Tag Archives: Flannery Brothers

My First Record: The Flannery Brothers Share Memories of Stereo MCs’ ‘Connected’

Welcome to My First Record, in which we ask kindie artists to write about a formative musical experience. This edition is brought to you by Mike Flannery of the Flannery Brothers, whose records we love (really love). Take it away, Mike!

The year was 1992, which puts me at around 14 years old. The song, “Connected,” by the Stereo MCs was on rotation nonstop that summer, and it was all hook — a great pop song. I remember driving in the car with one of my parents to the Monmouth Mall. It was hot out and I had the window down. I remember asking for the tape at the counter of the record store and the grungy guy who helped me find it smirking at me. I even remember using my thumbnail to rub the shrink wrap off, and of course blasting the song at top volume all the way home.

Needless to say, it was by no means the first song I ever sought out. Our father had been dubbing cassettes of his record collection for us for years, and by then I’d already gotten pretty good at programming MIDI and had a slew of four-track recordings under my belt, including an amazingly embarrassing prepubescent version of “Wild Horses.” So, even though I already probably had a pretty sizable CD collection considering that Ten, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Rust In Peace, Flood, Shake Your Money Maker, Rhythm of the Saints, Empire, and Facelift all came out in 1990 (I’d like to say that my 1990 collection included Fear of a Black Planet and AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, but that stuff didn’t hit my radar until college), this song has significance for me because it was probably the tape that started my career in music.

With this one song I was introduced to looping, samples, scratching, reverse cymbals, drops, delays, genre-meshing, a complete lack of traditional song structure, the running man — It felt somehow meaningful to me — deep. Oh man, and then the backup singer takes over the hook just before the song fades and the flute starts vamping on a new riff, it’s like they switch it up just before the song’s over specifically so you’ll rewind the tape and listen to it again: “I wanna do it again, I wanna do it again!”

Stereo MCs ‘connected’ me to the idea that I could do all of this myself. It was all machine-made samples and loops, and it made me want to crack that code — thanks Stereo MCs, wherever you are!

CD Review: Flannery Brothers, “The New Explorers Club”

I know us parent types don’t often have a lot of time for reading, so in the interest of saving time, I’m going to cut to the chase: The New Explorers Club is my favorite family CD of the year. In fact, of all the dozens and dozens of CDs I’ve heard in 2010, this is probably in the top 20 overall.

Yes. It’s that good.

“Who are the Flannery Brothers?” you’re probably asking, because this Northeastern trio has flown mostly under the radar since making its debut with Love Songs for Silly Things in mid-2009, and odds are you’ve never heard their excellent songs. The Flannerys’ lack of platinum sales has been a mystery to me, but as good as their first two releases were, New Explorers Club is such a huge leap forward that they just have to be destined for superstardom. I listen to a ton of kids’ music, and I’m telling you, this really is one of those rare albums that the whole family can enjoy. Continue reading

Melting Down at the 2010 Green River Festival

Greenfield, MA isn’t necessarily known as an entertainment mecca, unless you count the fact that it’s the birthplace of Penn Jillette. But last weekend, while folks in Philly were sweating it out during the XPoNential Festival held by our pals at WXPN — and hipper listeners were at the Pitchfork Music Festival — New England was busy being blessed with its own live music extravaganza: the 24th Green River Festival.

It’s held on the grounds of a community college in rural northern Massachusetts, but the Green River Festival isn’t the collection of acoustic guitar-toting folk singers you might expect.

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This year’s lineup, which sprawled out over two hot summer days and nights, included a touch of the traditional (Brooks Williams opened the main stage on Saturday), but made plenty of room for the unexpected (Allen Toussaint, Cake, and Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars are just a few eclectic examples).

One of the great things about the festival’s location is room — and plenty of it: Aside from the spacious main stage area, which housed thousands of chair-and-umbrella-toting concertgoers and dozens of craft and food booths, the festivities spilled over into a huge lawn area where lesser-known acts played at the Dance Tent, hot air balloon rides were available for folks who had $250 to burn, and our pal Bill Childs delivered two days of marvelous family entertainment at the Meltdown Stage.

I’ll be writing about the grown-up artists at Popdose later, but here’s a brief rundown of my Meltdown experience: Continue reading