November 28, 2011

Rock Over Boston: Buffalo Tom 25th Anniversary | Night 3

[Buffalo Tom and guests at the Brighton Music Hall, Allston, MA 11/27/2011. Photos by Michael Piantigini.]

Night 1 coverage here and night 2 is here.

"Did you come here to remember, or to forget?" - Buffalo Tom's "It's You"

And so a terrific weekend of sweaty, feedback-drenched rockstalgia came to a close and Buffalo Tom blew out the candles on 25 years. Night 3 didn't have as many surprises and guests as the first two nights, but the diehards - many of whom were there all weekend - didn't need any gimcrackery. The A-level Buffalo Tom set was plenty great on its own. "Fortune Teller," "Sunday Night" and "Torch Singer" (not "Torch Song," as one drunken, confused punter kept asking for Saturday night) were welcome set additions, as was the rarely played "Porchlight." A popular singalong around my household, its rarity is usually blamed on drummer Tom Maginnis' apparent dislike of playing it. To add insult to injury, Janovitz and Colbourn had a lot of fun at his expense, reminding everyone of Maginnis' being the target of Sassy Magazine's "Cute Drummer Alert" back in 1992 (1991? something like that).

It's worth noting that only a couple of songs from their most recent pair of albums got aired and that's a shame. Three Easy Pieces and Skins are as worthy as anything else in the catalog and, as fun as it is to look back, the present ain't exactly slouching (at least where Buffalo Tom is concerned).

An important element was missing all weekend - especially Sunday, the last night: Billy Ruane. A staple at Buffalo Tom shows since the beginning, he could always be counted on to commandeer the stage to exhort the crowd into calling the band back for another encore. They dedicated "Larry" to him last night, but that there was only one encore was in itself a fitting tribute.

There were some pro-looking cameras around on Friday and Saturday, so here's hoping they'll share all that soon.

Buffalo Tom at Brighton Music Hall 11/27/2011:
Arise, Watch - with Mike Gent
Fortune teller - with Mike Gent
Sunday Night
Kitchen Door
Would Not Be Denied - with Chris Keene from Mean Creek
Sodajerk - with Aurore Ounjian from Mean Creek
Torch Singer - with Tanya Donelly
Don't Forget Me - with Tanya Donelly
It's You
Late At Night
Velvet Roof
Taillights Fade
Seeker - with Mike O'Malley and Mike Gent
Frozen Lake - with Tanya Donelly

Buffalo Tom: Tubes | Facebook | Twitter

-Michael Piantigini

November 27, 2011

Rock Over Boston: Buffalo Tom 25th Anniversary | Night 2

[Buffalo Tom and guests at the Brighton Music Hall, Allston, MA 11/26/2011. Photos by Michael Piantigini.]

Buffalo Tom's 25th Anniversary celebration rolled on last night with night two of their three game series (night one report here). There was no dip in intensity (25 years? No biggie!) and the band dug out a few more nuggets for us diehards. Can't remember the last time I heard them play "Mountains of Your Head" or "Would Not Be Denied" and they were well worth the wait. In fact, there was relatively few repeats, outside of a couple of their firmly ensconced setlist hits.

Bill Janovitz appeared to be having more fun than ever on guitar - shaking, bending, and flailing his SGs, sending them screaming through his pair of Marshall's. J who?

So, no, there was no repeat visit from J Mascis, but Mission of Burma loop man and Shellac (and former Volcano Suns) bassist Bob Weston handled the low end for "Rachael," freeing up Chris Colbourn to be the frontman we didn't know he had inside him. Ted Leo - fresh from a performance at Occupy Boston - reprised his guest shot on "Reason Why," but not before his surprising cameo on "Crutch" (and did another short opening set). Phil Aiken, who put in some time on keyboards with Buffalo Tom back around their Smitten album, sat in on a few songs where those parts have long been missed. Members of Boston anthem-rockers Mean Creek, who opened the night, helped out on "Would Not Be Denied," and "Sodajerk," and Fuzzy's Chris Toppin and Hilken Mancini came back with their repeat business as well.

