The Rare Occasions
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The Rare Occasions

Los Angeles, CA | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Los Angeles, CA | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Alternative Rock





New York, NY (July 29, 2015) --- The Rare Occasions were announced as the winners of the coveted John Lennon Songwriting Contest 'Song of the Year' for their original song “Dysphoric.” The announcement was made on 95.5 PLJ in New York with radio host Ralphie Aversa and Executive Judges (and past Grand Prize Winners) American Authors, who are known internationally for their chart-topping hit “Best Day of My Life.”

As 'Song of the Year' winners, The Rare Occasions won $20,000 in cash in addition to prizes from Solid State Logic, Mackie, IK Multimedia, SESAC and Digital Media Academy. They have also received other prizing throughout 2014 after winning both the Lennon Awards and the Grand Prize packages in the Rock category. The song was selected to win the top prize by the John Lennon Songwriting Contest’s Executive Committee of Judges, consisting of legendary and contemporary superstars such as Fergie, George Clinton, Prince Royce, American Authors, Switchfoot, Bootsy Collins & more.

Drawing inspiration from each successive wave of garage rock, The Rare Occasions put their own dark spin on retro. A dizzying cacophony of angular riffs and dripping wet lyrics, the Boston-via-Providence quartet first formed in a Tufts University practice space three years ago. Since then, The Rare Occasions have performed for festival audiences at SXSW and CMJ, self-produced two critically-acclaimed EPs and opened for internationally touring acts including Guster, Dirty Heads, Lupe Fiasco, AJR and Knox Hamilton.

A total of over $300,000 in cash awards and prizes will be distributed this year by the year-round John Lennon Songwriting Contest, which is open to both amateur and professional songwriters. Visit JLSC.COM for more information about the contest and to enter for your chance to become the next 'Song of the Year' winner. All entry fees from the contest help support the non-profit John Lennon Educational Tour Bus. - John Lennon Songwriting Contest

"Tiny Desk Contest: Celebrating Creative 2020 Entries Filmed In Quarantine"

Lately, we've been sharing some of the many 2020 Tiny Desk Contest entries that have caught our eyes and ears. Over the past few weeks, those of us watching Contest entries have noticed how many artists have been getting creative in the age of social distancing: figuring out how to get their best sound while stuck at home or how to record with bandmates in multiple places. So this week, we wanted to celebrate the ingenuity we've seen from entrants making great music under less-than-ideal circumstances. - NPR Music

"Here Are The Tiny Desk Contest Entries We Can't Stop Watching This Week"

Starting out with an infectious jolt of energy, The Rare Occasions' video for "Call Me When You Get There" combines lively vocal harmonies with colorful guitar riffs. The garage rock-inspired group from Providence, R.I. maintains a baseline that carries steady momentum, pushing forward with an uncontainable excitement and anticipation. The catchy lyrics are served up with a multi-tiered arrangement that keeps you on your toes. Decked out in colorful jackets and bopping to their own rhythm, the members of the band are completely in their element — and before you even realize it, you're bopping right along with them. — Fengxue Zhang - NPR Music


-Written by Kristin Musulin

The Rare Occasions — an up-and-coming band of kickass college students from Boston — has been rising through the New England music scene since their start in early 2012.

Meet the members:
Brian McLaughlin: Lead Vocals & guitar – graduating from Tufts University
Peter Stone: Lead guitar – rising senior at Tufts University
Jeremy Cohen: Bass – rising 5th year student at Berklee College of Music
Luke Imbusch: Drums – recent graduate from Berklee College of Music

Brian McLaughlin and Luke Imbusch, who played music together during high school in Providence, R.I., met Peter Stone and Jeremy Cohen at their respective colleges and decided to add them to the mix — thus forming The Rare Occasions.

“Luckily we’re within a general proximity [at Berklee and Tufts.] The public transportation is good in Boston so we can take the train. And the only reason Peter is in the band is because he has a car so he can drive us,” Cohen jokes.

McLaughlin came up with the name ‘The Rare Occasions’ after the band went through an identity crisis, playing gigs under the name ‘The Custodians.’

“We decided that name was sort of stupid, so we settled on The Rare Occasions because it was less stupid,” McLaughlin laughs.

“I like the idea that every band has its own unique thing going on, so everything is a rare occasion,” says Stone. “Not just bands, but every event in life is it’s own rare occasion. So it’s nice that’s what we present ourselves as.”

The Rare Occasions describe their sound as “quirk,” which is inspired from a mix of psychedelic rock bands, straight-forward guitar rock and pop music. The band also finds inspiration from their classwork and studies at Berklee and Tufts.

“In some of my classes we discuss the difference between playing live music and recording, and the different mindset that you have to have, so being in those classes has definitely benefited being in the band,” says Cohen, who is a dual major in music therapy and performance at Berklee.

McLaughlin, who is graduating this week from Tufts with a degree in electrical engineering, says that even his science major has influenced his music experience.

“We talk a lot about signals and systems and electrons and physics, and that sort of stuff can be very inspirational when writing lyrics,” McLaughlin says. “Also as an engineer, you learn how to take a complicated idea and simplify it into something that’s workable and usable in reality, and that’s something we do in the songwriting process.”

“As with any college students, [we're] involved with a lot of extra-curricular things as well so this is just one of those things you have to build into your schedule,” says drummer Luke Imbusch.

Despite each of the band members being full-time students, The Rare Occasions gigography lists almost 60 shows that the band has played throughout the New England area in the past 2 years.

“The frat shows are always fun because people are there to party and they’re into the music,” says McLaughlin as he reminisces on his favorite gig– a rooftop show at a Theta Chi Fraternity party at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The band has also played gigs at Boston University, Tufts University, Berklee College of Music and Wentworth Institute of Technology.

“With The Rare Occasions, it’s two things — it’s social media, and it’s gigging around because they have to get their name out there,” says the band’s manager and recent Berklee graduate Arianna Soto.

Soto has increased the band’s fan-base by booking as many shows as possible, as well as managing all social media accounts, including their Twitter, Facebook and newly launched Instagram.

In the future, the group hopes to focus more time on their music in order to make The Rare Occasions a full-time project.

“With each new release that we have, the songs improve a lot and the writing and the playing improves a lot,” says McLaughlin. “I think our goal is to continue to improve and be the best at making songs that connect with people.”

The Rare Occasion’s released their new EP Feelers on May 6. - USA Today (College)

"Fans Flock to Secret Home Concerts"

Sofar Sounds performance by the Rare Occasions on an apartment roof in Brooklyn. PHOTO: CHEYENNE COHEN

Feb. 8, 2017 12:19 p.m. ET

This year’s Grammy contests for best music video, rap album, contemporary blues album and even album of the year share an unlikely common thread.

