Hannah & Maggie on the Advocate Sessions Stage
Apr28

Hannah & Maggie on the Advocate Sessions Stage

Bright-eyed and bolstered by a rapidly growing fan base, the award winning NYC duo has set out to make the world of singer-songwriters a more cheerful place. Although they’ve been favorably compared to Simon & Garfunkel and The Indigo Girls, these ladies have an undeniable originality and a sound all their own. Their efforts to blend the folk music they were raised on with a modern-day melodic energy prove successful time and...

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Just a Taste (VIDEO): Hannah and Maggie, folk pop duo, to be featured on Sessions Friday
Apr26

Just a Taste (VIDEO): Hannah and Maggie, folk pop duo, to be featured on Sessions Friday

Nice photo ^^ Nice video vvCan’t wait for more Sessions? Head over to the Sessions page and listen to more of the best local bands you might not have heard of – and a couple you probably...

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Garage Pop Band Hammydown to be Featured on Sessions this Friday
Apr19

Garage Pop Band Hammydown to be Featured on Sessions this Friday

Who is Hammydown?To see more come back Friday afternoon when we’ll post the full 20 minute concert and interview with Hammydown. Want more Sessions? Check out past performances from bands that include Mammal Dap, The Suitcase Junket, Mikey Sweet, Ray Mason, The Eavesdrop Trio, and Fancy Trash at...

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Valley Show Girl: Gimme, Gimme Noise Pollution, experimental night at The Root Cellar in Greenfield
Apr17

Valley Show Girl: Gimme, Gimme Noise Pollution, experimental night at The Root Cellar in Greenfield

After a full day of sitting inside a dankly weed-scented office — we did a photo shoot of some nuggets for this 4/20 issue — my first thought walking into The Root Cellar in Greenfield for an experimental show is “damn this place smells good” … and familiar. I’m fashionably late and, regrettably, miss the first set by Fully Glazed (Richie Records, Members of Watery Love). After ordering a well-deserved beer, I sit at the wooden...

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Rick Murnane Live on the Sessions Stage
Apr13

Rick Murnane Live on the Sessions Stage

Rick Murnane is a Northampton-based singer-songwriter who has played with more area bands than you can shake a drumstick at, but his guitar skills are equally impressive when he plays his powerful and tender songs solo. Whether you’re listening to “Last Friday,” Murnane’s monthly songwriting series or during his regular live gigs up and down the Valley, Murnane will enthrall. Here’s a tease for...

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Basemental: From Northampton to Nashville
Apr10

Basemental: From Northampton to Nashville

On the road with The Sun ParadeFrom the streets of Nashville I called Lynne Bertrand, who manages the Northampton band The Sun Parade. There was a problem.I had stopped by the venue earlier and noticed the sign outside said they were going first. This wasn’t going to fly, because the people the band had driven from Northampton to play for — an A&R rep and the president of New West, a Nashville based record label who is interested in...

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Calling All New Bands!
Apr10

Calling All New Bands!

We’re still a few months out from July’s annual Green River Festival in Greenfield, but we’re right on time to share a special early announcement from producers Signature Sounds. This year, the festival will add a new stage called the Next Wave Stage, which will host a youth band contest to showcase five of the most promising up-and-coming young Western New England music groups. The Next Wave Stage is open to musical acts from Western...

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Spring Arts Preview: Top Valley Events (April-June 2017)
Apr03

Spring Arts Preview: Top Valley Events (April-June 2017)

Tweet Puppets for the PeopleFrom its founding in New York’s Lower East Side in 1963 to its decades-long residence in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, Bread & Puppet Theater remains one of the country’s most inventive and internationally recognized performing arts troupes. The company’s instantly familiar style of street theater shows — which mix music and dance with drama, puppetry, satire, and slapstick — are always a spectacle and,...

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Valley Show Girl: Thao Nguyen Goes Solo at Gateway City Arts
Apr03

Valley Show Girl: Thao Nguyen Goes Solo at Gateway City Arts

A Woman AliveAs I walked into Gateway City Arts in Holyoke for the first time, I came to a dead stop to admire the factory-style architecture. The ceilings are very high, with a huge industrial ceiling fan staring down. The large stage was lit up awaiting performers, with just a few dozen people starting to gather in the metal folding chairs.I made my way to the bar at the back of the venue to check out the list of appetizer specials...

