Thursday, April 28, 2011

Plectrum's Singer Songwriter Series (SSS) debutes at Church of Boston

Live tonight from CHURCH at 69 Kilmarnock Street, Boston, MA Plectrum will present three Singer-Songwriters in the round style (think VH1 Storytellers or MTV unplugged) This event is 21+, $8 cover, and FREE parking behind the club!


-Jason Labbe
-Rick Gottlieb
-Greg Loftus

Bands from 9:20pm - Midnight


9:20 - Garlic & Moonshine
10:20 - Tsunami of Sound
11:20 - JVD and The Backporch Smokers

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Silent Auction for Red Sox-Mariners Tickets on 4/29/2011

Want Red Sox tickets and an opportunity to donate to disaster relief in Japan? Plectrum Entertainment has a silent auction currently running for two tickets for the Red Sox - Mariners game Friday April 29, 2011 at 7:30 PM at Fenway Park in Boston. Seats are Sec 22-F47, seats G4 and G5, behind home plate, with a face value of $130 each. Send an email to, subject line "Red Sox Tickets" with your bid. Auction will end at 6PM EST on Wednesday, April 27, 2011. The highest bid (and earliest in case of a tie) will win. Payment must be made via Paypal immediately upon notification (instructions will be provided to the winner via email), because arrangements will need to be made to get you the tickets the next day. The full amount of the winning bid will be donated to Japan Disaster Relief Boston.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Let Down

Don't get always ends up drivel.
the following original thoughts by bobby murphy

In light of my most recent entry about cover wars, I decided to dig up this short piece that I threw together one lazy afternoon while listening to the Easy Star All-Stars' collaboration album, Radiodread.  Falling between Dub Side of the Moon and Easy Star's Lonely Hearts Dub Band, this work brings together the widest range of talent to pay tribute to one of the most significant steps forward by a band in my lifetime: Radiohead's creation of OK Computer.  To make an album of this magnitude immediately following something as straight forward as The Bends was the turning point of Radiohead's career, and a golden ticket into the not-fucking-around club.  That was lucky for them, because as Thom put it, "None of us fucking knew any more whether it was good or bad. What really blew my head off was the fact that people got all the things, all the textures and the sounds and the atmospheres we were trying to create."  Yup, we got it all right.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

You are in a band....AWESOME! Now get out there and be heard!

You are in a band and you want to make something of it. You wish to make music your whole life and live off doing it. Sounds like your ready to become an entrepreneur and start your own business doesn’t it? Well, it should sound like that because that is exactly what you are doing! As any business that operates in this new digital world promotion and advertising is an absolute must after all no one is going to spend money on your product unless you let them know you have it available for sale. Additionally, consumers purchase products from people and businesses they know and have positive report/relationships with. Being in a band and making music is no different.

Bands and artists need to realize that in order to create your fan base (something outside your friends, family, and co-workers) you need to do what any business does and that is let your customers sample or have your product. Now a day nobody wants to pay for something that is unknown to him or her doing so would simply be too much of a risk. Most consumers are discreet discretionary spenders who are risk adverse.

As a musician, it makes no sense NOT to let people hear your music! Think about this for a moment...why did you join or create your band (besides the obvious to score girls and party like rock stars) you did so because you are passionate about the music you create and you want everyone to hear it. Music is not meant to be created and then to be shelved never to be listen too. The whole reason why you create music is to have it heard.

Therefore, there is millions of tracks out there free, and if yours isn’t one of them, then you are missing out on many opportunities to create connections with potential fans of that style. If you are not putting yourself out there how are you going to gain the attention of even a fraction of a percent of the millions of music consumers in the world? You need to be in the position of being upfront with your audience and potential market giving away your music, starting that relationship and growing it. Music fans really appreciate the fact that you have given them something and music nowadays is really based on relationships with your fans.

If they love it, chances are eventually they will reciprocate, either by paying for a ticket to come and see you live, or wanting to actually buy that piece of vinyl or CD rather than just the free download that you gave away to them. Think of your music as a business or calling car for your band or business. If a business owner who is just starting up and getting their name out there is out networking, do you think they are asking the other person for10, 20, or even 30 cents from every prospect they hand a business card too (of course not!) they give the card away free. As a musician, that is what your music is. You are not giving away the farm; you are making a long-term investment in the future of your band and establishing a long-term relationship with your fan base.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Cover Wars

Here we sit, just hours away from the NCAA Championship game between UConn and Butler, the two unsuspecting teams that emerged from this series of upsets and early farewells that we call March Madness. I was lucky enough to have Kentucky and UConn as my picks for the East and West, helping me to win my pool days before the final four was even underway. But alas, here is where I admit to knowing nothing about college basketball. Not even nothing; LESS than nothing. But that's the beauty of March Madness: it's possible for someone like me to be triumphant from literally only knowing the bare minimum, i.e. a number one seed is good and a number sixteen seed is not-so-good. From there it's a crapshoot guessing game, and a fun one at that.

But this March, college basketball was not the only bracket that I followed(although it's the only one that I had any money on). Glide Magazine's (partner? affiliate? spawn?), Hidden Track, has reached the final pairing of their March Madness version of Cover Wars, an exciting chance for fans to vote on their favorite covers of well-known songs by well-known bands in a structured bracket set up. Starting with thirty-two covers, fans have since voted and narrowed the field down to two finalists. Let's have a look back at some of the upsets, no brainers, and head-scratchers that have taken place over the last month.


