April 30, 2011

Footage: Elias Krantz' "Tody Motmot"

Mesmerizing video for the first single from Swedish electropop artist Elias Krantz's forthcoming sophomore set Night Ice. Based on this track, an argument could be made that Mr. Krantz is Sweden's answer to Martin Dosh. But it is hard to get past how cool this video is: when the shirts start changing on Krantz's torso, it's really nifty to say the least. Although we shouldn't minimize that this song is really good. Night Ice will be released May 23 by Enskede, Sweden-based Country & Eastern Records; Elias Krantz's first set Island Rock was issued by Airwaves Music in 2007. Watch for pre-order information for Night Ice from Country & Eastern right here.

Tody Motmot by Elias Krantz

April 29, 2011

That Was The Show That Was: Yuck | Paradise Rock Club | 28 April

Yuck, Paradise Rock Club, April 28, 2011
[We are pleased to welcome back to these digital pages longtime friend and former editor Ric Dube. Mr. Dube these days hosts the thoroughly wonderful More Lost Time rare indie rock podcast. Subscribe right here -- we heartily endorse his product and/or service. -- Ed.]

Oddly, even though Bryan Adams used to sing "everywhere I go the kids wanna rock," all he ever served up was that Canadian, Phil Collins-type ballad gunk. Maybe his observation was one of despair. "I'd like to help," he was trying to say, "but I only know these songs about Robin Hood."

And this is where we're at with rock n' roll these days. The kids want to rock but so many of the bands are still heavily involved with the bleeps and the la-la-la. Sure, there are plenty out there that would like to bring it, but they just don’t have the songs.

Which is why it was so damned exciting to see the audience at the Paradise last night love Yuck.

The beauty of Yuck is that the London-based quartet's songs are deceptively simple and extremely influenced by much of the best classic alternative rock of the '90s (Dinosaur Jr., My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth, Sugar, Pixies, Lemonheads) and thus, fantastically well written and about as common these days as a Drop Nineteens reunion.

For a quartet of near children -- two members of the band were without wrist bands, suggesting they are not of drinking age -- Yuck boasts a road-weathered confidence. The 45-minute set consisted of tunes from its debut record released in February, performed on a pair of Fender Jaguars with a self-assurance that follows from constant touring over the past 12 months throughout England and Europe. On one hand, tight performance sound can make an act seem unenergetic. But to Yuck's credit, this professionalism made the songs extremely accessible for anyone there to see the evening's headliner, Australia's Tame Impala, and not already familiar with the act.

Also, there's something to be said for pacing a set; at this early phase in its career Yuck is finding a performance style. For now that means keeping things moderately restrained and focusing on the songs for most of a set ("The Wall," "Get Away," "Suck") so that its finale ("Rubber") is that much more effective when it's time to really open up stage presence.

The few simple tones of "Rubber" throbbed within a haze of feedback, a young artist’s punk rock symphony about hoping away his virginity. The room groaned and surged, as if the floor might suddenly part to reveal a layer of fossilized music that might explain this as sound left behind decades ago, when Dinosaur Jr. and Galaxie 500 had procreated and left behind a fertilized guitar pick that was covered in volcanic Rolling Rock (your father’s PBR). Fans already familiar with every note became indistinguishable from the undetermined number of immediate converts. Both stood thoroughly involved -- closed eyes, heads slowly nodding in unison. -- Ric Dube

Yuck: Internerds | YouTube | Facebook | Flickr | SoundCloud

Previous Yuck Coverage:
Today's Hotness: Oupa
YouTube Rodeo: Yuck's "Get Away"
Be Prepared: Yuck | Self-titled | 15 February
Footage: Yuck's "Rubber" [NSFW]
Footage: Yuck's "The Base Of A Dream Is Empty"
YouTube Rodeo: Yuck's "Suicide Policeman" Live
Footage: Yuck's "Weakend"
Footage: Yuck's "Automatic"
Today's Hotness: Yuck
Today's Hotness: Yuck

April 25, 2011

Today's Hotness: Little Gold, The Hush Now, Hold Your Horse Is

Little Gold>> There are a number of bands right now forcing us to confront the fact that we do in fact like (some) rock music with horns. But we have to say most surprising of the lot is Little Gold's "Mike Swan." We've written previously about being overjoyed that one former member of Meneguar was doing something that excited us, that member being Brooklyn-based Little Gold's fronter Christian DeRoeck. Mr. DeRoeck's current rootsier rock act hews most closely to whatever we can refer to as a Meneguar legacy, although Meneguar certainly didn't have room for horns in its tense, two-guitars-and-no-bullshit indie punk plan. Hence the aforementioned surprise. Last August we wrote about Little Gold's "Completely Fucked!" single here. The act returns next month with a rollicking single on the scrappy Sophomore Lounge label, which you may recall is responsible for quality releases from State Champion. The new single -- limited to 300 vinyl copies on black vinyl (we eagerly await the shellac revival) -- touts the foot-stomper "Mike Swan" on the A and a cover of a James Jackson Toth composition, "Oh Dad," on the flip-flop. Said tunes were recorded by Mark Ospovat at Emandee Studioes in Bushwick, or so we just read here (where we also saw mentioned a split single we had no idea existed). A second LP titled Weird Freedom is planned, so keep your eyes peeled because we expect that will be a key beer-drinking record. Pre-order "Mike Swan" b/w "Oh Dad" from Sophomore Lounge right here.

