August 30, 2010

Be Prepared: Lubec | Nothing Is Enough EP Teaser "Cherry Adair"

Lubec -- Cherry Adair single
If you harbored some concern that the nascent Virginia noise-pop scene we chronicled last year with these features on Cinemasophia and Lubec had fallen fallow, fear not. Cinemasophia is no more, but band principal Landis Wine has been hard at work churning out compelling music with his White Laces project (more on that soon). And now we have word that self-professed Lilys disciples Lubec will return this fall with a new, self-produced record and new label.

The label, The Acme Thunderer, is slated to launch Oct. 9, and it will release that day Lubec's very promising, six-song Nothing Is Enough! EP. The short stack of songs will be available on CD, vinyl and digital download, and the collection is one of a half-dozen or so The Acme Thunderer is slated to issue. Other releases in the pipeline include collections from the aforementioned White Laces and Ghost Lotion. Those acts and Lubec play a launch party for the label Oct. 9 at Gallery5 in Richmond, VA. Lubec aims to begin recording for a planned full-length release that it hopes will see the light of day in early 2011, in time for some spring touring and a trip to the annual SXSW music confabulation.

Lubec's Eddie Charlton got in touch and gave us the go-ahead to post Nothing Is Enough!'s brilliant "Cherry Adair," whose stream or download you can grab below. Based on the metadata with the file, the song is slated to sit in the center of the EP, but it is certainly strong enough to be a lead cut. The production is a bit remote (think Black Tambourine), but that is solved by cranking the volume, something you'll be compelled to do about a minute in when the first pre-chorus explodes. What first pushes the song deep into genius territory is the little melodic hook in the chorus, "I don't know why everybody seems to know your name." And then there is a transporting guitar solo. Is this what Lilys would sound like covering Silver Jews? We think it is, and we can't wait to hear more.

Lubec's "Cherry Adair"
[stalk the The Acme Thunderer site for pre-order information for Nothing Is Enough!]

August 26, 2010

That Was The Show That Was: Phantom Buffalo | Empire Dine And Dance

Phantom Buffalo record release show
Venues without a backstage area usually take some of the mystique out of the rock experience. The band has to walk through the crowd on the way to the stage, and something of the veil of performance is eliminated before a band gets a chance to start. At Empire Dine and Dance in Portland, Maine, the green room is two floors down in the basement and the stairs from there to the stage are the same ones that the audience walks up to get to the venue.

Phantom Buffalo found a way to stir up excitement, running through the crowd in newly tailored silver spacesuits before jumping on stage and diving headlong into their set Saturday night. The Maine-based quintet was celebrating the release of their third album, A Cement Postcard With Owl Colors, and leaned on that material for the bulk of their show. Phantom Buffalo has been around for ages; their debut landed on Mojo magazine’s top 50 back in 2005 when Rough Trade re-released it after they changed their name from the Ponys (some Chicago band on Matador threatened to sue them for it). A sophomore LP, Take To The Trees, was released in 2008.

Saturday's set marked the formal return to the fold of Phantom Buffalo drummer Joe Domrad. Although the "VH1 Behind The Music"-worthy drama that kept drummers filtering in and out of the band may have been amusing, this is a very welcome sight. Domrad has a preternaturally dynamic touch that somehow can vary within the beats of a drum roll, and he helps bring the music to life in consistently unexpected ways.

While Jonathan Balzano-Brookes is front and center with his chiming guitar and clean vocals -- both of which draw dotted lines to The Shins -- it’s the way the band takes those songs into other-worldly places that is what makes Phantom Buffalo special. Lead guitarist Tim Burns is a model of restraint even when his riffs break through and knock things sideways. Phillip Willey’s accordion crunching and Sean Newton’s bass playing provide not only foundational bedrocks for the Phantom Buffalo sound, but the elements provide a vehicle for the players' melodic creativity. In addition, the pair take the songs through turns that keep the dance floor moving. It’s the fact that the night ends with half of the crowd dancing around like that scene from "A Charlie Brown Christmas" that cements this evening as one of the best in ages. When an indie rock band can get feet moving, that is indeed an honorable [Ahem. -- Ed.] feat. -- Jeff Breeze

Phantom Buffalo -- "Be The Boss" -- Take To The Trees
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[buy Phantom Buffalo records from the band right here]