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On Stage: Where War Meets Food and Music
Apr03

On Stage: Where War Meets Food and Music

War and MusicPlaywright Quiara Alegría Hudes has jumped onto our cultural radar many times over the years — she received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play Water by the Spoonful, and she wrote the book for the musical In The Heights alongside future Hamilton star Lin-Manual Miranda — but we get to delve into a somewhat quieter (but no less powerful) part of her repertoire this month with the UMass production of her...

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Album Release Party: Children of the Wild’s Traveling Rock Opera
Apr03

Album Release Party: Children of the Wild’s Traveling Rock Opera

The Tribe That QuestsIn recent years, ensemble theater group Children of the Wild has managed something nifty: the full integration of the musical band dynamic into their touring acts. Music and theater fused completely in the show The Wastelands, an original experimental folk opera inspired by Dante’s Purgatorio that toured the Great Lakes region from June to October 2016, taking over real-world settings like abandoned factories and...

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Saturday Live: Terence Blanchard and the E-Collective
Apr03

Saturday Live: Terence Blanchard and the E-Collective

One of the GreatsNew Orleans native Terence Blanchard has become one of America’s most respected jazz musicians, working as a trumpeter, bandleader, composer, arranger, and film score composer. He was an integral figure in the 1980s jazz resurgence, and his trumpet can be heard on nearly 50 film scores. But he’s pushing boundaries with his new quintet, The E-Collective — a project that fuses funk, R&B, dance, and blues. The group’s...

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New Thursday Series: Award-Winning Documentaries at Next Stage
Mar27

New Thursday Series: Award-Winning Documentaries at Next Stage

The World in FrameSince opening its historic church doors in 2011, Next Stage Arts Project has been working to bring world-class events into the small town of Putney, Vermont (just north of Brattleboro). Never has that mission been more clear than with the group’s newest project: a curated screening series for feature-length documentary films called [framed], each one presented by the filmmaker, who will be present at each screening...

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Saturday: Talk by Punk Photographer Cynthia Connolly
Mar27

Saturday: Talk by Punk Photographer Cynthia Connolly

Smile! (Or Don’t)Artist, photographer, and punk for the ages Cynthia Connolly made a name for herself in one fell swoop when she published Banned in DC: Photos and Anecdotes from the D.C. Punk Underground (79-85). That scrappy yearbook-style achievement snuck into stores in 1988 with a first print run of 2,000 copies, and stayed in print through 2005. Ten years later, it came back into print, so the moment is perfect to catch up with...

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VIDEO Teaser: The Greys play Advocate Sessions
Mar29

VIDEO Teaser: The Greys play Advocate Sessions

Jazz-inspired indie duo on vocals and bassWhen Cait Simpson sings and Chris Merritt plucks his upright bass, something simple and enchanting happens. The friends just released their first EP, The Landing, available on iTunes and Spotify.Catch the full video this Friday on Advocate Sessions, and browse full-set videos of your favorite local musical acts! Click to visit:...

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Basemental: Umbral Made Real
Mar27

Basemental: Umbral Made Real

How a fictional psychdrone collective from Berlin took form in GreenfieldIn 2015, a real writer and real College of the Atlantic professor named Daniel Mahoney published a real book called Sunblind Almost Motorcrash. In it, he wrote fictional reviews of imaginary bands. The purpose of the project, he said, was to “investigate the distance between sound and how we use language to describe sound,” which is the crux of this racket we...

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Music Spotlight: Jason Vieaux Plays UMass Amherst
Mar27

Music Spotlight: Jason Vieaux Plays UMass Amherst

Guitar Around the WorldTo hear NPR tell it, musician Jason Vieaux is “perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation.” Vieaux’s album Play won the 2015 Grammy award for best classical instrumental solo, and he has played in hundreds of orchestras and music festivals in Asia, Australia, Europe, and Mexico. He plays a solo concert at UMass on Tuesday that is sure to speak to his remarkably expressive range —...

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David Teie’s Music for Cats (reviewed by an Advo-cat)
Mar27

David Teie’s Music for Cats (reviewed by an Advo-cat)

More often than not, the hustle and bustle around me is white noise. Throughout the day I hear a cacophonous array of sounds from outside: cars, dogs, the wind, the mailman, humans in general, and even other cats. I stare out the window for most hours of the day, my curiosity nearly killing me at times.But recently, I found something sweet to the ears — an inspirational body of work that revitalized and changed my opinion on humans...

