Category Archives: Baltimore

New Boister Album, “Cast A Net,” Cover Art by Sally Hutchins and Typecast Press

Written on June 30, 2015 at 11:28 AM, by


Due to drop October!!


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Esopus 22:Organs Features Boister’s “Mr. Spleen”

Written on May 7, 2015 at 9:14 AM, by


May 7, 2015

For its latest audio compilation, Esopus invited 10 musical acts—including Boister, Will Sheff, The Fiery Furnaces, and Cities Aviv—to create new songs inspired by the bodily organ of their choice. The CD will appear in Esopus 22: Medicine, the latest edition of the award-winning nonprofit arts publication that includes a themed musical compilation in every issue. The issue will be on newsstands in early May.


The theme of the CD relates directly to that of the issue itself, which is filled with contributions exploring the connections between medicine and the arts. Contents include six contemporary artists’ projects from figures such as Fred Tomaselli and Nina Katchadourian; archival material from the Museum of Modern Art, the Magnum Photos Archive, and Yale’s Beinecke Library; and 100 frames from Frederick Wiseman’s classic 1970 documentary Hospital.

The CD opens with “Famous Tracheotomies,” a beautiful track by Lovestreams, the solo project of Okkervil River frontman Will Sheff. In it, Sheff catalogs a series of musicians and writers (including himself) who have had emergency trachea surgery at one point or another in their lives. Brother-and-sister duo The Fiery Furnaces zeroed in on the eye for their epic, multifaceted “Invisible Blues,” and Baltimore-based outfit Horse Lords incorporated “third-ear” psychoacoustic effects for “Untitled (Ear),” structuring the driving instrumental around the Fibonacci sequence, a fractal pattern that approximately describes the shape of the outer ear. Michigan-based band Vulfpeck created “On Poince”—a cover of the old standard “Poinciana”—that sounds as if it might have been recorded from deep within its referenced organ, the larynx.

Pianist and composer Frank LoCrasto based his elegant instrumental on the “under-appreciated” pituitary gland: “It’s this tiny little organ doing so much work—regulating everything from the function of other organs to growth hormones and blood pressure,” LoCrasto explained. Rap artist Cities Aviv felt similarly inclined to shine a spotlight on his choice, the pineal gland: “Western science and medicine seem to have slept on its importance: It is said that those who interface with the pineal gland often have extrasensory perceptions,” he noted, and he evokes that process in his hypnotic track, “All Was Seen (Pineal Interface).” Another overlooked gland, the thymus, caught the attention of multi-instrumentalist Jon Natchez, who was intrigued to learn that it is the only organ that shrinks—or “involutes”—during one’s lifetime, a fact that inspired both the title and distinctive format of his instrumental, “Thymic Involution.”

Other contributors to the CD include Brooklyn band Flaws (bones); singer-songwriter Jean Rohe (the liver); and Baltimore-based band Boister (the spleen).

Earlier Esopus themed compilations have featured music inspired by Craigslist “Missed Connections” listings (#2), subscribers’ imaginary friends (#4), black-and-white films (#12), television shows (#15), and subscribers’ irrational fears (#17). Past contributors include Jens Lekman, Stephin Merritt, Neko Case and Carl Newman, Sam Amidon, Cloud Nothings, The Mountain Goats, Kimya Dawson, Frightened Rabbit, Doveman, Grizzly Bear, Busdriver, Atlas Sound, Lee Ranaldo, Low, Wye Oak, The Ruby Suns, Owen Pallett, Dirty Projectors, Andrew Bird, Autre Ne Veut, and more than 200 other artists working in all genres of music.

For more information about Esopus, visit (where audio clips from all of our past CDs are available) or contact editor Tod Lippy at or (212) 473-0919.

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“Mr. Spleen” Video

Written on May 7, 2015 at 9:06 AM, by

In conjunction with the release of our new song, Mr. Spleen, released today on Esopus 22: Organs,  accompanying Esopus Magazine’s medicine issue.

