June 30, 2011

Today's Hotness: Big Deal, Swirlies, 11:59, Cannons

Big Deal
>> Hotly tipped London indie duo Big Deal have disclosed at long last that its debut full-length, Lights Out, will be issued by Mute Oct. 11. The release will be preceded by a single for the song "Chair" Aug. 30. The barely year-old pairing of Kacey Underwood and Alice Costelloe arrived on the scene last fall with the desperately beautiful and delicate acoustic single "Homework," released by Records Records Records. The new, 12-song long-player was co-produced by Mr. Underwood and a fellow named Dean Reid, which is interesting to note because we reported here last October that the band was working with former Strokes producer Gordon Raphael. Perhaps Mr. Raphael engineered? Who knows. A quick search of Soundcloud turns up a Big Deal track we had not yet heard which appears on the track listing for Lights Out (although we can't say for certain this version will be on the album, of course). The tune is called "Talk;" check it out below. Big Deal spends seemingly the rest of the summer playing UK festivals, so if you are inclined to go to a festival, perhaps check the complete list of engagements right here to make sure you get to see what Big Deal is all about.

Talk by Big Deal

>> The Swirlies mini-tour we first mentioned here last month has announced all of the currently confirmed dates. Sadly, as of yet, there is no Boston performance slated, although there is a faint rumble from Allston about pigs being greased or some such, so perhaps all is not yet lost. But for now, here are all of the dates that are fully pig-greased. In case you've forgotten how awesome Swirlies are, check out the awesome video for "Bell." Every time we watch, we are transported to the back bedroom of a bungalow in Central Pennsylvania, Fall 1993. Magic!

07.21 -- Baltimore, MD -- Talking Head
07.22 -- Washington, DC -- Rock & Roll Hotel
07.23 -- Philadelphia, PA -- Johnny Brenda's (2PM)
07.24 -- New York, NY -- Beekman's Beer Garden (3PM)

>> Billing your band as an amalgamation of three styles is a daring proposition, and it is downright fool-hardy, these days anyway, to state one of those styles is ska. So we were very pleasantly surprised when we listened to two new tracks from 11:59. Firstly, because neither of the upstart trio from Sydney, Australia's songs were ska numbers. But mostly because the threesome plays angular guitar pop in the vein of all the youthful UK greats of the last decade. 11:59 has issued a series of singles and EPs during the last four years, and its most recent is a digital single entitled Ou Est Le Tissier. Released in May and comprised of two tunes, it is the latter number, "Girls Girls Girls," that captured our ear, with its vocal harmonies, guitar attack and uptempo rhythm. You can stream the tune via the Soundcloud embed below, and we highly recommend that you do. We were so moved we included it in our New Music Night DJ set last month. It's a spikey guitar-pop anthem, a perfect anthem for summer nights and beer drinking with the mates.

1159 - Girls Girls Girls by oneonefivenine

>> Philly-based post-hardcore concern Cannons have returned with a new EP that expands the quartet's palate to include not only satisfying, brawny punk but now also quirky Stylophone instrumentals. The collection is called Cuddled By Giants, and it's a bit odd, but it fits with Cannons' personality (Cuddled By Giants opens with a track called "You Might Be Scum," for example), first made evident on the band's crackling 2010 debut Friendly Muscles, which we wrote about here. In the interim between the two releases Cannons downsized from four to three members and released the free teaser The Japam Demos to the Interzizzles via Bandcamp [download]. One of the highlights of the new EP is the hooky hard rocker "All The Glue You Can Huff!," which amusingly alternates la-la-la backing vocals with scritchy, Pond-esque guitars. You remember Pond, right (we hope so, as the Internet can barely remember)? Cannons released Cuddled By Giants May 26, and you can grab the whole shebang at Bandcamp right here for three paltry American dollars. You should do that. By way of appetite-whetting, stream "All The Glue You Can Huff!" below.

June 29, 2011

Rock Over Boston North Adams: Wilco's Solid Sound Festival

[Photos from Wilco's Solid Sound Festival at MassMOCA in North Adams, MA 6/24-6/26/2011. Photos by Michael Piantigini.]

