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Childish Gambino – 3005

For those who’ve been paying attention, Childish Gambino is getting ready to drop his newest album Because The Internet this Winter. Releasing two songs for preview so far, Childish Gambino seems to be revisiting original music like he used for his Glassnote Records debut album Camp instead of sampling tracks like he did in 2012’s mix-tape Royalty. The newly released track, “3005”, shows some growth for Gambino, borrowing some musical styles from Drake while moving away from his “hashtag rap” that he prominently used in previous singles like “Bonfire” and “Freaks and Geeks”. “3005” is catchy and Gambino sounds a bit more positive than he did in 2012’s Royalty, which seemed to be an experiment for Childish Gambino to delve into different rapping styles and showcase a few up and coming rappers (as well as some established ones) in the process. Gambino’s return to the music scene is something that garners some deserved attention. After the mixed reviews of Camp, which resulted in Pitchfork [wrongfully] trashing the album and NPR [rightfully] praising it for originality, Childish Gambino still seems to have a lot to prove and he’s both anxious and excited to take on the challenge.  

While his new album has been hotly anticipated by fans, Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino has found himself busy not only with music, but with his acting career, as well. Torn between working on the cult favorite NBC sitcom Community and his upcoming FX comedy series that he will write, executive produce, and play the lead in, Glover has decided to leave the newest season of Community midway through, only appearing in 5 of the 13 episodes. While Glover’s hiatus from Community is sad news in some ways, the release of new music, a new comedy series, and potentially a new tour to support Because The Internet means even more for Glover/Gambino fans. It looks like 2014 will be another big year for Donald Glover/Childish Gambino and, as always, I’m interested to see what this multi-talented actor/comedian/rapper/writer has in store for us.

Check out more at www.iamdonald.com

Jon Marco - Rhianna

If you love 80’s movies and catchy pop-rock, then Boston musician Jon Marco has just released a new music video you don’t want to miss. Nearly a year in the making, Jon Marco’s music video for his single Rhianna has some familiar sights and sounds, as well a few gags that make this video both nostalgic and fresh all at the same time. If you like what you hear, feel free to utilize the hashtag #80sChase and share the video with your friends. Also, don’t forget to grab Jon Marco’s self-titled EP on Bandcamp. 

Jon Marco on Bandcamp
Jon Marco on Facebook
Jon Marco Website

Boston Marathon Tragedy Reaction & Aaron Shadwell - Be Still

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In the wake of the tragedy that was the attack on the Boston Marathon, we all have different ways of dealing with the mix of emotions that we are feeling. The sadness, anger, and grief that this senseless attack evokes is being met with an amazing outpouring of love and support from Bostonians (and fellow Americans alike), opening their hearts and homes to complete strangers in this time of need. Volunteers have flooded the Red Cross to make blood donations. Restaurants are offering free meals to those families currently displaced. Donations are being made to charities to help fund relief efforts. It seems like everyone wants to help. If you are still looking for a way to pitch in a helping hand, you can check out Boston.com for a list of ways.

For myself, as a Bostonian for over 5 years now, I am saddened by the events that have occurred in the city that I call home. I knew friends that were both participating in and watching the race. My brother was mere blocks away at school. Luckily, they are all safe and accounted for. However, not everyone was so lucky. With three casualties and so many more people hurt, it is hard to read the stories and watch the news and see what such a terrible act can do. With that being said, I am inspired by how quickly those around me have risen up to do something, anything to help. My only wish is that after the chaos has died down and the news picks up on the next big thing, we do not let that sense of urgency to be part of something bigger go away. While it might come off a bit preachy,  I urge everyone to do the following:

1. Donate blood. Not just when something like this occurs, but regularly and without prompting. I have type “O Positive” blood and I’ve always tried to donate at least once a year. 

2. Start volunteering your time to a cause. Whether it’s spending an hour per week in a soup kitchen, acting as a Big Brother or Sister, holding events that sponsor the Wounded Warriors Project, or raising money for cancer research, anything helps. We can all benefit from watching a little less TV and helping a little more.

3. Get involved in your community. It’s pretty straightforward, but many of us (myself included) get so wrapped up in our lives that we forget how many great things (and people) are all around us.

4. Be Calm. Seriously, panicking helps no one. Fear mongering is petty. In the words of the band Fun. from their song “Be Calm” off the album Aim and Ignite:

Be Calm.
I know you feel like you are breaking down.
Oh I know that it gets so hard sometimes,
Be Calm…..
and everything’s wrong
It just gets so hard sometimes
Be Calm”

Finally, this wouldn’t be a true music column without a music review. As we all begin to cope with the tragedy that has occurred, Boston based musician Shadwell decided to call upon his own talents to craft a new song last night inspired by yesterday’s events. The song titled, “Be Still”, is dedicated to first responders and runners at the Boston Marathon bombing. A simple acoustic number that holds a great deal of emotion, “Be Still” reminds us that the good in this world will always outweigh the bad. As much of Boston feels in disarray after yesterday’s bombing, Shadwell’s words hold a lot of weight as he states, “I hear a rumble and it shakes my town into a jumble”. However, Shadwell hits the nail on the head as he closes out his lullaby to Boston, "Stadiums and Finish Lines/Will again hold good times". I couldn’t agree more.

Shadwell has made “Be Still” free for download on Soundcloud. Be sure to grab a copy of this inspirational song today.

Boston is a tough and resilient town.  So are its people.  I’m supremely confident that Bostonians will pull together, take care of each other, and move forward as one proud city." - President Barack Obama

Passion Pit - Love Is Greed

Happy Valentine’s Day kiddo’s! While I’m not back in full review writing force at this time, it’d be a shame not to take advantage of the timeliness of my recent adoration of Passion Pit’s album Gossamer and their somewhat anti-love song “Love Is Greed”. Passion Pit’s popularity has definitely been growing over the last year after their release of Gossamer in July 2012. Gossamer, the follow up album to Passion Pit’s 2009 debut album Manners was named #39 on Rolling Stones Top 50 albums of 2012 and received an 8.4 out of 10 on Pitchfork. The album’s earnest sound and eclectic mix of rock, pop, and electronic beats has garnered Passion Pit some well deserved praise as we roll into 2013.

While many of the songs on Gossamer stand out (such as the single “Take A Walk”, as well as tracks “I’ll Be Alright”, & “Cry Like a Ghost”), the song that seems fitting for today’s celebration of love, or lack thereof, is “Love Is Greed”. The track starts out with some light flair before diving into a steady beat that sets the tone for the remainder of the song. Lead singer Michael Angelakos warns of the pitfalls of love and how, in many ways, it can be “selfish and mean”. With that being said, he does bring it back around and confirm that romance is something that can be cherished and encourages us to share it. 

So if you’re with the one you love today, I hope you’re enjoying some of that oft sought after romance. However, for the rest of us, don’t worry. As Passion Pit says in “Love Is Greed”, “Better off being a lonely road/Cause there’s beauty in being alone”

Eric-Jon - BANG BANG
Just in time for “the end of the world”, Eric-Jon has released his dubstep track BANG BANG for FREE download. This intense song celebrates our untimely demise in 2012 and encourages listeners to accept our fates and make the best out of a bad situation…by having sex. To put it in his own words, “Eric-jon wrote this track in Boston in 2011 about using the end of the world as an excuse to sleep with attractive friends.” In addition to Eric-Jon’s already impressive vocals, he also raps on this track and is joined by fellow rapper Brooke Villanyi. The combination of the two “going at it” verbally is enough to make clothes start coming off.
If you’re having an end of the world party or even a New Year’s Eve Bash (if we all last that long), this is the song to put on at midnight after everyone has had a few drinks and is ready to get down (both literally and figuratively). To download the song, simply click the picture above. 
While you’re at it, make sure to pick up a copy of Eric-Jon’s 6-track EP Sharp Love

Eric-Jon - BANG BANG

Just in time for “the end of the world”, Eric-Jon has released his dubstep track BANG BANG for FREE download. This intense song celebrates our untimely demise in 2012 and encourages listeners to accept our fates and make the best out of a bad situation…by having sex. To put it in his own words, Eric-jon wrote this track in Boston in 2011 about using the end of the world as an excuse to sleep with attractive friends.” In addition to Eric-Jon’s already impressive vocals, he also raps on this track and is joined by fellow rapper Brooke Villanyi. The combination of the two “going at it” verbally is enough to make clothes start coming off.