Little Gold's "Mike Swan"

>> Social media stalkers may have already caught on, but those who don't shadow every move of Boston-based dream-pop goliaths The Hush Now may be interested to know that the quintet just tracked 13 new songs at Allston's Mad Oak Studios. Not certain of when we might see or hear the new recordings, but we've chatted with the band about some other interesting stuff they have going on that you'll read about here eventually.

>> UK-based indie rock aggressors Hold Your Horse Is are offering a pay-what-you-like live set titled Like, Live And Stuff. The sound is a touch boxy, but fans of Therapy? and Helmet will appreciate the band's forceful delivery of its punishing yet melodic tunes; grab Like, Live And Stuff at Bandcamp right here. The six-song collection was recorded Feb. 15 at London's Camden Purple Turtle and includes one previously unreleased jam, "Absurd." Hold Your Horse Is intends to use the proceeds from the sale of Like, Live And Stuff to fund the recording of a proposed full-length debut; "Absurd" is slated for the new record, so get your teaser now. The trio's EP Rammin' It Home -- released last August on Big Scary Monsters -- sold out last month. While some recent shows had to be scrapped for various reasons, the threesome will tour with Alcopop!'s Ute in June and has a number of festival dates booked -- see full dates here.

April 22, 2011

YouTube Rodeo: Dananananaykroyd's Wholly Wonderful "Muscle Memory"

Glaswegian fight-pop titans Dananananaykroyd return this spring with what promises to be a cracking sophomore set, There Is A Way. The record was recorded in late 2010 and it will be released on Dananananaykroyd's newly commissioned label Pizza College June 13. The video above is for the sextet's first single from the Ross Robinson-produced collection, and it is amazeballs. There Is A Way is already available for pre-order at Banquet Records right here; Banquet indicates the band plays New Slang in Kingston April 28, so if you are in merrye olde Englande nexte weeke, you know what to do. Dananananaykroyd's full-length debut Hey Everyone! was one of our favorite records of 2009. The band recently posted another track from its new album, "E Numbers," at SoundCloud, and we've embedded the number below. Dig in!

Dananananaykroyd - E Numbers by WorkItMedia

April 21, 2011

Today's Hotness: Grass Is Green, Fire Island Pines, The Henry Clay People

Grass Is Green -- Chibimoon (crop)
>> Sometimes heavy like the blitzkrieging sounds of the D.C. underground of the late 20th century, sometimes just spacey and weird (check out the wonderful and stumbling ballad "Twinkle Toes"), it's Boston post-hardcore quartet Grass Is Green. The act just released a seven-song EP Chibimoon that is one of the most enjoyable surprises we've encountered in a while. The EP presents an impressive sonic range but at the same time shows Grass Is Green doesn't disregard the importance of melody. The foursome is playing our alma mater tomorrow night, the alma mater at which we spent the mid-'90s when you heard this type of smart, awesome indie rock seemingly around every corner. Chibimoon was self-released by the band in March and you can grab the whole thing for $5 at Bandcamp right here; a debut full-length was issued last September, and is also available via Bandcamp. We're embedding "Twinkle Toes" below, but it's well worth parting with five American dollars to hear the whole collection. Grass Is Green has two local gigs listed at its Bandcamp dojo: May 11 at Church and May 14 at Middle East Upstairs.

>> Additional notable indie rock has been piling up in our inbox, such as Fire Island Pines' fine Bratislava EP. The Cornwall, UK-based sextet fronted by a chap named Anton Rothschild is fewer than two years old, but the calm pacing of its orchestral pop communicates surprising confidence (not to mention competence). The music recollects The Sea And Cake or even Chin Up Chin Up in places, tempered with a spiky energy that suggests a very, very sleepy Los Campesinos! Fire Island Pines's arresting amalgamation of jangly guitars, persistent trumpet and murmured lyrics makes for a very listenable debut. Bratislava was released earlier this month via San Francisco-based digital label Vulpiano; the set is also available on a limited-edition CD-R. You can grab the entire collection for free at Bandcamp, but if you want a taster we suggest you check out the relatively perky "Heaven Till You Say;" the full EP is embedded below.