All four categories include nominees or contributors who have played secret shows in strangers’ homes, attended by fans who had no idea what artist they had come to see.

Over the past seven years, home-concert organizer Sofar Sounds has morphed from a hobby for its founders into a promising business, now charging $15 a ticket for its dozens of sold-out shows each month inside homes and other venues in Los Angeles and New York. In 300 other cities world-wide the company essentially passes a hat for tips.

Fans seeking tickets to the company’s 500 monthly shows can choose only the neighborhood and date they wish to attend. They receive the exact address a day or two before the concert while the acts remain a mystery until show time. Sofar’s website also lets visitors sign up to host shows in commercial locations they may have access to, including a carpet shop in Paris, a bedding store in Manhattan and the top of a ski jump in Oslo, Norway. Istanbul boasts the most popular events, with about 4,000 fans requesting to come to each concert in the Turkish city, the company said.

Though not profitable, the operation has become an increasingly influential force in the music industry, with record labels using the events both to discover talent and to market their own young artists. Some major-label executives said they now keep close tabs on Sofar’s YouTube account for videos of shows.

Last month, British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran raved in a morning-show interview with a New York City radio station about a video of a singer named Yebba playing her song “My Mind” at a recent Sofar event in New York.

“She made a lot of people cry that I’ve shown it to,” Mr. Sheeran said, noting that he’d never heard of her before and that she was playing at the “Sofar rooms or something like that.”

The video now has more than 120,000 views; prominent booking agents and representatives from all three major record labels and publishers have reached out to her since, people familiar with the matter said.

Soul singer Leon Bridges, whose music video for his song “River” is up for a Grammy Sunday night, got a key career boost when he played a Sofar event in Dallas in 2014. At the time, Mr. Bridges was a “geographically challenged artist with few resources,” said his manager Jonathan Eshak. He said Mr. Bridges’s team circulated the video from the event throughout the industry because it was the only “real video of quality online.”

“It often served as the visual introductory into Leon’s story,” Mr. Eshak said.

Fantastic Negrito, up for the blues album award, played Sofar events in San Francisco and Austin, Tex., in part to test out his songs on “people who weren’t drunk,” said his manager, R. Field. While it’s not clear how many new fans the 49-year-old singer picked up directly from the Sofar gigs and videos, “everything that helps spread awareness has helped with the Grammy situation,” Mr. Field said.

Sofar’s recent performers have also included the Chicago rapper Saba, who sings on Chance the Rapper’s “Coloring Book,” up for rap album of the year. Kevin Garrett, the songwriter behind the first track “Pray You Catch Me” on Beyonce’s album-of-the-year-nominee “Lemonade,” has played Sofar shows in London, Austin and Pittsburgh. Irish musician Hozier and British pop band Bastille—both nominated for Grammy awards in 2015—also played Sofar events early in their careers.

Sofar co-founders Rafe Offer, a former marketing executive at Walt Disney Co. and Coca-Cola Co., and entrepreneur Rocky Start, said the company’s talent bookers now reject 50 applications for every artist they put on a bill, while increasingly working with record labels to fill the slots.

At a show last month in a Los Angeles office park, a good number of music bloggers and entertainment executives crouched on a floor covered with a hodgepodge of exotic rugs, while the host encouraged attendees to tag the artists properly in their social media posts, pointing to a sign showing the correct spelling of their names.

“Someone here is probably going to be famous,” the host told the crowd.

Virgin Group Ltd. founder Richard Branson said he invested in Sofar last year. Attending a show in London last fall reminded him of the early days of Virgin Records when the label opened above a London shoe shop and invited customers to listen to music on bean-bag chairs.

“It was great to see music lovers come together in a unique space just to sit quietly, listen and have a beer,” Mr. Branson said in an email about the Sofar event. “I’d love to go to another one.”

Other investors include Joe Cohen, founder of fan-to-fan ticketing site Seatwave and former Google Ventures partner Peter Read. The company’s business plan remains a work in progress, as it considers expanding ticket sales to more markets, selling memberships or corporate sponsors.

Sofar has team members visit the homes of potential hosts before agreeing to use their spaces, checking that the venues are safe and that the hosts themselves don’t seem too “uptight,” Mr. Offer said. The vetting process is similar to that of Airbnb Inc., whose co-founder and chief executive, Brian Chesky, attended his first Sofar show in late November, Mr. Offer said.

But it’s not possible to vet entire neighborhoods. During a concert in a home in Hamburg, Germany, a neighbor “freaked out,” Mr. Offer said, screaming at event goers and threatening to call the police.

The concert goers and artists “just paraded out to a local café,” Mr. Offer said, adding that they called the café first to ask: “We’ve got 75 people, can we come over?” - Wall Street Journal

"R.I. band Rare Occasions bridge divide on latest album"

They have a new EP and will perform Saturday at AS220 in Providence.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Since their inception in 2012, the Rare Occasions have become somewhat of a local legend in the alternative music circuit.

Winners of the John Lennon Songwriting Award and the 95.5 WBRU Rock Hunt, both in 2014, and with a critically acclaimed EP under their belts, Rare Occasions are hitting the garage rock scene this summer with a brand new EP, “Futureproof,” to be released Friday, and an accompanying tour.

In the meantime, The Rare Occasions have teased the new release with three singles — two original songs and a cover — all available through download.

The process of crafting the EP — which comes two years after their initial EP, “Feelers” — has been somewhat of a curveball for The Rare Occasions as band members Peter Stone and Jeremy Cohen moved to California, while Brian McLaughlin and Luke Imbusch remain in their hometown of Providence, where the band was conceived.

“We have been collaborating across the U.S.,” said McLaughlin, the band’s lead vocalist and guitarist, during a phone interview.

“It’s a very strange process,” he said. “But surprisingly, it’s not that different than if we were all in the same room together.”

To accomplish the production of the four-song EP, each member of the band — McLaughlin, Imbusch on drums, Stone on guitar and Cohen on bass — recorded their parts separately and used Google files to transfer audio sections between them in order to finish the album.

“Futureproof” sees the group build upon its mix of indie pop and garage rock to great success. Tracks such as “Loans” and “Notion” melodically hit all the right notes and show The Rare Occasions drawing on a variety of genres and styles.

“It’s all about the songs; it’s all about the quality of music you put out,” said McLaughlin.

“For all our previous releases, we had done the mixing and production ourselves, but this time around we worked with R.I.-based producer Steve Sacco,” the group members said in an email. “Steve definitely brought a fresh perspective to our arrangements and production, and encouraged us to try things we wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.”

