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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

Beirut ready to pull fans under with new album The Rip Tide

Beirut The Rip Tide (Pompeii Records) Release date: August 30, 2011 The opportunity for Balkan folk music to make an impact on the indie scene does not come often. However, with the release of his debut album Gulag Orkestar in 2006, Zachary Condon the enigmatic young leader of the band Beirut accomplished just that. Now, with the release of his third full-length The Rip Tide, Condon and company seem poised to spread the joy of their...

Read More

Dennis Rodman brings musical connection to 2011 Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement

Dennis Rodman (see photo), the eccentric NBA rebounding great who once wrote a book entitled “Bad as I Wanna Be,” apparently found much pathos in the genre of grunge music over the course of his career, at least according to comments he made to the media during Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement week in Springfield, Mass. Thursday. In an article posted online via masslive.com Rodman said: “Every time I was at the...

Read More

Belgium's Pukkelpop festival is latest venue to suffer deadly stage collapse

In what seems to have become a horrifying trend, a concert stage at the Pukkelpop music festival in Belgium collapsed Thursday resulting in injuries to dozens of concertgoers and at least five confirmed deaths. According to the Associated Press, a storm featuring rain, high winds and hail swept through the festival grounds during the afternoon causing a stage where Chicago-based indie rock band the Smith and Westerns were performing...

Read More

Out now: Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks team up with Beck on new album Mirror Traffic

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks Mirror Traffic (Matador) Release date: August 23, 2011 When describing the critical-acclaim surrounding his latest release and first-time collaboration with fellow ‘90s fave Beck, Stephen Malkmus is nothing if not puzzled. “How come these people like us?” the former Pavement singer said in a recent New York Times interview. “It’s just because they’re used to us,”...

Read More

Tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes oh my!

While this blog normally focuses on music news and other entertainment ephemera, I would be remiss if I did not use today’s post to mention the recent natural disasters that have impacted not only Western Massachusetts, but also various portions of the northeastern United States. First off, last week’s earthquake in Virginia, which was responsible for slight tremors and many anxious faces in the Pioneer Valley, was a...

Read More

21st century breakdown? Green Day singer kicked off aircraft as part of fashion vs. flight debate

For many frequent flyers, the changes made to airport security since the terrorist attacks of 9/11 are no secret. From taking off your shoes during check-in, to packing your liquids in sandwich bags, and even all the way to the current implementation of x-ray machines that reveal partial nudity, certain sacrifices have been made to ensure that everyone who boards a plane can do so safely and securely. However, when do such measures go...

Read More

10 years gone: 9/11 remembered

Throughout US history there has been a small collection of events that have shaped the course of not only individual lives, but also our national psyche as a whole. The end of World War II, the Kennedy assassination, and the moon landing – these milestones and more all inspire the same question: where were you when…No matter the age and no matter the background we all remember. Tragically, the date of September 11, 2001...

Read More

Angelo Spencer goes global on new release World Garage

Angelo Spencer et les Hauts Sommets World Garage (K Records) Though summer is quickly coming to a close here in the northeast, the sophomore release by French-born musician Angelo Spencer is ready to play like a welcome soundtrack to the closing of the season. Why? Well, part of this belief no doubt stems from the record’s prominent international flavor. Consisting of tracks sung in English and French, World Garage resembles a...

Read More

Country singer Nikki Lane waves goodbye to the south on defiant Walk of Shame

Nikki Lane Walk of Shame (IAMSOUND Records) Release date: September 27, 2011 In recent years, the country music landscape has become harder to traverse than ever before. Increasingly a series of artists, with roots seemingly honed by the history of pop songcraft as opposed to the sawdust and cowboy boots approach the genre was spawned from, have made impressive inroads into what was once the most traditional of fields (I’m...

Read More

Music news in brief: R.E.M. break-up, “Nevermind” lives again, and Pearl Jam look back

Nostalgia? Must be a catchy disease lately. During the past week alone, a collection of musicians from years past have begun popping up in the news as various anniversaries and events have seemingly started to collide with one another in order to vie for fan’s attention. So let’s recap shall we? First off, after 31 years the band that defined ‘80s college rock and brought underground music to the masses years before...

Read More

Dark Dark Dark bring fall tour to the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton

Hitting the road one last time before disappearing into the studio for the winter, the musicians making up the sextet Dark Dark Dark are ready to bring their unique brand of chamber folk/ pop to their co-headlining stint at the Iron Horse Music Hall on Saturday. Sharing the stage with fellow Eastern European folk fans A Hawk and a Hacksaw, the band led by frontwoman Nona Marie Ivie and fellow songwriter Marshall LaCount are still...