Bratislava EP by Fire Island Pines

>> As we quipped on Twitter last week, Los Angeles-based indie rock saviors The Henry Clay People have a new EP coming out next month, and it's a barn-burner. The short set is called This Is A Desert, and it's got five tracks, not the least of which is the scalding opener "The Honey Love He Sells." The whole thing was streaming at Spinner.com last week and we listened to it about 10 times, but now we can't find the link and the search on Spinner ain't turning it up. Dammit. Just take our word for it: you want this; it will be released on TBD in May; you can already pre-order the thing for $7 at the band's web site right here; and we think that's a smart move. If you need an early taste and can't be arsed to go to MySpace anymore -- and really, who can -- Aquarium Drunkard has a free download of track 2, "California Wildfire," that one can snatch right here. The Henry Clay People's full-length Somewhere On The Golden Coast was one of our favorite records of 2010.

April 19, 2011

Varsity Drag ALL AGES SHOW | Midway Cafe, JP | May 1

Varsity Drag All-Ages Show, Midway Cafe, May 1
Because it's what's right for America. Because it's almost summer again.

April 18, 2011

Be Prepared: Wartgore Hellsnicker | Moderate Rock EP | 30 May

Wartgore Hellsnicker -- Moderate Rock
Maniacally groovy and largely unhinged extended play release from a shadowy Watford, England-based collective centered around a chap named Paul Terris. Maybe. The six-year-old band's bio is pocked with extended blackouts, 50 shows here, a release party for a never-released record there, no personnel. One press quote charmingly deems Wartgore Hellsnicker "music for people that don't like other people." But the recordings -- four on this EP, to be released at the end of next month by determined foot-shooter Audio Antihero -- are solid gold. Wartgore Hellsnicker brutally propounds an SST-flavored guitar attack abetted by an RFTC-esque horn section (that conjures occasional klezmer outbursts) and topped by a shouter on par with the guy from Archie Bronson Outfit. It's aural ambrosia for the disaffected. Listening to Moderate Rock will make you want to get a tattoo on your neck.

Every song is a winner, but we're particularly partial to the thoroughly bracing third track "Ten To Two," which we've embedded below. Despite the title not being available for another six weeks, Moderate Rock has apparently already conquered one digital distributor's sales charts (meaning Audio Antihero label head Jamie Halliday may have to scrap all those business cards that read "specialists in commercial suicide"). The EP was snuck into racks at Rough Trade in time for Record Store Day, and it looks like you can still buy it there. The digital version can already be procured at Bandcamp right here, and if we're reading the words right, if you buy the digital Audio Antihero will send you the CD when it gets its hands on some. Buy this record, or get a hammer and just start hitting yourself in the face.

We'll tell you when you can stop.

April 17, 2011

N-Lo Go!s Out: The Go! Team with Dom | Paradise | 4.15.2011

The Go! Team[The Go! Team at the Paradise Rock Club, 4/15/2011. Photo by A-Ha.]

[As promised, here's new Clicky Clicky correspondent N-Lo's Go! Team report!]

Hi folks, N-Lo here with my first foray into the Clicky Clicky review world. Glad to be a part of the effort. Hope I don’t hurt anyone.

First, some background: Growing up in the 80’s, I gravitated toward hip-hop and 60’s pop before I smashed my head on the indie rock. I’d steal 12” singles from record stores and spend hours dancing and rapping in my room to LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Whodini, Run DMC, and EPMD trying to figure our where the samples I listened to originated from (quite the project, pre-interwebs). Meanwhile, our family car at the time was a 1974 Mercury Monarch, equipped with only an AM radio. So while I loved rocking out to the Replacements, Sonic Youth, and Dinosaur Jr., I also spent a lot of time both dancing in my bedroom to “You Gots to Chill” and cruising in the Monarch cranking Lulu, Ike & Tina, and the theme from S.W.A.T.

My tastes have been shaped in part by these influences ever since. It’s why I like Beck, the Beastie Boys and Prince, and it’s why I was very eager to catch the Go! Team/Dom show at the Paradise this past Friday. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve reached a certain age where I generally loathe going out on Friday nights, preferring instead to indulge in sweatpants and takeout and beer (oh my). I especially loathe going out to be surrounded by young, thin, energetic people who think mustaches are ironic (and HILARIOUS!) and who usually remind me how I wish I was home with my DVR’d episodes of Archer.

But the Go! Team makes me shed my curmudgeonly ways. It’s impossible, if you have what anyone would call a shakeable ass, to resist the way the kids from Brighton, England mesh their many influences into a funky, hipster meets hip-hop celebration. For those of you who have yet to see the Team live, imagine the funkiest aerobic instructor ever, rapping along to cheerleader-like backing vocals over super catchy riffs, harmonica, recorder and xylophone, and accompanied by Dusty Springfield as arranged by the Bomb Squad and Marvin Hamlisch and you’re on the right track.