Phantom Buffalo: Internerds | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr

August 24, 2010

Review: Sam Prekop | Old Punch Card [MP3]

Sam Prekop -- Old Punch CardIndie pop veteran Sam Prekop is not known for throwing curveballs (figuratively, anyway -- we have no knowledge of his pitching proclivities). His has been a two-decade career marked by consistency; fortunately for the guitarist and singer and his fans, what Mr. Prekop delivers consistently is gorgeous, mannered indie rock and indie pop. Sure, The Sea And Cake -- which Prekop has fronted since about 1994, following the dissolution of Shrimp Boat -- went through its excellent electropop phase in the mid'90s. And, sure, Prekop's eponymous solo debut produced amazing chamber pop such as the piano-led "A Cloud To The Back." But little of this (beyond, as Prekop helpfully reminds us in the press materials, the opening salvo of The Sea And Cake's 2002 cover of Bowie's "Sound And Vision") has prepared listeners for Old Punch Card, Prekop's third solo set.

"The most significant difference, is that I've left the confines of 'song' structure," he states here. Old Punch Card commences with its title track, whose first two minutes comprise an electrical cacaphony that (dis-)orients listeners to Prekop's new sonic realm. Thereafter Prekop's true blue melodic sense offers its warm -- albeit here bleepy -- embrace. Indeed, the deeper one gets into Old Punch Card, the more melodic it becomes. The often skeletal collection -- released five years after Prekop's sophomore solo effort and 11 years after his first -- is devoid of vocals and percussion and contains only one guitar track. Indeed, Prekop has composed nearly exclusively on modular synthesizers an incredibly engaging collection of electronic music/musique concrete that nods affirmatively in the direction of pioneering composer Raymond Scott, Keith Fullerton Whitman's Multiples [review] and even Moikai rarity Nuno Canavarro. Small electronic arpeggios undulate throughout "A Places," breaking through crashing waves of white noise that pound and then recede into space before the song's stirring, elegiac close. Prekop's characteristic restraint is also evident, as his compositions -- particularly the spartan "November September" and "Array Wicket" -- use few elements that hum along within tidy curtains of nearly palpable reverb.

Finally, Old Punch Card is as much about texture, something attributed to his recording the collection entirely in his home studio while wearing headphones. Prekop, who recorded these songs at various times between February 2009 and March of this year, will finally be getting out of the house: the composer will spend Sept. 13 through Oct. 19 touring with The Sea And Cake alongside indie titans Broken Social Scene. We're posting the complete tour dates below. Thrill Jockey Records issues Old Punch Card Sept. 7

Sam Prekop -- "The Silhouettes" -- Old Punch Card
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[pre-order Old Punch Card from Thrill Jockey right here]

Sam Prekop: Internerds | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr

09.13 -- Washington, DC -- Warner Theatre
09.14 -- Philadelphia, PA -- Theater of Living Arts
09.17 -- Boston, MA -- House of Blues
09.18 -- New York, NY -- Rumsey Playfield
09.20 -- New Haven, CT -- Toads Place
09.21 -- Northampton, MA -- Calvin Theatre
09.22 -- South Burlington, VT -- Higher Ground
09.24 -- Ithaca, NY -- Historic Ithaca State Theatre
09.25 -- Buffalo, NY -- Town Ballroom
10.02 -- Chicago, IL -- Riviera Theatre
10.03 -- Milwaukee, WI -- Pabst Theatre
10.04 -- Minneapolis, MN -- First Avenue
10.06 -- Winnipeg, MB -- Burton Cummings Theatre
10.07 -- Saskatoon, SK -- The Odeon Events Centre
10.08 -- Calgary, AB -- Macewan Hall
10.09 -- Edmonton, AB -- Winspear Centre
10.10 -- Kelowna, BC -- Kelowna Community Theatre
10.12 -- Victoria, BC -- Element Nightclub
10.13 -- Vancouver, BC -- Commodore Ballroom
10.14 -- Vancouver, BC -- Commodore Ballroom
10.15 -- Seattle, WA -- Paramount Ballroom
10.16 -- Portland, OR -- Crystal Ballroom
10.17 -- San Francisco, CA -- Treasure Islands Music Festival
10.19 -- Los Angeles, CA -- Wiltern Theatre

August 23, 2010

Rock Over Boston Montague | Roderick/Hodgman/Rees | 8.20.2010

John Roderick
[John Roderick at the Montague Book Mill, August 20, 2010. Photo by Michael Piantigini. More photos of the night here.]
On paper, I'm not sure how John Roderick's songs even work. He may describe his songs somewhat dismissively as being about "men and women, and how they just can't seem to get along," but these short stories with odd, complex melodies, and lyrics sometimes so literal, sometimes so obscure, connect with a potent punch to the heart. How to explain the heft of a song like "The Commander Thinks Aloud," a song about spacecraft disaster? To push the boxing metaphor, "as we feel our weight return" sets you up, and "the crew compartment's breaking up" lays you out (this particular performance is particularly devastating).

This is all true enough when you're listening to or watching Roderick's band The Long Winters play, but it turns out it's even more potent in a stripped down solo set like the one he played for - we were told - TV's John Hodgman's personal amusement this past Friday night at the Montague Book Mill. This is one spectacular bookstore set on a river (the building was once a grist mill) with nooks and crannies, creaky floorboards, stacks of books, and the most bucolic, idyllic, and peaceful setting one could imagine for browsing through stacks of books all on the edge of a quaint Western Massachusetts town that you might see a movie make a mockery of (it was even Old Home Days in the town center!), but they'd be all wrong. Their slogan is "books you don't need in a place you can't find," but it is definitely worth seeking out.

Hodgman, seasonal area resident, writer and "Famous Minor Television Personality," apparently tiring of live-tweeted Scrabble matches (as I write this, he's just announced the results of two concurrent games between the guests of this show), was the funny and gracious host of this night headlined by Roderick, who nearly had the show stolen from him by a pencil sharpening demonstration.

David Rees
, author of hilarious comics My New Fighting Technique is Unstoppable, My New Filing Technique Is Unstoppable, and most recently, the Rolling Stone-syndicated Get Your War On, found himself casting about for something to do after ending the latter at the end of the Bush presidency and decided to become a craftsman. Finding that the URL for was available, his path was chosen. Friday night we got a rare glimpse of a skilled craftsman at work. For $12.50, Rees will "sharpen the shit" out of your pencil and will ship it back to you in a complex tip-protecting package, along with the shavings (they're yours, after all), and a Certificate of Sharpening. Is this a joke, you might ask? "If you think it's a joke, why don't you poke yourself with your newly sharpened pencil? Better yet, don't, because it'll really fucking hurt," he explained. (It was hilarious anyway).

Oh, and he only sharpens #2s. He's a specialist (and, apparently, a master Scrabbler who scored 149 points on one word during the above mentioned game).

This was the perfect set-up for Roderick, who presided over the next hour with charm and wit befitting the night. The requests that got the show going were meager enough that it didn't seem like the small, sold out crowd knew him, but the flurry that came as the set was winding down betrayed a timid reserve. No matter - we got a good cross-section of the Long Winters' catalog, from The Worst You Can Do Is Harm's "Scent of Lime," to Putting The Days To Bed's "Fire Island, AK." This was the first acoustic performance of the latter, Roderick explained, though there was an acoustic version of an entirely different arrangement that appeared on 2005's Ultimatum EP (and there's a particularly great performance of that song, as well one of that EP's title track in the KEXP archives here - I am, apparently, a completist).

Hard to believe that it has been four years since Putting The Days To Bed, but the new Long Winters album isn't yet ready (though some of it's progress is tracked here in a YouTube series). Roderick says that the music is there, but he's still working on lyrics. As such, we heard only one new track "Not Moving To Portland," which appeared on a Seattle-area charity compilation last year. It was a highlight, as was an impressively remembered-as-it-went-along version of "Solitary Man" was prompted by a Neil Diamond fakebook on display nearby. One of the early requests was for "The Commander Thinks Aloud," but Roderick patiently explained that, as a professional musician, he needed the set to build up to something. After an hour of laughs and by-proxy heartbreak, Roderick finally dealt this masterpiece.

How do songs like this always work, no matter how much you anticipate it? Gives me chills every time.

-Michael Piantigini

John Hodgman: Internets | Twitter
John Roderick / The Long Winters: Internets | MySpace | Facebook | Twitter
David Rees: Internets | Artisanal Pencil Sharpening | Twitter
Montague Book Mill: Internets

August 21, 2010

YouTube Rodeo: The Answering Machine "Lifeline" Album Promo

A first taste of the lead single from The Answering Machine's forthcoming sophomore set. Lifeline is due worldwide in early 2011.

August 19, 2010

And Then Some Days We Get Awesome Mail 6

Superchunk reissues
This is actually Monday's mail, but hey, we're busy. And it was only last night that we finally cracked open the thick cardboard mailer that contained these kings among indie rock records, two wonderful vinyl reissues purchased from our friends at Merge. We are sure that there are those who feel strongly about the band's debut full-length, but when we explain to people how awesome Superchunk is, we are usually thinking of these two records: 1991's Albini-produced No Pocky For Kitty [full album stream] and 1993's towering, brilliant On The Mouth [full album stream]; both were re-released Tuesday here in the U.S. We spent virtually the entire summer of 1993 listening to On The Mouth's "Package Thief" and drinking beer out of cans, and that, friends, is a hell of a way to spend a summer.

Superchunk's ninth album of original material is titled Majesty Shredding, it's the North Carolina-based quartet's first in nine years, and it will be released by Merge on Sept. 14. It is not too late to pre-order that thing right here, and we're posting the promo track "Digging For Something" below on the off-chance you have yet to hear it. But you are living a spiritually destitute life if you don't own and cherish these two reissues. You don't want to be spiritually destitute, do you?

Superchunk's "Digging For Something"

Superchunk: Internerds | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr

August 18, 2010

YouTube Rodeo: Line Drawings' "Interstate"

Gaze upward at the video for the second track from superlative Sydney, Australia-based indie rock concern Line Drawings' debut full-length Take/Over. The record was released June 11 in Australia and New Zealand only, although U.S. ITunes users can buy the digital version here. Take/Over, which was mastered by Bob Weston in Chicago, is immensely enjoyable to listen to, and frankly we think "Interstate" somewhat undersells how excellent the dreamy, guitar-heavy set is. In a year thronged with astonishingly good records, Line Drawings' ranks among the best. We are formulating a full review. If the band sounds familiar, it may be because we first wrote about Line Drawings here in April 2009.

Interstate by Linedrawings

August 17, 2010

Today's Hotness: Propeller, Sun Airway, Yuck, Everyone Everywhere

>> If you've been reading along with any regularity, you are surely aware that one of our favorite acts is Varsity Drag, the indie punk concern fronted by Lemonheads co-founder Ben Deily. You may even know that the currently Cambridge, Mass.-based quartet got its start on the West Coast with a different line-up. We gave no thought at all to the chaps who abetted the early incarnation of Varsity Drag until quite recently, when former 'Drag guitarist and singer Greg Randall of the fizzing pop-punk act Propeller contacted us about his new band's recently released collection The Fear Of Rock And Roll. Unsurprisingly, the music of Propeller -- a duo comprised of Mr. Randall and former 'Drag bassist Will Anderson -- sounds a whole lot like the music found on Varsity Drag's debut EP For Crying Out Loud. San Francisco-based Propeller is perhaps not as nervy or manic, instead Mssrs. Randall and Anderson murmur, ooh and ahh through a dozen somewhat more bubble-gummy (yet also more laid back) tracks that suggest, to our ears, things like Big Star and Teenage Fanclub (the cut "Not You," which features Mr. Deily on guitar, sounds particularly Chilton-ish, and in fact The Fear Of Rock And Roll is dedicated to the late, great songwriter). Propeller's facility with melody should not be underestimated, and we've found ourselves listening to The Fear Of Rock And Roll quite a bit. The whole thing, which was released May 18, is for sale at Propellor's Bandcamp yert right here. To further compel you to consume, we're posting below the freebie cut "Broken Ones." It's hot stuff.

Propeller's "Broken Ones"

>> We were very pleased by yesterday's news that Philadelphia-based electropop concern Sun Airway has been signed. The act's full-length debut Nocturne of Exploded Crystal Chandelier will be released by Dead Oceans Oct. 26. We've been writing about Sun Airway for almost two years at this point, and in fact we followed closely the careers of band principals Jon Barthmus and Patrick Marsceill as far back as the debut of Sun Airways' predecessor act The A-Sides in 2005. Sun Airways also graced us with one of the more recent Show Us Yours features of ours, here in February 2009. One of the earliest Sun Airway tracks we heard was the sparkling dreamer "Waiting On You." Have a listen. And check out the album art for Nocturne of Exploded Crystal Chandelier right here.

Waiting on You by Sun Airway

>> Thanks to Jane of Scenesters And Mirror Kissers for directing our attention to the fact that rising London-based phenoms Yuck will support certain The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart tour dates in the U.S. this fall. Importantly, one of the three dates -- which we believe will be Yuck's U.S. debut -- is at Boston's Paradise Rock Club. Be a smaht kid and get your tickets now. Yuck, of course, recently issued a four-song, cassette EP on Charleston, South Carolina-based Mirror Universe featuring the stirring ballad "Weakend," which we wrote about here in June. The EP sold out almost immediately, but we're hopeful Yuck will have more copies for the October live dates, or at least the Boston one. Here are all three Yuck dates with TPOBPAH.

10.20 -- Paradise Rock Club -- Boston, MA
10.21 -- Music Hall of Williamsburg -- Brooklyn, NY
10.22 -- Pi Lam -- Philadelphia, PA

>> There's finally some new music to hear from Philly emo goliaths Everyone Everywhere. According to this item at Pun Canoes, the quartet is on the brink of releasing a split with Into It. Over It. wherein the two bands do the ol' Archers Of Loaf/Treepeople routine: both Everyone Everywhere and Into It. Over It. provide one of their own songs as well as a cover of one of the other band's songs. It's a classic indie rock gambit. Anyway, a new Everyone Everywhere song "Fakin' It" is currently streaming at the band's MySpace casa right here. The production on the track is a little more dense than some of the other Everyone Everywhere stuff, and the chorus on one of the guitar leads is a nice little touch; all in all it's a hot number. Order the (very attractive) split single from Topshelf Records right here.

August 13, 2010

Tre Orsi | T.T. The Bear's Place | 25 August

Tre Orsi U.S. Tour
Texas-based indie rock luminaries' brief tour includes dates with the legendary Karl Hendricks Trio, Philadelphia shoegaze giants Arc In Round, and the veritable supergroup Martha's Vineyard Ferries (which features Chris Brokaw, Bob Weston and a fellow named Elisha Weisner). Tre Orsi's debut long-player Devices + Emblems was released by Princeton, New Jersey's Comedy Minus One earlier this summer.

Martha's Vineyard Ferries, heretofore unheard of by us, joins Tre Orsi on the first three dates. The Ferries apparently will issue in a week or two a debut EP titled In The Pond. Sickroom Records -- whose web site, of course, makes no mention of it -- will release the four-song 12" record, according to Chris Brokaw's web dojo.

Perhaps you recall this taster MP3?

Tre Orsi's "The Engineer"

August 11, 2010

Today's Hotness: Pastel Group, The Answering Machine, E.R.

Pastel Group
>> We don't know much about Boston's Pastel Group beyond its music (well, and that Nick Pastel restores furniture, which is actually tres awesome), but it is a very strong calling card indeed. The brilliant, new-ish act -- which incorporates a certain New Romantic patience with a gently fractured pop sensibility -- was apparently commissioned in 2009 as a trio. However, a personnel listing at Pastel Group's MySpace wigwam now contains five names; Facebook, of course, lists three people, so who knows; we sent an exploratory email to the band via its MySpace and eagerly await a response. The apparent quintet released earlier this summer the free Jamaica Plain EP, so named because that is the section of Boston from which Pastel Group hails. A second, related EP is slated for release sometime this coming fall. Jamaica Plain is available for free download at this link; in an innovation we've never encountered before, Pastel Group has somehow made it so the EP downloads from Google Docs. The EP's four songs are "Midwestern Sun," "Mistreated," "On This Night" and "Opinions And Thoughts," and they are all winners. To whet your appetite, here's an embed of that last track, a relatively guitar-oriented bleeper that shines brightly.

Pastel Group's "Opinions And Thoughts"

>> According to this post to the band's MySpace blog, the first single from The Answering Machine's forthcoming sophomore set Lifeline will be for the song "Animals." The Manchester, England-based quartet will promote "Animals" with a short slate of late October tour dates in its home town, London and Glasgow; the dates are posted at The Answering Machine's recently refreshed web site right here. We reported here last month that The Answering Machine plan to release the self-produced Lifeline worldwide in January.

>> Elsewhere in Boston: word is that Eldridge Rodriguez' long awaited You Are Released is, errrr.... a little closer to being released. The full-length, the second from the co-fronter of Boston's incendiary indie titans The Beatings, is currently being mastered and E.R. foresees a spring 2011 launch around the time of the annual SXSW confabulation. E.R.'s recent EP There's No Gray Area, No Middle Ground... You Are a Thief is now available through most if not all of your favorite digital music storefronts. Speaking of awesome, have you checked out the free 2009 Midriff Records sampler? It features tunes from most if not all of the cohort, including such fire-breathing classics as The Beatings' "All The Things You've Been Missing" and Eldridge Rodriguez' "Why I Fear The Ocean." But we'll just cut to the chase and say the reason you should download this RIGHT NOW is for The Beatings' cover of Beat Happening's "Indian Summer." Download the .zip file here. And we'll post "Indian Summer" below. The Beatings play House Of Blues, Boston's Front Room for free this Saturday, Aug. 14; E.R. plays Friday Aug. 20 at P.A.'s Lounge in Somerville. Get with that.

The Beatings -- "Indian Summer" -- 2009 Midriff Records Sampler
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[buy music from Midriff here, it will make them happy]

August 10, 2010

Review: Cave | Pure Moods

Cave -- Pure Moods[We are pleased to welcome to these electronic pages disc jockey extraordinaire and man-about-town Jeff Breeze. Mr. Breeze truly needs no introduction, so we'll just plug his fine local music program on WMBR and ice cream blog and get out of the way. -- Ed.]

The roads that stretch across the Midwest do so on a more continental scale than those that wind through the hills of New England. Out west it is often just acres and acres of crops, with civilization clustered near highway pull-offs. It's on those roads that the sounds of Cave were refined. The Chicago-based quartet was actually formed in mid-Missouri, and has travelled the roads between the two well enough to know which counties are ruled by Jackie Gleason-like sheriffs and in which you can put a brick on the accelerator and crank up the Kraftwerk.

Previous Cave records on Permanent and Important caused Drag City to take notice, which incited the venerable Chicago label to release Pure Moods (on 12" or download, but not CD). The three-song EP, issued May 18, is the best document of the band so far, wherein some of its most truly motorik impulses take control, and the set finds Cave coming into its own as a band.

Opener "Hot Bricks" is the reason that you still listen to AM radio -- so you can check the traffic report before starting the music (of course, dropping the needle at home should suffice for getting you into this headspace as well). In reality you'll want to wait until you are out of the slow lane before pressing play on the iPod, because once the momentum is flowing, you'll be transported to some sort of Midwestern Autobahn that has billboards with way too many consonants and diners devoted to David Hasselhoff instead of Elvis. While the lyrics to "Hot Bricks" are lost in the mix (and maybe a desire for obfuscation), the different ways of singing the title to the second track on the A side, "Teenager," along with a righteous guitar riff, will have listeners thinking Damo Suzuki found a good band again. It's an anthem for the inarticulate kids finished with high school and not ready to leave for college yet, fearing once they're college kids, they never really can be teenagers again. With an impenetrably tight rhythm section and noodly keyboard washes, Cave tips their collective cap to Can as well as Captain Beefheart while inspiring dancing in our youths.

