October 9, 2012

Today's Hotness: The Hush Now, R.M. Hendrix

The Hush Now -- The Flapper

>> The Hush Now's fidelity to tradition persists, a small but beautiful thing we've come to count on, a little consistency in a crazy world. Like morning frosts and 4PM sunsets, the Boston-based dream-pop quintet returns, here with a third annual Halloween-themed treat in hand, this one titled "The Flapper." The jaunty song reinforces our long-held belief that singer and founder Noel Kelly and his merry men could easily be raking in dough on the side writing pop gems for Disney soundtracks. "The Flapper" rests upon a winking guitar lick and a sturdy beat, both of which provide a platform for Kelly's strong, soulful voice, creepy leads from guitarist Adam Quane and dusty organ from key stroker John Millar Jon Rosen [sorry Jon! -- Ed.]. As entrancing as the tune is, we are curious to know whether there is an extended version somewhere, as we'd certainly like to hear more of the stone groove the quintet digs as the song heads into the fade, where dubby reverb hits the drum kit and synth noodles scurry like creeping insects (this latter part reminds us of a passage from some electric Miles Davis jam we can't put our ears on right now). Previous Halloween numbers from The Hush Now include 2011's "The Legend Of Dudley Town" [playlisted] and 2010's "Please Mephistopheles (Leave Me Alone)" [blogged]. Check out the latest offering via the embed below; you can also download the joint from Bandcamp right here, where you will find most if not all of the band's catalog available for free download. The Hush Now in recent days have been tracking tunes for a new planned full-length, its fourth, at Allston's Mad Oak Studios. Check out the band's Facebook page for photos from the ongoing sessions.

>> Boston-based graphic designer and music DIY-er R.M. Hendrix last month issued the latest in a long strand of releases, the dense, droning psych-pop platter Pink Skin EP. The short set trades in big, effected guitars and driving drum beats, all cleanly captured to tape (or, more likely these days, ones and zeroes) for maximum impact. "Last Days of Black" commences with cool guitar noise loops before a slinky bass enters and clears room for some massive guitar swaths. Just as quickly, Mr. Hendrix's voice comes in, recalling Adam Franklin's effortlessly cool speak-sing in Swervedriver, or even the Brit-affected warbling of Robert Pollard. The real jewel is the final track, "Lipstick and Perfect Hair." A jangling rock structure plays underneath disorienting guitar strums that aim to disrupt the classic college rock vibe that carries the song. The track evokes Lenola's first album (or maybe at times Julie Ocean) in its youthful power-pop innocence, paired perfectly with queasy histrionics. Pink Skin, available on CD and digitally, was conceived by Hendrix earlier this year and eventually mastered by Starflyer 59's Jason Martin. Hendrix, formerly of indie rockers Flannery, has apparently been slyly producing music for nearly as long as his particular strain of the genre has existed -- at least one song at his web site dates back to 1996. Peruse the entire catalog right here. Could R.M. Hendrix be the R. Stevie Moore of shoegaze? The world could certainly use more of those. -- Edward Charlton

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