With two months of prolific bands and multi-sensory shows in the rearview, Boston looks ahead at a chilly December and a waning musical presence—hey, musicians like to take the holidays off as well. That doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to look forward to, though; there’s still plenty to be excited about as 2014 comes to a close:
- Blonde Redhead just released their ninth LP a couple months back. With Barragán, the indie rock vets have achieved an imperturbable persona that evinces its successful mastery of blithely assured awesomeness. This is perhaps the zenith of Blonde Redhead’s journey to replace their noisy roots with dreamy cogency, and that’s totally cool, and you should be totally excited to check them out.
- Toronto-based indie rock band Death From Above 1979 released their long-awaited sophomore release two months ago. The Physical World is the duo’s first full-length LP since 2004’s You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine. The band has maintained a substantial fanbase despite a five-year breakup from 2006 – 2011; in fact an interview between NME and drummer/singer Sebastian Grainger revealed that the only reason this new record exists is because fans have “been f*cking asking for it.” So, they’ll give you new music, but they’re NOT going to be happy about it.
- Phish, the most influential jam band since the Grateful Dead, released their twelfth studio album—and their first in five years—this summer. The Vermont-based band tweaked their writing style for this release, as each member of Phish spent five minutes writing down whatever words came to mind while examining a random photo. “And then a bell would go off,” vocalist Trey Anastasio told NPR. “Each person would read to the other three what they had written. If there were certain lines that really resonated with the other three, we would put them on a fifth pad — until they were all intermingled and we couldn’t remember who had written what.” Anastasio’s other band—fittingly named The Trey Anastasio Band—will hit Boston for two nights this December, undoubtedly bringing with them the infamous live energy that has made Phish so iconic.
- Cymbals Eat Guitars’ third LP was inspired by the death of a friend, giving their epic, non-linear frameworks of caustic noise and mellifluous phrasings an elegiac veneer. It’s avant-garde with pop sensibilities and/or experimental post-punk with accessible melodies—difficult amalgams to manipulate, but supremely pleasing when it’s done right. Check them out when they visit Brighton Music Hall.
- The Mighty Mighty Bosstones & Lake Street Dive are both native to Boston, and each will play three shows in Bean Town post-Christmas. Dicky Barrett’s impressive ska inflections have been on everyone’s radar since they scored a major radio hit in “The Impression That I Get.” And LSD’s Rachael Price can oscillate between a full-bodied Amy Winehouse power and a resonant Carrie Underwood drawl at will, and yes she’s as talented as both of the iconic songstresses.
- Price and her crew of New England Conservatory-trained musicians would be a solid choice for a New Year’s Eve activity, but you do have other options as well. Indie rock band The Dismemberment Plan will be in town, and Boston’s own folk legend Ellis Paul will be here to play a string of shows during the festivities as well.
12/1 – Blonde Redhead – The Sinclair, Cambridge
12/2 – Death From Above 1979 – House of Blues, Boston
12/3 – The Head and the Heart – House of Blues, Boston
12/4 & 5 – Trombone Shorty and New Orleans Avenue – House of Blues, Boston
12/5 & 6 – Trey Anastasio Band – Orpheum Theater, Boston
12/7 – Slipknot & Korn – Tsongas Center, Lowell
12/8 – Manchester Orchestra – The Center for the Arts at the Armory
12/9 – Aimee Man – Wilbur Theater, Boston
12/10 – Russian Circles – The Sinclair, Cambridge
12/12 & 13 – Tedeschi Trucks Band – House of Blues, Boston
12/13 – Cymbals Eat Guitars – Brighton Music Hall, Allston
12/16 – Nick Lowe – Paradise Rock Club, Boston
12/19 – Matisyahu – House of Blues, Boston
12/22 – Alex Clare – Paradise Rock Club, Boston
12/26 & 27, 28 – The Might Mighty Bosstones – House of Blues, Boston
12/29 & 30, 31 – Lake Street Dive – The Sinclair, Cambridge
12/31 – The Dismemberment Plan – Brighton Music Hall, Allston
12/30 & 31 – Ellis Paul – Club Passim/First Night Boston & Club Passim
12/31 – Bad Rabbits – Paradise Rock Club, Boston