The EP, in this respect, isn’t afraid to push new boundaries as the band experimented with putting various orchestral elements — such as strings and woodwinds — into their sound, courtesy of Imbusch, who has a background in classical music.

“All four of us have our own various musical ventures and side projects outside of the band, so there’s never a shortage of inspiration and new ideas when we bring it all together,” said the band.

In the frenetic process of producing the new record, The Rare Occasions have maintained a positive attitude and cohesiveness with the recent presentation of the 2014 John Lennon Songwriting Award for their song “Dysphoric.”

“Especially since we have been bi-coastal the past year, it’s helped us keep our perspective,” said McLaughlin.

“It can be a little discouraging that we can’t jam as much as we did before,” he said, “but to be recognized for the work that we are doing is really neat.”

To celebrate the release of “Foolproof,” The Rare Occasions will embark on a weeklong tour of the Northeast with a stop in Providence at AS220, a stomping group for the group for numerous years.

“For me personally, when Luke and I started a band in high school as kids under 18, that was really the only venue we had access to and could play on in the city,” McLaughlin said.

“Ever since then, it’s been our home venue, I don’t know, it’s just where we go back to.”

The Rare Occasions with Eric & The Nothing, Bad Tequila Experience, and LittleBoyBigHeadOnBike play Saturday, Aug. 6, at 9 p.m. at the AS220 Main Stage, 115 Empire St., Providence. - Providence Journal

"The Rare Occasions - Set It Right"

LA based, Boston formed band, The Rare Occasions, have released a music video for their single, ‘Set It Right’. The bands sound can be classified as Indie Rock, but they have a very meticulously crafted sound, that hits you at times, and makes you say ‘wow’! The band has played with acts such as Guster, Dirty Heads, and Knox Hamilton.

The music video involves the band and a 5ft tall unicycle. It’s creative and worth a watch! - WFNM

"EP Premiere: The Rare Occasions embrace both change and consistency in ‘Futureproof’"

In a world of constant evolution, nothing is Futureproof. That’s according to The Rare Occasions, at least.

The decorated Providence-turned-Boston band unleash their theory about the times ahead and what will last on their new EP, named after the engineering term. The follow-up to 2014’s Feelers and last year’s singles “An Actuary Retires” and “Aglow”, Futureproof, which we are premiering today and streamable via the Soundcloud below, marks the next step in the quartet’s fine-tuning of indie romps and distinctly modern garage rock sounds, a sharpened skill that in 2014 netted them “Song of the Year” from the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.

For Futureproof, the floppy disk branded on the EP’s cover art speaks volumes.

“‘Futureproofing’ is this engineering buzzword that means designing something to work for a long time in a world where standards, code, and connectors are always becoming obsolete,” singer Brian McLaughlin tells Vanyaland. “The song is about the inevitability of the passing of time, and how no matter how much you want something to be ‘futureproof’ and last forever, change is unavoidable. It’s a call to keep moving rather than try to wish an obsolete thing — whether it be a relationship, a job, or whatever — back into relevance.”

From the springy chorus of the title track to the slinky edge of “Notion,” the group’s fourth EP marks another definitive step towards their indie-underground cred. Closing track “Bug Eyes” arrives as a departure from the group’s usual infectious spunk, unveiling itself as a down-tempo stew with backwards glockenspiel and sine waves sent through a fuzz pedal. “I’ve noticed that all the songs that have really hit me emotionally share a very specific way of unfolding — there are certain lyrical details and patterns that are common to all of them,” says McLaughlin. “This song was our attempt at recreating that with our own music.”

“Bug Eyes” is also the only track on the EP totally produced by the band themselves; the other songs were mixed and co-produced Steve Sacco. “With every release we try and one-up ourselves,” McLaughlin says. “With this EP we were really focused on writing hooks, layering hooks on top of one another so that everything you hear is catchy. We also tried to weave the same lyrical themes into each song — they all deal with the fleeting nature of time in one way or another.”

Resistant to how the times are a-changin’ or not, the band sums up existence and relationships in a single quip on ‘Loans’: “It doesn’t matter/You’re screwed either way.”

The Rare Occasions debut Futureproof at the Middle East in Cambridge next Saturday, August 13, another stellar Lysten Boston bill with Le Roxy Pro, Amy & The Engine, and All Eyes on Me. Starting tonight for a Sofar Sounds session in New York, the band takes the new tracks on the road for a mini seven-date tour that also hits Providence’s AS220 on Saturday. Listen to the EP in full below.

The Rare Occasions Live:
8.4 // New York, NY // Sofar Sounds
8.5 // Bethlehem, PA // Musikfest
8.6 // Providence, RI // AS220
8.8 // Hamden, CT // The Space
8.11 // Syracuse, NY // Funk n Waffles
8.12 // New York, NY // Rockwood Music Hall
8.13 // Cambridge, MA // Middle East Upstairs - Vanyaland

"Song Premiere: The Rare Occasions – “Backwards”"

We’re pleased to bring you the premiere of The Rare Occasions’ new single “Backwards” (listen below). The band commented on the song: “‘Backwards’ is a song about accepting reality and moving on. Sometimes truly letting go of a bad situation can seem scary, but it sure beats dwelling on regret.” - New Noise Magazine


-Written by Michael Marotta

We learned a lot of things on the Vanya road trip to SXSW back in March. One, people in Mississippi hate British accents. Two, the drive from Boston to Austin is kinda brutal, especially once you get past Nashville. And third, the Rare Occasions are one of Boston’s brightest new bands.

The rock quartet performed live at our party with Berklee College of Music, playing the closing slot but landing pretty much first among bands that turned our collective head that day. We might have drunkenly said something to them about the Berklee-ness of their 2013 EP, Applefork, but underneath the music school’s funk coating was a rock band eager to break out.

That breakout has arrived with today’s release of Feelers. It’s a massive step forward for the guitar-rock crew, taking all the promise from earlier tracks and filling the fucking arena with rock from the floor seats to the rafters.

“Dysphoric” is the rock ripper stateside fans have been awaiting from the Arctics, and ukulele intermission track “Goodnight” should be flashing across our Hulu advertising screens soon, and closer “La Mort” has just enough weirdness mixed into the shoegaze to keep basements afloat in 2014. And that’s just the beginning, middle, and end.

This is a record that deserves multiple spins. Cancel your Tuesday and drink it all in. - Vanyaland


-Written by Michael Marotta

We probably shouldn’t admit this, but we knew the Rare Occasions were going to be selected to play this party after hearing about a minute of “Battin’ Lashes.” Waves of Arctic Monkeys washed over the room, and the guitar-rock quartet was quickly agreed upon.

