Lost & Nameless and Other EP Gems

Several good EP’s have crossed my listening desk over the summer, and while individually there wasn’t quite enough material in each of them for a full review, they’re all worth a listen.

First up is the latest from Lost & Nameless, When You Walked Into the Room.  I first ran across this group early in the year when their Empty Spaces EP came out.  I noted at the time they had a fun and diverse sound, and their new release continues down that path.  The title cut opens the EP with an up-temp0 commentary on love-at-first-sight that will give you a chuckle, “you turned your head in my direction and my future was planned out.”  Say Goodbye features the youngster in the band, Kimberly Zielnicki, on vocals along with guest Todd Phillips.  Have We Lost has a definite new grass sound, while May I brings in a touch of gospel.  The EP ends with an acoustic, fiddle-drive piece, Matthew’s Reel/Reel a Levis Beaulieu.  I’d comment on who plays what, but with just about everyone in the group playing half a dozen instruments, you’d need a scorecard.  So instead just sit back and enjoy a really fine band with roots from Ireland to Austin.

Next, I’ll call  your attention to Strikes And Gutters, the latest release from Brian Pounds.  Pounds is perhaps best known as one of the contestants on last season’s The Voice.  A couple of tunes on this EP, Hold My Head High and Sunday Dress, certainly reinforce the idea of a pop country crooner.  Somewhere, Maybe Carolina is a little more old school country.  Keep My Hands To Myself, my favorite on the disc, has a clear soul sound to it.  The EP finishes with Jesus, Don’t Let Me Die (On My Feet) that’s part prayer and part assessment of a situation familiar to all too many folks.

The last EP is not exactly Twangville material.  The only twang you’re going to hear out of The Nightowls is if someone breaks a string in a live show.  An Austin band by way of 60’s Detroit, with some Bootsy Collins thrown in for good measure, The Nightowls have dropped an EP of “B-sides” from their album last year, Good As Gold.  If you’re old enough to know what a B-side is, you’ll remember that it was no reflection on the material, more just a commentary on what the label liked, and this set reflects that.  The Feel Good gives you a taste of Funkadelic-style soul.  Nobody Ever Wants To Leave was chosen as the official song of the Austin Convention & Visitor’s Bureau.  After All has some old school Stevie Wonder sounds to go with the Motown vibe.  Either Way finishes the EP on a high note with the horns asserting themselves in all the right places.

Just Another Band Out of Boston: A Special Boston Playlist


Here is the latest installment in our periodic series highlighting Boston and New England artists. (View the complete series here.)


Mark Erelli (from the Hillbilly Pilgrim Records release Milltowns)
Erelli pays loving tribute to his hero and mentor, the late folk musician Bill Morrissey. With the help of some talented friends — including Peter Mulvey, Kris Delmhorst and many others — Erelli re-visits twelve songs from the Morrissey canon. The selections range from the amusing “Letter From Heaven” (“I bought Robert Johnson a beer / Yeah, I know, everybody’s always surprised to find him here.”) to the sadly moving “These Cold Fingers” (“Everything slips through these cold fingers / Like trying to hold water, trying to hold sand.”)

In addition to the Morrissey songs, Erelli contributes one original composition to the collection. The title track is a touching reflection on his relationship with Morrissey:

I was getting ready to go on / you said “Grasshopper, you sing ‘Birches’ / I’ve been singing it for too long” / So I sang it like I’d written it / though I wished you hadn’t asked / ‘Cause I couldn’t shake the feeling / like something was being passed.

One can hear the admiration in every note. Here, for your listening enjoyment, is “Milltowns.”


Four AM, Josh Buckley (from the self-released Blind Side of the Heart)
Ok, so Buckley moved to Austin a few years ago. I’ll always associate him with Boston, however, where he lived for several years. Heck, this album was even recorded here with local quartet the Blue Ribbons and several other talented Boston musicians providing musical accompaniment.

If Buckley’s last release was a rock record with a Neil Young and Crazy Horse vibe, this collection veers more towards Gram Parsons and Doug Sahm. The songs move along with an ambling feel, accompanied by lyrics that reflect on heartbreak and loss. The combination gives them a distinctive blend of resignation and contentment.

Of course, Buckley still likes to have some fun as he does on this sauntering gem. “Only Warren Zevon calls at 4am that’s why I didn’t pick up.”

Audio Download: Josh Buckley, “Four AM”

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Tattooed Man and the Saint, Dan Blakeslee (from the self-released Owed to the Tangled Wind)
Despite the fact that Dan Blakeslee is widely recognized as one of the friendliest, happy-go-lucky musicians in town, his songs often has dark and mystical overtones. All the better I say, as he is a master at using vivid and poetic language to tell ornate musical stories.

Blakeslee travelled to the Columbus Theater in Providence Rhode Island to record Owed to the Tangled Wind. The theater has become something of an artist community, anchored by Ben Knox Miller and Jeff Prystowsky of the Low Anthem. That duo appear (and lend their engineering talent) along with Joe Fletcher and Jonah Tolchin among others. The musicians create a rich musical tapestry that is the perfect setting for Blakeslee’s songs. The results are strikingly beautiful.