Touring in support of their 3rd album Rolling Blackouts, the Team busted out of the gate with said album’s opener "T.O.R.N.A.D.O.," which served in part as a public service announcement for the high energy opening part of the set that also included 2007 single “Grip like a Vice” and crowd favorite “Huddle Formation” (from 2004’s debut Thunder Lightning Strike). ½ pint-sized lead rapper/singer Ninja bounded about the stage, swinging her hair and performing the running man when not delivering her hyper-rhythmic MC Lyte raps (“MC Light?” Sorry.) with an earnestness that belies the irony-loving demographic of her fans. (And indeed, some of Ninja’s “Let me see your hands Boston!” pleas and old school hip-hop crowd imploring moves fell flat with the faux-’Members Only’ crowd. Their loss.).

As much as Ninja can chew the spotlight, the band’s other members have taken a more “hey, over here!” role on the latest album and certainly make their presence prominently felt live. In addition to pogo-ing around like a funky version of Superchunk, the band is constantly switching instruments without breaking stride, if a (huge amount of) sweat. Guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Kaori Tsuchida and drummer Chi Fukami Taylor stepped forward for lead vocals the retro-pop portion of the set which included the somewhat groovy “Secretary’s Day” and far-too-precious “Ready to Go Steady.” That portion of the set resulted in a necessary rest-period for Ninja but also a slight break in momentum. Guitarist/everything else-ist Ian Parton had plenty of highlights, especially on harmonica during the Team’s extended funky instrumental jam sessions that always seem to be a highlight of their show despite the fact that many of them sound like different versions of the same song. There’s also another drummer. And a bass player. They also play other instruments. And pogo. And sing backup. Doing just one thing in a band is obviously so 2003.

But, overly earnest or not, Ninja is the leader of this traveling party (there’s a reason rappers are called MCs) and she came back to up the fun-ante for the last third of the set. She joined Tsuchida on lead vocals for the guitar pop of “Buy Nothing Day” (I squealed at a high pitched frequency and giggled and clapped rapidly when this song started before being reminded by my wife that we were in public) and her deft-tongue and physical acrobatics propelled the crowd into ecstatic celebration on the roller-skating party rap of “Bottle Rocket.”

Encores included latest schoolyard chant-single “Apollo Throwdown” and classic set-ender “Keys to the City” which sent the crowd out onto Comm. Ave sweaty, grateful and ready to continue the party and get called “sluts!” by people in cars driving by.

If I knew what I was getting with The Go! Team, opener Dom was somewhat of a mystery going in. And I’m still not sure i know what they are. I mean, apart from kind of awesome.

The Worcester foursome opened with the surf guitar-cum-Mexicali Minutemen punk of “Crazy Girl” and continued through the hits on their “Sun Bronzed Greek Gods” EP. Dom lead singer Dom is part brat, part prodigy. It was like watching your annoying long-haired little brother pretend to be MGMT doing Miley Cyrus AND My Bloody Valentine at the same time, tongue planted at least halfway in cheek. I might even have found it all incredibly annoying but for the hooks. Oh the hooks. Big hooks. Melodic hooks. Riffy Hooks. Synthy hooks. Some new songs and a sincere cover of Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” later, the band gave everyone what they ate their slices fast for, last year’s hit “Living in America.”

Watching the crowd rush the stage and act like a group of Urban Outfitter-adorned Beliebers reminded me what the best pop music is supposed to do. It’s supposed to make you hum. And dance. And swoon. And it’s supposed to make the young feel like they’re on top of the world.

Dom have the songs. They have the sound. And if Friday night was any indication, they have your kids right where they want them. Boston’s best band just might reside in Worcester and have a song with a chorus of “Happy Birthday Party!”

Deal with it Allston.


The Go! Team: Intertubes | SoundCloud | Twitter
Dom: Intertubes | MySpace | Twitter

April 13, 2011

Review: Johnny Foreigner | Certain Songs Are Cursed EP

Birmingham, England-based noise pop demigods Johnny Foreigner make a triumphant return to releasing physical product with two face-melting rockers and two ballads, all corralled on a single compact disc affixed to a limited-edition branded frisbee. Yes, you read that right. The format, of course, is a gimmick, and the music is what matters. But, even so, it ignores the elephant in the room to leave aside the fact that the physical manifestation of Certain Songs Are Cursed comes on the underside of a fricking novelty flying disc. All 250 discs sold out in under 24 hours; Johnny Foreigner and co-conspiring label Alcopop! clearly know the band's audience. For the physical product-averse, MP3s of the collection are still being sold right here.

