Graham Nash Q&A

Rock legend talks music, photography and politics

Though he’s happy a live re-recording of his first two solo albums is doing well, Graham Nash often wishes that the music on 1971’s Songs For Beginners and 1974’s Wild Tales didn’t still resonate the way it did in the Watergate era. A vocal opponent of the previous administration — he has an upcoming record with a track called “Golden Idol” aimed at proponents of the “Big Lie” — Nash isn’t optimistic about the country he became a citizen of in 1979.

“I’m pleased that my music seems to have lasted a couple of decades, but at the same time it’s a pain in the ass that we have not learned from our history,” he said by phone recently. “I think what I’m seeing now, unfortunately, is the fall of the American Empire. I think that we are completely divided as a people, and a divided nation can’t last very long.”

Nash is a two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, with his first band The Hollies, and with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Despite their acrimonious 2016 breakup, the supergroup reunited earlier this year to demand that Spotify remove their music in protest of Joe Rogan, who frequently hosts vaccine deniers and Covid-19 skeptics on his podcast.

In early July, CSNY was back on Spotify. The interview with Nash happened earlier, on June 24. At that time, he spoke of steps taken by the streaming service that hint at reasons for the group’s eventual reversal. “They have put genuine Covid-19 information on a million podcasts and that is a great step forward,” he said. “They’re now recognizing that people like Rogan and his guests were spreading misinformation and disinformation.”

Last November, Nash published a book of photographs called A Life In Focus. His passion for pictures dates back to the first one he took, of his mother, in 1953, and learning darkroom technique as a child from his father. The shot of his mom, in repose and unaware of her son’s camera, is among the collection’s best.

Pictures of icons like Joni Mitchell, David Crosby, Jackson Browne, even ’60s supermodel Twiggy, are equally candid. It’s the only way, asserts Nash. “Having had probably hundreds of thousands of photographs taken of me, I know … the face that you put on because you want to look cool,” he said. “I give that face sometimes when people are taking pictures of me [and] I don’t like that face. So my best portraits of people are taken when they have no idea that I’m there.”

Nash also has a skillful eye for street scenes, like a shot of a well-dressed woman staring into the window of an expensive jewelry store as a homeless man sleeps mere inches from her. “I use a camera to capture surreal moments that happen in front of me,” he said. “Which they seem to do a lot.”

That said, he believes social media trivializes the art. “There are [millions of] smartphones in this world and maybe only a hundred photographers,” he said, adding, “I don’t use my camera as my memory. I don’t want a picture of me in Mickey Mouse ears at Disneyland, I don’t take pictures that match my couch, or kittens with balls of wool. I don’t take landscapes — I’d rather remember the landscape.”

He loves gear — an IRIS 3047 printer he bought in 1989 for his company Nash Images is now in the Smithsonian — and he also enjoys playing with the process of photography. There’s a distinctive shot of fellow musician Dave Mason in the book that’s basically a smudged Polaroid, taken in his suite at New York’s Plaza Hotel in the mid-1970s. “In those days, if you had a ballpoint pen, a sharp instrument or something, you could move the emulsion around,” he explained. “As a matter of fact, Elton John just bought that picture.”

Politics are intertwined with both his music and photography. In the Wild Tales track “Prison Song,” Nash alludes to his father spending a year in high-security lockup for unknowingly buying a stolen camera from a co-worker to give him as a gift. It made Nash a lifetime foe of unjust authority, along with his ire at being spanked by his school principal for ditching class to buy Bill Haley concert tickets in 1958.

With him at the Haley performance was best mate Allan Clarke; the two would later start The Hollies. Years later, they’re working together again, on Clarke’s solo record. “I’m very pleased to be able to sing with Allan after all this time,” Nash said. “He had to leave the Hollies because he had throat trouble, but it may have been psychosomatic … his excuse to be able to leave. Because right now, he’s singing very well.”

Nash has no regrets about skipping school that day. The experience both confirmed, to quote his 2013 autobiography, that “justice was malleable and subjective … too much politics involved,” and launched him on a lifetime of music. “The truth is … I’ve lost houses, and I’ve lost relationships; I have not lost my ticket to that show. I have it in my wallet as we speak.”

An Evening with Graham Nash
When: Wednesday, July 20, 8 p.m.
Where: Colonial Theatre, 609 Main St., Laconia
Tickets: $50 to $100 at

Featured photo: Graham Nash. Photo by Amy Grantham.

The Music Roundup 22/07/14

Local music news & events

On the strip: Taking a stylistic break from his Bearly Dead lead singer duties, Michael Butler takes to the street to perform Frank Sinatra covers, setting up on a stage outside a downtown bar-restaurant. Along with classics like “Fly Me To The Moon” and “Strangers In The Night” will be a smattering of covers from Rat Pat icons like Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr., a different twist from Butler’s usual jam band moves. Thursday, July 14, 8 p.m., 603 Bar and Grill, 1087 Elm St., Manchester,

Tell her heart: Beginning with her 1987 smash “Tell It To My Heart,” soulful chanteuse Taylor Dayne ran off a string of hits including “Love Will Lead You Back,” “Prove Your Love” and “I’ll Always Love You,” all of which hit No. 1. Along with writing her own songs, she also provided Tina Turner with “Whatever You Want.” She’s also acted in film, television and on Broadway. Ashley Jordan opens. Friday, July 15, 6 and 8:30 p.m., Lakeport Opera House, 781 Union Ave., Laconia, $45 and up at

Three fifths: The recent JamAntics reunion began with energy generated by The Special Guests, the trio of drummer Masceo, bass player Eric Reingold and guitarist Freeland Hubbard, who play their singular summer season show at the basement bar where it all began. A live recording of last November’s JamAnnual GetDown dropped earlier this year; the group hopes to make the fete a regular thing. Saturday, July 16, 9 p.m., Penuche’s Ale House, 16 Bicentennial Square, Concord. See

Hard and heavy: Drawing its name from a tree-based insect-borne disease, The Acacia Strain have a relentless approach leading with a triple guitar wall balanced on a massive rhythm section. Call it deathcore, doom metal or hardcore punk, the group can tax the structural integrity of a building with a sound one critic called an “inelegant and unstoppable juggernaut fueled by memories of … unchecked aggression.” Sunday, July 17, 8 p.m., Wally’s Pub, 144 Ashworth Ave., Hampton Beach, $25 at

Local hero: One of the guys who put the Vegas in ManchVegas, Josh Logan returns to his hometown for a show with his eponymous band. The midweek affair promises special guests along with music from The Voice and Rockstar Supernova veteran, who’s been headquartered in the Midwest since his national television days. Logan married fellow musician Olivia Henken in 2018. Wednesday, July 20, 8 p.m., Derryfield Restaurant, 625 Mammoth Road, Manchester, $5 at the door,

At the Sofaplex 22/07/14

Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (PG-13)

Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen.

Also Benedict Wong and Rachel McAdams return and Xochitl Gomez joins the gang as America Chavez, which is maybe a spoiler if that name means something to you. But since this movie has been in theaters since early May (and is now available on Disney+ and VOD), you have likely had that and the selection of fun surprise cameos spoiled. I had and really that was fine — this is definitely a movie that benefits from footnotes and the additional reading that is the various Marvel, in-the-MCU TV series. I will admit that I only partially did the homework, as I gave up on Wandavision after a few episodes.

Dr. Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) goes to Wanda/Scarlet Witch (Olsen) for advice when America shows up being chased by a giant octopus and telling stories of some evil hunting her through the multiverse to attempt to gain her multiverse-hopping powers. Because magic is somehow involved, Dr. Strange thinks Wanda may have the know-how to help him, an assumption that is correct but — well, But.

In many ways, this is another MCU movie dealing with the aftermath of the Thanos fight and the trauma of all that was lost but without the emotional punch of the two post-Endgame Spider-Man movies. In other ways, this is a Sam Raimi-directed movie with an obligatory Bruce Campbell appearance and some fun zombie business and cameos that even mostly-movie-Marvel fans can enjoy. Like, don’t worry too much or think too hard and you can just go along for the ride of sorcerer light-fights and Strange’s friendship with America, who brings some of that Peter Parker energy. B- Available on Disney+.

Spiderhead (R)

Chris Hemsworth, Miles Teller.

Also starring Jurnee Smollett and Mark Paguio, in this movie based on a George Saunders short story and I might have just told you all the most interesting things about it.

Steve Abnesti (Hemsworth) is the oiliest of oily, obviously evil and broken-as-a-person tech bros. In this case, his specific brand of evil is pharmaceuticals, which he is beta testing on prisoners who agreed to be a part of his experiments in exchange for comfy modernist accommodations and eats cooked by incarcerated chef Lizzy (Smollett). There’s the concoction that makes test subjects find everything hilarious, the drug that makes them desperately afraid, the drug that improves their ability to verbalize all their feelings, the drug that makes them super horny. For example, despite Jeff’s affection for Lizzy, when Steve puts him in a room with Heather (Tess Haubrich), who is as uninterested in Jeff as he is in her, a dosing with the love drug has them making out almost instantly. The scariest drug of them all is Darkenfloxx, a drug that makes you physically sick and seems to sink you into a kind of internal horror.

Or is that the scariest drug? What is Steve’s real motivation here? And why does his assistant Mark (Paguio) look like whatever they’re doing has caused him to already put legal representation for the inevitable Congressional hearings on speed dial?

This movie’s best aspects are its atmospherics: the creepy-beautiful facility the subjects are kept in, the general sense of tech-corporate sinisterness, the American Psycho-like way 1980s pop music is used to suggest that someone is a psychopath. These elements are lightweight fun. But the movie itself sort of meanders and feels like it loses the thread of whatever it is it wants to do. I found myself thinking (as I often have with movies like this over the past two years) that this is another middling thriller that might have once gone to theaters in the lull of September before awards movies have really taken off or in early March, as sort of half-hearted counter-programming to some family fare. And while its absence from theaters is probably a bad sign for theatrical diversity, streaming might actually be where a movie like this is better received. Its mildly enjoyable elements can be appreciated on a “what should we watch” Wednesday evening and its fizzling out can be shrugged off. C+ Available on Netflix.

Thor: Love and Thunder (PG-13)

Thor: Love and Thunder (PG-13)

Thor has regained his “god bod” but not necessarily his life’s purpose in Thor: Love and Thunder, a loose, fun sequel in the spirit of Thor: Ragnarok.

Since we last saw Thor at the end of Avengers: Endgame, he’s been hanging out with the Guardians of the Galaxy, going on what he calls “classic Thor adventures” and joining the battles just in time to save the day. After one such battle, Thor and the gang learn that people across the galaxy are calling for help as their local gods have been slain, leading to chaos. Thor decides to go off with his buddy Korg (voice of Taika Waititi, who also directs and co-wrote this film), who is made of rocks as you’ll recall, to find Sif (Jaimie Alexander), the last of Thor’s surviving Asgard warrior posse, who was one of the people calling for help. (This speedy goodbye to Chris Pratt et al. is a wise choice.)

Once Thor meets up with Sif, he learns about Gorr the god butcher (Christian Bale), who in the movie’s opening scenes we saw kill the god his people had worshiped after that god had callously let the entire civilization, including Gorr’s daughter, die of thirst and hunger. Gorr, aided by a cursed god-killing sword, has made it his mission to thusly slay all gods.

Thor, Sif and Korg return to New Asgard (on Earth), now doing a bustling tourism business thanks to the steady kingship of Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson). They plan to protect the Asgardians from Gorr, who terrorizes a population when he comes searching for its god. Thor is surprised to find, however, that New Asgard also has a new Thor — the Mighty Thor, as Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) in her new supercharged incarnation calls herself.

As only a few close friends — Darcy (Kat Dennings) and Erik (Stellan Skarsgard) — know, Jane, Thor’s human ex, is currently undergoing aggressive chemotherapy for a fairly hopeless-sounding stage four cancer diagnosis. When the pieces of Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer that was crushed by Hela back in Ragnarok, call to her, she goes to New Asgard, hoping that maybe the otherwordly properties of the hammer can accomplish what medicine can’t and improve her health or at least buy her extra time. And it appears to work; at least while Jane holds Mjolnir, she is transformed into a buff “lady Thor,” complete with sleek costume and fashion-shoot-ready blond hair. However, when she puts Mjolnir back down, we see a Jane who is looking gaunt and weak.

Together Thor, the Mighty Thor/Jane and Valkyrie must fight off Gorr, who has the potential to Destroy the Universe but whose more immediate danger is that he takes the Asgardian children hostage. (And the “rescue the children” aspect gives the whole to-do better stakes than the standard “save the galaxy” goal of Marvel movies.) Their mission involves travels to other realms and some fun visits with other gods, which all keeps the action moving while also keeping the tone slightly off kilter in that Taika Waititi way.

I’ve just laid down a lot of “magical hammer from this Phase Three MCU movie” and “god butcher who is wielding Necrosword, the legendary god-killing weapon” but this movie isn’t actually that heavy with comic book homework and Marvel movie plot points. Or, perhaps it would be more accurate to say, that stuff is in there but knowing all the trivia isn’t required to get the vibe of the story. One of the nice things that Waititi has done here and in Ragnarok — and that carried over to the Thor of the last two Avengers movies — is make Thor, underneath the Hemsworth handsomeness and charm, weird. Thor isn’t just a muscley hero; he’s also a mass of regret and sadness and insecurities. His godly confidence is a thin veneer covering very human-style neediness. He still hasn’t figured out what to do with his grief over the many Thanos-related losses he suffered, not to mention all the losses that came before (his parents, his people’s kingdom of Asgard, his hammer Mjolnir, which is as much a friend as it is a weapon), which included a breakup with Jane, his true love. Hanging with the Guardians might have kept him busy, but they didn’t help him find peace. Meditation just made him angrier, he explains in a line that is played for laughs but is actually rather a good descriptor of how he is and isn’t dealing.

That character moving through a kind of quest adventure makes for a good mix — something a little richer, more interesting and shaggier (but in the good way) than the more formulaic mid-series Marvel movies or the emotionally flatter Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. And more fun — I know what I’ve just described sounds like another one of those “characters dealing with trauma” things that have become so prevalent but it actually feels more like “characters dealing with life,” but with the superhero movie trappings of costumes and magical weaponry. There are genuine laughs here, nice character moments (in particular a few between Valkyrie and Jane; this movie could have used even more of these two lone-wolf in charge ladies having moments of sisterhood), and an increasingly enjoyable Thor as he is allowed to mature and grow in a way that not all of the other Marvel characters have been. And the movie has some just good silliness, such as the return of the Asgard theatrical troupe (some great cameos there) and the general metal and hard rock sensibility (the movie makes great use of Guns N’ Roses).

Thor: Love and Thunder might not be the lightning bolt of originality and fun that Thor:Ragnarok was but it offers up a genuinely enjoyable two hours with an increasingly likeable character. B

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language, some suggestive material and partial nudity, according to the MPA on Directed by Taika Waititi and written by Taika Waititi & Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, Thor: Love and Thunder is an hour and 58 minutes long and distributed in theaters by Walt Disney Studios.

Extra credit: If you have Disney+ and want a little more of Waititi’s Thor, check out the shorts called Team Thor: Part 1, Team Thor: Part 2 and Team Darryl from 2016. A post-Civil War Thor is bumming around Australia, sharing a flat with “average sorta everyday guy” Darryl, who seems quietly dismayed to realize that one of Earth’s mightiest Avengers is not the best roommate.

Featured photo: Thor: Love and Thunder

Sparring Partners by John Grisham

Sparring Partners by John Grisham (Doubleday, 320 pages)

Stuck at home with Covid, John Grisham was writing way too much, he said in a post on Goodreads back in January. The result is Sparring Partners, his first collection of novellas. They’re based on ideas he’s had for a long time that were too short to be novels but too long to be short stories, he wrote.

I’ve read all of Grisham’s novels and wasn’t especially excited to read this non-novel; short stories have never appealed to me, maybe because it seems like there’s not enough time to get attached to the characters, and I wasn’t sure if I would like longer short stories either. Plus, Grisham’s most recent books tend to all blend together in my mind — they’re good stories, but not outstanding, and I’ve gotten less and less eager to read them.

I guess it helped to have low expectations, because I was pleasantly surprised by Sparring Partners.

The first novella, “Homecoming,” takes place in Ford County and features Jake Brigance — both the location and main character should be well-known by Grisham fans. Brigance just heard from an old friend, Mack, a former lawyer who stole from clients, then disappeared. Jake and Harry Rex (another familiar name) help him return, but of course, it’s complicated by Mack’s angry children and, oh yeah, all those pesky crimes he committed that he never did time for. Once word gets out that he’s around, the FBI steps in.

The story feels complete because of Margot, one of Mack’s daughters. She’s strong and sassy but also willing to give her father the most tentative of chances, and their relationship is a highlight of the novella. She’s not a lawyer, judge, law enforcement officer or criminal; she’s just a young woman trying to figure out her relationship with her father, and it’s a refreshing point of view.

“Strawberry Moon” is the second novella, about a young death row inmate named Cody Wallace who is just hours away from execution. There’s no way to save him, so this isn’t a suspenseful last-minute race for clemency. It’s beyond that point already, so the story we get is more about Cody’s past, his experiences on death row and a final request.

I had conflicting feelings about this one. The brevity and pace of all the stories made Sparring Partners as a whole feel like a good, easy beach read, but having an entire novella set on death row is dark and depressing, a bit of a downer in the midst of more light-hearted fare. None of them are exactly uplifting, but the other two are a little more action and a little less doom-and-gloom social commentary on the justice system. It’s not unexpected from Grisham, but in this particular format, it seemed a bit rushed and ineffective. I didn’t care enough about Cody at the end to feel the impact of his fate.

That being said, this is John Grisham, not a quintessential beach read author like Elin Hilderbrand or Jennifer Weiner, so I can’t take off too many points for darker content.

The final novella is “Sparring Partners,” the partners being brothers Kirk and Rusty Malloy, who inherited their father’s law firm when he went to prison. They hate each other and talk as little as possible, but they have to come together when they plot to make sure their father stays in prison so they can get their hands on a life-changing chunk of cash. Meanwhile, fellow lawyer and soon-to-be self-designated partner Diantha makes the smartest move of her career with the press of her phone’s “record” button.

This is the best story of the bunch. The Malloys are seriously dysfunctional, and it’s fun to watch Diantha set herself up for success after years of being an honest, hardworking attorney but not getting as far as she should have. But it’s also hard to dislike the Malloy brothers; there is some level of sympathy for two unhappy brothers who are happy their dad is in jail but also happy that he killed their mother.

Overall, this collection is worth the read. Most Grisham fans won’t be disappointed, and those who haven’t read him before will get a taste of his easy-to-digest, fast-paced writing style. It’s not A Time to Kill or The Firm, but it’s not meant to be, so enjoy it for what it is. Though if you’d rather wait for a full novel, you won’t have to wait long; Grisham has a new legal thriller, The Boys from Biloxi, coming out in October. B+Meghan Siegler

Book Notes

The recent death of James Caan, one of the stars of The Godfather, will no doubt kindle nostalgia for the film. If you’re watching, check out last fall’s Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli, The Epic Story of the Making of The Godfather (Gallery, 448 pages).

It’s written by former Vanity Fair editor Mark Seal, who writes in his dedication that his father kept one book by his bedside: the book that inspired the film. That would be, of course, The Godfather, written by Mario Puzo and first published in 1969. It’s one of the rare books that seems to have been eclipsed by the movie. There are probably millennials among us who don’t even know there was a book.

But the symbiotic relationship between books and film is ever expanding, and there seems to be no film so outdated that it doesn’t merit a “the story behind” book. Witness The Church of Baseball (Knopf, 272 pages) by Ron Shelton, which is the story behind the 1988 movie Bull Durham: “home runs, bad calls, crazy fights, big swings and a hit.” Shelton directed the film, which seems to be as much about baseball as movie-making.

While we’re speaking of Hollywood, Ken Auletta, longtime writer for The New Yorker, is out with Hollywood Ending (Penguin, 480 pages), a biography of disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein, the film producer now in jail for serial sex abuse.

It seems a short walk from Hollywood to Helltown, Casey Sherman’s true-crime story of a serial killer at Cape Cod in the 1960s. But this isn’t just about the investigation of a string of murders, but also how Kurt Vonnegut and Norman Mailer became part of the story, with each launching investigations of their own in order to write about the killer. (Sourcebooks, 464 pages.)

