Q&A: Murder By Death Coming to Holyoke
Apr23

Q&A: Murder By Death Coming to Holyoke

Louisville, Kentucky’s Murder By Death are bringing their indie Americana rock to us here in Western Mass, and I’m super stoked! Their sound is strong and hearty, dark and transformative. There are hints of Nick Cave, Johnny Cash and Modest Mouse if you needed me to paint a picture of their sound. They’re on tour in support of their 8th studio album, The Other Shore, which is a beautiful, dark tale added to their repertoire. On...

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Jennifer Stuart on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Apr19

Jennifer Stuart on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

This week’s Valley Advocate Sessions performer is Jennifer Stuart who play talking folk music about love, life, and poetry. Interview with Jennifer...

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The Human Tragedy of ‘Lost Girls’
Apr18

The Human Tragedy of ‘Lost Girls’

The artwork of Zitong (Ann) Xu blends myth, magic, and the fantastical together to tell human stories about sorrow for “Lost Girls” at the Barnes Gallery at Leverett Crafts & Arts through the month of April. With lifelike haunting faces of women combined with imagery out of an ancient Greek poem or the dark fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, Xu, a senior at Northfield Mount Hermon preparatory school in Gill, presents a series of...

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Valley Show Girl: The Valley’s Own Supergroup
Apr16

Valley Show Girl: The Valley’s Own Supergroup

A little bit country, a little bit psychedelic rock and a lot of heart and soul. Valley supergroup Opal Canyon debut their album Beauty and Loss this month. Valley veteran musicians Debra DeMuth, Dave Houghton, Ray Mason, Bob Hennessy, and Jason Smith joined forces to produce this new musical project. “Beauty and Loss” by Opal Canyon I was lucky enough to catch up with DeMuth for an interview. She talked about Opal Canyon,...

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Dave Dersham on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Apr12

Dave Dersham on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Dave Dersham is a wordsmith who performs ambient folk and Americana songs. Check out his music on this week’s Advocate Sessions video. Interview with Dave...

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Basemental: The Flywheel is an Idea Worth Celebrating
Apr12

Basemental: The Flywheel is an Idea Worth Celebrating

The Flywheel celebrates its 20th birthday this month. In 1999, the Flywheel launched in a former cabinet shop in Easthampton — hosting shows and rousing rabble. The thought that the all-volunteer collective show space would enter a second decade, let alone a third, wasn’t a thought that likely computed, as few DIY spaces last this long. But the fact that such a space has survived is a testament to the community that makes it happen —...

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Julian Sherwood on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Apr05

Julian Sherwood on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Julian Sherwood performs jazzy acoustic indie folk-rock with psychedelic riffs. Check out his music on this week’s Advocate Sessions video. Interview with Julian...

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Reading His Own CIA File‘Left, Gay & Green’ autobiography a coming-of-age story amid turbulence
Apr04

Reading His Own CIA File‘Left, Gay & Green’ autobiography a coming-of-age story amid turbulence

Born a red diaper baby in, of all places, Liberty, N.Y., and raised on a hardscrabble poultry farm owned by his American Communist parents, Royalston resident Allen Young’s life as it’s portrayed in his new autobiography, Left, Gay & Green: A Writer’s Life, has taken many paths and undergone personal transformations. But his core birthright leftist leanings have always followed him; hence, the “left” in the book’s title. I don’t...

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Valley Show Girl: Soulful Euphoria
Apr02

Valley Show Girl: Soulful Euphoria

Eu·pho·ri·a – noun; a feeling or state of intense excitement and happiness. Westfield’s soulful rock quartet, The Screaming Hearts, are in the process of uniquely releasing a collection of songs that will eventually be compiled into an album. Conducting, recording, and then releasing each song one-at-a-time is mainly due to the band’s low budget, but I think it’s an amazing idea to showcase each song as a stand-alone piece of...

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Q&A with Of Montreal frontman Kevin Barnes: Dealing With a Dismantled Reality
Apr01

Q&A with Of Montreal frontman Kevin Barnes: Dealing With a Dismantled Reality

For more than two decades Of Montreal frontman, songwriter, and singer Kevin Barnes, based in Athens, Georgia, has been a musical chameleon; starting out with psychedelic indie pop before moving on to a wide range of other genres such as synth-driven electronic pop music, funk rock, R&B, avant-garde experimental sound collages, indie folk, and dance pop. With nearly two dozen releases and 15 studio albums since the group’s 1997...

