Every summer, in addition to swarms of mosquitoes and fanny-packed tourists, New England hosts a massive invasion of live music. And even when you can barely walk a block without stumbling upon some outdoor concert, there's no need to settle for what's happening in your back yard — not when there are so many shows worth crossing state lines for this year. Want to take a weekend-long musical mini-vacation? Hit the road to see My Morning Jacket, Chromeo, and Atmosphere headline Maine's KahBang extravaganza; or drop by the 52nd annual Newport Folk Festival to see the Decemberists share a stage with Gogol Bordello. Consider the following an essential primer on what the Northeast has to offer this year — from such mind-expanding elder statesmen as the Flaming Lips and Dinosaur Jr., to the lush indie-pop sounds of Cults and Twin Sister, to the arena spectacles of Britney Spears, we've got you covered. Read on.SOLID SOUND FESTIVAL | JUNE 24-26
The Wilco-curated Solid Sound festival returns to Mass MoCA for three music-and-arts-soaked days in June. Its gargantuan line-up features two sets by the twangy Chicagoan curators themselves; must-see headliners like the Levon Helm Band, Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, the Autumn Defense (featuring Wilco's John Stirratt and Patrick Sansone); plus appearances from newer acts like Brooklyn indie-rockers Here We Go Magic and noisy psychedelia from San Francisco's Sic Alps. On the comedy tip, you've got local boys John Hodgman and Eugene Mirman, plus cheese making, falconry (!), and something called "impossible exhibition."
Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, 87 Marshall St, North Adams, MA | $116 | 413.662.2111
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Review: The Bad Plus's For All I Care, The Flaming Lips | Embryonic, Photos: Bonnaroo 2009, More
- Review: The Bad Plus's For All I Care
On each of their previous albums, the Bad Plus let it be known they owed as much to classic rock and pop as to prog jazz.
- The Flaming Lips | Embryonic
If new albums by Super Furry Animals, 50 Foot Wave, and the Flaming Lips are any indication, 2009 is smack in the middle of a new psychedelic age.
- Photos: Bonnaroo 2009
Bruce Springsteen, Wilco, Elvis Costello, and more at Bonnaroo 2009 in Manchester, Tennessee
- Summer treats
From Andean to zydeco, pick your flavor and there's a summer music festival ready to serve it up.
- From solid to standout
Maybe the most surprising thing about Portland indie band Brenda’s set at the Wilco-curated Solid Sound Festival on the Mass MoCA campus in North Adams, Massachusetts, on Saturday was that people were actually there to see it. Lots of them.
- Off the record?
Pity the album. After a half-century of embarrassingly public body issues, our essential rock unit has not entered the new millennium looking very healthy. EPs are way more in vogue, MP3s have intangibility on their side, and 12-inches just sound impressive.
- Photos: Newport Folk Festival, part one
The Low Anthem, Yim Yames, John Prine, Sharon Jones, Edward Sharpe and more, live from Newport, July 30 - August 1, 2010
- Lissie | Catching a Tiger
Anyone who walked the grounds at the Newport Folk Festival a few weeks back knows that the modern-folk music tag cuts a pretty broad swath.
- Photos: Dinosaur Jr. at the Middle East downstairs
Photos of Dinosaur Jr. performing on their 2009 reunion tour
- The Autumn Defense carve a niche beyond Wilco
The South isn't really what comes to mind when we think of candy-sweet pop music. But according to the Autumn Defense's Pat Sansone, maybe it should be.
- The Tower and the Fool's bittersweet symphonies
It shouldn't come as too much surprise to hear the six guys comprising the Tower & the Fool have made a conscious decision to simply go with the flow following a promising, self-titled debut EP released late last year (available at iTunes and thetowerandthefool.bandcamp.com ).
: Music Features
, Henry Rollins, Wilco, Dinosaur Jr., More
, Henry Rollins, Wilco, Dinosaur Jr., Motley Crue, The Flaming Lips, David Wax Museum, Newport Folk Festival, CINDERELLA, Florence and the Machine, Ellie Goulding, Less