TDP Review: Spirit Kid ‘Is Happening’

avatars-000063119425-lyv08j-t500x500Boston-based indie power pop band Spirit Kid recently released a second album, Is Happening, and it couldn’t have arrived at a better time. With this long New England winter finally coming to a close, the beachy, dreamy sounds of Is Happening remind listeners that summer is around the corner; and the promise of summer, encapsulated in this record, makes everything better.

The band is really a project of singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Emeen Zarookian who is backed on stage by various members of other Boston outfits, including Bent Shapes and Babydriver. In the studio, however, Zarookian IS Spirit Kid.

Heavily influenced by ’60s British bands and psychedelic sounds, Is Happening captures a certain energetic and soulful nostalgia. The opening song, “Everything is Old,” bears an instrumental resemblance to the Stones’ “Get Off of My Cloud” and echoes The Animals’ “I’m Crying.” The sound may be familiar, but that doesn’t mean the song – or the album, for that matter – lacks originality. Zarookian, clearly a skilled musician and impressive talent, combines the familiar with the new, making the album contemporary and relevant.

Is Happening shifts between moments of high energy on songs like “Slow it Down” and “Making Excuses,” to mellower songs, like “Is This Heaven.” The majority of the album, however, falls somewhere in between, which seems to be the best place for Zarookian. Although Is Happening is consistently strong, there are a few standouts. “Playing Cupid,” which Spirit Kid released in time for Valentine’s Day, is much more bluesy 50’s crooner than hazy 60’s psychedelic. The great mix of sounds – from swelling to discordant to jazzy – works well paired with Zarookian’s sharp voice. Another striking song on the album is the closing track, “You Know She Would,” which also highlights Zarookian’s vocal talent and his ability to move fluidly from one style and sound to another. There is a bit of intentional jarring in this one, but it works. The whole album works.

As the weather is shifting and the sun is shining, Spirit Kid is happening. Tune in.

TDP Music News: Local Band The Dirty Looks Release New Single “Catholic Radio”

catholic radioAfter writing three different records over the past year and ultimately deciding to scrap all of them, it seems as though Burlington, MA-based band The Dirty Looks have been through it all. Despite these recent challenges, after a creative burst that consisted of about a week and a half of constant writing, the band created four songs they were truly proud of and recorded them in just three days. Being the first single from this upcoming EP, “Catholic Radio” expresses just how much this persistence benefitted the band as a whole. With a sound characterized by beautifully articulated guitar parts and grooves that are undeniably jammin’, this single creates a perfect mesh between conscientious, well thought-out musicality and a universally enjoyable rock attitude. In addition to the track’s impressive cohesiveness, “Catholic Radio” has arguably the band’s catchiest chorus to date and acts as a beautiful first single, enticing listeners to check out the rest of the upcoming EP. The track simultaneously sets high expectations for the rest of the songs that The Dirty Looks are sure to fulfill. So what should you do, Devils? Why not give “Catholic Radio” a listen? It’ll be your next jam!

Check out the single on The Dirty Looks’ bandcamp page here:


TDP Review: Lake Street Dive’s ‘Bad Self Portraits’

For fans of Alabama Shakes, Tedeschi Trucks Band, and Joy Kills Sorrow

6867620_origLake Street Dive – a rootsy, jazzy, indie quartet – is a band whose star is most definitely on the rise. Fronted by the powerful vocals of Rachael Price, the group has buoyed past ‘buzz band’ and moved on to becoming one of Amazon’s bestsellers. Their self-titled 2010 release, followed by a 2011 live album, recorded in Cambridge’s own Lizard Lounge, certainly raised some interest. However, it was their rendition of the Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back,” which they released on YouTube in 2012 to promote their covers EP Fun Machine, that got over 1.5 million hits and started the band’s ascension. The song showcases their early jazzy sound, highlighting the talent of upright bassist Bridget Kearney, Mike Olson’s trumpet skills, and the soft but driving percussion of Mike Calabrese. The beautiful harmonizing and clear charisma evident in this video prompted some serious attention.

