UPCOMING SHOWS

Nicole Atkins

JULY 6 @ 7PM | Doors 6:30pm | UPSTAIRS

Bodacious singer-songwriter.

18+

Nicole Atkins put out one of the best summertime records of 2020. Italian Ice was like a postcard from the Jersey Shore in the 1970s -full of warmth, vivid color and a tilt-a-whirl variety of musical grooves wrapped around Atkins’ wonder of a voice. You’d be forgiven if you missed it, as there was a bit of competition from world events. But now there’s a second helping served up in Memphis Ice, a cabaret deluxe style reimagining of the songs.“Italian Icewas one of the first feel-goodrecords that I’ve made,” Atkins says, “and people needed to feel good last year. But of course, like everybody else, I couldn’t go out and play it live.”Resilient and resourceful, Atkins started hosting a variety show from her attic, distributed through Patreon. It was so well-received that Amazon soon picked it up and funded more expansive episodes, shot at Asbury Park’s Paramount Theater,and featuring special guests like Ween and Kurt Vile. Atkins says, “Initially, I thought, ‘We’ve got to figure out a way to keep playing, make some money and give ourselves something to look forward to.’ But the variety show ended up saving our lives.”It also reminded Atkins of where she came from as a singer. “I was doing a song on the show called ‘A Night of Serious Drinking,’” she recalls. “It’s very Dean Martin, very sparse, and it tells a story. I felt really connected to my singing and the story. Whereasthe other songs, I’m caught up in all of the music and rock, rock, rock. So,I thought, ‘How can I make my other songs feel like that?’ And that’s what Memphis Icedid.” Backed by an ace trio of Dan Chen (piano), Laura Epling (violin) and Maggie Chaffee (cello), Atkins cut the album live in one day at Memphis Magnetic studio, simultaneously filming theperformance with painterly shadow and light. The stripped-down, smoky style of both not only brings new emotional vistas to standout songs like “Domino,” “The Captain” and “Forever,” but opens the door even wider to where Atkins would like to go next as asinger. “I always thought about my Judy Garland or Liza Minnelli moment coming later in life,” she says with a laugh. “But after we finished that day of recording, I had so much fun just singing and was so in the moment, I thought, ‘I want to do that sooner, I want to do that for my next record.’ I want to make a record of standards that are new ifthat’s possible. Songs that make you feel like you’re singing ‘Stardust,’ but you’re not. I kept thinking that on my first record, Neptune City, the songs felt old, but they were new. Why can’t there be new songs that feel like the old standards?”And so, what Atkins calls “the happiest of accidents” has turned her pandemic year around with a new album, a film, an upcoming tour,and an exciting vision of a musical future that reconnects her with her beginnings. “I love rock music, but the way I really like to sing is long notes,” she says. “And you can really only do that over pianos and more orchestral-type arrangements. I can try all these different styles and put on different outfits with production. But at the end of the day, it comes back to me and my voice.

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Hello In There: A Celebration of John Prine

JULY 7 @ 8PM | Doors 6:30PM | UPSTAIRS

John Prine!

18+

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Drip Ship Afterparty w/ Ogeaz & Section D

JULY 8 @ 10PM | Doors 10PM | UPSTAIRS

Off the boat and into the club.

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The Broken Heels ('80s covers)

JULY 9 @ 8PM | DOORS 7PM | UPSTAIRS

Your favorite ’80s tunes performed by The Broken Heels.

 

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Press Room Presents: Railroad Earth @ Cisco Brewers Portsmouth

JULY 10 @ 7PM | Doors 6pm | CISCO BREWERS PORTSMOUTH

Press Room Presents the Cisco Summer Series: Railroad Earth

A brother leaves this world too soon. A trip down U.S. Highway 61 ends in a deluge of biblical proportions. A retreat to the Big Easy results in its own flood of inspiration. A new chapter begins. These moments and many more fade in and out of focus on Railroad Earth’s seventh full-length album, All For The Song.

Don’t miss a night of “Jamgrass” with the celebrated New Jersey septet—Todd Sheaffer [lead vocals, acoustic guitar], Tim Carbone [violins, electric guitar, vocals], John Skehan [mandolin, bouzouki, piano, vocals], Carey Harmon [drums, percussion, vocals], Andrew Altman [upright & electric bass], Matt Slocum (organ and piano), and Mike Robinson (banjo, guitar, steel) as they chronicle the twists and turns of their journey through eloquent songcraft, bluegrass soul, and rock ‘n’ roll spirit.

“Perhaps, it represents the journey we’ve been on for twenty years as a band and as a family,” observes Carey.

“I will always remember these sessions as a time of healing and reflection,” adds Andrew.

“What threads the record together?” ponders Todd. “Nostalgia, sadness, and a lot of great moments to sing along to.”

For over two decades, Railroad Earth has captivated audiences with gleefully unpredictable live shows and eloquent and elevated studio output. The group introduced its signature sound on 2001’s The Black Bear Sessions. Between selling out hallowed venues such as Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO, they’ve launched the longstanding annual Hangtown Music Festival in Placerville, CA and Hillberry: The Harvest Moon Festival in Ozark, AR—both running for a decade-plus. Sought after by legends, the John Denver Estate tapped them to put lyrics penned by the late John Denver to music on the 2019 vinyl EP, Railroad Earth: The John Denver Letters. Beyond tallying tens of millions of streams, the collective have earned widespread critical acclaim from David Fricke of Rolling StoneAmerican SongwriterGlide Magazine, and NPR who assured, “Well-versed in rambling around, as you might expect from a band named after a Jack Kerouac poem, the New Jersey-built jam-grass engine Railroad Earth has let no moss grow under its rustic wheels.” 

In 2018, Railroad Earth bid farewell to founding member Andy Goessling who passed away from cancer. His shadow loomed over the process as the guys retreated to New Orleans for the first time to record.

“From the beginning, the vision was more than just the music,” states Todd. “We looked at this like a ‘destination’ record. Our past records were all made close to home or, in fact, at home. Andy’s passing was very much in the center of our thoughts and our hearts in the writing and recording of this album. Things were so shaken up that we thought it’d be a benefit to go away from all of the distractions and be together. In New Orleans, there is great food and there are great spirits to be shared. I’ll leave the music part of the equation for others to judge, but we surely succeeded in making the bonding part of the vision come to fruition!”

Another first, they recorded with Anders Osborne behind the board as producer. It might’ve been the gumbo, but the guys seamlessly absorbed the homegrown flavors of the Big Easy by osmosis, incorporating horns, blues harmonica, and the producer’s own perspective and guitar playing.

“His enthusiasm is contagious,” exclaims Carey. “There are five producers in this band, so a strong-willed voice from the outside is usually pretty essential. Anders was the voice.”

Todd agrees, “He brought a pure and striving soul, unforgettable laugh, rich palette of emotion, a great stash of guitars and amps, philosophical driftings, freedom, unguarded honesty, warmth, and love.”

The band paved the way for the album with “The Great Divide,” “It’s So Good,” and “Runnin’ Wild.” Beyond those initial singles, the record picks up steam on “Blues Highway.” Over dusty acoustic guitar, hummable fiddle, and a banjo pluck, Todd recounts a particular road trip down Rte. 61, which ended in “the most downpour of rain I’ve ever experienced.

“We had a show in Natchez, so I decided to make my own adventure out of the trip,” he recalls. “I flew to New Orleans, rented a car, and drove up the Blues Highway like a tourist, stopping and touring the old plantations and blues honky-tonks. I was smelling the river and the refineries. On my return to New Orleans, I drove into what might’ve been a hurricane with intense and terrifying lightning to boot. In the dead of night, I gave up trying to inch down the road, pulled over, and waited it out. The trip seemed like a parallel for my life at the time and inspired the song.”

The epic “Driftin’ The Bardo” hinges on one of the final recordings of Andy on ukulele and high-strung guitar. It slips into a poignant piano-driven crescendo punctuated by cinematic strings.

“As we were recording it, ‘The Bardo’ came to represent Andy’s transition,” reveals Tim. “It was an emotional experience.”

Clocking over eight minutes, “Showers of Rain” unfurls as a “psychedelic excursion” complete with an improvised jam, guitar solo by Anders, a dreamy string section, and imagery “inspired by a strange 19th century novel called Green Mansions.

“We all have those moments when we feel visitations and remember loved ones we’ve lost,” Todd observes. “In New Orleans, Andrew shared with us the night previous he’d had a visit from Andy in his sleep. At my house, we have a cardinal who taps on the window, and my wife think It’s her mom. These are the thoughts in the middle of the song where I ask, ‘Was that really you?’

The album culminates on the wistful “All For The Song” as the final refrain, “All of the heartache, all that’s gone wrong, all for the moment, all for the song, rings out before a harmonica passage.

“It’s a bit painful to contemplate or talk about, to be honest—as are a couple other tunes on this record,” confesses Todd. “The song says way more than enough, I believe.”

In the end, Railroad Earth brings listeners closer than ever on All For The Song.

“We want audiences to connect to the album,” Carey leaves off. “We hope they’re as moved by the music as we were making it.”

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Harsh Armadillo Presents: The No Clique Sessions

JULY 13 @ 8PM | Doors 7:30pm | UPSTAIRS

Your next sweat dream. High octane funk from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. 

Life is complicated. People are complicated. Finding solace in a gas station sandwich is complicated. Everyone gets emotional the moment before they bite on an extended warranty offer. Don’t worry about it. A day is rarely punctuated by the risk you didn’t take. 
 
The No Clique Sessions are a live music series presented by members of Harsh Armadillo, featuring musical collaboration with our favorite artists from around the Northeast. Kill your TV, microwave your iPhone, and come take a risk on making a Wednesday night memory or two.

Rose Alley

JULY 15 @ 9PM | Doors 8pm | UPSTAIRS

RIYL: Jerry Garcia.

Celebrating the music of Jerry Garcia. Based in southern Maine, Rose Alley features an all-star cast of musicians including Kevin Roper on hammond organ, piano and vocals, vocalist-guitarist Aaron Nadeau, drums and vocals from Neil Carroll and Drew Wyman on bass. The band re-creates and re-imagines the original and cover songs performed by Jerry Garcia and his solo band throughout the years. Rose Alley tows the line of authenticity while adding plenty of their own flair from the combined experiences of the members. Three part harmonies and jams that go to 11 add to the sonic pleasure of a Rose Alley concert! They have built a strong local following that is beginning to spread throughout New England.

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DJ James 808: Dead Disco

JULY 16 @ 10PM | Doors 10pm | UPSTAIRS

Dark beats for spooky souls.

DJ James 808 (OVERDRIVE, Boston/PYRAMID Club, NYC) brings his DEAD DISCO dance party back to The Press Room in Portsmouth, NH.

We’ll be spinning the best in Modern Post Punk, Disco Goth, New Wave, Synthwave, Dark Italo, and New Beat to keep you moving all night long.

Recommended for fans of Boy Harsher : Depeche Mode : Korine : Nuovo Testamento : Male Tears : Black Marble : Riki : Cold Cave : FM Attack : Drab Majesty : She Past Away: New Order: Bauhaus: Vandal Moon : Siouxie and the Banshees : Glass Spells : Boy Harsher : Pet Shop Boys : Betamaxx : Joy Division: Cause & Effect : Skinny Puppy : Tones On Tail : House Of Harm: The Cure: Chromatics : Maxthor : ACTORS : Ladytron : The Presets : Nation of Language : OMD : Nitzer Ebb: Ministry: European Ghost: Void Vision : Wingtips : Makeup and Vanity Set : Das mörtal . . . and many more!

Visit us at:

Dead Disco

https://www.facebook.com/DeadDiscoNightclub

DJ James 808

https://www.facebook.com/DJJames808

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Sunday Night Jazz: Staci Griesbach

JULY 17 @ 6PM | Doors 5pm | UPSTAIRS

LA-based jazz vocalist comes to Portsmouth.

Staci Griesbach is a Los Angeles-based vocalist bringing together her passion for Country Music and Jazz as she specializes in reimagining the Great American Songbook of Country Music in the style of Jazz. Griesbach’s Songbook series features the music of Patsy Cline, Shania Twain, Dolly Parton, and her most recent full-length album, My George Jones Songbook. Rolling Stone lauded Griesbach’s first single “Walkin’ After Midnight” off her 2019 debut album My Patsy Cline Songbook as “a gorgeous jazz interpretation.” DownBeat magazine gave her George Jones album a four-star review and has said “Griesbach achieves her aim of paying tribute not through imitation, but by exploring new possibilities through new artistry.”

Griesbach has performed at iconic venues including Carnegie Hall, Birdland, the Country Music Hall of Fame, Catalina Jazz Club as well as Rudy’s Jazz Room and the Nashville Jazz Workshop. In 2021, Griesbach launched Songbook Singles™, a signature line of music honoring the classic Great American Songbook standards and 20th century composers, songwriters and artists. Griesbach is currently touring in support of her Songbook series.

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Diaspora Radio: Honky Château

JULY 21 @ 9PM | Doors 8pm | UPSTAIRS

Stu and the gang take on the classic ’72 album from Sir Elton.

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Bella's Bartok

JULY 23 @ 6:30PM | Doors 6pm | UPSTAIRS

The Nightmare Before Christmas meets Rocky Horror…in July.

All little children grow up, one day — all except the bedazzled and glittered band of Bella’s Bartok. Inspired by elements of Vaudeville, centuries of street performance, and an unyielding drive to promote camaraderie, Northampton, MA-based Bella’s Bartok delivers a passionate kaleidoscope of sound dubbed as “foot stomping freak folk”. The songs are born of Americana and folk music of their immigrant grandparents, blended with the joy of a particular brand of pop sensibility. Their performances are at once a primal stand against oppression and a declaration of joy in the face of adversity. From quiet reflections on loss, to the howl of justice in four-part harmony, Bella’s Bartok sonically and lyrically delivers a sweaty, soulful dance-party that is sure to leave the audience happily breathless.