It rained. Like, a lot. I'm generally skeptical about big music festivals. Overcrowded, hot, overpriced concessions, and acts I'd rather see in a dark club at night rather than a massive dusty field in broad daylight. But I'll be damned if Wilco don't have this all figured out. I doubt you'd find very many of the reported 6300 (at its max) attendees of Solid Sound with anything bad to say, even about all that rain. It was a nuisance at the time (and I have the shoes to prove it), but it already seems like a distant footnote.

Sure, the letters crawling down the clock tower at the entrance spelled Wilco, but the vibe here was more celebration than marketing opportunity. I suppose some more cynical than I (if that's possible) could argue that Wilco's latter-day reasonableness is their weakness, but here at Solid Sound, at least, it was decidedly in our favor. Beers topped out at $5, sandwiches at $6 (with chips!), the crucial rain ponchos were $2, Popsicles were a buck, and bottles of water - also one damn dollar. By Sunday, I was almost begging to be ripped off in some way. The closest I came was the money I seemed to be separated from in Euclid Records' extraordinarily good pop-up record store on site, but since I got a bunch of great records in return we'll call it even. The man I assumed to be the store's owner told me "yeah, for one weekend you might have the best used record store in the country." We may have.

Handpicked by Wilco, the bands at the festival covered a fair amount of territory. The edges of noisy garage psych were covered by festival-openers Purling Hiss and Sic Alps, folkies Sara Lee and Johnny (that's Sara Lee Guthrie, of course) got Saturday started, while indie pop was later covered by Brooklyn's Here We Go Magic. Sixties soul was covered by near-legend Syl Johnson (who loves to talk - justifiably - about how Wu Tang Clan paid him a boatload of money for a sample, and about his recent box set), 70's roots rock by The Band's confirmed legend, Levon Helm, and 80's pop was taken care of by legend-in-some-circles Neil Finn and his new band, Pajama Club.

As is fitting the family atmosphere at Solid Sound, the various Wilco side projects well-represented: Mikael Jorgensen's Pronto was missed by this reporter, but John Stirratt and Pat Sansone's The Autumn Defense played to an overflow crowd in the smaller Courtyard C, and Glenn Kotche and Nels Cline were inescapable), Neil's son Liam Finn played a crackerjack set on Saturday. He sounded at times like his father, but with a much bigger, more rocking sound that warrants further investigation.

Courtyard D's brick borders were filled by Nels Cline and Thurston Moore's guitar duo Pillow Wand's squalling one hour noise improv barely 90 minutes after JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound's solid Chicago soul and funk groove had people dancing in the same spot.

Our hosts Wilco headlined playing full 2-hour sets on Friday and Saturday night, and played only a couple of songs twice: their new taut new-wavy single "I Might," and another new one, "Born Alone." The small handful of other new tracks they debuted hinted at a peppier, poppier new album when The Whole Love is released this fall. Any Wilco fatigue I might have been experiencing dissipated rather quickly as they dug into their catalog highlights both old ("Shouldn't Be Ashamed," "I Got You (at the End of the Century)" on Friday; "Box Full of Letters," "Passenger Side" on Saturday) and new ("Impossible Germany," "Bull Black Nova" on Friday, "Hate It Here," "One Wing" on Saturday). A festival like this was made for guest spots, of course: they followed up their "I Got You" on Friday night with Neil Finn joining them for his similarly titled Split Enz classic and Saturday brought some guest guitar work from Liam Finn on "You Never Know," and some vocals from Sara Lee Guthrie (and her bandmate Johnny Irion) on her grandfather Woody's lyrics to "California Stars."

Levon Helm and His Rambling Band
closed it all out with "The Weight," of course, though some of us were winding the mountainous Route 2 back home by that point. We saw enough of his set to regret it, though. He's a legend for a reason, and his band has a confidence and a gravity befitting that legend. Glad I got the chance to see him. He does a regular series of concerts in his home studio in Woodstock, NY for a small audience. Might be a worthwhile pilgrimage.

MassMOCA - and North Adams in general - were gracious hosts and it's easy to see why Wilco would want to base their showcase here. Plus, the remoteness of the spot keeps the numbers manageable. It was not at all difficult to keep running into friends - and members of Wilco and the other bands - all over the museum's campus. Might has well have been in a friend's backyard.