The new album, Bad Self Portraits, which was released in February, certainly has them making the rounds. Recently you’ve been able to catch them on The Colbert Report, Letterman, and even in Carnegie Hall. They were a hit at T-Bone Burnett’s Inside Llewyn Davis tribute concert, and are rapidly increasing their fan base. Their sound, which definitely looks to some of the softness in music of the past, also embraces a very contemporary rawness. The mix works. Price’s surging vocals, that are a little bit Bonnie Raitt rasp and a little bit Sarah Vaughan smooth, capture straight heartbreak, aching desire, and personal progression. These topics are tried and true, but their coverage of the subject matter is fresh. And although the vocals will stop you in your tracks, Price does not overshadow the explosion of talent present in her band-mates. This band is unified, energized, and powerful. Bad Self Portraits is certainly a testament to that.

From the doo-wop sound of “Stop Your Crying, ” and the sweeping vocals in “Rental Love” to the more frenetic, rocking sound of “Rabid Animal,” Bad Self Portraits is a diverse album that will certainly get you moving. The band’s first wholly original release, Bad Self Portraits is a strong addition to their growing catalogue – dynamic, commanding, and memorable. Lake Street Dive may have started as a country side –project of some New England Conservatory students, but it has developed into something so much bigger and so much better. Listen. You’ll dig it, Devils.



Lake Street Dive is playing a sold-out show at Royale Boston this weekend, but you’ll be able to catch them when they come back around this summer.

Bad Self Portraits – Overall Rating 4/5



TDP Music News: The Pixies Poster Contest

006be73bb436dbdcd7e794a4d3f4f40d-640x360The Pixies, Boston-based trailblazers of alt rock, are releasing their first studio album since 1991’s Trompe le Monde, and they’re reaching out to fans for some creative assistance. The band, famous for their trademark loud-quiet-loud sound, are seeking a poster design for their new album, Indie Cindy.  The artist who creates the winning design, chosen by the band members, will receive $500.00 and an autographed copy of the limited edition commemorative lithograph created from the artist’s design. The deadline for submissions is April 10th. You can read about all the details for the contest here.

Need a little inspiration to get you started? Check out Pixies’ classic “Monkey Gone to Heaven” and get designing, Devils!

TDP Music News: Mumford & Sons Not Breaking Up

Mumford & SonsSince September, when Mumford & Sons announced that the group would be going on a temporary hiatus, the band has remained relatively quiet with their endeavors until the quartet’s banjo player, Winston Marshall, recently broke the silence. Last night in an interview with Vulture, Marshall stated that the band was no more. “It’s over,” he said, “We had a good time, though, you know. It was good.” Today, multiple representatives for the band confirmed that Marshall was just making some kind of bad joke, meaning for the remark to be taken in jest. Despite the fact that the band will not be breaking up any time soon, Mumford & Sons will continue their hiatus for the time being.

TDP Music News: Smashing Pumpkins to Release Two New Albums in 2015

Smashing PumpkinsSmashing Pumpkins frontman, Billy Corgan, recently announced that the band will release two albums in 2015: Monuments To An Elegy and Day For Night. In terms of what fans should expect for a sound, Corgan stated on the band’s website, ” Think: ‘guitars, guitars, guitars, and more guitars’; but more so on the epic side of things than say, grossly metallic.” With many of the songs ready to record, the band  and Howard Willing, producer of their 1998 album Adore,  hit the studio on Tuesday. The Smashing Pumpkins plan to release a new single by the end of 2014.

Check out Corgan’s full post on the band’s website here:!Two-New-Smashing-Pumpkins-Albums-Set-for-2015/c7ba/A17022BC-8DA1-4A25-9D18-71B7B24E39BB

TDP Music News: Blink-182 Unlikely to Release New Music by Early Summer

Blink-182For all Blink-182 fans looking forward to a possible follow-up to the band’s 2012 EP Dogs Eating Dogs, it seems as though this dreams may not come true as soon as once thought. According to past interviews and information from the band’s members, Blink-182 should have begun to record their next album already, but it has become evident that guitarist Tom Delonge, bassist Mark Hoppus, and drummer Travis Barker have failed to meet up in the studio yet.

