Parlour 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.
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.
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.
“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.
As announced on the 3/11/12 broadcast of Boston Emissions on 100.7 WZLX, Parlour Bells will have their preliminary round on Night 4 of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble, which will take place on April 5th, 2012 at TT the Bear’s Place in Cambridge MA. Participants were randomly selected from a hat drawing, and Parlour Bells will play the third slot of the evening at 11PM. They will Rumble with Cask Mouse, Never Got Caught and The Fagettes. Full schedule of the preliminaries is available at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble website. You can RSVP to the Facebook event here, and advance tickets are available here on TicketWeb. In celebration of their participation in the Rumble, Parlour Bells has made their newest single “I’d Like To Think” available for free download on their Bandcamp page.
For over thirty years, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble has been regarded as the ultimate music competition for bands in the Greater Boston area. And it has quite a history. Championed by broadcasting legend WBCN, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble has provided some of Boston’s most talented acts tremendous exposure and has spawned such national sensations as ‘Til Tuesday, Morphine, Dresden Dolls, The Sheila Divine and many others. Since 2009, Boston Emissions host Anngelle Wood has seen The Rumble through its rollercoaster ride of surprises, changes, drama and above all, great music. Parlour Bells is honored and excited to be part of this great Boston tradition, as we are proud to announce that we will be taking a run at The Crown for the 2012 Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble. We’ll be among 24 of the best artists this town has to offer, and it all starts with preliminaries beginning April 1 at TT The Bear’s Place in Cambridge MA. Prelims run for 6 nights, which are then followed by two nights of semifinals, and one night of finals. Below is the full list of dates. Parlour Bells will keep you posted on when we’ll have our night in the preliminaries!
Sunday, April 1
Monday, April 2
Tuesday, April 3
Thursday, April 5
Friday, April 6
Saturday, April 7
Thursday, April 12
Friday, April 13
Friday, April 20
Parlour Bells congratulates everyone involved in organizing this year’s Rumble and all the bands chosen to participate. Go “like” The Rumble Facebook page and follow @rocknrollrumble on Twitter for more updates!
Above Photo by Johnny Anguish of Daykamp Music. View Full Daykamp coverage of The Formal.
For a second year in a row, The Winter Rock Formal brought out a sharp-dressed crowd and turned a cold night in Boston into a rockingly elegant affair. The night began with a brand new game show. Where The Dating Game served as last year’s spoof, it was The Newlywed Game that served up the awkwardness with a Boston rock twist in the form of the “Bandlywed” Game, hosted by Brendan Boogie.
Another hit from last year that again made The Formal a signature event was the Prom Fabulous Photo Booth. Combining the vibrant photography of Rachel Leah Blumenthal with the talented set design of Michael J. Epstein and Sophia Cacciola, the booth is comprised of a balloon-festooned trellis that captures the colorful, fun tackiness of a high school prom. As the night progressed and the inhibitions slowly gave way to cocktails, guests lined up to ham it up in the booth resulting in an album with hundreds of wonderful shots. See them all here!
The night also gave us the debut of Broken Wings, featuring Sarah Rabdau and Peter Moore in character as the secret authors of all your favorite hits from the 1980s. Eddie Japan then brought their suave brand of rock to the stage, proving they were made for classy events like The Formal.
Parlour Bells used the evening as an opportunity to showcase a brand new song, “You Don’t Wear That Dress, The Dress Wears You,” adding the smooth saxophone stylings of Joel Edinberg to their sound for the track.
Returning to headline the second year were Gene Dante & the Future Starlets, who delivered their electrified rock theatrics and were reunited with Sophia Cacciola (Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library) for a head-turning duet of the band’s anatomical anthem “C-Star.” And speaking of duets–it may have been the moment that Gene Dante joined Parlour Bells for a momentous cover of the Queen classic “Under Pressure” that left people buzzing long after the show ended.
With two Formals on the books, it’s pretty safe to say that it’s no longer just an event. It’s a thing.
“Under Pressure” as Performed by Parlour Bells & Gene Dante
“You Don’t Wear That Dress, The Dress Wears You” Debut Performance
“C-Star” Gene Dante & the Future Starlets (Featuring Sophia Cacciola)
Sometimes it’s not the destination but the journey that matters. And, as a bright 2011 for Parlour Bells winds to a close, that was certainly case when it came to the band’s campaign to perform at the abandoned Faces nightclub on Route 2 in Cambridge, MA. The Boston Phoenix expressed immediate interest in the grassroots effort to perform at the site where the Heart Beatings artwork was photographed, and followed the story until the end. While the site developers were initially receptive to the campaign, the small scale of the event did not accomodate the band’s performance goals and they dropped their bid to play.
But as the year ends, the efforts did not go unrecognized, and in The Boston Phoenix’s “Year in Boston Rock” feature Parlour Bells earned a hat tip for giving the campaign their best shot.
The Faces building has since been demolished, but Derek Kouyoumjian’s Heart Beatings images live on as some of the last artistic photographs of the site.
On December 15, 2011 The Boston Phoenix hit newsstands with a very special gift to its readers: a QR code download link to an 8 song holiday music sampler from some of Boston’s hottest acts. Shakedown: The Phoenix Holiday EP, curated by Phoenix Music Editor and host of 101.7 WFNX’s Boston Accents Michael Marotta, the collection includes the premiere of “O Holiday,” the newest single from Parlour Bells. Of the track, Michael Marotta says “…the noir-pop smarts of Parlour Bells dress Bowie in red and green garland and sparkle like the Corner Tavern on Christmas night. Vocalist Glenn di Benedetto, wearing mistletoe as a halo, positions himself as a fine holiday crooner, a glam Michael Buble for the guyliner-and-flask set.”
Parlour Bells are part of this collection that also includes artists Moon Crew Featuring Ra3x, Eldridge Rodriguez, Streight Angular, Halston, Quichenight, Happy Jawbone Family Band and The Hush Now.
On Thursday, October 27th the legendary guitarist of Jane’s Addiction, Dave Navarro tweeted “Great @parlourbells cover of Jane’s Addiction’s Classic Girl!” He was referring to the stripped-down acoustic cover that Glenn and Nate had recorded in preparation for their one night transformation into Jane’s Addiction for a Halloween cover show at Radio in Union Square, Somerville MA. Glenn di Benedetto and Nate Leavitt cut their teeth on Jane’s Addiction back in high school, so becoming Perry and Dave for one evening had been a long time in the making. And reading Navarro’s tweet just one day before the show made doing the tribute even sweeter. How Navarro actually stumbled upo the track is still a mystery, but Parlour Bells were honored to get this nod of support from one of their earliest influences. You can find Parlour Bells’ cover of “Classic Girl” here on their Bandcamp page, the link to which Navarro included in his tweet.
Here’s footage from the Halloween performance, where they played “Classic Girl” live: