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Album Review - Patrick Coman - Southern Storms

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Thick with both rural twang and urban sophistication, Boston singer/songwriter Patrick Coman combines folky poetry and country-style storytelling on his latest release, Southern Storms. Violin, organ, and a silky lap steel swell under Coman’s weary voice as he laments and introspects with the quiet intensity of Neil Young and the earnest exhaustion of Jeff Tweedy. Moody and rife with meteorological metaphors, the album feels at times like an Elliott Smith ode to isolation, but the monotony breaks with the southern-fried “Nights Like Tonight” and “Fortune Cookie.” The wistful, soft-spoken “Rear-view Mirror (“Why am I lonely on New Year’s Eve?”) brings to mind a “Dressed Up Like Nebraska”-era Josh Rouse while tracks like “Gram Parsons” reveal obvious leanings towards erstwhile Drive-By Truckers frontman Jason Isbell. Patrick Coman’s power as a songwriter lies in his ability to bravely delve into the haunted parts of our ego that grapple with yearning, loneliness, and regret. Without trepidation, he uncovers desperate, self-pitying stones that are instantly and painfully recognizable to anyone who has ever felt unbearably overwhelmed by sorrow and alienation. Perhaps this isn’t the best album for a Sunday drive (unless it’s off a cliff), but when you’re ruminating over a past lover or lost opportunity, no album will feel more right.

--Stephie Coplan

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Nate Wilson Group at Lizard Lounge 5/20 and THREE residencies in June

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Photo by Michael Spencer

When you first hear the Nate Wilson Group a little orange and yellow "Led Zepplin" light goes off behind your eyes. Their music is heavily influenced by 60's and 70's classic psych rock and contains some country rock hints in some of the songs. Allman Brothers-esque guitar riffs (which probably makes the band a hit with the evolving jamband scene) are sprinkled generously throughout their tunes. Although they've played with some major national acts such as Ryan Montbleau, moe. and Martin Sexton, The Nate Wilson Group doesn't fade from the local scene and is a band who knows how to play around their local turf. They have THREE residencies in June. One in Worcester, MA at The Dive Bar on Fridays, at Stone Church in Newmarket, NH on Wednesdays and at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, MA on Thursdays.

--The Deli Staff

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QRO Presents Nerd Parade, EULA, Baby Made Rebel, Hello Ninja at P.A.’s Lounge on Monday 5/17

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Allston’s Hello Ninja and local gadabouts Baby Made Rebel kick-off the festivities at Boston-based QRO Magazine’s first ever showcase this Monday at P.A.’s Lounge. Baby Made Rebel started as a solo singer/songwriter project by Lance Riley, then blossomed into a full ensemble starring bassist Slow Train Carter (of Shoney Lamar & the Equal Rights) and drummer Neil Dean. The trio mixes it up with clean 70s rock songwriting with a rough-and-raw delivery. Hello Ninja cuts their rock with a smart dose of pop. Check them out doing an old classic properly: Burt Bacharach’s “Baby It’s You” at the Middle East HERE. New Haven’s EULA will join the local cast with tart, tight art/punk-isms while Atlanta’s Nerd Parade will serve up the southern-fried, psychedelic closer on the Boston stop of their US tour. Any show where you can get a north-to-south read on the state of indie music in America is an event not be missed. More show info HERE. The party starts at 8:30pm.

P.A.’s Lounge

345 Somerville Ave, Somerville, MA. 21+/$7.

--Mike Gutierrez

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John Shade at the Lizard Lounge, 5/11 and 5/18

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I haven’t seen John Shade play with the Neave Quartet yet, even though he had a month long residency at the Armory, a few other shows around town and played the May Fair (I even went out into the crowd to check it out and missed it, when I got there some 15 year old kid was singing “Skid Row” from Little Shop of Horrors.) His debut album, All You Love Is Need, does not include the quartet, but it is still a beautiful album. The songs are light and funny but if you listen closely to the lyrics you’ll hear that the songs are fueled by melancholy and loneliness. Kind of like Jon Brion, but with less glockenspiel (Brion has also been known to use string quartets too.)

My favorite song off the album is “Tragedy” which I’ve been digging for a while now. I heard him sing it at a Sub Rosa show at the Lizard Lounge (Where he is also having a residency on Tuesdays in May). It floored me. "Tragedy" is beautifully composed, the melody is languid and sunshiny like a Van Morrison song, although the lyrics are heart-breakingly, well, tragic. His song, “I Hate the World (and Everyone in it)” always gets a laugh at shows. It’s actually a very depressing song despite the hopefully climatic melody, which is awesome.

But again, I haven’t seen him play in way too long. I always miss his shows, which is why I’m asking you all to go make up for my lack of not going. All You Love is Need is one of the best albums I’ve heard lately, John Shade is one of my favorite area musicians and without a doubt, he has the best sense of humor.

You can hear a track he recorded with the Neave Quartet HERE. He’s got two more weeks of the residency left, he plays with Viskesh Kapoor (May 11), and Jocie Adams from The Low Anthem (May 18). Lizard Lounge 1667 Mass Ave Cambridge, MA

--Meghan Chiampa

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Review of Dietrich Strause at the Lizard Lounge 5/8

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Dressed in a crumpled white button-down shirt, trousers, and a belt, singer/songwriter Dietrich Strause looked a little like a weary nine-to-fiver when he took the stage at the Lizard Lounge last night, but this unassuming demeanor is exactly what gives the Oberlin graduate his signature modest stage presence. A twinkle in his eye suggests that he sees a kind of humor in the situation, but his shoulders hang heavy with the weight of the observational wisdom that unfurls in his masterfully crafted songs. "As if being an acoustic guitarist/singer/songwriter weren't obvious enough," Dietrich hesitantly thought out loud into the microphone, "I guess you could say that I'm a pretty sensitive guy. I love puppies, and this is a song about dog-walking." Unsurprisingly, the song was not just about dog-walking.

In a completely non-pejorative way, Dietrich Strause is a geek. "Jean-Louise," a song he wrote about Harper Lee's classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, is evidence enough that this is a guy who reads. "Run along, Jean Louise, while you're still a child," Dietrich urges, echoing the sort of perspective and insight that would sound right at home coming from Atticus Finch himself. Dietrich's intricate, feathery-light guitar playing and smooth, clear vocals bring him aesthetically closer to folk than lit-rock, strictly speaking, but lyrically, his bibliophilic style is reminiscent of poetry-prose artists like The Weakerthans or The Decemberists. "Smart" music can sometimes run the risk of coming off erudite and snobbish, but Dietrich seems like the boy next door who breathes clean, country air. Comparisons to Paul Simon come to mind, but Dietrich probably already knows that, given his spot-on cover of "American Tune." The highlight of the evening, though, was probably "Nuns with Guns," Dietrich's answer to Bob Dylan's "It's Alright, Ma" with the added bonus of a memorable sing-along chanty-style chorus. Word on the street is that Dietrich is an expert trumpeter, too; the only disappointment of last night's show, then, is that he didn't somehow figure out a way to play trumpet and sing at the same time. Maybe someday.

Dietrich Strause will be at No Place Special in Mashpee on May 22nd

--Stephie Coplan

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