The Glow
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The Glow


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The best kept secret in music


"Feature in the Boston Phoenix"

Stencil-crazed Boston punks the Glow celebrated the release of their debut, The Ghosts Are Out, with a packed gig upstairs at the Middle East last week. The album is on Brooklyn's Bankshot! Records, best known as the former home of Leftover Crack, who are now on Hellcat. And though the Glow might be best known for tagging their name all over town, the disc is pretty good too: you can hear the foundation they acquired from years of paying dues in high-school hardcore and punk bands, but they also touch on everything from doo-wop to '60s soul, Phil Spector to Elvis Costello, and they even throw in a little pre-Christie Billy Joel. If you missed the Middle East show, they're playing what they insist will be a sold-out homecoming/high-school-reunion gig at the Beachcomber in Quincy on April 8.

-Chris Rucker
Boston Phoenix - 3/31/05 - Boston Phoenix

""MP3 of The Week" on"

"The new full length from Boston's the Glow has been rocking my stereo all week long. You can hear the influence of tracks like the Specials' "Ghost Town" throughout the record, and while they're certainly more Stax than 2-Tone the Glow convey that same nervous, haunting energy in their organ driven songs. The band released The Ghosts Are Out... this past week on Bankshot Records. There's a rough, history-conscious charm to their songwriting that fans of recent Swami or Alive releases should dig." -


Deja Vu...

Described as a “punk-rock soul group” from Boston, MA, The Glow have a lot to live up to. It’s not often that the word “soul” shows up on a one sheet for anything closely related to punk, emo, or indie these days. On the band’s debut The Ghosts are Out..., the four-piece delivers keyboard driven rock and roll that has forced critics to name drop everyone from 60’s icon Phil Spector, to a more contemporary star in Elvis Costello. Incidentally, for our younger readers, you may remember Phil Spector as the legendary producer character that somehow always shows up in every musical icon from the past half century’s bio pic (see Ray and What’s Love Got to Do With It).

One could say that this album is as fresh and different as they come and I’d agree...if it weren’t for a six song EP that arrived on my doorstep about a year ago. The press release on All Rattle and Dust proclaims them as an “honest, soulful fuse of roots rock and roll, country, blues, and punk”. Sound familiar? The Iowa band and The Glow have A LOT in common. Even the vocalists’ throaty dispositions sound similar.

What The Glow have going for them that All Rattle and Dust didn’t is the fact that they bring a punchier version of nostalgia to the table. That comes from vocalist Ben Kettleson perfecting his second job on the keys. ARAD’s Ben Driscoll’s weapon of choice was the harmonica. Kettleson’s keys keep the action moving at a brisk pace, while Driscoll’s harmonica slowed the music to a blues injected (but oft boring) crawl. Despite that difference, the two bands are at the least, first cousins in the musical universe. The sound worked for All Rattle and Dust, netting them a deal with Eyeball Records. I suspect it will work just as well for The Glow. Just don't book them on the same tour. - Russ Hockenbury

"Review on"

"I'm finding the Glow difficult to describe, and that's a wonderful
thing. The Ghosts Are Out... is a collection of tunes just dripping
with soul and authenticity, never really settling into an easily
identified genre and subtly integrating any number of styles. I'm often
reminded of the Specials' Ghost Town in that there's a restrained,
nervous energy to the record, full of haunting moments driven by
droning organ work and a solid rhythm section. Yet this is indeed more
Stax than it is 2-Tone, and the Glow's mix of 60's soul, Nuggets jangle
and post-punk feedback is admirable. Think Booker T & the MGs if they
were at the end of their rope and the bottom of a bottle of whiskey.

The Ghosts Are Out... is a record that takes its time, and the listener
has to play along to get to the core of these songs. To be drawn in
solely by the adrenaline-fuelled pre-release download "Hell In A Vase"
or assumptions based on Bankshot's past roster is unwise. When the Glow
slows things down, as they do for "Northern Lights" or the wounded
ballad "5 Pints," Ben Kettleson's rough-hewn vocals can be remarkably
expressive. The band offers up some absolutely charming moments over
the 12 tracks as well, from a saxophone solo in "I Scare Myself" to the
50's pop stylings of "You Have No Idea" (those "bah-ooo bah-ooo"
backing vocals are a trip). Kettleson shows shades of Vic Ruggiero in
"Midnight," with its church organ instrumentation and harmonica lead
in. That the Glow can be described in terms of ska and reggae musicians
while never really playing that style is a credit to the distinctive
sound they've created. The only time they come close to that style is
in "Son Of A Bitch," but even that's a thin connection.

