Performer Magazine

Xerxes

Video Credit: No Sleep Records Official YouTube Channel

Talking to Calvin Philley on a Sunday afternoon in early October was a little bit like a therapy session between perfect strangers.

I’ve never met Philley. But the 22-years-old, who lives in Louisville and makes ends meet by bartending each night, sounds familiar. He works so he can play, and his ideas and sentiments are shared between millions of Millennials around the globe.

But Philley is also unique. He is the front man for the popular post-punk quartet, Xerxes, which has had a few incarnations since its genesis in 2009.

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How Wu-Tang & Suburban Rebellion Inspired Umass’ Beatspill Radio Show

2012-02-04 23.18.36

WMUA is housed in the back corner in the dingy basement of UMass Amherst’s campus center. Walk into this tiny studio, and chances are that you will find students busy putting together the latest and greatest playlists in all genres. Over the past few years, Miles Powell and John Holowitz have clocked a lot of time in this spot, co-creating the Beatspill radio show.

Beatspill, which started as a hip-hop blog, was the brain baby of four friends who met in high school and learned to love the genre as they got into college life. The guys were late bloomers to the hip-hop fandom, which shouldn’t be all too surprising considering they are middle class white kids from the suburbs of Boston.

“I grew up listening to all oldies music,” Powell says. “To the extent where I had such a stereotypical attitude of [hip-hop] music… I would be going to basketball games, and I’d be jamming out to the Bee Gees.”

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Aloud – Record Review

It’s Got to Be Now

Boston, MA

(Mother West Records)

“Powerpop, jam-band with killer vocals”

Their fourth album, which dropped the first of April, is a great example of the evolution of this kickass quartet. Aloud has a fun, unique sound that is reminiscent of the days of yore. From their dynamic vocalists, to their jam-band instrumentals, this band is a great listen all day.

Henry Beguiristain and Jen de la Osa, who both play guitar and co-front the band, sound like they were made to sing together. Each offers the perfect balance for the other, and from the opening song to the title track, they perfectly showcase their vocal prowess.

Meanwhile, their instrumentation is impeccable. A perfect balance of grungy, gritty bass from Charles Murphy, crisp guitars licks and rhythmic drums from Frank Hegyi, the album offers and air of indie alt-rock, with a sprinkling of power pop.

“A Little Bit Low,” highlight’s de la Osa’s pipes, and general badassness with her soaring vocals over a rugged, instrumental. The album rounds out with the clear instrumentals, combined with Beguiristain smooth vocals on “The Ballad of Emily Jane” leave nothing to be desired.

With a powerpop, jam-band vibe, Aloud is perfect for lovers of bands like Dr. Dog, Fitz and the Tantrums, and Alabama Shakes.

 

Produced by Charles Newman, Benny Grotto, and Aloud
Recorded live at Mad Oak Studios in Boston, MA

All songs written by de la Osa/Beguiristain • Music arranged and performed by Aloud

 

http://www.allthingsaloud.com/

Alexandra Lane

 

The Rooks Band

 

Video Credit: The Rooks Band Official YouTube Channel

From the funky beats of The Roots, to the vocal prowess of Stevie Wonder, to the fierceness of Queen Bey, New York’s indie-soul sextet The Rooks are a perfect combination of all the right things.

Garth Taylor (Vocalist), Louis Russo (Bass), Gabe Gordon (keyboard/piano), Nate Mondschein (Drums), Spencer Hattendorf (Sax) and Graham Richman (Guitar) all met at Wesleyan University as undergraduates. After years of running in the same social circles, and overlapping into various musical endeavors, the guys formed The Rooks in late 2011. They recorded a brief set of studio singles in early 2012, and just released their first EP this past summer.

Now, they are living in NYC as “salaried humans,” said Taylor, with legitimate jobs as teachers, lawyers, and something that Taylor and Mondschein are unclear on, but agree is some form of “financial sorcery” and trying to make this music thing happen. (more…)

Jacuzzi Boys

Video Credit: Hardly Art Official YouTube Channel

They sound how a warm summer night feels.

Maybe that’s because the Jacuzzi Boys are a trio from Miami. Or maybe its because when Gabriel Alcala, Diego Monasterios, and Danny Gonzales get together, its all fuzzy, pop/synth and good vibes. Whatever it is, the guys have bottled the magic of partying until the sun comes up, good friends and good times with their sound. Having come together in 2007, the boys Jacuzzi have been creating, touring, partying, (repeat) for the better part of the last six years. (more…)

Tour Stop: NoHo

At the heart of the five colleges in Western Massachusetts is the city of Northampton. A quaint, but buzzing city, Northampton is a taste of a big city in an otherwise rural part of the Commonwealth. It’s history is preserved in some of the iconic local landmarks, while the downtown district is designed to captivate and entertain both visitors and locals. NoHo’s location offers travellers the opportunity to hike one of the Seven Sister Mountains nearby, and enjoy a night of drinks and entertainment, all within a four mile radius. Known as being a cultural hub, Northampton is the perfect environment for any artist. With it’s prime location just two hours from Boston, and three hours from New York City, this city is an often-overlooked tour stop must, for any group on a North East leg. 

**A Version of this article was published by Performer Magazine in September of 2013 which can be found here

Old Man Markley

Video Credit: Old Man Markley Official YouTube Channel

No matter the size of the venue, Old Man Markley never fails to deliver. Their first ever show was at a bar in Pasadena, California to a standing room only audience. The bar ran out of beer, and the band brought down the house.

When people hear the concept of Old Man Markley’s sound they usually respond with a confused: ‘huh?’

But integrating the backyard nostalgia of bluegrass and the rowdy romp of punk, Old Man Markley have found the happy medium between banjo and badass.

The band started in the Southern California living room of band members Johnny Carey, Ryan Markley, and Annie DeTemple in mid-2007, and has since, travelled the world in support of it’s music.

Nowadays, through touring and the internet, they are bringing the music they started in the family room to audiences all around the world. Their fusion of bluegrass roots and punk energy sounds like country music on speed, and is largely a result of the creative backgrounds of their band members. (more…)

Moe Pope

By Alexandra Lane

Intrinsically motivated, quick-witted, Boston-based rapper Moe Pope has been in the game for the better part of the last decade, and is now releasing what is arguably his best work. It’s no surprise he just won the Boston Music Award for Best Hip-Hop Artist. Pope, who is known for his lyrical social commentary and casual persona, is creating old-school hip-hop in a new voice. Laying down rhymes on unique tracks of his own composition, Pope it upping the ante for up and coming hip-hop artists to not only talk about real issues, but to do it in an distinctive way. This month, we got the chance to talk with Pope about his upcoming album, his hometown influence, the music industry, and his creative process. (more…)

Aimee Bobruk

By Alexandra Lane

Aimee Bobruk, the artist behind the sultry, folk-rock album “baŸbrook” is not your average songwriter. Most of her recent music is the result of games, she tries not to include emotion, and she is a proponent of quantity over quality when it comes to songwriting.

Having studied music through the violin as a child, Bobruk was familiar with reading music but never had formal vocal training. In fact, following high school, she was following a totally different artistic path…as an actress. (more…)

Faris McReynolds: Shy, Natural, Brilliant.

By Alexandra Lane

Hes creating the art that comes naturally.

His approach to the creative process is “not looking for clues, not looking for answers, not looking to solve anything, and just going with it.” And as for production, “a lot of it is just pushing things with one finger.” That’s Faris McReynolds take on his aptly named projects Exdetectives and One Finger Riot. (more…)