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Review: Movers and Shakers - Middle East Downstairs - 3/25

Movers & Shakers, Boston’s prodigies of all good-things Americana, performed a tight nine song set at the Middle East Downstairs on Thursday, March 25th. Movers & Shakers’ music encapsulates some of the best elements of Americana: A fusion of rock, country and blues that form a fluid, sometimes gritty, simultaneously mournful and uplifting sound that hits as comforting and familiar even when it’s brand new. Their vocals are strong, at times melancholy and always imbued with a playful twinge of country twang that lends itself to both rambling rock songs and slower, mournful ballads. The balance of alt-rock lamentations and bluesy warbles blend harmoniously to bind the songs to each other, creating a cohesive overarching feel to the music that allows the group to shift focus to different styles ingrained in their work.

The instrumental work is strong: Rambling country-rock guitar sounds break into darker crescendos as effortlessly as they spin into freestyle breakdowns that showcase elements of bluegrass and jam bands. Drum work is tight, forceful without being overpowering, a solid and deep rhythm while the use of symbols adds a layer of metallic dissonance that comes across as being a necessary punctuation to the music. These musical layers inter-weave to create songs that ring as comforting, enjoyably familiar and accessible without being a rehashing of previous styles.

Movers & Shakers have carved their name through their catchy Americana offerings, energizing songs that draw equally from rock and country, bluegrass and rambling jams that all sounds fresh without sacrificing the portmanteau essence of the genre. Indeed, stepping into their music is a homecoming of sorts, a return to the classics ingrained in our musical consciousness that simultaneously challenges the audience to experience those classics in new ways. Movers & Shakers consistently re-examine the roots of American music to create glittering songs that blend dynamic vocals, talented guitars and solid rhythms to create the unique sense that their music is not something heard but something remembered.

--Meghan Guidry

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Mike Golden & Friends

There is really nothing to hate about the approach and delivery of Mike Golden & Friends. As you read through the posts on their blog and listen through their debut ep Trees Pt 1. This group of musicians is dedicated to having fun, and making songs that you can stomp you foot to.

Trees EP Pt 1 will be released this week and will be available through the bands website and on Amazon.

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Final DIY Fest Night: Not Blood, Paint, U Say USA, Bartholomew + more

My final night at the Bushwick Music Festival began at the Opera House, where Fuck Yeah Yankee Bang Bang (picture below) played fun, poppy rock, featuring Sita Asar and Glenn Baughman harmonizing on vocals and Sean Spada on keys.

Bartholomew (picture below) performed next, a moody blend of folk, country, and rock.  Bill Bartholomew’s soulful vocals intertwined with Dave Klym’s melodic guitar solos created a catchy, distinct sound.  The band’s often simple but dynamic melodies, strong energy and solid rhythm made for a personal, engaging set, especially captivating toward the end with songs “Walk On By” and “One Big Wheel.”

The Louisiana Sun Kings played at 9:30, a metal band with a petite female singer, Noelle Tannen. They had quick tempos and flashy riffs, but it was Tannen’s energy – dancing, twirling, rolling on the floor, singing into the audience – that charmed the crowd.

I then went to Eastern District and caught the end of Food Will Win the War (in the picture).  Despite a seven-member strong lineup of two guitars, two keyboards, violin, bass and drums, they had a sparse, acoustic sound we truly enjoyed.  The Last Nights played next, a trio comprised of a two-octave Korg controller and laptop, cello and guitar.  Several of their songs had danceable electronic drum beats, and others were more minimal. The cello’s bass line sometimes provided the beat, often underneath haunting minor-key melodies.

I arrived House of Yes around midnight, during a flashy drum solo by Justin Ahiyon of Consider the Source (picture below).  A progressive instrumental jam band consisting of a double-neck fretless guitar, drums and bass, they had unusual time signatures, complex riffs and tight chemistry.

I hustled to Bushwick Music Studios to catch a theatrical set by Not Blood, Paint. With skin covered in black handprints and all four band members wearing fur coats and shorts, they gave a cinematic, captivating performance that had the packed audience dancing, singing and howling wildly along to their dynamic, catchy songs.

The night ended around 4 a.m., with sets by U Say USA (picture above), a Dylan-inspired pop-rock band, and finally The Nuclears, a high-energy, Zeppelin-esque rock band.-Vivian Doskow

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Crunk In Public

The latest EP, Crunk In Public, from the electro-hop duo Boomjuice is going to be a mainstay in my car stereo this Spring. This is the second release from Vapor Eyes and Capriquarius, and it finds them delving deep in the electronic and dance elements of their sound. Both of the duo’s releases can be downloaded for free. This new EP features collaborations with Keith Masters, Me Myself & Rhyme, and Ellen Loves Everything. It also features an interesting Radiohead cover, and as free download is absolutely worth getting.

Boomjuice will be performing on April 6th at Darkroom with Cars For Miles and Tribella, and at Double Door on April 28th.

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The Blank Tapes: Home Away From Home free download

For a limited time, The Blank Tapes are offering their fourth full length release, Home Away From Home as a free download. The 10-track album includes a couple recognizable songs, Driving Out Of My Mind and We Can Do What We Want To, that have been played in The Blank Tapes shows from the past year as well as the slightly gritty Black Hair and Don't Mind which features a very catchy melody played on ukulele.

You can download your own copy of the album here. Catch them at Amnesia Bar on Thursday, April 1st playing with Shakes, Pony Village (from Portland) and Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt.

-Nicole Leigh

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