TV's Mike O'Malley was back for "The Seeker" too - but this time he was fronting a lineup that had two-time Red Sox World Series GM, newly christened Chicago Cubs GM, and recent Boston ex-pat Theo Epstein on guitar, reportedly just back from his high school reunion ("Oh, those old things? Those are just my World Series rings!"). I tried to get a "let's go Red Sox" chant going, but there were no takers.

Series finale tonight. Whaddaya got?

Buffalo Tom at Brighton Music Hall 11/26/2011:
Taillights Fade
Rachael - with Bob Weston
Guilty Girls
Would Not Be Denied - with Chris Keene from Mean Creek
Sodajerk - with Aurore Ounjian from Mean Creek
Mountains of Your Head
Your Stripes - with Chris Toppin
CC and Callas
Darl - with Hilken Mancini
Crutch - with Ted Leo
Reason Why - with Ted Leo
She's Not Your Thing
Arise, Watch
You'll Never Catch Him
Scottish Windows - with Phil Aiken
Treehouse - with Chris Toppin, Hilken Mancini, and Phil Aiken
Wiser - with Chris Toppin and Phil Aiken
The Seeker - with Mike O'Malley and Theo Epstein
I'm Allowed

Buffalo Tom: Tubes | Facebook | Twitter

-Michael Piantigini

November 26, 2011

Rock Over Boston: Buffalo Tom 25th Anniversary | Night 1

[Buffalo Tom and guests at the Brighton Music Hall, Allston, MA 11/25/2011. Photos by Michael Piantigini.]


I can't claim to have been there quite at the beginning, but I'm in for about 20 of Buffalo Tom's 25 years. At that time, there was no streaming advance blog single and to get ahead of the curve on "alternative" rock, so it really helped if you worked on a college radio station. My first Buffalo Tom memory is eagerly huddling in WXPL's production studio with several cohorts to listen to the just-arrived "Velvet Roof" advance single. We listened to it several times in a row, and Let Me Come Over remains one of my all-time favorite albums.

How perfect, then, that they kicked off their weekend-long celebration of their 25th anniversary with a performance of that song every bit as inspired as it was on that single. Then they barely took a breath for another five songs in what went on to be two hours of the most powerful and energetic show of theirs - and maybe of anyone's - that we've seen in ages.

There was a cavalcade of guest stars, but the clear highlight was the producer of their first two albums, Rolling Stone top guitarist lister, and Dinosaur Jr frontman J. Mascis, who joined them to reprise his leads on the first album's "Impossible" for the first time since that recording session (or thereabouts). He stuck around for "Sunflower Suit" and "Birdbrain" and, with that, the show was elevated to a noisy dual guitar bliss blitz. It's almost automatic that they sounded bigger than ever. And pity the poor guy standing next to me roughly in front of Mascis' stack (he only had one of his usual three) who didn't have earplugs and stuck his fingers in his ears for the entirety of those songs).

How do you carry on from there? By turning around and bringing out Belly/Throwing Muse/Breeder/Rhode Islander Tanya Donelly to add gentle harmonies to Let Me Come Over's "Frozen Lake" and her parts of Skins' "Don't Forget Me," along with Sleepy Eyed's "It's You." Ted Leo joined in on "Reason Why," returning the favor of when Janovitz opened for his show and provided harmonies on his cover of the same back in the spring, and scene colleagues Hilken Mancini and Chris Toppin of the late, great Fuzzy added their harmonies to a few more as the night went on.

Though TV's Mike O'Malley doesn't sing in his role on Glee (or so I'm told), he turned a fun and worthy lead on a cover of The Who's "The Seeker" (along with Figg and Gentleman Mike Gent strumming away on acoustic guitar). J. Mascis returned to close out the night guitar dueling with Janovitz on "Cortez The Killer," the guitar solo(s) he was pretty much born to play.

The packed house lingered afterwards, probably stunned by the sonic weapon that is Mascis' wailing (which I hope no one decides to weaponize).

Openers Eugene Mirman and Ted Leo had to fight a non-enthusiastic, chatterbox crowd. Maybe they were all carb-drunk from the holiday? Both are pros and have been there before. Putting comedians in front of rock club crowds is almost cruel, but Mirman was hilarious and added his studied (not exactly) theremin skills to Leo's finale. Leo said he was struggling with a road-weary voice (treating it with a terrifying-sounding Jameson-hot sauce concoction), but you wouldn't have known it when he started singing. His cover of Uncle Tupelo classic "Whiskey Bottle" was as great as it was unexpected.

What else can I not expect? I guess we'll find out tonight!

Here's the full set list:

Buffalo Tom at Brighton Music Hall 11/25/2011:
Velvet Roof
Kitchen Door
I'm Allowed
Three Easy Pieces
Impossible - with J Mascis
Sunflower suit - with J Mascis
Birdbrain - with J Mascis
Frozen Lake - with Tanya Donelly
It's You - with Tanya Donelly
Don't Forget Me - with Tanya Donelly
Reason Why - with Ted Leo
Late at Night
Your Stripes - with Chris Toppin
Darl - with Hilken Mancini
Treehouse with Tanya Donelly, Chris Toppin, and Hilken Mancini
Taillights Fade
Arise, Watch - with Mike Gent
The Seeker - with Mike O'Malley and Mike Gent
Cortez the Killer - with J Mascis

Buffalo Tom: Tubes | Facebook | Twitter

-Michael Piantigini

November 22, 2011

Johnny Foreigner "You vs. Everything" Single/Poster On Offer Friday, Videos Galore

After a small delay (the single was originally to be issued 14 November), Birmingham, England-based indie titans Johnny Foreigner have announced the details of its single for the song "You vs. Everything," a song from the band's best-of-2011 mega album Johnny Foreigner vs. Everything [review]. The digital single comes packaged with a "super highly limited" edition, double-sided A3 print (roughly 11x17; image 1; image 2) created by the band's longtime visual media assassin Lewes Herriot. The single includes not only the rah-dee-ohhh edit of "You vs. Everything," but also the b-sides "PS, Not Soon Enough," "Johnny Foreigner Vs The Hipster Garden Party" and "If I'm The Most Famous (Robot) Boy You've Fucked, Then Honey, Yr In (Robot) Trouble." The video for the truly wonderful "PS, Not Soon Enough" is embedded below. That's all very exciting, right? Well, even more exciting is that "Johnny Foreigner Vs The Hipster Garden Party" is an 18-minute live set of the band performing in someone's garden in France on tour earlier in 2011. Surely you recall this video clip? Anyhoozle, the entire "You vs. Everything" package will be on order from the band's trusty label Alcopop! Records beginning Friday, so don't go all crazy Black Friday shopping at midnight or whatnot and space this or we expect the end result will be NO POSTER FOR YOU (/soup nazi voice). So WATCH THIS SPACE Friday, have your music-buying fingers limber, and go get 'em, indie rocker. In case you missed it, we published an extensive interview with Johnny Foreigner's Alexei Berrow, Junior Elvis Washington Laidley and Kelly Southern right here last month.

November 21, 2011

Clicky Clicky Radio | Playlist and Archive for 11.17.2011

Stream the archive below, (or download it!):

itsnotyouitsme - it might be time to leave this place and go mingle with our heroes - everybody's pain is magnificent (2011)
Future of the Left - My Wife Is Unhappy - Polymers Are Forever (2011)
Mission of Burma - Forget Yourself - The Sound, The Speed The Light (2009)
Soccer Mom - Unwanted Sounds - You Are Not Going To Heaven (2011)
Modifiers - Favorite Waitress - Show And Tell (1998)
Pete Townshend - Get Inside (demo) - Quadrophenia (2011 Director's Cut Box Set)
Eyesinweasel - To My Beloved Martha - Live in the Middle East (2001)
The Housemartins - The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death - The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death (1987)
Male Bonding - Tame The Sun - Endless Now (2011)
Thee Oh Sees - Contraption/Soul Desert - Carrion Crawler/The Dream (2011)
Lambchop - If Not I'll Just Die - Mr. M (2012)
Imperial Teen - Runaway - Feel The Sound (2012)
Hospitality - Betty Wang - Hospitality (2012)