Started in the dimly lit alleyways of Great Barrington, MA, Bella’s Bartok gradually evolved from street-punk performers to an electric, brass-filled, accordion-based spectacle that has continued to entertain audiences for nearly a decade. The band has shared the stage with musicians and acts such as Rubblebucket, Red Baraat, The Indigo Girls, Larry & His Flask, The Suitcase Junket, Andy Frasco & The U.N., And the Kids, TOO MANY ZOOZ, Consider the Source, Rough Francis, Meat Puppets, World Inferno/Friendship Society, Jenny and the Mexicats, Rupa & the April Fishes, Arc Iris, and many more. Find Bella’s Bartok on a variety of stages, at a myriad of festivals, or on the street across the continental United States. Audiences often pick up on the band’s main influences such as Goran Bregović, Frank Zappa, Mr. Bungle, System of a Down, Tom Waits and Oingo Boingo.

If you’ve never listened to Bella’s Bartok, stop what you’re doing right now. Run to the nearest computer and listen to their uproarious, joyful, eclectic sound. The band plays a mesmerizing mix of Eastern European, Americana, punk, and pop music. Their live shows are theatrical, “a mix of The Nightmare Before Christmas and the Rocky Horror Picture Show” says frontman Asher Putnam. “We are the night and you are bound to boogie.” So, do yourself a favor, practice a little self care, throw your societal inhibitions to the wayside and let yourself get lost to the tune of Bella’s Bartok — before the tumult of daily life rears its ugly head once more.

Floors may be broken but hearts will be mended.

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Sunday Jazz Brunch: Grace Marie Wallace

JULY 24 @ 12PM | Doors 11AM | UPSTAIRS

Come brunch with us and a fantastic singer.

All ages (kids 12 and under free)

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Marjorie Senet & The Broken Home Boys

JULY 24 @ 6PM | Doors 5PM | UPSTAIRS

You ain’t got a thing if you ain’t got that twang.

18+

Come party at the Press Room to celebrate the official release of “Break the Habit”, the second full-length album by Marjorie Senet and the Broken-Home Boys, on Sunday July 24, 2022 at 6PM.

Marjorie Senet will take you on an emotional journey of love and loss, set to twangy, rocking, classic country/American roots music. Raised on music from a Seeberg jukebox, her influences range from Etta James and Brenda Lee to George Jones.

“Her down-home voice and sweet songs of heartbreak might as well have come straight from the Ryman Auditorium days of the Grand Ole Opry.” Said Scott Heron of Folk New Hampshire.

Music writer Chris Hislop of Seacoast Online said, “It’s hard to find music from another era sound so fresh in contemporary times. Senet nails it. Sad subject matter makes for the finest of songs.”

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Harsh Armadillo Presents: The No Clique Sessions

JULY 27 @ 8PM | Doors 7:30pm | UPSTAIRS

Your next sweat dream. High octane funk from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. 

Life is complicated. People are complicated. Finding solace in a gas station sandwich is complicated. Everyone gets emotional the moment before they bite on an extended warranty offer. Don’t worry about it. A day is rarely punctuated by the risk you didn’t take. 
 
The No Clique Sessions are a live music series presented by members of Harsh Armadillo, featuring musical collaboration with our favorite artists from around the Northeast. Kill your TV, microwave your iPhone, and come take a risk on making a Wednesday night memory or two.

Dueling Pianos

JULY 28 @ 8PM | Doors 7pm | UPSTAIRS

The popular piano battle returns to the Press Room for a raucous evening.

Dueling Pianos is a fun, live music concept that is perfect for your party, wedding reception, corporate event or night club! We provide a lively, interactive show which appeals to audiences of all ages and musical tastes. Songs can range from classic crooners all the way to today’s pop hits (with pretty much everything in between!). Better still, the set list is request­ driven so your audience is able steer the show to their liking with no two shows being exactly the same. We can even get your guests on stage and involve them in our “shenanigans”! This will surely be an event that will be remembered.

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GoldenOak

JULY 30 @ 7PM | Doors 6:30pm | UPSTAIRS

Sweet roots music from the great state of Maine.

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David Rivera y la Bambula

JULY 31 @ 6PM | Doors 5:30PM | UPSTAIRS

Soulful lyrics, contemporary urban grooves, and folkloric rhythms of the Latin Caribbean.

18+

David Rivera sprang from Puerto Rico as a recording artist, composer and arranger with roots in Latin, Jazz, Gospel, Rock and Pop. He’s performed and recorded with Miguel Zenón, Pedro Capo, Obie Bermudez, Luis Enrique, Jerry Medina, William Cepeda, Gonzalo Grau and Mango Blue. A seasoned music educator and alumnus of Berklee College of Music,

Rivera fosters the next generation by serving on the faculty of Boston Arts Academy and the youth programs of Berklee and his home town of San Juan.

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Speedy Ortiz

AUGUST 1 @ 8PM | Doors 7PM | UPSTAIRS

Supreme indie rock.

All Ages

“Necessary brattiness” is the motto for Speedy Ortiz’s dauntless new collection of songs, Twerp Verse. The follow-up to 2015’s Foil Deer, the band’s latest indie rock missive is prompted by a tidal wave of voices, no longer silent on the hurt they’ve endured from society’s margins. But like many of these truth-tellers, songwriter, guitarist and singer Sadie Dupuis scales the careful line between what she calls being “outrageous and practical” in order to be heard at all.

“You need to employ a self-preservational sense of humor to speak truth in an increasingly baffling world,” says Dupuis. “I call it a ‘twerp verse’ when a musician guests on a track and says something totally outlandish – like a Lil Wayne verse – but it becomes the most crucial part. This record is our own twerp verse, for those instances when you desperately need to stand up and show your teeth.”

Twerp Verse was tracked in Brooklyn DIY space Silent Barn, mixed by Omaha legend Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, Rilo Kiley) and mastered by Grammy-nominated engineer Emily Lazar (Sia, Haim, Beck). The record pulls from the most elastic pop moments in Squeeze’s Argybargy and the seesawing synth-rock of Deerhoof and the Rentals. With Dupuis on guitars, vocals, and synths, supporting guitarist Andy Molholt (of psych pop outfit Laser Background) now joins Speedy veterans Darl Ferm on bass and Mike Falcone on drums – and together they accelerate the band’s idiosyncrasy through the wilderness of Dupuis’ heady reflections on sex, lies and audiotape.

