes at Newbury Comics,” Urmston says about the album’s release and the unique expedition. “Providence has always been good to us. We recorded our album Bang Bang just a few miles south at Lakewest Recordings, and some of our favorite shows took place in the old Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel.”

The new album is Dispatch’s first release in five years, following 2012’s Circles around the Sun. It’s a return to form for the band with their trademark mix of acoustic and electric tunes that are adorned with harmonies and political undertones. Tracks like “Be Gone” are rhythmic anthems that encompass a triumphant vibe. “Skin The Rabbit” is a rough and rugged song that examines how people of authority prey on others for their own gain. An acoustic gem that’s an excellent example of Urmston’s poignant lyrics is “Ghost Town;” it’s stripped down and genuinely honest.

Stream of America, Location 12 via Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/2GkDG2SbBX4lewmepYLAYV

Dispatch’s Website: https://dispatchmusic.com/


Hip-Hop: Getting Booked

There are many things to consider when you are an upcoming artist trying to perfect your craft. Apart from recording and marketing, performing should rank at the top of any upcoming artist’s priority list. Being a good recording artist and marketing yourself well are awesome, but if you lack an entertaining live performance it could have a negative effect on your career. Once you develop a strong fan base that is willing to buy tickets to see you live, the worst thing you could possibly do is let them down with a weak performance. So take your time and rehearse as much as possible and get to know the direction you want to go with your live show.

It can be frustrating for an unknown local artist to get booked, but I have a few suggestions. Before seeking out bookings, make sure all of your links on your website are up to date, including new music and previous shows. Have an estimate of how many people would come out to see you. Networking can play a key role in helping you open doors and get more bookings. Make it a mission to go to a few local shows and network with other other performers, meet promoters and find out who else is involved in the event. Never show up empty-handed — bring promotional materials. Most important of all, do not be afraid to meet new people and try out new avenues to get yourself into the eyes of the public.

Once you get booked, treat the event and the promoter with respect by being prepared and on time. Missing your set time will almost guarantee you never get booked by that venue or promoter again. After all, this is your job so take it seriously no matter how big or small the show.

Interview with John D. Cronise from The Sword

JohnDCronise-ObservatorySantaAnaCA-20130801What can you say about the metal genre that hasn’t already been said? It’s emphatic, triumphant and it’ll give you a rush that few musical styles can. Usually that rush equates to banging your head, raising your fists in the air and acting like a crazed fun-loving lunatic. In a style with numerous sub-genres and different types of fans, there has been a good number of bands taking metal back to its roots. Add heavy fuzz, psychedelic aesthetics and raucous structure and you’ll have a sound reminiscent of metal’s glory days in the ‘70s when Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and many others were hailed as kings. It’s a movement happening in the post-everything age that many are welcoming with open arms.

One of those acts is The Sword, a band that started in the psych-rock capital of the world in Austin, Texas, and they have achieved a loyal following in the States and beyond. They’ll be lighting up the ballroom at Fete Music Hall in Providence on May 19 for what will be a wild and crazy time. Ahead of the show I had the chance to talk to frontman John D. Cronise about his love for comics, the influences behind The Sword’s latest release, High Country, and what the band’s plans are for the summer.

Rob Duguay: Growing up your aspiration was to be a comic book artist until you started playing guitar at the age of 13. What made you want to make the transition from drawing to making music?

John D. Cronise: Comic book drawing seemed a little too difficult and it took a little too long, music was more immediate. You just plug in your guitar and sound just comes out so I preferred that.

RD: It makes a lot of sense, especially when you can adapt faster to playing guitar than drawing comics. Are you still a fan of comics? Do you have a favorite character?

JC: I don’t really read anything actively, but I’d say Batman is probably my all-time favorite comic book character.

RD: Do you prefer Marvel or DC?

JC: When it comes to the comics themselves, I’ll maybe lean more toward DC a little bit, but I recently saw Captain America: Civil War the other day.

