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Novation brings energetic show to live EP

Natick-based Novation may be fresh out of high school, but their sound belies their age with a maturity well beyond their years. Their latest “Good Stuff Cheap” EP encapsulates the rabid energy of their live sets – which in the past have featured inflatable animals careening around the room, the entire audience getting on stage, and much more – into three songs recorded at The Center for Arts in Natick earlier this year. With influences from the Foo Fighters to local acts such as Dinosaur Jr. and George McGann, these guys are a fun listen and even better live show. The set's final track, “Release,” has an anthemic quality about it, aided by group vocals, the solid rhythm work of guitarist Anthony Santoro and Brian Cumming’s rougher-than-gravel vocals. If you’d rather hear what they sound like in a studio setting, check out their previous studio EPs, “Release” and “We Come In Pieces.” – Ben Bosco

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Mals Totem plays with different styles on self-titled EP

On their self-titled EP, Boston natives Mals Totem are hard to pin down to one genre – "Gargantuan" calls to mind the sensible writing of Young the Giant, while “Grind Tune” is a bit more tense in its anxious guitar riffs and tempo changes. Lead vocalist Dave Vives sounds like a more technically skilled Gerard Way, standing out amongst the band's complex riffs and mixed bag of styles. Download the EP on Bandcamp now and check out the live video for their song "Machine," released in November, below – Jake Reed

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Sarah Borrello delivers catchy pop gems on live EP

Judging by the recent events on her Facebook page – shows in NYC, a VIP pass and red carpet photos at the Boston Music Awards – Sarah Borrello is on the fast-track to fame. While her name might recall pop pianist Sara Bareilles, a similar name and well-crafted skills on the keys are all that the two share in common. Borrello’s debut album, “Exit,” is full of catchy, rock-tinged pop gems, with guitar and drums big enough to match her strong, growling vocals. In October, she released the live EP, “Sarah Borrello Live @ MIT,” which features two new songs and a cover of “Black Sheep” by Gin Wigmore. Check out both the new EP and “Exit” on Bandcamp now – Jake Reed

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Butterknife brings the rock and roll on "Attractions" EP

After celebrating the release of their EP “Attractions” at TT the Bear’s last month, the Cambridge venue asked Butterknife to return for its Holiday Party, alongside bands like the Derangers and Sinnet. Sonically, "Attractions" is straight rock and roll: bass, drums, slick guitar riffs and catchy, raspy vocals. "I saw you in my telescope," vocalist Phil Wisdom sings on the EP's gripping second track. Check out “Telescope” below and catch the band at TT the Bear’s Holiday Party on December 17 – Jake Reed

 

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The Taxonomists's "Dolphin Ape Demo" is stuffed with catchy hooks

“I’m not a backup singer so don’t treat me like one,” Alex Handler sings on the second song from The Taxonomists’s “Dolphin Ape Demo.” Handler is right: one of the band’s biggest advantages is having two vocalists. He and keyboardist Anna Neumann harmonize or trade off, taking the reigns whenever either has the most to add to a song. The five-song EP is catchy as hell, packed with chorus hooks and earworm guitar riffs that will stay in your head for days. “Dolphin Ape Demo” has something from everyone, from crunchy indie pop opener “Phase of the Wave” to its closing track “Play It Cool,” which recalls White Denim’s 2011 ballad “No Real Reason.” Check it out on Bandcamp now – Jake Reed

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