When Brooklyn-based band Habibi takes the stage at HiLo in North Adams on Saturday, Oct. 19, they’ll bring with them their hybrid sound that pulls from Iranian music and ’60s surf, signifying both the defiance and the joy that accompanies the band’s existence. The band includes lead vocalist Rahill Jamalifard, guitarists Lenny Lynch and Leah […]

C.W. Stoneking

C.W. Stoneking

With a gruff voice that sometimes howls, sometimes grumbles, Australian bluesman C.W. Stoneking sounds like a ghost from another era. With musical styles pulling from the early 20th century, blues and jazz, and painting lyrical images of a forbidden and long-gone world populated by black magic, mysterious sins, jail, shipwrecks, voodoo celebrations, decadent dances and […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘The Devil and Daniel Johnston’

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘The Devil and Daniel Johnston’

“THE DEVIL AND DANIEL JOHNSTON” (AMAZON, APPLE, IMDBTV, GOOGLE PLAY, VUDU, YOUTUBE) Given the death last week of Austin, Texas-based singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston at the age of 58, it seemed right to write about the 2005 documentary on his troubled life, “The Devil and Daniel Johnston.” I suppose there are many people out there who […]

Nellie McKay

Nellie McKay

When singer Nellie McKay performs at Hancock Shaker Village on Saturday, it’s anyone’s guess what shape the show will take, including McKay’s. She’s counting on unseen forces having an influence on the outcome. “Venues inform the music,” McKay said. “You can feel ghosts in a lot of venues and it seems like maybe in Hancock […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘The Restaurant’ and ‘Elvis: Strung Out’

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘The Restaurant’ and ‘Elvis: Strung Out’

The Restaurant (Sundance) This new addition to the pantheon of dysfunctional Scandinavian family nightmares, “The Restaurant” (“Var tid ar nu, also known as “Our Time is Now”) distinguishes itself by making its starting-point post-war Stockholm and taking occasional leaps in time to chart the progress of not only the Lowanders and their posh restaurant, but […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Bodyguard’ and ‘Nico 1988’

‘BODYGUARD’ (NETFLIX) If you want tense, exciting, hard-to-predict crime conspiracy stories that keep you on the edge of your seat, British television writer Jed Mercurio should be your go-to guy. His series, “Line of Duty,” a labyrinthine display of tension and amazing guest performances in the setting of a police internal affairs investigation unit, is […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Transferts’ and ‘Vox Lux’

TRANSFERTS (NETFLIX) There are two behaviors in science fiction that humans will never disappoint with. One is that if there is an advance in technology that extends life or youth in any way whatsoever, it will only be available to rich people. Another is that if humans have any reason to hate and persecute the […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Being Frank’ and ‘Doctor Who’

‘BEING FRANK: THE CHRIS SIEVEY STORY’ (AMAZON) British oddball and Renaissance man Chris Sievey isn’t well-known in America beyond his image, which was used in the film “Frank” as a symbol of outsiders and oddballs who create music outside the norm. But his giant paper-mache head is cherished, especially by a generation of British children, […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Cassette: Documentary Mixtape’

‘CASSETTE: DOCUMENTARY MIXTAPE’ (AMAZON, APPLE, GOOGLE PLAY, PLAYSTATION, VUDU) Did you know that the man who invented the cassette also invented the compact disc? His name is Lou Ottens, a Dutch engineer who worked for Phillips, where he headed the teams that developed both audio items. This affectionate, gentle documentary by Zack Taylor devotes a […]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Strange Angel’ and ‘Theory of Obscurity’

‘STRANGE ANGEL’ ( CBS ALL ACCESS) In the 21st century, there are multiple disciplines being sold that promise hopeful seekers a way to optimize their ambitions into reality, to realize their best selves, but so many of these philosophies are not new, merely transformed into current-speak. If you reverse engineer their conceptions, you find that […]

Arthur Yorinks

With its depiction of destiny and decay and undertones of debauchery, “The Fall of the House of Usher” is Edgar Allan Poe’s hallucinatory fever dream of a short story. For Arthur Yorinks, the story has been not quite an albatross around his neck, but certainly part of a decades-long mission. Yorinks is well-known for his […]

The Decemberists: Jenny Conlee

The Decemberists: Jenny Conlee

The Decemberists have staked a claim on their own corner of the modern music world. The American indie rock band has an output that draws from the literary form of lyricism exploring the wicked side of humanity through a multitude of musical forms. Sometimes, it might take the form of an acoustic ballad, other times […]

The Shaggs reunite at Solid Sound

When Kurt Cobain listed his favorite albums of all-time, number five went to an obscure 1969 record by an all-sisters band from Fremont, N.H., called The Shaggs. Frank Zappa proclaimed the Shaggs to be “better than the Beatles.” As the Shaggs, the Wiggin sisters — Dot, Betty, Helen and Rachel — etched out a unique place in modern music […]

Forgotten 80s: Rockin’ With Rita

This collaboration between pre-fame Fuzzbox, The Nightingales, and comedian Ted Chippington was put out on Vindaloo Records in 1986. At the time, I was a young guy living in Brooklyn, an avid WLIR listener. It was about the same time that the station was playing this new clever song by this odd band, “Don’t Let’s […]