Dupuis, who both earned an MFA in poetry and taught at UMass Amherst, propels the band’s brain-teasing melodies with her serpentine wit. Inspired by the cutting observations of Eve Babitz, Aline Crumb’s biting memoirs, and the acute humor of AstroPoet Dorothea Lasky, Dupuis craftily navigates the danger zone that is building intimacy and political allyship in 2018. Now as public pushback against the old guards reaches a fever pitch – in the White House, Hollywood and beyond – the band fires shots in disillusioned Gen Y theme “Lucky 88,” and casts a side-eye towards suitors-turned-monsters in the cold-blooded single “Villain.” Closing track “You Hate The Title” is a slinky traipse through the banality of this current moment in patriarchy – in which survivors are given the mic, but nitpicked over the timbre of their testimonies. “You hate the title, but you’re digging the song,” Dupuis sings wryly, “You like it in theory, but it’s rubbing you wrong.” Tuned smartly to the political opacity of the present, Twerp Verse rings clear as a bell.

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Vieux Farka Touré

AUGUST 2 @ 8PM | Doors 7pm | UPSTAIRS

The Hendrix of the Sahara makes a stop in Portsmouth.

Often referred to as “The Hendrix of the Sahara”, Vieux Farka Touré was born in Niafunké, Mali in 1981. He is the son of legendary Malian guitar player Ali Farka Touré, who died in 2006. Ali Farka Touré came from a historical tribe of soldiers, and defied his parents in becoming a musician. When Vieux was in his teens, he declared that he also wanted to be a musician. His father disapproved due to the pressures he had experienced being a musician. Rather, he wanted Vieux to become a soldier. But with help from family friend the kora maestro Toumani Diabaté, Vieux eventually convinced his father to give him his blessing to become a musician shortly before Ali passed.

Vieux was initially a drummer / calabash player at Mali’s Institut National des Arts, but secretly began playing guitar in 2001. Ali Farka Touré was weakened with cancer when Vieux announced that he was going to record an album. Ali recorded a couple of tracks with him, and these recordings, which can be heard on Vieux’s debut CD, were amongst his final ones. It has been said that the senior Touré played rough mixes of these songs when people visited him in his final days, at peace with, and proud of, his son’s talent as a musician.

In 2005, Eric Herman (still Vieux’s manager today) of Modiba Productions expressed an interest in producing an album for Vieux; this led to Vieux’s self-titled debut album, released by World Village in 2007. Ali Farka Touré’s work to tackle the problem of malaria is continued as 10% of proceeds are donated to Modiba’s “Fight Malaria” campaign in Niafunké through which over 3000 mosquito nets have been delivered to children and pregnant women in the Timbuktu region of Mali. On this first album, Vieux pays homage to his father and follows Ali’s musical tradition, giving new versions of the West African music that is echoed in the American blues. The album features Toumani Diabaté, as well as his late father.

On his second record, Fondo on Six Degrees (2009), Vieux branched out and presented his own sound: while remaining true to the roots of his father’s music he uses elements of rock, Latin music, and other African influences. The album received a great deal of critical acclaim from across the globe, and Vieux was clearly moving out of his father’s shadow.

By June 2010, Vieux was performing at the opening concert for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. That month Vieux also released his first live album, LIVE. His live performances are highly energized and Vieux is known for dazzling crowds with his speed and dexterity on the guitar, as well as his palpable charisma and luminous smile, both of which captivate audiences from all audiences in spite of any language barriers (though Vieux does speak 8 languages).

In 2011 Vieux released his 3rd studio album, The Secret, so named because the listener will hear the secret of the blues with a blend of generations from father to son. It was produced by guitarist Eric Krasno (of the Soulive trio) and features South African-born vocalist Dave Matthews, Derek Trucks on electric slide guitar and jazz guitarist John Scofield. The title track is the last collaboration between Vieux and his late father. With the heralded release of The Secret, Vieux Farka Touré has clearly established himself as one of the world’s rare musical talents and guitar virtuosos with a distinct style that always pays homage to the past while looking towards the future.

Vieux released The Tel Aviv Session (Cumbancha) in April 2012, a collaborative project with Israeli superstar Idan Raichel dubbed ‘The Touré-Raichel Collective’ that has been hailed by fans and critics alike as a masterpiece and one of the best collaborative albums in the history of international music, drawing comparisons to Ali Farka Touré and Ry Cooder’s legendary Talking Timbuktu album.

In 2013, Vieux Farka Touré’s beautiful and critically acclaimed album Mon Pays was released as an homage to his homeland. Being that his native Mali had recently been splintered by territorial fighting between Tuareg and Islamic rebels since January 2012, Mon Pays was devoted to reminding the world about the beauty and culture of his native Mali. Translated as ‘My Country,’ this predominantly acoustic undertaking transformed into an artifact of cultural preservation. Two songs on the project – ‘Future’ and ‘Peace’ feature Sidiki Diabate’s kora leading an emotional charge complemented by Touré’s spectacular guitar work. Both tracks represent an important generational “passing of the torch” as Sidiki’s father, Toumani is considered one of the greatest living kora masters and was a close friend of Vieux’s father Ali. Mon Pays has been widely hailed as the most mature and lovely record yet from one of this generation’s most exciting artists to come out of Mali and one of world music’s true rising stars.

Vieux reunited with Idan Raichel in Paris to record, release and subsequently tour their 2nd collaborative album as The Touré-Raichel Collective in 2014. The result was yet another musical and critical triumph, titled ‘The Paris Session’ (Cumbancha) revered by many as not just a musical gem for the ages, but a powerful testimonial to the power of art and fraternity to transcend vast cultural and political divides. In 2015, Vieux released another unexpected, genre-bending collaborative album, this time with New York-based singer Julia Easterlin, aptly titled ‘Touristes’. The album shot to the top of the iTunes World chart and earned critical acclaim, including that of John Schaefer (NPR) who called it “brilliant.” On April 7, 2017, Vieux released his next album ‘Samba’, recorded live in front of a small audience at Applehead Studio in Woodstock, NY.

When the COVID pandemic hit in 2020 and all touring ground to a halt, Vieux stayed focussed on his craft at home. He worked tirelessly in the studio he built at his family’s compound (which he named ‘Studio Ali Farka Toure’ in honor of his late father) to record his debut album for World Circuit Records/BMG, the prestigious UK-based record label with whom his father recorded and released most of his own work. The resulting album, ‘Les Racines’ (due out June 2022), sees Vieux masterfully return to the deep roots of the Desert Blues music that his father introduced to the world and Vieux spent most of his career to date exploring, experimenting with, and expanding. With each new project Vieux broadens his horizons, embraces new challenges and further entrenches his reputation as one of the world’s most talented and innovative musicians.

As a passionate champion for the people of Mali and The Sahel, Vieux founded the charity Amahrec Sahel in 2012. As part of Amahrec Sahel’s mission to support humanitarian reconstruction and culture, the charity has provided school supplies for children, supported an orphanage in Bamako and provided musical instruments for young musicians in Mali. Vieux is also the director of The Ali Farka Touré Foundation, an international organization dedicated to the preservation of Ali’s legacy and the cultural growth of Mali.

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The Bad Plus

AUGUST 4 @ 8PM | Doors 7pm | UPSTAIRS

The Bad Plus are back.

The Bad Plus are the ultimate originals. A democratic unit with a clear vision and a refusal to conform to convention. For the past two decades they have played with spirit and adventure, made their own rules and done so with a bold sense of creativity and intent. Avoiding easy categorization, The Bad Plus has won critical acclaim and a legion of fans worldwide with their unique sound and flair for live performance.

Now in their 21st year, The Bad Plus continues to push boundaries as founding members Reid Anderson (bass) and Dave King (drums) embark on a new piano-less incarnation of the band with Ben Monder (guitar) and Chris Speed (tenor saxophone) – instigating a new wave of excitement and anticipation within the band that is re-energizing their sound and inspiration. The Bad Plus have constantly searched to bridge genres and techniques while exploring the infinite possibilities of exceptional musicians working in perfect sync.

The Bad Plus is set to release their 15th studio recording and debut self-titled album as a dynamic new quartet via Edition Records on Friday, September 30th. “Evolution is necessary for life and creativity,” say Dave King and Reid Anderson. “We’ve evolved, but we’re still The Bad Plus.”

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The Broken Heels: Live Band Karaoke

AUGUST 5 @ 8PM | Doors 7pm | UPSTAIRS

It’s Karaoke! With a band!

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Press Room Presents: Juice @ Cisco Brewers Portsmouth

AUGUST 7 @ 7PM | Doors 6pm | CISCO BREWERS PORTSMOUTH

Cisco Brewers Summer Series featuring: JUICE

Juice was set up for an exciting 2020 following years of non-stop touring and the release of two EPs. With a trio of new singles in hand, the band – Ben Stevens, Christian Rose, Daniel Moss, Kamau Burton, Michael Ricciardulli, Miles Clyatt and Rami El-Abidin – was set to embark on their largest headline tour to date. The 2020 tour, of course, was cancelled.

After spending three months apart (the longest the band had ever been separated since college) the boys were grateful to reunite and start creating something special. The mandatory respite from touring allowed for the band to embrace writing a longer project. For the Summer months of 2020, the band lived in an AirBnb in Bloomfield, CT, where they wrote the majority of the songs that would become Boy Story. The experience solidified the band’s strategy for the rest of 2020: hunker down in medium-term rentals and bring the project to life.

For the next phase of the creative process the band chose the relative isolation of Killington, VT. They set up a makeshift studio in their basement and got to work bringing the songs on Boy Story to the finish line. Throughout the Fall the band recorded the bulk of their project, experimenting with new production elements in collaboration with producer Dean Gray.

The final chapter of Boy Story took place in Orleans, MA. The band took residence in the Cape Cod town during the Winter of 2021, deep in the off season. With the majority of the music complete, the band turned their creative efforts towards developing the visual world of the project. An empty barn on the property served as the location for a full-on content studio and music video set. Filmmaker Logan Regnier and the band brought a music video series concept to life with a lot of hard work and the help of some friends.

By the end of this journey the band was ready for a more permanent living situation. Juice moved to Brooklyn, NY in the Spring of 2021. The rollout of Boy Story begins with leadoff single “Superimposed” – an upbeat track that sits somewhere between alternative rock, synth-pop, and hip-hop. Juice will also resume touring with the Boy Story tour, beginning this Fall.

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The Toasters w/ Joystick

AUGUST 8 @ 8PM | Doors 7pm | UPSTAIRS

Pick it up, Pick it up.

“In my opinion, The Toasters are to ska in America the 1980s and beyond what The Specials were to ska in the U.K. in the late ’70s and early ’80s, and what the Skatalites were to ska in Jamaica in the 1960s. The Toasters were innovators, creators, shapers of the music, evolving it in a fresh direction, blending it with the cultural influences in a very American manner, and I mean that in a completely complimentary way. Just as Byron Lee & the Dragonaires brought professionalism and polish to ska, allowing others to benefit from the fruits of their labor, so too did the Toasters’ music allow numerous other bands to share in the spotlight of skill and success, many of whom have gone on to great heights. Upon the shoulders of giants.

Oh, yeah, and they kick ass!” -Heather Augustyn, Author of SKA , An Oral History

After nearly 4 decades, The Toasters are hitting the gas, not the brakes. With an international all-star line-up their whirlwind global tour continues unabated across the continents. Performances are scheduled in South America, Asia and Russia on top of regular touring in the USA, Europe and Canada.

Formed on the Lower East Side of NYC the band is the longest running US SKA formation. They bridge the gap between England’s 2-Tone movement and the American Ska explosion of the 90’s which they are rightfully credited with starting. During the 3rd Wave Ska revival The Toasters formed the famous Moon Records label and kick-started the careers of dozens of bands.

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Gymshorts

AUGUST 9 @ 8PM | Doors 7pm | UPSTAIRS

Punk n’ Roll.

All Ages

GYMSHORTS is from Rhode Island and like the band’s home state frontwoman Sarah Greenwell is a petite powerhouse that marches to the beat of her own drum. Endearingly rebellious, fiercely independent, and hellbent on causing a commotion, Greenwell embodies the kind of rambunctious unpredictability that has personified some of pop culture’s most legendary troublemakers; a little bit Bart Simpson, a hint of Kevin McCallister, and a dash of Dennis The Menace form the inspirational foundation of

GYMSHORTS’ particular brand of punk n roll, smoked to perfection in the back of Jeff Spicoli’s van.

GYMSHORTS are a sarcastic grin and a pair of bloodshot eyes behind pitch-black Wayfarers in the back row of class, a best friend and a bad influence all rolled into one. GYMSHORTS takes musical cues from a deep well of sources, with touchpoints that range from trailblazing new wave punks The Nerves to sassy turn of the millennium bad girls The Donnas tossed into a creative woodchipper with midcentury surf guitar and wooly, flannel wrapped grunge. The resulting sound is ragged and raw and immediately magnetic, rough and tumble with the kind of lived-in authenticity of a scuffed-up pair of skate shoes. A sturdy platform for the band’s unabashedly unique identity that is equal parts bratty and wise, tightly wound and poised to launch in nearly any direction at a moment’s notice.

Blistering speed and high-octane thrills characterize a GYMSHORTS’ live set, like a juiced-up NASCAR laying a righteous burnout in the winner’s circle, a springy mosh of unbridled exuberance that has earned the band coveted spots supporting Death Valley Girls, Tacocat, La Luz and many others on tours stretching across the globe from Texas to Thailand. As buoyant ambassadors of plucky stick-it-to the-man attitude, GYMSHORTS never fail to leave crowds sweaty and satisfied in the aftermath of a ferocious blitzkrieg bop, decimating eardrums in a whirlwind of maximum volume sonic debauchery with an enthusiastic heart of gold. GYMSHORTS’ catalog is available on Bandcamp and your favorite streaming platforms. Pick up their LPs and 7”s at your local record store and don’t miss an opportunity to party hard with GYMSHORTS when the band comes to your city.

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Harsh Armadillo Presents: The No Clique Sessions

AUGUST 10 @ 8PM | Doors 7:30pm | UPSTAIRS

Your next sweat dream. High octane funk from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. 

Life is complicated. People are complicated. Finding solace in a gas station sandwich is complicated. Everyone gets emotional the moment before they bite on an extended warranty offer. Don’t worry about it. A day is rarely punctuated by the risk you didn’t take. 
 
The No Clique Sessions are a live music series presented by members of Harsh Armadillo, featuring musical collaboration with our favorite artists from around the Northeast. Kill your TV, microwave your iPhone, and come take a risk on making a Wednesday night memory or two.

Heart Attack Ack Ack Ack Ack Ack (Billy Joel Covers)

AUGUST 12 @ 7PM | Doors 6PM | UPSTAIRS

The Piano Man returns. Sort of.

Seating is first come, first serve.

Heart Attack Ack Ack Ack Ack Ack is a Billy Joel cover band based in Boston, paying tribute to one of the most successful solo artists of all time. Anchored by a professional dueling pianist and lifelong Billy Joel fan, the band’s dynamic live shows focus largely on Billy’s more rocking mid-70s to early-80s output and have been converting ‘too cool for school’ Billy Joel doubters one by one, while giving lifelong fans a chance to sing along with their favorites at the top of their lungs.

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The Wolff Sisters w/ Caroline Cotter

AUGUST 13 @ 7PM | Doors 6:30pm | UPSTAIRS

Rootsy Americana.

18+

The Wolff Sisters is fronted by three sisters – Rebecca on acoustic guitar, Kat on the keys, Rachael on electric guitar, and all three on lead vocals and harmonies. Raised on the songs of The Band and Little Feat, the sisters crafted their sound around a honky tonk piano in the living room of their childhood home. New England Music Awards Winner for Americana Artist of the Year 2021 and Boston Music Award winner for Americana Artist of the Year 2020, the band’s electrifying live performance continues to gain momentum and recognition from their hometown of Boston and beyond. Their music is honest and genre defying, but still rooted in traditional rock and Americana storytelling.

With a captivating soprano voice and award winning songwriting, Caroline Cotter’s songs take listeners all over the world and into the depths of the human heart. Since her debut album, “Dreaming as I Do”, released and reached #5 on the Folk DJ Charts in 2015, Caroline has performed over 800 shows in 45 states and 13 countries. Currently touring to support her second major release, “Home on The River”, No Depression calls it “sweet and smooth, and downright refreshing… raising spirits with one song, calming them with another.” Icon Magazine writes, “Her well-constructed songs bring to mind the early work of Mary Chapin Carpenter.” “Today’s folk scene has a new champion, one who encapsulates the sweetness, serenity and sophistication that has always made the genre so affecting in such a timeless manner. In that regard, ‘Home on the River’ is an absolutely essential record.” (Country Standard Time)

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Press Room Presents: Pink Talking Fish @ Cisco Brewers Portsmouth

AUGUST 14 @ 7PM | Doors 6pm | CISCO BREWERS PORTSMOUTH

Cisco Brewers Summer Series featuring: Pink Talking Fish

Pink Talking Fish is a Hybrid Tribute Fusion Act that takes the music from three of the world’s most beloved bands and creates a special treat for fans of the music.

Pink Floyd, Talking Heads and Phish are all more than just bands… they are Phenomenons. Their creations have artistically inspired people and their mindblowing live performances have brought people together to form a special sense of community around the love for their favorite band.

Although the music from each act is different, Pink Talking Fish has discovered that fusing the material together creates an amazing story. The epic emotion of Pink Floyd…. The funky, danceable layerings of Talking Heads…. The multitude of styles, unique compositional structures and pure fun of Phish…. to merge these three into one gives music lovers a special experience.

Pink Talking Fish features Eric Gould on bass, Richard James on keyboards, Zack Burwick on drums and Cal Kehoe on guitar. This is a band created by musicians who love the music of these acts. It’s purpose is to heighten people’s passion for this music by creating something fresh and exciting for fans.

Discovering connections is part of the fun: Pink Floyd’s “On The Run” seamlessly fitting in the middle of the composition of Phish’s “You Enjoy Myself”. Perfectly placing Phish’s “Sand” into the groove of Talking Head’s “Slippery People”. Segued collections from all three acts such as Run Like Hell > Making Flippy Floppy > Piper > Run Like Hell or Mike’s Song > Have A Cigar > Once In A Lifetime > Weekapaug Groove. These ideas are the spirit behind Pink Talking Fish.

The story is ever evolving. The experience is always exciting. Come join Pink Talking Fish for the ultimate fusion tribute and celebrate the love of this music in unique fashion.

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Harsh Armadillo Presents: The No Clique Sessions

AUGUST 24 @ 8PM | Doors 7:30pm | UPSTAIRS

Your next sweat dream. High octane funk from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. 

Life is complicated. People are complicated. Finding solace in a gas station sandwich is complicated. Everyone gets emotional the moment before they bite on an extended warranty offer. Don’t worry about it. A day is rarely punctuated by the risk you didn’t take. 
 
The No Clique Sessions are a live music series presented by members of Harsh Armadillo, featuring musical collaboration with our favorite artists from around the Northeast. Kill your TV, microwave your iPhone, and come take a risk on making a Wednesday night memory or two.

Ted Leo

AUGUST 26 @ 9PM | Doors 8:30pm | UPSTAIRS

An evening with the venerable indie rocker.

Ted Leo is one of the finest songwriters of our generation, even if it’s not entirely clear what generation that is. Starting in New York Hardcore with Citizen’s Arrest, making the ‘90s safe for power-pop and Weller-esque hair with Chisel, then singing our turbulent lives like we were smarter than we were with The Pharmacists, and most recently providing equal parts sweetness and solace with Aimee Mann as The Both, Ted never let us down. And now, seven years after The Brutalist Bricks, he has a new solo album. And it’s wonderful.

The songs on The Hanged Man, recorded at a home-studio-in-transition in Wakefield, RI, with Ted playing almost all the instruments, are some of the finest and most finely wrought of Ted Leo’s career. Ted describes the time working on the album as one of “personal desolation that felt fallow but was actually very fertile” and, indeed, lyrically, The Hanged Man is suffused with hope of sorts but crushingly heavy. The concerns addressed, whether personal trauma or the national disaster we’re all currently existing in, matched with the range and vitality of the songcraft is inspiring, even uplifting.

The Hanged Man offers the sharp bursts of skinny tie pop-punk fury one would expect from Ted—and even these feel streamlined like never before—but they are offset with an adventurousness in both tone and structure. The intention was to upend expectations but, on songs like the bookends of “Moon Out of Phase” and “Let’s Stay On The Moon,” the intention never gets in the way of the result. There’s no strain of effort in songs that are unlike anything Ted has done previously. The Hanged Man is a career high, born through industry soul sickness, nausea-inducing crisis, and a talent that feels like secular grace.

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The Press Room & Cisco Brewers Present: Ripe @ Cisco Brewers Portsmouth

AUGUST 27 @ 7PM | Doors 6pm | CISCO BREWERS PORTSMOUTH

On a primal level, we react to music through movement.

A head-nod, a foot-tap, or a handclap certainly shows appreciation, but dancing seals the eternal bond between audience and musician. Siphoning the spirits of rock, funk, R&B, jazz, and pop through a kaleidoscope of unpredictable and virtuosic improvisation, Boston-based Ripe consistently bring people to their feet. Most importantly, they prove that “dance music” in its purest form doesn’t have to come from computers and synthesizers. It can be an unstoppable groove or an extended moment of ecstatic release. Like those bodies moving on the floor, it’s the result of the energy, friction, and communication between living and breathing people. An inimitable and indefinable chemistry has separated and singled out Ripe since day one. Subverting any and all standard genre boundaries once again, their latest offering confidently continues that tradition. These five musical soulmates —Robbie Wulfsohn [vocals], Jon Becker [guitar], Sampson Hellerman [drums], Calvin Barthel [trombone], and Nadav Shapira [bass]— once again incite listeners to move on their full-length debut, Joy In The Wild Unknown. “What we make is music you can dance to,” affirms Robbie. “We’re drawn to the peak of a song—the emotional catharsis when everything comes out. It’s all about reaching that moment. The revelation comes back to us when bodies shake with joy.”

“Every time we play, something unique happens,” adds Jon. “You’ll never see the same show twice. We want to bring that unexpected element into the pop sphere.”

Ripe brings the swagger of funk filtered through a rock anthem, a musical journey that somehow gets as stuck in your head as your favorite pop banger.

Formed during their Berklee College of Music days, the boys have built a rabid fan base through tireless gigging and a steady stream of music. Following their debut collection of songs, Produce The Juice EP, the 2015 Hey Hello EP yielded fan favorites “Goon Squad,” which clocked over 4 million Spotify streams. The band then raised the stakes with their debut album, Joy In The Wild Unknown, which represented a creative journey as Ripe became a national presence. The band tapped the talents of producer Cory Wong of Vulfpeck behind the board. Additionally, five-time GRAMMY® Award winner Joe Visciano [Mark Ronson, Adele, Beck, Coldplay] mixed the music, while mastering came courtesy of Randy Merrill [Lady Gaga, Lorde, Imagine Dragons, Taylor Swift]. Over the course of twelve songs, it finds the elusive sweet spot between jaw-dropping technicality and airtight songcraft as Ripe collectively kick off a fresh, focused, and fiery next phase. Averaging over 250K monthly listeners on Spotify, the group landed looks from the likes of WXPN, Huffington Post, Verge CampusBoston Globe and Hype Machine love from sites like Ear to the Ground and Indie Obsessive. Along the way, they also hit the stage at festivals such as BonnarooFirefly, McDowell Mtn Music Festival, SweetWater, Bottlerock, Electric Forest, Levitate, High Sierra, LaureLive, Sea.Hear.Now and Summer Camp.

The common thread would always be the translation of their individual interplay to their audience, one that Ripe views as not just fans, but old and new friends; an extended family that is rapidly growing as their sound spreads and their world deepens. Ripe gives the same weight to happiness as is often given to sadness. Their music signifies

more than just a distraction from your troubles for a few hours – it’s an experience of connection and acceptance; a warm welcome into their world. In the end, this Joy is shared by an ever-growing community that’ll be dancing every time Ripe roll through town.

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The Word Barn Presents: Darlingside w/ Francesca Blanchard

SEPTEMBER 7 @ 8PM | Doors 7pm | UPSTAIRS

The Word Barn and The Press Room join forces to present a special, intimate evening with indie folk quartet Darlingside.

If Darlingside’s first album, Birds Say (2015), focused on the past through nostalgia, and their second, Extralife (2018), contemplated uncertain futures, Fish Pond Fish stands firmly in the present, looking at what’s here, now. Dave Senft (bass), Don Mitchell (guitar, banjo), Auyon Mukharji (violin, mandolin), and Harris Paseltiner (cello, guitar) have created a natural history in song—taking us into gardens, almond groves, orchard rows, down to the ocean floor, and under stars.

The band has long been praised for their harmonies and intelligent songwriting, described by NPR as “exquisitely-arranged, literary-minded, baroque folk-pop,” and their dynamic presence (crowded tightly together onstage) have made them a live-performance favorite. But this album showcases their broader storytelling abilities: nature is a looking glass, the songs suggest. An experience of nature is an experience of self; an experience of self is one of natural change cut and complemented by stasis.

The band started studio recording Fish Pond Fish in late 2019, when they moved into Tarquin Studios — the residential studio of Grammy Award-winning producer Peter Katis (Interpol, The National). Living and working together brought them to their very early years under one roof in Hadley, Massachusetts, which had seeded the origins of their intimate collaboration. At Katis’s suggestion, many components of the initial demos were preserved as layers in the produced tracks to retain the spirit of the initial recordings, resulting in a collection of songs that is simultaneously the most bedroom-tracked and production-heavy full-length album that the band has yet released.

—–

Francesca Blanchard is a French-American singer-songwriter & producer based in Burlington, Vermont. Her work blends soaring pop arrangements with complex emotional subtleties – most recently demonstrated in her critically acclaimed 2020 full-length album “Make It Better” and its “Redux EP” follow up, both co-produced with fellow Vermonter and musical collaborator Christopher Hawthorn; a record that redefined Blanchard’s sound and style since the release of her 2015 debut bilingual LP “Deux Visions,” which catalyzed national and international touring opportunities in the early stages of her career. Her work has been featured on WBUR’s syndicated program “Here and Now,” Los Angeles NPR music affiliate KCRW, and on a number of hit tv shows including Grey’s Anatomy, Workin’ Moms, and Trinkets. When Francesca isn’t on stage or in the studio, chances are she’s hiking a mountain somewhere.
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The Word Barn Presents: Darlingside w/ Louisa Stancioff

SEPTEMBER 8 @ 8PM | Doors 7pm | UPSTAIRS

The Word Barn and The Press Room join forces to present a special, intimate evening with indie folk quartet Darlingside.

If Darlingside’s first album, Birds Say (2015), focused on the past through nostalgia, and their second, Extralife (2018), contemplated uncertain futures, Fish Pond Fish stands firmly in the present, looking at what’s here, now. Dave Senft (bass), Don Mitchell (guitar, banjo), Auyon Mukharji (violin, mandolin), and Harris Paseltiner (cello, guitar) have created a natural history in song—taking us into gardens, almond groves, orchard rows, down to the ocean floor, and under stars.

The band has long been praised for their harmonies and intelligent songwriting, described by NPR as “exquisitely-arranged, literary-minded, baroque folk-pop,” and their dynamic presence (crowded tightly together onstage) have made them a live-performance favorite. But this album showcases their broader storytelling abilities: nature is a looking glass, the songs suggest. An experience of nature is an experience of self; an experience of self is one of natural change cut and complemented by stasis.

