TOP 10

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(The Noise publisher/ singer-songwriter)

Top 10 New England Live Acts I Loved in 2016

1. Don White – Poignantly funny with the ability to be heart breakingly serious the next moment.  A true master of the stage.

2. Melissa Ferrick – Super energy and intelligence that transfers to every audience member.

3. The Suitcase Junket – Creative musical Jeti who manages multiple tasks and makes it look easy.

4. Bird Mancini – Two wonderfully talented performers that balance each other’s gifts perfectly. Ruby is the star, Billy is the hidden secret.

6. Doug MacDonald Band – Raw unique rock with hit-you-upside-the-head lyrics.

6. Julie Dougherty – Seasoned grace, spot on performance, with a degree in  connecting with an audience.

7. Geoff Bartley – Dylanesque, mastering natural musical execution.

8. Trick Wallace Trio – Easy flowing rock with r&b leanings.

9. Three Day Threshold – Hee haw party makers and great players.

10. Fil Pacino – Master of the soloist’s looped song.

Honorable Mention:

Occidental Gypsy, Martin & Morell, Charlie Farren, Wishbone Zoe, Lisa & Glenn, Connor Garvey, Whose Muddy Shoes

(The Noise senior editor)

Top Ten Albums for 2016

1. Duke Levine – The Fade Out

2. The Legendary Rich Gilbert  Stereo Action Music & Son of Sam

3. The Wood Floors – Feel the Revolution

4. Pete Mongomery – Baby Sunshine

5. Gladiol – This Year’s Storm

6. Biltmore – Revolutions and Romantics

7. The Forz – Running From the Past

8. Davide Greenberger, Keith Spring, & Dinty Child with Keiichi Hashimoto – Take Me Where I Don’t Know Where I Am

9. Future Carnivors – Melt the Sky

10. The Lincoln Tunnel – Today 2.0

…And some EPS

11. Celebrit Handshake – Celebrity Handshake EP

12. Cold Expectations – Supper Prayers

13. Geoff Pango & Mr. Curt – Cap It Off!

14. Rick Berlin w/ the Nickel & Dime Band – Badville

15. Whirlpools – E.P.

16. Matt York – Boston, Texas

17. Alien Drag – Escape from Alpha

18. Governor – The First Three

(ex-Beat/ ex-Phoenix/ ex- Improper Bostonian/ ex-Herald/  ex-Globe/ ex-Bunratty’s)

Top 10 Super Shows I Saw in 2016

(No Specific Order)

* Jon Butcher Axis, Hirsh Gardner, John Fannon & The Eight Tracks at Johnny D’s, Somerville, MA, on 1/22/16

* Heavy Metal Horns 25th Anniversary at Johnny D’s, Somerville, MA, on 2/26/16

* Peter Wolf at Somerville Theatre, Somerville, MA, on 5/12/16

* The Real Kids, Xanna Don’t, The Classic Ruins, The Hopelessly Obscure, Harlequin, Chelsea Clutch & Linda Viens (Chet’s Documentary Benefit) at Once Ballroom, Somerville, MA, on 5/21/16

* D.K’s Full House at Danny Klein’s 70th Birthday Party, Thunder Road Music Club, Somerville, MA – 5/22/16

* The Duke Robillard Band at The Regattabar, Cambridge, MA, on 6/25/16

* The Fools at Blue Ocean Club, Salisbury, MA, on 7/8/16

* The Dogmatics at Frank Rowe’s 60th Birthday at The Midway, Jamaica Plain, MA, on 8/15/16

* John Davidson at The Center for the Arts in Natick, Natick, MA, on 9/9/16

* Elvin Bishop, The Delta Generators at The Cabot Theatre, Beverly, MA, on 9/15/16

Honorable Mention:

* Threadbear Fynn- The Beehive- South End Boston, MA, on 1/31/16; * Tokyo Tramps, Bob Leger, Club Linehan A Go Go, Yucca Flats Bubba Loaf, Miss Intent, Joey Fingers, Climate Change at Geezer’s Annual Rock and Roll BBQ, The Hillbilly Ranch, Stoughton, MA, on 8/6/16; * Miele, Narrow Waves, Elsewhere, The Great Madness, Fire For Cavemen, The Angry Tides. Miele CD Release Party at The Middle East Downstairs, Cambridge, MA, on 8/18/16; * Aisling Peartree & Shalom at The Middle East Upstairs, Cambridge, MA, on 9/3/16; * Bim Skala Bim, Brighton Music Hall, Brighton, MA, on 9/11/16.

(Minibeast/ Baylies Band)

Top 10 New England Bands

1. Doomsday Student: Doomsday Student is one of the best live bands in the world and put out incredible skronky post-everything albums.

2. 6 Star General: 6 Star General have been one of my favorite bands for about 10 years. The pride of Warren, Rhode Island, they consistently put out fantastic albums almost annually.

3. Lazertuth: the pride of outer space and southesatern Mass. Lazertuth is a modern day Magma.

4. Goon Planet: Providence has produced a lot of great noisy bands over the years, and Goon Planet is the latest in a long line of geniuses.

5. Pyramid: If Blondie or the Pretenders were a little more punk, but kept the great hooks, they would sound like Rhode Island’s Pyramid.

6. Sick Pills: Chris Evil and company have been cranking out punk gems for a long time, but Sick Pills add touches of The Modern Lovers and Cars to the mix.

7. Picniclunch: Picnic Lunch is the new kings of no wave.

8. David Carradine: Providence thrash punks have been destroying stages world wide for over a decade.

9. Ioneye: Newport, Rhode Island’s Ioneye is the solo project of Stephen Lepre, one of the greatest shredding guitar players on the planet.

10. Olneyville Sound System: OSS has been one the pillars of the Providence noise scene for 20 years, but is set apart a little due to the fact that they happen to also write great songs.

(booker at me&thee, Marblehead, MA)

Ten Sweetest Musical Moments

In a year in which many of us experienced campaign fatigue from the seemingly non-stop tirades of actual news and fake news, it was imperative to find solace in some way, shape or form.  Focusing on music helped me through the year.

In no particular order, here are some of my musical highlights of 2016.

Since I volunteer at the me&thee coffeehouse, you can bet that I had many magical experiences soaking in the music, the lyrics, the acoustics, the atmosphere and the community who gathers at this remarkable venue to be one with the music and to be with each other.

1. The Suitcase Junket at the me&thee…  It gives me great joy to bring new and exciting artists to our stage.  Matt Lorenz aka The Suitcase Junket is one such artist.  His passion and his energy combined with his unusual one-man-bandish concert presentation was an absolute delight.  Whether he’s playing his beat-up old guitar which had been discarded in someone’s trash or whether he’s playing his drum kit made up of pots and pans and miscellaneous other objects or whether he’s making his other worldly vocalizations, he’s special.  Not be missed.

2. A double bill with Matt Nakoa and Rachael Kilgour at the me&thee.  Loved how much the audience dug these two newbies to our stage.  Good songwriting is good songwriting and these two are impressive! Matt’s extremely talented on both guitar and keyboards and his songs are memorable and mesmerizing.  Rachael’s emotional songs and winning personality grabs the audience by the heartstrings and never let go.

3. Speaking of good songwriting or in this case… let me say great songwriting… Gretchen Peters at the me&thee was a definite highlight of the year. Gretchen totally blew me and the audience away with some of the most extraordinary songs I’ve heard in a long, long time.  Every song was magnificent.  Every note was perfection.  If you ever have a chance to see Gretchen accompanied by her musical partner and husband, Barry Walsh, do yourself a favor and go.

I could go on and on about a variety of other me&thee shows but I thought I’d expand and move on to other musical adventures in 2016.

4. Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in Hillsdale, NY is one of my happy places.  This year I had a work conflict and missed most of the festival but I was able to haul into the festival grounds late on Saturday and see that night’s acts on the main stage and meander from campsite to campsite til the wee hours.  The Big Orange Tarp site never disappoints and I was so happy that I landed there right before I headed off to sleep.  Chelsea Berry was in great form as she sang her song “I Wonder” accompanied by the luscious sounds of backing musicians playing cello, violin, and guitar.

5. A first time visit to the Amourasaurus Festival in Northampton was a highlight of the summer.  This festival is presented by Signature Sounds, a record label with great credentials. It had been quite some time since I had last seen Lake Street Dive and not only did they demonstrate that all the buzz about them was 1000% correct but they have one of the coolest light shows you can ever imagine.