Round 1: Civil War and Unrest

The first round we were treated to a series of match-ups that featured two different covers by the same artist, two different artists covering the same artist, and two different projects by one artist covering different songs. Confused? Good. Our friends at Hidden Track came out strong, featuring two Dylan covers as the first match-up: The Black Crowes: "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" vs. The Black Keys: "The Wicked Messenger." Both bands kick it up a notch for their respective covers; the Crowes literally up the tempo and wild sound to this already unusual song, but the replacement of a full horn section with electric distortion doesn't quite work, and it's the Keys' droning bluesy guitar that helps them take the close win in the early round.

Gov't Mule was pinned up against itself for covering Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" and Tom Waits's "Goin Out West." Black Sabbath won because, well, it's Black Sabbath. Gov't Mule took the free pass to the next round.

I was also intrigued by the match-up between M. Ward's two projects, as a part of Beth Orton's touring band (Dylan's "Buckets of Rain), and She & Him with Zooey Deschanel (Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I put a Spell on You). This is a fantastic rendition of "Buckets of Rain," in which Orton and Ward trade off verses, creating a dream-like world in which the acoustic arpeggios drift you slowly downstream on an endless river of beautiful lyrics and soft voices. Suffice to say, She & Him still won outright with a two-thirds vote, thanks in great part to the siren-like attraction that encompasses Zooey Deschanel and her captivating voice.

Some notable no-brainers include My Morning Jacket covering The Band, The Band covering Marvin Gaye, Umphrey's playing "Ain't No Sunshine," Beck's recording of The Velvet Underground's "Femme Fatale," and String Cheese Incident's magical rendition of Paul Simon's "Under African Skies." What didn't make any sense was how any version of "Hey Jude" could beat Jimmy Herring's version of "Within You Without You," but what do I know.

Phish vs. Phish resulted in the extremely rare cover of "Ramble On" squeezing out a bluegrass version of Boston's "Foreplay/Longtime," and Trey's take on the Dead's "Row Jimmy" crushed the competition all the way to the Final Four.


Round Two, Sweet 16: Every Band for Itself

In what seems like an unfair pairing, Phish's "Ramble On" crushed Wilco's take on Big Star's "Thirteen," a song I was first introduced to by Elliott Smith. (As much as I love Wilco I think I prefer Elliott's version, although that would never stand up to Phish in this type of bracket anyway).

Everyone who's anyone knows and loves Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah," and if you don't then you might not have a soul. The song seems to have an even heavier feel since his death, and it easily surpassed "The Wicked Messenger."

Wilson Pickett somehow managed to oust the other Beatles tune in the first round with their "definitive cover" of "Hey Jude," but were easily outvoted in the second round when pinned up against Perpetual Groove's stellar "Live and Let Die." I love solo Paul.

The Band went up against Umphrey's McGee, and may have only won since their cover is straight from The Last Waltz, one of the most epic displays of live music ever, throughout all of history.

It's really a damn shame that SCI had to go up against Trey so early on, as they both deserved to go very far in this bracket. "Under African Skies" is my number one recommendation for covers to check out from this list, although it sadly didn't even get a chance to see the Elite 8.

Other wins:
My Morning Jacket - "It Makes No Difference" (The Band)
Gov't Mule - "War Pigs" (Black Sabbath)
She & Him - "I Put A Spell On You" (Screamin' Jay Hawkins)


Round Three, Elite 8: The Reality Is...

As good as Jeff Buckley and She & Him really are, the reality here is that Phish is a creative powerhouse, and it's going to take a lot to take down Trey or the whole band.

P. Groove covering McCartney was able to oust The Band covering Gaye, but that's because "Live and Let Die" is easily one of the most powerful songs on the list.

And although The Band themselves didn't make the Final Four, I was happy to see that MMJ's cover of The Band just barely took the edge over Gov't Mule's cover of Black Sabbath.


Round Four, Final Four: Playing for Keeps

Looking at the Final Four, it appears as though the original songwriting played an equally important role in the decision making process as the actual execution of the cover did. Either that or the hippies are the only ones that kept voting this long.

The first thing that really jumps out here is the possibility of Trey vs. Phish in the finals. We have seen the Zeppelin and Dead covers obliterate the competition throughout the entire bracket. Like I said, Phish is a creative powerhouse, and it was not unreasonable to expect to see both Ramble On and Row Jimmy in a final face-off.

Yet in some weird twist and topple of the universe, both P. Groove and My Morning Jacket edge out Phish and Trey and advance to the Championship round. I have no explanation to go along with this fact, but I must say that although they may not have been underdogs, these two covers certainly deserve a shot at the title.

Perpetual Groove - "Live and Let Die" (Paul McCartney)
My Morning Jacket - "It Makes No Difference" (The Band)

Voting is to continue through April 11, and I highly suggest sitting down, plugging in your best pair of headphones, closing your eyes, and absorbing these two feats of sound for yourself. And be sure to check back to find out who will be the Cover Wars Champion.

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