This article originally appears on Boston Band Crush ). During my 10+ years of living in Boston, I’ve noticed a relatively constant rift in the local music scene. I’ve seen a lot of classification and labeling, a lot of arbitrary associations, and a fair bit of divisiveness. A lot of us (my hand is raised) have been guilty of choosing our group and sticking with them, only going to shows within the circle and essentially covering our ears and screaming “la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you” if anyone talks about bands outside our microverse.
The most fun result of this, to me, is that I read all different lists of the “best bands in Boston” in the Dig, the Phoenix, the Improper, Stuff at Night, etc. and, more often than not, despite a familiarity with hundreds of local bands, I’ve never heard of most of the groups inhabiting these lists. We here at Boston Band Crush are all about breaking down boundaries and uniting all of you local folks. We’re just starting now, but we’ve got some lofty goals.
So, let’s lay it all out on the table. The artistic groupings I have most often heard are: Noise Board Bands, Lemmingtrail bands, Abbey Bands (RIP), and, of course, Berklee bands. Here and now is when we officially send our spies into the Berklee scene and carry out all of their secrets! What better way to begin than to tell you about a great showcase that is happening in association with the release of a collection of Berklee-associated music (some by current students, some by alums).
Heavy Rotation Records, Berklee’s student-run label, is definitely a serious player. Not only is the label run under the guidance of Jeff Dorenfeld (former manage of the band Boston), but they’ve also put out records in conjunction with major labels (The great Shekinah 13 Artists compilation co-released with Epic) and top-notch indies (Apollo Sunshine’s 2nd album co-released with spinART). Now, they’re hosting their 9th annual showcase event and releasing the 6th edition of their Dorm Sessions compilations. The album is a 9-act, 18-track whirlwind of rock, pop, folk, funk, hip-hop, and R&B featuring some really cool up-and-coming acts. Best of all, free copies of the CD will be given away at the concert. The collection will also be available on iTunes and, for the first time ever, vinyl. I know I’m really glad to see people going back and embracing the tactile experience of spinning records.
Go check out the show:
The HRR Epic Event and Dorm Sessions 6 CD release concert
$10 / all ages
begins at 8:15 p.m.
The Berklee Performance Center
136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, MA
Free copies of the CD will be given away at the concert.
Here is the official press statement on the artists involved:
Nini&Ben is the duo of vocalist/pianist Christina Fabi and guitarist Benjamin Gebert, both Berklee students. Before arriving at Berklee, Fabi and Gebert traveled through Europe and Australia for two years in an old VW doing various jobs, performing at clubs, writing music, and connecting with fellow musicians. This lifestyle inspired them to capture the most profound moments of life in their warm and expressive folk-rock songs.
Shea Rose accepted a Berklee scholarship after interning at MTV, touring with MSN Music, and performing with Luv Jones. She hosted the Berklee Girls Rockseries at Matt Murphy’s Pub and recently opened for Nona Hendryx and Siedah Garrett. Said Andy Buckley on CapeCodToday.com, “She can’t be put in a box. She’s the black Rickie Lee Jones . . . the female Lenny Kravitz . . . She’s a singer/songwriter who can plug a hole in a soulful folk tune with a bit of rap.”
Re-Up offers effortless flow between hard-hitting hip-hop, soulful melodies, and booty-shaking grooves. The group is comprised of Berklee students Owen Ross, Chris Holdridge, Andrew Plourd, and Jeremy Vovsko and alumni Cliff Kuhn-Lloyd, Bryan Percivall, Cole DeGenova, and Keith Dickerhofe. The rhythm section lays down a rock-solid foundation while the horns add colorful riffs and the DJ pours hot sauce on top using effects and scratches.
Rebecca Muir is a Berklee graduate with a big voice from Halifax, Nova Scotia. She has racked up impressive credits, including performing the national anthem at Fenway Park and sharing the stage with Steve Winwood, Gloria Estefan, Herbie Hancock, Paul Simon, Tower of Power, Christopher Guest, and the New Pornographers. She is currently performing original blues-pop songs with her band, and working on her debut album.
Nathan Reich plays acoustic folk-rock with fellow Berklee students, cellist Alexandra Spalding and pedal steel player Tom Bohlen. Said The Groove of Reich’s debut CD, “The group’s indie-folk blend weaves simple and elegant string parts, and tasteful pedal steel volume swells. The musical intricacies of ‘The Hard Stuff’ and ‘So Gratefully’ are as dreamlike and wondrous as Ronald Dahl’s classic novel James and the Giant Peach, while still retaining a mature, professional sound.”
White Shoe Brown Shoe is the collaboration of Patrik Gochez and Berklee student Alex Britten, two songwriters brought together by rock, roll, and a bowl of chili. Gochez was forged in the kiln of New England, while Britten was crafted in London and Los Angeles. They realized they needed a hurricane rhythm section and students Andrew Nesbitt (drums) and David Lee (bass) signed on to run the groove train. The Shoes quickly built a reputation with explosive live shows and are currently writing songs in an abandoned mansion in California.
Model Cars is a Berklee student band formed by pianist/violinist Claudio Olachea, who, after moving to Boston in 2006, began searching for musicians whose goal was to play original indie rock music inspired by intelligent, melodic, and harmonic movement. Mike Day, with his funky bass playing and appreciation for strong grooves, was the first piece to fit into the puzzle. Drummer Kevin Lynch and guitarist Matt Berger, with an innate ability for creating harmony, soon came on board.
SuperVolcano – Berklee students David Khoshtinat, Matt Powell, Jesse Weiss, and Michael Thomas are four friends from the future, who, having found frailty in foundation, now fight the phantasmic facade of symphonic freedom by forcefully forgetting former forms. They face the frighteningly fast-approaching finality of their fortunate fates by finding fleeting feelings of unfathomably glorious euphoria, fostered by their fervent affinity for the frantically focused; the frenetic aesthetic of polyphony plus rhetoric.
SEX! is comprised of Berklee students Kyle VandeKerkhoff (guitar), Andrew Burri (vocals), and John Adams (drums); alumnus Skye Handler (guitar); and Josh Hari (bass). The group prides itself on the pure, raw quality of their live shows where they play balls out, leaving nothing behind after the set. SEX!’s music is a potent mix of rock, blues, r&b, and soul, aiming to recapture the essence of the early days of rock ‘n’ roll.