With ties to both Berklee and Tufts University, the Rare Occasions craft catchy modern rock songs that gives nods to both sides of the pond. They’ve won a Tufts battle of the bands and opened for the odd pairing of Guster and Lupe Fiasco, but will soon be the headliner of gigs in Boston and beyond.

We’re pretty sweet on “Battin’ Lashes” — we play it frequently on Vanya Radio — but check out “Miss Mary Mack” via the Berklee Bandcamp sampler. Then join us Thursday at the Occasions help out Boston & Beyond with one noisy rock and roll racket. - Vanyaland

"10 Things Not to Have Missed from WBRU’s Birthday Bash Read More: 10 Things Not to Have Missed from WBRU’s Birthday Bash | WBRU |"

If you were unable to snag a ticket to this sold out show, here’s everything you need to know! Use these valuable details to pass off to your friends that you were actually there ; )

1. The Rare Occasions cover Disclosure’s “Latch”
WBRU’s Rock Hunt winners showed off their creativity by transforming the electro-dance song into an intense mass of badassery. The moody reverb and vocal effects were reminiscent of The Arctic Monkeys, but adding in a new fierce guitar riff at the chorus put their own stamp on the song to make it distinctly The Rare Occasions.

Listen to the cover here:

The danceable “Miss Mary Mack” followed, building movement in the crowd as the tempo increased (note: listen for the awesome bassline under the guitar solo). They briefly switched it up with a ukulele before bringing out old favorite “Getaway”. The set ended with the upbeat “Wickenden Kids”, earning cheers during the headbang-worthy distorted synth breakdown and getting stuck in everyone’s heads until the next act. - 95.5 WBRU

"Rip it up: The Rare Occasions roar back with boisterous new track "An Actuary Retires""

Earlier this year, the Rare Occasions’ breakout guitar-rock jam “Dysphoric” took home “Song Of The Year” in the annual John Lennon Songwriting Contest, netting the band $20,000 and a clear distinction of, well, writing great fucking songs. So how does a young band follow that up? By taking on the story of a retiring actuary reflecting on the poor decisions of his life and dropping a reference to French mathematician Évariste Galois in the lyrics. This is a new type of “math rock.”

It’s also another killer track from the Providence and Boston rock band. “An Actuary Retires,” which was premiered yesterday by Atwood Magazine, is out today and available for Bandcamp stream or iTunes purchase. You can also listen to it below via the Rare Occasions’ Soundcloud.

Of the song, a swirling garage rock tune that further enhances the band’s growing arsenal of sonics, frontman Brian McLaughlin tells Atwood: “It’s about an insurance company actuary reflecting back on his life from his retirement day, realizing that although he made a lot of money from his career, his life was a waste compared to what he could have achieved had he gone after his childhood aspiration of becoming an academic. It’s a really weird song.”

It wouldn’t seem out of place on the best Blur record, nor as the latest craze off the front page of a UK lad mag. “An Actuary Retires” will also help kick off the Rare Occassions’ fall tour jaunt, all in line to lead towards an expanded tour and a new EP or album from the gentlemen come 2016.

The Rare Occasions Fall Dates
10.16 // Neumann University // Aston, PA
10.17 // Wheaton College // Norton, MA
10.19 // Middle East Corner // Cambridge, MA *
11.5 // Wesleyan University // Middletown, CT
12/6 // O’Brien’s // Allston, MA
+ more TBA - Vanyaland


Just in time for Valentines Day The Rare Occasions dropped this behind-the-scenes video for “Halfheartedly.”

During the recording sessions for their new EP ‘Feelers’, the band shows us a sneak peak of how they rock in the studio. Recorded in Boston, ‘Halfheartedly’ is a lyrically strong love song that takes a look at a blossoming relationship and how fragile love really is. This line in particular is a beauty:

“she set my glasses on the chair
and blushed at the thought of how we must have stared
for weeks and weeks with curtains drawn
and our faces pressed till my vision had gone
and I pulled her closer into me
for there’s no sense in loving halfheartedly”

Check out the full EP on their Bandcamp.

Article by: Shayne Hanley - Pancakes and Whiskey


You can always trust a group of guys fresh out of college to be thinking about retirement. At least The Rare Occasions make a good time out of it: “An Actuary Retires,” the Providence/Boston-based band’s latest song, which we are pleased to be premiering today, is a cataclysmic combination of garage and math rock that will leave heads spinning with delight.

“An Actuary Retires” is The Rare Occasions’ first release since the band won the esteemed John Lennon Songwriting Contest‘s grand prize $20,000 ‘Song of the Year’ award in July. The award appears to have been a wake-up call to the foursome, who have been a mainstay of Providence and Boston’s underground scenes for quite some time, but have yet to break out of New England. According to the band’s Tumblr, The Rare Occasions have recently been hard at work on new material as they plan for a major push in 2016, which will include a new EP or album as well as a national tour.

“An Actuary Retires” marks the start of that madness, echoing the same kind of raucous garage rock that opened the band’s 2014 Feelers EP while also capturing their growth over the past eighteen months. Marked by lead singer Brian McLaughlin’s unconventional songwriting and a distortion-fueled hook, “An Actuary Retires” turns a trip through a retiring actuary’s mind into a fitting pandemonium.

Of the song, McLaughlin says: “It’s about an insurance company actuary reflecting back on his life from his retirement day, realizing that although he made a lot of money from his career, his life was a waste compared to what he could have achieved had he gone after his childhood aspiration of becoming an academic. It’s a really weird song.”

No doubts about that; the song begins with a catchy vocal line behind shiny rock guitars as McLaughlin narrates, in first person, the retiring actuary’s lament.

nobody came to my retirement party
nobody cares when you’re on your way out

That soon devolves into post-progressive, garage-y and spoken word chaos as the narrator dives deeper into himself. One would never, on first glance, take these stanzas for lyrical content, yet The Rare Occasions make it look easy as McLaughlin swims through a thought stream:

I place my things in a cardboard box
swiftly struck by a swivelling shard of the past
schoolyard voices swirling around
the other kids: aspiring firemen and ballerinas
me: walls plastered with equations
out to prove or disprove the magnetic monopole

“We’ve been getting into the mathy ‘Allston sound’ of our peers,” explains McLaughlin, “But [we] can’t shake our love for accessible hooks. The main body of the song has our usual Vines-esque garage sound, but there’s a breakdown that’s very inspired by fellow locals Pretty & Nice and Bent Shapes, coupled with a spoken-word part in a similar vein to Sleaford Mods.” A fitting explanation for an impressively developed and unique song.

It’s safe to say that few, if any bands have ever written songs from the point of view of an actuary. I cannot think of a single song that even uses the word. Here, The Rare Occasions have found a way to put that title to good use, offering a fresh taste of what’s to come from their new, painstakingly crafted material.