RD: Do you enjoy the movies and TV shows? Sometimes it can be hit or miss.

JC: I pay attention to that stuff. I’m kind of a nerd fanboy a little bit still. I at least keep abreast on what’s coming out, but I may not get around to seeing it. We were on tour when Batman vs. Superman came out so we didn’t get to see that in the theater and I heard it wasn’t that good. There’s a lot of that stuff out there these days and it’s cool on one level in the sense that when I was growing up all that stuff was just talked about, like maybe one day this X-Men movie would come out or there will be this Daredevil TV show or something like that. It didn’t seem like it was that close to happening and now everywhere you turn there’s some comic book, science fiction or fantasy based movie or TV show. Of course anytime something like that happens with TV, movies or music and when somebody sees a winning formula everybody piles on and thinks they can make the same formula work. Then you’re going to have a decline in quality at some point and you’re going to have to sift through some shit to find the gem.

RD: You moved to Austin, Texas, from Richmond, Virginia, in 1999 and a few years later you started The Sword with drummer Trivett Wingo in 2003. There’s been a lot of talk with a lot of major cities, especially Austin, of gentrification and the increase of the cost of living. In your opinion, how much has the city changed since you first arrived?

JC: Actually I lived there for 12 years but I haven’t lived there for the last three kind of because of what you’re talking about. When I left Austin it was unrecognizable from when I moved there and it’s pretty much why I left. It wasn’t really my bitterness necessarily, I just looked around and said to myself, “Wait a second, this isn’t what I signed up for and this isn’t where I want to live.” The Austin of back then was where I wanted to live and that doesn’t exist anymore so it was time for me to move on. I think it’s just inevitable in a lot of places, for me it’s just a matter of going with the flow and there are a lot of people who live in Austin and places like that where they feel it’s changing too much and getting too crowded and they just sit and complain about it. To me the answer is if you don’t like it then move.

RD: Do you still live in the Austin metro area or did you completely move out of there?

JC: I live totally far away, I live in North Carolina. Our guitarist Kyle Shutt lives in New York, our bass player Bryan Richie, speaking of gentrification and rising house prices and that sort of thing, he has a family and he bought a house outside of Austin in Taylor, Texas, because the houses are really expensive in Austin. We do pretty well as far as bands go but we’re not rich by any means, we’re pretty middle class when it comes to our income level. Where I live buying houses is a lot cheaper than it is in Austin.

RD: The Sword last August put out their fifth studio album High Country. I’ve listened to it a bunch and I definitely enjoy it. The band went down a lesser toned ‘70s hard rock route. It reminds me a lot of Thin Lizzy and even a bit of King Crimson, especially with the way the songs are structured. Were you listening to a lot of those bands while writing the material for the album or did it just come out that way?

JC: Well, I always listen to a lot of Thin Lizzy. That’s just a given. With King Crimson, I like King Crimson but they’re kind of musically beyond me as far as being an influence. I don’t think in that outside the box, abstract way when it comes to writing songs. We just tried to make a classic album you could say. With our personal influences and our little nuances, we just want to write good songs. That’s really what the album strives to do, it shows that it doesn’t have to be at full volume and just use distortion and bombast to get our point across. We can bring it back a little bit and still deliver quality material and that was kind of the idea.

RD: After the show at Fete, what are The Sword’s plans for the summertime?

JC: On this tour that we’re on now we’re playing a couple of festivals, a couple rock festivals later in the tour. The summer we’re pretty much going to be taking off, actually, and we’re going to start touring again in September and October. We’ll just be chilling for the summer and just working on new material.

Get tickets to The Sword @ Fete Music Hall on Thursday May 19: ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?eventId=6478625&pl=fete&dispatch=loadSelectionData; The Sword’s Website: theswordofficial.com

Hip-Hop: Gaining Worldwide Fans

For music artists, especially for the upcoming artist, the internet is perhaps the most useful tool they have. Many artists on the rise have a strong internet fan base. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and tumblr are very useful when used strategically. Artists can reach a potential fan on the other side of the work with the click of a button.

