Saturday, November 10, 2007

November 10 8 pm

Mideast Twentieth Anniversary Party and Benefit for Stephen

Hallelujah the Hills 12: 45 - 1: 30 am

The Thalia Zedek Band 11:50 - 12: 30 pm
w / Special Guest Chris Brokaw

M.G. Lederman 11:30 - 11: 50 pm

Empty House Cooperative 11 : 15 - 11:30 pm

Reid Paley Trio 10:25 - 11 : 00 pm

Helms 9:50 - 10 : 10 pm

IV Diffusion 9 : 00 - 9 : 40 pm

Drug Rug 8 : 20 - 8 : 50 pm

Free Buffet Between 8 and 9 pm

Mideast corner

10 : 30 pm – Balla Tounkara and Groupe Spirit

8 pm Eric Martin and the Illyrians and guests

6 pm Kaethe Hostetter - Johathan Lamaster

6:20 & 7:20 Kaethe Hostetter Trio
violins and accordion

6: 50- 7 : 10 Jonathan Lamaster Duo
violin and percussion

Advance Tickets available November 1 through Mideast box office
and Ticketmaster
$ 10 day of show, $ 8 by advance purchase
The Middle East Restaurant 472 Mass Ave. , Cambridge, Ma.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Middle East's 20th: Eclectism on Parade ... and a chat with Reid Paley

There are many reasons you might want to be at the Middle East Upstairs Saturday Nov. 10 at 8. To celebrate the club’s 20th anniversary, or the birthday of original book Billy Ruane, who helped put tonight’s eclectic bill together, or to help raise money for Stephen Fredette (former guitarist for Scruffy the Cat, now with Pony) who was diagnosed in August with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. (Fredette will be at the gig but will not likley play; Pony plays T.T. the Bears Nov. 16, and Fredette says, from a strength point of view, that’s about all he’s got in him.)

The Middle East bill includes the Hallelujuh the Hills, the Thalia Zedek Band with Chris Brokaw (no doubt performing some of what they used to play regularly in Come), the Empty House Cooperative, MG Lederman, IV Diffusion, Helms and Drug Rug. But in this space we’re going to focus on the Reid Paley Trio – which should come on just before Thalia and company – and raise a ruckus with his dark, yet celebratory, raw rock ‘n’ roll. Think of a zone somewhere between psychobilly and punk rock and toss gruff Tom Waits-like vocals in the mix.


Middle East Myspace Blog re Anniversary Bands

Middle East Myspace Blog re Anniversary Bands

Saturday, November 10, 2007
The Middle East Upstairs

Middle East 20th Anniversary Party & Benefit for Stephen Fredette

Hallelujah the Hills
The Thalia Zedek Band with special guest Chris Brokaw
M.G. Lederman
Empty House Cooperative
IV Diffusion
Drug Rug

8PM Doors


Hallelujah The Hills is a beautiful, absurd movie made by Adolfas Mekas. Ryan Walsh was shown the film on the first day of his "Films Of The Sixties" class at Boston University. He made an illegal VHS dub from the BU library copy for future reference.

Ryan Walsh and Eric Meyer (guitar and drums, respectively) started a band around the same time called The Stairs with Evan Sicuranza. They made music in unchosen obscurity until the week of their final show in 2005 during which the Boston music press called their final album one of the best of the year.

During an interview taking place moments before The Stairs' final show, Ryan told a Boston Phoenix reporter: "After tonight Eric and I are starting a band called Hallelujah The Hills", thereby crossing the point of no return with their risky six syllable moniker.
Walsh on the title turning into a band name: "It's a beautiful sounding phrase. It doesn't quite make grammatical sense. The movie is about two men retreating into the woods to try and forget about a women they both loved who has rejected them both. They do this by having imaginary gun fights in graveyards, taking over an abandoned cabin, and trying to drive a Jeep up a mountain. These men are buffoons but they're also pretty admirable for their devotion to foolishness. It seems to work with the music we make. That's all."

Walsh and Meyer asked three other people to be in the band with them: David Bentley (cello, guitar), Joe Marrett (bass), and Matt Brown (synth, samples, guitar, melodica). Practices commenced in the space they shared with Ho-Ag (in which Meyer also plays drums).

The first Hallelujah The Hills show was at Great Scott, Allston, MA in November 2005. They opened for Chicago's Devin Davis. After playing their eponymous theme/fight song for the first time live, Walsh asked the audience "I don't know, is it cool to have the band name in one of the songs' lyrics?" Local music enthusiast/journalist/chef Steve Gisselbrecht quickly shouted his reply: "Once. You can do it once."

Shows in New York and the Boston area followed. One older concert goer in Salem, MA told the band they were so close to being great but they were missing "someone who can really shred the shit out of the guitar." This problem has still not been remedied.

Tyler Derryberry from Ho-Ag used to be in a band from Columbus, OH called The Rancid Yak Butter Tea Party in which Brian Rutledge played trumpet. When Brian moved to Boston, Tyler alerted HtH to the arrival of a new trumpet player. Rutledge played a few shows with HtH before everyone decided that the addition was permanent.

The band's debut album Collective Psychosis Begone was recorded between February and September 2006. Walsh on the title: "My grandpa once told me that you should save your most outlandish wishes for birthday cake blow outs and album titles. So there you go."

Cory Brown (Absolutely Kosher/Misra Records) took notice of the band after they played a show with AK label bands Sunset Rubdown and Frog Eyes at TT The Bear's in Cambridge, MA. The first two HtH albums will come out on Misra Records, and the band used their advance to buy a tour van.

In winter of 2007, Matt Brown left the band to pursue other musical activities. Elio DeLuca (Keys To The Streets Of Fear, sound man extraordinaire) joined the band shortly thereafter, creating an element of HtH that knows the difference between a tube and a solid-state amplifier.

Adolfas Mekas (director of the film) was made aware of the band after accidentally stumbling onto their MySpace page. According to sources close to Mekas his first reaction was "I'll sue!" but later a colleague explained that it was a very loving tribute to the movie. The band is very thankful for that. "Any attention the band brings the movie is icing on the cake for me" comments Walsh.

The band has promised to make 33 albums before breaking up.

Artist Website:

Thalia Zedek is one of the most important and talented vocalists in American rock. Over her 20+ year career as singer and guitarist with bands like Come, Live Skull, Uzi, and others, she has brought an unparalleled intensity and emotion to underground music, a talent on par with Nick Cave or Patti Smith. She's been deeply influential and fiercely revered.

Thalia moved from Washington DC to Boston in the late 70s, joining a band called White Women before forming the all-female Dangerous Birds in 1981. Their "Smile On Your Face" single brought Dangerous Birds some notice (it was later included on the Sub Pop 100 compilation), though they eventually split and Thalia formed Uzi in 1983. Uzi made one spectacular EP, Sleep Asylum, which was way ahead of its time in its blend of Thalia's garage-blues-punk background with drummer Danny Lee's modernist approach, incorporating electronic drums, found sounds, and tape manipulation.

When Uzi split in 1986, Thalia was asked to join Live Skull, a New York band often (unfairly) maligned as a second-rate Sonic Youth but who, with the addition of such a strong frontperson, were completely transformed into one of the best bands in New York at the time. Thalia appeared on two Live Skull LPs and one EP, all released on Homestead Records, before returning to Boston, where she and friend Chris Brokaw (formerly of Codeine) decided to form Come.

Come's debut single"Car"/"Last Mistake" was released as part of the Sub Pop Singles Club and caught a lot of people in the music world off guard. Their debut album Eleven:Eleven came out in 1992 and was one of the most acclaimed records of the year, both in the press and among the indie heroes of the day--Kurt Cobain, Bob Mould, J Mascis. Brilliant guitar playing, fearless vocals, terrific lyrics, remarkably emotional songs--

Over the course of their career, Come were certainly acknowledged. Melody Maker: "Come have made it harder for music to be banal. They've carved a fresh benchmark. Marvel at its magnificence." Rolling Stone: "Music you won't soon forget." Option: "Impossibly original." Entertainment Weekly: "Captivating... enthralling." Musician: "A revelation." Spin: "Ferocious." Request: "They make time stand still." Creem: "A confession you've got no business hearing." Rip: "Truly brilliant, bruising stuff." NME: "Staggering--Come really rock, with force, like hell, almost literally." New York Times: "Come's music evokes those moments in rock's demonic journey when the seam is about to split."