You don't see this successful a mix of punk, garage and soul very much
these days. The band that most immediately comes to mind is the
Turpentine Brothers, or maybe the Dead 60s in one of their more dubwise
moments, but those are different animals entirely. The Glow's stew of
classic influences comes off as truly authentic and moving, but one
gets the impression that kids chasing the "modern" sound will have no
part of it. It's their loss really, as The Ghosts Are Out... feels more
rewarding with each listen." -

"'Upbeet Music' Interview"

Boston Rock
Article by: Russ Hockenbury

Bankshot Records have scored with The Glow and their explosive sound. We got the chance to ask the guys a few questions, and here’s what they had to say.

Being that you guys are from Boston, I have to assume that you guys are all Red Sox fanatics. True or False?

Chris: I got beat up by a red sox fan once because I was wearing a Yankees hat. So, the red sox can go suck a dick.

Ben: That story is actually hilarious because there is no other reason that he was beat up, other than the Yankees hat.

Kellzo: I went to go see the Beastie Boys when they came around last time, and at one point the crowd started chanting the “Yankees Suck”. It was so embarrassing. But… I am always down for the home team, as the song goes.

How would you compare the Boston scene with that of your archrival in all things, New York/New Jersey? Is there a Boston sound?

Kellzo: I’d say that Boston is running shit right now. There are so many good bands around here right now. Bands from the Boston area tend to care less about what people think about them, they just do whatever they want. That’s a pretty healthy alternative to the showcases that go on at certain places in NYC. Lots of great crusty/metal/hardcore punk bands are playing shows all the time. We have a lot of people here that are very committed to making things happen in the area, we’re kind of a unique city I suppose.

Chris: The Boston sound is bloody teeth hitting the pavement

Ben: I don’t even know if there is a Boston sound. If there is, please tell me because I think we’re definitely missing the boat.

Josh: What's a scene?

Relating to the last question, your songs are said to be about life,
loss, and the human condition. They’re about heartbreak, tragedy, gin-soaked rage and bargain-bin whiskey redemption. Of course, I’m taking all of that from your one sheet, but it fits well. One of my favorite Boston bands, Helicopter Helicopter, seemed to echo a lot of that sentiment. Does the city itself contribute to such themes?

Chris: It's next to impossible to drive through Boston without wanting to kill someone, so I would go ahead and say that the city itself contributes to everyone being miserable.

Kellzo: Greater Boston is city full of dickheads. When you go outside of Boston, everybody is nice. A lot of people blame it on the winter, but tons of cities go through the same winter as we do and their cities aren’t full of cock smooches. I think it’s tough to keep your head up and stay focused with all the townie dickheads and college frat boys around these parts.

Ben: The truth is, we would probably be just as miserable in any other city. ………Or maybe I just need to get out more.

Josh: What Ben said.

Where does the “soul” come from in The Glow?

Kellzo: Well….

Chris: The soul comes directly from bens big gaping lungs.

Ben: My big, gaping lungs? That sounds kinda gross. Anyways, when we started out, I wanted The Glow to be a band that could play anything and everything that we’ve ever wanted to play in a band, but never had the balls to try. Before this, most of us were playing in really bad punk and hardcore bands. This band was our (or at least my) first departure from those genres. It was awesome to just play what we wanted to play, and forget about what people were going to say about it. I’ve always loved old R&B and soul music, and I guess it was only natural for that to influence my songwriting in some way. It’s fun to play. I try to not to let that influence overpower everything though, I don’t want to become some retro revival band.

“Hell In a Vase” was recently featured on Vice Magazine’s nationwide sampler amongst cuts from acts like The Killers, Bright Eyes, and The Postal Service. How big is it for a relatively unknown band to appear next to bands of such caliber on something like that?

Chris: I was shocked when I saw the other bands on the comp. It’s flattering that someone would want us on such a big compilation. Hopefully those bands will take notice of us and throw us a bone.

Kellzo: I thought that was fucking awesome. Vice is such an amazing magazine, pretty much the only one out there that represents our culture correctly. To be on that compilation was really great.

What are The Glow’s plans for summer? Will you be touring?

Chris: I plan on drinking margaritas and picking fights with frat boys. Touring sounds good though.

Kellzo: Actually, we’re working on putting one together right now for the late summer. I can’t wait, it’s gonna be such a fucking blast!

Josh: All I want to do is tour.