I talked to one upcoming local artist about how he is taking advantage of social media and other internet platforms.

Spocka Summa (Motif) Who are you? Where are you from?

Boy: My name is Boy, recording artist and visual artist from Providence (@boyfromtherhode).

SS: What are some of the biggest obstacles you encounter being an indie artist in RI?

B: The only obstacle in Providence to me is garnering citywide support. But through consistency and a balance between quality/quantity it’s easy to overcome. Other than that, the city is so small and developing that I feel like there’s no gatekeepers or like group of folks that control the pulse of the music scene like in other major cities.

SS: Do you think social media is having a negative or positive effect for indie artists? Why?

B: Social media only helps push you to the world. Being accepted in Providence is cool, but gaining fans from different parts of the world is something that’d be harder without social media. They’re all free tools to help execute branding.

SS: What is the main platform you use for self promo and why?

B: SoundCloud has been the easiest platform to promote my work, as well as Twitter and tumblr. These tools give me the chance to build one-on-one  relationships with my following and make me relatable.

SS: What steps are you taking to build your brand through social media?

B: Currently we are building our brand through consistency and originality, as well as through direct marketing and interactions with fans on SoundCloud and Twitter. We are trying to contribute to the grand scheme of things, which allows the work to talk for itself, better than I can. At the end of the day, a good product is the key.

When I walk into a store that sells CDs, I can see that physical CD selection is rapidly dwindling. Most artists focus on digital sales and streams and sometimes skip the physical CD distribution altogether. Marketing tactics are also changing as artists try and find new and innovative ways to attract fans. In this age of the rapidly growing social media/ internet artist and the DIY mentality, the only way to approach the music scene is with a open mind.


Interview with Tim Darcy from Ought

PHOTO CREDIT: Laura Harvey
PHOTO CREDIT: Laura Harvey

Any music fan in the 2010s has access to new music at their fingertips. You might get hooked on a band that only a few people know about. After a while they gain a following and before you know it they’re playing one of the big venues in town. Take Montreal post-punk act Ought for example; they’ve only been around since 2012 but they’ve been steadily making waves in independent music.

They’re playing The Met in Pawtucket on May 5 as part of a magnificent bill with Washington, DC, glam punks Priests and two of Providence’s finest —  Downtown Boys and Way Out. It’s a stacked night that aims to please your inner freak. Ahead of the show, Ought frontman Tim Darcy and I talked about collaborating with experimental artist AJ Cornell, observational lyrics, the struggle in being sustainable and what Ought’s plans are for the rest of the year.

Rob Duguay: Ought started out in 2012 while you, Matt May, Ben Stidworthy and Tim Keen were living together in a communal band space. What was the space like exactly? Was it an apartment, a house or warehouse? Was it a fixture in Montreal’s DIY underground scene?

Tim Darcy: It was just a regular old apartment. It had previously been an underground queer cabaret so it had a lot of charm. Other than that it was incredibly run-down and grungy. We took turns sharing the windowless room, another room that was divided with drywall we’d bought and propped up, and two normal rooms. We had a little enclave off the living room where we left everything set up and we would play all the time. We had a few shows there, but it certainly wasn’t a fixture beyond us and a few others who would drop by to use the space.

RD: This past March you released a collaborative album with aural experimentalist AJ Cornell called Too Significant To Ignore. It’s avant garde and ambient with spoken word, a bit of a departure from the rhythmic post punk of Ought. What inspired you and AJ to do this project?

TD: It’s funny how releases get timed out. AJ and I actually wrote those songs about three or four years ago and then in 2014 finally got around to recording them It took us about a year and a half to mix, master and find someone to put it out, which ended up being the good folks at NNA Tapes. It took a while mostly because AJ was moving and I was hurtling around with Ought. AJ and I are really great friends and at first we started by making drone and ambient music, something we both really enjoy. At some point it occurred to me to try some spoken word and so it took that direction for the tape. It isn’t really a progression from Ought or anything and I don’t listen to that much experimental music, though I find it to be kind of an odd and limiting term in my opinion. I love what AJ does and I appreciate the opportunity to try some plain spoken word.

RD: Your lyrics have an observational style. Do you find yourself getting ideas for songs just through various interactions or does it run deeper than that?

TD: Yeah I suppose I’m doing a lot of musing in my lyrics as well as in poetry. Thinking about life? What else is there to write about?  Even when I read novels I’m usually looking for some kind of humanness or insight.  Even just in the spark of something that you can’t put into words, like with visual art. There is something wrenching about feeling the connection to the person that created what I am looking at. I don’t know what it is like for every person but for me that is paramount. That connection where you get a bit of spirit coming across, almost regardless of what is being said.

RD: Ought is still a fairly young band. What do you find to be the biggest struggle independent bands face these days when it comes to being sustainable?

TD: Everything is in flux, it definitely seems like there is a lot of uncertainly with people unsure of what their futures will look like. In some senses that can be beautiful, as people are more capable of changing. In other senses it is stressful and unsettling.

RD: Last year Ought released their 2nd album, Sun Coming Down, what are the band’s plans for later this year? Do you plan on going back into the studio or do you just plan on touring?

TD: We’re touring through to the fall at which point we’ll be starting work on a new album. We’re all looking forward to that!

Tickets to see Ought, Priests, Downtown Boys & Way Out @ The Met on May 5: https://www.etix.com/ticket/p/3516050/oughtpriests-on-sale-210-noon-pawtucket-the-met?cobrand=themetri#_ga=1.168862177.1725885659.1324682790; Like Ought on Facebook: facebook.com/internetought

Don’t Quit Your Day Job, Ben Hilton

10347636_10155187146040615_4355065759884309984_nI’m going to introduce you to the youngest person we have spoken with so far on ‘Don’t Quit Your Day Job,’ but he is also the person who is currently in the most active bands. There are times I can barely manage being in one band and this man somehow balances the schedules of three different bands, a day job and still manages to have a little time left over to enjoy the finer things in life. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Mr. Ben Hilton to our show…

Josh Hurst: Age and location?

Ben Hilton: 23 years old, living in Cranston

JH: What band(s) are you in and what do you do in them?

BH: I’m in three bands currently: Death Before Dishonor out of Boston, Reason to Fight and Boxed In out of Providence. In DBD and RTF I play drums and in Boxed In I sing and write lyrics alongside my brother, Eric Hilton. All three bands are in the process of recording new music.

JH: How long have you been at this rock ‘n’ roll thing?

BH: I really discovered punk rock for myself through my brother and a Vans compilation that included bands like Rancid that really caught our attention in 2001. My brother started collecting the albums and my interest kind of fell into place from there. We started our first punk band in 2004 and played a few community centers in our area, Coventry/ West Warwick. My brother and I would go to shows as we got older, 2005-2006 at AS220, the Living Room, Lupo’s, wherever we could get in. Eventually our interests shifted to the more hardcore realm of punk and we started playing in a hardcore band called Make It Last Forever (MILF) in 2007. We played the Living Room a few times along with any place that would have us around RI, MA and CT and ended up befriending and getting booked a lot by Keith from Essence of Pain and Greg from Reason To Fight. In 2009, MILF broke up but I started playing in a band called For Tha Glory that would play Providence and Brockton frequently. In 2011, I was asked to fill in for Death Before Dishonor on a European tour by my friend and the singer of DBD, Bryan Harris. Of course, I agreed and am still so grateful for that opportunity. Eventually they picked me up as their full time drummer and they’ve taken me all around the world touring. Not long after that I started playing for Reason To Fight as well. After that, I started this new band Boxed In with members of For Tha Glory and Patterns of Myra.

