Editorials

Unraveled Launch Review

May 17th, 2013

Boston based company, Unraveled, launched the first collection of  designs and limited edition #BOSTONSTRONG shirts with six live music performances on Saturday, May 11th at the Good Life Bar in Downtown Boston.

The Unraveled brand was developed under the art direction of Emerson College alumni Farida Amar, an independent artist herself, whose company’s headquarters are located in Boston’s Innovation District. The team of Unraveled designers promote independent music by building conversation pieces using lyrics from songs in an effort to create community. A complimentary download of the song represented in an Unraveled original is provided with each purchase.

The launch party featured live performances by six Unraveled Artists: Miriam Elhajli (Heritage Folk), Damn Tall Buildings (Bluegrass), Brite Lite Brite (Live Electronica), Spills for All Y’All (Neo-­Soul/Hip-­Hop), and The Navidson Record (Dark Hardcore Punk). In addition to these performances, the official Unraveled website went public and the project’s philosophy film was screened for the first time.

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, Unraveled released three shirts for The One Fund Boston. Together these shirts form the limited edition Unraveled #BOSTONSTRONG Collection and are available on the Unraveled website along with a streaming 13 track mixtape. The mixtape includes songs from bands originally from Boston whose music carries a strong independent spirit. 100% of the proceeds from sales of the Unraveled #BOSTONSTRONG shirts are donated to The One Fund.

If you would like to support both The One Fund or Unraveled’s independent artist community, please look and listen for their upcoming music events and designs on their website at http://unraveledartists.com.

Featured image (above) of The Navidson Record’s live performance during the Unraveled Launch Party taken by Farida Amar at The Good Life in Boston, MA, 2013.

UNRAVELED LAUNCH PARTY PERFORMANCE MINI REPORTS
Individual music performance mini reports written by Arjun Ray
Photographs taken by Farida Amar

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MIRIAM ELHAJLI | This troubadour captivated all of the early comers to the Unraveled Launch with a richly textured voice that belied her youth. Miriam’s guitar playing was effortless, alternating between fingerpicking and percussive strumming. Without a backing band, we were able to focus on her voice which authentically channeled the sound of America-past – defined by new ideas, new freedoms, war, and protest. Miriam had her first impromptu meet up with the Unraveled team right before the event and we were all impressed by her humble sweet personality. Her reverence for song and message along with her unassuming spirit came across in her set, allowing her to channel her music with striking purity and passion.

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DAMN TALL BUILDINGS | If you think you don’t like Bluegrass, Damn Tall Buildings can probably change your mind. A room full of ambling event attendees were instantly energized by the barnstorming quartet who combined the virtuoso playing of Jordan Alleman (Banjo), Avery ‘Montana’ Ballotta (Fiddle), Max Capistran (Guitar), and Sasha Dubyk (Upright Bass) with three-part vocal harmonies. Songs started and ended in a wallop of notes with a hint of the furious-but-fun energy of punk, accompanied by the spontaneous stomping of the audience’s feet. It is hard to believe that Damn Tall Buildings is only a handful of months old, but their musical synergy was unmistakable and the music was performed with a playfulness that requires both competence and confidence.

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ALL Y’ALL | Spills from All Y’All didn’t get through one full song. He spent his set physically confronting the audience and rolling on the floor tangled in mic cables, in an epic battle to free himself from a mic stand. And yet, the audience member’s faces revealed looks spanning from amusement to fascination as the rowdy but surprisingly competent MC delivered a mercurial barrage of half songs and wild-eyed anecdotes. In the middle of the set, a member of the audience burst out the revelation that Spills was in fact doing a cover of a Disney song. All Y’All are normally a two piece neo-soul outfit with members split between Massachusetts and New York. Basim Usmani, who was away reporting on a certain thrash metal funeral, normally covers vocal duties while Spill produces gritty future-forward beats and raps. The performance ended triumphantly with a heavy hitting last verse, a serendipitous untangling from the mic cables, and Spills’ graceful running exit out the building and down the street.

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BRITE LITE BRITE | Armed with a microphone, a vocal effects processor, and a backing track, Andrea Stankevich’s delivered coy and fliratious vocals that sat neatly on top of bruising dub electro rhythms. The petite blonde frontwoman conjured up affected and effected vocals that delicately sliced in between beats, while an official dancer undulated snake-like besides her. The dimly lit ground floor of the Good Life paired with pounding low frequencies evoked a night club atmosphere during their afternoon set. Normally a two piece, DJ and producer Luke Johnson could not make the show, with a laptop standing in playing backing tracks. Both members of Brite Lite Brite have a long history of playing music together in many genres before settling on avant electronic music. Michael Gold, a local filmmaker, shot a promotional video during for the song “Radioactive Love” which can be seen here.

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VELAH | Velah play Pop music that draws exactly nothing from the soulless product heard on Top 40s radio. Is their music meticulously crafted to appeal to emotions? Yes. Are the song arrangements deceptively simple? Undoubtedly. Would you find yourself humming the songs subconsciously? Mmm hmm. What is absent in Velah’s sound is slickness, light and over-sweet lyrics, and compromises to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Instead, we heard lush bittersweet music delivered with heartfelt sincerity. The dynamic four piece featured Jen Johnson (Vocals, Guitar), Mike Latulippe (Drums), Danny McNair (Bass, Keys), and Nick Murphy (Vocals, guitar). Between haunting guitar leads and male-female vocal harmonies, Velah managed to transport the audience into a entrancing space of their own design.

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THE NAVIDSON RECORD | Minutes before The Navidson Record hit the stage, vocalist Zach Staska attached the microphone to his hand with pink duct tape – a symbiotic (or parasitic) marriage between mic and performer. The young hardcore punk band was uncharacteristically loud for the Unraveled Launch, sonically assaulting the audience after an afternoon of quieter music. The audience had glimpses of Zach entrenched in a full contact battle with invisible demons, eyes rolling back in his sockets, and bent over backwards shrieking treatise of inner turmoil turned outwards. The 4 piece band behind him (Kayla MacNeil – Guitar, Mathew McDonough – Bass. P.J. Presti – Backup Vox, Guitar, Anthony Tedeschi – Drums) moved as if under the control invisible strings from a master puppeteer, pummeling slow heavy chords into the ground in physical unison. The Navidson Record brought big ugly pathological fury to the closing of the event, and dare I say that it was exactly what we were needing.

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