Published 5/05 -

"Review of 'The Ghosts Are Out...'"

Three words essentially control every bit of press on THE GLOW: punk rock soul. Unlike the quasi-natural mergers of "ska-punk" and "metalcore," punk rock soul gives off a cool, but woozy mental impression. So with that in mind, the soul references should be pushed gently off to the side and replaced with something much more familiar: THE GLOW are very, very big fans of classic ELVIS COSTELLO, and old-fashion, rip-roaring rock n roll.

The Ghosts Are Out delivers twelve stylish, mid-tempo jams that are sly and infectious, with only mild strains of filler from time to time. The fourth track, "You Have no Idea," has "single" written all over it with Ben Kettleson's quirky, but immediately charming vocals, folded tightly into jangly organ-playing, not unlike Make Up The Breakdown era HOT HOT HEAT. The fifth track, "5 Pints" is a brillantly unique tune with a classy hotel-lounge streak to it - opulent, creeping sounds from the organ clash with booming percussion, culminating in a sound that feels like its bouncing off the walls all around you. A couple of tracks later, THE GLOW shake-free of the mid-tempo blues and cut loose with the speedy ramble, "Son of a Bitch." This track's two-tone inspired intro (with obvious nods towards RANCID's "Old Friend") effortlessly devolves into a frenzied explosion, and is easily one of the album's highlights. With the exception of the fantastically catchy "Northern Lights," The Ghosts Are Out trails off a bit towards the closing track, giving in partially to repetitive rock instincts. While the songwriting is never dull on this album, it's relatively easy to get lost in its 41 minutes and forget which song is which.

As hinted at earlier, the recording quality to the The Ghosts Are Out places a lot of emphasis on the work of drummer Kellzo. A warm, comfortable "thunk" emits from the bass drum with every kick, and the resulting oomph carries through into the rich bass playing of Chris Ayer. On the final tune, the ballad-esque "I'm Never Ready," you can slice through THE GLOW's textured markings like you're dismantling a seven-layer cake - tasty and generous with flavor. Fans of early ELVIS COSTELLO and those looking for something in strong variation from the usual buffet of modern punk rock should lend their ears to THE GLOW - these cats have their heads in something that's genuinely inspired, and thankfully far off the beaten path.


"Feature in Boston Phoenix by Will Spitz"

Cellars By Starlight
93 South - The Glow and Bugs and Rats come straight outta Quincy


After a practice session that culminated in a 30-minute dub jam, the Glow showed up at my house some time after midnight on Cinco de Mayo packing a case of Corona. Drummer Mike Kelly — "Kellzo" — walked in blasting Ol’ Dirty Bastard on his headphones and went straight for my dad’s old vinyl. Like a DJ version of an excitable kid hopping from present to present on Christmas morning, he bounced from the Beatles to Thelonious Monk to Hendrix, barely waiting for a song to end before switching LPs. Kellzo’s auditory ADD seemed appropriate after a few listens to his Quincy quartet’s debut full-length, The Ghosts Are Out, which doesn’t exactly span genres but is nevertheless difficult to pin down. They’ve been compared to everyone from Elvis Costello and Hot Hot Heat to Booker T. and the MG’s and the Specials to Billy Joel and Rancid, and it’s in this elusive familiarity that their appeal largely lies. Principal songwriter Ben Kettleson’s whirling Leslie organ evokes a bizarre sense of nostalgia for an era that may never have existed. Their sound balances common but contrasting musical idioms, with the classic pop progressions and melodies pile-driven by Kellzo’s Bonham-esque drum bashing and Kettleson’s nasally punk-rock sneers tempered by guitarist Josh Smith’s shimmering open chords and Chris Ayer’s tuneful bass arpeggios.

This all starts to make sense when you delve into the young musicians’ lengthy and diverse musical CV. All four graduated from North Quincy High School — Smith in 2000, Kettleson, Kellzo, and Ayer in 1999. Throughout high school and afterward, they played, in punk bands, ska bands, pop bands, hardcore bands. You name it, one of them has played it.

In late 2001, Kettleson decided to start a new band, and the one thing he knew about it was that he wanted to play organ. "Organ was always my favorite instrument. Any time I would hear a band that had an organ, I would love it." Armed with just a Casio keyboard, he joined up with a childhood friend, bass player Mark Peterson. They recruited Kellzo to play drums; Ayer joined when Peterson moved to New Hampshire. Shawn Martinson, who was playing in a hardcore band with Kettleson and Kellzo called Brando, was the first of a rotating cast of guitarists. "We had every kid we knew who played guitar play with us for a little while," Kettleson explains.

