Musical Notes

By Julian Wise - August 2, 2007

Live at Aboveground

Jeremy Berlin
Jeremy Berlin. Photo by Ralph Stewart

Aboveground Records is playing host to a series of offbeat, innovative shows from the indie rock scene this week. For those out of the loop of the indie rock press, here's a recap of the artist roster.

Jennifer O'Connor is an artist on Matador Records (home of Pavement, Guided by Voices, Cat Power, and other marquee artists) currently at work on her fourth full-length album. Her first record for Matador, "Over the Mountains, Across the Valley and Back to the Stars" was a critical favorite in 2006 that featured guest spots by members of Spoon, Yo La Tengo, and Sparklehorse. Ms. O'Connor will perform on guitar and vocals accompanied by drummer Jon Langmead. Ms. O'Connor recently performed with Patti Smith and Ramblin' Jack Elliot at the Bob Dylan tribute concert in NYC and is arriving on the Vineyard after playing the outdoor Venus Zine show in Manhattan.

Ms. O'Connor is joined on the bill by Clint, Michigan, a Brooklyn-based band recording on O'Connor's own label, Kiam Records. The quartet, known for its literate folk-pop, is gearing up for a busy fall that will take them all over the east coast, from campuses to clubs. Their companions on the bill are Loira Burra, a Vineyard trio (David Smilie, J. Buster Moore, Mike Barnes) who have recorded a record of spare, melodic songs with both fuzzed out guitars and simple acoustic strumming. The band's Myspace page ( features audio clips from their upcoming album.

On August 8, the record store will host a triple bill with Jemima James, Nina Violet and Glorytellers. Jemima James, mother of rising star Willy Mason, has been recording and performing extensively in North Carolina, where she recently performed at the Eno Festival. Her recent album, "Book Me Back Into Your Dreams" (Tomatoe Records) was released last year. Nina Violet is putting the final touches on an album she recorded at Old Soul Studio in Catskill, N.Y. Ms. Violet is joined on several tracks by Garth Hudson of The Band. This summer she is traveling to Europe to perform at large festivals with Willy Mason. Glorytellers is the new vehicle for Geoff Farina, leader of the defunct band Karate. Many of the vital elements of Karate (poetic lyrics, jazz-influenced guitar licks) are alive and well in Glorytellers, and Mr. Farina has been a frequent collaborator with indie-rock icon Chris Brokaw.

Jennifer O'Connor
Jennifer O'Connor. Courtesy of

Dining with music

Singer Emily Furlong and pianist Jeremy Berlin have been entertaining audiences in the basement at Atria on Thursday nights all summer long. Mr. Berlin's easy jazz notes blend seamlessly with Ms. Furlong's fine singing voice. Ms. Furlong moves seamlessly from dulcet tones to throaty blues tones throughout a set that includes jazz and show standards. In a recent show, Ms. Furlong entertained the crowd with a breezy, pleasant first set before achieving mesmerizing moments of greatness in the second set with a throaty version of "Over the Rainbow" and an adventurous interpretation of Fatboy Slim's "Praise You." The stone cellar atmosphere of the restaurant lends itself to a cavernous, East Village-style jazz experience.

Jennifer O'Connor, Clint, Michigan and Loira Burra perform at Aboveground Records at the Triangle in Edgartown on August 4. Jemima James, Nina Violet and Glorytellers perform at Aboveground Records on August 8. Both shows begin at 7 pm. Shows are free with a $5 suggested donation.

Emily Furlong and Jeremy Berlin perform Thursdays at Atria on Main Street in Edgartown.

Julian Wise is a contributing writer to The Times.