If you’re having an end of the world party or even a New Year’s Eve Bash (if we all last that long), this is the song to put on at midnight after everyone has had a few drinks and is ready to get down (both literally and figuratively). To download the song, simply click the picture above.

While you’re at it, make sure to pick up a copy of Eric-Jon’s 6-track EP Sharp Love

R.E.M. - It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

While the video is nothing specifically noteworthy (it depicts a teen rummaging through an abandoned home), R.E.M.’s classic doomsday song “It’s The End Of The World As We Know (And I Feel Fine)” is an extremely fitting anthem for today, hence this post. Now if you’ve never heard this song before (and if you haven’t, it’s probably because you’ve been living in a cave since before 1987), you’ll know that its frenetic energy can get any party going.  Also, the easy-to-remember-and-sing-along-to chorus makes it a fan favorite. However, knowing, understanding, and trying to sing along to all the lyrics from the rest of the track is really quite a difficult feat. My first memory of hearing this song is actually with my father, who has always been a music buff, telling me he knew one specific lyric from the song. We then proceeded to listen to the song and finally he chimed in at the singular line, “Leonard Bernstein”. Oddly enough, he has passed this onto me, as I often only sing along only to that one line, as well. Like father, like son I suppose. Originally appearing on R.E.M.’s 1987 album Document, the song has been immortalized over the years and often played somewhat jokingly during supposed doomsday’s of the past, which brings us to today.

12.21.12 is supposed to be the date the world as we know it ceases to exist, because that’s when the Mayan calendar ends. But let’s take a minute and think about this logically, why are we using this calendar that the Mayan’s created thousands of years ago before modern day science to dictate our anticipated fates? While the Mayan’s definitely had a remarkable understanding (considering this was created around 5 BCE) of how the sun’s cycle created seasons and how many days were in a year, it is pretty naïve to believe the world would end because a new calendar wasn’t created (no matter what a shitty John Cusack movie tells you). However, perhaps we should take a minute and look at this in a different light.

While I have never been one to believe in fate, horoscopes, or fortune telling, I do find the subject matter intriguing. As it just so happens, I had received a book from my mother about my specific birthday when I was a teenager that stated my lucky number would be 13 (it already was at that point, which freaked me out a bit), that my astrological sign was a Leo (which I very much embody the characteristics of a self-described Leo) and that my tarot card was Death. Now, upon first glance, one would think that this would spell terrible doom for me (again, if you believe in that kind of thing, which I do not). However, the tarot card for Death is often misunderstood. It is not about actual, physical death, but rather a lot of other things. Pulling straight from the Wikipedia article on the Death Tarot card:

“Some frequent keywords used by tarot readers for the interpretation of Death are:

· Ending of a cycle——Loss——Conclusion——Sadness

· Transition into a new state——Psychological transformation

· Finishing up——Regeneration——Elimination of old patterns

· Being caught in the inescapable——Good-byes——Deep change

According to Eden Gray and other authors on the subject, it is unlikely that this card actually represents a physical death. Typically it implies an end, possibly of a relationship or interest, and therefore implies an increased sense of self-awareness—not to be confused with self-consciousness or any kind of self-diminishment”

Keeping this in mind, I think that perhaps there is some good coming from today’s supposed end of the world. So rather than looking at this as a negative thing, I think we all should look at ourselves and the world around us as it is and decide to make a change for the better. Now this may be a bit too optimistic, but I believe that we can all change for the better. [Without getting too political]When we look at the state of our world, a change for the better is truly what we need. After the horrific events that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the raging wars we continue to fight, the ever present negativity that festers in our societies, and the slow ecological destruction of the only planet we call home, it truly does feel like it is time for the Death card to be played. Let’s end this cycle of destruction, become more self aware of our actions, and use this psychological transformation to bring more good to the world. Even if it only begins with a simple act of kindness, it will be a step in the right direction.

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him…We need not wait to see what others do.” - Ghandi

Dec 9
Sean Fournier – Break My Heart


At long last, Sean Fournier’s yearlong music project Brace Yourself has been completed. Each month, Fournier gave fans something to look forward to as he released new, original songs for their listening pleasure. The best part, of course, was that each song was free to download. However, staying true to the name, every song also had a different colored bracelet that it matched up to and could be purchased through the craft website Etsy. While it was a fun year filled with great music, all good things must come to an end.










Brace Yourself culminates with Fournier’s newest track, “Break My Heart”, a fast paced pop-rap song that is quite different, yet strikingly familiar to Fournier’s previous works. “Break My Heart” tells the story of a man being tempted by the devil to give up the love of his life in exchange for some pretty cool things. Fournier’s creativity and wild imagination truly shines in the second verse when he starts to demonstrate what kind of crazy ideas he would think up if given the power to create anything he imagines in his mind: “Or I could fly anytime I wantAnd I could die anytime I wantAnd come back to life anytime I wantJust because it’s possibleTo blow a magic hornAnd make a thunderstormPut on my uniformAnd I could ride to work on a unicorn.”

The track is a fun take on being tempted by outside forces, but choosing to put love before personal gain. Fournier’s pseudo rapping is accompanied by a steady beat and intermittent piano, which ties everything together in a nice, neat package. While the music project is over, this will likely not be the last we hear of Brace Yourself. Earlier this year, Fournier was pitching the idea of compiling all of the songs from Brace Yourself and putting out a full album of the same name in 2013. Whether or not that is still on the table hasn’t yet been made clear, but I’m willing to bet Fournier will have some Brace Yourself goodies in store for his fans next year. For now, the twelve stellar tracks from 2012 will have to tide us over. 


As always, with a new song comes a new colored bracelet that goes along with it. The bracelet color for “Break My Heart” is pink. To get this bracelet, or one (or all) of the previous bracelet’s check out Sean’s website and/or Etsy page.

Sean Fournier – Break My Heart

At long last, Sean Fournier’s yearlong music project Brace Yourself has been completed. Each month, Fournier gave fans something to look forward to as he released new, original songs for their listening pleasure. The best part, of course, was that each song was free to download. However, staying true to the name, every song also had a different colored bracelet that it matched up to and could be purchased through the craft website Etsy. While it was a fun year filled with great music, all good things must come to an end.

Brace Yourself culminates with Fournier’s newest track, “Break My Heart”, a fast paced pop-rap song that is quite different, yet strikingly familiar to Fournier’s previous works. “Break My Heart” tells the story of a man being tempted by the devil to give up the love of his life in exchange for some pretty cool things. Fournier’s creativity and wild imagination truly shines in the second verse when he starts to demonstrate what kind of crazy ideas he would think up if given the power to create anything he imagines in his mind:

“Or I could fly anytime I want

And I could die anytime I want
And come back to life anytime I want
Just because it’s possible
To blow a magic horn
And make a thunderstorm
Put on my uniform
And I could ride to work on a unicorn.”

The track is a fun take on being tempted by outside forces, but choosing to put love before personal gain. Fournier’s pseudo rapping is accompanied by a steady beat and intermittent piano, which ties everything together in a nice, neat package. While the music project is over, this will likely not be the last we hear of Brace Yourself. Earlier this year, Fournier was pitching the idea of compiling all of the songs from Brace Yourself and putting out a full album of the same name in 2013. Whether or not that is still on the table hasn’t yet been made clear, but I’m willing to bet Fournier will have some Brace Yourself goodies in store for his fans next year. For now, the twelve stellar tracks from 2012 will have to tide us over.

As always, with a new song comes a new colored bracelet that goes along with it. The bracelet color for “Break My Heart” is pink. To get this bracelet, or one (or all) of the previous bracelet’s check out Sean’s website and/or Etsy page.