Then he spotted Smith playing with a short-lived band called Animalizer at a MassArt show. The two knew one another from school but hadn’t hung out much. "I was watching Josh play, and I was like, ‘This kid will be perfect for it.’ " Not only did Smith have the crystalline tone, tasteful technique, and manic stage presence they were looking for, he also had a vintage ’70s Yamaha YC-30 organ with a Leslie speaker cabinet, courtesy of North Quincy High. "I went into the band room because my brother was in school, and I saw all this old shit just sitting there, and I was like, ‘I gotta take this.’ " Smith simply asked the band instructor if he could "borrow" some stuff, and the instructor obliged. Smith made off with the organ in addition to an 88-key Fender Rhodes, which makes a couple of cameos on The Ghosts.

After Smith joined up, the band recorded a six-song demo, started playing shows, and got serious. A show with the River City Rebels led to interest from Brooklyn’s Bankshot! Records, formerly home to Leftover Crack, who’ve since moved on to Hellcat. "One day I was talking with [Rebels saxophone player] Rylan Perry and he asked if I had heard the Glow," recounts Adam Bankshot, who runs the label. "I went and checked out the tracks they had on their demo, and I was hooked."

Bankshot calls Kettleson "one of the greatest singer-songwriters to come out of Boston since Jonathan Richman." But Kettleson doesn’t approach writing in a traditional singer-songwriterly way. "I write most of my songs in my head. Most the time, I’ll come up with songs when I’m driving around or in the shower or whatever. I know people that’ll say, ‘All right, I’m gonna write a song,’ and they’ll sit down with a guitar and they’ll try and write a song. I can’t do that at all. It has to just come to me. Most of the time when I write a song I don’t have any instrument in front of me. It’s not even a melody or a progression, it’s just like an idea, a feel, and usually a rhythm, and it builds around that."

That may explain why a lot of the songs on Ghosts aren’t verse-chorus-verse structures. "5 Pints" starts with a subdued, two-chord, minor-key guitar progression and builds incrementally to a cacophonous conclusion, never straying from those two chords. "Son of a Bitch," the album’s most raucous number, opens with a Slackers-esque organ riff and a brief Jamaican-flavored jam that segues into a fast-paced punk freakout with Kellzo pounding out straight eighth notes on the bass drum and crash cymbal — a technique us - Will Spitz - Boston Phonix


Debut album "THE GHOSTS ARE OUT..." released on Brooklyn's Bankshot Records on 03.29.2005.

Album track, "Hell in a Vase" included on recent Vice Magazine Sampler alongside such acts as Bright Eyes, and The Killers.


Feeling a bit camera shy


What is the Glow?

It's modern, traditional, dangerous, contagious, emphatic, subversive and honest.

It's betrayal, suffering, repentance and hope. It's world-weary and utterly victorious.

It's Stax and CBGB's. It's Charlie Parker and Iggy Pop. It's Poprocks and Bourbon.

It's a hat-tipping genuflect to the past. It's a refreshing take on today. It's a terrifying, afterburner jump to tomorrow at 500 miles per hour and if you're lucky, you'll get caught in it's vacuum-like wake and sucked right along with it.

It's liquor-fueled mayhem. It's a fucking, walking musical disaster. It's the soundtrack to a rent party with Johnny Cash, Sid Vicious, Chet Baker, Lenny Bruce, Jake LaMotta, Lee Harvey Oswald and Leadbelly, but someone forgot to bring the ice, and everyone is starting to break the furniture.

It's a circle pit balanced on tight rope 50 feet over a lagoon filled with fire and brimstone.

It's aimed at you like a fucking weapon. It's an atomic bomb. It's a 100 foot tall monster and it's coming to your town and all the tanks, planes and bombs in the world aren't going to stop it from destroying everything in its path and then rebuilding the world in its own image.

The Glow is not the past. The Glow is not now. The Glow is ten minutes from now . . . always. It's bruised and triumphant, bleeding and swaggering, drunk and deadly surreal. Listen to this music before these guys kill themselves. Listen to it before they rise again.

Consider yourself warned...

