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Thank You, Phoenix

Mar 14, 2013

The Boston Phoenix shut its doors today after 47 years. Just recently they featured a review of our new album Battles. Naseem on what the Phoenix meant to this band:

I remember in high school driving into Boston from the burbs, finding a copy of the Boston Phoenix in Newbury Comics, flipping to the music section (and making sure no one thought I was reading the adult section) and absorbing every single recommendation.  This was a great time of great Boston bands, and I could escape the drudgery of suburbia simply by taking the advice of a newspaper, buying a recommended tape and driving around some more.

 2.1.13- Screenshot of Phoenix
I remember six years later fulfilling a small dream of independence – living in Lower Allston and going to shows whenever I wanted – and scheduling a solo show at the All Asia.  I scratched my head wondering “just how the hell do I find a band anyway?” but more importantly, “how the hell do I get in the Phoenix?”

I remember six more years later the first time the Phoenix wrote about this band, and coming to terms with the idea that our stupid faces shared the same print as some of my heroes in Buffalo Tom, Morphine, Lemonheads, etc.

I remember getting a call from Nick telling us we had won Best Roots Act in the Best Music Poll, and later recounting how many doors that singular event opened for us.

I remember marveling just a few weeks ago with my bandmates in our van somewhere in Western New York at how hard Phoenix staffers worked: Carly Carioli expertly leading their transition from print to online, Michael Marotta covering every band ever while editing a music section and hosting a radio show every day, Jon Garelick’s excellent jazz and arts coverage, Liz Pelly tapping into Boston’s underground scene.

I remember when Boston had music coverage that felt strong, irreverent and immune to not only outside opinions of our local bands sneaking onto the national level, but to corporate influence threatening to dilute any areas that could be perceived as offensive to people who obviously didn’t read publications like the Phoenix.  And I’m thankful that the Phoenix stayed true to its roots and remained independent, in character and content.  And I’m thankful for the opportunities it has given this band.

I’m lamenting what this means for the Boston music scene, and for Boston journalism on the whole, but optimistic that every one of those staffers will continue working to find a way to better it. Those suburban high school kids need you.

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