-Michael Piantigini

WILCO: Intertubes | Facebook | Twitter | Solid Sound

June 27, 2011

Through The Kaleidoscope: An Interview With Ringo Deathstarr's Elliot Frazier

Ringo Deathstarr
Clicky Clicky has worshipped at the altar of Ringo Deathstarr since we were turned onto the band by the Spoilt Victorian Child blog and record label in early 2007. The Texas-based shoegaze titans (back then we think HQ was Beaumont, but these days it's Austin) made a formidable first impression with beautiful, delicate demos and squalling guitar anthems, and -- as we note below -- singer and guitarist Elliot Frazier has consistently delivered on the promise of those early recordings. The band's performances are riotous, the Deathstarr's "fuck it" attitude is refreshing, and we couldn't be more excited for the trio's show this Saturday at Great Scott in Boston, Mass. Although Twitpic currently places Ringo Deathstarr at Steve Albini's Electrical Audio studio, and the band is in the midst of an ambitious U.S. tour, we were able to convince Mr. Frazier to sit still long enough to type up responses to a couple rounds of questions, which we present below. The Deathstarr has local support for Saturday's show from Young Adults, making the night a no-brainer. Check out the interview below, then come on out for the filth and the fury. We reviewed Ringo Deathstarr's hotly anticipated debut full-length Colour Trip right here in May.

CC Ever since the time I first became aware of Ringo Deathstarr in February 2007, the band's aesthetic has remained fairly consistent. Even accounting for the more articulated, dancey rhythms of the recent singles and the full-length, Ringo Deathstarr's vision hasn't drastically changed over the last four years. Frankly, as a guy who has had his share of disappointments with bands changing their sounds too drastically (say, Rocketship's transformation from twee-gaze dynamo to the more electronic/dance oriented stuff), we are extremely grateful you've stayed the course. Is consistency something you consciously consider as a songwriter?

EF Yes, we feel your pain. We don't want to change our methods for playing music, i.e. gradually get softer or less guitar-oriented. But, we don't want to do the same record twice. Our sound will evolve, but I don't think we will stop playing fuzzed-out songs with poppy melodies any time soon.

CC Is there still some musical perfection you're trying to attain? Have you ever written a song and said, "well, it's never gonna get better than that one."

EF No, I've never thought that. I do think we can't get our next record to sound any more like Loveless, for example. We don't want to either. So, we will just try and have a different vibe, maybe more energy or whatever.

CC Will the band ever record a studio version of "Your Town?" Do you guys ever play it live?

EF There is a studio version on Sparkler, which is coming out on vinyl next month. We have played it a few times.

CC I think I read Sparkler is getting issued in England now?

EF Yeah, [it's] gonna be on vinyl. Why should Japan be the only place with that album?

CC As far as I can recall, your first release was via a small U.K. label. And the footage of the Japanese shows in particular suggests that Ringo Deathstarr is far bigger in Japan than the U.S. From your perspective, does it seem like non-U.S. audiences "get" Ringo Deathstarr more than domestic fans? If so, can you think of anything to attribute that to? The disparity perplexes me.

EF Yeah, I suppose the other countries get it more, probably because they are smaller... the same thing has been true for many bands in the past.

CC Have you (or anyone in the band) ever had your heart broken by a band that just changed too much, all at once?

EF Death Cab For Cutie, Green Day, Interpol...

CC You work at American Apparel. Alex's Tumblr (I'm not a stalker, I swear) gives me the sense that she is more about fashion than you are. Is the gig at American Apparel just a job, or do you have any greater interest in fashion at all?

EF We are into fashion for sure. I used to aspire to be a fashion photographer, but I didn't move to NYC or LA right after high school so it didn't work out. I like used clothing stores the best. American Apparel is just a job though. I receive and send shipments.

CC Given that interest in fashion photography, it seems odd that Ringo Deathstarr is, shall we say, under-merchandised? I think I've only ever seen one Ringo Deathstarr t-shirt design, and that was recently on Facebook. I don't even know if you actually sold it. And we read things and talk to bands all the time talking about merch being a high-margin, potentially formidable revenue stream for a touring act. Is there something distasteful you find about merchandising Ringo Deathstarr, or is it just a matter of limited resources?

EF We have been making our own shirts since the beginning of this year. but it takes a lot of time and money to make the amount that we need. Time is the biggest resource that we lack.

CC How did you get away with playing a dozen shows at South By Southwest this year? I am surprised promoters in Austin don't come back to you with a little, "well, you guys are here all the time...."

EF SXSW is just its own entity, so it doesn't affect the promoters at all. We try not to play too much in Austin, we did Chaos In Tejas recently in May, and won't play there again 'til July 16th. SXSW is more about playing to as many people as possible, since there's a lot that are from out of town.

CC Do you already have songs for a new record? Will there be new Ringo Deathstarr music in stores before the year is out?

EF Yeah we have some songs. I can't say either way if it will be released before year's end. Probably a single or something.

CC Ummmm. Weren't you a quartet for a while?

EF The band has been a 3-piece, a 4-piece, a 3-piece again, a 4-piece again, now back to three.

CC You collect VHS tapes. Your house is on fire -- which cassettes get stuffed in your pants as you flee the inferno?

EF "Kids," "Encino man," and "Goodfellas."

CC Really? A Pauley Shore movie is in your top 3? Or are you more of a Brendan Fraser fan?

EF If you're edged cuz I'm weezing off your grindage, just chill. Cuz if I had the whole Brady Bunch thing happenin' at my pad, I'd go grind over there. So don't tax my gig so hardcore, cruster.

CC You got it.
Ringo Deathstarr's "Imagine Hearts"

June 25, 2011

Footage: Archers Of Loaf's "Harnessed In Slums"

The web exclusive from the band's appearance Friday night on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Jimmy Kimmel Live. Strong. [A hat tip to The Koomdogg for the correction and another to Mr. Breeze for sending us the link in the first place].

Young Adults with Ringo Deathstarr | Great Scott, Boston | July 2

Ringo Deathstarr with Young Adults
We don't know how to make this more plain: next Saturday night's show at Boston's Great Scott with Austin-based shoegaze assassins Ringo Deathstarr and local ambient punk heroes Young Adults may very well be the show of the summer. By our count it is The Deathstarr's third area gig, although coincidentally (or not?) we've been violently ill for the trio's past two Boston dates and therefore we have yet to see their brand of deafening chaos live. We'll have an interview with Ringo Deathstarr online later this week and will offer more exposition about them then. Saturday will also be the first time we've seen Young Adults, again due to a series of unfortunate circumstances. Bostonians with their ear to the ground can breathe a sigh of relief: while founding Young Adults bassist Demitri Swan has left the band, Chris and Kurt Villon have recruited a successor and plan to continue Young Adults' remarkable rise out of the basements of Allston-Brighton and into the regional and even international consciousness. Tickets are allegedly still available for the show; don't be stupid. Prague-based Amdiscs is still selling Young Adults' debut full-length Black Hole as an LP or digital download right here.

Young Adults' "Let Us Out"

June 21, 2011

Today's Hotness: Fonda, Lilac

>> It's an all-too-familiar story: good band releases three records, drops off the map, and the word is the band members are doing "adult" "stuff" like earning a living, starting a family, finishing the advanced degree, et cetera. What happens much less frequently than we'd like has fortunately happened to dream-pop lifers Fonda: after an eight-year hiatus, the LA-based act has returned to making music. Fonda first formed almost two decades ago when core members David Klotz and Emily Cook (now married with children) met in Hollywood. We didn't know Fonda's work the first time around, but its forthcoming Better Days EP's arresting presentation of sounds first made famous by My Bloody Valentine, Ride and Slowdive is quite engaging. We were particularly intrigued to learn that former The Mighty Lemon Drops guitarist -- and former producer for Clicky Clicky favorites The Hush Now -- David Newton was once part of the band, although he is no longer. Better Days closes with the humming, pulsing delight "Summertime Flight," which the band was cool enough to allow us to post for download. The song opens with a subdued verse before bursting open into a strident, elegiac smiler, during which Mr. Klotz and Ms. Cook blissfully harmonize "you've wasted your life, you've wasted your life on me."