*** Buffalo Tom Tribute in honor of their 25th Anniversary shows at Brighton Music Hall November 25th, 26th, 27th, 2011!!
Buffalo Tom - Deep In The Ground - Buffalo Tom (also on their original demo, 1986ish)
Buffalo Tom - Birdbrain (live) - Taillights Fade UK extended single (1992)
Buffalo Tom - Porchlight - Let Me Come Over (1992)
Bill Janovitz & Crown Victoria - Revealed - Fireworks on TV (2004)
Hilken Mancini & Chris Colbourn - Situations Count! - Hilken Mancini & Chris Colbourn (2005)
Buffalo Tom - The Big Light - Skins (2011)

Grails - Reincarnation Blues - Doomsdayer's Holiday (2008)
Restorations - Val d'Or - Restorations (2011)
Letting Up Despite Great Faults - Teenage Tide - Paper Crush (2011)
Heads on Sticks - Steep Canyons - Brutish & Short (2011)
The Go Round - Angela - Gone (2011)
Caitlin Rose - Shanghai Cigarettes - Own Side Now (2011)
The Wandas - Long Time Running - The Wandas (2011)
R.E.M. - We All Go Back Where We Belong - Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth Part Garbage: The Best of R.E.M. 1982-2011 (2011)

-Michael Piantigini

November 18, 2011

YouTube Rodeo: Bandoliers' "May"

We like catchy British guitar pop. This is catchy British guitar pop. Bandoliers is a fledgling trio from Newcastle that released its debut double-A side single "Time" b/w "May" in September; you can download both tracks from Bandcamp right here.

November 16, 2011

Age Rings and Eldridge Rodriguez | Piano's and Public Assembly | 19-20 Nov.

Age Rings and Eldridge Rodriguez, Two Nights, Two Boroughs
New York! The monsters of Boston indie rock are coming for you: two bands, two boroughs, two nights. That would be Eldridge Rodriguez and Age Rings, neither of which include any members of Van Hagar, Saturday the 19th at Piano's in Manhattan, and Sunday the 20th at Public Assembly in Brooklyn. It's E.R.'s first New York show with a new line-up. That's tantamount to juggling flaming chainsaws! Maybe! And Age Rings just released one of the best records of the year. Full show details at the Facepalm invitilation page right here on the Interzuzzzzes. Listen to songs. Be the ball.

Age Rings by "Caught Up in the Sound"

Eldridge Rodriguez - Miss Me When I'm Gone [Live on WMBR Pipeline April 2011] by scubaix

November 15, 2011

YouTube Rodeo: Johnny Foreigner Covering "You Are Invited"

Johnny Foreigner vs. Birmingham vs. The Dismemberment Plan. Live at The Flapper. Nov. 13, 2011. Epic.

November 14, 2011

Clicky Clicky Radio | Playlist and Archive from 11.10.11.

Stream the archive below, (or download it!):

Pink Floyd - Raving And Drooling (live) - Wish You Were Here (2011 deluxe reissue)
Johnny Foreigner - Jess, You Got Yr Song, So Leave - Johnny Foreigner vs. Everything (2011)
Witches - Creature of Nature - Forever (2011)
The Jam - In The City - In The City (1977)
Tristen - Baby Drugs - Eager For Your Love 7" (2010)
The Cinema Twin - C'mon Today - C'mon Today (2011)
Elliott BROOD - If I Get Old - Days Into Years (2011)
Matthew Sweet - Divine Intervention - Acoustic & Live NoiseTrade Sampler (2011) Available free here!
John Wesley Harding - There's A Starbucks (Where The Starbucks Used To Be) - The Sound of His Own Voice (2011)
The Mountain Goats - This Year - The Sunset Tree (2005)
The Black Hollies - Benevolent Beacon - S/T 7" (2011)
Obits - I Want Results - Moody, Standard, and Poor (2011)
TV Casualty - Teenagers From Mars - TV Casualty EP (2011)
Waters - For The One - Out In The Light (2011)
Big Troubles - Misery - Romantic Comedy (2011)
Thee Oh Sees - The Dream - Carrion Crawler/The Dream (2011)
Reigning Sound - Everything I Do Is Wrong - Abdication...For Your Love EP (2011) - Get it FREE HERE!
The V-Roys - Sooner Or Later - Sooner Or Later (2011)
The Glands - When I Laugh - The Glands (2000)
Robert Pollard - Perfect This Time (demo) - (2011)
Pete Townshend - Joker James (demo) - Quadrophenia (2011 Deluxe Reissue)
Radiation City - Park - The Hands That Take You (2011)
Sleeping Bags - Pehr - Sleeping Bags (2011)
Tom Waits - Tell Me - Bad As Me (Deluxe Edition - 2011)
Ian Humberstone - House on The Hill - 7" (2011)
Bill Callahan - Baby's Breath - Apocalypse (2011)

