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My Morning Download: “Colorful Kids” by Ha Ha Tonka (playing MilkBoy in November)

 Photo by Frank Hill
Photo by Frank Hill

Sprinfield, Missouri roots rockers Ha Ha Tonka have a new album, Lessons, coming out September 24 on Bloodshot Records. They play Milboy Philly on Friday, November 15, with singer-songwriter Samantha Crain. Go here for tickets to the show.

Pre-order Lessons here.

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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Review: The “Thunderstorm Tour” with SSLYBY, Ha Ha Tonka, and Ezra Furman

“We’ve been calling this the thunderstorm tour.” Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin’s Phil Dickey slightly chuckles while thanking the audience for coming out in a downpour. He goes on to explain that every venue on this tour, so far, has had terrible weather, and every night he gets extremely nervous that all three bands will die in a van. But a little bit of rain and thunder has not deterred the trio-band group from playing a show yet.

Braving the elements together, SSLYBY, Ha Ha Tonka, and Ezra Furman have been touring this month to preview their newest albums, all coming out this Fall. Thursday night, they played at the chic, intimate MilkBoy Philly, leaving 2 more shows in the tour at Boston and New York.

Raising the stakes high, Ezra Furman opened the high energy show. With only a singer/guitarist and a drummer on a dimly lit stage, each song was surprisingly packed with a punch and immersed with eccentricity while Furman stood up on the edge of speakers and kick-jumped across the stage. Continue reading →

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Returning to Russia with Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin (playing MilkBoy tonight)

00299_sslyby_big_002Boris Yeltsin was the first freely-elected president of Russia, who served beginning 1991. After nine years of reshaping the post-Communist country, Yeltsin resigned during his second term and lived a quiet life after that, passing away at age 76 in Moscow six years ago. The powerful man will always be remembered in Russia as a strong patron in taking apart the Soviet Union, and pushing the social reform that made present-day Russia.

But how does this political icon connect to a quirky, eccentric, indie-pop band from Springfield, Missouri? Phillip Dickey, drummer, and Will Knauer, lead guitarist, of Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin answer on a cell speakerphone while taking a small break from traveling to their next tour stop. “His name was on the radio a lot at [the time we formed the band], since he was resigning from office,” Dickey says. “We knew it had a catchy and pleasing ring to say ‘Boris Yeltsin.’” He admits that they did not want anything too serious, and if they knew it was going to stick, they probably would have put more thought into it. But the group passively continues to give tribute to the late politician as they travel from city to city, country to country, bringing their live show to their fans (along with “cookies and crème,” according to Dickey).

Instantly connecting at a Superbowl party during their senior year of high school, Dickey and Knauer were the founding members SSLYBY. Knauer remembers having an essay that year prompted by the question, “Where will you see yourself in 10 years?” “I had just gotten a guitar and started playing in a band and knew I loved it. I didn’t want to have to work in a scary factory or something,” he admits in a low, calm, paced voice.

Dickey, being a slight sports star in his adolescent life, mentions that he thought he was going to be a professional athlete. I tell him I’m glad he didn’t take that route in life, or maybe I wouldn’t have liked him so much. “Maybe you would have liked me more,” Phil jokes, speculating that he would have been a wrestler, toned with 6-pack abs…a feat he continues to work on with his out-of-shape dog, Loretta. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Benefit for Boston ft. Shorty Boy-Boy at North Star Bar, Steve Martin and Edie Brickell at Verizon Hall, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin at MilkBoy, Chris Forsyth at Ortliebs Lounge

Shorty Boy-BoyShorty Boy-Boy brings his dance beat, guitar savvy, unique pop sound to the North Star Bar tonight in support of the Benefit for Boston. Sharing the stage with The National Rifle and Cruiser, each $10 entrance fee will be donated to The One Fund for Boston Marathon victims. Learn more about and find tickets to tonight’s 21 and over show here. Listen and download Shorty Boy-Boys single, “New Yng Cute,” below.

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