Video: Tow’rs play BIRN Alive

The Flagstaff, AZ, band Tow’rs stopped by the BIRN studios to play two of their intimate originals “Holy Water” and “The Kitchen.” Band members Kyle Miller, Gretta Miller, Kyle Keller, and Dan Bagley found each other through their deep love of music and storytelling, exploring the questions that haunt us, the pain that marks us, and the hope that redefines everything.

BIRN Alive is home to great live performances and insightful conversation every Saturday at 4:00 p.m. EST on BIRN1.

Listen to Valley Maker, The Palms and Anna Clendening this week on the BIRN!

Tune in to the BIRN for a full week of outstanding live events and special programming.

On Monday, April 22, the monthly Roots Roadshow returns to the Red Room at Cafe 939. The April edition of this celebration of America’s musical heritage features Ariel Wyner, vocalist, mandolinist and founding member of Boston based bluegrass band Ruta Beggars. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. and you can stream it here.

Los Angeles-based band The Palms drops by the Red Room at Cafe 939 on Wednesday, April 24, in the midst of a 12 show North American tour to support their brand new independent release, Televised Daydream. Tune in for a night of psych pop, with a side of hip-hop and folk. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. and you can stream it here.

On Thursday, April 25, the Red Room plays host to two great performers as Greg Holden and Ben Thornewill grace the stage. Holden is a celebrated LA-based singer-songwriter that has placed songs in shows including Sons of Anarchy, Private Practice, and One Tree Hill. Thornewill is the pianist and voice for popular Washington, D.C. trio Jukebox the Ghost. Tune in at 8:00 p.m. to stream the show here.

Continue reading “Listen to Valley Maker, The Palms and Anna Clendening this week on the BIRN!”

Album Review: English Rose by Connie Constance

At only 24 years old, Connie Constance has already made quite a name for herself and is continuing to leave a lasting impression on people with her music. Originally from Watford, the British artist grew up feeling like the odd one out as a mixed-race child. Her album, English Rose, perfectly  conveys the emotions Constance was struggling with at a young age. Between emotive vocals and a diverse sound of production throughout each song, this album is definitely one you will want to dive into.

The title track takes the listener through her emotional journey of feeling like an outsider. “Constance’s should-be-definitive version takes the historically white privileging term ‘English rose’ and re-figures it as a symbol for the porous, prismatic nature of British identity,” (Owen Meyers, Pitchfork). The track is filled with beautiful vocals and piano arrangements, really conveying the sense of sadness Constance is trying to let the listeners feel.

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Show Review: Emily King Live at the Sinclair

Following the release of her long-awaited album Scenery, Emily King is currently finishing up her 2019 tour, with Boston as her third to last show.

King’s opening artist, Jennah Bell, left the audience speechless with her performance. Bell is a Berklee alumnus, which made the Boston show extra special for many of the audience members. Jennah is a singer-songwriter originally from Oakland, California. Her influences are pulled from genres such as folk, soul, R&B, hip-hop, and bluegrass. Her quirky yet fluent style of writing is both compelling and easy to listen to. Her lyrics will hit you hard, and her melodies will leave you wanting more. Not only is Jennah a monstrous musician, but her presence has a surprisingly unique calmness to it. I had the pleasure of speaking to Jennah after her set, and she shared some encouraging words with me without hesitation.

Considering that I had never seen Emily King perform live, I had no idea what to expect from this show other than the fact that it was going to be great. King opened the show with her song “Remind Me,” the first track on Scenery. The moment King strutted out on stage in a show-stopping two piece black outfit with matching sunglasses, I knew this show was going to be one I would be talking about for a while. Her energy was infectious, and everyone in the audience was jumping and dancing around from the moment the song started. Between the tasteful choreography and the tight connection between the band and background vocals, it was impossible to keep your eyes off of the stage. There was entertainment at every moment, and King did not miss one note, even when she was running and dancing around the stage.

Continue reading “Show Review: Emily King Live at the Sinclair”

Featured Article: Who is Nick Hakim?

Get to know singer-songwriter Nick Hakim in advance of his solo performance at birnCORE Live, Friday, April 19 at the Red Room at Cafe 939.

Nick Hakim has made it, or at least he is on his way to making it. The 26-year-old musician and songwriter has had a unique path to get to where he is now. The Berklee graduate has reached millions of SoundCloud and Spotify users and is now signed to ATO records, which is home to the Alabama Shakes, Emily King and David Grey, to name a few. Nick’s success, however, is not by just luck. His upbringing and the struggles he faced as a teen directly lead to his raw talent and a strong drive to succeed.