The band started studio recording Fish Pond Fish in late 2019, when they moved into Tarquin Studios — the residential studio of Grammy Award-winning producer Peter Katis (Interpol, The National). Living and working together brought them to their very early years under one roof in Hadley, Massachusetts, which had seeded the origins of their intimate collaboration. At Katis’s suggestion, many components of the initial demos were preserved as layers in the produced tracks to retain the spirit of the initial recordings, resulting in a collection of songs that is simultaneously the most bedroom-tracked and production-heavy full-length album that the band has yet released.

—–

Louisa Stancioff, originally from Chesterville, ME now based in Camden, ME, has been playing and writing music since she was a kid. Her songs are of the folk genre, and often tell stories based in personal experience, embellished with fictional narrative and magical elements to more thoroughly convey reality.

Her electric guitar playing and dynamic arrangements with her band, Dave and Dan Kelly, exhibit a more contemporary version of “folk”. Dave and Dan are brothers from the Blue Hill Peninsula and have been playing in bands together since they were kids. They started accompanying Louisa in the fall of 2021 and have since toured with her all over New England. You can listen to Louisa’s previous band, Dyado, anywhere, or her recently released solo EP Tape Recordings on Bandcamp.

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Thick w/ special guests Skating Polly & Bad Waitress

SEPTEMBER 11 @ 8PM | Doors 7pm | UPSTAIRS

Joyous punk rock.

All ages

Since first forming in 2014, New York trio THICK have triumphed at turning the harshest truths into wildly exhilarating punk songs. On their second album Happy Now, vocalist/guitarist Nikki Sisti, vocalist/bassist Kate Black, and vocalist/drummer Shari Page deliver their most complex and confessional work yet, exploring everything from self-sabotage and insecurity to victim-blaming and destructive relationships. Raw, irreverent, and brutally honest, Happy Now ultimately offers both joyful catharsis and much-needed instruction for living well in turbulent times.

“Most of our songs lean toward optimism, even when there’s a lot of pain in them,” says Sisti, who refers to THICK’s output as a “living diary.” “It’s not about toxic positivity or trying to force yourself into happiness; it’s about recognizing that it’s okay to feel a whole spectrum of emotions, and then getting to the other side and really growing from your experiences.”

The follow-up to 5 Years Behind (a 2020 release praised by Under the Rader as a “dazzling debut album…laced with anger, humor, killer guitar riffs, and soaring punk melodies”), Happy Now finds THICK working again with producer Joel Hamilton (Iggy Pop, Juiceboxxx) and recording at Studio G Brooklyn. In a profound evolution of their previous work, the 11-track album encompasses sharper arrangements and stickier hooks and a more explosive energy—an effect often achieved through the sheer force of their three voices singing in unstoppable unison.

Kicking off with a glorious bang, Happy Now opens on the frenetic urgency of “Happiness”: a dizzying yet incisive track that sets THICK’s self-reflection to a fantastically breakneck rhythm. “That song’s about the different ways we seek validation, and how whether you look for it externally or internally, it’s never an easy process,” says Black. “In the end, it’s about being more aware of where we’re trying to find happiness.” With its brilliant back-and-forth between riotous shouting and impossibly sweet harmonies, “Loser” arrives as a thrilling celebration of hopeless imperfection, cleverly twisting its closing lyric into an unlikely mantra (“I’ll always be a loser”). “Especially in music, it’s so easy to feel like a loser and a fuck-up,” says Page. “We want people to know that it’s okay to mess up and that everyone’s a loser sometimes. It’s really the best way to live, instead of trying to be number-one all the time.” And on “Tell Myself,” Happy Now slips into a wistful mood as THICK tenderly impart insight to their younger selves. “As you get older, you sometimes look at your little-kid self and wish you could give them a hug and tell them everything’s going to be okay,” says Black. “It’s not about minimizing life experiences, but a reminder that you’re stronger than you think and that—despite what it feels like in the moment—there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

True to the egalitarian spirit of the band, THICK take a highly collaborative approach to their songwriting without ever sacrificing the intimacy of their lyrics. In the writing of the heavy-hearted “Disappear,” for instance, Sisti lifted directly from her journal in telling the story of “loving someone who gets lost in their own head, and how painful that can be.” Meanwhile, on “Her Chapstick,” Page opens up about a struggle in her own relationship. “It has to do with the experience of a partner seeking external affection,” she says. “It’s about navigating the feelings of why a partner is sharing themselves with someone else when you are right there.”

All New York State natives, THICK’s three members first crossed paths through shows at Brooklyn’s DIY/all-ages spaces and soon became a mainstay in that very scene. Since signing to Epitaph in 2018—and making their label debut with their self-titled third EP the following year—the band has dramatically expanded their reach and toured all over the country, including a 2021 run with punk legends Flogging Molly and Violent Femmes. But even as their fanbase grows exponentially, THICK thrive on forging an uncommonly close connection with their audience. “Getting to share our songs with new people and build community in places we’ve never been before has been the most fulfilling experience for us,” says Black. “We want to leave everyone smiling from ear to ear and get them moving around and hopefully look up at us and say, ‘Oh, I can do that. I’m gonna start my own band now.’”

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Myriam Gendron

SEPTEMBER 19 @ 8PM | Doors 7pm | UPSTAIRS

RIYL: Quiet contemplation, stormy afternoons, pale sunbeams, interpreting and re-interpreting, women with secrets.

All Ages

Born in Ottawa in 1988 and raised between the province of Quebec, Washington D.C. and Paris, Myriam Gendron settled in Montreal at the age of sixteen, where she currently makes her living as a book dealer.

In 2014, she released Not So Deep As A Well, a nine-track album made from poems by Dorothy Parker that she set to music. The critically-acclaimed record, released by Feeding Tube Records and Mama Bird Recording Co., was picked for many best-of-the-year lists. Richard Meltzer wrote that Not So Deep As A Well, “is the hottest—and FINEST!—Impossible Love collection in, I dunno, 30 years.”

Seven years later, in 2021, Myriam Gendron released Ma délire — Songs of love, lost & found, a very modern exploration of North American folk tales and traditional melodies. The bilingual double album of 75 minutes, released on October 1st 2021 by Feeding Tube Records and Les Albums Claus, is very well received by local and international musical critique.

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King Kyote & Love By Numbers

SEPTEMBER 23 @ 9PM | Doors 8pm | UPSTAIRS

Just like you saw on the TV.

Harken to a night of whiskey drinking in a cabin among the pines, King Kyote echoes the yells of Rock & Roll’s forefathers while having a deeply rooted harmony with the Blues, Americana, and Roots Rock N Roll genres. King has shared stages with the likes of Taj Mahal, The Record Company, Robert Cray, Rich Robinson and Houndmouth. King Kyote performed live on NBC’s new hit show “American Song Contest” in March of 2022, representing his home state of Maine. King’s latest single, “Get Out Alive” was released on Atlantic Records and had over 120K streams across multiple platforms within the first two weeks.

King’s love for his craft & incendiary live performances make him an artist not to be missed.

“I like the way he holds his own, his vocal tone and his penmanship” – Snoop Dogg

“So many people can relate to his message” – Kelly Clarkson

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