For fiction readers, the paperback of New Hampshire author Jodi Picoult’s 2021 bestseller, Wish You Were Here, is finally here (Ballantine, 400 pages). It’s about a life-changing trip to the Galápagos Islands made by a New York City woman who gets stranded there as the world shuts down because of a virus. Read fast; it’s already been optioned by Netflix.

And finally, worth a look is Joan (Random House, 368 pages) by Katherine J. Chen. It’s a new reimagining of the life of French hero Joan of Arc that got lots of advance praise. — Jennifer Graham

Book Events

Author events

SARAH MCCRAW CROW presents The Wrong Kind of Woman at Gibson’s Bookstore (45 S. Main St., Concord, 224-0562, on Tuesday, July 19, at 6:30 p.m.

PAULA MUNIER and SARAH STEWART TAYLOR present their respective mystery novels The Wedding Plot and The Drowning Sea at Gibson’s Bookstore (45 S. Main St., Concord, 224-0562, on Thursday, July 21, at 6:30 p.m.

LINDA REILLY presents her cozy mystery No Parm No Foul at Gibson’s Bookstore (45 S. Main St., Concord, 224-0562, on Tuesday, July 26, at 6:30 p.m.

DIANE HALLENBECK presents Rejecting Fear: Learning to Be Led By Love at the Bookery (844 Elm St., Manchester,, 836-6600) on Thursday, July 28, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Free event; register at


OPEN MIC POETRY hosted by the Poetry Society of NH at Gibson’s Bookstore (45 S. Main St., Concord, 224-0562,, starting with a reading by poet Sam DeFlitch, on Wednesday, July 20, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Newcomers encouraged. Free.

DOWN CELLAR POETRY SALON Poetry event series presented by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire. Monthly. First Sunday. Visit

Writers groups

MERRIMACK VALLEY WRITERS’ GROUP All published and unpublished local writers who are interested in sharing their work with other writers and giving and receiving constructive feedback are invited to join. The group meets regularly Email

Book Clubs

BOOKERY Monthly. Third Thursday, 6 p.m. 844 Elm St., Manchester. Visit or call 836-6600.

GIBSON’S BOOKSTORE Online, via Zoom. Monthly. First Monday, 5:30 p.m. Bookstore based in Concord. Visit or call 224-0562.

TO SHARE BREWING CO. 720 Union St., Manchester. Monthly. Second Thursday, 6 p.m. RSVP required. Visit or call 836-6947.

GOFFSTOWN PUBLIC LIBRARY 2 High St., Goffstown. Monthly. Third Wednesday, 1:30 p.m. Call 497-2102, email or visit

BELKNAP MILL Online. Monthly. Last Wednesday, 6 p.m. Based in Laconia. Email

NASHUA PUBLIC LIBRARY Online. Monthly. Second Friday, 3 p.m. Call 589-4611, email or visit



Offered remotely by the Franco-American Centre. Six-week session with classes held Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. $225. Visit or call 623-1093.

Album Reviews 22/07/14

Lindsay Clark, Carpe Noctem (Audiosport Records)

This Portland, Oregon-based girl has released a good number of albums up to now, spotlighting her talent for writing post-Joni Mitchell-ish folky-poppy trifles. Remember, though, it’s current_year, so she does have a moonbat side, and the tunes tend to fixate on one section rather than stray off to become too complicated or interesting. Sigh, but whatever, Clark isn’t a kook, just your average girl in the world trying to find a half-workable relationship and such, just like you, and she’s not maudlin about it, which is a nice break from the real weirdos who come in here with kooky albums. On this one, she’s got some lovely acoustic guitar undergirdings that help keep stomachs settled; she uses a self-taught Nick Drake-ish fingerpicking style that’s a great fit for her musical aims. Co-conspirators here include members of such bands as Dolphin Midwives, Shook Twins and Paper Gates, variously playing violas, cellos, flutes and such. A

Al Foster, Reflections (Smoke Sessions Records)

