Tuned in: Ken Maiuri on Valley music
It’s the digital age, where music is often heard on-the-go as mp3 files, with earbuds and iPods and the popular function of “shuffle” — albums get chopped up and spat back as random pieces you can just skip past with the flick of a finger.
Locals Michael Metivier (a member of bands such as Oweihops and The Sand Plains Index) and Jamie Berger are doing their bit to put some magic and romance back into the way records are experienced. They’ve created a listening event called “Spin the Black Circle” (named after a Pearl Jam song that loudly screams the praises of vinyl records), at which those in attendance listen to two complete albums on a turntable, and then discuss.
“We do this with sports, film, literature, why not recorded music?” they ask.
One of their planned “platters that matter” this time around is Harry Nilsson’s 1971 classic “Nilsson Schmilsson,” his biggest-selling album thanks to chart hits like the unforgettably wacky and catchy “Coconut,” the chugging one-chord rocker “Jump Into the Fire” and his stratosphere-hitting cover of Badfinger’s “Without You.” But the listening event is all about the record as a whole, not the singles — and Nilsson is at his inspired best throughout.
The other record in the spotlight is Devo’s 1980 commercial breakthrough “Freedom of Choice,” which has its own share of memorable hits (“Whip It,” “Girl U Want,” “Gates of Steel,” the title track) but is a spottier, samey affair — or maybe you disagree? Metivier and Berger are all for differing opinions and hope for some enlightening post-LP chat, not just about the records themselves but music nerd topics like “personal listening habits” and how changing technology is mutating our relationship to music.
The vinyl records spin and the conversation flows at the Thrive Project, 37 Third St. in Turners Falls, tonight at 7 p.m.
Ray Mason plays his first-ever solo electric set at Bread Euphoria in Haydenville on Saturday at 6 p.m. No cover, but tips are appreciated.
Swillmerchants perform their newly released album “I Don’t Remember the World” in its entirety for the first time at the Elevens in Northampton on Saturday at 9 p.m. Also on the mega-bill are Strobe Horse, Outer Stylie, Chainwave and The Prodigal Kings.
Local acts are banding together for a benefit show for Darren Masloski, former bassist of Yucky Octopus, who’s dealing with cancer and the ensuing medical bills. Problems With Dragons, Split Shift, Gone By Daylight, I Am Disaster, Yucky Octopus (who will perform with special guest members) and BBSD will play at Maximum Capacity in Chicopee on Sunday at 7 p.m.
Valley-based record label TinyRadars brings its live concert series back to the Montague Bookmill for a show featuring Emperor X, Saint Seneca and Bunny’s a Swine, at the Bookmill on Sunday at 7 p.m.
Kaki King, the pigeonhole-escaping guitarist/songwriter whose sixth album “Glow” was released just weeks ago, returns to the Iron Horse in Northampton on Thursday at 7 p.m. Lady Lamb the Beekeeper (from Portland, Maine) opens.
Speedy Ortiz, Pachangacha and Johnny Foreigner will be at the Sierra Grille in Northampton on Thursday at 10 p.m.