World Go Round, Will Dailey (from the Wheelkick Records release National Throat)
Having finally extricated himself from a failed label deal, Dailey set to do things on his own terms. If National Throat is any indication, the newfound freedom suits him well. Dailey creates a sound that is best described as eclectic pop, mixing in bits of everything from reggae to jazz. Hooks abound, with the occasional angular twist to make things interesting.


Wellspring, The Boston Singer’s Project
Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Andy Santospago has set out to release a song a month in 2014. Although each track features a different singer and a host of other musicians sharing their talents, one can hear the consistent thread of Santospago’s musical pen. So far the songs have ranged from classic Harry Nilsson-esque pop to groove-heavy blues to Americana pop.

Nine months down and three to go. I, for one, am eager to hear what’s coming next.

(Visit the Boston Singers Project site for lyrics and the stories behind each song)


Fort Point Boogie, Tony Savarino (from the self-released Guitarino)
Any guess as to Tony Savarino’s instrument of choice? Savarino puts his guitars to work on this eclectic collection of instrumentals. You’ll hear a bit of blues, some pop and even a standard (a wonderful solo acoustic “As Tears Goes By”), all played with the perfect combination of skill and personality. Here’s the tasty opening work-out.


They’re Gonna Shoot, Abbie Barrett & the Last Date (from the self-released The Triples)
Barrett’s latest, the compilation of a recent ep series, is filled with regal indie pop that is sometimes dark and sometimes dreamy. Well, perhaps more dark than dreamy but brimming with melodic hooks that occasionally veer in unexpected directions.


Flash of White Light, Watts (from the Rum Bar Records single Flash of White Light/The Mess is the Makeup)
Are you ready for some smokin’ stadium rock? This Boston quartet pick right up where they left off with 2011’s On the Dial. Do you like big ol’ hooks and loads of in-your face guitars? If so, this is your jam.


Life Goes On (Until It Don’t), Township (from the self-released ep Life Goes On (Until It Don’t)

1970’s rock in all it’s glory. If you ain’t playing it loud, you ain’t playing it right.

Jackson Browne – One Man / Twenty Guitars

10562712_814011181963876_3805264878658154951_oWhen Jackson Browne walked onto Boston’s Opera House stage on a late summer night, it was as though he was stepping into his own living room. The 65-year-old singer/songwriter couldn’t have been more adored by the crowd as they showered him in ovation after ovation and listened intently to each note he sang. Some may call him “easy listening,” but just because his voice is clear and sounds like it did 40 years ago, doesn’t mean that his songs are by any means “soft.” They have a poetic sensibility that is laid bare when he’s out on the stage alone as he was for nearly the entire night.

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Over the course of two sets and 25+ songs, Browne’s easy-going manner and rapport with the crowd seemed almost surreal. He sprinkled in some new tunes in the first set but got the crowd going with standards “For Everyman,” “Sky Blue and Black,” and one of the most poetic songs I’ve ever heard: “These Days.” Jackson told the crowd that there was no setlist and that didn’t bother us one bit. After a barrage of songs shouted at him, he admitted that he was going to play what he wanted anyway. It was delivered in such an unassuming and unpretentious way that the crowd could only clap and appreciate him nonetheless.

In all his years in the business, Jackson’s confidence in his craft and the crowd’s appreciation. The second set delved further into the treasure trove of Jackson’s past. He mentioned the vast array of guitar and claimed that it seemed excessive as he paced back and forth thinking about which song to play next. He regaled the crowd talking about how each of the guitars had a song or two in them and that made each one infinitely more interesting. IMG_8949

Browne’s rendition of “For a Dancer,” “Running on Empty,” “Doctor My Eyes,” and “The Pretender” easily lived up to the original classic recording. His voice is still pristine and the tunes still ring true to this day. The lyrics are easily understood but no less complex and singable.

Browne’s final two songs “Take It Easy,” which he wrote with Glenn Frey of the Eagles, and “Before the Deluge” from his two classic albums really show the variety in his songwriting and style. “Take It Easy” is a fun, catchy rocker that is easily recognizable, more for the Eagles’ version. “Before the Deluge” is a downtempo piano ballad with lyrics that are singable and general as Jackson seems to really be able to sing about “For Everyman.” The lyrics “Now let the music keep our spirits high / And let the buildings keep our children dry” seemed to fit perfectly with the feel of the show. Jackson’s music somehow tackles tough issues but kept the fans feeling great in the end.

Photos by Suzanne McMahon

Readers’ Pick: Somewhere Under Wonderland by Counting Crows

You picked Somewhere Under Wonderland by Counting Crows as your favorite for the week of September 2, 2014.

Readers’ Top Picks (last 4 weeks)

  1. Swimmin’ Time by Shovels & Rope (11) [8/26]
  2. Too Blessed to Be Stressed by Paul Thorn (11) [8/19]
  3. Somewhere Under Wonderland by Counting Crows (10) [9/2]
  4. Step Back by Johnny Winter (9) [9/2]
  5. No-Hit Wonder by Cory Branan (9) [8/19]
  6. Connecting Stars by Connecting Stars (7) [8/26]
  7. Live From Atlanta by Lucero (7) [8/12]
  8. Live My Life by Sena Ehrhardt (3) [9/2]
  9. Brill Bruisers by New Pornographers (3) [8/26]
  10. Rockabilly Riot! All Original by Brian Setzer (3) [8/12]

Don’t forget to vote in our weekly poll to help us make this list.