Hakim’s parents emigrated from Lima, Peru, to New York City in the early ’80s after his father received a Fulbright scholarship to study economics at the New School in Manhattan. His family moved to Washington D.C. shortly after, where Hakim was born and raised. “He was surrounded by a diverse array of sounds at home,” said an interviewer from Pitchfork. “There was the Nueva cancion—political folk music—of his mother’s native Chile; ’60s and ’70s touchstones like the Beatles and Al Green; D.C. hardcore bands like Fugazi that were beloved by Hakim’s older brother—though Nick preferred the reggae-infused Bad Brains, especially since one of his teachers performed regularly with the band’s vocalist, HR; and Latino rappers like Big Pun and Fat Joe”(Moreland, assistant editor of Pitchfork).

Liv’s Prime Slices (4/6 – 4/12): Michelle Blades, The Murlocs

 

Michelle Blades – Visitor – (indie pop rock)

Michelle Blades has just released a collection of songs infused with multiple sounds of an extension of her nomadic life spent between Panama, Mexico, Florida, and France. Picking bits and pieces from each place to form Visitor, Blades fuses together a unique sound that embodies qualities of Frank Zappa in her liberty of creation and of David Byrne and Mort Garson in terms of musical experimentation. In the first song on this album, “Politik!,” she plays with language tones, wordplay and texture to create a delicious package of new vibrations for our ears. “Dr. Psych” experiments into the psych rock realm, pushing the boundary of the genres she is defying further with this release. Looking forward to hear more from Blades and can’t wait to see the different turns she takes into the sound she continues to identify with. Continue reading “Liv’s Prime Slices (4/6 – 4/12): Michelle Blades, The Murlocs”

Q&A with Danielle Ponder

Singer-songwriter and vocal powerhouse from Rochester, NY, Danielle Ponder was kind enough to answer some questions we had for her. She, along with Nick Hakim is a featured artist at this spring’s edition of birnCORE Live on Friday, April 19 at 8:00 p.m. She will also be joining us on Saturday, April 20 for BIRN Alive at 4:00 p.m. for an exclusive interview and live set.

Interview by Liv Field

Being a strong female performing artist, what advice would you give to other aspiring female musicians when it comes to commanding a room, and not being underestimated?

D: I never think I can’t command a room I never think I am not strong. Being a woman is powerful and I carry all of that power with me on stage. I’ve never doubted it. I looks at those who came before me, Nina Simone, Lauryn Hill, Big Mama Thornton, there was nothing small about their presence

What are some of the foundational values that help you in the music industry?

D: Always create to inspire. Always create from an authentic place. Worry not about the industry just keep creating. No one can do what you do, no one.

Continue reading “Q&A with Danielle Ponder”

Liv’s Prime Slices (3/30 – 4/5): Weyes Blood, The Foreign Resort, MorMor

Weyes Blood – “Movies” – Indie

Weyes Blood (a.k.a. Natalie Mering) is soon to release a full album called Titanic Rising. She dropped a 3 track EP to raise hype for the full-length album, which includes the tracks “Movies,” “Everyday,” and “Andromeda.” This collection of songs is a beautiful sandwich of conversational songwriting that takes a different turn to pop music, commanding your mind to a broader musical realm. My favorite track is “Movies,” which starts with an arpeggiated and hypnotic scale, moving up and down followed by the haunting yet clear sound of Mering’s choral voice. Each song brings a different idea but ties together with the same foreground of the sound Mering has so meticulously claimed as her own. Her video for the track “Movies” is out now, and her full length album will be released April 5th.

Continue reading “Liv’s Prime Slices (3/30 – 4/5): Weyes Blood, The Foreign Resort, MorMor”

April 19: birnCORE Live featuring Nick Hakim with Danielle Ponder

ATO recording artist and Berklee alumnus Nick Hakim is the featured artist at the spring 2019 edition of birnCORE Live, a live music series that presents some of the most creative, cutting edge performers working in the industry today. Prior shows have featured Taylor Mcferrin, Kaki King and Margaret Glaspy.

This semester’s birnCORE Live takes place on Friday, April 19 at the Red Room at Cafe 939. Hakim blends experimentation and psychedelia with classic soul, and his solo debut album, Green Twins, was praised by Pitchfork as “full of life and energy, often operating at a fever pitch.”

Hakim is joined by Rochester, New York’s Danielle Ponder, a vocalist and songwriter whose voice ranks with the best working in the industry today.

Student tickets are $15 to this must see show and you can get them here. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. EDT.

Click here to listen to birnCORE!