In a recent interview with Noisey, Barker expressed that meeting and attempting to record new music with Hoppus and Delonge has been a “challenge,” but regardless, he can’t wait set a time to hit the studio that works for all of them. Barker hopes that the band can still meet up to record before playing the Reading and Leeds music festivals this summer. Despite his confidence in that there will be a follow-up record in the near future, Barker didn’t necessarily show full confidence as to if Blink would be able to release new music as soon as late spring/ early summer like originally planned. Check out part of the interview below:

Are there any ideas of where you’re going musically with the Blink stuff, I know you are doing Reading and Leeds so originally there was talk of that deadline?
I definitely wanted new stuff, it’s just not everything worked out to where in the band could be available to record new stuff, so it’s been kind of a challenge.

How much does it keep music fresh for you then, to be able to do all these different projects?
When I was home, I played on a Rusko song, I played on something for Datsik, I played on a bunch of albums all week long because the end of the day, man, Blink, you gotta have three people that are all willing to record and write music at the same time. If it can’t happen, that can’t be the end of the world for me. I gotta have other stuff to do or I would fucking claw my eyes out. So being with the Transplants, working on my solo album, until the stars align for Blink to be in the studio I gotta just stay busy. We’re supposed to go in before Reading or Leeds sometime so hopefully it happens.

Check out the full interview here:

TDP Music News: Four Year Strong To Release New Music This Summer

Four Year StrongAfter a three year gap since last releasing new music in 2011, Worcester, Dan O’Connor from MA-based rock band Four Year Strong recently announced in an interview with AbsolutePunk that the band plans to release a new album this summer, which as of now is untitled. O’Connor was also excited to announce that it seems as though they will be releasing this new music in a more DIY (do-it-yourself) fashion. At the moment, Four Year Strong are writing the new record and planning to record and release it without the help of a major label after having dropped from their previous label Universal Motown/Universal Republic in 2012. Check out the full interview over at AbsolutePunk here:

TDP Music News: Two Dead, 23 Injured by Drunk Driver at SXSW

sxsw drunk driverThis morning at 12:30 am, March 13, 2014, two people were killed and 23 others were injured after a serious incident at the South By Southwest Festival involving a drunk driver. Austin, TX police later confirmed that a lone male driver heavily under the influence of alcohol drove his Toyota Civic through a temporary barricade and into the middle of a busy street filled with other cars and people there for the nearby SXSW events.  The Austin police have taken the suspect into custody, and he will be charged with two accounts of capital murder along with 23 counts of aggravated assault.  Rolling Stone has a full account of this tragedy. Read the full article by clicking on the link below:


SXSW 2014 LogoIf you don’t already know, South By Southwest, more commonly abbreviated as SXSW, is a set of film, interactive, and music festivals and conferences that takes place every year in early March in Austin, Texas. As of March 6, 2014, this year’s festival is in full swing, and off to a great start. Thus far, this immense occurrence has had an impressive amount of stars and guest speakers, such as fugitive National Security Agency leaker, Edward Snowden, and, specifically within the music scene, the festival is flaunting a lineup of some 2,000 bands and artists this year. What does this mean for music fans not within the Austin, TX area? Well luckily, thanks to the company running the festival, SXSW Inc., we have the opportunity to experience some of the activities going on at SXSW via live streaming of interviews, music, and conferences with artists including Neil Young, Lil Wayne, and Alex Ebert. And that doesn’t even scratch the surface. The website covering the events planned for SXSW has all of the information about performing artists, guests, and more to come in the following days. Check it out, Devils!

Check out showcasing artists:

Check out the website as a whole: