May 30, 2011

That Was The Show That Was: Get Help with E.R. and Soccermom

Thursday night at PA's in Somerville, Mass., three of Boston's best -- we're fudging New York/New Jersey-based Get Help's geographical bona fides here on purpose because of history, man -- brought their A game for an evening packed cheek to jowl with rock that howled. Beatings co-fronter Eldridge Rodriguez stuck the landing on a gripping and occasionally curious set that drew heavily from his superlative 2011 solo long-player You Are Released. The collection grafts onto Rodriquez's characteristically intense guitar shouters electronic beats and samples, and it was interesting to see drummer Dennis Grabowski, who also detonates the cans for The Beatings, play to electronics triggered live by a guy that we assume was Ray Jeffery, co-producer and recording engineer for You Are Released (among other E.R. recordings) brother Dave Grabowski (formerly of Scuba, now of Midriff Records' own Louder My Dear, which features Dennis Grabowski on guitar). Those electronics also writhed in the breaks between songs like a dimly lit pit of snakes, limning the already dark tunes with an ethereal, unsettling dimension. The set was highlighted by Mr. Rodriguez, resplendent in a white suit, delivering a scalding iteration of "Run MF Run;" the live rendition was augmented with a new bell sample and the explosive choruses were gratifying.

Gracious hosts for the evening Get Help obliged listeners with a set almost solely drawn from the quartet's wonderful sophomore record The Good Green Earth, although said set closed memorably with the undeniable, pogoing title track to its 2008 debut The End Of The New Country. Unsurprisingly, the highlights of the set otherwise were our favorite tracks from The Good Green Earth: closer "Crooked Streets" -- rendered here without the sadly beautiful organ backing -- and the strident strummer "You Should Be Home By Now." We'd like to see these guys play more often.

You Should Be Home By Now by Get Help

Jamaica Plain-based Soccermom brought the evening to a kaleidoscopic close with a dazzling set forged from dense guitars and desperate vocals. The quartet, fronted by longtime scenemaker Dan Parlin, was simply brilliant, regularly bending over-driven chords and slide guitar around a decisive rhythmic attack. New drummer Justin Kehoe, he formerly of The Migration Trap, was remarkably fluid and understated behind the drum kit, and seems to be a perfect complement to the extant Soccermom alchemy. We heard new material in the set and it gives us high hopes that the band will garner the recognition it deserves very soon -- if only from the legions of music fans out there waiting for a contemporary take on early Lilys or early Polvo. Soccermom intends to issue later this year a 10" EP titled You Are Not Going To Heaven, and we've heard some of the recordings and they are terrific. If you haven't heard the band's debut single, here's one of the tunes.

Soccermom's "High On Dad"

E.R. and Get Help fans can catch Mssrs. Rodriguez and Skalicky in their natural habitat fronting The Beatings this Friday -- while R.S.V.P.s last -- in Charlestown at an event being helmed by the RSL Blog. So get with that. Soccermom returns to the stage Saturday night at The Beachcomber in Quincy, and again July 16 at Precinct in Somerville, Massachusetts for the Guillermo Sexo record release party.

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