6. Attending the CT Folk Festival auditions for showcase slots at the festival was a fun and educational experience.  I traveled down to New Haven with Jim Trick after he was selected to audition.  Each act had 15 minutes to show their stuff.  I know Jim well and have been working with him for nearly two years so I knew full well that he can capture the hearts and minds of an audience.  He nailed it at this audition and won the slot with ease.  A proud and happy sweet moment.

7. Hayley Reardon at Club Passim in Cambridge.  Hayley is from Marblehead and has played the me&thee many times. Watching her develop her songwriting skills has been incredible. But more than that, Hayley has matured and grown as a performer. She handles herself like a seasoned pro and as a 19-year-old college student, she has no place to go but up.

8. Peter Mulvey at Stubblebine Lutherie in Somerville.  Any performance by Peter Mulvey is exquisite.  Peter’s shows are flawless.  He plays his guitar with such ease and grace.  His songs keep getting better and better.  His personal and gentle rapport with the audience is heartwarming.  There is nothing artificial about this special man who is a gift to all of us who love music.

9. Martyn Joseph at Old Sloop Coffeehouse in Rockport, MA.  Martyn Joseph’s performances are riveting.  He is one of the most inspiring singer-songwriters I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen a lot of them.  This Welch musician sings what he calls “songs of lyrical intelligence.”  He spend a good deal of time per year working on projects that promote positive change for those nations in need around the world..  I was so moved after this concert that I felt like quitting my day job and running off to follow Martyn in order to make a bigger difference in the world.

10. Listening to music blogs has been a great source of education for me recently.  I highly recommend in which two singer-songwriter blokes from Liverpool, Simon Barber and Brian O’Connor discuss and dissect songwriting with musicians of every kind.  If you like to hear back stories about the composition of songs or about the creative process in general, check out this blog!

(Three Day Threshold)

Top 10 Ways I’ve Failed my Music Career in 2016

10. Did not write any new songs that anyone other than me liked.

9. Still don’t understand the point of twitter.

8. Once again, my band did not win the Rumble.

7. Not enough face time with Jim Zavadoski.

6. Did not die, thus was unable to get a post-mortem resurgence of interest in my music. Similarly, wasn’t able to participate in any major scandals that would attract major media attention.

5. Still have no idea what would be the best medium to release music on.  CDs are good because they can put the music right into their hands, but fewer and fewer people have a CD player now (and CDs costs a lot to make). Downloads cards are likely to get lost or tossed before they even make it to a computer. Seriously, anyone have any good ideas on this?

4. Got Rita confused with Lolita and vice versa.

3. Failed to convince the mainstream pop music market that old, worn out, geezers like myself playing folk music will be the next big thing.

2. Didn’t get to any of those Rock ’N’ Roll Socials hosted at the Model every second Tuesday of the month. I’m fine with the rock ’n’ roll part of these, it’s just being social part which I have difficulty with.

1. Spent too much time searching for hard copies of the latest issues of The Noise.

Catalyst for Creativity)

Top 10 Albums  (* = online only)

1. Bent Knee:  Say So

2. Rabbit Rabbit [Carla Kihlstedt & Matthias Bossi]:  “new music 2015-2016” *

3. Mark Mandeville & Raianne Richards:  Grain by Grain

4. Rick Berlin w/ Nickel & Dime Band:  Badville

5. Amanda Palmer & Jherek Bischoff:  Strung Out in Heaven (a Bowie Tribute) *

6. T Max: Hole in My Shoe

7. Hummingbird Syndicate:  Pop Tricks

8. Erik Lindgren: Bespoke

9. Lucy & the Dreamers:  Lucy & the Dreamers

10. Willie Alexander & the Fishtones:  I’ll Be Goode

Honorable Mention:

Greg Greenway: 20,000 Versions of the Sun

Stellwagen Symphonette [Carla Kihlstedt, Matthias Bossi, Jon Evans]: Embarcadero and Pristine Holiday *

Jim Armenti:  The Poetry of Longing

Ray Mason:  The Shy Requester

The Evenfall Quartet:  The Evenfall Quartet

Brother Sun: Weights & Wings

Ben Levin: Life & Back

Steve Gilligan & Spider Farm:  Dog Patch Garage

Jim Eagan:  Never Too Late

Glenn Jones:  Fleeting

Jeremy Flower [w/ Carla & Matthias]:  The Real Me *

Lowbudget Records Stones Compilation: You Can’t Always Want What You Get

Amanda & Jack Palmer:  You Got Me Singing *

Auva:  Auva

Geoff Pango & Mr. Curt:  Cap It Off!

(Noise writer/ Co-host at Evolvement Radio)

Top 10 New Albums I Heard in 2016

(no particular order)

Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Denial

Muddy Ruckus – Pretty Bones

Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker

And So I Watched You From Afar – Heirs

Bon Iver – 22, A Million

Tigerman WOAH! – Tigerman WOAH!

Pixies – Head Carrier

A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Support

Sand Reckoner – Haunter

Chris Forsyth – The Rarity of Experience 

(Noise writer)

Top 10 CDs of 2016

Shall we all breathe a sigh of relief as we welcome 2017? After having endured the figurative ass kicking that 2016 served up so well, we deserve a fresh start! As music lovers, I think that we can all agree that New England has always been a productive and fertile breeding ground for excellent music. In spite of the negatives of this past year, a lot of really great music sprouted up in 2016, producing an impressive crop which yielded a truly superb “audio harvest” to be grateful for. In this respect, it was a great year. Here are my Top 10 picks for CDs. The list is eclectic, but hey, so am I. Not in any particular order:

1. Sand Reckoner: Haunter –  I love the gritty, psychedelic, dark west vibe laid down on this one. A resounding “YES,” to this from me.

2. Delta Generators: Hipshakers and Heartbreakers –  I must really like “grittiness,” because this album is full of that with its hard hitting blues rock.

3. The Suitcase Junket: What I Want Music – Genuinely unique garage rock. Matt Lorenz is a talented and quirky one man band. Great CD!

4. Ruby Rose Fox: Domestic  – Phenomenal talent! blues/pop/R & B  This CD blew me away! That’s a lot of talent in one artist. One of a kind.

5. Tsunami of Sound: Permanent Wave –   Instrumental surfer/psychobilly fusion. Tons of fun! Think Pulp Fiction.

6. Diablogato: Diablogato  – Kicking music! rockabilly/rock. A definite solid within its genre.

7. Audio Jane: A Full Bird’s Wing – Ghosts of Mazzy Star and more, live within this CD’s tracks. I love it!

8. Julie Rhodes: Bound To Meet The Devil –  Amazingly powerful blues/rock. A voice and guitar work that slay it! So good, it is humbling to hear it.

9. Wishbone: Zoe All These Oddities –  alt/experimental,  really trippy and playful fun for open minds. Great stuff on this CD. Track 3,“Idealism” is a gem.

10. Violent Mae: Kid – a 2015 CD found within The Noise’s reviews.  Trippy alt/rock with here and there airs of etherealism. Music you can drift to. Nice!

So, 2016, aside from “good riddance,” what can I say? It’s definitely been a trip and back, but in spite of that, my sincerest thanks for all of the amazing music!  Because really, where would we be without the music?

(Noise writer)

Top 10 Bands Around Boston

1. Craig Wreck – drummer of arab on radar doing the alt country thing, but good, ya know?

2. Baylies Band – psyche noise avant weirdos for over 20 years

3. Elder – metal gods who are more like kids than elderly and stuff

4. Hairspray Queen – grunge is back and Providence has it

5. Beta Motel – the only good dance band

6. Bad Motherfucker – thin lizzy meets the melvins if they all played like rush

7. Dave Public – noise for you

8. Tapestries – rock to the roll

9. Satellites Fall – feel good vibes for the masses

10. Silks –  more alt rock goodness


TOP 10 — 2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Eric Baylies Top 10 in The Noise | 75ORLESS RECORDS

  2. You folks really should check out the Annual Rat Beach Party where 35 to 45 bands filled with former Boston Kenmore Square Rat musicians perform in order to raise money for young musicians, emphasis on special needs musical students. Last year we raised $3,000 for the youth program! It’s the largest rock n’ roll event in all New England. Over the years, we haven’t seen Noise there — you’re missing it! Presently, we have a monthly concert series ongoing where a youth performance opens the show, followed by three bands of Rat musicians. Here’s the prospective line-up: