Made this way? – Lady Gaga's new album leaks online

Can’t wait to listen to pop diva Lady Gaga’s hotly-anticipated new album Born This Way? Well, thanks to the wonders of digital piracy your wait has just gotten a little shorter. According to an article in the online edition of Rolling Stone Magazine, one of the most highly-hyped record releases in years leaked online late Wednesday night (a mere six days before its official release date) and has caused a flurry of newfound...

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West Coast state of mind

In honor of the Northeast Underground’s upcoming trip to California, I thought I would create a special blog post honoring a selection of some of the Golden State’s finest musical treasures. However, the more I contemplated tackling such a piece I soon realized that the task was completely unrealistic. Who would I put in the article? Who wouldn’t make the cut? The sheer number of choices soon proved overwhelming. So,...

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Out Tuesday: Eddie Vedder keeps matters simple on new disc Ukulele Songs

Eddie Vedder Ukulele Songs (Monkeywrench Records) Release date: May 31, 2011 Though four years have passed since the release of his last solo album, Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder has yet to stray far from the rootsy appeal that made his contributions to the soundtrack for the 2007 film Into the Wild so successful. In fact, with his latest record Vedder has now seemingly stripped his sound down even further for an entire disc’s...

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Grunge bassist Mike Starr dead at 44

The world of grunge lost another family member Wednesday as former Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr (see photo, far right) unexpectedly passed away at the age of 44. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, Starr’s body was found in a house in Salt Lake City, Utah almost nine years after Alice in Chains’ lead singer Layne Staley died of a drug overdose in Seattle, Wash. The bassist, who made headlines in the...

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Music revolutionary Gil Scott-Heron passes away at 62

Popularly known as the “godfather of rap” and the “black Bob Dylan,” poet Gil Scott-Heron died Friday in New York City at the age of 62. According to an article on Rolling Stone magazine online, the renowned artist had recently taken ill after returning from a tour in Europe and had checked himself into St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in Manhattan, where he eventually passed. While a particular cause...

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California Dreamin' or Top Ten lessons learned from a weekend on the West Coast

One week ago today, as my plane touched down in Hartford, Conn., I felt exhausted. Taking a redeye flight out of Los Angeles International Airport at 11:30 p.m. was partially to blame for my tiredness, and so too was a mid-trip emergency that required a nervous flight attendant to wake the entire cabin in order to inquire if anyone with medical knowledge was on board. Though I wasn’t the one in need of attention at the time, the...

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Kurt Vile aims for musical heaven on new album Smoke Ring For My Halo

Kurt Vile Smoke Ring For My Halo (Matador) Having started out in his career using many of the same lo-fi tactics that helped produce indie darlings like – Sebadoh, Daniel Johnston, and Elliot Smith – Philadelphia native Kurt Vile hopes to finally reach a larger audience with his latest release Smoke Ring For My Halo. “I’ve always had at least some amount of support ever since I put out stuff that started in the...

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Hip-hop artist Nate Dogg passes away at 41

Just one week after the death of original Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr, the music world has lost another pivotal figure. According to a recent article in Crawdaddy Magazine, Long Beach singer and hip-hop artist Nathaniel Dwayne Hale (aka Nate Dogg) passed away Tuesday at the age of 41. First coming to fame with a guest appearance on rapper/ producer Dr. Dre’s seminal 1992 album “The Chronic,” Hale made a career...

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Adult Swim pranksters Heidecker and Wood revisit the past on debut release

Heidecker and Wood Starting From Nowhere (Little Record Company) Opening with a smattering of applause from a supposed live concert, the debut record by Tim Heidecker and Davin Wood (co-workers on “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!”) wastes little time in introducing listeners to its album-length joke in progress. So, what’s so funny? The answer is a consistently spot-on parody of such ‘70s soft rock acts...

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Rollins at 50: Still Henry after all these years

From his early beginnings as one of hardcore music’s most intense vocalists to his current role as a documentary filmmaker, actor, world traveler and spoken word performer, Henry Rollins has carved a lifetime out of doing and saying things that others only dream about. And even though the former Black Flag frontman just turned 50, he’s not letting old age slow him down either. Instead, Rollins is taking his lifetime of...

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Music news in review: rap rules Bonnaroo, 'Big Man' suffers stroke, and more

What a week. From continued tornado relief efforts and comedy’s triumph at the Tony Awards (see photo), all the way to Lebron James’ ignominious defeat at the hands of Dirk Nowitzki and the rest of the Dallas Mavericks, the past seven days have been a mix of resiliency and triumph. So in the spirit of the moment, here’s a quick recap of some stories you may have missed: First, hearty congratulations to Trey Parker...

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Eddie Vedder announces release of new solo album, plans tour

Fresh on the heels of the news surrounding the deluxe reissues of Pearl Jam’s seminal ‘90s albums “Vs.” and “Vitalogy,” grunge icon and frontman Eddie Vedder is giving music fans another reason to rejoice this spring. According to a recent post on Pearl Jam’s official website, Vedder plans to release his second solo album “Ukulele Songs” through Pearl Jam’s very own...