JH: What do you do to pay the rent?

BH: I do general contracting, renovation and demolition with a business owner I know. Painting, sheetrock, patchwork, trim, carpentry etc.

JH: How did you end up with your current day job?

BH: I literally threw in the towel at my dishwashing job at 18 and called up a master electrician I knew, asking if he needed any help because I couldn’t take my current boss. After that, I got hooked on the contractor style of work, the change of scenery, the sense of actually getting something done. When that job fell through, Greg Chihoski of Reason To Fight helped me out for awhile, letting me help him for his company American Pride Plumbing. Two summers ago, a family friend let me know he was taking on workers for some renovation jobs he had lined up, so I accepted and since then he’s been teaching me more and more about what he knows, while letting me take the time I need off to go on tour. Thanks, Dave!

JH: What drives you to keep at music if you need to have the day job to pay bills?

BH: If I didn’t have band practices and shows to look forward to, work and bills would be a lot harder to deal with. It’s the same reason I get pumped when I see a band I love is coming to town whether I get to play the show or not. My connection to the words and music is still strong. I get told frequently how music is great and all but it doesn’t pay the bills, what I could be making with a real night job, but all I’ve ever wanted out of music is to give people the same sense of relation that I’ve had with music since I was a kid. When I play and see people feel the music and lyrics just like I did and still do, that’s all I care about.

JH: Does anything in your day job correlate to your musical endeavors?

BH: Some customers make it easy to write angry lyrics and hit the drums just a bit harder!

JH: Besides the income, what keeps you at your current “day job”?

BH: I like doing the work, and I like my boss. It sounds corny but I’ve learned a lot with this job not only about how to do certain tasks, but also about myself and what I can do. I never saw myself as a “handy” kind of guy, but now I find myself taking tasks, that maybe I would have called the landlord for before, into my own hands, and not thinking twice about how to do it.

JH: Where can anyone interested find you during your day work and/or night work?

BH: Keep your eyes out for flyers with Death Before Dishonor, Reason to Fight, or Boxed In on them. I will be at those dates and times listed. And I’m reachable through email at bhilton1992@yahoo.com

Album Of The Week: You Won’t’s Revolutionaries

ca8b813d-a46f-4513-8194-af5a4bf5b9b2Nestled within the depths of the Boston music scene is an electrifying duo, You Won’t, which consists of Josh Arnoudse on guitar and vocals with Raky Sastri on percussion. Their folk-based melodies are evident with their new album Revolutionaries, the band’s follow-up to their stunning debut Skeptic Goodbye that came out in 2012. The album is catchy with Anoudse reflecting on the way youthful outlook evaporates as one grows older. The music is deep and has a sense of observational analysis.

What makes You Won’t different from a typical two piece act are Arnoudse’s and Sastri’s conflicting styles. There’s a Violent Femmes influence from Arnoudse’s fast paced acoustic strumming while Sastri’s skills on percussion are jazzy and nimble. It’s a combination of roughness and elegance that’s frankly uncanny. It takes the timeless loud-quiet-loud songwriting approach in an entirely different direction. The end result is a wonderful album that fires on all cylinders.

Full of infectious hooks and rhythms that bounce around the mind like a ping pong ball in a tiny box, Revolutionaries stands as one of the best albums to come out of the Boston area so far in 2016. Will it make any best of lists by the end of the year? Time will tell, but I personally can’t see why not. Discover some reasons why with my top tracks off of the Album Of The Week.

An excellent example of the fusing of punk angst and the smoothness of jazz is in “The Fuzz.” The chorus is contagious and when it all comes together with the drums and guitar, the ante is absolutely upped. It’s a tad mellow, but Arnoudse’s lyrics really makes “Ya Ya Ya” a prime track. The riffs on his six-string makes it even more enjoyable. “Can’t Go Wrong” brings the angst back with a rigid tone.

You Won’t will be celebrating the official release of Revolutionaries at One Longfellow Square in Portland, Maine, on April 29 where they’ll kick off their tour of the East Coast and the Midwest in support of the album. They’ll also be playing a homecoming show at The Sinclair in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on May 6. While you’re at one of their shows on their tour, grab a copy of the new album from You Won’t. You’ll fall in love.

Stream Revolutionaries on Bandcamp: youwont.bandcamp.com/album/revolutionaries; You Won’t’s Website: youwontmusic.com

Hip-Hop: The RI Experience

At first glance Rhode Island may not seem like the ideal place for a young and hungry indie artist to flourish. After all, we are the smallest state and we also have no major record labels or agencies to give indie artists the push needed to achieve fame and glory. As a result, artists based out of Rhode Island start at a staggering disadvantage compared to someone based out of NYC or LA.

This might seem like a lot of negative things all at once but on the brighter side, these are the aspects of the culture that make Rhode island a hidden gem. Artists have true freedom and opportunity to create their own sound and develop themselves in innovative ways. Without any preset guidelines or rules to follow, the sky is the limit.

I had a recent conversation with an up-and-coming RI artist named Biz Marik about his experience.

Spocka Summa (Motif): How do you view yourself as a local artist?

Biz Marik: I would say different, but different is a genre now. Everyone makes different music. I view myself more as a mirror to what I see and experience. I try to make music people can relate to, whether it is a story or just a vibe. I don’t consider myself a local artist at all — that’s just a mindset.

SS: What do you think the local hip-hop scene is missing?

BM: I think the scene is missing an identity. We do not really have a sound and a lot of artists seem to be doing their best impression of someone else (famous in most cases). This is cool, but it kinda divides us as a state and does not show who we are. But I feel like as soon as someone breaks out with a unique sound, that could all change.

Building a stronger foundation will be crucial to help local indie artist progress beyond Rhode Island without having to pack their bags and move out of state. Everyone has a role to play, from the artist who writes and performs the music to the almighty fan(s), producers, engineers and promoters.

To understand the experience on the other side of the stage, I talked to a frequent concert attendee from Providence, Casandra Adio.

Spocka Summa: How do you feel about local artists?

Casandra Adio: I think Providence has a mix of local hip-hop artists, which is a direct reflection of commercial hip-hop. Some are lyrically inclined, socially aware and progressive, while others represent the struggles and hardships of city living. I greatly appreciate both because they’re just as diverse as Providence. Rappers are so common here, but that shows you how much we love hip-hop as a city. It only gets negative for a few artists because that’s their personality and their life. Otherwise it’s all good.

SS: What kind of experience have you had at local shows?

CA: My experience at shows differs. I’ve gone to shows from open mics for the very beginners to headlining shows at Lupo’s. Within that range, the quality of performances are similar — the artists perform passionately. The response they get depends on the size of the crowd for the most part, though. Smaller, intimate settings are welcoming and supportive; that’s where you find community. Bigger events that bring a mixed crowd rock with you if they know you already or if you appeal to their particular taste.

Ultimately none of us can tell the future and have no idea if Rhode Island will ever generate the next national star. But if you are ambitious, do not let the lack of resources determine your success or propel you into failure. Take your time and seek out new networks, perfect your craft and grow as much as possible. If you are not an artist you should take a second and check out some local concerts and artists. Sure they don’t have the money and material things that the majority of our favorite artists possess. But give them a chance because you never know when you might catch a rare glimpse of a star in the making.

Album Of The Week: Endless Mike and The Beagle Club’s Saint Paul

Endless+Mike+Saint+Paul+artworkYou don’t hear much about the music coming out of Pittsburgh these days. You’ll hear about their sports teams, the fact that the city is still the heartbeat of America’s steel industry and those famous sandwiches from Primanti Bros. If you do your research you’ll actually find a good amount of talented acts that call Pittsburgh home. One of those bands from the outskirts of town in Johnstown is Endless Mike and The Beagle Club, and they have a stellar new album out titled Saint Paul — a jubilant and orchestral record based on folk rhythms.