This is music to pay attention to.

Almost as exciting as new music is the announcement of new shows! “An Actuary Retires” is The Rare Occasions’ special way of kicking off their fall tour (dates below). Be sure to catch these guys in action, as they always give their all to the live performance.

Atwood Magazine is excited to welcome back The Rare Occasions from their dormancy, and honored to be exclusively premiering this first single. Be sure to give “An Actuary Retires” a good listen here or on our October 2015 playlist, and check back often for more news on New England’s gutsiest garage/prog/math/fuck-a-genre rock band! - Atwood Magazine


If you were to ask Brian McLaughlin, lead singer of the Rare Occasions, whether his band would win the WBRU Rock Hunt, the answer would be something like “optimistically unsure.” He previously entered the competition twice: once in his high school band dubbed “The Valar” and once before with the Rare Occasions. McLaughlin finally found redemption with a victory in 2014 for the Rare Occasions.
For a band that only released their first EP in 2013, the Rare Occasions have received an astronomical amount of success that includes winning the John Lennon Songwriting Contest for “Dysphoric.” Not only has the band amassed a following locally in both Boston and Providence, but across the country with performances at festivals like SXSW and CMJ.
These opportunities brought the band out of the clubs and into the spotlight, from playing at Lupo’s to opening for bands like Guster and Dirty Heads. “It encouraged us to be better songwriters and better performers,” said McLaughlin, who grew up in Barrington with bandmate Luke Imbusch [drums]. Both McLaughlin and Imbusch immersed themselves in the Providence music scene as teens, but truly became devoted during undergraduate school in Boston — Imbusch at Berklee and McLaughlin at Tufts.
“I picked a school near Boston because I want to have access to a big city — a music scene,” said McLaughlin.
At their respective schools, the two met fellow band members Peter Stone [lead guitar] and Jeremy Cohen [bass] and from there they formed the Rare Occasions and began playing shows in the area, including Providence. “Providence is more communal [than Boston],” McLaughlin explained, “more like everybody knows each other.”
The Rare Occasions have been active in the community since 2012, even before releasing their first EP, Applefork (2013), a very solid debut EP with an eclectic mix of pieces that kept me entertained through multiple listenings. Overall, the EP provided a foundation for the core sound of the Rare Occasions, but more was needed to get an accurate portrayal of their overarching tone. The following year proved pivotal for the band as they released their extremely well-received EP, Feelers and emerged victorious as the new WBRU Rock Hunt champions.
Since winning the Rock Hunt, the band has focused on orienting their style into a specific genre rather than mirroring past approaches, which have included EPs with a variety of stylings, from acoustic to garage rock. McLaughlin said, “We kind of have been exploring more. I think each time we put out something new, we try to one-up ourselves. If we just put the same process into each release, we kind of would stay stagnant.”
In rising to this challenge, the band has announced they will release a series of singles starting this summer, each with a different theme, and gauge a direction based on audience reception. “I usually start out writing a melody and chords,” said McLaughlin. “I think the other guys in the band are much more imaginative when it comes to arrangement, so I bring them a rough skeleton of a song and they make it 10 times better.”
With this change in direction has come the newfound obligation of filling venues as a headliner, especially locally at AS220, which McLaughlin says is his favorite local venue because “it’s all ages and they don’t allow you to play covers, and that kind of encourages originality.”
I was lucky enough to catch a recent performance at AS220. I unfortunately missed the first band (Forget, Forget), but I made it just in time for the second opener, Western Education, who hypnotized me with their intricacy and a lead singer who was as enigmatic as the pieces he performed. Jetty performed next, who McLaughlin claims to have met at the Rock Hunt. Jetty struck me as a blend of Dispatch with Passion Pit and a good helping of STS9, making me a fan immediately.
When it came time for the Rare Occasions, they opened with an outstanding performance of “Fell Through” and I immediately knew this band had something to prove past their sound on their EPs. As a follow-up, the band performed a totally new song: “Mistakes.” The track had me oddly curious to see where the flow of singles will lead. What followed was a passionate set that had me on my toes the whole way as the band blistered through their pieces like tissue, making their EP counterparts seem limp by comparison.
The future of the Rare Occasions seems pretty safe, with intricate but boisterous pieces that can support their charismatic stage presence. The path of Rare Occasions reminds me of the underdog success story everybody loves to hear about, and now they are adept musicians. McLaughlin advised upcoming musicians to, “Play out often, play shows as much as you can, and a caveat to that, don’t just play one town over and over again. Go back and forth, drive up 95 to Boston and drive back down to Providence.”
If I were you kids, I’d take this advise and bring it to the bank.
- See more at: - Motif Magazine


-Written by CJ

We kicked off the festivities with an exclusive interview with 2014 Rock Hunt winners The Rare Occasions. If ya missed it, catch the exclusive live interview below!

We then ran downtown to make it to Waterplace Park in time to see Torn Shorts kick off the live music action as the sun began to set. A lively and energetic set, the group had us bouncing on our feet in no time! To catch more Torn Shorts, check out their Home Bru’d session here!

The Rare Occasions came on next, and we loved watching the sun set to their unique sound. We were not disappointed in the nights lineup and were reminded why we picked these two bands as Rock Hunt winners the past two years! The Rare Occasions also came in for a home bru’d session recently, which can be caught here!

If you missed out on a great night, or simply want to relive the fun, check out our highlights below! - 95.5 WBRU


In case anyone was wondering, defines ‘dysphoria’ as “a state of dissatisfaction, anxiety, restlessness, or fidgeting.” However, you don’t need a dictionary to understand the underlying elements in The Rare Occasions’ music. “Dysphoric,” the opening track to The Rare Occasions’ Feelers EP, offers a three-minute explosion of energy in the form of dynamic, finely-crafted garage rock.

A rising star within the Providence and Boston music scenes, The Rare Occasions formed three years ago “in a Tufts University practice space.” Consisting of Brian McLaughlin, Jeremy Cohen, Peter Stone and Luke Imbusch, the band has put out three self-produced EPs in the past three years, the latest release being last year’s Feelers (May 2014). Characterized by tasteful melodies and expansive sounds, The Rare Occasions’ music fits well into the indie and alternative rock worlds, finding similarities with bands like Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, and Modest Mouse.

Though this young band is still very much on the path of self-discovery (in some senses, aren’t we all?), The Rare Occasions have enjoyed a considerable amount of local acclaim. Last year, they won Providence-based 95.5 WBRU’s annual ‘Rock Hunt’, and this year, they’ve already taken home the trophy for Best in State: Rhode Island at the 4th Annual New England Music Awards. Earlier this May, The Rare Occasions were named the 2014 Lennon Award Grand Prize winners in the rock category for their song “Dysphoric,” and the band is now in the running for the competition’s highly coveted Song of the Year and its $20,000 prize.