Fonda -- "Summertime Flight" -- Better Days
[right click and save as]
[buy Better Days from Fonda at Bandcamp right here]

>> A lot of fizzing 60's jangle (guitars! organ! tambourine!) and a little bit of shoegaze make Lilac's self-titled EP something we've been returning to again and again. The relatively new, San Francisco-based quartet describes itself alternately as "pop religion" and "heavy driving acid grunge dream," neither of which makes sense to us. But the music on Lilac's new EP -- in addition to being remarkable and efficient -- suggests a broad vision that implicates elements of Rocketship and The Stone Roses and The Kinks and The Monkees, and those are all good things. The resulting music is wholly immediate, but if we had to point our finger at a stand-out track from the new EP we'd have to select "Days," which commences with an insistent bass line and the sort of guitar jangle that is hard-wired into our hearts; an over-driven, riotous bridge and chorus around the two-minute mark transforms the song into an undeniable summer anthem. Lilac has been available on ITunes and presumably other digital storefronts since June 7; the EP will be available on vinyl from Omega Records July 19.


June 20, 2011

Footage: Yuck's "Shook Down"

Premiered by Consequence of Sound, pimped by Pantsfork, but if you still haven't watched this video for Yuck's terrific mid-tempo strummer "Shook Down," you really, really should. It features naked people in it, but we're tired of calling things not safe for work; you are either a grown-up who is allowed to know what a human body looks like, or you are not. Can't wait to hear new material from these guys. The London-based quartet/sometimes quintet releases "Shook Down" as a double A-sided singled with "Milkshake" next week, as we first wrote here in mid-May. Here's an embed of "Milkshake" in case you missed it first time around.

"Milkshake" by Yuck

June 19, 2011

Pleased To Meet: Faculties

We don't imagine there is a more die-hard (die-hardier? with a vengeance, sir) Haywood fan out there than us. Consequently, we spend a preposterous amount of time and energy wondering when we will hear new music from any of the band's principals, as Haywood has been mostly dead and/or not-quite alive for a decade now. And so we are very pleased to report multi-instrumentalist Rob Viola, who manned the drum kit for the late, great 'Wood, has returned with myriad ambient electronic and electropop projects. Many of these operate under the nom de guerre Statikluft, and we've been living with a lot of Statikluft music for months and months. But, much to our surprise, Mr. Viola has commissioned a new vessel with vocalist Vinny Lopez called Faculties, and the Brooklyn-based duo's first offering, the song "Weekend Warrior," is a dense, deep hybrid of deli-sliced beats, sinewy guitar and synth hooks, shot through with plenty of ghosts in the machine.

The story goes that Mssrs. Viola and Lopez met when the former was impressed by the latter's karaoke rendition of "Everybody's Talkin'," a prominent tune from the soundtrack to the film Midnight Cowboy; surprisingly, Faculties is Lopez' first band. "Weekend Warrior" leads off Faculties' forthcoming self-titled EP and it is gorgeously arrayed and exquisitely textured and if you are fans of acts like Arc In Round or White Laces, you are going to be very, very excited about this. Below is an embed of the tune to stream or download; the full EP is expected to drop next month. Everyone, this is Faculties. Faculties, this is everyone.

FACULTIES - Weekend Warrior

Faculties: Interzizzles | Facebook | Vimeo | Soundcloud

June 17, 2011

New Music Night DJ Sets | River Gods | 16/17 June

River Gods New Music Night with Brad Almanac
Here are the songs we played whilst manning the figurative decks last night in the booth at the fabulous River Gods in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Set Two/10:00PM/Jay
1. Bos Angeles -- "Beach Slalom"
[blogged / listen]
2. Gold-Bears -- "Record Store" -- Are You Falling In Love?
[blogged / listen / buy]
3. Rival Schools -- "The Ghost Is Out There" -- Pedals
4. The Henry Clay People -- "The Honey Love He Sells" -- This Is A Desert EP
5. Soccermom -- "That's When You Know" -- Unreleased 10" Master
[expected release Fall 2011]
6. Let's Wrestle -- "There's A Rock Star In My Room" -- Nursing Home
7. Cats And Cats And Cats -- "Celebration" -- Motherwhale
[listen / buy]
8. Maritime -- "Paraphernalia" -- Human Hearts
[blogged / listen / buy]
9. Lilac -- "Days" -- Lilac
10. The Feelies -- "Time Is Right" -- Here Before
[blogged / buy]
11. Little Gold -- "Oh Dad" -- 7"
[blogged / buy]
12. Eldridge Rodriguez -- "What A Difference A Drug Makes" -- You Are Released
[blogged / buy]
13. Get Help -- "You Should Be Home By Now" -- The Good Green Earth
[blogged / listen / buy]
14. Point Juncture, WA -- "Bones" -- Handsome Orders
15. 11:59 -- "Girls, Girls, Girls" -- Ou Est Le Tisser
16. Yuck -- "Suicide Policeman (live)" -- Daytrotter Session
[blogged / listen]
17. Fire Island Pines -- "You Didn't Mean To Hurt Me" -- Bratislava EP
[blogged / listen]
18. Grass Is Green -- "Twinkle Toes" -- Chibimoon
[blogged / listen]
19. Antiques -- "ETC" -- JWNS
[blogged / listen]

