February 2, 2008

Today's Hotness: Say Hi, Wendyfix, Gang Of Four, Meneguar

Say Hi
>> Songwriter and hopeless romantic Eric Elbogen returns this month with his fifth record under the Say Hi To Your Mom moniker. Well, sort of... as we reported here last August, the band has truncated its name to the breezier Say Hi to correspond with the issue of the new set The Wishes And The Glitch Tuesday on the Euphobia label. Ever since the release of the sophomore set Numbers & Mumbles Say Hi could be counted on for one undeniable indie anthem. In 2004 that track was the minorly ubiquitous yearner "Let's Talk About Spaceships." In 2008, it's "Zero To Love." We admit some small concern that Elbogen might not keep his streak of undeniable tracks alive with The Wishes And The Glitch, because the first preview track floated, "Northwestern Girls," was certainly good but seemed to fall slightly shy of great. Well fear not, for the punchy, unsteady and hand-clap-arific "Zero To Love" leaves no doubt. Every time Elbogen sings "this new heart of mine" the whole room seems to bend, and we are surprised to detect for the first time a hint of Morrissey's peanut butter in Mr. Elbogen's chocolate. The Wishes And The Glitch is the first record Say Hi has released since moving from long-time home Brooklyn to Seattle, and the move seems to have facilitated the notable vocal contributions of David Bazan and The Long Winters' John Roderick on the record. Say Hi begins an extensive, six-week North American tour Feb. 16. The band plays Great Scott in Boston March 1, and we'll review the show, schedule-permitting.

Say Hi -- "Zero To Love" -- The Wishes And The Glitch
Say Hi To Your Mom -- "Let's Talk About Spaceships" -- Numbers & Mumbles
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[buy Say Hi records directly from the band here]

>> We've been getting an unusually great number of search hits recently for underfamed, Evanston, Ill.-based '90s indie rock trio Wendyfix, and we thought such interest presented a good opportunity to post the songs from the band's sole single. "Slow" b/w "Silence" was the maiden release of the Spade Kitty label, and it streeted in 1995. The band was fronted by Haywood's Ted Pauly, who we write about here often (and who, incidentally, is also a proponent of Say Hi), and Brian McGrath, who we'd certainly like to write about more; McGrath's (presumably most recent) project Mantissa released a very nice full-length in 2003 [review here] and we've heard nothing from him since. Anyway, Mr. Pauly sings the single's A-side, an urgently sad confessional ("OK, this one's for your birthday, I was wrong...") that bristles with hooks. McGrath's monolithic "Silence" on the flip gradually builds to a cathartic climax during which mostly inaudible vocals finally break through the guitar fuzz. Both songs are posted below. A quick search of the Internets reveals that Spade Kitty continues to conduct business and even launched a new web site a couple years ago. Mr. Pauly, as regular readers know, continues to churn out high-quality music as a solo artist. We failed to mentioned Wendyfix drummer Todd Hyman, who continues to operate labels including the wonderfully eclectic Carpark (Beach House, Ecstatic Sunshine, Montag). There is a very good profile of Carpark and Mr. Hyman here at Terrorbird.

Wendyfix -- "Slow" -- "Slow" b/w "Silence" [SK-001]
Wendyfix -- "Silence" -- "Slow" b/w "Silence" [SK-001]
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[the newest iteration of the Spade Kitty site doesn't sell this. Try Ebay?]

>> There's an interesting fact buried in this Billboard story about reborn post-punk legends Gang Of Four's efforts at creating its first new music in 15 years. Four paragraphs down the piece imparts that original Gang Of Four drummer Hugo Burnham -- who we believe has taught in Boston for many years -- is not involved in tracking for the recording sessions due to an undisclosed health issue. Bassist Dave Allen tells Billboard "Hugo's still involved in some ways, but it's a very personal issue that will be discussed at a later date." Allen has been regularly releasing demo songs via his blog Pampelmoose, and we must admit not noticing any change in drumming. Despite releasing the re-envisioned hits collection of sorts Return The Gift on V2 in 2005 [buy it here for $9], Gang Of Four is currently without a label deal. The band plans to experiment with different distribution ideas, telling Billboard "[w]e might be releasing the first single or four songs for free on the Internet, or on vinyl, or both, and just see what the marketplace is like."

>> We're grateful to blog Raven Sings The Blues for sussing out here what exactly is up with the new Meneguar song "Some Other Life," and the FuckItTapes releases. We're still not clear on is whether the Tone Banks releases were the recordings the band said last year would be released as one-sided 12" on Woodsist. But either way, there's new music, it sounds great, and that excites us. We'd seen the song and visited the FuckIt site a week or two ago, but we couldn't dig up anything definitive about what is going on. We're also not sure whether the new Meneguar tune "Fields Of Gaffney," also available at the band's MySpace drive-thru, is an actual cover of a song by the eccentric two-time bassist of Sebadoh whose solo project had the same name, or if it is an homage of sorts. Either way, it is one of the most interesting Meneguar recordings ever. The biggest question is, will there be a proper vinyl or CD issue of these new tracks? Meneguar's Strangers In Our House topped our list of favorite records of 2007, which you can review here. Finally, the Brooklyn-based quartet has two live dates on the books for March, one in its hometown and the other at the fabled Terrace Club at Princeton University. Hit the MySpace link supra for more info.

1 comment:

DJ durutti said...

I had no idea that GoF's Hugo Burnham was living in Gloucester and teaching at the New England Art Institute . . . or, of course, that he had some current, "very personal" health problems. Hopefully it's not too serious. But it doesn't sound too good.

In any event, it's not an overstatement to say that GoF's Entertainment! changed my life.