-Michael Piantigini

November 10, 2011

Varsity Drag Top-Lining My Own Worst Enemy Release Show | Precinct | 11 Nov.

Varsity Drag, My Own Worst Enemy Record Release Show
To our knowledge, Friday night is your last chance to see Boston's best pop-punk act play before the year is out. See Varsity Drag tomorrow night, before they see you! OPRAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH YEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!! Show details at the Facebore Event page here.

Here's The Drag's nod to the late, great Billy Ruane, whose life is being celebrated tonight at Radio in Somerville. Details of that show here.

Rock Over Boston: Wooden Shjips, Birds of Avalon | TT's | 11.09.11

[Wooden Shjips and Birds of Avalon at TT the Bear's Place, Cambridge, MA 11/9/11. Photos by Michael Piantigini.]

November 6, 2011

Review: Johnny Foreigner | Johnny Foreigner Vs. Everything

Spoiler Alert: The chorus of "You vs. Everything" comes back, and when it does it's the greatest moment of the greatest song of the greatest album of the year. In a just world, the song would roll under the credits of dozens of feature-length teen dramedies by the middle of the decade. Or soundtrack montages of the young and the jilted, ditching soul-killing jobs, driving too fast in cars, smashing mailboxes, dreaming big dreams and proceeding with the business of Getting Over It And Getting On With It. In fact, the entirety of Johnny Foreigner's captivating third LP rides a unifying cinematic arc -- it's even divided into three acts -- from the first syllables of the blitzkrieging opening anthem (with the characteristically clunky name) to the final song's final beats winding down like a stiffening tin man.

The collection's cohesiveness is the product of something so very simple, it is easy to overlook it, that thing that elevates Johnny Foreigner Vs. Everything above the Birmingham, England-based indie titans' prior full lengths, that thing that likely makes the wildly ambitious 17-song set the best record of 2011. At bottom what makes Johnny Foreigner's new long-player so special is that it was created completely on the trio's own terms. No deadlines. No budgets. No producers. No one saying "no." As a result of the time and mental headspace this approach afforded the band, Johnny Foreigner Vs. Everything is not only beautifully conceived, but is also a completely unvarnished collection, in the sense that there is nothing that gets between what the band hears in its heads, and what fans hear on the record. It reminds us (although it occurs to us this may not be a real memory, brain is getting weird) of the reason Pennsylvania-based garage-psych legend Brother JT would strip off his clothes on stage: he didn't want anything inhibiting the transmission of the rock from him to the people.

On Johnny Foreigner Vs. Everything the melodies are grander, the emotions more potent, the texture and subtleties more refined. Sure, the record has a concept, but it needn't be speculated on or sussed out: fronter Alexei Berrow came right out and told fans what it was in one of the first interviews of the album's promotional cycle. As Mr. Berrow told Stereoboard in September, Johnny Foreigner Vs. Everything is less autobiographical than the prior two, and concerns itself with "the alternate universe theory; for every decision you make, there exists a world where you made the opposite. There's also internal monologue in the merits of experiencing stuff versus capturing it for posterity. There's some meta-fiction. The overall story is the world's only happy shipwreck, where, instead of drowning, everyone gains the power of flight."

The beating heart of the record, an amalgamation of harrowingly poignant ballads ("Johnny Foreigner vs. You," "Alternate Timelines Piling Up") and the band's characteristic, spitfire guitar anthems ("If I'm The Most Famous Boy You've Fucked, Then Honey, Yr In Trouble," "What Drummers Get"), is of course the songs. The threesome has continued to refine its songcraft while nodding affirmatively to various influences, resulting in the majesty of the grand piano on the ballad "Johnny Foreigner vs. You;" the melodic, Lali Puna-esque blip-pop of "200X;" the soulful brass appointments on "Jess, You Got Your Song, So Leave;" and the subdued, Album Leaf-y tone-and-groove of "Supermorning."