The B-side of the album, "Brigitte's Trip (White Light/White Jazz)" is a 13-minute tour de force of passion and control as the players ignite the spirit of all of the influences that you want to imagine. Analog synth sounds wash across guitar freakouts and a voice lets out a cry. However, it's not a cry of pain, but one of exuberance. Cave isn't desecrating the sounds of the past, they are reprising them and praising them and filling that spirit with the bacchanalia of today. Cave launches almost two months of North American tour dates tonight in Columbus, OH; the quartet will circumnavigate Europe and the U.K. from early October through its Dec. 6 ATP festival appearance. The U.S. dates are posted below; local readers should note the band plays at The Temple in Jamaica Plain tomorrow night. -- Jeff Breeze

Cave: Internerds | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr

08.10 -- Now That's Class -- Cleveland, OH
08.11 -- The Temple -- Boston, MA
08.12 -- Cafe Nine -- New Haven, CT
08.14 -- Cake Shop -- New York, NY
08.15 -- Issue Project Room -- Brooklyn, NY
08.16 -- The Bank -- Baltimore, MD
08.17 -- Johnny Brenda's -- Philadelphia, PA
08.18 -- Gooski's -- Pittsburgh, PA
08.19 -- Cafe Bourbon St. -- Columbus, OH
08.20 -- Russian Recording Studio -- Bloomington, IN
08.21 -- Alvin's -- Detroit, MI
10.01 -- Mojo's -- Columbia, MO
10.02 -- Cropped Out Festival -- Louisville, KY

August 9, 2010

Today's Hotness: Little Gold, Philistines Jr.

Little Gold
>> One of the more recent Sound Opinions podcasts discussed bands or artists that had "gone off the rails," which is to say the band or artists changed styles or suddenly produced such terrible work that critics Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis felt betrayed them. We have a similar disappointment with erstwhile, Brooklyn-based indie punk gargantuans Meneguar. As far as we can tell, the quartet never formally broke up, it just dissolved into other acts. The most notable of these is the new-wave-of-American-psych outfit Woods, whose music simply doesn't connect with us. Meneguar's final record The In Hour was a sprawling lo-fi effort that hinted change was coming, but we can't help hoping that eventually Meneguar will reconstitute itself and deliver a lacerating set of angular, guitar-heavy indie rock akin to the contents of Strangers In Our House -- our favorite record of 2007 -- and I Was Born At Night (the band's stunning debut, so nice it was released twice).

Last month brought word that Meneguar guitarist Christian DeRoeck's more recent project Little Gold was releasing a new single and planning to record later this year a sophomore album (Little Gold's debut On The Knife, released in 2009, slipped completely under our radar). And the very good news is that Mr. DeRoeck's music is short sharp bursts of melodic, guitar-centric indie rock. It's not Meneguar, but it has a shambling charm and an edge that is incredibly appealing. Little Gold's "Completely Fucked!" is available now in a limited run of 300 singles pressed onto orange vinyl (!) by Heartbreak Beat. You can download the A-side below; the B side is available for streaming at the Little Gold MySpace cabin right here. We are happy to know that if we can no longer see DeRoeck doing this, at least we have his wonderful Little Gold project to help fill the Meneguar-shaped hole in our heart. Little Gold embarks on a U.S. tour this week, and we've posted the band's full itinerary below (which includes a Louisville date with the wonderful State Champion).

Little Gold -- "Completely Fucked!" -- "Completely Fucked!" b/w "Chainsaw"
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[buy the Little Gold 7" right here]

08.11 -- Cakeshop -- New York, NY
08.13 -- Garfield Artworks -- Pittsburgh, PA
08.14 -- The Hideout -- Chicago, IL
08.16 -- The Medusa -- Minneapolis, MN
08.17 -- Vaudeville Mews -- Des Moines, IA
08.18 -- Replay Lounge -- Lawrence, KS
08.19 -- The Dairy -- Memphis, TN
08.20 -- Discoteca -- Chattanooga, TN
08.21 -- Skull Alley w/ State Champion -- Louisville, KY
08.22 -- Al's Bar -- Lexington, KY
08.23 -- Kingbee Ground Sound -- Kingbee, KY
08.26 -- Allways Lounge -- New Orleans, LA
08.27 -- Argentum -- Houston, TX
08.28 -- 2908 Cole St -- Austin, TX
08.31 -- YOBS -- Tempe, AZ
09.01 -- Tin Can Alehouse -- San Diego, CA
09.02 -- The Smell -- Los Angeles, CA
09.04 -- Hemlock Tavern -- San Francisco, CA
09.05 -- Mudai Lounge -- Portland, OR
09.07 -- Sunset Tavern -- Seattle, WA
09.08 -- S.S. Josephine -- Seattle, WA
09.11 -- Yellow Feather -- Denver, CO
09.11 -- Rockaway Tavern -- Denver, CO
09.16 -- The Happy Dog -- Cleveland, OH