Come released four albums, the last being 1998's Gently Down The Stream. The band recently disbanded (though Thalia had already finished her album when they decided to make it official). The initial idea for Thalia's record came as a result of a couple short "cabaret" tours the band did between their third and fourth records, where they did stripped-down versions of Come songs with piano and strings. Thalia found that she liked singing over the quieter instrumentation, where she felt she could be more expressive (and could actually hear herself!).

Her importance and respect among her peers was reiterated by her inclusion on the Indigo Girls' 1998 Suffragette Sessions Tour, a group of female artists which Amy Ray described as "a socialist experiment in hierarchy, no boundaries."

When Come took an indefinite hiatus in 1999, Thalia was asked to do some solo shows in Boston, for which she again opted for the stripped-down instrumentation, performing songs by Leonard Cohen, The Ramones, and Alex Chilton, as well as more standard torch songs. She got an incredible response and started composing songs specifically for these more intimate performances. Accompanying her on these shows were some Come bandmates and many people who play on this record.

Been Here And Gone is on one hand a straightforward singer/songwriter record, and on the other hand completely defies categorization; these are tricky, bluesy, deep songs devoid of any ;folkie' vibes, a rock 'n' roll album with viola, piano, and trumpet. Listen to the stark "1926," probably the most moving performance of the year.


CHRIS BROKAW (ex- Come, Codeine)

CHRIS BROKAW was born and raised in and around New York City. After attending Oberlin College, he moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where he continues to reside.
In 1990, he began recording and performing internationally with CODEINE, with whom he played drums and guitar on two records for SUB-POP. In 1992, he left that band to pursue songwriting, singing and guitar playing with COME, who recorded four albums for MATADOR and toured internationally over the course of 10 years.

Since 2002, chris has recorded four solo albums: the instrumental "RED CITIES" (ATAVISTIC/KIMCHEE/12XU, 2002), the solo acoustic "WANDERING AS WATER"(NORMAL, 2004), the film score "I WAS BORN, BUT" (ATAVISTIC/12XU, 2004), and the rock/vocal "INCREDIBLE LOVE" (12XU/ROCK ACTION/ACUARELA, 2005).

He has performed on over two dozen other recordings, performing as a member of the following bands: THE WILLARD GRANT CONSPIRACY, THE NEW YEAR, PULLMAN, CONSONANT, and THE EMPTY HOUSE COOPERATIVE; as a guest on recordings by COBRA VERDE, MANTA RAY, ROSA CHANTSWELL, KARATE, and VIA TANIA; and as an accompanist to recordings and performances by STEVE WYNN, EVAN DANDO, THALIA ZEDEK, ALAN LICHT, TARA JANE O'NEIL, crime writer GEORGE PELECANOS, and RHYS CHATHAM.

Chris has scored and performed works with the KINO DANCE COMPANY (boston, 2006) and the DAGDHA DANCE COMPANY (limerick, ireland, 2005). he collaborated with playwright RINDE ECKERT and director ROBERT WOODRUFF on the award-winning new opera "HIGHWAY ULYSSES" (AMERICAN REPERTORY THEATER, cambridge massachusetts, 2003), which was named the Best Production of the Year by THE BOSTON GLOBE.

Chris scored LESLIE MCCLEAVE's dramatic feature film "ROAD" (2005), which won the award for Best Original Score at the BROOKLYN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL. chris' music has also been used extensively on NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO and ESPN.

Chris has performed throughout the US, Canada, Europe, the UK, Russia and Australia. In addition to regularly playing solo shows, he has been touring and performing in 2007 in collaboration with THURSTON MOORE (in a full band that is a side project from moore's work with SONIC YOUTH), TWO DOLLAR GUITAR (TIM FOLJAHN and STEVE SHELLEY), ELEVENTH DREAM DAY, DAVE DERBY, and KAHOOTS.

Chris has been pursuing several new projects in 2007, including a new band called DIRT MUSIC with HUGO RACE (ex-BAD SEEDS) and CHRIS ECKMAN (ex-WALKABOUTS), another new band called FFLSHLGHTS with DOUG MCCOMBS and ELLIOT DICKS, and an album of pre-WWII blues songs with GEOFF FARINA (ex-KARATE).

Artist Website:


M.G. LEDERMAN (ex-Victory at Sea)

Artist Website:



Northeast USA based improvising collective features an extended family of musicians including members of Molasses, Thalia Zedek, Consonant, Pullman, Boxhead Ensemble, Willard Grant Conspiracy, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and The New Year. Though all of these artists are involved with significant other projects, the EHC has taken on a unique life of it's own.

The Empty House Cooperative began in 1997 with casual gatherings for brunch and music at David Michael Curry's apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts.The limits of a conventional band setting led DMC to explore ideas of improvised music with like-minded friends. EHC has performed live soundtracks to silent films, improvised dinner music at restaurants, and transformed rock clubs. EHC provided music for the American Repertory Theatre's 2003 production of Highway Ulysses, and provided the ambient musical score to a marathon reading at the 2001 Jack Kerouac Festival in Lowell, MA.
The music is melodic and musical but the open-ended, extended pieces float and shimmer with a minimum of structure and are marked by a nuanced melancholy. Closest musical parallels would include the Dirty Three and the Boxhead Ensemble (of which Curry appears on one recording). "Painted Plane" EHC's first release on Sedimental Records, features regulars Chris Brokaw on guitar and Jonah Sacks on cello, along with DMC on viola, loop samples, guitar & horn. It was recorded at MIT's WMBR radio station studio August 28, 2000 by Andy Hong and mastered by Jeff Lipton at Peerless Mastering. Several recordings exist at Dave's house, unreleased as of yet, and are given to friends in brown paper bags.

Artist Website:


Guitarist/vocalist Sean McCarthy and his younger brother Dan, who played the drums, grew up in Boston, MA. In 1997, Sean, along with bassist and friend Tina Helms, parted ways with the drummer from their band, the Television Set, but luckily enough, Dan's group, Dagobah, was also reaching its end. Sean and Helms had already booked some studio time for the Television Set, so they recruited Dan to play the drums. After cutting two songs, they realized that this new three-piece lineup had a definite chemistry. They decided to continue playing together, dubbing themselves the Swimmer, and recorded a six-song demo that wasn't released to the public. However, it contained tracks that would appear on the group's split EP with Victory at Sea, as well as their first full-length debut album.

The Swimmer contributed the song "What I Learned From Firecrackers," recorded in the winter of 1997 with producer John Harris, to a Boston compilation titled Halcyon Days that was released in the fall of 1998. Within that next year, the band had gained a name for itself in the Boston area, and it signed a deal with Kimchee Records. As they began recording their first full-length debut, with Kimchee's co-owner Andy Hong producing, the group discovered that Madonna's Maverick imprint was already releasing material from another band named Swimmer. Wanting to avoid any legal trouble, the trio adopted Tina's last name as the band's new moniker in the fall of 1999. Helms didn't have enough material to release its full-length debut album at that time, but Hong wanted to circulate the band's name among the national underground music scene. He asked Boston's Victory at Sea if they would record a split EP with Helms, since Victory at Sea was already going on tour with Helms that summer. Victory at Sea agreed, and Helms used their songs "Plants May Not Have Brains But at Least They Know How to Take Care of Themselves" and "The Smallest World in the World" for the CD, the latter of which would appear on Helms' first full-length. The two bands held a CD release party for the EP on June 29, 2000, at Boston's Middle East nightclub. Two days later, on July 1, the groups departed for their East Coast and Midwest tour. Although the bands were selling the disc on the tour, the CD wasn't officially released in stores until that August.

After the week-long tour ended with Victory at Sea, Helms began playing various one-night gigs with bands like the One AM Radio, the Album Leaf, and the Lapse in their hometown of Boston, as well as various outlying cities in Massachusetts. In that time, Helms managed to hold the CD release party for its full-length debut, The Swimmer. The gathering was held on October 22 at the Middle East with supporting acts Tristeza, the Headset, and the Mercury Program. In February of 2001, Helms began their winter tour of the Midwest and East Coast to support The Swimmer. During this jaunt, they had the privilege of sharing bills with such diverse artists as Arab on Radar, Rose of Sharon, and Tim Kinsellas of Joan of Arc. Helms returned to Boston in late March and continued performing various shows at local venues, as well as writing new material for their sophomore album.

