September 30, 2014

Today's Hotness: Soccer Mom, Young Adults, Gabriel Saloman, Los Roys

Dan Parlin of Soccer Mom, 2013, from the Clicky Clicky Archives

>> For quite a few years we sided with Tom Petty, believing that the waiting was the hardest part. What we learned in the interim is that that feeling sort of subsides once you're an adult and a lot of life's waiting is behind you. Now we feel firmly ensconced in the Johnny Foreigner school of thought, which believes the hardest part is letting go. We were met yesterday with an opportunity to remember that, as news made its way to us that beloved Boston noise-pop goliath Soccer Mom was pulling the plug on its operation after just a couple more live shows. The context here is that The Mom will play as part of the bill for static-blasting scenemates Young Adults' final show Oct. 12. News of Young Adults' dissolution surfaced this spring, and we have steeled ourselves to the idea of living in a post-YA world, so the sting of the noisy power trio's demise has long since ebbed. But Soccer Mom's formal announcement today was certainly a surprise to many. The foursome -- founded by guitarist and singer Dan Parlin about five years ago -- rose slowly and steadily up from the Boston underground on the back of a couple singles and an EP, all of which we wrote about in these electronic pages, and with the release of its fiery self-titled full-length this past spring [review here, stream it via the embed below], it was as if the band had finally, finally arrived. Now after its show Oct. 12 and an as-yet-unannounced final show, The Mom is gone. If there is some consolation, it is that we're already hearing rumblings about new music projects coming from certain of the members of Soccer Mom, and there is similar news about new music coming from Young Adults fronter Chris Villon, and we look forward to bringing you more information about those things at the appropriate time. In the meantime, Young Adults intends to issue to the wilds of the Internets tomorrow two previously unreleased tunes "Old Kids" and "Void," and we can tell you that both of them rage against the dying of the light and are sure to inspire fist-banging mania among the band's adherents. Chances are if you keep an eye on the Young Adults Facebook page tomorrow you'll see the announcement, but you may also want to open a browser tab for this link and this link, too, just to make sure you've got an eye on things. Young Adults' final salvo into the proverbial breech will occur, as mentioned supra, Oct. 12 at Great Scott in Boston; in addition to Soccer Mom, California X and Earthquake Party! will also perform, making the show a wall-to-wall slayfest. All the details are at this Facebook event page. Now get some rest, you.

>> As the autumn leaves begin to turn and ultimately fall to the streets below, the bare trees will in turn make way for winter's eerie, late-night silences that seem to exist simply for fragile, emotional drone music. Overly sentimental, perhaps, but this reviewer will certainly be adding all 34 minutes of "The Disciplined Body" by Gabriel Saloman to his queue of introspective, ambient jams. Mr. Saloman, who operates out of Vancouver and may or may not be better know for his work with noise-duo Yellow Swans, has turned his attention of late to pleasing piano drones and swooping electronic zones for his latest, two-track release Movement Building Vol.1. The set that apparently collects recent work composed by Saloman to accompany a dance performance by fellow Vancouver-ite Daisy Karen Thompson called "Re-Marks on Source Material." Movement Building Vol.1 will be released by Shelter Press Oct. 18. An preview excerpt titled, for some reason, after the record and not the song, offers up a glimpse into Salomon's sonic world. The composition commences with glowing, quavering bass pulses, then slowly unravels. The front end of the excerpt at first sounds synthetic and vaguely electronic, but gradually gives way to a spacious instrumental section that captures the introspective, clenched emotions of the most chilly, starry evening. After two minutes, the overbearing bass steps aside and an impossibly reverberated guitar drapes a wandering, bottom-string motif over a kick drum that mimics a heartbeat -- an arresting move that gives the glacial track a queerly vital immediacy. And that's just a single excerpt! Stream "Movement Building Vol.1 (Excerpt)" as well as a second excerpt via the Soundcloud embeds below. These relatively quick flashes of the larger whole of "The Disciplined Body" makes purchasing the stark, 500-edition vinyl that much more tempting. Buy it from Shelter Press right here. -- Edward Charlton