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Basemental: Some Armchair Philosophy on Making Music in 2019
Mar29

Basemental: Some Armchair Philosophy on Making Music in 2019

One of the more difficult things about making music is the shape and form of the modern music industry. There are so many reasons why talented bands might develop a loyal and dedicated niche audience and never break through to larger success. At this point in time it almost seems fair to blame algorithms playing tastemaker for this. The way people discover and listen to music has changed dramatically over the past decade, as...

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“Breathing In, Monotypes:” Abstract nature art in layers of ink
Mar29

“Breathing In, Monotypes:” Abstract nature art in layers of ink

At first glance, Doris Madsen’s artwork seems to be a collection of slightly abstract paintings inspired by nature: a frigid island shore, an overhead bird’s eye view of Greenland, the stark Icelandic countryside, and a collection of pitcher plants. But on closer examination, the process for making these images is much more involved with dense layers of ink through monotype printing. Madsen’s artwork is on display through April 25 as...

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Plants of the Bible on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Mar29

Plants of the Bible on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Plants of the Bible are a dream pop duo with synths and rich mellow vocal harmonies. Check out the band’s Advocate Sessions performance in the video below. Interview with Plants of the...

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Rice: An American Band on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Mar22

Rice: An American Band on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

This week’s Advocate Sessions band is Americana, blues and jamming rock n’ roll band Rice: An American Band. Check out Rice’s performance in the video below. Interview with Rice: An American...

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Valley Show Girl: Adam Kozak and Music To Die To
Mar19

Valley Show Girl: Adam Kozak and Music To Die To

Adam Michael Kozak grew up in the ‘80s listening to DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince and Aerosmith. When he was a child, his mother played the digital organ they had set up in their living room, which she mainly played Barbara Streisand and Andrew Lloyd Weber show tunes on. Adam had begged for piano lessons, simply to learn to play Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home.” After only two months of lessons, he grew bored and didn’t touch an...

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The Green Sisters on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Mar15

The Green Sisters on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

This week’s Advocate Sessions performer are The Green Sisters with their mix of old timey, folk, Celtic, and bluegrass music with lush four part harmonies. Interview with The Green...

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Basemental: So Riffy and Good
Mar15

Basemental: So Riffy and Good

Where have all the rock bands gone? Back in June, I wrote about multi-talented guitarist Wendy Eisenberg’s solo album Time Machine. Then she told me that she “just wants to be a good person and make very complicated music.” Still, since then, she’s been hitting the practice room formulating a grungy rock band, Editrix, marked by sleek, slacker riffs, mushrooming choruses, destined to turn bobbing heads in any local basement. Together...

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Editorial: So Long, Sam’s Pizzeria
Mar13

Editorial: So Long, Sam’s Pizzeria

Last Saturday night after returning home from The Big Surf Dance, an indoor, 12-hour winter music fest supporting veterans transitioning into housing, at Hawks & Reed in Greenfield, I heard the sad news that Sam’s Pizzeria in Northampton was closing after 12 years of business. For me, the news was pretty stinging as I imagine it was for others, especially local musicians. The Sam’s Pizzeria open mic night was one of the best and...

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OroborO on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Mar08

OroborO on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

OroborO combines experimenatal rock with punk, metal, and mathy riffs. Check out the band’s Advocate Sessions performance in the video below. Interview with...

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Valley Show Girl: A queer punk drag show double rainbow
Mar07

Valley Show Girl: A queer punk drag show double rainbow

I’ve been hibernating the past couple of months. I just bought a house and have been focused mainly on that. The closest I’ve been to live music is listening to my vinyl — live — in my living room. I broke out of my hibernation recently, however, and attended my first show of the year. I tell ya, it was quite the experience to pop my 2019 show cherry with, too. This column is about a show organized by Tanya Pearson. (I know you know...

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Basemental: Jesus Vio brings his ‘Dutch Science’ to the Pioneer Valley
Mar01

Basemental: Jesus Vio brings his ‘Dutch Science’ to the Pioneer Valley

Free Pizza was a punk band founded in 2009 and based in Boston. If the name isn’t too much of a giveaway, the ethos of the band was playful and goofy. The heavy-hitting upbeat rowdiness was accessible, earnest, and always a good time. In 2016, Free Pizza threw in the towel and frontman Jesus Vio split off to try something different. He moved to Nashville and formed a band using his own name. There he recorded his first solo record,...

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Orlen, Gabriel, and Avery on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Mar01

Orlen, Gabriel, and Avery on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Orlen, Gabriel, and Avery perform folk music with rich vocal harmonies, lap steel slide licks, and ragtime inspired guitar. Check out the group’s Advocate Sessions performance in the video below. Interview with Orlen, Gabriel, and...

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Olivia Frances on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Feb22

Olivia Frances on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Olivia Frances is a folk/pop singer-songwriter with environmentalist themes. Check out her Advocate Sessions performance in the video below. Interview with Olivia...

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Come on out to the Back Porch: Back Porch Fest starts Feb. 28
Feb21

Come on out to the Back Porch: Back Porch Fest starts Feb. 28

It’s not often that you find a music festival during late winter, let alone a diverse collection of shows across four nights ranging from zydeco to bluegrass, country music, and folk. But Signature Sounds’ annual Back Porch Festival, now in its fifth year, is right at home with the indoor festival concept. This year the Northampton record label and concert production company is bringing music legends such as Rosanne Cash, C.J....

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Stoner Will & The Narks on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Feb16

Stoner Will & The Narks on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Stoner Will & The Narks play slacker rock with a biting satirical bent. Check out the band’s Advocate Sessions performance in the video below. Interview with Stoner Will & The...

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Valley Show Girl: And The Kids’ Whimsical Indie Rock
Feb14

Valley Show Girl: And The Kids’ Whimsical Indie Rock

Signature Sounds recording artists And The Kids from Northampton have made a name for themselves throughout their active musician years in the Valley. They’ve been locally and nationally covered and very recently had a live set at Paste Magazine that was streamed through social media. They are about to release their latest masterpiece on Feb. 22. Guitarist and vocalist Hannah Mohan and drummer Rebecca Lasaponaro first met in junior...

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Electrio on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Feb09

Electrio on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Electrio combines blues rock with progressive rock, funky grooves, and experimental stylings. Check out the band’s Advocate Sessions performance in the video below. Interview with...

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Basemental: Mibble Q&A – Hadley’s Mike Parham’s solo project, Mibble
Feb08

Basemental: Mibble Q&A – Hadley’s Mike Parham’s solo project, Mibble

Hadley’s Mike Parham, whose solo moniker is Mibble, recently released a new album, “Welcome the Earth Dog.” Parham’s superb home recordings sound like miniature musical collages, complete with sound effects, samples, and a lackadaisical posture towards the constructs of time, money, and fame. Evoking Neil Young and the sonic idea of clouds, Earth Dog builds nicely on Parham’s previous releases — 2016’s Wide Awake Western...

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Raspberry Jam on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Feb01

Raspberry Jam on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Raspberry Jam plays catchy progressive indie rock that’ll get you on the dance floor. Check out the band’s Valley Advocate Sessions performance in the video below. Interview with Raspberry...

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No Lens on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Jan25

No Lens on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

No Lens combines reggae rock with acoustic folk and funk grooves. Check out the band’s performance on Valley Advocate Sessions in the video below. Interview with No...

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Dicey Riley with Zoe Darrow on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Jan18

Dicey Riley with Zoe Darrow on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Dicey Riley with Zoe Darrow is a Celtic-folk influenced rock band with virtuoso fiddle and electric bagpipes. Check out the band’s full Valley Advocate Sessions performance in the video below. Interview with Dicey Riley and Zoe...

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Moving Day on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Jan11

Moving Day on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Moving Day is a an indie rock duo in the spirit of 1960s pop music. Check out the band’s Valley Advocate Sessions performance in the video below. Interview with Moving...

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Valley Show Girl: The Gift of Music – A 2018 Local Music Retrospective
Jan07

Valley Show Girl: The Gift of Music – A 2018 Local Music Retrospective

The gift that keeps on giving is always the gift of music. You can go all out and get someone you love a new record player with a handful of vinyl for them to christen the needle with. You can pick up a CD or even a cassette, and you can purchase the album online to receive the download code to upload to your electronic device. So many options! Here are some of my recommendations with the newer albums I’ve been listening to nonstop,...

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Uncle Brothers on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Jan04

Uncle Brothers on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Uncle Brothers is a a progressive jazz metal band with electric trumpets and heavy distorted guitar riffs. Check out the band’s Advocate Sessions performance in the video below. Interview with Uncle...

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Scott Meyers on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage
Dec28

Scott Meyers on the Valley Advocate Sessions Stage

Scott Meyers is a mellow folk singer-songwriter with heart and soul. Check out his Advocate Sessions performance in the video below. Interview with Scott...

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