Boston music news: May 18, 2007

Notes on Chandler Travis, the Pernice Brothers, and Girl Authority
By JIM SULLIVAN  |  May 15, 2007

LAUGHING ON THE OUTSIDE: Sadness kings the Pernice Brothers

“I’m 57, I live out on Cape Cod, and I don’t know what’s going on in the real world,” says singer-songwriter Chandler Travis. Which sort of explains Tarnation & Alastair Sim, the new 48-track self-released disc by the CHANDLER TRAVIS PHILHARMONIC, their first in five years, a sprawling mix of pop, psychedelia, jazz, and more. “It’s akin to the Grateful Dead’s Anthem of the Sun, the album that’s a mash-up of a bunch of stuff. There are only 10 or 12 real songs — most of these are little segues and patches. One track is silent, and one is mostly silent, except for a fart and a ringing phone.” The ringing phone comes after a long silent stretch. “It’s done completely to irritate,” Travis says. “What’s wrong about that?” A long-time fixture on the scene who doubles as the Incredible Casuals’ frontman, Travis tends not to worry about public perception. “This is the album where we did everything wrong. It’s giving myself the longest leash in the world and running with it. I’m just having fun. I think musicians work best when they’re not trying to second-guess the marketplace. You don’t want to put people off — usually — but this time we’ve thrown down the gauntlet. This one’s a challenge, and I hope it’s a fun one. I love it when people put out something sprawling. I worry when people get pretentious. This is playful rather than pretentious.” Travis — usually the bearded guy in the pajamas and bathrobe — and his eight mates in the Philharmonic will play Johnny D’s on June 15 to celebrate the CD release. . . . If you want sad, JOE PERNICE has sad. In fact, he’s got “Chicken Wire,” in which a woman chokes to death on exhaust fumes. That tune was just cited as the “No. 1 Most Exquisitely Sad Song in the Whole World” by AOL/Spinner. (It appears on the Pernice Brothers 1998 Sub Pop debut CD, Overcome by HappinessYou can hear it here.) Pernice, who now lives in Toronto, just began work on his second solo disc in Boston. . . . GIRL AUTHORITY are throwing a CD-release party for their second disc, Road Trip (Rounder), at — where else? — a high school. The girls, ages 10-15, will stage a benefit concert for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation on June 1 at Lincoln-Sudbury High School.

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