Discover Art Costa’s ‘Sounds Deep’ at BMAC, showcasing mystical deep-sea creatures in art. Join the talk on Dec. 14 for an immersive experience.
Over the last half decade, the music collective Constant Smiles has produced a prolific output of acclaimed music, culminating in their forthcoming record Kenneth Anger, masterfully brought to life by engineer Jonathan Schenke (Parquet Courts, Liars, Dougie Pool). The group is known most recently for their much-praised debut album for Sacred Bones records, Paragons, an emotionally resonant offering of indie folk masterpieces that all confront the internal ways we process our struggles with intimacies, addiction and humanity – produced by Ben Greenberg.
Constant Smiles, led by Ben Jones, began in 2009 on his home of Martha’s Vineyard, inspired by the music scene centered around the island’s now defunct community record store, Aboveground Records. They made their live debut as a noise duo opening for Ralph White (Bad Livers) and, working in series, began churning out homemade releases influenced by friends, art film icons, and fellow musicians.
In the time since, Constant Smiles have amassed a discography a couple dozen releases deep, containing contributions from more than 50 members of its extended family. Along the way, the group has shared stages with Molly Nilsson, Black Marble, Oneida, Editrix, Frank Hurricane, Olden Yolk, and Purple Pilgrims; their shows are endlessly unique experiences for which Jones has a tendency of writing whole set’s worth of new material.
Up until this point, Western Massachusetts musician Stephen Pierce’s solo vehicle Gold Dust has materialized slowly and maneuvered in a series of strange trickles. The songs first incubated in the quiet, internal spaces of solitary home recording sessions during the especially bleak winter of 2020, when Pierce began refracting his years spent playing in high-volume punk and shoegaze bands through the lens of acoustic songwriting. Stripping away the layers of noise only revealed the commonalities that could exist between full-blast hardcore and an unadorned statement of vulnerability. Gold Dust gradually became a means for Pierce to explore this nexus point, slowly piecing together songs that held the fragile wonderment of the Grateful Dead, the weary beauty of Elliott Smith, the melancholic twang of the Byrds, and the otherworldly density of My Bloody Valentine while always reaching for hope and connectivity in a way that was universal. Piecemeal fragments of inspiration eventually congealed into a cohesive first album, and an ongoing time of no tours and vinyl manufacturing delays afforded the album a particularly slow public blooming. Neither the slow-to-form creative process of the first album nor the ambling pace often taken by Pierce’s thoughtful, dreamily damaged psychedelia points to rapid evolution, but that’s exactly what’s taking place on second album The Late Great Gold Dust.
Despite their name, there’s nothing particularly modern or foolish about the songs of Modern Fools. Unless you count devising their name by trying to fit letters into the Waffle House logo. Since that fateful, syrup-soaked morning, they’ve been refining a sound best described as “seriously retro, cosmic Americana”, with songs that meld together the country rock of Gram Parsons with the song-craft and harmonies of Dr. Dog.
The group’s members have been making music together for between 1 and 16 years, depending on which combination you pick… But as Modern Fools, this iteration took shape in 2019, and has continued to hone in on their particular brand of dream country, while opening for the likes of Steve Earle, Ryan Montbleau and Bonnie “Prince” Billy.
Their 2020 debut album SEER was a search for meaning; after suffering a serious car accident and the end of a long-term relationship, lead singer and songwriter Josh Blair transformed his personal upheaval into nine songs that fused cosmic Americana influences with his own unique voice. This show will be a solo set!
Doors are at 7pm and music will begin at 730. The show is all ages and seating is first come first served.