Incendiary lead track "What Drummers Get" crackles with the same energy as Johnny Foreigner's pace-setting 2008 A-side "Our Bipolar Friends." And while the title isn't posed as a question, the answer, apparently, is "Drummers! Get! Everything!" Which makes us wonder what exactly it is that JoFo drummer Junior Elvis Washington Laidley is getting... Elsewhere fronter Alexei Berrow's lyrics turn characteristically clever and self-deprecating: "I'm half the man you think I could have been" and "better kill you off than lead you on." The song "Twin Sisterzz" touts lacerating guitar in the verse and nice harmonies in the more muted chorus, before the track decomposes in a breakdown not unlike that of the blistering "Harriet, By Proxy" from the trio's startlingly good late 2010 EP You Thought You Saw a Shooting Star but Yr Eyes Were Blurred With Tears and That Lighthouse Can Be Pretty Deceiving With the Sky So Clear and Sea So Calm.

Certain Songs Are Cursed doesn't present an overarching theme, but the final song of the collection -- the acoustic ballad "Certain Songs" -- would seem to point to Johnny Foreigner's planned third long-player. Last month the threesome put out a call for audio samples of fans talking about songs that remind them of failed relationships. And if we understood the aforementioned blog post correctly -- and since we didn't hear a frothing mass of such samples on the EP -- we think the samples will be used on the new album. And "Certain Songs" features just such a sample, and is perhaps a clue to (or at least inspiration for) what lies ahead.

More importantly, the act of including actual fan contributions to a recording is perhaps the logical end of the band's persistent and, frankly, delightful efforts at bringing its fan base into the music. With its earliest releases Johnny Foreigner was interested in making collectors items. But with the release of the Every Cloakroom Ever EP [sold out], things got more inclusive. That EP had the name of everyone who pre-ordered th record on the sleeve art. Then with the aforementioned 2010 You Thought You Saw A Shooting Star... EP the handmade album sleeves incorporated photos submitted by fans. That album three may include actual audio from fans would seem to cap Johnny Foreigner's efforts at including fans, except that they are boundlessly clever and we expect they will come up with something even more awesome for successive releases.

Next week Johnny Foreigner launches a month-long tour of the UK and Europe to promote the EP and otherwise take their message to the masses. Tour-only shirt designs and a full itinerary? Sure, hit this link. We posted the two tracks from the EP below earlier this month, but in case you missed it, here's "What Drummers Get" and "Johnny Foreigner vs. You (Cursed Version)."

What Drummers Get by Johnny Foreigner

Johnny Foreigner Vs You (Cursed Version) by Johnny Foreigner

April 12, 2011

Review: The Feelies | Here Before

Stubborn and beautiful in their strummy, jittery, Greater NYC pop, The Feelies bless us today with Here Before (Bar/None), an album that stands up to just about any in their prior 30-year/4 album catalog. Which is good, since absolutely no one was waiting to hear how they incorporated dubstep, emo, shitgaze, or indie rock in general into their sound.

That's a comfort. Despite the trepidation of Here Before's (reviewer-bait) opening lines "is it too late/ to do it again/ or should we wait another ten? ...Well you never know/ how it's gonna go..." the band sounds as confident as ever behind Bill Million's strident stumming over Brenda Sauter's round, driving bass and Stanley Demeski's rock solid drums abetted by Dave Weckerman's percussion. Glenn Mercer glides over it all with easy, laid-back melodies and biting leads.

Though hailing from New Jersey, big city-stimulated jitters were the band's calling card. Early single "Fa Cé-La" was a tightly-wound energy shot for a band so closely compared to the Velvet Underground. Hmm... is it OK to compare a 30 year old band with a 40 year old one? They are a clear influence, but The Feelies are a much more fastidious band (score a point for Jersey over New York?). Similar attitude, sure, but less ponderous and more determined.

The intervening years may have calmed some of those jitters in favor of the jangle, and though that's not a bad thing at all, there's a lot of life here: "When You Know" is a reassuring driver, and "Time Is Right" resolves the questions posed in that aforementioned opening track with a simple riff resolving to a catchy, head-nodding cowbell in the chorus. "Time/Right/Now/Tonight" - yeah, it feels right to me too.

Elsewhere, "Change Your Mind" is a warm guitar embrace, "Bluer Skies" is an e-bow-laced optimistic act now plea (and I'm a sucker for a good "ba-ba-ba" song), and "On and On" seems to nod to The Good Earth's "Slipping Into Something's" slow-burn intro. It all sounds and feels so good. I can't wait to pick this up on vinyl.

Some, and occasionally all, of The Feelies have played together in one tantalizing form or another for the two decades following the release of their last album, 1991's Time For A Witness (A&M). In (relatively) recent history, that included a memorable show at Somerville's Johnny D's while Feelies guitarist Glenn Mercer was pitching his fine 2007 album, Wheels In Motion, where the band was awfully close to being The Actual Feelies, with early drummer Vinny DeNunzio and percussonist Dave Weckerman in the lineup, and bassist Brenda Sauter (who's own great band, Wild Carnation, opened) joining in on the encores. Throughout all of these, and other spinoffs like Mercer and Weckerman's Wake Ooloo, they were missing an important ingredient: guitarist/songwriter Bill Million. Million, who up and moved from New Jersey to Florida when the Feelies called it quits in 1992, provides a key element of the band's sound: a strummy base on which balances Mercer's sharper lines.