Read More

Fleet Foxes close impressive 2011 season at Mountain Park

If ever there was a group of musicians destined to play at the renovated Mountain Park in Holyoke, Mass. the northwest’s own Fleet Foxes would have to be near the top of the list. Touring behind the release of their latest studio album “Helplessness Blues,” the Foxes led by lead vocalist and songwriter Robin Pecknold closed the 2011 summer season at the popular outdoor venue Sunday with an impressive nearly two hour...

Read More

Hank Williams Jr. song pulled from Monday Night Football over controversial comments

Are you ready for some…Mike Tirico? If the above statement confuses you, then you must not have watched ESPN’s broadcast of Monday Night Football this week. Instead of opening the popular sports program with video of country musician Hank Williams Jr. performing his anthem “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Monday Night,” which has served as the show’s unofficial introduction for 23 years, the network...

Read More

Apple founder Steve Jobs passes away at 56

Deviating once again from our typical musical fair, we at the Northeast Underground would like to take some time to note the passing of Apple founder and technological innovator Steve Jobs. According to a report on CNN.com, Jobs died Wednesday after years spent battling a variety of health problems and only a few short months after he stepped down from the position of chief executive officer at the company he helped create. He was 56....

Read More

Sweet on the inside: the Lemonheads to perform “It's A Shame About Ray” at the Pearl Street Nightclub in Northampton

Where were you in ’92? While most Americans were glued to their television sets watching the summer Olympics and the U.S. men’s basketball “Dream Team” racking up one lopsided victory after another, alternative rocker Evan Dando was on tour with his popular band the Lemonheads. The group was then touring behind what would eventually become their breakthrough album It’s A Shame About Ray, which was...

Read More

Evan Dando and the Lemonheads highlight uneven night at Pearl Street show

From his first appearance on stage wearing a worn hooded sweatshirt with the words “Grow Local” emblazoned on the back, all the way to his final mumbled thank you at the end of the night, Evan Dando leader of ‘90s alt-rockers the Lemonheads was the undisputed star of the Paradise City Saturday. Though reports from earlier in the week had many wondering if the former poster-boy of alternative music had lost his way,...

Read More

'No socially redeeming value whatsoever.' Comedian Jeff Dunham and his “Controlled Chaos” tour landing in Amherst

America’s favorite ventriloquist is on the road again. And this time he’s bringing the voices in his head to the Pioneer Valley. Jeff Dunham the star of such Comedy Central specials as “Spark of Insanity”, “Arguing with Myself” and his newest work “Controlled Chaos,” is bringing his uproarious stand-up act to the Mullins Center in Amherst, Mass. Thursday. And as always, he’s not...

Read More

Jeff Dunham and company bring big laughs to the Mullins Center in Amherst

Though the thousands of his fans in attendance didn’t quite fill the venue to capacity, comedian/ ventriloquist Jeff Dunham ably brought the laughs to every corner of the Mullins Center in Amherst, Mass. Thursday. In fact, the crowd’s enthusiasm for the renowned stand-up act was easily observed even before Dunham himself took the stage for his over two hour show. How you ask? Well prior to his turn in the spotlight,...

Read More

Music news in brief: Sonic Youth split, Stone Roses reunite, and LMFAO get sexy

First off, it’s official. The ‘90s are truly over. After 27 years of marriage, Northampton natives Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore the first couple of alternative rock icons Sonic Youth have decided to go their separate ways. According to a report by Rolling Stone magazine, the couple released a statement on October 14 that said in part, “Musicians Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore, married in 1984, are announcing they...

Read More

Lou Reed and Metallica join forces for “Lulu” album

Lou Reed and Metallica Lulu (Warner Bros.) Released worldwide: October 31, 2011 North America: November 1, 2011 Just in time for the most frightening of holidays, comes the by-product of perhaps one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most bone-chilling collaborations of all time. No I’m not talking about Michael Bolton and Bob Dylan. I’m talking about Lou Reed and Metallica. As promised last month, we at the Underground...

Read More

Keep the change: Detroit Lions' fans protest Nickelback Thanksgiving appearance

Well, Mother Nature decided to deal Western Massachusetts another blow Saturday. While forgoing previous disasters like tornados, earthquakes and tropical storms, fall weather in the area turned frigid and snow fell in abundance. Plus, with their limbs still covered in multi-colored foliage tree branches across the valley, burdened by the added weight of precipitation, started falling, many of them onto power lines. Yet, rather than...