Set Four/12:00AM/Jay
1. Buffalo Tom -- "Untitled" -- Skins
[blogged / buy]
2. Destroyer -- "Kaputt" -- Kaputt
3. The Hush Now -- "Thorns (Remix)" -- Constellations 2.0
4. Cookies -- "Boycrazy" -- 10"
[blogged / listen / buy]
5. Cold Cave -- "Villains Of The Moon" -- Cherish The Light Years
[listen / buy]
6. Johnny Foreigner -- "With Who, Who And What I've Got (With Peach)" -- There When You Need It
[blogged / listen / buy]
7. Good Dangers -- "So Unkind"
[blogged / listen ]
8. Cannons -- "Beef Fiesta Medley" -- Cuddled By Giants
[listen / buy]
9. Ringo Deathstarr -- "Kaleidoscope" -- Colour Trip
[blogged / buy]
10. Fonda -- "Summertime Flight" -- Better Days
11. Manorlady -- "International Boys Club" -- Home
[blogged / listen / buy]
12. The Raveonettes -- "Forget That You're Young" -- Raven In The Grave
[listen / buy]
13. Sun Airway -- "Wild Palms" -- 7"
[blogged / listen / buy]
14. Arc In Round -- "Spirit" -- Diagonal Fields EP
[listen / buy]
15. Letting Up Despite Great Faults -- "Teenage Tide" -- Paper Crush EP
[listen / buy]
16. Barry Marino -- "I'm In A Band"
[listen / buy]

June 8, 2011

New Music Night with Brad Almanac + Jay Clicky Clicky | River Gods | 16 June

New Music Night with Brad Almanac + Jay Clicky Clicky | River Gods | 16 June
Yes. It's New Music Night Thursday, June 16, at River Gods in Cambridge, Mass. Your DJs are Brad of Bradley's Almanac and Jay of Clicky Clicky. Come marvel at the fresh sounds, come chug frosty beer, it all happens from 9PM-1AM a week from tomorrow. It's not just the place to be, it's the place to listen. Also, beer.

River Gods
125 River Street
Cambridge, MA

Accessible via Red Line at Central Square.

June 6, 2011

Today's Hotness: Archers Of Loaf, Dinosaur Jr., The Books

Icky Mettle
>> Merge Records announced Friday it will reissue all four full-lengths from seminal North Carolina indie rockers Archers Of Loaf, beginning with a remastered and expanded version of the quartet's 1993 debut long player Icky Mettle. Icky Mettle has been remastered by Bob Weston (who also recorded the band's devastatingly great 1995 full-length Vee Vee), and the reissue will include period-appropriate singles, b-sides and the completely bulletproof -- perhaps the greatest indie rock EP ever released -- Archers Of Loaf vs. The Greatest Of All Time. The expanded Icky Mettle will be issued Aug. 2 on CD and limited edition blue vinyl, and will also be available as digital download. Reissues of the aforementioned Vee Vee, All The Nation's Airports and White Trash Heroes (all of which were previously released on Alias, we believe) are slated for release in 2012.

Archers Of Loaf formed in 1991 in Chapel Hill (by way of Asheville), and along with Superchunk, The Connells, Small 23 (which at one time also featured Archers fronter Eric Bachmann on guitar) and countless others, helped establish the town and surrounding region as a mecca for indie rock. The quartet disbanded in 1998, but the Archers recently reunited and have 17 dates booked over the rest of the summer -- sadly none of the current shows are in Boston. For full dates and additional information, check out this post at the Merge Records blog.