Feels so good to be writing that in the present tense.

The band is scheduled for the Middle East on May 14th (tickets). There are no openers listed at the moment, so if we're lucky it'll be another "evening with..." show like their last visit there. Two stretched-out sets are hard to argue with.

-Michael Piantigini

The Feelies: Intertubes | Facebook | MySpace

April 11, 2011

Be Prepared: Get Help | The Good Green Earth | 10 May

Get Help -- The Good Green Earth
Midriff Records will release next month the sophomore set from this, the other Beatings side project, Get Help. Fast on the heels of Beatings ying Eldridge Rodriguez' recent solo effort You Are Released, Beatings yang Tony Skalicky (along with compadres including Mike Ingenthron) readies The Good Green Earth for delivery to the masses May 10. The 11-song set is a wholly satisfying amalgamation of all your favorite fruit. "A Brittle World" piggybacks on a melody from Pixies' timeless and delightful "La La Love You;" affecting closer "Crooked Streets" charts a soulful march into a two-dimensional wooden sunset with the same wry resignation as They Might Be Giants' "Road Movie To Berlin" (organ and all). The final lyric of "Crooked Streets" -- a dense, barroom holler, "There's too much background noise as the saints come driving through" -- is just icing on top of icing.

Perhaps the highlight of an album filled with highlights is curiously sequenced at track 8, the desperate strummer "You Should Be Home By Now." Dig the stream below. Get Help has just announced a Boston record release show, which will transpire at PA's Lounge May 26 [details]. Additional acts on the bill include the aforementioned Eldridge Rodriguez and Clicky Clicky faves Soccermom. That's a hot show. We reviewed Get Help's full-length debut The End Of The New Country here in 2008.

You Should Be Home By Now by Get Help

April 9, 2011

Today's Hotness: Oupa, Mercury Rev, Walter Schreifels

Oupa -- Forget
>> Do you remember all the confusion about Yuck and Yu(c)k, how the latter was a side project of the former? Probably not, these are the things that trouble only the most ridiculously fanatic among us. Our position on this was why bother confusing us, just pick one name and we'll accept the fact that you make guitar music and quieter music. Well, our unspoken and un-offered advice has gone unheeded, but the good news is that things are now somewhat less confusing. Yu(c)k is now Oupa. We know, you are relieved. But this is important; in case you were not aware Oupa is the solo vehicle of Yuck fronter Daniel Blumberg, and we love Yuck. Oupa plans to issue in July (via an as-yet unannounced label) a full-length set titled Forget, and although the collection will likely contain some songs with which we are familiar, it's the new stuff that we are most excited to hear. Here's an embed of the presumed titled track to Oupa's debut, which is pretty enough, but not as gripping as "Automatic" or as devastating as "Weakend." One final tangential thought -- doesn't the art above for Forget remind you of this?

Forget by Oupa

>> Let's just say at the top that we like old Mercury Rev better; Boces in particular. But even so, we think it is notable that the band's breakthrough record Deserter's Songs is being reissued May 15 by Co-op Music. The record, originally released in 1998 and Mercury Rev's fourth, so potently evokes specific good times. Nothing sexy, nothing exciting, just this: the first time we heard the record we had just flown into Charlotte, North Carolina, where our best friend picked up me and the missus and drove us in his Jeep on small roads out to a lake house in Morganton. The windows were open on the Jeep, the night was warm, and we cranked Deserter's Songs, and it was just perfect. The lead track, "Holes," in particular just haunts you. Co-op's reissue packages the collection with a second disc containing demos, outtakes and b-sides. To remind folks of how great this record is, the band is giving away the tune "Opus 40." Have a listen, maybe that first night it's warm enough for you to leave the windows open. European fans can catch the band when it unleashes a strand of live performances in mid-May; the full itinerary is at Mercury Rev's web dojo right here.

Mercury Rev -- "Opus 40" -- Deserter's Songs [reissue]
[right click and save as]
[watch your favorite digital storefront for pre-order information]

>> We really did not know this until H-Dawg From Accounts Receivable told us: apparently there is already another Walter Schreifels solo record in the offing. According to an interview with Alter The Press from April 2010 (you read that correctly, we're reading this a year late), a new Schreifels solo set was "85% done." The same interview says that the reason it hasn't seen the light of day yet is because Mr. Schreifels was releasing the Rival Schools record (the wonderful set Pedals, issued last month) in the interim and wanted to take time to properly promote that. In the same interview Schreifels states the new solo set will be titled Jesus Is My Favorite Beatle, but it is hard to tell whether he was joking or not. Considering how roundly excellent Rival Schools' Pedals is, we expect it will be promoted through the summer, but who knows? Either way, we are excited for the new solo collection, and we'll keep you apprised. Schreifels' debut solo collection An Open Letter To The Scene was our second-favorite record of 2010 [review here].