The Naked Stills – Cochecho
Saturday, November 10th was an important night for Boston based band The Naked Stills. Not only were they headlining the Saturday night show at The Hard Rock Café, which included music from Joe Young, Jared Salvatore, and Luddy Mussy, but they were also releasing their debut CD Cochecho. Performing for a nearly packed house, The Naked Stills played songs off their new album before bringing up all the bands that were playing that night for a collective sing-along of The Band’s classic song “The Weight” (a band tradition).
The release of Cochecho is a big moment for The Naked Stills. The band, originally known as The Ground Up, formed back in 2009 and released a 4-track self-titled EP (The Ground Up EP) in February 2011. While the songs from this EP have been polished and added to Cochecho, the band’s name was changed before the album release. Funding the project through Pledgemusic.com, The Naked Stills were able to get the financial backing they needed from their strong fan-base to release the debut album.  With a new name and a new album, things are only looking up for The Naked Stills.
Cochecho is one of those albums that feels like it could be the soundtrack to your Summer road trip. Walking the fine line of old country music and rock and roll, with a little blues and blue grass thrown into the mix, the album successfully captures the essence of laid back rock concert that equally makes you want to have a glass of whiskey or get up and dance. Pulling influence from bands like O.A.R., The Band, Counting Crows, and The Shins, Cochecho has a little bit of everything. Lead Singer & Rhythm Guitarist Rocco DeRosa displays his ability to paint a lyrical picture while Bassist Ryan Callahan, Lead Guitarist Daniel King, and Drummer Doug Standley pull the entire experience together with their musical backing and style. 
Tackling topics of love, life, and desire, Cochecho has an appeal that caters to a broad audience. From the first, fast-paced track “Impossible” to the final slow, heartfelt song “Hands of Love”, The Naked Stills have produced a solid album that almost anyone can find a favorite track on. Seeing as how this is the time of year people are saying what they’re thankful for, I would have to say I’m thankful there are still local bands like The Naked Stills putting out great music.
To get the album, head over to Bandcamp today and pick it up! You can also grab a FREE download of “The Price You Pay” on The Naked Stills website!
The Naked Stills on FacebookThe Naked Stills on Twitter
Favorite Tracks: Impossible, Touchdown in Boston, The Price You Pay, & We Fall Apart

The Naked Stills – Cochecho

Saturday, November 10th was an important night for Boston based band The Naked Stills. Not only were they headlining the Saturday night show at The Hard Rock Café, which included music from Joe Young, Jared Salvatore, and Luddy Mussy, but they were also releasing their debut CD Cochecho. Performing for a nearly packed house, The Naked Stills played songs off their new album before bringing up all the bands that were playing that night for a collective sing-along of The Band’s classic song “The Weight” (a band tradition).

The release of Cochecho is a big moment for The Naked Stills. The band, originally known as The Ground Up, formed back in 2009 and released a 4-track self-titled EP (The Ground Up EP) in February 2011. While the songs from this EP have been polished and added to Cochecho, the band’s name was changed before the album release. Funding the project through Pledgemusic.com, The Naked Stills were able to get the financial backing they needed from their strong fan-base to release the debut album.  With a new name and a new album, things are only looking up for The Naked Stills.

Cochecho is one of those albums that feels like it could be the soundtrack to your Summer road trip. Walking the fine line of old country music and rock and roll, with a little blues and blue grass thrown into the mix, the album successfully captures the essence of laid back rock concert that equally makes you want to have a glass of whiskey or get up and dance. Pulling influence from bands like O.A.R., The Band, Counting Crows, and The Shins, Cochecho has a little bit of everything. Lead Singer & Rhythm Guitarist Rocco DeRosa displays his ability to paint a lyrical picture while Bassist Ryan Callahan, Lead Guitarist Daniel King, and Drummer Doug Standley pull the entire experience together with their musical backing and style. 

Tackling topics of love, life, and desire, Cochecho has an appeal that caters to a broad audience. From the first, fast-paced track “Impossible” to the final slow, heartfelt song “Hands of Love”, The Naked Stills have produced a solid album that almost anyone can find a favorite track on. Seeing as how this is the time of year people are saying what they’re thankful for, I would have to say I’m thankful there are still local bands like The Naked Stills putting out great music.

To get the album, head over to Bandcamp today and pick it up! You can also grab a FREE download of “The Price You Pay” on The Naked Stills website!

The Naked Stills on Facebook
The Naked Stills on Twitter

Favorite Tracks: ImpossibleTouchdown in BostonThe Price You Pay, & We Fall Apart

Nov 6

Sean Fournier - Graveyard Heart & Broken-Heart Red

As the year draws near a close, colder weather and holidays start to creep up on us all. However, along with these changes comes more new music from Sean Fournier’s ongoing music project Brace Yourself, and that’s a good thing. For the months of October and November, Fournier released two more tracks, both full of energy and layered with symbolism. 