>> Back when we were music director of the radio station of our small liberal arts college in the mid-'90s, we got our share of free stuff, often just duplicate copies of CDs or records (hello The Bends on vinyl). Most of these extras were jettisoned forthwith because -- even 15 years ago -- there was a lot of crap being serviced to radio, yes, even in the pre-Pro Tools era. Like today we'd take a flyer on certain things, and one that worked out marvelously was The First Bubble Core Records Sampler [Amazon], which featured a bunch of acts that we think were sort of centered around the scene at Yale? Maybe? Anyway, the comp had some amazing cuts, including the explosive and transcendent "Adam's Living Room" by an act called Me + Dave and a few standout cuts by a quirky combo going by the name Philistines Jr. Years later we would learn that the latter act featured now-prominent-recording-guy Peter Katis, whose name you probably recall is attached to records by Interpol, Mobius Band and The National. Anyway, imagine our surprise last week when we learned that Philistines Jr. never actually broke up, and that the act has finally gotten a new record in the can. If A Band Plays In The Woods...? will be released Oct. 5 on the band's own Tarquin Records. The set apparently took 10 years to record (Mr. Katis is quite busy), and you can stream the entire thing on SoundCloud right now, and it is well worth hearing, as strong as any of the early material. Have a listen. If you try just one track, make it "If I Did Nothing But Train For Two Years." No buy link for the set yet, but we expect it will eventually be listed here.

August 4, 2010

Deep Heaven Now Festival | Somerville, Mass. | 7 Aug.

Deep Heaven Now festival, Somerville, Mass., Aug. 7, 2010
Featuring The Hush Now, Young Adults, and scads of other hot rock acts. We're not afraid to tell you we think we first saw Asteroid No. 4 in Philly in 1997. They've been around. Complete details about Deep Heaven Now are posted at this Facebook page. Organizer Jinsen Liu was on WMBR's Pipeline! show last night with host Jeff Breeze promoting the event as well, and you can catch the archived stream right here.

August 3, 2010

That Was The Show That Was: The Hush Now | Great Scott | 2 August

About five minutes after guitarist and singer Noel Kelly casually mentioned that The Hush Now wasn't really shoegaze, he was on stage with the band he founded laying out intense, wavering guitar atmospherics alongside lead guitarist Adam Quane. We certainly don't dispute that The Hush Now isn't a precise fit for the shoegaze tag, but as the band's music grows increasingly powerful and nuanced, it ain't just indie pop anymore, either. Indeed, the real story last night was the precision and control the band displayed conjuring illuminating intros and outros for the songs that conveyed impressive musicianship amongst the five players. It was a great show.

The band opened with a moving iteration of "Thorns" and then sprung headlong into a dangerously fast version of "Traditions," both older tracks from the band's repertoire. However, The Hush Now also used last night as an opportunity to showcase material from its sparkling forthcoming EP Shiver Me Starships, which the band will self-release next month. Of particular note was the live airing of the new tune "For What It's Worth," an almost bluesy ballad that was much more visceral when played live than its recorded version. The Hush Now also played "Big Awesome," which may be the EP's strongest track, and then closed with the bouncy and delightful EP opener "The Other Ones."

The Hush Now will perform Saturday in Somerville, Mass. at P.A.'s Lounge as part of the Deep Heaven Now festival. You can view more details about the festival, including the running order and transportation options, right here. Haven't heard any of the new EP yet? Here's "The Other Ones."

The Hush Now's "The Other Ones"

The Hush Now: Internerds | MySpace | YouTube | Flickr

August 2, 2010

Footage: Calories' "FFWD"

Brilliant lead single from Birmingham, England-based post-punk titans Calories' forthcoming record. "FFWD" will be released digitally Aug. 30. Calories' hotly anticipated sophomore set Basic Nature will be released by Tough Love Records Sept. 13, all of which we reported here previously. Basic Nature is a combined vinyl/CD/digital download package that is apparently limited to 500 pieces, so you'd best pre-order that jawn now. The trio's new track "You Could Be Honest" is getting pushed by the irritatingly vowel-challenged RCRDLBL site, and you can download the tune right here.