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music review: Full Circle Commonwealth Women Up Front

commonwealth women up front.full circle

Full Circle Commonwealth Women Up Front
Static Motor Recordings

–review by Amy Steele

Do you feel that you aren’t that familiar with new bands and artists around Boston? I know that I’ve lost touch with the local music scene. Not that I was ever “in” the scene but I knew lots of bands in the 90s. So oldster that I am now, this GenXer gets excited to discover local artists like Petty Morals, Will Dailey, Telectrix and Freezepop. This 10-track compilation Full Circle Commonwealth Women Up Front developed through a SoundCloud group for indie music in Boston. There’s another site I don’t spend enough time on. Everyone’s on Facebook and I just don’t spend enough time there. Yes, I listen to links that publicists send me but I don’t spend the time browsing the site as I should. Spotify is my go-to and I’ve discovered lots of cool music there.

If you read my website you know that I support women in music and women in the arts and women all around. Women to the front! These days I mostly listen to female solo artists and female-fronted bands. This compilation features Massachusetts women– an eclectic mix of solo artists and female-fronted bands. If, like me, you want to support women in music and women in the arts then check out this collection. Discover some new artists. All these singers and bands excel in writing cool, gorgeous songs. They showcase vocal range and musical prowess. Impossible not to listen to it from start to finish again and again and again. Every song impresses with its songwriting, composition and ability to move, soothe or groove.

Here’s the track listing with my thoughts:

1. Imani Sherley – “I Will Go In Waves”
–gentle. emotive folk from this Smith College student

2. Marriage Material – “Fresh Air”
–60s-inspired electro-pop, extremely catchy and high-energy. female-fronted band composed of: Chelsey Reynolds [vocals]; Beck Goguen [vocals]; John Lieneck [keyboard/synth]; Matt McCarthy [drums];
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3. Electric Wave Inspection Bureau (feat. Kate O’Connor) – “Packets”
–serious EDM. deep beat, quirky and spirited. reminds me of Stereolab.

4. Rachel Thomasin – “Laurels”
–achingly, heartbreakingly gorgeous. lovely vocal range. this singer/songwrier uses a variety of sampling and instrumentation in her mesmerizing arrangements.

5. Aüva – “Into Place”
–shimmery retro-dream pop with sweet female-male vox harmonizing.
members: Miette Hope [keys/vocals]; Jack Markwordt [guitar/vocals]; Jake Levine [guitar/vocals]; Michael Piccoli [drums]; Andy Metzger [bass]; Austin Birdy [percussion]

6. Satellite Sound – “Sunday”
— grungy guitar rock, muffled sounds, strong vocals. reminiscent of 90s bands That Dog or Velocity Girl. members: Danielle Mishkin [vocals/keys]; Michael Miller [guitar]; Jamie Martini [bass]; Levi Ali [drums]

7. Pleasure Garden – “In Death”
–dark, ethereal, dreampop. in the vein of Chelsea Wolfe or Bats for Lashes. duo of Anne Bennett and Ryan Lord.

8. A/J\E (feat. Ada Obieshi) – “Unknown”
–complex arrangements. heartfelt and powerful in its instrumentation and range. Vocals remind me of Valerie Forgione of Mistle Thrush [my forever-favorite Boston band].

9. And Then There Was One – “Dawn”
–pretty, lilting vocals. Melody effectively moves from lulling guitar to churning guitar. solo project of Stevie Caldwell.

10. Six Times Seven – “One of These Days”
–Stevie Caldwell possesses an absolutely gorgeous voice and can shred on guitar. impressive. upbeat pop with this band composed of: Stevie Caldwell [singer/guitar]; Ron Levine [bass] and Dave Zimmerman [drums]
Full Circle Commonwealth Women Up Front is currently available as digital stream or download. Support local music!

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STEELE INTERVIEWS: Petty Morals

petty morals

This Salem, Mass. all-girl electro-pop band with punk edginess has quickly become my new favorite local band. The shows exude energy, attitude and fun. Catchy songs with a mix of sweetness and kick-ass brashness. Female empowerment through and through.

Petty Morals are:

Taiphoon – lead vox
JC – lead vox
Chrissy V – guitar, backup vox
Ivahna Rock – bass, backup vox
LoWreck – drums
Allison Wonderland – keys

Tai Heatley [Taiphoon] answered a few questions.

Amy Steele: How did Petty Morals get together?

Taiphoon: Chrissie T (Ivahna Rock) and Lauren (LoWreck) were in a Joan Jett cover band. One day, they were listening to music at practice and a Metric Song came on. They both loved that kind of music and Lauren wanted to start a band that had that Metric sound. It was a far stretch from the punk bands they were in. They thought long and hard about how they wanted to put the band together. They knew it had to be all women. Feelers were put out and a band was formed.

Amy Steele: What makes you work well as a band?

Taiphoon: With us, there is no bickering and there’s no power struggles. From writing songs to picking out stage outfits, it’s all a big democracy.

Amy Steele: What is the best thing about being in a band?

Taiphoon: The free booze and babes. Just kidding…slightly. I enjoy creating music that makes people move. Being able to get on stage and connect with your audience. That feeling is powerful.

Amy Steele: There still aren’t many all-girl/all-female bands out there. why do you think there are fewer all-girl bands or even back-up musicians?

Taiphoon: We don’t really see it that way, probably because we tend to surround ourselves and seek out other female musicians.

Amy Steele: What all-girl bands do you admire?

Taiphoon: Of course, The Go Go’s and The Bangles. The Runaways, The Veronicas, Shonen Knife, Sleeter Kinney, The Donnas

Fun Fact: Much like Jem and The Holograms, Petty Morals has an alter ego band called GoBang. We’ve been booking shows and playing covers of The Go Go’s and The Bangles.

Amy Steele: What makes a good song?

Taiphoon: It’s gotta have a catchy hook and a great memorable lyrics. Ivahna Rock is great at coming up with perfect one-liners for our songs. She thinks of something and we write a whole song around it.

Amy Steele: Your shows are awesomely fun and high energy. How do you prepare for a gig? Any pre-show rituals?

Taiphoon: We practice and drill the sets frequently. Usually before a show, we sacrifice a virgin and do mad shots of whiskey. 😛

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