March 3, 2012
Today's Hotness: Mincer Ray, Autochrome, Black Swan Runners
>> Everybody knows the rap about Robert Pollard: everything he turns out is good, and there are dependably regular moments of sublime and transcendent rock and roll. Berlin- and Chicago-based mid-fi indie trio Mincer Ray would seem to follow suit, although at this point they have a much shorter track record than the preposterously prolific Mr. Pollard. What has us all up in arms about Mincer Ray today is that the act is hiding its most spectacular track, "A Burning Plane," 10 songs deep into its recent 12-song effort Ray Mincer. Don't hide the rock! We will find it! We think Mincer Ray could be excused if "A Burning Plane" occupied the first five slots of the new record, as the song is a dynamite anthem on par with your "Buzzards And Dreadful Crows," your "Game Of Pricks," your "Exit Flagger." Of course, Ray Mincer isn't all riveting, GBV-styled guitar anthems. Elsewhere the collection lazily sprawls across southern-seared "Hair" to the weirdly waltzing ballad "The Feet I Found." In contrast, "A Burning Plane" can't catch its breath and seems to endlessly ascend, lifted by stuttering drum beat and the clarion call of guitars that echo the intense squall of REM's "A Finest Worksong." Stream the song via the embed below; Ray Mincer was posted to Bandcamp in mid-February. Clicky Clicky fans may recognize the name Austin Brown, who recorded the record. Mr. Brown is the man behind High Heels, a band we wrote about here late last month. Small world, eh?
>> We don't suppose there are a lot of people out there who remember the Montreal quartet Kiss Me Deadly, whose full length Misty Medley was among our favorites of 2005. As it happens, the guitar work in the stellar new Autochrome single "100 Series" certainly reminds us of Kiss Me Deadly's "Dance 4" (jeepers, we haven't written about Kiss Me Deadly in six years almost to the day). But anyway, we're really here to talk about Autochrome, who are poised to make a big splash when they issue their debut long-player Separation Realms at the end of this month. "100 Series" is the first single from the record and its alluring blend of Chameleons UK's brand of '80s darkwave and modern, antiseptic production sensibilities is delicious. Autochrome's demo for "Senses" was released to the wilds of the Internets a year ago and made a strong impression based on its minimal instrumentation, soaring melodic sense and detached but passionate vocal. "100 Series" picks up where "Senses" left off, is equally strong, and evidences that the Boston quartet has the goods. "100 Series" was launched at The Pill dance party Feb. 17, and you can watch a live clip from that night for another new song, "Mind Changer," right here. The hotly anticipated release party for Separation Realms occurs March 30 at TT The Bear's Place in Cambridge, MA. Clicky Clicky faves Soccer Mom, Young Adults and Night Fruit also perform, making the bill one of the strongest of the season. Stream "100 Series" via the embed below.
>> We'd been keeping an ear on Black Swan Runners for some time, and our patience has been rewarded with the resolute, mid-tempo strummer "Smart Kids" and another preview track, "Sooner Or Later." The songs tout a slightly more electronic flavor than what we are used to from fronter Kevin Castillo, but his songwriting otherwise continues to trade on the heartfelt vocals (in an increasingly Petty-esque timbre, we note) and persistent guitars that have characterized his music for more than 15 years; Mr. Castillo previously helmed the acts CoCo B's and Retriever. Black Swan Runners are slated to release the full-length debut An Aside sometime this year (late last year it was projected to be released in February, but of course that month has come and gone already). As we said here in January, we were a bit surprised that CoCo B's didn't have more of a break-out moment with its dazzling rocker "Give Up The Money/1982," from its very solid 2007 self-titled set. "Smart Kids" should certainly go a long way toward firing the imaginations of the guitar-loving indie rock set, as it is easily as catchy as "Give Up The Money/1982." Catch the embed below.