Mike Miller and his band have a sound that melds the styles of Arcade Fire and The Violent Femmes. It’s classic folk punk with upbeat structures and countless dimensions weaving in and out. With all of this going on, Miller strums his acoustic guitar and sings his heart out with intensity. The album goes by the timeless philosophy that we’re all in this together and things will get better. It’s somewhat optimistic while the lyrics Miller croons reflect life and struggle, but also hope for a light at the end of the tunnel.

There’s something to be admired about bare bones acoustic-based music. If it’s pulled off correctly, the band will unleash as much energy as a rabble-rousing punk band. Endless Mike and The Beagle Club do that in excellent fashion, so let’s get a closer look and dive into the top tracks off of my Album Of The Week.

You know a track is good when it starts with organic clapping and chanting. “The Road To Unmasking” is an excellent example of that with contagious energy feeding off of Miller’s guitar. An electric tune that absolutely kicks is “Try to See Your Life as a Hole;” that drumbeat is seismic and it sets the tone perfectly. The best way to enter into the optimism and reflection on struggles is the ballad “Monitor.” Miller plays a hauntingly sonic piano along with a cello being played to add a fantastic element.

Endless Mike and The Beagle Club will be performing at the Commonwealth Beer Barge in Pittsburgh on April 23 for a night that could be pure madness. There’s a bunch of independent breweries involved along with live music and art exhibits. While you’re there, get a copy of Saint Paul. It’ll give your ears a jolt of unrivaled jubilance.

Stream and listen to “The Road To Unmasking” on YouTube: youtube.com/watch?v=WIFomjY6ess; Like Endless Mike and The Beagle Club on Facebook: facebook.com/endlessmikeandthebeagleclub

Album Of The Week: The Lesser-Known Tristan Omand

a1733291054_16The beauty of folk music shows in the stories being told through poetic lyrics and the strums from an acoustic six string. A singer-songwriter from Manchester, New Hampshire who will invade your soul with an infectious croon, Tristan Omand is one of the best solo artists in New England. It shows with his brand new album The Lesser-Known Tristan Omand, a continuation of material that examines darkness, humor, wisdom, wit and tales of offbeat characters. There’s no drums, no keys and no pizzaz. Just Omand with his guitar and that’s all he needs to make this album simply amazing.

Brian Coombes at Rocking Horse Studio in Pittsfield, New Hampshire handled the recording, mixing and production while Dave Locke mastered the record at JP Masters in Boston. The audial quality is impeccable with Omand’s voice shining through over the rustic tone of his guitar. Everything seems pretty organic with nothing making it sound out of the ordinary. It captures Omand’s essence of his live performance, which is something that every musician strives for when they make an album.

What really makes Omand’s music special are the stories that come with it. His songs put images in your head and take listeners on a voyage. To get more into his storytelling, check out my top tracks off of the Album Of The Week:

“Welcome To Lonely Lanes” kicks off the album with a story about bowling and drinking on a Tuesday night and stumbling on home after a few too many. With a little bit of twang and a vintage feel “Devil Don’t Want Me Blues” has Omand singing about staying original and not being a copycat. The way he strums his guitar adds a bit of roughness as well. The harmonica on “Old Straight Six” adds a distinct dimension that stands out from the other tracks on the album.

Omand will be celebrating the release of his new album at The Stone Church Meeting House on April 16 in Newmarket, New Hampshire, with Boston musician Dan Blakeslee and Columbus, Ohio, artist Whetherman. While you’re at the show, pick up a copy of The Lesser-Known Tristan Omand. It’ll tell you some stories that’ll stay with you and you’ll want to hear them over and over again.

Stream The Lesser-Known Tristan Omand on Bandcamp: tristanomand.bandcamp.com/album/the-lesser-known-tristan-omand; Tristan Omand’s Website: tristanomand.com