Ken Maiuri’s Clubland: Daniel hales, and the frost heaves. teams with Mystics Anonymous for CD release party at Shea Theater; Pixies start road tour at the Calvin (with audio, video)

Last modified: Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Avengers! The X-Men! Super team-ups offer a lot of bang for the buck, so two local bands are joining forces for a “Double Album Release Extravaganza.” Daniel hales, and the frost heaves. and Mystics Anonymous both have new CDs and will celebrate with a multimedia concert at the Shea Theater in Turners Falls on Friday at 7 p.m.

Almost a year ago Daniel hales, and the frost heaves. were on the stage of the Shea — or, rather, above the stage, perched on a riser, both part of the scenery and rocking out (carefully) as the very live band for the New Renaissance Players’ production of “Alice In Wonderland.”

Bandleader Hales had taken most of the poems in Lewis Carroll’s Alice books and set them to music, added two of his own Alice-inspired original songs, and now the 17 tunes have been captured on the group’s latest record, “Contrariwise.” The band will play the full album in its entirety at the Shea, for the first and most likely last time, as bassist James Lowe will be leaving the band after this special show.

The Greenfield quartet (which also includes violist Anna Wetherby and drummer Ivan Ussach) will be joined by backing vocalists nicknamed The Looking-Glass Creatures.

One of those singers is fellow Greenfield singer-songwriter Jeff Steblea, who leads the other band on the co-bill, his rock collective called Mystics Anonymous. Steblea is the only constant, surrounded by an ever-changing cast of musicians, which on the new record includes members of the Salvation Alley String Band, Fiesta Brava, Span of Sunshine, Sitting Next to Brian and more.

The new Mystics Anonymous album, “Dreaming for Hours,” is an hour-long opus with a distinct ’90s alternative aura. It’s easy to imagine catchy songs like “Sinner’s Lament,” “Looks Like Jennifer” and the stomping “Boombox Fanfare” getting airtime on MTV’s “120 Minutes” in its heyday alongside tunes by The Lemonheads, Matthew Sweet, R.E.M. and others.

The two acts promise a light show with video projections, “inter-dimensional portals” and special Frost Heaves/Mystics Anonymous-themed beers from Lefty’s Brewing.

Pixies tour

Days before Pixies hits the interstates for a 33-date North American tour, the band is playing a surprise warm-up show at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton on Monday at 8 p.m.

Pixies was one of the bands that ruled my college days in the early-’90s. I didn’t get to see the group often back then, but the shows I did see made unforgettable impressions, like their late-November ’91 gig at a cold and closed-for-the-season amusement park in Warwick, R.I.

The average band would never play such a place at such a time, but the group led by Black Francis always had a surreal edge. My memories of the more-than-20-years-ago gig are so weird I’m not sure I believe them anymore. The show seemed to be hosted by a PTA rather than any kind of typical promoter — I swear there was punch for sale in big bowls. Potato chips. Pleasant ladies there to serve snacks to anyone who wanted them.

Pixies broke up in 1993. Bands they inspired (Nirvana most of all) sang the praises of the now-gone foursome. The legend grew, and then the 21st century happened: Pixies reunited in 2004 and sold out entire tours as a new generation of rabid fans jumped at the chance to finally see them play live. The band did a tour playing its entire “Doolittle” album. And then in May of last year, Deal decided to leave the band.

Her space was temporarily filled by Kim Shattuck, but now Paz Lenchantin will play those iconic bass lines for the band’s upcoming 2014 shows. The Calvin gig will be her first concert appearance alongside Francis, guitarist Joey Santiago and drummer David Lovering.

Pixies has recently begun releasing mini-albums of new material. “EP-1” came out last September, “EP-2” appeared earlier this week. Each contains four songs that feel like weird dream artifacts, both familiar and alien, with some signature signposts in place (like Joey Santiago’s unmistakable guitar work) but also allowing the band new musical room to roam.

Ken Maiuri can be reached at


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