ONCE Somerville presents
Samantha Farrell, Benjamin Cartel
Sat, April 28, 2018
Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pmONCE Ballroom
$10.00 - $13.00
This event is minors under 18 with parent or legal guardian
ONCE Somerville presents Aloud
with Samantha Farrell & Benjamin Cartel
$10 adv/$13 day of show
8pm doors/9pm doors
Lounge opens at 6pm.
(Come on by to play a game of pool, pinball, or to just hang out!)
Physical tickets are available at:
A Curated World by Kay McGowan
160 Highland Ave
Wed - Fri: 1pm to 8pm
Sat - Sun: 12pm to 6pm
Henry Beguiristain and Jen de la Osa have been the soul of Aloud since they were teenagers in Miami. A shared passion for rock classics like the Beatles, Oasis, Aretha Franklin, and Otis Redding led the pair to start writing and recording their own songs. After moving to Boston together to pursue making music as a full-time career, the two fell in love, eventually marrying. Years of writing, recording, and touring fostered deep ties to the Boston rock scene, and helped them connect with other musicians as passionate as they were, including Aloud’s bassist—and the pair’s closest friend—Charles Murphy.
“Our band is more than just the songs, it’s about the love we have for one another,” de la Osa said. “I think it helps to keep us passionate about what we’re doing. Every time we head into the studio or show up at rehearsal, it’s a chance to do my favorite thing with my favorite people. It feeds into the music,” she added. “We can read each other very well.”
Over fifteen years of dedicated musicianship has certainly paid dividends. First on local, then national tours, the band started honing a sound that has earned comparisons to the Alabama Shakes and the Black Keys. Their latest single, “Falling Out of Love”, reveals an evolution of the band, showcasing their incredible harmonies in a soulful ballad reminiscent of the classic Muscle Shoals sound.
The B-side gives listeners a glimpse into the band’s formidable range. Rock-edged with elements of psychedelia, “Empty House” is urgent, with a driving chorus you can’t get out of your head. Together, the songs on the Falling out of Love single form a perfect bridge between the propulsive pop songs the band has been known for, and their upcoming full-length, a more heavily R&B-influenced effort featuring a full horn section.
“Each new song is a chance for us to explore something different—a different sound, a different emotion,” Beguiristain said. “I think the two songs on the single show where we came from, and where we’re headed next musically. It’s a really exciting glimpse into what makes us tick as a band.”
But that’s not the only exciting new project the prolific band is working on. Recent forays into virtual reality and 360-degree digital performances are putting a decidedly modern spin on their classic rock and soul sounds.
“We’re always looking for new ways to connect with audiences,” Beguiristain said. “Our live shows have always been the most exciting element for us and for our fans, but VR and 360 videos are giving us new ways to bring the music experience to life, no matter where folks are. It’s great to have another sandbox like that to play in.”
Between their new single, their upcoming full-length release, and their constant efforts to explore exciting new digital technologies, it’s full steam ahead. According to de la Osa, this is just the beginning. A recent move to Los Angeles has provided new inspiration, and has offered new opportunities for Aloud.
“I’ve never been more excited about the music than I am right now,” de la Osa gushed. “I’ve always felt like creativity is more of a spring than a well—the more you tap into it, the more you get.”
Judging from the band’s incredible trajectory over the years, that spring is showing no signs of running dry any time soon.
She picked up guitar as a sophomore at Bowdoin College and immediately started performing her original material for enthusiastic audiences. Upon graduation in 2005, she moved to Los Angeles where she released her first album, 'Spiritus.' Three of the songs were placed on national television shows.
In 2008, she caught the ear of LeRoi Moore, the saxophonist of the Dave Matthews Band, who was in the midst of producing and developing her next album in Charlottesville, Virginia when he tragically and suddenly passed away. In October of 2009, 'Luminous,' was independently released and through word of mouth alone, charted #7 on the national pop iTunes charts.
She has since followed that up with two EPs, 'In Between Stories' (2010) and 'Softly Swooning World' (2013), with her latest album, 'September Sun' (2016), being described as "showcasing her capacity to weave lyrical rigor with sumptuous abandon... we hear a voice of dusk and smoke in conflict with the very ghosts their convergence has birthed." (Fogged Clarity)
Cartel is one sly songwriter. The tunes on his new disc can often conjure the same subliminal tension as that of a Randy Newman or John Prine. While the melody draws you in with its tunefulness and catchy hook, the lyrics, often dark and disturbing, have something else on their dirty little minds.
“It’s not like I planned it that way,” says the Brooklyn-based Cartel, chuckling. “Both the musical and lyrical aspects of my songs just seem to happen. I know if you listen to some of the things I’m saying, it can be kind of upsetting. But, I just follow the muse.”
“Madeleine” is a striking example of Cartel’s Law of Unintended Consequences. While evenly-strummed acoustic guitars chirp in a chipper fashion, and a piano adds splashes of bright primary colors, the narrator has something much darker on his mind. “Madeleine climb the stairs,” Cartel sings. “It’s only right that you should choose/What your heart is telling you,” he continues, in a voice as unnaturally upbeat as unreliable. What you think you hear, the commands of an unbalanced control freak, is that not that far-fetched.
“It’s great that you picked up on that,” says Cartel, clearly pleased. The lyrics were inspired, in part, by Hitchcock’s Vertigo (the story of a man who loses his great love, then fashions a suspicious new look-a-like into being just like her). “If you remember, near the end of the film, Jimmy Stewart is trying to drag Kim Novak up to the top of the same chapel where he lost his previous love. At one point he says to her, ‘Madeleine, climb the stairs!’ It sparked something in me – this very upsetting scene – and got me writing. The fact that the melody is bouncy and upbeat, well, that just happened.”
Cartel pulls another sonic trick on us with the tune “House Cat.” The song, which could either be about a missing cat or a long-gone woman, recalls some creature who has abandoned the narrator. The tune, although all Cartel’s own, also has Neil Young’s classic riff “Mr Soul” running through it. With the familiar hook, it adds a layer of Rock history that makes the music even more resonant and timeless.
“Again,” says Cartel, “there was nothing intentional about that. I knew the guitar riff was sort of Neil and kind of like ‘Satisfaction,’ but that just seemed right to me. I like it when there’s a lot of stuff going on in a song like that. It seems like that gives the listener more content. And, if they’re anything like me, they’ll want to come back to the tune and listen; try to catch what they thought they heard before.”
Sometimes, to paraphrase Freud, a song is simply a song. Listening to a hummable gem like “Rockaway” makes this apparent. Set against a synth hook and Cartel’s guitars, this song seems to be about the solace the aforementioned Brooklyn town and beach can bring you after a loss of some kind – even if that loss is as profound as youth or innocence. “It’s not far away,” Cartel sings in his sweetly-sour tenor, telling us all that salvation is out there – if only you could just find it.
Give the haunting, multi-layer Gothenburg a spin, and you will find you get Benjamin Cartel too. Your heart will be haunted by the tunes, your mind will wonder about those complex lyrics, and you’ll soon be a fan. To continue the Swedish motif? It may just simply be a case of Stockholm Syndrome. But so what? If you care about fine, incisive songwriting, you’ll be happy to identify with Benjamin Cartel. Musically speaking, a particularly captivating captor.
156 Highland Ave
Somerville, MA, 02143