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Italy’s Roots Highway Sings Boister’s Praises

Written on February 16, 2015 at 12:09 PM, by

“A dark and earthy voice that makes Tom Waits sound like a sissy.” With those words the late, lamented Jim Dickinson described Anne Watts, the singer, composer, and de facto leader of Boister. And that old sharpie knew a little bit about music, even if such extravagant praise might appear biased, given that he was in the producer’s chair for Some Moths Drink the Tears of Elephants, the Baltimore octet’s previous release. Happily, all doubt is banished by the first notes of their 7th album, Your Wound Is Your Crown, a generous overflowing of harmonies, beats, and words, where the compositions leave the safe confines of the song form and open up into extended improvisations in a constant sonic whirlwind that is hard to categorize.
Nocturnal, smoky jazz rambles, unhinged Beefheartian blues struts, exotic overtures toward suasive oriental melodies, and intricate Canterburyan plots are all crowded into Boister’s bulimic scores, weaving a startling musical tapestry in which Watts’ voice, with her intense declamation, stands out, full of the pathos of Patti Smith at her most grandiloquent, as well as the grey tonality of a melancholic Mary Gauthier. There is no shortage of purely instrumental passages, where one becomes all the more aware of the importance of the free-form approach that is the foundation of the group’s musical economy, as in the opener Emmaline (Prelude), which actually is a calm prelude, in a phlegmatic, jazzy style, or in the Coltranian Martillo, where the role of the lion is entrusted to the horn section of John Dierker and Craig Considine. Elsewhere, one seems to be attending a reading by the aforesaid Smith, accompanied by Beefheart’s disciplined Magic Band, in the limping Crown, just as Gauthier’s vocals come to mind during the vigorous narrative development of Sycamore.
Conversely, in 14, Boister turns its attention to musical echoes of old England, especially those emanating from Soft Machine-era Canterbury, wedding psychedelia to jazz in an impetuous instrumental built out of counter-rhythms, stops and starts, and pindaric dialogues between horns, and then pays a visit to Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon, reworking the Bard’s lyrics from the Tempest into the keyboard litany of Yellow Sands, a breath of chamber music. The throbbing New Orleans syncopation of As the Ship Goes Down, with (again) more than one vocal nod to the above-mentioned Gauthier, is a worthy conclusion to an album that may not be easy listening, but rather requires alert and involved attention to grasp its many different layers. Possibly Boister’s music doesn’t actually “elevate or improve your life,” as Dickinson once claimed, but it can certainly provide you with moments of rare, imaginative fascination. Roots Highway, Italy

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New Song, “Mr. Spleen,” for Upcoming Issue of Esopus

Written on January 13, 2015 at 2:54 PM, by

The theme is medicine. Here’s a pre-Boisterized version of “Mr. Spleen,” after a solid month of reading Baudelaire (Paris Spleen, etc.).  Check out Esopus asap!



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Boister’s Last Show before Studio Hunker Down

Written on December 18, 2014 at 9:09 PM, by

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Categories: anne watts, Baltimore, boisteralbum, magpiecagerecordingstudio, recording, studio

Anne Watts on Composing and Performing “Intolerance”

Written on November 4, 2014 at 11:33 PM, by

Q &A with Anne Watts on performing Boister’s score to D.W. Griffith’s Intolerance in Baltimore’s City Paper. Check it out here.

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New Boister Album, “Your Wound Is Your Crown,” Preparing To Be Pressed To Vinyl

Written on May 8, 2013 at 1:18 AM, by

J. Robbins, producer extraordinaire, and Anne Watts outside Magpie Cage Recording Studio in Baltimore after mixing Boister’s seventh album, “Your Wound Is Your Crown.”


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Boister, Dead Whale Ramblers, Barnyard Sharks at Baltimore’s Windup Space August 10th

Written on July 28, 2012 at 12:52 AM, by

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Boister Guitarist Curt Heavey at the Stoltz Listening Room

Written on May 19, 2011 at 6:18 PM, by

Boister guitarist Curt Heavey is at the Stoltz Listening Room at the Avalon Theater with Walter Parks (who tours regularly with Richie Havens), next Thursday, May 26th at 8pm.  Get your tickets here. This is a great space for an intimate show and a rare opportunity to hear Curt solo.

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