>> While we weren't the most rabid or vocal fan, we are sorry to see neo-emo luminaries Joie De Vivre call it a day. The band's song "Summer In New London," which opened their 2010 collection The North End, was one of our Top 10 songs of 2010, although we ended up being to busy to publish our list (we did give The North End a nod in our aforementioned albums list). Sorry Joie De Vivre. There is apparently one more album in the can that will be issued post-humously. We look forward to hearing what the members of Joie De Vivre do next.

April 5, 2011

Out Today: Maritime's Human Hearts

We almost feel bad for Davey Von Bohlen. The fact that he was a part of the legendary Cap'n Jazz, and that he fronted highly revered, third wave emo stand-outs The Promise Ring, means that it's usually a couple dozen words into any blog post about what he's been up to for the last five years before you even see the name Maritime. There, we just did it again. But today marks the release of Maritime's fourth full-length, a set characteristically stacked with Von Bohlen's melodic and yearning genius. Have you seen the video for "Paraphernalia" yet? As we quipped on Twitter last month, the video makes us realize we wasted the winter doing crap that was not as fun as this. But anyway, you should just surrender now. What Mr. Von Bohlen does is too potent to be characterized as simple, but simple is what it is: perfect melodies, big guitars. It's a formula that worked wonders with 2006's We, The Vehicles and 2007's Heresy & The Hotel Choir. And it works here. We only see a few live dates on the books for the band currently, but we expect it shan't be long before Maritime is out promoting this one, so use the time in the interim to learn all the words. You'll want to sing along. Human Hearts was released by Dangerbird Records.

Club Pick: The Go! Team with Dom | Paradise Rock Club | 15 April

The Go! Team with Dom at Paradise Rock Club, April 15, 2011
[We are pleased to welcome to these digital pages hit-writer and noted raconteur N-Lo. Those of you who know Clicky Clicky Managing Editor Michael Piantigini will probably be wondering why it took us this long to ensnare Mr. 'Lo. Well, he is wily. N-Lo's career has touched upon most of the forms of "old media," but we won't drop names. Instead we'll say, "welcome aboard" and "keep those vintage hip-hop references coming." -- Ed.]

Hey, speaking of things that are a few months old and British -- I offer the latest album by indie genre-busters The Go! Team. Rolling Blackouts, the band's first full release since 2007's Proof of Youth, sees the sextet execute a slow move down their multi-influence integer line toward '60s pop and vast, film score-esque instrumentals. Friends show up to help out, too. Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast, for example, lends vocals on what I firmly declare to be the best song of 2011 thus far, the super-delicious, impossible not-to-dance-to "Buy Nothing Day." And the Team's latest single "Apollo Throwdown" provides ample proof that the double dutch-cum-Prince Paul goodness you're used to from Brighton, England's finest has not yet been fully abandoned.

The Go! Team brings what is sure to be a young, fashionable dance party to Boston's Paradise Rock Club April 15th with support from Worcester's similarly young, fashionable Dom [tickets]. If you're unfamiliar with Dom, it's the band ditching the "new Passion Pit" label as they seem quite comfortable remixing and re-imagining the songs that launched their months-long vacation in the stratosphere last year. If you're unfamiliar with Worcester, I will show you around some time. Take you to a diner. Visit the airport. It'll be nice. -- N-Lo

The Go! Team - Buy Nothing Day by thegoteam

April 3, 2011

Today's Hotness: Johnny Foreigner, Adebisi Shank, Dananananaykroyd

Johnny Foreigner -- Certain Songs Are Cursed, art by Lewes Herriot
>> Oh the things we've wanted to tell you of late. We're going to start making up for lost time right now. Like, did you know that the planned single from Birmingham, England-based noise pop titans Johnny Foreigner is no longer a single but an EP? We hope you did, because it was a limited edition physical release, a CD affixed to a frisbee, for God's sake. The thing sold out in fewer than 24 hours, there having been only 250 on offer. Fans can still buy the MP3s from Alcopop! right here, which label -- along with kindred operation Big Scary Monsters and upstart phenomenon Audio Antihero -- sits firmly among the only labels worth a damn anymore. The Johnny Foreigner EP is titled Certain Songs Are Cursed, and it contains four tracks: "What Drummers Get," "Twin Sisterzz," "Johnny Foreigner vs. You (Cursed Version)," and "Certain Songs." We've heard the EP, it's characteristically brilliant. The official release date is 18 April. Two of the tracks are already streaming on Soundcloud, and you need to hear them, so hitch your wagon to the streams embedded below. Something else we missed: Johnny Foreigner have compiled all of their b-sides released from 2008 through 2010 under the title European Disco - Collected B​-​sides and Remixes, 2008​-2010 and they are being sold at Bandcamp for five pounds. Which is nothing -- the song "I Heard, He Ties Up Cats" alone is worth five pounds. So if for some inexplicable reason you've not been obsessively collecting Johnny Foreigner songs since 2007 like we have, well, here's your chance to (try to) catch up.

