Electric Rocktober Week Ends with Song of the Year Nod for Airwaves

Photo by Michael Oliver

Binders of women, and men for that matter, turned out to celebrate Radio’s first year of rocking Boston on October 13, 2012. The all-star lineup began at noon and roared into the night. Parlour Bells closed an evening set with the eulogy to radio (the broadcasting medium, that is) “Airwaves.” And the performance was enough to gain this nod of approval from Jed Gottlieb of The Boston Herald: “Parlour Bells’ “Airwaves” is a contender for song of the year. I’d yet to hear it live. Really cool.” The news capped off a week that began in the state of the art Redstar Union Studio in Kendall Square, where Parlour Bells did an intimate performance, which was filmed in stunning high definition and live-streamed to audiences online. Fully produced video of the performance is expected soon. Until then, here’s the “making of” “Airwaves” video which, as a song of the year contender that involved so many notable voices from Boston, would be a win for the entire music community.

Parlour Bells Appear on The Steve Katsos Show, New EP Title Unveiled in Boston Phoenix Magazine Debut

The forthcoming release from Parlour Bells will be called Thank God for the Night. The title was unveiled in the first issue of the all new Boston Phoenix magazine.

The newspaper publication recently merged with Stuff magazine and has been reborn in a new glossy format, ushering in a new era for Boston print media. Thank God for the Night is featured among Music Editor Michael Marotta’s list of 10 local pop releases to look for this Fall and will be available in early November.

Parlour Bells also made their debut appearance on The Steve Katsos Show on September 18, 2012. Katsos lives up to his challenge for artists and performers to “follow their dreams” and gives them an incredible platform to do so. The show currently airs in over 13 million homes weekly in the US and Europe. Below is a clip, featuring our performance of “Airwaves” on the show.

Bells Rock Paradise, Toast WFNX and Help Progeria Foundation Surpass Goal

Parlour Bells, Paradise Rock Club 6/30/12. Photo by Johnny Anguish of Daykamp Music.

Parlour Bells performed perhaps one of the most important shows of their career so far on June 30, 2012 at Paradise Rock Club. When news of the sale of WFNX broke, the individuals who put the station on the map and cultivated its cutting edge reputation, FNX veterans like Bruce McDonald, Mike Gioscia, Anngelle Wood, Angie C., Greg Wymer, Duane Bruce, Jason Steeves and others, came together to organize a tribute show to celebrate its nearly 30 year legacy in Boston.  The event was also designed as a benefit for The Progeria Research Foundation. Progeria is a rare, fatal genetic condition characterized by an appearance of accelerated aging in children.

And while the weeks leading up to the We Want The Airwaves event, coupled with a rapidly shifting radio landscape in Boston, stirred up a fair deal of political controversy, it was in the end the bash everyone had wanted.  Actually, it exceeded expectations. By the time doors opened–a little later than expected–there was a long line of sweaty, eager WFNX fans waiting to enter the air conditioned Paradise and get the party started.

At 8:30PM Parlour Bells opened the show to an already packed venue. Seeing entirely new fans clapping enthusiastically along from the balconies to “Heavy Dream” proved that Boston still had a healthy appetite for new music made in her hometown. The band summoned members of “The Parlour Bells Metropolitan Chorale” to the stage for their ode to Boston radio, inspired largely by the sale of WFNX, “Airwaves” and invited the crowd to sing along as well.

The moment underscored the fact that, while one company may retain the WFNX brand identity and another company may acquire some of the station’s premier on air talent, the airwaves always belong to the listeners. And for that night, there were no competitors. Only friends and colleagues with a common passion for using those airwaves for the betterment of the community.

Ultimately, that betterment had a human face. The huge crowd of smiling faces would bring even more smiles, as the event helped The Progeria Research Foundation surpass their annual fundraising goal of $200,000.

Continue to follow the WFNX story by checking in for updates on Jason Steeves’ upcoming We Want The Airwaves documentary.

Parlour Bells, Paradise Rock Club 6/30/12. Photo by Amy Galante.

Making AIRWAVES: Parlour Bells Invite Boston’s Music Community to Sing, Pay Tribute to WFNX

On June 21, 2012, Parlour Bells assembled over 20 members of Boston’s music community, including performers, writers and DJs, at Q Division Studios in Somerville MA to sing on the new single “Airwaves” and pay tribute to WFNX radio as it enters its final weeks as a terrestrial broadcasting station. Glenn started writing the song upon learning of the sale of WFNX to Clear Channel and saw it as yet another blow to the Boston radio market (the first one being with the fall of WBCN in 2009).

Shortly after sending a rough demo for “Airwaves” to Nate, the band was coincidentally invited to perform at We Want the Airwaves: A WFNX Tribute at Paradise Rock Club on June 30, 2012. And while they didn’t plan on releasing any new recordings until the Fall, the coincidence prompted them to expedite the production process of this new song so that it would be ready for the event.