Read More

The Vines' “Future Primitive” strains to resurrect past glories

The Vines Future Primitive (Sony Australia) Alright, in the interest of full disclosure, I would be remiss if I did not first admit the fact that I am a big fan of the Vines. Upon the release of the band’s debut album Highly Evolved in 2002, I immediately found much to appreciate in the members’ unique mixing of punk rock riffage and harmonious psychedelic exploration. Even their overhyped billing as a group that sounds...

Read More

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds landing at Boston's Wang Theater

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (Sour Mash/ Mercury) Forget about flying south for the winter. Instead, Noel Gallagher former Oasis linchpin and lead songwriter is bringing his act stateside with an appearance at Boston’s Wang Theater on Saturday. Touring behind the release of his debut solo album Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Gallagher will be performing his...

Read More

Noel Gallagher wows Boston crowd with strong Wang Theater show

Even hours before his performance, one didn’t need a detective to deduce that former Oasis songwriter Noel Gallagher was the undisputed king of Boston, Mass. Saturday. Though scheduled to play a concert at the Wang Theater, Gallagher’s name was being spoken in pockets all over the city long before he ever played a note. And for evidence, nowhere was this observation more clearly made then at venerable downtown nightspot/...

Read More

'Clown suit and sock puppets,' Art Alexakis of Everclear brings his less-serious side to the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton

Back in the mid-to late‘90s, alternative rock gems like “Santa Monica,” “Father of Mine,” and “Wonderful” were almost inescapable forces on radio stations across the U.S. Merging the last fading strains of grunge with ‘70s hard rock and pop, the songs became hits and brought Everclear the band responsible for such tracks widespread popularity and acclaim. Now in 2011, the leader of...

Read More

Art Alexakis wants to eat your baby, plus other observations from the singer's stop in the Paradise City

Many lessons come with maturity. Some people learn to appreciate the small things. Others learn that control isn’t everything, and that much of life is determined by pure chance. And then there are those who fantasize about infant cannibalism. Though popularly known as the lead singer and songwriter of alternative rock favorites Everclear, Art Alexakis is one who falls into the latter category. He also apparently has stopped...

Read More

The Blue Jean Committee brings Paradise City vibe to SNL

Well isn’t life just sometimes like a nice kick in the face? Though freshly back from a well-needed Thanksgiving vacation in Texas, the Northeast Underground may have to curtail any and all future travel plans for the time being. Yes Virginia, spark plugs can eject themselves from your car engine while you’re driving on the highway. The little buggers make a hell of a racket when they do so too. But I digress… As...

Read More

Herman Cain cites Pokemon song during end of 2012 presidential bid

Throughout history politicians and other public figures have often used dramatic quotes to enrich their messages to the world at large. Whether it has been John F. Kennedy citing Dante or Abraham Lincoln openly reciting Shakespeare, many famous lines have been used to reiterate feelings from the past in more modern terms. And now in 2011, prospective Republican nominee for president Herman Cain has done his part to keep this venerable...

Read More

Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers conjure “Gift Horse” of a different color

Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers Gift Horse (Vanguard) Some of the greatest moments in music history have been the product of tragedy. Australian rockers AC/DC recorded their seminal album Back in Black after the death of original lead singer Bon Scott in 1980. “Tears in Heaven” the centerpiece of Eric Clapton’s 1992 MTV Unplugged set was written after the accidental death of the guitarist’s 4-year-old son Conor...

Read More

Grammy winners Lady Antebellum coming to Amherst

First bursting on to the scene in 2007, country music stars Lady Antebellum make a stop in the Pioneer Valley Thursday at the Mullins Center in Amherst. Touring behind the release of their third album Own the Night, which topped the Billboard 200 chart during the week of its September debut, the group is still riding high on its run of good luck from the 2010 Grammy ceremony in February, where they won five awards including the...

Read More

Lady Antebellum 'own the night' during Mullins Center appearance

Traffic, usually the bane of inhabitants in more urban areas, was almost the story of the night Thursday in Amherst. With delays lengthening the trip from I-91 to the Mullins Center almost to a full hour, much could be written about the often stop-and-go conditions on Route 9 and beyond. However once safely inside the venue, most worries were checked at the door as Grammy winning country stars Lady Antebellum took the stage before an...

Read More