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Like Guthrie Meets MacGyver: The Suitcase Junket Rocks Out
Mar20

Like Guthrie Meets MacGyver: The Suitcase Junket Rocks Out

One-man band plays blues, rock, and folk on improvised instrumentsSome of us spend our days sitting at computers in nondescript rooms. In the new, handmade music video for his love song “Beta Star,” Matt Lorenz gives that a shot. He wakes up in the morning, washes his face, twizzles his long mustache into shape, puts on a tie, grabs a coffee, and sits down to type. It doesn’t go well. In his mind, he’s wearing a tutu and romping...

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Music Review: “15 Sunrise” by Calico Blue
Mar20

Music Review: “15 Sunrise” by Calico Blue

Amherst-based psychedelic dream-pop and surf-blues infused band Calico Blue released its second album early this month, 15 Sunrise, which presents songs that could be best described as meditations on life. They confront the ghosts that live in the corridors of the mind: regret, heartbreak, and solitude. But in the darkness of the lyrics there is hidden light, which builds to bring about a dawning, as the title suggests.Vocalist Sarah...

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Saturday: Nasty Women Take the Stage
Mar20

Saturday: Nasty Women Take the Stage

Nasty JazzThe Ladies of Jazz music series is dedicating its Saturday, March 25, concert to all the “nasty” (aka “strong”) women fighting for female and reproductive rights. And all proceeds are going to benefit Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in Brattleboro. Organized by the Valley’s First Lady of Jazz (FLo-J?), Samirah Evans, the show will feature women musicians performing jazz and rock classics written by women. There...

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DIO Comes to Town
Mar20

DIO Comes to Town

DIO know DIO is coming to town?Jump on your tiger, Holy Diver, because DIO is coming to town. Last in Line, a DIO cover band that includes members of the original DIO, is playing the Waterfront Tavern in Holyoke on Wednesday, March 29. The group will play some classic DIO as well as new tunes the band has written since forming in 2011. DIO bandmates Vivian Campbell and Vinny Appice and vocalist Andrew Freeman along with Phil Soussan...

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Dance VIP Raja Feather Kelly Comes to Town
Mar13

Dance VIP Raja Feather Kelly Comes to Town

Team Raja“With spidery limbs and a sprawling imagination,” writes Dance Magazine, “Brooklyn-based Raja Feather Kelly brings a vivid boundlessness to all he does. Whether dancing for the likes of Reggie Wilson or cooking up his own darkly entertaining dance-theater productions, he seems insatiably curious.”Last spring, this restless life led the 29-year-old choreographer and dancer to create Andy Warhol’s Tropico, an archetypal...

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Live Thursday: Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Mar13

Live Thursday: Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Stay Classy, South AfricaFor over 50 years, South Africa’s male a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo has warmed the hearts of audiences worldwide with their uplifting vocal harmonies, signature dance moves, and charming onstage banter. With a deep respect for both their cultural and personal history, Ladysmith Black Mambazo is ever-evolving with an eye toward their long musical legacy. Over the years, the original members...

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Basemental: Hammydown and the Myth of the Millenial Slacker
Mar13

Basemental: Hammydown and the Myth of the Millenial Slacker

Pavement certainly planted some type of “slacker” flag in the 90s. Whether or not they were the original “slackers” — they weren’t — is irrelevant, but that label has often evoked that band. Today the same label, certainly a compelling angle for write-ups, is attached to acts like Melbourne, Australia’s Courtney Barnett, Boston’s Palehound, and now Northampton’s Hammydown because they make music that references “slacker rock.” But...

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Cold Fingers at the Iron Horse: Vanessa Carlton Calls for Boycott of Northampton Venue
Mar13

Cold Fingers at the Iron Horse: Vanessa Carlton Calls for Boycott of Northampton Venue

Vanessa Carlton may be best known for playing piano on the back of a truck while singing her hit song “A Thousand Miles,” but that doesn’t mean she’ll play just anywhere. The artist has standards — and they’re apparently higher than at least what one Northampton venue offered.Carlton was quick to voice what those standards were during her performance last week at the Iron Horse in Northampton, tweeting out her grievances with the...