While tracking the new mix, Nate heard an opportunity to record a gang vocal for the song’s final chorus. With the goal of having the track radio-ready in time for the 6/30 Paradise show, the logistics of pulling over 20 talented and busy music people into a studio for one night seemed pretty daunting. Yet within an hour of sending out invitations, the responses came pouring in and people from all walks of the Boston music community were eager and excited to help. And because the song is about radio, having DJs Anngelle Wood and Michael Marotta agree to take part in the chorus made the event all the more meaningful.

In the thick of a 100 degree heatwave and during peak traffic time, the singers began filing into Q Division studios. When studio B had reached capacity, Parlour Bells opened up a few cold, celebratory bottles of Cava to get everyone loosened up. After a few toasts and some laughs, Nate began conducting what would soon be known as The Parlour Bells Metropolitan Chorale. After delivering 3 solid takes, it was clear that Parlour Bells had picked the right people to participate.

Kerri-Ann Richard of Apple Betty began circulating a copy of the lyric sheet for everyone to sign as a memento of the evening. The entire process was filmed by Glenn, who then asked the singers to individually stop by a separate room and share some memories and thoughts about WFNX on camera. The result is this 11 minute mini-documentary that is one part “We Are The World” and one part open love letter/eulogy to FNX.

Fittingly, “Airwaves” premiered on the 6/24 installment of Boston Accents on WFNX and then again on Boston Emissions on WZLX. To stay true to the song, Glenn and Nate both listened to the radio premiere on actual “airwaves” by taking in the broadcast from their car radios, respectively.

The Parlour Bells Metropolitan Chorale

Kerri-Ann Richard, Richard Bouchard, Anngelle Wood, Michael Marotta, Chris Mulvey, Lisa Libera, Leesa Coyne, Adam Ritchie, Rishava Green, Matt King, Michael J. Epstein, Sophia Cacciola, Jessica Sun Lee, Adam Anderson, Michael Gonzales, Ken Marcou, Tom Roppelt, Joel Edinberg, Rachel Blumenthal, Sarah Rabdau, Peter Moore

“Airwaves” Is Available for Download Now!

We Want The Airwaves: A WFNX Celebration

We Are FNXParlour Bells is very honored and excited to announce that we have been invited to perform in a historic sendoff for the 29 year old broadcasting maverick WFNX, which we were crushed to learn will go off the air this summer. On June 30, 2012 We Want The Airwaves: A WFNX Celebration will take place at Paradise Rock Club in Boston. The evening will feature legendary Boston acts, popularized thanks to WFNX’s cutting edge format, O Positive and Orbit, along with Parlour Bells and Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble finalist Garvy J. Beloved voices from the station’s past and present will be in attendance, and FNX fans will be treated to DJ sets by Paul Driscoll, Adam 12, Bruce McDonald, Duane Bruce and Mike “X-Night” Gioscia. Your favorite radio hosts Julie Kramer and Henry Santoro, names you perhaps grew up with, will of course also be taking part in the festivities, and the public will get its first peek at the upcoming WFNX documentary, We Want The Airwaves. Early doors for this 18+ show are at 7PM, and tickets are now onsale through Ticketmaster. Helping to organize the event is radio host and Boston music supporter Anngelle Wood, who got her start at WFNX and remained there for nearly seven years. True to the station’s values and commitment to the public, the show will benefit The Progeria Research Foundation.

Having benefitted greatly from the station’s attention to Boston artists, and sharing their progressive values, Parlour Bells was disheartened to hear that WFNX would be going off the air. We believe this is an evening that WFNX listeners past and present, will not want to miss, and we are looking forward to helping make this an evening that everyone can be proud of.


We Are FNX

In what seemed like an unusual and painfully ironic turn of events, the legendary Boston radio station 101.7 WFNX recently announced that they were being sold to the national media conglomerate Clear Channel Communications. Shortly after the news was announced several WFNX employees, some friends and colleagues, were laid off. It was ironic because Parlour Bells had just spent the previous week appearing not only on WFNX but on another legendary radio station that was also taken from the Boston airwaves back in 2009, WBCN, which has since been reborn online.

We can only hope that WFNX is somehow able to salvage the brand for the sake of our City because its values are uniquely attuned to the culture of the Metropolitan Boston area. We think they can accomplish this by transitioning to an online format and believe that there is a more sustainable environment for this kind of business model at the present time.