>> Remember Bozmo? We covered the Berkeley, Calif.-based outfit now and then, noting its awesome, wide-eyed '60s-inspired psychedelia. The act's sound is never too derivative, coming across more as homage than rote reproduction. More recently we turned on to the apparently affiliated California act Los Roys, whose latest self-released digital EP Hag Season seems to be further evidence that there must be something -- something murky and mod-garage -- in the obviously-only-proverbial Northern California water nowadays. Over the course of six tracks, Hag Season grounds itself in bright acoustic strumming while layered harmonies, snappy snare work and clean lead guitar flesh things out. The overall effect is not too far from some of the fractured pieces by White Fence, whose latest single on Famous Class comes highly recommended. Outside of the eponymous opening instrumental and similar closing track, Los Roys' EP offers up four perfectly realized pop songs that showcase humorous crooning and carefree lyrics in equal measure. "One Thing At A Time" strikes this listener as a sarcastic ode to dealing with life's many problems. "Honey Bear" not only revisits the very Lewis Carroll-esque whimsy that dominated much of the British freakbeat and psychedelic scenes from 1966-1968, but further adds to the tongue-in-cheek fun that Los Roys capture so well (Case in point: The dejected "fuck" that begins "Twisted"). Speaking of "Twisted," it's the best song of the bunch -- all fuzzy vocals and funny warbling and cackling that leads right into an odd, lounge-y electric guitar riff. For those who regard the slack, cut-up posturing and atonalism of the Pebbles, Vol.3: The Acid Gallery compilation as the pinnacle of boomer-generation creativity, Los Roys could not be any more appealing. They speak the truth, man! Stream Hag Season via the Bandcamp embed below, and click through to download it for any price. -- Edward Charlton

September 29, 2014

That Was The Show That Was: Beverly with The Drums | Brighton Music Hall | 22 Sept.

That Was The Show That Was: Beverly with The Drums | Brighton Music Hall | 22 Sept., photo by Dillon Riley

[PHOTO: Beverly by Dillon Riley] As is our wont, we descended last week upon one of Boston's finer rock clubs to revel in the now sounds in indie pop, which more often than not these days means getting to the club early to get a long listen to the undercard. After all, and as previously discussed, sometimes the most exciting time to find such commodities is early. And so it was that at Brighton Music Hall last Monday we put name and face to one of the lovelier dream-pop records of the year, Beverly's full-length debut Careers.

Beverly hails from Brooklyn, despite the fact that its sun-splashed sound evokes the mellower vibes more typically associated with the opposite coast of the U.S. Led by fronter Drew Citron, the band's hazy guitar attack largely echoes certain of the familiar tenets of the dream-pop playbook. What sets the act apart from contemporaries that prefer their noise sweetened, not stirred, is the ready tunefulness of Beverly's work: underneath the de rigueur noise are dynamic, well-realized compositions. The four-piece opened its set with a heavy sheet of tremoloed distortion that gracefully segued into Careers' opening track, "Madora." Thrilling highlights from the set included the preview track "Honey Do," which showcased the ascending vocal harmonies that feature prominently on the record. Beverly performance evidenced further that Ms. Citron and company have a singular approach to a genre that -- unfortunately, and if we are going to be real here -- too-rarely cultivates individuality. Careers was issued by Kanine Records July 1; buy it on LP, CD or download right here.

The newly truncated The Drums recently released a new record of its own entitled Encyclopedia, and its headlining set -- which took place just hours before the record's release -- offered plenty of new music. Pre-released tunes like the stuttering and tense "Magic Mountain" and the nu-Romantic confection "I Can’t Pretend," in particular, blended well with tunes from the act's previous two releases, pairing The Drums' characteristically minimalist, mechanistic groove with the experimental bent of the new record. Alongside the new material, the band delivered should-be hit after should-be hit from its self-titled debut and Portamento, and each selection elicited uproarious applause and word-for-word callbacks from an eager, engaged crowd -- a fairly rare feat for an early Monday night set. A three-song encore comprised of some of The Drums' earliest cuts certainly reminded fans of the reason for the early buzz surrounding the group, and included a white-knuckled iteration of "Let's Go Surfing." As the band finished up, we were left with the satisfied feeling of knowing that the indie pop world is most definitely a better place with The Drums in it. Encyclopedia is its third LP, and the platter was released by Minor Records Sept. 23. Buy it from the band here, and stream cuts from both bands via the embeds below. -- Dillon Riley

Beverly: Facebook | Internerds | Soundcloud
The Drums: Facebook | Internerds

September 20, 2014

Review: Lubec | The Thrall

It often seems that dream-pop is more about the atmosphere and less about the dream itself, about checking the right boxes, dialing the right reverbs, fetishizing the right gear. Which is not to say that production concerns are not something that Portland, Ore.-based guitar-pop quartet Lubec contemplates. But the rising band is about so much more, and with its new full-length The Thrall it has so decisively delivered on its vision for a sonically sculpted, gloriously melodic and viscerally present sound that it is stunning. The set is not the quartet's first long-player -- 2012's Wilderness Days, collects an EP and other early recordings -- and we've been covering the act since its earliest days in 2009. So there is a substantial body of work, of research and development, that has brought Lubec to where it is today.

And all of that toil has paid off: The Thrall is, simply put, a revelation, a fully realized and kaleidoscopic guitar-pop masterpiece that presents the band's striking songcraft and bright optimism within a shifting aural landscape that brilliantly balances clean, jagged leads, crystalline reverbs and thunderous percussion and fuzz. The band refers to its sound as "basement philharmonix," and in years past as "sculpt-rock," but we'd suggest "elegant cacaphony" as an equally suitable alternate. Whatever you want to call it, and although its core members migrated to the west coast years ago, it is undeniable that Lubec has finally arrived, and they've brought with them one of the best records of 2014.

The Thrall is like the beautiful girl in the room whose feet don't seem to touch the ground. It's a diary that captures fleeting moments, and the inherently tragic beauty of impermanence. The narratives therein confront coming of age, aspiration, nostalgia and even disappointment, and are constructed from remarkably literate and thoughtful prose that is as nimble referencing classical mythology ("Sunburn!") as it is describing the incalculable hugeness of life and its possibilities ("The Thrall"). Fronter Eddie Charlton sings with devastating poignance in the climax to the stunning late album track "Another Ghost Song:" "how long has it been? since you lived on a whim?" Indeed, the album's emotional payload is largely driven by the pairing of Mr. Charlton's airy tenor with pianist Caroline Jackson's ethereal backing vocals (Ms. Jackson's piano, interestingly, anchors the band's low end, but makes tasteful forays into its upper register to splash more color across the band's already colorful sonic palette). The pairing of the voices follows a formula that worked for Clicky Clicky fave indie legends Lilys on its early singles and first LP two decades ago, and it works immaculately here within Lubec's smart and dynamic compositions, especially the driving album highlight "Gold Protege."

But The Thrall is so much more than affecting vocals, too. The set thrills by pushing a relatively conventional four-piece band to overachieve. Where indie titans Spoon dazzle by imposing a certain stripe of minimalism onto amazing songs, Lubec's aim is decidedly maximalist, instrumentally, although never redundant. All of Lubec's moving parts really move, and move with purpose in complementary cycles that all support central melodic and rhythmic ideas. And all of it supports the record's wide-eyed, full-hearted and still partly innocent appraisal of the bigness and odd magic of life. The Thrall marvels, and it is marvelous.

Indiana-based Like Young Records is releasing The Thrall in a limited edition of 50 red cassettes on Sept. 21. The first pressing of the cassettes sold out on pre-orders, which should give you some indication of the power of The Thrall; a second pressing is already planned. The band does have a limited amount of product on its collective person, so if you are lucky enough to live in Portland, you may still be able to get your hands on the tape. Lubec fetes the release of The Thrall with a hotly anticipated hometown performance at Mississippi Studios Sept. 21, an evening which also features music from Night Mechanic and Old Wave. Lubec has another in-town performance at The Firkin a couple weeks thereafter, and is planning a strand of house shows across the Pacific Northwest for later in the fall. Stream The Thrall via the Bandcamp embed below.

Lubec: Bandcamp | Facebook | Soundcloud

Selected Previous Coverage:
Today's Hotness: Lubec
Today's Hotness: Lubec
Review: Lubec | Wilderness Days
Today's Hotness: Lubec
Today's Hotness: Lubec
Be Prepared: Lubec | Nothing Is Enough EP Teaser "Cherry Adair"
Show Us Yours #13: Lubec

That Was The Show That Was: Joyce Manor with The Weaks,The Exquisites | The Sinclair | 14 Sept.

The Weaks tune up, Sept. 14, 2014, photo by Dillon Riley

[PHOTO: Dillon Riley] If, like us, you prefer your pop-punk heavy on both the former and the latter, last Sunday's show at The Sinclair was not to be missed [unless you are slacker, in which case you did miss it, as tickets sold out 10 days prior. -- Ed.]. While it's inaccurate to state that hotly tipped topliners Joyce Manor and Clicky Clicky faves The Weaks sound alike, it's undeniable that the acts draw from a similar thematic well. The Weaks approach pop-punk with a pronounced little-c classic big-R Rock aesthetic, incorporating plenty of flashy guitar leads, while Joyce Manor's judiciously edited punk channels elements of vintage hardcore and never lets a song drift past 150 seconds. In common is an almost overwhelming tunefulness and refreshing earnestness that marks the best of the millennial generations' guitar bands.

The Weaks commenced the evening's program of music with hook-laden tunes from their cheekily titled debut EP The World Is A Terrible Place & I Hate Myself And Want To Die, as well as what sounded like some yet newer jams. In the flesh, the Philadelphia-based heroes manifest as a quintet, with a three-guitar attack that ably recreates the thick guitar sound that populates their recordings. Dual fronters Evan Bernard and Chris Baglivo handle most of the vocal and musical heavy lifting, and Mr. Bernard is an especially engaging presence on stage, with a full, booming voice and impressive array of facial hair. "Nietzsche's Harvest Song" connected with the early-arrivers and a particularly lethal take on the EP-highlighting "How To Put An Audience To Sleep In Under Two Minutes" served as a nice entree to the headliner's abbreviated brand of punk rock.

California-foursome Joyce Manor's recently issued LP Never Hungover Again, its fourth, may be the band's finest to date. Not one of the set's 19 minutes feel wasted, and every musical element supports the massive hooks girding each song. Joyce Manor's stage sound and persona challenges the pop-punk tag regularly applied to it, and its notably rowdy shows evidence the fact the act is a breed apart from their relatively staid brethren. It would be an understatement to call what we participated in throughout the show Sunday a "mosh pit," as the assembled mass really had no choice in the matter: literally everyone on the floor was complicit (or at least made complicit) in the chaos. Don't get us wrong, it was a blast, and as much fun as we've had on a Sunday night in quite a while, but the melee almost inhibits the band. Almost. In spite of the swirling tornado of bodies before them, Joyce Manor pulled off its tricky vocal harmonies and quick-change dynamics quite impressively. Everyone in the crowd seemed to know every word and rhythm change in the songs from the new, Epitaph-released record by heart. Seattle's The Exquisites held down the middle slot of the evening, performing songs from its clever 2013 debut Self Titled.

Joyce Manor's tour continues anon with The Exquisites supporting, and is presently in the American south and heading back to the left coast; remaining U.S. dates are posted below. In early November Joyce Manor heads to Europe and the UK for 15 dates there. The Weaks appear to be off the road for now but have dates booked in Charlotte and Atlanta at the end of October. -- Dillon Riley

09.21 -- 1904 Music Hall -- Jacksonville, FL
09.23 -- Backbooth -- Orlando, FL
09.24 -- Epic Problem -- Tampa, FL
09.26 -- Walter's Downtown -- Houston, TX
09.27 -- Red 7 -- Austin, TX
09.28 -- INDEX Festival -- Dallas, TX
09.30 -- Gasworks -- Albuquerque, NM
10.01 -- Yucca Tap Room -- Tempe, AZ
10.02 -- Irenic -- San Diego, CA
10.18 -- New Noise Music Conference at Velvet Jones -- Santa Barbara, CA
10.25 -- Beach Goth 3 -- Santa Ana, CA

September 16, 2014

That Was The Show That Was: Cymbals Eat Guitars with Bob Mould | Paradise Rock Club | 12 Sept.

Joseph D'Agostino of Cymbals Eat Guitars, Sept. 12, 2014, photo by Dillon Riley

We recognize the ridiculousness inherent in reviewing a show where Hüsker Dü-er and Sugar daddy Bob Mould performed, but in which he is not the star of said review, but bear with us. NYC indie rock troupe Cymbals Eat Guitars, who opened for the aforementioned Mr. Mould Friday night at Boston's legendary Paradise Rock Club, are out touring what may very well be their masterpiece, and stood to gain more than the legendary headliner if things went well. Cymbals Eat Guitars' recent third LP is simply titled Lose, and it is a dense, emotional and raw collection. That they're able to promote said record playing shows with a punk icon whose music pretty much set the curve for dense, emotional and raw music is a nifty bit of serendipity. And we're glad to report that Cymbals Eat Guitars were well-received by a crowd that included a substantial contingent of older folks more than likely inclined to consider the night's opener an afterthought, if they considered the opener at all. Happily, we counted plenty of older dudes visibly connecting with and even head-banging excitedly for the younger act.

Cymbals Eat Guitars' set unsurprisingly drew heavily from Lose, with a vital, anthemic reading of early single "Warning" setting the tone for the rest of the foursome's stage time. As noted in the press surrounding the new record, Lose represents no small mount of catharsis for fronter Joseph D'Agostino, a songwriter who played things closer to the vest on the band's earlier records. Despite the shorter time slot, D'Agostino managed to wade pretty deep into the album's emotional whorl, with album highlights "Jackson" and "XR" memorializing in part the sudden loss of a dear friend and former collaborator earlier this century. Cymbals Eat Guitars wisely ended with the record's centerpiece, the eight-minute tour de force "Laramie." The tune touts a slow build-up and concludes with a excoriating noise section during which D'Agostino wrung out notes up the fretboard from behind his head. The old punx liked that a lot. Lose was issued Aug. 26 by Barsuk Records and is available for purchase right here.

"Bob Mould still has it," I texted to a friend as I walked out of the Paradise late Friday night -- and why shouldn't he? With the exception of when he took some time away for important things like pro wrestling and dance music, the man has routinely released impressive rock 'n' roll record after impressive rock 'n' roll record, including his most recent set Beauty & Ruin. And all of that since the dissolution of his second genre-defining group, the aforementioned Sugar. Mould's set Friday was book-ended by two undisputed Hüsker Dü classics in "Flip Your Wig" and "Chartered Trips," respectively, and the meat in the middle served as a mini-"Our Band Could Be Your Life," dipping into the Hüsker and Sugar songbooks heavily, as well as Mould's impressive (and steadily growing) solo repertoire. Mould is backed by one of the best rhythm sections in punk rock, with Superchunk/Mountain Goats' John Wurster on drums and Split Single-guy Jason Narducy on bass, and together the trio impressively recreated the classic SST squall of sound that Mould helped define three decades ago with utterly classic records such as Zen Arcade and the more refined New Day Rising. The obligatory mosh pit materialized in the crowd early on, and it seems safe to assume the multi-generational melee included more than a few who had been there to thrash the first time around. Beauty & Ruin was released by Merge Records June 3 and is available for purchase right here. -- Dillon Riley

Cymbals Eat Guitars: Internerds | Facebook | Soundcloud

Bob Mould: Internerds | Facebook

Related Coverage:
Review: Bob Mould -- Silver Age/ Sugar -- Reissues
Rock Over Boston: Superchunk | Versus | Royale | 9.22.2010
Rock Over Boston | Bob Mould | Paradise
Today's Hotness: Bob Mould
Review: Bob Mould | Circle Of Friends [DVD]

September 15, 2014

Video Premiere: Hoax Hunters' Fiery Fireball "Erase"

Last month Senior Writer Edward Charlton made a strong case in these electronic pages here that Hoax Hunters' multidimensional fireball "Erase" was the Richmond post-hardcore trio's most compelling composition to date. Here's the whole quote: "The standout track -- which apparently features "homemade electric dulcitar" from a guest player -- combines an experimental sound-collage introduction, a quick-burning hardcore song, and an extended, searing coda (which talks the listener down from the intensity of the previous numbers) to create what is perhaps Hoax Hunters' most compelling composition to date. The chorus' dynamic, shout-along chant channels both the rage and joy that these guys bring to their music. "You. Can. Not. Erase," Sykes proclaims -- the final declaration that the hard work and values of those within a scene will live on, again and again."

Presenting the tune live would seem to present myriad challenges given the collaged opening minute and distinct movements, but we think the video above is proof of a challenge met. Doubled-down upon, even, as instead of the recorded version's opening minute of ambient noise and feedback, fronter P.J. Sykes and band -- here abetted by a gentlemen named Dave Watkins -- open the tune with more than two minutes of feedback, coaxed by hands hammering the backs of guitar necks. Then, after delivering a passionate, fiery iteration of the tune, Hoax Hunters return it from whence it came, ashes to ashes, a conflagration of feedback hungrily devouring the song, until all that is left is Mr. Sykes and his guitar hanging off the front of his amplifier like an astronaut hopelessly clinging to the exterior of her spacecraft. It's quite a video. The performance was filmed at the release show for Hoax Hunters' debut LP Comfort & Safety, which was held Aug. 8 at Gallery 5 in Richmond, VA. The trio recently performed at Raleigh's Hopscotch Festival, and its next show is Sept. 28 in Richmond with The Awesome Few. Comfort & Safety can be purchased from the also Raleigh-based label Negative Fun right here. New music is apparently already in the offing.

September 14, 2014

Review: Cookies | Music For Touching

We spent more time than most in the first decade of this century watching Ben Sterling bend like a hinge over electronics in darkened rock clubs, the rhythm of the music and his duties on guitar for the visionary indie trio Mobius Band pulling him up while his obligations to punch pads on a sampler pulled him down. When the trio disbanded at the end of the oughts, we were more than a little disappointed, but that feeling was eventually ameliorated by a stream of 10" EPs that Mr. Sterling issued under the mildly ludicrous Cookies moniker starting in 2010. Finally, after life got in the way for a while, after Sterling patiently wrote and re-wrote the songs that would comprise it, Cookies issued last week the debut LP Music For Touching. It is a striking and rich collection of brilliantly conceived electropop, and proof positive that there are few songwriters -- at any sales level -- as smart as Ben Sterling.

It may surprise some that the set takes more cues from Prince or The Gap Band than the post-punk and post-rock that informed much of Mobius Band's work. Of course, given the four Cookies 10" records, those who claim surprise just haven't been paying attention. That aside, one need look no further than Mobius Band's swan song Heaven -- as well as certain of the cover tunes on the informal Valentine's Day EPs the trio still gives away for free -- for evidence of Sterling's affinity for more groovy and relatively conventional sounds. But it is a mistake to think that, just because Sterling's tastes have gravitated toward more traditional (or at least more traditionally listened-to) sounds and structures, that he has abandoned his marked yen for experimentation. The beautiful, languid rumination "The Dream" which closes Music For Touching illustrates that Sterling instead uses the latter to inform the former. The song works a slow R&B vamp, features some gloriously liquid guitar soloing, and lays both over minimal, clattering electronic rhythm tracks that gently remind of Sterling's bona fides as a former Ghostly Records signee. Maybe Sterling's aesthetic has always fed a conventional/experiemental duality, but it has never before been so purely expressed than on Music For Touching.

While the collection closes by fading into reverie, it pops open on the front end like a can of tennis balls. Staccato hand-claps and a foregrounded bleep establish a head-bobbing groove over which Sterling and vocalist Melissa Metrick coo from within the optimistic halo of young love gone right in "1,000 Breakfasts With You." That song claps itself out and is warmly met ("Hello. It's nice to see you.") by a robot voice introducing Music For Touching's second preview single, "Go Back." That joinder is the first of many snappy sequencing choices, the best of which may be where the primary descending three-note melody of the deliriously catchy "July 17" abuts the ascending three-note bumping bass line that drives the next tune, the funky -- and we do not use that word lightly -- standout "Crybaby." But it isn't just the sequencing of Music For Touching that makes it shine so bright; it's not even just the songwriting. During the four years it took to germinate the record, Sterling selected very arresting sounds, from the kalimba that provides the hypnotic counter-melody entering with the first chorus of "Spill Of Sugar," to the neon-dripping synth stabs and mind-scrambling baritone sax solo in the aforementioned "Crybaby," to the thick, Beatles-implying piano chords underpinning the title track.

We like to think of Mr. Sterling as the next generation's Daryl Hall -- "next generation" because he is that far ahead of the pack in terms of style -- but akin to Mr. Hall in his appreciation for substance, which is to say, actually substantial pop and, yes, even soul. As an aside, it's interesting to think how Sterling's arc as a songwriter roughly traces the rise of the music crit viewpoint known as poptimism, which rise itself tracks recent critical acceptance of music marked by glossy (even unrealistic) production and a distinct contemporary R&B influence. Clicky Clicky itself does not embrace the poptimist perspective ("rockism" forever! get off my lawn, youths! -- Ed.), and it will never aspire to be "in touch with the taste of average music fans." We expect Sterling would bristle at a reference to his music as poptimist, if only because, really, what makes music less fun than yoking it to some fairly bullshit intellectual name-calling. What we will say is that, while poptimism strains to make excuses for contemporary pop music, Sterling's only concern for pop or music is to make it smarter. While the above-linked article posits that poptimism stands in opposition to adventurousness, Sterling clearly carries with him that same sense of adventure that first manifested itself in the earliest Mobius Band music. Indeed, that adventurousness is even more intensified as a result of Sterling's sole responsibility for writing and producing all of Music For Touching. And it is what makes us such ardent fans of the musical places Sterling takes us. We are very eager to hear what comes next.

Music For Touching is available now as a very attractive 12" vinyl LP and digital download, both of which can be ordered via the act's Bandcamp outpost here. The vinyl edition comes with a "newspaper of companion images by Emily Keegan titled "Tools For Touching." Cookies fête the release of Music For Touching with a show at Baby's All Right in Brooklyn Tuesday; the night also features performances by Superhuman Happiness and The Great Void. Boston-area fans should set aside the evening of Sept. 24, as Cookies will be making a very rare area appearance at Cafe 939 in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood. The Boston date is part of a short strand of shows Cookies will embark upon with tourmates Dawn Of Midi Sept. 22 that swirl through the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Full dates are below.

Cookies: Bandcamp | Facebook | Interzizzles | Soundcloud

09.22 -- Washington, DC -- The Black Cat
09.24 -- Boston, MA -- Cafe 939
09.25 -- Portland, ME -- Space Cafe
09.26 -- Burlington, VT -- Signal Kitchen
09.28 -- Hamden, CT -- The Space
09.29 -- Philadelphia, PA -- Johnny Brenda's

Related Coverage:
Today's Hotness: Cookies
Today's Hotness: Cookies
Today's Hotness: Mobius Band