Our Winter Music Guide may be my favorite of all seasons.Spring and Fall bring a symbolic sense of change and turmoil. Summer usually produces an idyllic soundtrack.It’s all fine and fun, but just somethingabout a certain stoicism, a winter music release lacking in other seasons.
There’s a melancholy feeling of longing for some compelling music to fill the emptiness after a hectic holiday season, and there are usually plenty of releases that go unnoticed. I personally get that kind of enjoyment from crouching in the cold and washing away the stress of work, bills, post-holiday real life harsh slaps with a good record and a drink. As I type this, I’m sitting next to a glass of cheap red wine listening to Todd Rundgren’s Healing, Part 2. 1, I felt like I could ride on clouds and drift into space.
The album I got for the 2023 Winter Guide is filled with similar joy. Not in the Todd Rundgren way, but in the Stoicist way. Every time I release it, I feel like I’ve been through a lot of hardships to get it to where it is now. Each release is full of experimentation and bold imagination. On the main stage, there’s his DIY indie mastermind fused with Southern Gothic hip-hop, local bluegrass favorites and gritty Boston expat favorites, a fascinating conceptual exploration of black roots and American history. So if what I said speaks to you, have a glass of wine and lift like me.
On London-based Rozi Plain’s warm fifth album, ‘Prize’, she asks a few simple yet many questions. Want more? then where are you? These questions are subtle, layered, and deliciously harmless, and a fitting metaphor for dynamic, textured music. On the bubble-like “Painted The Room,” Plain shows her acceptance with a shrug. Its gurgling synths and her hushed delivery contrast with the song, which she describes as “a sort of celebration from a sticky situation set back.”
Songwriter Madeleine Stoltz alias Bobby Lovesong makes music that seems imported from another era. Her debut album On the Wind combines crunchy, lo-fi production, keyboards her drums samba her groove, and her airy vocals to create a mid-1960s counter for an easy listening of her culture. The sound is reminiscent of French influences bordering the Lovesong performed, recorded and mixed the album while living communally in Taos, New Mexico, a process that undoubtedly left her with an innate sense of desert isolation and the psychedelics that accompanied it. Music like this can only be found deep inside her bin of retro bargains.
Grammy-winning roots artist Fantastic Negrito (from Massachusetts) is never short of concept. For one thing, his latest album, Grandfather Courage, is an acoustic reconstruction of his acclaimed 2022 album, White Jesus Black Problems, and he’s his seventh-generation grandparent. , is his rock gospel blues based on the true story of a white indentured grandmother. I enslaved my black grandfather in 18th century Virginia. “Grandfather Courage” brings the tumultuous energy of its predecessor to a daring tempo, reimagining modern gospel to its laborious roots.
Mile Twelve “As Close As You Can Hear”
Continuing Boston’s longstanding bluegrass tradition, Mile 12 is back in the fold with “Close Enough To Hear.” Sandwiched between fiddle and mandolin, the quintet feels fully fleshed out and realized, coloring American tales and foot-stomping Heartland tunes with hermetic three-part harmonies and plenty of tearing licks. I have. Keep an eye on the Mile Twelve. They are a big addition to the New England bluegrass scene.
Beat Awfuls’ Dave Vicini is the first of two Bostonians on this list who finds solace in the fuzzy comfort of lo-fi. Inspired by hi-fi-abandoned pop greats like The Velvet Underground and her Violent Femmes, the now Richmond, Virginia-based songwriter delivers “PAWS.” Most of all I hear the impact of the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Don’t be fooled. Despite his best efforts, “PAWS” could be his album covertly pop.
Pyle “All Fiction”
For about a decade or so, there was a time when people connected in Boston’s underground music scene knew a common phrase: “Rick from Pile.” I’ve heard it all the time, usually referring to the triumph released by the Rick in question, Rick Maguire, in his resolutely intense, boundary-pushing solo project-turned-rock-band pile. was The group’s discordant symphonic His Eight his album All Fiction is the pinnacle of what Pyle has been trying to achieve since its inception. Composing equally crystalline soundscapes and jerky post-rock, Pyle continues to make rock music that rejects the very notion of it. That’s why we always love piles.
Everything from Atlanta’s Algiers visual aesthetic to their music is meant to inspire resistance. The jerky “Shook” delivers an unwavering sense of dystopia, both in its message and in its hardened, dissonant hip-hop spirit. Their latest single, “Irversible Damage,” featuring Rage Against the Machine’s Zack De La Rocha, best illustrates the album’s intensity. It’s a haunting trap beat, clashing synths, and a bluesy lead vocal that’s as frenetic as a protest riot.