Dom Flemons

When American songster Dom Flemons arrives at the Iron Horse Music Hall on Thursday, Oct. 9, he brings with him a rich personal history as well as a wealth of musical archaeology and sociology stretching back through a century. His recent album Prospect Hill is an illustration of these paths crossing and converging. Flemons was […]

Alicia Svigals

Klezmatics founder Alicia Svigals is considered one of the foremost Klezmer violinists in the world, and her work on a new score for the 1918 silent film “Yellow Ticket” has allowed her to immerse herself in the world her music evokes. “Yellow Ticket” will screen at Mass MoCA on Saturday, Nov. 16, at 8 p.m., […]

Sam Green “The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller”

R. Buckminster Fuller is renowned for his work as an architect, inventor and much more, including the development of geodesic domes. In the documentary, “The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller,” Fuller’s work is expressed as a live performance with director Sam Green and rock band Yo La Tengo making film-going less reliant on just […]

Caroline Rose

Singer/songwriter Caroline Rose has no official home, but her music has found a permanent place in the hearts of her fans. Rose will perform at the Vermont Arts Exchange in a co-presentation with Billsville House Concerts. The road, at least for now, is Rose’s most consistent home, and it’s the source of her inspiration. Her […]

The Deadly Gentlemen

The Deadly Gentleman started off as Greg Liszt’s side project, giving him something to do when his main band, Crooked Still, wasn’t performing. Now it’s become so much more. The band will perform tonight at 10 as part of the Freshgrass Festival at Mass MoCA. “It went on like that for a couple of years, […]

Sarah Jarosz

Sarah Jarosz grew up with music, but now she’s finding the music is growing up with her. Jarosz will perform at the Freshgrass Bluegrass Festival at Mass MoCA on Friday, Sept. 20, at 7:30 p.m. Austin, Texas. native Jarosz was 18 when she recorded her first album. Now 22, she’s able to look back at […]

Elephant Revival

Bridget Law, fiddle player and member of the band Elephant Revival, sees music as something more than playing songs. The band will play on Sunday, Sept. 22, at 2:15 p.m., as part of the FreshGrass Festival at Mass MoCA. Elephant Revival is based in Colorado, although Law is the only native. The band met through […]

Plume Giant

Brooklyn-based chamber-folk trio Plume Giant will perform at Mass MoCA on Saturday, Oct. 12, at 8 p.m. The band — Nolan Green, Oliver Hill and Eliza Bagg — first met in a much different setting, Yale University, where Hill and Bagg were music majors, specializing in classical and performing together in a quartet. Green ran an open mic series […]

The Tiger Lillies

In the past, the Tiger Lillies have taken on projects adapting “Hamlet,” “Shockheaded Peter” and the upcoming “Lulu,” but “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” had a special appeal to the band’s singer and songwriter Martyn Jacques. The band will perform “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” on Thursday, Oct. 24, at 8 p.m., at the ’62 […]

Balkan Beat Box

Pulling from the Balkans, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and farther, Balkan Beat Box creates music that blurs any lines between the cultures that influence it, and melts it all together into one global dance community. Balkan Beat Box began as a studio project between Ori Kaplan and Tamir Muskat, both born in Israel, who […]

Spirit Family Reunion

Spirit Family Reunion recalls the revival spirit of bands like The Carter Family and others, but with a secular presentation and a rowdy energy as reminiscent of a punk band than as a gospel band. Band members include Nick Panken on vocals and acoustic guitar; Maggie Carson on vocals and five-string banjo; Stephen Weinheimer on […]

Ron Richardello

For years I have been impressed by Ron Richardello’s “After Hours” album — which I picked up at the local Goodwill — and his visionary, exceptional accordion playing. I knew little about Richardello until this summer, when his obituary appeared in the Transcript. Shortly after that, I got an email from Richardello’s son, Rick, in regard to a blog […]

Laura Marling

British singer Laura Marling came out of a London scene that looked to roots and folk music for its inspiration, but that sound already felt like home to her. The kind of music she now plays is actually part of the sound of her childhood, absorbed and reconsidered through her own filter. “When I was […]

The Bandana Splits

Draw ing inspiration from past girl groups, like the Andrews Sisters and the Ronettes, the trio known as the Bandana Splits are adding an indie-pop cred to the form that is all their own. Consisting of Lauren Balthrop and Annie Nero, both of the band Balthrop Alabama, and solo performer Dawn Landes, the band got […]

Infamous Stringdusters

The Infamous Stringdusters have won the hearts of bluegrass fans, but their appeal has been steadily moving beyond that audience and into the rest of the world. The band plays tonight at 9:15, as part of the FreshGrass Festival at Mass MoCA. The band includes Andy Hall (Dobro), Andy Falco (guitar), Chris Pandolfi (banjo), Jeremy […]

Maya Beiser

A 10-day residency at Mass MoCA will result in the debut of a portion of cellist Maya Beiser’s cello opera, which investigates the end of the world through a multi-media surrealist lens. Beiser’s “Elsewhere,” to be performed Saturday, Dec. 10, at 8 p.m., promises to be an electric and mysterious mix of dance, video, music […]