A second shoe dropped the following day, when the Boston Herald speculated that Clear Channel could be preparing to move WXKS-AM, a talk station that features the likes of partisan mouthpieces like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Jay Severin, to the 101.7 FM frequency. Seeing a political thread that extended from Clear Channel’s parent company Bain Capital to the partisan content represented by the aforementioned programming (during an election season no less) was unsettling to say the least. However the real blow is the economic hardships this will present to the Boston music community. While it may not seem like much, a decent paying music gig might provide a few extra bucks to someone struggling to make ends meet with their dayjob. WFNX was generous in the exposure they offered to local musicians, with two hours each Sunday night devoted entirely to Boston’s music scene on Boston Accents, and even finding a few minutes in precious programming time to occasionally work in an artist during peak listening hours. They helped foster and launch the careers of rising Boston talent throughout their 29 years of broadcasting. And this exposure gave artists the opportunity to promote paying shows, which in turn served as promotion for the bars and venues at which they’d be performing. More important, the radio station provided jobs to the program directors, production staff and, of course, the DJs.

In this age of Spotify, Pandora and a seemingly endless menu of on-demand streams of digital media, the humanizing element of the in-studio radio host is still meaningful. While on-demand is immediately satisfying, it is also coldly masturbatory. At the end, you realize you are still there alone with your tastes and preferences, and have discovered nothing. Shuffling your collection or allowing algorithms to guide your journey is hardly random. Radio is communal and left to chance. (Okay, perhaps that last part is an illusion. But it’s a damn good one). And that local voice behind the mic reminds you that you are part of something slightly bigger. Not so big that your are insignificant, or that you don’t have a say. Big in the sense that you belong. So as the medium evolves, moves from hi-fi to WiFi, and continues to expand its menu of offerings, we encourage you to make local broadcasts part of your media diet and be part of where you are. Belong.

…Look Again

On the 5/6/12 broadcast of Boston Accents on 101.7 WFNX, host Michael Marotta asked us how Parlour Bells came to the decision about releasing the new limited edition 12 song retrospective disc If You Think You’re Looking At The End…Look Again. It was a good question. While philosophically, we’ve been leaning toward digital distribution only, we looked at releasing a compilation disc as an opportunity to put everything we had done in one place and could be handed out at the 2012 Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble, at which we would perform.

After developing the new tracklist, which brought together the three singles we had released, the entire Heart Beatings EP, our cover of Jane’s Addiction’s “Classic Girl” and three remixes of our song “Heavy Dream,” it was refreshing to hear how well all the songs sounded against each other.

What started as a special giveaway for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble became more of a conclusive chapter for Parlour Bells. And it’s not insignificant that the Rumble coincided with us developing “…Look Again” as a kind of a bookend, as we emerged a changed band from the experience.

The biggest takeaway from the Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble for Parlour Bells is undoubtedly the tremendous exposure and the opportunities that has offered. On 5/3/12, Parlour Bells performed a special stripped down set as part of the WBCN Live at 1265 broadcast from legendary rock radio director Sam Kopper’s Gypsy Dancer Bus on 1265 Boylston Street. Performing under the WBCN call letters carried a special significance for Parlour Bells–as it should for any Boston band–because the station was a rule-breaking pioneer in bringing new rock music to the airwaves.


THE FUTURE. Boston Band Crush Publisher Richard Bouchard recently joked on Facebook that we were confusing people by releasing a retrospective disc as we are simultaneously talking about the road ahead. And while admittedly we are making our fans look in two different directions, we see a ritualistic celebration of the past as part of putting the future in perspective. And celebrate we did. Our first post-Rumble show was also our last live performance before heading into the studio this summer to begin work on our second EP. On 5/11/12, we performed with Crooked Streets, Eddie Japan and The Daily Pravda at Precinct in Union Square, where we celebrated both the past with our release of …Look Again and also gave the audience a glimpse of the future with two new tracks, “Bachelor Hours” and “You Don’t Wear That Dress/The Dress Wears You,” that will appear on the forthcoming release.

Here’s to the brand new good times.

“You Don’t Wear That Dress, The Dress Wears You” Live at Precinct, 5/11/12. Filmed by Johnny Anguish of Daykamp Music.

Video Highlights from the 2012 Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble!

“Parlour Bells added a slick, moody firestorm of post-Hedwig neo-glam to the prelims and were defined by the commanding presence of guitarist Nate Leavitt.”

— Michael Marotta, Music Editor of The Boston Phoenix

“…perhaps the most talked about band going into this night of the preliminaries.”

— Nick Parker, Ryan’s Smashing Life, Music Blog

Here are just a few highlights from our preliminary Night #4 of the 2012 Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble, compiled from The Boston Phoenix and Sophia’s Rock Beat!

“Heavy Dream” from the 2012 Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble. Video courtesy of The Boston Phoenix.

“I’d Like To Think” from the 2012 Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble. Video courtesy of Sophia’s Rock Beat

“The Gargoyle” and “Speak Up” from the 2012 Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble. Video courtesy of Sophia’s Rock Beat.

“Pet Names” from the 2012 Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble. Video courtesy of Sophia’s Rock Beat.