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Rock veteran Garland Jeffreys comes to the Iron Horse for rare Pioneer Valley show

From the start of his career in the 1960s, where he played many of the same folk venues that gave rise to a young Bob Dylan, all the way to the recent release of his new album The King of In Between one point about singer and songwriter Garland Jeffreys has remained constant. With tracks like “Hail Hail Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “The Answer,” and “Don’t Call Me Buckwheat” already to his...

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Sebadoh's Lou Barlow discusses return to Pioneer Valley for Pearl Street show

Mere minutes before my recent conversation with Dinosaur Jr bassist and Sebadoh founder Lou Barlow (see photo, second from left), I briefly pondered breaking one of the cardinal rules of journalism: Be professional. Though our interview took place the day after St. Patrick’s Day, I wasn’t hungover like so many other Americans no doubt were, and I somehow thought a single beer just might do the trick to settle the nerves I...

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Garland Jeffreys' concert brings rock 'n' roll back to the Paradise City

Mere minutes into his first encore Saturday night famed singer and songwriter Garland Jeffreys turned the clock at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Mass. backwards to the 1960s. By segueing briefly from his impassioned rendition of the ? and the Mysterians hit “96 Tears,” Jeffreys resurrected yet another classic from a bygone era by seamlessly leading his band through the opening lines of the seminal Velvet...

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Sharon Van Etten brings 'epic' sound to Paradise City

The world of indie music has always been a second home of sorts to confessional singer/ songwriter types. Artists like Bon Iver, Cat Power, and Liz Phair all got their start on the indie scene. And, the simple do-it-yourself atmosphere has encouraged countless others to join their ranks. One such newcomer is Sharon Van Etten. On her sophomore record and first widely distributed release, “epic,” the Brooklyn-based Van Etten...

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Some things never change: Dinosaur Jr. and others bring stomp and roar to Whole Childen benefit concert

This wasn’t your parents’ charity show. Eschewing any “We are the world” or Bob Geldof-penned Live Aid platitudes, the Calvin Theatre in Northampton, Mass. more closely resembled a gathering of indie all-stars Tuesday night as the lineup for the Whole Children benefit concert took the stage not only to support a worthy cause, but also to play a variety of music guaranteed to keep the gathered crowd rocking late...

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Concert review: Sharon Van Etten at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Mass.

After an enjoyable sun-filled day in Western Massachusetts, the air outside the Iron Horse Music Hall Friday night felt crisp. However, the chill felt by those huddling outside on the sidewalk wasn’t just the fault of the change in temperature. Amidst talk of politics, schoolwork and even the benefits of mint-flavored toothpicks, there was a palpable sense of excitement shared by the lucky concert-goers who anxiously awaited the...

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Smells like a comeback: Nirvana celebrating Nevermind anniversary in style

Fresh on the heels of news that the documentary 1991: The Year Punk Broke will see a long-awaited debut on DVD this fall, Nirvana fans have an additional reason to be excited as the band plans another special release to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their influential album Nevermind. According to Rolling Stone magazine, the album hailed by critics as “the voice of an angry, loud, and rebellious generation” will be...

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Stephen Kellogg launches solo tour with Pioneer Valley show

Former Western Massachusetts native Stephen Kellogg (of roots rockers Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers fame, see photo at right)) launches his first-ever solo headlining tour tonight at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Mass. Don’t miss it! Also, check back soon for an exclusive interview with Kellogg and a review of his performance. Stephen Kellogg with Tift Merritt, April 20, 7 p.m., $22-25, Iron Horse Music Hall, 20...

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Don't use me like that: Tom Petty goes after Michelle Bachmann for unapproved song use

Well, so much for running down this particular dream. Adding yet another chapter to the history of disputes between musicians and politicians, Rolling Stone magazine has confirmed reports that Minnesota congresswoman and 2012 presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann has recently gotten on the wrong side of none other than outspoken artist and classic rocker Tom Petty. After walking out on stage to the music from Petty’s popular...

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Stephen Kellogg interview part one

As promised, here is part one of my recent interview with roots rocker Stephen Kellogg (see picture, middle) as he checked in with the Northeast Underground on the eve of his first-ever solo headlining tour. Underground: So, what have you been up to lately? I know the last time you were in town we caught up via e-mail, but I understand you recently got back from playing down at SXSW. Kellogg: Yep, I did that. And I took the redeye in...

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Keith Wood and Hush Arbors: a secret it's hard to keep quiet about

One of the many highlights of the Whole Children benefit concert held at the Calvin Theatre on June 21 was the appearance of area resident and Sonic Youth co-founder Thurston Moore. Performing with his band Demolished Thoughts (titled after his recent solo album of the same name), Moore treated those in attendance to a festive set full of psychedelic folk jams, which frequently featured thrilling crescendos and heroic displays of...