>> Speaking of reissues and older stuff, it was disclosed today that Joyful Noise Recordings will reissue indie legends Dinosaur Jr's 1988 opus Bug -- the final record the band recorded with the original lineup intact before the reunion in the middle 2000s -- in a limited edition of 250 hand-numbered, purple cassettes with original eight-panel insert. Only half of those cassettes are being sold by the label online, and we wouldn't be surprised if they were already sold out (we just clicked the buy link and it still looks live). The other 125 copies will be sold by Dinosaur Jr this summer during its 15-date tour in which the band is playing Bug in its entirety. The 2011 Bug tour kicks off in Northampton, Massachusetts on June 21 and comes to Boston's Paradise Rock Club June 22.

>> The Books' Nick Zammuto disclosed at his blog Friday he is planning a new band that will perform new music he has been writing; the band will be a trio or quartet and Mr. Zammuto hopes the act will play shows before the year is out. A non-final version of one new song, "Yay," was posted to Soundcloud for a couple days over the weekend, but is now gone. However, folks who visit the Zammuto Soundcloud page will find a treasure trove of music to enjoy, not the least of which are several remastered songs from each of The Books' first three full lengths. The three records -- Thought For Food, The Lemon of Pink, and Lost And Safe [review] -- were re-mastered, re-designed and re-released by Temporary Residence after The Books signed on to the label for the release of last year's characteristically wonderous The Way Out; we reviewed The Way Out here last July. Check out four remastered tracks from The Books' fantastic Lost And Safe below, including the Clicky Clicky fave "Twelve Fold Chain." Zammuto intends to continue releasing new tracks for limited amounts of time, so if you are on the Soundcloud you'd be wise to start following him stat.

4 Tracks from Lost and Safe by The Books

June 5, 2011

Be Prepared: Louder My Dear | What's The Matter With You, Rock? | 10 June

Louder My Dear -- What's The Matter With You, Rock?
There is a shape-shifting, new wave heart beating (ahem, loudly) within the Midriff Records camp, within a new band that is as comfortable trading in raunchy guitar is it is with fluid electronics. Louder My Dear is the vehicle of Dave Grabowski, who previously helmed Midriff act Scuba. In addition to steering the nine-month old Louder My Dear, Mr. Grabowski is currently part of a unit (along with his brother, The Beatings' drummer Dennis Grabowski, who also plays guitar with LMD), that aids and abets E.R. Louder My Dear's forthcoming collection remarkably expands the aforementioned label's sonic aesthetic by drawing upon sounds as disparate as those made by Echo & The Bunnymen ("Just Kids") or the lesser known German synth pop concern Camouflage ("Angels & Eurotrash").

But viewing the quartet's work solely within the context of the label likely unfairly constrains listeners' ability to appreciate everthing that What's The Matter With You, Rock? can be. For all of its myriad, interesting aural textures, it is the relatively straightforward ballad "Little Boat," which closes the album, that steals the entire show. Basic acoustic guitar, a poignant set of lyrics and tasteful synth appointments and backing ahhhhhs together result in a weighty and beautiful sadness that demands rapt attention. It's the sort of song Michael Stipe could use to finance complete private school educations for all of his non-existent children. If there is one shortcoming of What's The Matter With You, Rock?, it is that the band's dazzling, dazzling cover of Slowdive's "Alison" is left off the record. Midriff releases the collection June 10; it's only a matter of time before you can purchase the record for yourself right here. In the meantime, channel "Alison" and Louder My Dear's own "Clamshack" below.

Louder My Dear's "Alison" (Slowdive Cover)

Louder My Dear's "Clamshack"

Louder My Dear: Internerds | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

YouTube Rodeo: Archers Of Loaf's "Bacteria" Live In Hollywood

June 3, 2011: "I only think south 'cause I know you'd never get there to find me, and blame me for the things I said, beating on something that's already dead, killing every part of it that's in your head. Your head."

