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January 2010

Rubblebucket is known for its voluminous afro-funk style and the imminent interactive dance parties that ensue at their shows. Not surprisingly, Rubblebucket won the 2009 Boston Music Award for Live Act of the Year. The band released self-titled Rubblebucket in October. I held high-expectations for the album because it is difficult to capture the feel and aura of multi-sensory performances of live music acts like Rubblebucket and I had a feeling they would pull it off well. Rubblebucket is a psychedelic garden of sound full of variety and surprises. The lyrics are earthy and make several terrestrial references to natural beings like snails, birds and the wind and sky. The first track “November” is horn heavy and fast while the vocals are dreamy and have a definite B’jork influence (most of the album does). “November” is the type of song you would hear on a space train. “Ba Donso, We Did This” is one of my favorite tracks on the album. It features the n’goni, a West-African string instrument which is usually plucked. In “Ba Donso, We Did This” the n’goni adds rhythmic twangy support to Traver’s floating vocals. While juicy horns raise the song up and the n’goni and organ mellow it out without dropping the infectious rhythm. Great contrast of sounds in this tune.“Bikes” is a signature song for the band. Jovial but strong lead vocals and big band horns it makes you feel like you are in the jungle. The lyrics of the whole album are unique and well-written and have beat-era style. “Maya” is noted as a song and poem. The first two stanzas of the poem are recited by Adam Dotson (who wrote the music and lyrics on “Maya”, the other songs are written by Travers and Toth and Craig Myers, the n’goni player on tracks 2 and 12 )in a  tinny, hollow and far away voice which adds a crisp eeriness to such a sweet song. After the reciting, Traver  sings, “Your love is like a falling flame/It sputters and goes out again/ It shoots a line across the sky/It shimmers and warms up the night” in a beautiful, elated voice. Another example of the rainbow of sonic flavor this album shares with the listener.On the final track, Hommage, the g’nogi is the star. Hommage has whimsy and a bit of old world magic laced through it. It’s a simple, beautiful song with trickling scales and soft horns that creep in and lift it up. It’s an elegant closing song for such a remarkably lively and sound rich album, like powdered sugar on a triple chocolate cake. The tracks making up “Rubblebucket” hold elements of the city and the country reflecting the backgrounds of band leaders Alex Toth and Kamila who have lived all over New England from Vermont to  Jamaica Plain. The band is in a genre of its own, they have the vibrant soul of a funk band, magical vocals, spirit-possessing percussion that makes your feet move before your head tells them to and unique lyrics of poetic grade. You can buy the album here. –review by Meghan Chiampa


The Organ Beats @ Middle East Upstairs 1/9 (w/ Luxury, Conservitive Man and This Blue Heaven)

The Organ Beats - Sleep When We Are Dead from Ben Fee on Vimeo.

The Organ Beats play the Middle East Upstairs Saturday, 1/9. Part of show (guaranteed to make you forget it's the middle of January and you live in New England) featuring Conservative Man's EP release. Indie-pop The Luxury and This Blue Heaven are also supporting. All the bands have 80's rock undertones, which is good because I mean like Pixies/New Order 80's with a 20-teens (I can't think of a better term for this decade) energy. See you there?

In the meantime check out this interview the Deli's Michael Spencer did with The Organ Beats. They are also up for Artist of the Year. Vote if you love them the most!

--The Deli Staff


Boston's Miss Tess Moves to Brooklyn

Where have all the musical flowers gone? Probably Brooklyn. At least that’s where local folk/jazz/indy great Miss Tess has taken her “modern vintage” style as of New Year’s Day. She left with a bang.

 “We had a fantastic New Year's Eve, perhaps the best ever,” exclaimed Tess in a dispatch to her mailing list. “We played at Symphony Hall in Boston, got to watch the Boston Pops play with Amanda Palmer [formerly of the Dresden Dolls], saw lots of balloons drop from the ceiling as we all sang "We Are The Champions" at the stroke of midnight, and then I moved to Brooklyn on New Years Day. Hello New York!” (video above)

Miss Tess, whom Palmer had requested as one of her opening acts for New Years, has been a fixture of the Cambridge/Somerville scene for four years. Mingling jazz standards with original tunes, Tess assembled a changing line-up of first-rate jazz musicians, often culled from the New England Conservatory of Music, to serve as her “Bon Ton Parade.”

 “I will miss some of my favorite local performers and places like Toad,
Lizard Lounge and Atwoods, where I could go and run into a bunch of friends,” said Tess in an email interview. “I will not miss Boston weather.”

While she might not find much warmer climes in Brooklyn, it feels like the right move for the time and she is excited about the change.

“There's a lot going on in Brooklyn as far as creative arts go—many places to play, and creative opportunities beyond solely performing. Also, my band moved there a couple months ago.”

Tess is in fact setting up camp with Sweet and Low-Down band mate (and formidable jazz vocalist in her own right) Rachel Price, as well as Mike Calabrese, the current Bon Ton drummer. While weekly stands at the beloved pub venues of the Boston folk scene are behind her now, Miss Tess, is wasting no time before starting another tour and will be back in town as early as January 21.  She will play Club Passim in Cambridge for one of local folk great, Alastair Moock’s, “Pastures of Plenty” round robins and then the following night, will play a set of vintage dance tunes at Boston Swing Central. Her latest CD, released at the Lizard Lounge in December, is Darling, Oh Darling.

-- Jason Rabin


Open Poll Winners

Here at The Deli we start the new year with the much anticipated results of our Open Contest linked to our Year End Best of New England 2009 Poll for emerging artists.

For the unaware, this Open Contest is the part of our Year End Poll which nominates artists through an open submission system - while the majority of the finalists for the Year End Best of Poll are freely selected by a jury of local bloggers, promoters and scenemakers.

The following are the winners chosen by the Deli - New England staff. These winners of the Open Contest will move to the final round into a running with other bands chosen by our jurors (bloggers, promoters and scenemakers). 


1. Jesse Dee

2. Lady Lamb and the Beekeeper

2. The Points North

3. Brendan Hogan

Stay tuned. The readers vote tomorrow! The year-end best of New England poll will be posted on January 6th and will run through the 15th. The open blog is up now too, so let us know who should win and why.

--The Deli Staff


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