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Sweet! The SYRUP Festival Returns This Weekend
Mar13

Sweet! The SYRUP Festival Returns This Weekend

With the SYRUP Festival, Piti Theatre Company in Shelburne Falls has hit on a tradition that most of us would never have realized we were missing: all-ages live performance, featuring world-class artists, mixed with handcrafted food and sweets from local artisans. Now in its eighth year, SYRUP comes back around this weekend. On Saturday, Jonathan Mirin performs the new solo physical comedy piece Sammy and the Grand Buffet at 2 p.m. An...

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Thursday to Sunday: The Back Porch Festival Returns
Mar06

Thursday to Sunday: The Back Porch Festival Returns

A Porch to be Reckoned WithMost Valley radio listeners have spent at least a little time on Jim Olsen’s back porch. For years the president of Northampton-based record label Signature Sounds has hosted a Sunday morning radio program on 93.9 The River that focuses on songs new and old by American roots artists. Inspired by that show, for the past couple of years Signature Sounds has put on The Back Porch Festival, curated to present...

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Valley Show Girl: Krewe Les Gras at Theodore’s
Mar06

Valley Show Girl: Krewe Les Gras at Theodore’s

I consider myself a musical schizophrenic. I can get into just about any genre you put in front of me — especially if it’s live. I may not be a musician, but music has been a passionate subject for me for as long as I can remember. One of the first local shows I went to when I was about 18 or so, was Hypnotic Kick and All That Remains at the Fat Cat Bar and Grill in Springfield. I soon became a regular at their hardcore nights on...

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The Head and the Heart Plays Northampton
Feb27

The Head and the Heart Plays Northampton

Signs of LightSeattle indie folk band The Head and the Heart formed in 2009, and their third album Signs of Light, released this past fall, captures a radio-friendly pop rhythm that Rolling Stone described as “cozy and stylish at the same time.”That album was hard-won. In 2014, exhausted from four years of touring, the six band members parted ways for a while and scattered across the world to pursue individual projects, camp,...

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Basemental: So You Want to be a Music Writer?
Feb27

Basemental: So You Want to be a Music Writer?

Pioneer Valley Underground brings new voices to DIY coverageBack in 1999, thousands descended into downtown Seattle for protests against the World Trade Organization, dubbed “The Battle of Seattle.” Not only did protesters successfully get a frank discussion about globalization into the news, but they also left a legacy that many don’t remember: Indymedia, the first national network of citizens who used the internet to tell their own...

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In Concert: Weird Love Noise
Feb20

In Concert: Weird Love Noise

Spending Valentine’s Day with Thurston Moore and friendsA distant droning noise fills the cold air as I get out of my car in a very full parking lot at the 13th Floor Music Lounge in Florence. I walk up the steps to the entrance of the club above JJ’s Tavern, and the distortion beyond the walls gets louder. I’m greeted by manager and promoter John Gulow with a smile. I open the doors, and am immediately hit with an intense...

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Tonight at Click Workspace: A new music series
Feb20

Tonight at Click Workspace: A new music series

The Katz and the FiddleClick Workspace, downtown Northampton’s coworking HQ, drew a big enough crowd at a January concert to warrant a brand-new live music series. This month’s concert at Click features accomplished local stringster Zoë Darrow on fiddle and Stephen Katz on cello. Darrow, who grew up playing Cape Breton and other Celtic music on a sheep farm in Blandford, released her first album at the age of 12. Katz, an...

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WMass Metal: The Valley’s Diverse Scene Rises AGAIN
Feb20

WMass Metal: The Valley’s Diverse Scene Rises AGAIN

Wesley Jillson has been a part of the local metal music scene since the ’80s. He saw Western Mass area metal rise to national prominence in the ’90s, then fade away by 2010.At the fifth annual Promoterhead show at the 13th Floor Music Lounge in Florence in early February, Jillson was standing at the highboy tables, talking with friends he’s met at metal shows and drinking a cocktail while Disguise the Curse was on stage. The scene has...

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Jack Simons’ Musical Anxiety Cleanse
Feb20

Jack Simons’ Musical Anxiety Cleanse

The new album Malbec and Gingerale serves twists, turns, and a brainy fizzJack Simons hasn’t just put out a new record. He’s concocted a psychedelic spritzer. Bright bubble-fizz for the brain.It’s an eight-song album called Malbec and Gingerale, twisty-turny pop music that’s playful in both words and sounds. Fans of Todd Rundgren, XTC, and Frank Zappa should definitely clickety-clack their typing fingers over to the Hadley native’s...

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