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Bryce Rudow is a freelance political/pop-culture journalist and he likes music. You can send all hatemail to [email protected] and tweet vitriol at him @brycetrudow/please follow him @brycetrudow.


Hi! Big stuff this week so let’s get to it after a list of things for you to Follow like lemmings:

– The Tunes You Should Know In 2014 Spotify Playlist

– Me, on Twitter

– Me, on Pinterest (tons of good writing, zero good recipes)


  • San Fermin – Casanova 

San Fermin’s music is no stranger to this column, but last Saturday, Ellis-Ludwig Leone and Allen Tate played the most important performance of their career…

They knew it too. My girlfriend Mollie had been killing time with the band backstage at Black Cat before the performance and she told me that when Allen came up to say hi and shook her hand, it was drenched with sweat.

Who could blame them though? They knew this was big.

But I was there. Mollie and I sat front row and can personally attest that Allen, as he polished off the final lines of ‘Casanova,’ his foot tapping gingerly while he assured us he would prepare a place for us, had pulled it off.

Surrounded by candlelight and presumably still in shock, Mollie almost had tears in her eyes when she asked me, “What is this?” in that way that people ask when they don’t really need to know what something is. I could barely comprehend it myself. It was so surreal that it’s still hard to believe it was actually happening.

With no one else around us save Lindsay, my trusty photographer, and the two rock stars on stage, the Red Room’s side stage felt massive when I got down on one knee and replied, “This is me asking to marry you.”

Then there was kissing, and crying, and ring-putting-onning and I’ve already stretched the limits of your cynical patience enough, but just know that San Fermin (or at least just Ellis and Allen) will never be able to top that one.


Alright fine, here’s some notes from the actual show later that night:

– The new album stuff sounds absolutely incredible. Ellis wrote the first album basically alone at a writer’s retreat, but it’s immediately apparent that he’s both been influenced by having a band around him and has a better understanding of the weapons at his disposal.

– They replaced female lead-singer Rae Cassidy with someone named Charlene Kaye. I’m not sure if her vocals match up to Rae’s yet (Black Cat’s sound is notoriously shitty), but for mere stage presence alone you have to consider this an upgrade. Charlene was growling out some of the lyrics and jumping on top of shit. It was awesome.

– I just wrote about saxophonist Stephen Chen’s side project Great Caesar the other week, but he might secretly have been the MVP of this show. Granted he was one of the few musicians miced properly (again, thank you Black Cat sound guy), but he absolutely took over the show at times. It’s hard to get a crowd to go nuts over a saxophone solo, but Stephen did it at least thrice. Go Stephen.

Thank you again to Ellis and Allen and Stephen and Dante Ferrando at Black Cat and Lindsay Hogan and Molly Majorack and Michael Wilde and everyone else who helped me pull this one off. It was the best day of my life.


  • Seinabo Sey – “Younger” and “Pistols at Dawn” 

As a 27-year old man with a full beard and a fiancee (wow it’s fun to say that word now), I’m not too embarrassed to admit I’m not particularly adept at keeping up with the exponentially growing landscape of indie female pop singers. That means, however, that when something does break through and catch my eye (i.e. Ryn Weaver), it’s usually pretty damn good.

And Seinabo Sey is pretty damn good.

“Younger” is a home-run. In fact, it’s one of those songs that I knew before I even knew it was her, which is always a pleasant surprise, and considering there are 600,000 plays for this song on Soundcloud I’m probably not the one. That “younga, younga, younga,” sounds a little familiar, right? Great call throwing that snare line in there too.

“Hard Time” is that necessary down-tempo anthemic chant that can simultaneously go after fans of songs as ‘heavy’ Kate Boy’s “Northern Lights” and as ‘pretty’ as Florence and the Machine.

And “Pistols at Dawn” is the clincher. It feels like anyone can write “Younger” if they give a million monkeys a million copies of Ableton, but not a lot of people can pull of “Pistols at Dawn.” This isn’t just syrupy; it’s fierce, it growls. This isn’t MIA’s cute gun fingers in the air; this is a gunslinger with an itchy finger. Is it bad that it’s the kind of song I wish Merril Garbus had come out with on her sophomore record instead of most of Nikki-Nack?

Keep your eyes peeled for more from this Swedish soul-pop singer. She’s pretty damn good.


  • Future Teens – “Girlfriend on a Gap Year”

Future Teens are 1/2 Magic Man (Gabe Goodman) and 1/2 Novel Ideas (Daniel Radin)

I don’t know Novel Ideas (yet), but Magic Man is a band I would like to officially claim is underrated because they’re all kinds of super talented but they’re still getting grouped with similar but less-talented acts. When I brought this position up to All Things Go’s Adrian Maseda the other day he assured me, “They’re pretty well known at this point. Got a very strong fan base that goes ga-ga for them. Co-headlining 9:30 club with Smallpools,” which basically proves my point right there.

But Future Teens seems to be an escape from all that.

It’s grungy, it’s messy, it’s quirky –all very un Magic Man things — and as Gabe told Sound of Boston, “Future Teens is our musical analog to coming home after a long day’s work, loosening our ties and watching Jeopardy.”

I dig it.


  • Broken Social Scene – Live At Radio Aligre FM in Paris

I’ve written about the glorious Facebook music group I pilfer music from constantly before but holy hell did it come through earlier this week.

Previous “Aural Fixations With Friends” guest-writer Peter Collins posted Broken Social Scene’s “All In All” with the tag ‘surprised to find i like this band even more now than i did back in the day.‘ As a huge Broken Social Scene fan myself, it made me smile to read he had re-discovered them. Then, I scrolled down and saw that he and Ben Wormald knew something I didn’t:

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 11.37.24 AM

I clicked.

I listened.

Magical is the world.