Tour History:
05.19.2005, The Blackstone, Cumberland, RI
04.29.2005, T.T. The Bear's Place, Cambridge, MA w/ Damn Personals, The Dents, & Rory Breaker
04.27.2005, UMass Lowell, Lowell, MA w/ Fenwick, Jonee Earthquake, & The Hymen Manuever
04.17.2005, CB's Gallery, New York, NY w/ The Killtakers, & The Delegates
04.16.2005, Valentine's, Albany, NY w/ Rory Breaker, The Killtakers, & A Pleasure to Burn
04.08.2005, The Beachcomber, Quincy, MA w/ Rattle Battle, & The Pug Uglies
03.27.2005, WFNX / New England Product Spotlight, 101.7 FM, Lynn, MA
03.23.2005, THE GLOW (CD RELEASE) Middle East, Cambridge, MA w/ Slater
03.18.2005, Drifter's, Nashua, NH w/ The Sterns, & The Stompin Charlie's
02.11.2005, CBGB's Gallery, New York, NY w/ Mistakes, & The Killtakers
02.04.2005, Valentine's, Albany, NY w/ Rory Breaker
11.24.2004, The Middle East, Cambridge, MA w/ The Call Up, The Pop Kids, & The Cult of Phoenix
10.30.2004, Trash, Brooklyn, NY w/ Federale, Manda & the Marbles, & Qatsi
10.29.2004, Valentine's, Albany, NY w/ Murderer's Row, Mute, & Matador
10.16.2004, Dee Dee's, Quincy, MA w/ Suspect Device, & Flour City Knuckleheads
10.02.2004, Valentine's, Albany, NY w/ Rory Breaker, Sean Morris, & Catch Fire
09.19.2004, The Sea Note, Hull, MA w/ Searching for Silence
09.18.2004, Valentine's, Albany, NY
09.03.2004, Natick Center for the Arts, Natick, MA w/ Slater, The Call Up, & Letterday
08.07.2004, Punk BQ 2004, Rockport, MA w/ Lock & Key, Air Hockey Champion, & Others
08.05.2004, The Middle East, Cambridge, MA w/ Slater, Fenwick, Bugs & Rats, & AM Stereo
07.15.2004, Valentine's, Albany, NY
07.09.2004, Ashland Fish & Game, Ashland, MA w/ The Ames Curve
07.08.2004, Ralph's Diner, Worcester, MA w/ Rosie Huntress
06.26.2004, Valentine's, Albany, NY w/ Rory Breaker, Slater, & Hed 1st
05.26.2004, Valentine's, Albany, NY w/ Rory Breaker, Air Hockey Champion, & Hed 1st
05.21.2004, Kearsarge Regional High School, Sutton, NH w/ Red Invasion, & Others
05.20.2004, The Abbey Lounge, Sommerville, MA, w/ Gone Baby Gone, & Rory Breaker
05.15.2004, Newton YMCA w/ One Eyed Stanley
05.01.2004, Norwell High School, Norwell, MA w/ Lost City Angels, Stray Bullets, & Others
04.30.2004, The Beachcomber, Quincy, MA
04.09.2004, Drifter's, Nashua, NH w/ The Stompin Charlies
04.08.2004, Ralph's Diner, Worcester, MA w/ Baby Strange
03.27.2004, The Plan at Great Scott's, Allston, MA
03.05.2004, The Summit Cafe, Derry, NH
02.28.2004, The Paradise, Boston, MA, Elvis Costello tribute
02.27.2004, Valentine's, Albany, NY w/ Rory Breaker, Gone Baby Gone, & Hed 1st
02.26.2004, The Middle East, Cambridge, MA w/ Slater, Air Hockey Champion, & Roxie
02.21.2004, Drifter's, Nashua, NH w/ Air Hockey Champion, Fenwick, & The Stompin Charlies
02.06.2004, Cambridge Elks Lodge, Cambridge, MA
01.23.2004. Curly's Coffee, Amherst, NH w/ Fenwick, Detuned Radio, & Bob Saget Squad
01.22.2004, The Beachcomber, Quincy, MA
01.16.2004, Drifter's, Nashua, NH w/ Air Hockey Champion
01.01.2004, Bill's Bar, Boston, MA
12.27.2003, T.T. the Bear's Place, Cambridge, MA w/ The Ducky Boys, & River City Rebels
12.10.2003, All Asia Cafe, Cambridge, MA
12.08.2003, Charlie's Kitchen, Cambridge, MA
11.07.2003, The Summit Cafe, Derry, NH
10.31.2003, Axis, Boston, MA w/ Big D and The Kids Table, & Kicked in the Head
09.28.2003, Bill's Bar, Boston, MA w/ Waltham, Favorite Atomic Hero, & Hero Pattern
09.21.2003, The Chopping Block, Boston, MA
09.20.2003, Northea