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Stephen Kellogg interview part two

Now for the second and final part of my interview with former Northampton, Mass. native and musician Stephen Kellogg (see picture, middle): Underground: What are some bands and artists you are into right now? Kellogg: Well, here’s the deal. This is going to be as unpopular an answer as when I usually tell people who my influences are and I have to cite some of the ‘80s metal hair bands, who definitely did have an impact on...

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Hail to the chief! Noel Gallagher finally announces solo album plans

Nearly two years after his departure from Britpop kings Oasis, Noel Gallagher (see photo, right) has finally confirmed the details surrounding his long-awaited solo album plans. And in a unique twist, it turns out that it won’t be just one record that he’ll be promoting. During a press conference held in London Wednesday, Gallagher said that he will release his first-ever solo record Noel Gallagher’s High Flying...

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Raveonettes bring 'love and death' to show at Pearl Street Nightclub

Upon taking the stage at the Pearl Street Nightclub two weeks ago clad in a black t-shirt emblazoned with the logo of the film “Back to the Future,” musician Sune Rose Wagner no doubt felt the irony that those simple words represented. As guitarist, songwriter and vocalist for the Danish noise pop duo the Raveonettes, Wagner together with bandmate Sharin Foo has made a steady living in recent years by reviving sounds from...

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40 years on Jim Morrison and The Doors: still dark, still strange, and still hot

As any longtime music fan might observe, there are a certain number of artists a person encounters in their life that they return to repeatedly, like some sort of weird psychic center. For example, the Beatles are one of the bands on this writer’s personal list. So too is the mighty Nirvana, and the psychedelic pioneers of Pink Floyd. The Clash, Oasis, Led Zeppelin – I could go on and on. However, the group resounding most...

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You decide: Foo Fighters vs. King Missile

While driving to work the other day, I was suddenly taken aback to hear the strains of a song I hadn’t heard in years emanating from my car radio. ‘Wow, they’re actually playing this,’ I thought. ‘I would’ve never expected…’ Then, just as quickly as the wave of nostalgia had hit me, the feeling was gone. I was listening to a different song. Causing my confusion was the track...

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US women reach World Cup final and Weezer go nautical

Every once in a while a sports moment comes along that unifies the public consciousness through a display of heartfelt emotion and patriotic pride. For example, there was the “Miracle on Ice” with the U.S. Men’s Ice Hockey team triumphing over the Soviet Union in 1980. There was the exploits of the “Dream Team” in ’92, which took the reputation of American basketball to new heights. And now, after...

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Cass McCombs invades Iron Horse Music Hall for journey to Wit's End

Cass McCombs Wit’s End (Domino) While flipping through the liner notes of the latest release by singer and songwriter Cass McCombs, one immediately notices two things. First, the album’s lyrics are printed twice – once in English and again in German. Since McCombs himself was born in California and his surname is of Scottish descent, the reason behind this dual listing is unknown. Secondly, throughout the booklet...

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Alison Krauss and Union Station tour for Paper Airplane glides into Mountain Park

In honor of Alison Krauss and Union Station’s upcoming appearance at the Mountain Park Amphitheater in Holyoke on Sunday, the Underground proudly presents a list consisting of our top five favorite tracks that feature the critically acclaimed bluegrass artist. Though not every song features the members of Union Station, their presence has definitely been an important part of Krauss’ career. Or according to an interview in...

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British songstress Amy Winehouse found dead at age 27

According to U.K. news source the Guardian, the critically-acclaimed soul singer Amy Winehouse was found dead Saturday morning in her London flat. Officials currently list the reason for her death as “unknown,” but the news comes just over a month after Winehouse was booed off the stage during a concert in Serbia and only a few short years after she battled serious health problems. Though most popularly known for the...

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Alison Krauss and Union Station help fans 'beat the heat' at Mountain Park

Sunday was the day the “heat dome” officially broke over the Northeastern U.S. And what better way could there have been to celebrate than to finally venture out from the safety of central air conditioning in order to catch a show at Holyoke’s Mountain Park Amphitheater. Fortunately, this past weekend saw the start of the summer season at the venue, and after an opening night premiere featuring alternative country...

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Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon pitches in to help the Dropkick Murphys support a good cause

Note to self: when choosing people to hurl tomatoes at you while you’re on stage singing karaoke, be VERY careful who you allow on the firing line. Otherwise you might end up like Dropkick Murphys’ bassist Ken Casey, who during a recent charity event put on to benefit the Claddagh Fund,was put on his back thanks to a tomato fired from the hand of Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon (see photo). The fearsome pitcher was...

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Rise of an animal planet: indie rockers Grass Widow play concert for apes at Boston zoo

Science-fiction fans rejoice! After 43 years and despite a critically-maligned 2001 Tim Burton remake starring Mark Wahlberg, the Planet of the Apes franchise gets a long-awaited reboot on Friday. In the new film Rise of the Planet of the Apes, starring James “long live Freaks and Geeks!” Franco, the story focuses on the exploits of a chimpanzee named Caesar, who begins a simian-led revolution after being exposed to...

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