What Drummers Get by Johnny Foreigner

Johnny Foreigner Vs You (Cursed Version) by Johnny Foreigner

>> This is also true: Northern Ireland-based spazzcore savants Adebisi Shank's transcendent -- transcendent, we said -- second record This Is The Second Album Of A Band Called Adebisi Shank was released worldwide last month by the ever-tasteful Sargent House label (you know the label, they also picked up the Maps & Atlases record and released that way back?). The collection was previously released last June by Big Scary Monsters in the UK. As we quipped elsewhere, the record is every single record you wished Trans Am had released after its tour de force Surrender To The Night. The most mind-blowing track on the Adebisi Shank record is the impenetrably titled "(-_-)," but the entire thing is wonderful. Free music, you say? Sure. Here's track three from This Is The Second Album Of A Band Called Adebisi Shank, "Ghenki Shank." It's got more of a later Trans Am vibe (read: vocoder).

Adebisi Shank -- "Ghenki Shank" -- The Is The Second Album Of A Band Called Adebisi Shank
[right click and save as]
[buy This Is The Second Album Of A Band Called Adebisi Shank right here]

>> Oh yeah, so Dananananaykroyd are back. The always-quality Another Form Of Relief blog has all the details here, but we'll recount the highlights, which are these: the Glaswegian fight-pop standard bearers' forthcoming sophomore set is titled There Is A Way; There Is A Way is being released on the band's own label Pizza College June 13. According to Dananananaykroyd's Internet Home Page, There Is A Way has 11 tracks and was produced in California by Ross Robinson. Ross Robinson, at least at Wikipedia, is referred to as the "Godfather of Nu Metal." And yes, he is the guy who produced that really flat-sounding The Cure record from 2004. On the upside, Mr. Robinson produced At The Drive-In's towering swan song Relationship Of Command [this is one of the greatest late-night TV performances ever]. We'll be very interested to hear this thing. Hit the link to AFOR for an MP3 of the new track "E Numbers."

>> And have you heard the new Yuck b-side? It's called "Doctors In My Bed," it's the flip to a planned forthcoming single release for the the lead track from the London-based quartets phenomenal self-titled debut, which lead track is "Get Away," in case you didn't know. The "Get Away" single is slated for release in late April, during the band's upcoming U.S. tour that commences April 13 in Los Angeles, although said single is not listed on the Fat Possum site -- perhaps it is tour-only? Yuck, as we've been saying for months, will play Paradise Rock Club in Boston April 28, and Clicky Clicky will be there. As far as "Doctors In My Bed" goes, well, it may be the first Yuck song we've heard that we do not love. But they've put out so many awesome songs, you can't hold this one against them. It's not bad, it just lacks the sort of melodic magic we've learned to expect from the band. Just buy the single for the A-side, it's a scorcher.

Doctors In My Bed by Yuck

April 2, 2011

Rock Over Boston: Mountain Goats and Megafaun | 4.1.2011

[Mountain Goats and Megafaun at the Paradise, Boston, MA 4/1/2011. Photos by Michael Piantigini.]

It's hard to imagine anyone taking the idea of "warm up act" more to heart than Megafaun. They back up their off-kilter (although, it should be noted, not as off-kilter as it once was) 3-part harmony-laden hillbilly pop with good old-fashioned showmanship. Engaging and infectious, they won over everyone not already in their corner.

Now, I suppose I'm cashing in some indie cred with the admission that I'd never seen the Mountain Goats live before last night. I've been a fan since the mid-90's when John Darnielle was releasing cassettes and 7-inchers of recordings he made alone in a room with his boom box. He's since graduated to playing with a great band and making pristine recordings that ever-so-slightly straighten his bent point of view, but I still think of that earlier intimacy when I think Mountain Goats. None of that, then, prepared me for last night's raucous fist-pumping sing-along.

It was a little rowdy and a little sloppy and there was a recurring feedback hum for some reason, but when Darnielle, alone on-stage, played "Raja Vocative" (from the 1995 Orange Raja, Blood Royal 7"), I was instantly transported back to listening to my home-taped cassette of it while wending down autumn-lined Storrow Drive alone in my Datsun 210, wondering where I was going.

-Michael Piantigini

The Mountain Goats: Intertubes | Twitter
Megafaun: Intertubes | MySpace | Tumblr | Twitter

Rock Belated Over Boston: J. Mascis and Kurt Vile | 3.26.2011

[J. Mascis and Kurt Vile at the Brighton Music Hall, Allston, MA 3/26/2011. Photos by Michael Piantigini]