So yeah, The Rare Occasions pack a punch, and people are starting to notice.

Actually, “Dysphoric” is more like a constant stream of punches. The onslaught begins as guitar feedback morphs into an overdriven guitar note, played on repeat. It’s reminiscent of The Strokes’ “Reptilia,” but with far more wattage. The instrumentation builds around the guitar line, and Brian McLaughlin’s echoing tenor sets the stage for a truly dysphoric state:

how could you possibly screw up any worse?
BOOM. Guitars riff and drums pound, unleashing a reserve of pent-up energy from some bottomless power source. It’s hard to resist the temptation to jump around and smash things as The Rare Occasions create a tight cacophony of sound, centered around that hyper-charged guitar and McLaughlin’s unleashed vocals:

you were given trust then let it leak till it burst
pale pale guilt that could cut through your hide
until it’s fizzing inside you
you know you’re bound to find it
dysphoric dysphoric dysphoric
What’s fascinating about “Dysphoric” is its ever-increasing intensity: Imagine standing in the unstable nucleus of some electromagnetically-charged atomic chamber. Things are in constant motion as energy courses through the air, and every release only leads to an even greater swell.

Just like a spiraling helix, “Dysphoric” refuses to let up: The Rare Occasions come out swinging, giving it everything they’ve got and more. No wonder the song breaks into an experimental instrumental halfway through: How best to embody chaos than by embracing it?

Tension never tasted so good. “Dysphoric” is a garage rocker’s wet dream, the sonic realization of a violent thunderstorm, making The Rare Occasions some sort of musical Zeus. Listen to “Dysphoric” below, and if you like what you hear (you will), you can stream or purchase the band’s discography online via Spotify or Bandcamp. - Atwood Magazine


-Written by Christine DeLuna

As many questions as the Rare Occasions‘ EP title creates (What is an applefork and what is its purpose?), one thing is clear: these guys know how to make music.

Their sound’s not completely unique—there’s a lot of The Arctic Monkeys and The Kooks rollin’ around in there—but who cares?

It’s almost summertime and I want to groove to something that makes me feel like I’m driving down the California coast.

Applefork is upbeat and fun due in part to their use of clever melodies and catchy rhythms that feel effervescent. “Battin Lashes” and “Getaway” are standouts and should find their way onto your summer playlists. “Miss Mary Mack” is a clever play on the children’s rhyme (she’s a crazy bitch in this version).

This album does what it’s supposed to: makes you smile, keeps your foot tapping, and reminds you there are sunny days yet to come. - Dig Boston


-Written by Scott McLennan

The Rare Occasions don't make it that rare at all to craft little indie-pop symphonies on the new Applefork E.P.

Of the five tracks, four have tiered arrangements, pushing forward and pulling back sonic asides that give these 3-1/2-minute-long songs decent sweep, so there's your symphonic element (and the straight-ahead Getaway isn't a slouch when it comes to just fervently bopping).

All of the songs are a little wobbly with guitars and keys teetering in time to singer Brian McLaughlin's moods as they run from forlorn to damn-well pleased. There's your indie element.

And all of the songs are about dudes and chicks. She's leaving; he's leaving; they're staying; she's murdering; he's running: you get the picture, and there's your pop element.

But while there is a certain formula at play here, Applefork is by no means boring. The opener Battin Lashes fuses soulful vocal belting to lean, angular guitar riffs. A burst of gnarly guitar erupts in the middle of the Brechtian bravado of Miss Mary Mack. Silhouettes is all psychedelic glimmer.

Applefork is available at . The Rare Occasions play Friday, April 26, at the Middle East, 472, Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. The show also features Frank and Dependent, Orca Orca, and Anjimile. Proceeds from the show will benefit the Jimmy Fund. -


-Written by Jessica Leach

The Rare Occasions rocked so hard last Friday that Mike Levinsohn broke his glasses.

The Rare Occasions closed the night on April 5 at an event for Wentworth’s radio program The Wire. They’re a four-piece group, two parts Berklee and two parts Tufts, and they’re a mix of classic keyboard-driven rock and roll, with the influence of its modernized contemporaries.

Their set on Friday got a wearisome crowd on their feet, including the members of Rep Records’ Frank and Dependent, where Mike Levinsohn’s black frames were to meet their ultimate fate.

Lead singer Brian McLaughlin (Tufts) has the perfect musical accessory of his piercing vocals that, in addition to his inventions on the keyboard, provide some unique take on the foot stomping rock of this generation, and past generations too. His Tufts classmate Peter Stone, high school friend Luke Imbusch and his Berklee classmate Jeremy Cohen complete the equation on guitar, drums and bass, respectively.

One of their best performances of the night was “Wickenden Kids,” a song that combines everything from the electronic bass drop of a Skrillex track to a disco/funk melody like ABBA married ELO. A song that starts simple and peppy suddenly takes an intense turn, and everything you thought you knew about this band is gone. They’re unpredictable at the right times, and at others, they deliver exactly what you need, and it’s for these reasons that they are aptly named.

They’ll be joining Frank & Dependent, Anjimile and Orca Orca on April 26 for the Jimmy Fund benefit concert at the Middle East Downstairs.

Their new EP, Applefork, is available now. - Rep Records


By Lisa Occhino

You may remember The Rare Occasions from when we selected them as our Band of the Month over the summer, and once again, they’ve proved just how full of talent and potential they are. On November 7, 2013, the Berklee-Tufts rock band was crowned the first place winner of our 2013 “In the Groove” Songwriting Competition, which gave them a consultation with Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee John Oates (of Hall & Oates, the most successful duo in the history of recorded music), 10 hours of studio time generously donated by The Record Company, this feature on, and more. Our staff selected the band as a finalist from a record number of 96 submissions, putting them into the live final round with Fate & the Family Band and Sam Fischer. After a nail-biting audience voting period, The Rare Occasions won the grand prize with the immense support of their family, friends, and fans. (Click here to read a full recap of the live songwriting competition and listen to all the finalists’ songs.)

I sat down with bassist Jeremy Cohen, vocalist/keyboardist Brian McLaughlin, and drummer Luke Imbusch to find out more about their winning song, how they garnered so many audience votes in the competition, and their advice for new Berklee students looking to form a band.

Berklee Groove: Congratulations on winning our 2013 ‘In The Groove’ Songwriting Competition! Tell me a little bit about your winning song, ‘Scarlet Lies.’ What’s it’s about?
Brian McLaughlin: ‘Scarlet Lies’ is a song that I wrote two summers ago…. The lyrics took me a really, really long time because I didn’t know what to write about. And in a way, the lyrics are sort of about not knowing what to write about. The last verse is: ‘In the search to find the flower for you / I came across a poet or two / Scarlet lies dripped from their eyes / So take it from me, how bad could it be, my love?’ So basically, the whole first part of the song is talking about a relationship, and… trying to express the main character’s love for the other person in the relationship. He came across poets and artists and realizes that they make things up for their own artwork, just to be able to write about a certain emotion. So ‘scarlet lies dripping from their eyes’ is basically false pain that these poets and artists are inducing upon themselves…. So that’s sort of what the song is about: just making stuff up for the sake of writing, even if it’s painful – especially if it’s painful.

BG: So did you write the lyrics after the music?
Brian: Yeah, we were already working on the arrangement and writing the song as a band before I had even finished the lyrics.

BG: And is that your usual songwriting process? Do you work on the music first and find the lyrics afterwards?
Brian: Usually I have a start for lyrics. I’ll come to the band with an idea for chords… maybe some lyrics, definitely a melody for each of the chord changes, and then we’ll sometimes change the melody, so then the lyrics change.

BG: If you were given the opportunity to perform on stage with any band at any venue in the world, who would you want to play with and where would you want to play?
Brian: I think we all have our own individual answers to that question. I’ll bet I can predict [Jeremy’s].
Jeremy Cohen: What do you think is mine?
Brian: Okay, probably like Coldplay at Wembley or something like that.
Jeremy: I was just thinking about how I feel like playing at venues like The Red Room – I think that’s where I would be satisfied. I think definitely playing big arenas with 30,000 people would be sick every once in a while, but having a personal connection with the audience I think I would value much more than a loud, screaming crowd. But Coldplay, yeah.
Luke Imbusch: Dave Matthews Band at Madison Square Garden.
Brian: My answer would be Led Zeppelin in Royal Albert Hall in London. In 1970.

BG: Since we live streamed the finals on Concert Window this year, people watching at home could participate in the voting for the first time. We were shocked at how much that affected the outcome of the competition! How did you get so many people to watch the live stream and vote for you?
Jeremy: The perks of a big Irish Catholic family…. I told my mom and I told my Auntie Diane, and once the two of them know, the entire family knows…. I think one phone call was enough to get [the word] out.
Luke: And people at Tufts. We’re half Berklee, half Tufts, so all of the Tufts people – we tried to get them to come, and we didn’t tell them about the stream until later, but once they found out they were like, ‘Oh, I’m just gonna watch it online.’ But they still voted, which was nice.
Brian: It’s really hard to get Tufts people to leave Tufts.

BG: Did you guys feel like you had a good chance of winning first place?
Luke: Up until we heard the other bands play. We got nervous.
Brian: I had listened to Fate & the Family Band online, and I don’t think their recording really captured what an amazing band they are. The vocals were amazing, and then I realized, ‘Wow, this is a really well written song. We don’t stand a chance.’
Jeremy: They did awesome. For me, I was just happy to be a part of it…. We would’ve gotten some cool stuff regardless of what happened, but… to me, the reward was big enough being in that final stage and able to play The Red Room – being part of the ‘who’s who’ of the songwriting niche at Berklee. So I was pretty proud of that.

BG: Which part of the first place prize package are you looking forward to the most?
Luke: The recording time for me. I love recording, and we have so much new material that is ready to be recorded.
Jeremy: I think we have so many opportunities. 10 hours of free recording time – that’s insane.

BG: What advice would you give to Berklee students who are just starting out in a new band?
Jeremy: To all the new students, I’m gonna be another one of the thousands of people who are gonna say this to them, but networking, networking, networking. We’ve gotten so many shows that we wouldn’t have gotten if we didn’t go the extra mile and talk to somebody…. No matter how good you are, there’s such an oversaturation of musicians…. If you don’t go the extra step to make yourself known, it’s gonna be a lot more difficult to get your stuff out there. Networking is really important… but at the same time, to not let the business stuff compromise the music, ‘cause that stuff can turn into a full-time job. You need the business stuff to get your music out there, but the music should always come first.

BG: What are your plans for the band after you all graduate?
Jeremy: The topic is open for discussion.
Brian: We have to have ‘the talk’…. We know where people are headed geographically at least next year. Peter [Stone, our guitarist,] is still gonna be at Tufts, Jeremy is still gonna be at Berklee, and… I’m an electrical engineer, so I’ll probably get a job in the Boston area as well. I’d like to continue jammin’ with you guys.
Luke: I’ll probably be around for a while before moving out [to LA], so it’s still up in the air. - Berklee Groove


-Written by Tim Forker

The Rare Occasions are a fantastic garage rock band hailing out of Boston in The U.S.A.!
These extremely talented rockers really bring a raw, ear-stomping music drive that was exciting and rocketing huge!
I can really see them soaring forwards in appeal for their rock music definition, great music stuff here!
-Forkster - Forkster


The Rare Occasions are back with a new music video for the single Dysphoric, taken from the EP Feelers. - IndieMinded


-Written by Cassandra Chernin

If you like The Arctic Monkeys meshed with a folky Foxygen, you’re in luck. The Rare Occasions’ Feelers EP embodies both of the wonderful parts of each band – and I’m not sure how I slept in on this, it was released in May. It’s diversified in all the right ways too – “Dysphoric,” is rock and roll, “Fell Through,” is catchy pop, “Goodnight,” is short and sticky sweet, “Halfheartedly,” is errie, and “La Mort,” is even eerier. As a person who waited four hours to be at the front for the Monkey’s Paradise Rock show, I’m furious at myself for not hearing “La Mort” till right now. I’m sure it’ll be on repeat for a long-time (and it’s absolutely being added to the next monthly playlist.)

All in all, this is a kickass EP and just the start of their burgeoning success.

Listen to “La Mort” below and find the entire album here. - ftwelve music


-Written by Alyssa McCord

Since we take things a little slower in the summer seeing as the majority of Berklee students are making music all over the world rather than mostly here in Boston, we decided to only do two features for our “Artist of the Month” series for the entire summer. Doing this, we wanted to make sure that we chose two phenomenally innovative and talented artists or bands. Naturally, this being Berklee, we weren’t short on options. Nevertheless, we were able to narrow it down to one artist for May/June (Carly Tefft) and one band for July/August – The Rare Occasions.

Up until now, every single feature in this series has been an artist from Berklee or a band composed entirely of Berklee students. However, The Rare Occasions is our very first exception to this rule. We were so impressed with the band’s recent accomplishments and incredibly authentic sound that even with two students from Berklee and two students from Tufts, we knew we had to feature them anyway. As a great example of how collaboration and teamwork extends past just the Berklee community, we’re stoked to bring you this profile on one of our favorite bands, The Rare Occasions.

Berklee Groove: Since you’re our first Band of the Month that isn’t made up of solely Berklee students, tell us who you are!
Rare Occasions: Brian McLaughlin from Barrington, Rhode Island, handles the lead vocals, keys, and rhythm guitar, and is an electrical engineering senior at Tufts University. Luke Imbusch, also from Barrington, plays drums and is a seventh semester film scoring major at Berklee. Jeremy Cohen from Beverly, Massachusetts, plays bass and is a seventh semester performance and music therapy major at Berklee. Peter Stone, from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, plays lead guitar and is a cognitive and brain sciences junior at Tufts.

BG: How did you originally come together as a band?
RO: Luke and Brian were in a band together in high school that had a pretty respectable run in the Providence scene. The summer before college, they talked about the idea of starting a new band up in Boston. Luke met Jeremy at Berklee their freshman year, and the three jammed with some other folks and played two shows as “The Custodians” and recorded a Beatles cover. We brought Peter into one of our rehearsals and discovered that his guitar playing fit perfectly into our music, and more importantly, that he was a really cool dude. So, we took him in as we were recording the first demos and released them as “The Rare Occasions.”

BG: What is the most important thing you’ve learned so far as a band?
RO: At Berklee, the “network, network, network” ideology is something that every professor can agree upon, and, while constantly hearing the same piece of advice can become tedious, it really is true. If an indie band plays a show at the Cantab and no one is around to hear it, do they really make a sound? There is so much clutter in the music world right now that knowing the right people and working hard to get your music out there is more important than ever. A friendly smile or a handshake can go a long way – relationships matter, especially in this industry. That being said, it is so important to separate the business side of music from the creation of the music itself. It’s impossible to create a truly meaningful piece of music if you’re constantly interrupting your stream of thought with, “Will other people like this?” Write first, then refine. Then decide later if it’s good or if it’s crap.

BG: Who are your biggest musical influences? How would you best describe your genre/sound?
RO: Being a part of the Boston and Providence music scenes have a pretty profound influence on what we write. We like to believe the music we make is in some way a response to the music that is going on around us, a conversation of sorts. We listen to a lot of locals — bands we’ve played with before and bands we hope to play with in the future. Some of our favorites are The Wandas, The Shones, Speedy Ortiz, and Frank & Dependent. In a larger context, our sound is like a strange hybrid of garage-rock and post-prog. We’re often compared to The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, and the lot, but we also listen to stuff that’s further out there like Tame Impala, Cloud Nothings, The Maccabees, and MGMT. We try to make it so that our songs are simple and infectious, yet each song has something that’s weird or bizarre about it. The catchiness is what draws folks in, but the weird stuff is what holds their interest, as well as our own.

BG: Where do you draw inspiration from for your music? Do you have a specific process you go through when writing?
RO: Things we’ve experienced, stories we pick up in daily conversation, and stuff we totally make up inspire our writing. We try to write music that has an emotional impact of some sort, so that even though a particular story might not be relatable to every listener, they can still connect to the feeling that rad - Berklee Groove


-Written by Jake Reed

Released in May, The Rare Occasions’ Feelers EP kicks off with “Dysphoric,” which is equal parts psychedelic and dark-tinted surf rock, its bridge erupting from a single repeated note into a well-calculated guitar solo. Next, “Fell Through” shows off the band’s knack for odd time signatures and sets the more cheerful tone that the band maintains throughout the rest of the five-song set. The glockenspiel-aided “La Mort” bridges the band’s softer and harder sides, starting off as a soft ballad but rounding out the EP’s final minute with sweeping guitars and pained vocals. Take a listen to “La Mort” below and download Feelers for $5 at the guys’ Bandcamp page. - The Deli


-Written by Michael Marotta

We’d been fans of Boston rock quartet the Rare Occasions ever since we invited them to play our SXSW party with Berklee College of Music. They played a killer closing set at our joint-effort soiree down in Austin, but then our love grew rather intimate when the gents dropped a new EP called Feelers in May.

The lead track off that record is a riffy, rowdy guitar-rock blitz called “Dysphoric,” and we can’t get enough of it; you’ll hear it pretty much every other day on Vanya’s This Is 617 Boston rock and pop radio show.

Now the song has some visuals to go with the sounds, as the Rare Occasions finally released its music video. The “Dysphoric” video is much like the “Dysphoric” song — bullshit-free, right to the point, and shows off the band doing what they do best. It was directed by Jonas Em of Emvision Productions, and you can peep it below.

In the meantime, the Rare Occs (no one calls them that, sorry) have a few live shows lined up now that school’s out for the summer: Friday they’re at the WBRU Summer Concert Series in Waterplace Park, Providence; on August 16 they’re at Fort Adams in Newport for the Newport Storm Luau festival; and on August 19 they return to our part of the world for a show at the Phoenix Landing in Cambridge. - Vanyaland


Still working on that hot first release.



Known for their explosive sound and piercing lyrics, The Rare Occasions are an LA based, New England bred indie rock band. The group has taken on a fiercely independent stance in their music, recording and producing the songs themselves in their cramped rehearsal space. Their music delivers themes of existentialism and self-reflection, from buzzing highs to sulking lows, in concise yet unforgettable packages. 
 Singer Brian McLaughlin and drummer Luke Imbusch have been making music together since their teenage years. In college they met bassist Jeremy Cohen and guitarist Peter Stone. The Rare Occasions got off the line quick, winning the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and the WBRU Rock Hunt, playing opening slots for major artists including Guster, Lupe Fiasco, and Smash Mouth, and performing at venues and festivals such as SXSW, CMJ, and NAMM. 
 The band relocated to Los Angeles and began work on their full-length debut, Into The Shallows. Its release initiated a wave of new fans as listeners from around the world discovered The Rare Occasions online. In 2019 they cut down to a three-piece and quickly began writing new material, reinventing themselves. Their new sound features three-part harmonies, wall-of-sound instrumentation, and a refined focus on delivering meaning through songwriting.

“They’re the kind of band that creates music that both slaps you and kisses you, sometimes within seconds of one another, with equal seduction and genuine ease.” - Michael Marotta, Vanyaland

“A car chase on a distant cliff, filmed in black and white” - Jon Simmons, Sound of Boston

“The Rare Occasions ...craft little indie pop symphonies [with] tiered arrangements, pushing forward and pulling back sonic asides that give these 3-½-minute-long songs decent sweep” - Scott McLennan,

Band Members