In a very interesting way, Johnny Foreigner Vs. Everything serves as an effigy for bummers. Early in 2011, the band invited fans to submit spoken-word bits about cursed songs, and many if not all of these were woven into sections of the record, to be celebrated, and to be auto da fe'd. The cliche is time heals all, but perhaps Johnny Foreigner has created a faster route to making the stomach-churning irrelevant by voila!-ing them into art. At the same time the process of incorporating these bits captures them for all time, like an insect in amber. Maybe some shit you never get over, it just gets wall-papered over, and eventually the wallpaper is more useful, more interesting, certainly much nicer than the shit under it. Lex, Kel and Jun had their own use for the bad mojo, turning it into three interstitials -- "Concret1" and "Concret2," as well as "The Swell," which ushers in the thrilling final numbers "Like Neverwhere" and the stunningly beautiful "Alternate Timelines Piling Up" -- that portion the record into digestible chunks for the ADD-addled.

Johnny Foreigner Vs. Everything is released tomorrow in the UK by Alcopop! Records; the collection will be followed by the single for the song "Johnny Foreigner Vs. You" Nov. 14. This coming weekend the band launches the album with shows in London and Birmingham; London appears to be sold out, but remarkably there appear to be Brum tickets yet BUYBUYBUY. If you've not done so already, read our comprehensive interview with Berrow, Junior Elvis Washington Laidley and Kelly Southern right here.

Johnny Foreigner: Internerds | Facepalm | YouTube | SoundCloud

(don't) show us your fangs by johnny foreigner

What Drummers Get by johnny foreigner

Selected Prior Coverage:
That Was The Show That Was: Johnny Foreigner | Bowery Ballroom
Review: Johnny Foreigner | Arcs Across The City EP
Review: Johnny Foreigner | Waited Up 'Til It Was Light
Review: Johnny Foreigner | WeLeftYouSleepingAndGoneNow
Review: Johnny Foreigner | Grace And The Bigger Picture
Review: Johnny Foreigner | You Thought You Saw A Shooting Star But Yr Eyes Were Blurred With Tears And That Lighthouse Can Be Pretty Deceiving...
Review: Johnny Foreigner | Certain Songs Are Cursed EP

YouTube Rodeo: Lefty's Deceiver's "Iselin" From Last Night's Reunion Show

Murderous. Epic. Astonishing. Breath-taking. Life-affirming. Wonderful. Ass-kicking. A Philly-style ass-kicking. Ladies and gentlemen, Lefty's Deceiver.

November 4, 2011

Age Rings Record Release Show | Radio, Somerville | 5 Nov.

Age Rings Black Honey Re-Release Show
So we're fewer than 24 hours away from the big show at this point. We've told you all about the Age Rings record already. Also on the bill is Guillermo Sexo, and we've already told you all about their record, too. You may not know that the band is just recently back from a tour, or that it had intended to -- as the flyer above suggests -- use tomorrow's show to launch a single from the recently released full-length Secret Wild. However, the single -- for Secret Wild's moody and dynamic opening track "Color The Noise" -- hasn't gotten itself together yet. Double However! Guillermo Sexo will have on hand for the show the white vinyl of the aforementioned full-length, which the band hasn't previously had in-hand for a local live date. You want that vinyl. And obviously you want Age Rings' superlative Black Honey. So take an extra baby-sitting shift, or rake an extra yard or two, whatever it takes to make sure you've got your record-buying and liquor-drinking cash tomorrow night. It's the big, big show. Get into it.

Facebook Event Page

November 1, 2011

The Grownup Noise November Residency | Toad, Cambridge | 3, 10, 17 Nov.

The Grownup Noise, November Residency, Toad, Cambridge
Boston indie pop master craftspersons lock in three dates, two sets per night at 10PM and midnight. Full details at the Facebook Event page here. We last saw the band perform at Johnny D's in Somerville, MA in July, and we wrote about that here. How about a song?

The Grownup Noise's "Outside" by clicky clicky music blog