OK, may I present my favorite jazz album so far this year. At age 79, Al Foster is a jazz-drumming icon, having played with jazz Herbie Hancock, Sonny Rollins and Joe Henderson to name three, but I mustn’t forget to mention his work with Miles Davis in the 1970s. Right, the ’70s wasn’t Davis’s fiercest decade for my money at least, but the overall sound was nice and bright, for what that’s worth. Anyway, that’s the sonic upshot on this one, pretty much, but it’s even nicer really: it’s current_year after all, which means hypervigilant mics picking up every last-sub-echo of this band, which is absolutely on fire from the get-go. Opener “T.S. Monk” finds Foster meeting the challenge of some blazing trumpet work from Nicholas Payton by tendering some absolutely filthy drums, after which a rework of Sonny Rollins’ “Pent-Up House” rushes in to ground old-time listeners. Really priceless, this. A+


• Ack! Ack! Look at this, folks, just look at it, the next general-CD-release Friday is July 15, which means the summer is already half over! Let me count the weeks on my fingers here a second, wait — yep, before you know it, we’ll all stop saying “It’s freaking rooooasting” and replace it with “It’s freakin’ freeeezing,” because there are only two temperatures in New England, freezing and roasting. I can already feel my feet turning into whimsical frozen ice sculptures until next May, can’t you? But in the meantime, there is stuff to talk about right now, so we can live in the moment like adults, starting with Bleed Here Now, the latest full-length from sort-of-hard-rock-but-oh-whatever band And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, or “Trail Of Dead” for short! They are from Austin, Texas, and the principal members are in their 50s now, boy, time does fly, doesn’t it? It’s like, being a professional music journalist; you’ll hear some band and think, “My stars, that’s boring, but they seem hip, I should probably pay attention if I ever expect anyone to respect my body of ‘work,’” but then two minutes later you’re watching cartoons and you forget the band’s name, and then 15-odd years go by and all you remember is that you don’t have any real interest in what the band is doing these days, but then you’re tasked with writing about that very band. Those are the shoes I’m in right now, knowing that I’ll have to go listen to some new song from these performing clowns but secretly hoping that if I keep typing extraneous peripheral nonsense I’ll run out of room and not have to go listen to the dumb song. Oh, well, so much for that, there’s room for a quick CSI of the teaser track “No Confidence,” a song that starts out, as always, like a cross between Flaming Lips and some actual rock band like Band Of Skulls, and then the song — ick, it sucks, basically like Superchunk with a low-tier guitar riff. Band Of Skulls is/was pretty good, by the way.

• Oh, how lovely, nothing I want to hear more right now than some psychedelic-Aughts-indie, will this millennium ever end? Because look, it’s New York City post-punk revivalists Interpol, with their seventh album, The Other Side Of Make-Believe. Great. You know, if the Martians are just watching Earth as a TV series, they’re going to skip all of the Aughts and the Teens and whatever this decade of demented horror is called and simply fast forward to when flying Jetsons cars don’t cost $92,000 (it’s true, reserve yours now at and can actually fly for more than 20 minutes (also true). But I am not a Martian, unfortunately, and thus must help myself to a big tall glass of the new Interpol single “Toni,” a palatable, slightly pounding tune that wants to be as cool as Arcade Fire’s “Rebellion (Lies)” but has too much in common with Cardigans’ “Lovefool” for me to want to hear it again. Admirable effort, boring Aughts-indie band.

• And the hipster march continues, with Austin band Elf Power, which is part of the “Elephant 6 musical collective” that comprises, wow, look at that, a bunch of bands I don’t like: Of Montreal, Apples In Stereo, etc. I’m on a roll, with this new Elf Power album, Artificial Countrysides, the title track of which is a cross between very early Rolling Stones and Pavement. My DMs are open if you can think of anything worse.

• We’ll abandon this fast-sinking ship with Filipino-British singer-songwriter Beabadoobee’s new album, Beatopia, whose single, “Talk,” is muddy noise-pop for Hello Kitty culturists. I could listen to this again, sure.

If you’re in a local band, now’s a great time to let me know about your EP, your single, whatever’s on your mind. Let me know how you’re holding yourself together without being able to play shows or jam with your homies. Send a recipe for keema matar. Message me on Twitter (@esaeger) or Facebook (eric.saeger.9).

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