On July 14, 2001, Helms set out for their first full-scale national tour. The outing took the band all the way from the Midwest to the West Coast. They opened the tour for their old friends in the national acts the Album Leaf and Tristeza. As they returned to Boston once again in mid-August, Mister Records approached the group about appearing on the label's 1.5 compilation of various New England bands. Helms contributed the track "Penthouse" for the release.

Artist Website:


Along with Mean Creek and Hats and Glasses, Drug Rug are among our favorite newish local bands led by a boyfriend-girlfriend team making beautiful music together, as PepĂ© Le Pew would say. On their forthcoming Drug Rug debut, Tommy Allen and Sarah Cronin are joined by a killer supporting cast: Apollo Sunshine frontman Jesse Gallagher; Allen's brother and Viva Viva bandmate, Johnny; Dead Trees' Mike Cummings and Noah Rubin; former Lot Six guitarist Julian Cassanetti; and Tulsa frontman Carter Tanton, who recorded the album in his Allston basement. But it's the songs of Allen and Cronin — simple, timeless-sounding little pop gems like this 12-string-and-xylophone-driven number — that take center stage.

Artist Website:

Hallelujah the Hills

Hallelujah the Hills - Selected MP3s and Press Links
Hallelujah the Hills ( review )
Charlie's Kitchen
Cambridge, MA Aug. 21, 2006
" Wave Backwards To Massachusetts "
" The House Is All Lit Up "
"Cataloging Candy's Demise"
October 8, 2007
Exclusive Download - "Cataloging Candy's Demise" by
Hallelujah the Hills
If you read this site regularly, you know I am a huge
fan of Hallelujah the Hills. The band's literate
songwriting, musicianship and exuberant performances
make me one of their most vociferous fans. The band is
heading out on an October tour, and is offering fans
two new songs to whet their appetites (the other song
will be posted on Stereogum later this week).
Plus, Bradley's Almanac has posted a live solo set by
Hallelujah the Hills frontman Ryan Walsh. Enjoy.
I have been lucky to catch the band both as Hallelujah
the Hills and in its former incarnation, the Stairs,
and have always left their live performances wanting
them to become my personal house band.
" The Trap "
" Escape Clause "
" The Echo Sequence " (new)
" It's All Been Downhill Since The Talkies Started To
Sing "
Download This Now: Hallelujah the Hills,
"Monster Eyes"
posted: 2:34 PM, March 26, 2007
by Camille Dodero
Did you bring the ice skates?
Novelist/music writer Jonathan Lethem recently issued
a challenge: randomly inviting musicians to actualize
the fictional centerpiece of his recent rock-and-roll
novel You Don't Love Me Yet „ an invented opus called
"Monster Eyes." So far,
Lethem's posted two versions on his site
and they're . . . meh.
Not even remotely on the same planet of greatness as
what's posted (here for the first time on the
Internet!) below.
The band responsible is Hallelujah the Hills, a Boston
six-piece who're not crunk, black metal, or western
swing despite MySpace reports to the contrary.
Ostensibly named for the ridiculous 1963 Adolfas Mekas
indie-comedy, HtH is actually a happy, poppy joyous
Moog/cello/Melodica musical collective who finished
third in Salon's Song Search for their eponymous fight
song "Hallelujah the Hills." Sort of impressive
considering that one of the bands they lost to was
Bishop Allen.
Hallelujah the Hills's recorded stuff has always been
pretty great, but "Monster Eyes" is fifty shades of
AM-radio awesome.
Admittedly, Lethem's lyrics look kind of dumb on the
page ("Get you/out of range/of my/monster/eyes"), but
somehow they've managed to turn the four-line refrain
into an absolutely gorgeous piece of psychedelic '60s
pop„ the Moody Blues without the melodrama, Love
without the drugs. Call the musical glossies: this
might just be the "Best Song You've Never Heard."
Tonight, Hallelujah the Hills open at the Mercury
Lounge, playing at the unenviable time of 7pm. You
should kill time before the Ponys and go. What else
are you gonna do?