It must be frustrating for Boston-area bands and musicians to have to tell someone they’re from Boston, only to be compared to the Dropkick Murphys or Aerosmith. At least, as Cambridge singer/songwriters Jenn Taranto and Jennifer Greer put it, they have each other.
It must be frustrating for Boston-area bands and musicians to have to tell someone they’re from Boston, only to be compared to the Dropkick Murphys or Aerosmith.
At least, as Cambridge singer/songwriters Jenn Taranto and Jennifer Greer put it, they have each other.
That very kinship between Beantown bands trying to make it big is, Taranto said, what prompted them to launch the Indie Music Collective, a monthly showcase featuring talent from all corners of the city.
“We wanted this music series to be an event where we could bring together the local music community as a collective,” Taranto said. “It’s not just about an individual night, we wanted it to be an extended exploration of the music scene in Boston.”
Taranto’s description of the ICM seemed appropriate, in that the aim of exploration is almost always discovery. Last Thursday, about 30 people — all seeking to discover something about Boston’s sonic landscape — stuffed themselves into the cozy confines of the Lily Pad on Cambridge Street. What they got was a musical exploration of Boston via Nashville, Brooklyn and Outer Space.
First on the bill Thursday night was Tom Thumb, a.k.a. Andy Arch. Vocally, he’ll draw comparisons to pop-radio favorites David Gray (though he is markedly less British), and Fray frontman Isaac Slade, however Arch retains a certain ease in his delivery, bereft of posturing. Arch’s solo performance — he split from his band mates, the Latter Day Saints, earlier this year — could perhaps best be described as the musical adaptation of an argument between Ryan Adams and Mike Doughty over who was a better songwriter, Dylan or Hank Williams.
Both of the evening’s hostesses also played short sets Thursday night. Greer set herself behind the house piano for a handful of songs, while Taranto closed the night backed by her usual arrangement of strings. Their choices of on-stage accompaniment speak volumes of the nature of their separate sounds.
Greer flaunts a keen understanding of her influences — which she says range from the strident (Fiona Apple) to the serene (Joni Mitchell) — and firm grasp of a lyrical style than manages to be, at once, both brooding and luminous.
Taranto’s music, though intricate, is not as complex. With a team of strings swooning and sighing behind her, each song Taranto played during her set seemed to connect, as if to form one long, beautifully sad narrative.
Next to take the stage were Annie Lynch and the Beekeepers, an alt-country folk quartet touting themselves as “original acoustic music from the heart.” Simply put, this band delivers. With just a wisp of a drawl, Lynch’s vocals and lyrics evoke the folkier elements of Emmylou Harris’ vast catalogue. The simplicity of the lyrical matter is set against an impressively complex backdrop, the focus of which must be Mark “Twain” Davidson and his seemingly endless parade of instrumentation. After the show, I asked Davidson how many instruments he plays. He shrugged and replied, “I don’t know, all of them I guess.”
Allston homeboys This Car Up rounded out the guest list for the night. Typically an electric band — which almost always comes complete with a horns section and no less than three “scream ‘til your lungs bleed” sing-a-longs — This Car Up has played enough basement shows surrounded by neighbors with itchy police-calling fingers to know how to reign themselves in when appropriate. In that reduced state, the band stirs audiences in an entirely different way, though singer/guitar player Eric Glassman still manages to set off the occasional screaming, swirling solo. Paul Sentz (singer/guitar) admitted early in the band’s set Thursday night to battling a cold, though in the wide world of indie-pop singers, it’s always been a little tough to tell who’s sick and who isn’t.
The Indie Music Collective happens every third Thursday of the month, at 7 p.m. at Lily Pad (1353 Cambridge Street). Admission $5.
-email@example.com, Cambridge (Mass.) Chronicle