Graveyard Heart

For October, Fournier decided to stick with a song fit for Halloween. “Graveyard Heart” is a never before revealed, fast paced track that is energetic from start to finish. Singing about a girl who sounds like she has more tricks than treats (come on, I had to), Fournier warns of her misdeeds and what it’s doing to him:  “Whoa (Hey)/Where do I start?/I get the feeling like I’m falling apart/But she’s got a graveyard heart/Cause’ people (cause’ people)/They die to get in”. The piano heavy song is a quick 2 minutes and 36 seconds long, but that won’t keep it from getting stuck in your head all day long. 

Broken-Heart Red

For November, Fournier switched gears to a song that is rooted in the light pop style that he has become known for. Sticking with the theme of tragic women, “Broken-Heart Red” is a cautionary tale of a girl that enjoys breaking the hearts of men. The song theme plays off the concept of a color by number painting, focusing on the made up color of “Broken-Heart Red” (well, that is until Crayola hears the song and starts putting out a new line of crayons aimed at hopeless romantics). “Broken-Heart Red” is a welcome return to Fournier’s classic sound, easily taking the frontrunner as one of my favorite releases from the Brace Yourself project.

With only one month left for the Brace Yourself project, Fournier has us all on the edge of our seats waiting to hear the final song that will finish off this project. Make sure to check back in December for the final song off Brace Yourself!

Bracelets

As always, each new song has a new bracelet to accompany it. The bracelet color for “Graveyard Heart” is Brown, while “Broken-Heart Red” is Light Green. To order a bracelet for yourself, as well as download these tracks for FREE, check out Fournier’s website.

Oct 8

Jared Salvatore – Compass Out

On Friday, September 21, The Boston Hard Rock Café’ was the place to be. On top of performances from bands Satellites Fall (a band that sounds like a cross between Angels & Airwaves and Daughtry), The Naked Stills (who will be releasing their new album, Cochecho on November 10th), and Tasker (the electro-dance project of Eric-Jon Tasker), the night was the CD pre-release of Compass Out, the new album from Boston based musician Jared Salvatore. Playing tracks off the new album, as well as a cover or two, Salvatore packed the house and kept everyone on their toes throughout the entire night.

Compass Out is named for the first line of the third track on the album, “My Love”, a steady paced song that is reminiscent of fellow musicians Josh Kelly and Matt Kearny. “My Love” is a truly heartfelt song that Salvatore’s musical stylings are perfectly crafted for. However, “My Love” is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Salvatore’s breadth of musical talent. In fact, Salvatore has the rare talent of being able to cross several genres without missing a step. This talent can be seen most evidently in the varying disparity between songs like “Grounded”, a piano heavy ballad that Salvatore carries with his strong vocals and heart wrenching lyrics and “Oh, Modesty!”, a song so catchy and full of life that it makes you want to get up and dance (and at the pre-release party, that’s exactly what happened).

Throughout the entire album, Salvatore seems to draws inspiration and sound from a variety of artists like Gavin DeGraw, Robin Thicke, Gordie Sampson, Jeff Buckley, and even Prince (just to name a few). Salvatore even gets some vocal help from singer Rebecca Muir on the track “Fire”. Their chemistry is evident during their back and forth lyrics and builds the intensity between the two singers before it explodes at the end of the second verse.

In addition to an already standout album, Salvatore even has a treat for his hometown of Boston. “Back to Boston”, essentially a love song dedicated to the great city, weaves Boston staples like the T, Fenway’s Green Monster, and “Dirty Water” into a track that any Beantown lover will immediately fall in love with. Being a Boston resident myself for the last five years, “Back to Boston” is easily my favorite track on the album.

Overall, Compass Out is an album that truly delivers. Whether you are looking for songs reflecting on past loves, new beginnings, or something that will get you singing along and moving your feet, Jared Salvatore has got you covered. While the album is not yet out on iTunes, (Salvatore will be officially rolling out the album in January) you can hear the new tracks at any of Salvatore’s live shows. To see when he’s playing next, simply check out the links below.

Favorite Tracks: Back to Boston, Oh Modesty!, and Learned My Lesson

Jared Salvatore Myspace
Jared Salvatore Facebook