Oranjuly – Oranjuly (2010)


The worst part of peaking as an musician is not knowing that it’s happening. You can’t really tell you’ve reached your personal artistic summit until you’re already stumbling down the wrong side of the mountain. When you get to that point, all you can think about is trying to scramble back to the top. Guess what? This side of the mountain is much steeper. It’s colder. It’s covered in oil. And broken glass. And bees. It’s also protected by a dragon. Good luck getting back to the top, buddy.

I’m here to inform Mr. Brian King of Oranjuly that he may want to enjoy his moment at the top of Pop Mountain*. It’s all downhill from here. There’s just no way he and his band can top this self titled record. I’m sure they’ll try. In fact, I’m pretty sure Oranjuly will make some more darn good records. But I’m not fooling myslef, they ain’t making another record this good.

The songs on Oranjuly are crafted to pop perfection. For thirty-three minutes Mr. King’s tunes manage to call to mind Brian Wilson, Wings, Todd Rundgren, Ben Folds and Weezer (before they found Rick Rubin). The production is stellar. Oranjuly pulls out every pop trick in the book without making it sound like they’re pulling out every pop trick in the book. No afterthoughts or gimmicks. There’s nothing but pure love for the song on display here.

So, Mr. King, enjoy the rest of your day. You’ll be fighting dragons soon.

Where to get it:

*Ok, so it turns out Pop Mountain is a real place in Connecticut. It’s only 351′ high. That’s more like a hill. In no way do I mean this to belittle the accomplishments of Brian King or his band, Oranjuly. Pop Mountain sounds a lot more majestic than it actually is, I guess.

MEandJOANCOLLINS @ T.T. The Bear’s Place 6.3.2011

MEandJOANCOLLINS brought their moody and combustible brand of indie rock to the TT’s stage to help give Ad Frank And The Fast Easy Women a proper send off.

Birds Make Birds @ T.T. The Bear’s Place 6.3.2011

Birds Make Birds are raw. They push you and they pull you. They make you go where they want you to go. They caught me off guard. I’m glad they did.

Monophonic – High On Pills And Good Times (2011)

High On Pills And Good Times

Monophonic’s High On Pills And Good Times is an EP of no-frills rock ‘n’ roll. “Mental Millionaires” really shines. It’s got energy, a driving riff and a cool vocal hook. You feel like you’re right there with the guys in the band. Did I just hear them talking to each other? I think I did. The song jumps out of the speakers. The outro guitar solo victoriously crashes and burns. Nice.

Someone needs to throw these guys on a bill at The Rosebud with The Dirty Truckers and Watts. I’d be there having a beer and enjoying the show.

Where to get it:

The Fatal Flaw @ T.T. The Bear’s Place 5.27.2011

The Fatal Flaw released their new CD, Narrow Hours, at TT’s last Friday. They even gave away free copies at the show. Nice chaps. Have a look…

Sidewalk Driver @ T.T. The Bear’s Place 5.27.2011

I sit here tonight editing photos of Sidewalk Driver at TT’s and Massachusetts is in the middle of some crazy weather. It’s mainly a lightning event here, but the storms out in western and central Mass are horrific. Tornadoes? Seriously? While I’m editing photos of Sidewalk Driver? This is just too weird.

As for the show, Sidewalk Driver is real. Sidewalk Driver is amazing.

Oh, I almost forgot. I’ve still got some video of Sidewalk Driver performing “Tornado” to edit. You might not want to get out of the basement just yet.

Brendan Boogie – The Cassingles (2011)

Brendan Boogie
The Cassingles

This is what Brendan Boogie does so well. He writes a catchy tune and pairs it with some witty lyrics revealing an unfortunate truth. Then he does it again. And again. And a fourth time for good measure. Now he’s got an EP’s worth of material. He throws it up online for a free download and throws a party at The Rosebud to celebrate. He’s done this five times so far this year. He’ll do it again next month. The man is an EP making machine.

The Cassingles is my favorite of these EPs to date. There are songs about porn stars, obviously doomed marriages and wanting to be Paul McCartney. Then there’s the one about falling in love with the significant other of a war veteran… with a Purple Heart. That’s just wrong, right? I mean, c’mon. Yet, somehow, Mr. Boogie manages to pull out some universal feelings in all of these songs. This guy may be a little too knowledgeable about the human condition for his own good.

Where to get it: