July 18, 2010

Today's Hotness: The Vaselines, The Hush Now, The Answering Machine

>> Chances are if you are of a certain age, say, mid-30s or younger, you know The Vaselines because they were covered notably by alt-rock tent-raisers Nirvana. As the Glaswegian indie pop legends were originally together for fewer than four years during its original voyage and issued only two EPs and a full length (and those four years were more than 20 years ago), it's understandable that many don't actually know the genuine article. But as with many by-gone acts, the idea of playing together again became too big to ignore for the duo (later a quartet). After reforming and performing a small number of shows over the last three years, The Vaselines have recorded and will release a long-awaited second full-length, Sex With An X. Sub Pop will do the honors and the set streets Sept. 14. We were minding our own business late last week listening to WMBR and we were struck by a perky and undeniable pop number that turned out to be The Vaselines' new gem "I Hate The '80s." The contrarian in us loves the fact that the band refuses to romanticize the '80s ("you want the truth, well this is it... the '80s were shit."). While we wouldn't agree that the decade was shit as The Vaselines assert, we do loathe contemporary acts who weren't alive in the decade in question affecting what they perceive to be an '80s sound and thinking that such window-dressing excuses said acts from writing good songs. But we digress. Check out the stream below.

The Vaselines - I Hate The 80's

>> We've got your first taste of the forthcoming Shiver Me Starships EP from Boston dream-pop upstarts The Hush Now. The current iteration of the quintet has established itself as the most formidable yet fielded by founding member Noel Kelly. And on the new EP, recorded throughout June and July in a suburban Boston studio, The Hush Now articulates a denser guitar attack and increasingly accessible pop hooks. "Big Awesome" in particular pulses behind enticing curtains of melodic guitar (do we need to bring up the Kitchens Of Distinction comparisons again?) and then memorably transitions into a huge bridge at the end of the third minute. But "The Other Ones," is being singled out for promo purposes and it is easy to hear why: alternating scritchy and then orchestral guitars, roller rink keys, and a bouncy and upbeat rhythm. We think we've already seen this one live, and as the band's confidence has grown, its ability to imagine and then convey grand musical gestures has grown with it. The soaring conclusion of "The Other Ones" is ample evidence. Boston-area music fans can see The Hush Now at an RSL Blog-curated show at Great Scott Boston Aug. 2. Shiver Me Starships is slated for release in late summer.

The Hush Now's "The Other Ones"

>> According to a post on the band's revamped web site, The Answering Machine's hotly anticipated sophomre set is completed and titled Lifeline; it is tentatively schedule for worldwide release in January. The Manchester, England-based indie pop luminaries recorded the set themselves with fronter Martin Colclough in the produder's chair. The band reports songs on the new record include a title track, "Anything Anything," "My Little Navy," "Hospital Lungs" and another titled "3 Miles;" another new track, "Winter Without You," is apparently Sonic Youth influenced and may or may not have made the final cut, according to this interview given to Live4Ever. Writing "3 Miles" apparently touched off a streak of songwriting that helped the act complete the record. "there’s a noticable 'dance' element to the songs, in the vein of The Whitest Boy Alive," Colclough told Live4Ever. The Answering Machine's bracing debut Another City, Another Sorry remains widely available, including at Bandcamp here. We reviewed Another City, Another Sorry here; it was one of our favorite records of 2009.

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