June 2, 2011

Today's Hotness: Sun Airway, Antiques

Sun Airway
>> Contemporary dream pop giants Sun Airway disclosed today that Dead Oceans will issue in July a new 7" single from the Philly-based act. The single features the songs "Wild Palms" and "Symphony In White, No. 2;" both will be available at the usual digital storefronts this coming Tuesday. In a twist that we love, the songs will not debut at a blog, but on TERRESTRIAL RADIO SUCKAH! Philadelphia's WXPN gets the honor, and the songs will be played on Dave P's Making Time radio show Friday from 7-9PM, which yes, of course, you can stream right here. Dig it. Sun Airway recently wrapped a short tour supporting Asobi Seksu, and plays a special multimedia event Friday night in Philadelphia at the First Unitarian Church. Tickets and more information is posted right here.

>> While it isn't flawless, there is enough loose jangle and stray slack on Antiques' forthcoming, enigmatically titled JWNS that we keep listening. Lo-fi is the order of the day, but fortunately Antiques has the songs to back it up. Album opener "Turn Me Loose" (not a Loverboy cover), "Letter #2" and "Making Friends" carry the pleasant stale-beer smell of Bob Pollard sketches. The latter song we like in particular because of the vocal production; there is an interesting breathiness and reverb and layering going on. And when the big guitar chords (underpinned by some organ? Or are we just hearing things now?) kick in, "Making Friends" reveals itself to be an anthemic mid-tempo sparkler. For something a little more peppy, fractured and emo, we direct your attention to the big, diaphanous strummer "ETC." Antiques is based in at least three cities presently, which we expect makes it difficult for the band members to stop by to borrow a pack of Ernie Balls or smokes or whatnot. Despite that distance, JWNS -- which is slated for release June 28 -- will be Antiques' fourth full length (the band began life as an outfit called Sparrowhawk in 2003, apparently). The band's Tumblr jokes that tour dates are "coming never," but there also appears to be a live shot from Charlie's Kitchen in Cambridge, so maybe if you all wish very hard... In the meantime, check out the embed of "Making Friends" below.

June 1, 2011

Today's Hotness: The Swirlies, Good Dangers

>> [PHOTO CREDIT: Brad Searles] That distant rumbling you half-hear and half-feel can only mean that legendary chimp rock superheroes The Swirlies are powering up for an indeterminate span of time. We caught wind of the activity via a well-informed Facebook friend Tuesday, and confirmed this afternoon that, yes, in fact The Swirlies will play Philadelphia's Johnny Brenda's Saturday July 23rd. Curiously, the gig will be a matinee. We can't find other dates, not even at The Swirlies' web dojo, but we did notice that the band's bio was updated only last week. We have heard pretty credible information that additional but limited East Coast appearances beyond the JB's date are a possibility. Watch this space for more information. The Swirlies are best known for a series of spectacular releases on Taang! records in the early '90s, including 1992's What To Do About Them EP [MP3s], 1993's mind-blowing Blonder Tongue Audio Baton [MP3s] and 1994's Brokedick Car EP [MP3s]. The mercurial act last roared to life in the winter of 2009, and we wrote about the Philly and Cambridge shows here and here respectively.

The Swirlies' "Wrong Tube"

>> Speaking of 2009: it's been a long time coming, but Good Dangers, the London-based guitar pop outfit that rose from the ashes of spiky pop purveyors Assembly Now, has finally issued a debut single. We'd been in touch with the quintet -- which touts the core members of Assembly Now along with new member Jenny on keys -- as far back as November 2009 and had been waiting on new recordings ever since. We are happy to report it has been well worth the wait. The digital-only single -- a split with Peppercorn issued by Cosine Records May 31 -- features the Good Dangers' "So Unkind;" catch the stream below and watch the video right here. The music isn't jarringly different from the latter Assembly Now efforts, particularly the earnest vocals, but there is a new lush density and hypnotic repetition that clearly sets "So Unkind" apart. While the song is the band's first official release, we are excited to find that there are already three other videos posted to Vimeo: "Brasilia;" "Waves;" and "Beat Of Your Heart." All of the tracks are strong, and we're hopeful an EP or even full length is in the offing. Longtime readers may recall that Assembly Now's song "It's Magnetic" was [still is] one of our favorites of 2007, although our blog post from December 2007 saying as much was rendered useless by the shuttering of web playlister Imeem.

Good Dangers' "So Unkind"