July 31, 2012
[Flyer Design: Boom Said Thunder. Limited edition of prints will be sold at the show] Saturday evening is one of those all-too-frequent Boston nights when there are too many places to be. Of note in particular to Clicky Clicky readers is the Infinity Girl show at Precinct in Somerville [Facebook event page]. But the more hotly anticipated bill is the one listed above, which -- in addition to sets from the hotly tipped Nightmare Air and Boom Said Thunder -- features the debut of what is being referred to as Autochrome "2.0." Readers will recall the darkwave and post-punk-influenced Boston quartet issued its cracking debut Separation Realms in early spring, and feted it with a dominating performance at TT The Bear's Place at the end of March that we reviewed here. Fans were surprised to learn of the departure not long after that of founding guitarist Richard Murillo, whose prismatic guitar work was a key counterpoint -- the pull to the push, if you will -- to the forthright rhythm section comprised of fronter and bassist Jeff Bartell and drummer Patrick Florance. As Autochrome's long-player embraced elements of minimalism, every player's contribution was weighty (the fourth member, incidentally, is rhythm guitarist and keyboardist Katherine Murray).
So the question of what a new iteration of Autochrome will sound like has been something that occupied the minds of more than a few fans this summer. The band announced recently that Deborah Warfield, who has played with Swirlies and others, has joined Autochrome on guitar, keys and vocals. And additional social network buzz suggests the band has written all-new material for this weekend's show. What will it sound like? What will fans see this weekend? We don't know! Anticipation mounts. And it will certainly be exciting to go find out. What's more, we're also hearing that Swirlies fronter Damon Tutunjian may potentially sit in on some numbers. Which is kind of insane, as we think he lives in Sweden these days. More anticipation. While you're waiting for the weekend to roll around, check out the embed below of Separation Realms.
July 27, 2012
It's that they make it look so easy, that's what initially enticed us to approach the chaps in upstart Boston shoegaze unit Infinity Girl for an interview. With almost zero warning, the foursome issued in May a very impressive full-length debut, Stop Being On My Side, which we reviewed here last month. There were no singles and very few shows to serve as harbingers for the set, making the band's sudden leap into the vanguard of the city's expanding shoegaze scene all the more surprising. With its remarkable debut out, a personnel change brought on by the departure of founding bassist Ransom for Los Angeles, and some great live bills facing Infinity Girl in August, we thought it was high time to check in with the band, which is certainly among the most promising of Boston's current crop of startlingly good young bands. Fronter and guitarist Nolan Eley and drummer Sebastian Modak were very gracious with their time, and while we ultimately didn't learn why it is the songs seem to come so easily, we did get a feel for how the band did what it did and does what it does.
Clicky Clicky: You've just released a very good record. If you could choose another, released by anyone ever, that you wish Infinity Girl could have made itself, what would it be? And you're not allowed to say Loveless.See Infinity Girl live at Precinct in Somerville Aug. 4 [Facebook event page] and at TT The Bear's Aug. 30 with the mighty Soccer Mom and serial face-melters Young Adults [tickets].
Nolan Eley: If I was answering this for myself I might say Emergency And I by Dismemberment Plan, but as a band we'd probably go with Daydream Nation by Sonic Youth.
Sebastian Modak: I think it would have been pretty nice to have made Yuck's recent record. Personally, I would be content with life if I had played drums on Fugazi's 13 Songs (yeah, it's a compilation, but whatever). I can't even imagine what it would feel like to play those songs live.
CC: There were very few shows and no singles leading up to the release of the record. And that's one of the things that made a big impression on me: no single, no fucking around, just a handful of shows and then BOOM, a wonderful, fully formed full-length. It reminds me of the genesis story of the Greek goddess Athena. Did Infinity Girl feel like it was important to make such a strong statement right out of the starting gate?
NE: Thank you, to be honest, it was kind of surprising how easily it happened. I think we just wanted to record the songs we had and at first we were thinking it was probably going to be a 6-track EP when we initially went into the studio. We had just learned "Void" at that point and decided trying to record it. We did a few takes that weren't that great, but listening back, the energy was so good we decided to include that on the record. Shortly after those sessions happened Seb and I wrote "By Now" and we were all like 'we have to put this on the record.' So we went into the studio and recorded that. So at this point we were sitting on 8 songs and thinking 'is this an EP or a full length?' Then "Pulling A Smile From A Drawer" happened almost on accident, I was messing around with this piano at The Record Company, it's an acoustic piano but it has electric pickups on it, so I was running it through a bunch of guitar pedals, just messing around. Thank God somebody hit the record button. Anyways, after that I got the idea to record some instrumental tracks. Those, I think, helped the record really flow together as a full length and brought it up to 11 tracks.
CC: Who does the bulk of Infinity Girl's songwriting?
NE: I've done most of the songwriting so far, but the songwriting process is evolving as we play more.
SM: [When t]he band started [it was] based around songs Nolan had already written. We were already friends and I heard him playing at a weekly songwriter's circle that some close friends of mine used to run at All Asia [in Cambridge, Mass.]. I immediately started fantasizing about how great the songs would sound, louder and with a full band. What you hear on the record is mostly from Nolan's existing songs. But as the band has evolved, so has the songwriting process. I wrote the lyrics to "By Now," while I was in Spain and sent them to Nolan while he was in China... So, it's not always just Nolan. But most of the time he'll be the one that turns our ideas into something that sounds kind of like a song.
CC: The reason I ask about songwriters is that, from a songwriting standpoint, there seems to be a tension in your music between the more pure shoegaze stuff and something like "Cellophane And Gold," which is more uptempo and has almost a punk edge, or the lyrics to the chorus of "Cannons," which is surprisingly up top of the mix and pretty emo?
NE: I think the reason for this is that most of the songs on the record did not start out as a band writing them together. I have always just written and recorded music for fun. Sometimes I would keep the songs hidden on my computer, sometimes I would put them online for my friends to hear. Creating an album with a consistent aesthetic was not my priority. I just wrote the songs how I felt that day or that week. Some of them were straight-up shoegaze, some of them with complex orchestral arrangments, some folky, some electronic. I guess the songs that made it onto the record and into the Infinity Girl catalog were the ones that translated over to a four-piece rock band the easiest.
SM: It's also a product of what we're listening to. Sure, a lot of what has influenced us comes from the same time period, but when you're (subconsciously or otherwise) thinking about "Big Day Coming" by Yo La Tengo and "The Leper" by Dinosaur the result can be all over the place. And I think that's a good thing.
CC: Did you heavily demo Stop Being On My Side? I'm just curious to know how hard you had to work to get the sounds on the record? Did you bring a record to the producer and say "make it sound like this?"
NE: About half the songs I had recorded beforehand, for my own personal enjoyment, so this gave the producer and the band a pretty strong idea of what certain songs were going to sound like. Also we recorded some live demos in our practice space so we could all listen to the songs and share ideas about them. From experience I gained recording my own music, I already had a lot of ideas as far as the sounds for the record. I just had to get these ideas across to the other people involved in making it.
SM: Once we got the idea in our heads to make a record, we reached out to our friend (and new bassist) Mitch Stewart to produce. He and Pat McCusker engineered it at The Record Company -- they're both close friends of ours (I went to high school with Mitch and play in another band with both of them called Friendly People). We did a couple of demos in our practice space as well and I think both Mitch and Pat knew what we wanted in terms of sounds by the time we spent two insane nights at The Record Company. It was a really open, not to mention surreal, experience, considering the time of night we were able to get recording time, and the sounds kind of shaped themselves along the way.
CC: Shoegaze, or at least shoegaze influences, certainly seems to be having a moment in the Boston music scene right now. Does that sort of external influence, what you are seeing out in clubs and basements, factor into what you do at all?
NE: I've been mostly unaware of the local shoegaze scene until recently, and I'm pretty excited about it. I would say that the music we make mostly just comes from us liking the music we like and being friends enough to share a few hours a week together playing what we like playing.
SM: It helps that people are into it right now, but we're just a band that is doing what we individually and collectively love to do. If it turns out that people are into it, then that's fantastic and we really appreciate it. But we'd be doing it anyway if we were the only noisy band in town. It's just that ALL our shows would be at the Elks Lodge, if that was the case.
CC: The common conception is that a band in the early part of its career focuses in and settles on a style in time. Do you guys step back and think about where you are heading, about where you might be stylistically two years from now?
NE: We don't really think about this too much, I know I'll always keep writing music that reflects the music I'm currently listening to, and what's happening in my life, and we will always want to play music, so wherever that takes us is where we'll end up. As long as everyone else in the band doesn't hate me and I don't hate them we'll keep on doing this thing.
CC: Assuming people can agree on what the term shoegaze really means anymore, it's hard to think of a lot of examples of shoegaze bands that have had long, continuous careers -- much to my own disappointent, I'll say. This is sort of a loaded question, but as songwriters and music fans, do you think shoegaze is too limiting a style to sustain a band creatively over the course of, say, a ten-year career?
NE: Shoegaze is such a niche genre. Loveless simultaneously created and destroyed it. Everything that can be said in that language has been pretty much said on that album. I think the only way shoegaze bands can survive is if they have something else to offer along with it. It's not really straight-up shoegaze bands that are surviving but mostly bands with shoegaze influences; bands like Deerhunter or Yo La Tengo that have these undoubtedly shoegaze moments but are diverse enough in their arrangements to avoid being pigeonholed as just a shoegaze band.
SM: Whenever I'm describing Infinity Girl to people, I'll use the word "shoegazey," and immediately feel like an idiot. But it kind of makes sense. It's true that the term "shoegaze" has lost a lot of its significance over time, but I don't think bands like ours are making shoegaze music, in the most traditional sense of the word. Sure, we're inspired by bands like MBV and JAMC but we'll never be them or even sound like contemporaries. That music came out of a very specific time and place, both literally and culturally. What's happening now is its own beast and I think it will develop in its own way, independent of nostalgia. I think we're part of that and that will definitely sustain us creatively. The risk comes only if we box ourselves in, and I don't think that has happened or will happen any time soon.
CC: You've got two shows coming up next month. Will these be the first with Mitch Stewart playing bass live for you?
SM: Yes. Having spent so much time with the songs -- producing, engineering and mixing the record -- it was very easy having him take over on bass. I think he knows the parts better than the rest of us do at this point. Surprised he's not too sick of them at this point. That being said, Ransom is a big part of what has made Infinity Girl what it is and I hope he hates LA (joking... sort of).
CC: What's next for Infinity Girl after the shows in August? What do the next six months look like for you guys?
NE: We are just trying to play as many shows as we can around the area, and get people listening to our record. We've got an EP (probably) still in the demo stage, we haven't started recording anything yet. The songs sound summery and less dark than Stop Being On My Side does, so it would be nice if we could get it done while it's still warm out. Obviously though we're not going to compromise anything just so we can rush it out before the next equinox.
CC: Thanks so much for giving this interview, guys.
SM: Thank YOU. It's fantastic what you are doing for the Boston music scene with your blog. Far too few people are pointing people towards good music with the consistency and eloquence that you do. It's humbling to be included in all of that.
NE: Thank you for taking an interest in us! Seriously, we've all been fans of this blog for a while now and it's so cool to be included in it.
Infinity Girl: Internerds | Facebook | Bandcamp | YouTube
July 25, 2012
Well, that was quite a night, wasn't it? Mean Creek covering The Replacements' "Left Of The Dial." Mellow Bravo covering J. Geils Band (which was awesome, but we won't pretend to know the song, the catalogue is deep). The hardcore breakdown in the first of two amazing brand-new songs that Soccer Mom played to end its blinding set. Tons of awesome flying V bass from Dirty Virgins. We think we are just starting to get feeling back in our face, which was most steadfastly rocked off. OK, no we're not. Thanks, too, of courses, to The Boston Phoenix's Michael Marotta, for having my compatriot Brad Almanac and I on for the night. Below are the songs Jay/me/I/not you played between sets and after Mean Creek yielded the stage; we expect it shan't be too long before you can check out Brad's DJ sets over at The 'Nac right here.
Putting our playlists together was a blast, as it allowed us to look at about 20 years of Boston music, to relive all of our wonderful associations with it. From a 1995-or-so live set from Orbit at Northampton's Loud Music Festival, to Westport beach weekends at the turn of the century soundtracked by that Pedal Faster Bicycle Rider Holiday Matinee comp, to riding the T in the rain to The Pernice Brothers, we could go on and on about all of these songs, although the temptation to do so is making us feel very old in a way that hurts a little. So let us just say: we hope you were able to hear at least some of it last night above the din of the capacity crowd. We hope it made you pump your fist, we hope it made you smile, and we hope it made you realize what a special thing we had in the late, lamented WFNX.
JAY DJ SETS
SHORT SET AFTER SOCCER MOM
1. Orbit -- Paper Bag -- Libido Speedway (1997)SHORT SET AFTER MELLOW BRAVO
2. Sebadoh -- Sixteen -- Bubble And Scrape (1993)
3. Juliana Hatfield -- Raisans -- Forever Baby EP (1992)
4. Varsity Drag -- Summertime -- For Crying Out Loud (2006)
5. Lemonheads -- Paint -- Favorite Spanish Dishes EP (1990)
6. The Beatings -- Villains -- Holding On To Hand Grenades (2005)
7. Chandeliers -- Bigshot Weekend -- Bigshot Weekend EP (2012)
8. Earthquake Party! -- Pretty Little Hand -- vs. Pizza (2011)
1. Night Fruit -- Dark Horse -- Dark Horse (2012)LONG SET AFTER MEAN CREEK
2. The Dismemberment Plan -- The Ice Of Boston -- Ice Of Boston (1998)
3. Piebald -- Grace Kelly With Wings -- Holiday Matinee Compilation 001 (2000)
4. The Wicked Farleys -- Fitchburg, MA -- Holiday Matinee Compilation 001 (2000)
1. Dinosaur Jr. -- Whatever's Cool With Me -- Whatever's Cool With Me (1991)
2. The Pernice Brothers -- One Foot In The Grave -- Yours, Mine & Ours (2003)
3. Jon Brion -- I Believe She's Lying -- Meaningless (2001)
4. Buffalo Tom -- For All To See -- No Alternative (1993)
5. The Elevator Drops -- Be A Lemonhead -- Pop Bus (1996)
6. Speedy Ortiz -- Taylor Swift -- Taylor Swift single (2012)
7. Autochrome -- Hands Over The City -- Separation Realms (2012)
8. Bedroom Eyes -- Garmonbozia -- What Are You Wrong With (2012)
9. Drop Nineteens -- Winona -- Delaware (1992)
10. Karate -- New Martini -- In Place Of Real Insight (1997)
11. Come -- Yr Reign -- Don't Ask, Don't Tell (1994)
12. The Dambuilders -- Colin's Heroes -- Encededor (1994)
13. Cathode -- Sleeping And Breathing -- Sleeping And Breathing (1999)
...and the following songs got a victory lap...
14. Orbit -- Paper Bag -- Libido Speedway (1997)
15. Sebadoh -- Sixteen -- Bubble And Scrape (1993)
16. Juliana Hatfield -- Raisans -- Forever Baby EP (1992)
17. Varsity Drag -- Summertime -- For Crying Out Loud (2006)
18. Lemonheads -- Paint -- Favorite Spanish Dishes EP (1990)
19. The Beatings -- Villains -- Holding On To Hand Grenades (2005)
Posted by Jay Breitling at 7/25/2012 08:58:00 AM
July 22, 2012
This Is Happening: WFNX Boston Accents Funeral Party Three-Night Throwdown Tomorrow, Tuesday, Wednesday
So this, quite obviously, and to quote the late, great LCD Soundsystem, this is happening. Three nights, twelve bands, DJs, beers, tea, pickles, and everyone you've ever known, sweating it out to the newies to celebrate the life and times of Boston's WFNX and the station's long-running local music showcase Boston Accents. In a fitting tribute, live sets the next three days will come from the titans of Now Boston, including Clicky Clicky faves Earthquake Party! Monday night and Soccer Mom Tuesday night. It's all going to be epic.
We are honored to have been asked along with our usual new-music disc-slinger Brad Almanac to DJ between the live sets of the Funeral Party Tuesday night. And we've already curated killer playlists that sum up our favorite Boston music of the last 20 years. Not exactly easy to do, but certainly a lot of fun. We're guessing that you can't guess what the first song we play will be. Here's an anagram: Bagpiper Abort. How is there not an actual Boston band called Bagpiper Abort? Life, man smh...
There was a time when you could buy a three-day pass to this titanic soirée, and that time may have passed you by: we don't know. What we do know is attendance to this is non-optional. We all felt the icy grip of the lobotomized radio overground Friday at 7PM when WFNX's final DJ signed off and the station went on terrestrial death-support. We can rock that feeling away. Be at Great Scott tomorrow night when the FP kicks off, stick around through Wednesday to feel the full effect of the high, and then, well, take the rest of the week off, because face it, you're going to be wasted at that point.
Do stop by the DJ booth Tuesday night. We'll play one for you (sort of/not really). And speaking of playing: Boston Accents' own Michael Marotta pieced together a digital comp to celebrate and promote the Funeral Party, with one track from each of the 12 acts performing. You can stream the whole thing via the embed below. Turn it on. Turn it on, turn it on again. Here's the Facebook event page. And because we just can't help ourselves: here's The Cure performing "Funeral Party" from their epoch-defining, absolutely un-eff-withable 1981 album Faith. It's not "Let's Go To Bed," but it is the more appropriate number. Maybe?
Posted by Jay Breitling at 7/22/2012 11:08:00 PM
July 21, 2012
>> We only discovered it about 12 hours ago (as of this writing Friday night), but we're already on our seventh listen to the massive forthcoming 10" EP from Norway's towering post-rock heroes, Youth Pictures Of Florence Henderson. The Oslo-based septet's new collection Small Changes We Hardly Notice, exclusively premiered at Alternative Press here Friday, touts four spine-tingling numbers that deftly synthesize orchestral post-rock sounds with desperate and beautiful, classic midwestern-styled emo. Earnest and intense opener "All I Remember Is Punk Rock" pairs punchy rhythm tracks with shimmering guitars and reverbed horns and strings, but it is the powerfully evocative vocals that will unleash cascades of goosebumps across the listener's skin as gears shift, crescendos blossom, cymbals tear across the top of the mix, horns call like far-off sirens. It's mind-blowing; it's what you wish Built To Spill or Modest Mouse sounded like in this millenium, instead of what they've been doing (you know you do). We last heard from Youth Pictures Of Florence Henderson way back in 2010, when the collective issued a self-titled sophomore set that we wrote about right here. Small Changes We Hardly Notice is being released domestically by Count Your Lucky Star Records, which is taking pre-orders for an August release right here. The Count Your Lucky Stars release is in a limited edition of 500 discs, 150 black and 350 electric blue, that come packaged with a download code. We found an embed of the opening track at Soundcloud (which we hope is legitimately posted there, guys), so do yourself a favor and stream "All I Remember Is Punk Rock" below, and then click over to Count Your Lucky Stars to pre-order the full-release.
>> Long-time readers will recall that we thoroughly enjoyed Pennslvania's scruffy, under-appreciated The A-Sides, a combo that burst out of Scranton in 2005 with a peppy, mod-sprung sound hard to resist. After two full-lengths (the second released by Vagrant), the band splintered and principal members Jon Barthmus and Patrick Marsceill formed futurepop concern Sun Airway, a band also familiar to these electronic pages. We are pleased by recent news that that musical concern will issue Oct. 2 a second full-length of its own titled Soft Fall. The set, which we expect will be packed with gentle electropop boasting big, radio-ready hooks and gauzy atmosphere, will be released by Dead Oceans and a preview track, "Close," surfaced 10 days ago; it has already garnered some 25,000 streams on SoundCloud, and we've embedded the dreamer below. It commences with a revved-up snare drum and faraway but insistent staccato guitar riff before Barthmus layers in syrupy vocals; the sum total could almost be mistaken for some sort of Top 40, Hollywood stadium production. However, a liberal application of plush synths and other tasteful trappings steer "Close" firmly toward the happily emotive, Ecstasy-approved vibes of later New Order, circa their 2001 comeback Get Ready. Sun Airway don't forget their previous '60s influences, either, allowing "Close" to lapse into flashes of psychedelia via some backward guitar noodling and soft cooing. It all makes us eager to hear the entirety of Soft Fall, which you can pre-order from Dead Oceans right here. -- Edward Charlton
>> When we last heard from Michael Quinn he was doing his rootsy indie rock thing in Scranton (that's two blurbs referencing Scranton in a row! Amazing!); he released that Steely Dan cover at the beginning of the year and a year ago he issued a full-length Magico. Mr. Quinn recently got in touch to share his new collection Youngs. The set features recordings Quinn made in the last couple years with collaborators including players from his prior bands Okay Paddy -- which released one of our favorite records of 2006 -- and ...And The Moneynotes. Youngs is a varied set that is perhaps more rock-oriented than Quinn's prior work (we swear there is a sort-of perceptible Joe Walsh thing going on here in a couple places); it also touts a stronger focus on groove, from the strangely electro rhythm of "Hippie Girl" to the jab-and-thump of "Roomy." The clear album highlight is the swinging and melodic, mid-tempo album opener "Ring-in." It's an incredibly pleasing romp with ear-catching vocal melodies, a guitar rave-up just past the two-minute mark, and a recurring and odd little melodic reference to James Taylor's "Your Smiling Face." Youngs is intended in a sense to clear the decks, as Quinn recently relocated to California and is currently in the process of formulating a new band with which to seek auditory nirvana. The album was released via Bandcamp July 2; stream "Ring-in" via the embed below and then click over to grab the entire set.
July 20, 2012
[Joe Pernice, Bob Pernice, and Tom Shea; with Frank Padellaro of King Radio at the Lizard Lounge, Cambridge, MA., 7/19/2012. Photos by Michael Piantigini].
Great new info on busy Joe Pernice's current activities, including new recordings with the Pernice Brothers, Scud Mountain Boys, and with Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake(!) as New Mendicants over here. In the meantime, I'll never get tired of this one:
King Radio have also been working (for, uh, awhile now. Like, almost as long as The Wrens, even) on a follow-up to 2004's (see?) soulful chamber pop Are You The Sick Passenger? epic. Hopefully there will be some news on that one soon too. Internet presence is scarce, but they're on Spotify too:
Great new info on busy Joe Pernice's current activities, including new recordings with the Pernice Brothers, Scud Mountain Boys, and with Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake(!) as New Mendicants over here. In the meantime, I'll never get tired of this one:
King Radio have also been working (for, uh, awhile now. Like, almost as long as The Wrens, even) on a follow-up to 2004's (see?) soulful chamber pop Are You The Sick Passenger? epic. Hopefully there will be some news on that one soon too. Internet presence is scarce, but they're on Spotify too:
July 15, 2012
>> White Laces are set to re-emerge next month, when Speakertree Records -- best known for releasing the LP version of Cloud Nothings' Turning On -- will issue the Richmond, VA-based space-pop quartet's hotly anticipated full-length debut Moves Aug. 21. The first single from the long-player is the track "Crawl/Collapse," a video for which is forthcoming and an embed of which you can stream below. The song serves as a tidy mission statement for where White Laces is in 2012, pushing and pulling at the parameters of well-crafted guitar-pop numbers until they start to lose their shape and shimmer like a noble gas under extreme pressure. And so we hear "Crawl/Collapse" almost immediately begin to rise off a rigid foundation of choppy guitar chords, getting lighter and lighter and stretching further and further until it is released into an ascending shaft of light for the song's final two-thirds. There is as yet no pre-order information for Moves, but watch the Speakertree Records blog here for signs of movement. White Laces have kept very busy over the past year writing and putting out a startling number of releases. For those of you keeping score at home, there was a split single with Philadelphia's Arches on Worthless Junk; a split 10" with fellow Richmond scenemates Snowy Owls on Harding Street Assembly Labs; and a cassette release of a live set put out by Bad Grrrrl. It's kind of exhausting, right? Dudes should sleep more. But that said, we are extremely eager to get our mitts on Moves when it comes out next month.
>> Let's gaze into our crystal ball at what's happening a month from tomorrow. No, not that... not that... uhhhhhmmmm.... right, this: Boston noise-pop heroes Soccer Mom are on a titanic bill at PA's Lounge in Somerville, MA on Thursday, Aug. 16. Shoegaze vets Airiel are on the bill, making what we imagine is a fairly rare local appearance, and C86- and emo-inspired Canadians Kestrels perform as well. A fourth act is being arranged, but this evening already qualifies as remarkable. Airiel is touring in support of the reissue of its Kid Games EP which will be released by Shelflife July 31; the original pressing was released in May and, apparently, sold like hotcakes made by someone without the foresight to have made more hotcakes in the first place. Kid Games contains four tracks, including the shimmering dreamer "Flashlight Tag," which is embedded below, and which is wholly beautiful. It helps that fronter Jeremy Wrenn sounds a fair bit like Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant. But that's just one dimension of the Chicago-based quartet, whose music boasts brilliant energy and sublime melodies. You'll find "Flashlight Tag" encased in vibrant reverb, appointed by tasteful synths, dense guitars jangling under six inches of echo into infinity. It's a brilliant song, and you would be well advised to buy the entire EP right now, right here. But wait! There's more! Kestrels will also be supporting a new release, the full length A Ghost History, which was issued by Sonic Unyon June 5th. You already know this because you read Chromewaves like a good little indie rock girl or boy, right? Just in case, click this link and read Frank Chromewaves' assessment of the full-length. Hint: if it is as good as the promo track "Dumb Angel," which is embedded below and which sounds like it hails straight from Slumberland Records' first heyday, then the entire record is tremendous. Soccer Mom, for its part, has begun recording new material, but there have been no publicly stated release plans as of yet. The Boston foursome issued its crushing 10" EP You Are Not Going To Heaven last October.
July 14, 2012
Still, Good Dangers makes us wait. Embedded above we have a live rendering of the London-based quintet's very pretty ballad "Dress You," filmed in a church in Shoreditch, fronter Gavin Dwight and band confident within the solemn setting, laying it down, the bassist plain grooving at one point, mindless of the surroundings. It's affecting and sweet guitar pop, mildy hypnotic with its repetitions and perfect for these summer nights where the sun is down and the windows thrown open but the sweat won't quite stop. Good Dangers here exhibit the element of restraint in its music that underscores its growing musical maturity; indeed, gone are the bash-and-pop days of pre-cursor band Assembly Now. The Dangers have been biding their time over the last few years, building up a formidable repertoire: the sublime single "DFYF" was issued this past March and the digital split "So Unkind" a year ago. But it all leaves us wanting more -- when will there be a full-length? We're left to just press repeat over and over and wait it out, like we're waiting for the heat to break.
July 12, 2012
[Photo: Corey LeChat] Make no mistake, friends: while Karl Hendricks is too humble to say it, the latest long-player from his eponymous trio is a triumph. It's lean, only occasionally mean, tightly focused and remarkably -- remarkably -- insightful. The Karl Hendricks Trio on the new nine-song set is a massive inexorable force, from the fire-breathing title track to the characteristically brawny closer "Hold On, Cool Breeze" to the gut-punching ballad "Dreams Ha." The uptempo, guitar-dense work-outs strewn across the album are as gratifying as ever, but even more impressive here is Mr. Hendricks' burgeoning ability to deeply, richly capture within strands of melody and snatches of words the big, sometimes overwhelming, feelings ("facing more and more loss, facing relentless responsibility, facing the realization that decay wins") that dog us, consciously and sub-consciously, day and night. He does this in songs that increasingly face outwards and make observations, in contrast to the music -- largely concerned with affairs of the heart -- from the early part of Hendricks' two-decade recording career. These are among the many things Hendricks reflects on in the comprehensive, career-spanning interview he gave to Clicky Clicky Music Blog. We are incredibly grateful to Karl for his time and insights, and invite you to get comfortable and read on. The Karl Hendricks Trio's new record The Adult Section, certainly among the best albums of the year to date, will be released by Comedy Minus One records Tuesday.
Clicky Clicky: The first time I saw you play you were playing on the patio at the Terrace Club in Princeton, New Jersey in the summer of 1993. You were out supporting Buick Electra. The show made a big impression on me, especially the song "Stupidhead," which became an instant mix-tape classic for me. Can you remember the show at all?
Karl Hendricks: I don't know if I remember that show precisely, as I have what seems like one cumulative memory of the three (or four?) times we played in Princeton during the early/mid '90s. It was a welcoming environment and the audience was always enthusiastic, and I feel like lucky to have had those kind of experiences early on in the band.
CC: Was that one of your earliest dealings with your current label head?
KH: I suppose playing at Princeton was the reason I met Jon, though I'm embarrassed to say I can't exactly remember the first time I talked to him or met him. I think that the first time we played at the Terrace Club was also one of the first times we had played outside of Pittsburgh, so I was just excited to be playing anywhere new, so that may have overwhelmed any memory of my initial dealings with Jon. I will say that, since then, we certainly have had a lot more dealings in the world of music and he's become one of my very good friends.
CC: I've seen your remarks somewhere that you are writing songs very slowly these days, at a rate something like three a year. But of course you are still turning them out. Is songwriting a compulsion for you?
KH: I don't know if I would say "compulsion" is the exact word to describe why I write songs. You know, there was a customer at the store I worked at (and now own) who, speaking on the subject of whether collecting records was an addiction, said that he bought so many records because it was his "tendency." And I like that word (for both maybe why I collect records and write songs). So much of my life the past fifteen years has been centered around work (of various kinds) and responsibilities, that I try to keep the music thing going just to keep alive some part of my identity that isn't strictly related to getting to the next day. So, it's more of conscious decision to keep it as part of my identity (even though it's not easy or convenient to do so).
(And as an aside, I don't think my particular situation is unique. I would have to think a lot of people -- well, okay, people who have this luxury -- have to come to terms with how to fit the parts they like best about themselves into more mature lives that aren't centered about them.)
CC: Is the songwriting side of the musical life what keeps you involved in music? Or would you say live performance is the thing that drives you to stay in the game?
KH: Though there are aspects of writing songs and playing live that I love, I really think the main driving motivation for me is making records. Years ago, when I was 18, I started learning how to play guitar and how to write songs for the specific purpose of recording them on a four-track that I had just bought (and then releasing them on cassette). And "making something," some concrete object, has always pretty much been my main goal. But again, I also really like other parts of the process, too -- but when they become hard work, it's the possibility of making another record that keeps me going.
CC: Do you know when you've written a great lyric or a great hook? Do you sit around and sing "your eyes whisper no, whisper no, while you scream yes" to yourself like I do, or do you have some distance from the music?
KH: Sometimes [I know]. Or maybe if I'm reluctant to make absolute judgments about stuff I've written, I can say that sometimes, I'm more happy with some parts of songs than with other parts. I can say that I don't ever hum any of my songs to myself in the way I might another song I like. But I am trying to write the kind of songs that I like, so hopefully, I do actually occasionally like at least some parts of them.
CC: Do you still have any apprehensions or doubts when you are writing, even this deep into your career (this assumes, of course, that you did early on)?
KH: Apprehension and doubts -- sure! To quote Spalding Gray (more or less), "doubt is my bottom line." But to speak philosophically, is there any creative person who doesn't have those things? I don't know know if I would be much interested in their art if they didn't.
This is a hard question to answer, because I think it asks two different things. But to try to answer the question about an increased "ease" or changes to my musical "persona" -- I guess I would say I don't know. I think you're right on when you say that we don't see change coming. This may sound like I'm being purposefully naive, but I think I usually just try to make the best thing I can with what I have in front of me and then stuff results from that. If it sounds like there is more "ease" (and I sort of know what you mean), maybe it's because I'm just trying to always get a little bit better at doing this and sometimes that actually happens. I will say, however, that one slight difference in the process here was that I was sort of consciously trying to write songs that I thought would work for the trio (as opposed to the four-piece that had recorded The World Says).
To answer the last part, about the chorus in "The Whole Fucking Thing," I guess I would first want to say (and again, this may seem disingenuous) that the speaker in the song isn't the same person as me, so I don't know. Also, I guess you should keep in mind that sometime I'm trying to be funny. After those two things, I guess my next answer is that actually, if I had to analyze what the lyrics in the chorus say about me as I'm getting older (besides just trying to make fun of myself a little) is that I actually feel much less "ease" -- I feel more unsettled and unsatisfied than ever, I think. But I think knowing that is probably neither here nor there in terms of what I hope a listener gets out of the experience.
CC: I consider myself pretty bad at perceiving humor in music, in part I think because I prize music so greatly that I really want to identify with the narrator (well, the ones I like, right? Not Beiber). That said, one of my favorites among your catalog is "Naked And High On Drugs," and I smile every time I hear that opening line. Humor has been consistent in your songwriting. Is that because you "consume" a lot of humor, you know, stand-up, movies, that sort of thing?
KH: I am a fan of humor in all kinds of art (though I don't know if I am more of a fan than the average person who reads a lot of books, listens to a lot of records and watches a lot of movies). I don't know if I'm especially a fan of stand-up. I loved Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy and George Carlin when I was a kid. I really love Louis C.K. and usually like Patton Oswalt and David Cross now. Beyond that, I don't know a lot of comedians.
CC: Were you the class clown-type as a kid?
KH: I most definitely was not a class clown as a kid, and to be honest, though I do attempt to "be funny" a lot of times as an adult, I think my attempts are mostly failures. I guess I sort of think of myself as a deadpan comedian, but I'm probably too awkward (and sometimes too genuinely serious) to pull it off.
I also definitely wasn't aiming for humor early on in the Karl Hendricks Trio, but at some point, I think I noticed that it was in there in songs like "Naked" and I decided that was okay. I think some songwriters who many people think are very serious are actually pretty funny (in a good way). I think Leonard Cohen can be really funny. Bob Dylan and Nick Cave can be really funny (though I think more people notice it with them than with Cohen).
But so much of what has stuck with me throughout my life combines humor and pathos -- I loved Woody Allen when I was a kid. Philip Roth and Kurt Vonnegut's books. And so forth. I don't know if any of that stuff directly translates to my songwriting, but I guess it's all in there somehow.
CC: Your music has been impervious to trend, or so it would seem. KHT records have been remarkably consistent, not just in quality but also stylistically, for two decades. Would people be surprised to find that you have been influenced by some very contemporary, even trendy, artist at any given point over the years? I definitely remember trying to basically write Sunny Day Real Estate's "Sometimes" over and over back when I was just starting to write songs way back when. Maybe it's a newer writer's move?
KH: When I started out on guitar as a teenager, I was so incompetent that I don't know if I could even speak about that kind of influence. I could barely play a chord, much less even thinking about "copying" what someone else did on guitar. And those first couple of years of writing songs and recording them on my four-track was really a process where I learned how to play guitar and in some ways it was pretty self-contained. And I kind of feel like I never really got away from that. I still think of my guitar playing as necessarily connected to my songwriting -- it's always a huge project for me to learn a cover!
KH: A lot of the "old" influences are still there with me -- all the music on SST and Homestead that first got me really excited about music when I was a teenager in the mid-'80s, all of the bands that had some influence on how independent rock sounded (I'm thinking bands like Slint, Codeine and even to a certain extent for the KH3, Helmet) a few years later, bands I played with and became friends with a few years after that, most especially Silkworm/Bottomless Pit.
But there are certainly a lot of other things that have been important to me besides mid-'80s to mid-'90s independent rock. Neil Young feels like a constant presence in my life. All kinds of other songwriters from Dylan on, to more recently Simon Joyner and Ben Barnett (of Kind of Like Spitting). And then there are guitar players who probably influence in what I strive for as a guitar player (though you probably couldn't hear it in my playing all the time), probably starting with Neil Young, but also including Andy Cohen from Bottomless Pit and even Damon Che (who I played with in the Speaking Canaries).
But I still only feel like I'm scratching the surface. I'd want to list a ton of other guitar players, like Richard Thompson, Sonny Sharrock, Tom Verlaine/Richard Lloyd, and so on, as influences, though anything from them may only filter through to the KH3 in a vague way. Stuff like DC hardcore is in there. Lots of classic rock, like Led Zeppelin and the Allman Brothers. I'd want to say, heck, even free jazz, but that sounds pretentious. I guess the point is once I start thinking about influences, I have a hard time not listing pretty much everything.
But as I also said, kind of also nothing, because when I sit down, I'm really just conscious of my own thoughts and my own limitations (or my own painfully acquired skills, if I want to be half-full) as a musician. And I think that had a lot to do with how I started writing songs in what felt like a kind of vacuum (something I talked about on the Low Times interview). And now, as I said last time, since I've been doing this for a while, I do feel like I have a sort of precedent to draw upon (which I sometimes push or pull against slightly, depending on what I'm going for).
I haven't touched on "new" influences... but I listen to new stuff all the time, and I like a whole lot of it. Part of that has to do with being a record buyer for a store for pretty much my entire adult life (as well as now owning the store). I have a vested interest in seeing music (popular, underground, whatever) remain a vital thing in my life and others' lives -- and I think that makes me a more open and attentive listener (especially at this point in my life; I was a lot more cynical twenty years ago, in my early twenties). And so this daily interest in new music is certainly an influence on me currently as a musician, if only that it's a part of what keeps me thinking it's worthwhile (there are other people out there like me!) at a time when playing what I have the ability to play (guitar-based rock music) isn't particularly fashionable among as large an audience as it was in the past.
One last thing that I think is worth mentioning, both in terms of influence and just in general, is the experience of playing with Jake and Corey. We've been talking about lyrics (which I do spend a lot of time with), but just as important to me is the "band" element of what we do. I'm grateful (and I've always been grateful to whoever has been in the band) that I have the chance to write these songs, take them to practice, and then see what Jake and Corey are going to do with them. Thinking about how something travels from chords and lyrics in my basement to a rock song in our practice space is also, I think, a really big influence (if not the biggest influence) on how I put these songs together.
CC: One thing that really struck me about the new record is the relatively frequent use of vocal harmonies. I can't think of a single prior instance of them in the Trio's catalog, although I realize now that there a few songs with vocal harmonies, maybe a little down in the mix, on the Karl Hendricks Rock Band record. Were you against the idea of incorporating harmonies up until some point in time, or was it just all about having the right personnel to pull it off?
KH: I can't say I ever really been against them or it was even really a conscious decision to incorporate them now. Corey, who plays bass on The Adult Section (and The World Says) and who recorded The World Says, is a talented vocalist, so it seemed like a natural idea to have him do some background vocals. I pointed out the spots I wanted them, and he just did his thing, adding the harmonies.
CC: Maybe because I identify with the "adult themes" of The Adult Section, the record seems a little more serious to me. And I find A Gesture Of Kindness to be sort of dead serious. Among all of your records, do you consider any of them the "this is Karl making a big statement" record?
KH: I might as well be honest here... I think the second through fourth albums (Some Girls Like Cigarettes, Misery and Women, and A Gesture of Kindness) were kind of dealing-with-a-heartbreak albums, and I suppose I was kind of trying to make a "big statement" about my heartbreak. And I'm slightly embarrassed about my motives, though I'm not embarrassed about the records (which actually, have probably turned out to be the ones people have liked the most, for good or bad).
But I would say, the record that started the band (Buick Electra) and all the ones since those next three until now (For A While, It Was Funny, Declare Your Weapons, The Jerks Win Again, and The World Says) have more eclectic approaches to writing songs. I think I was just figuring out how to write songs on the first, and I've been trying to figure out how to write songs about things other than heartbreak since then -- and I'm actually much more interested in writing more outward looking songs now (and also maybe more willing to include some humor). And I think the challenge of making (perhaps) less personal, more observation-driven songs actually sometimes leads to even better songs in the end.
That said, I think The Adult Section does feel more serious to me. I really want to avoid talking about the voices in the songs as if they are me (even though as I said in the last part, that seems disingenuous). But if you'll allow me to do so, I would say the singer of those songs is a bit more preoccupied with things that I think people can -- like I said [earlier], if they have this luxury -- struggle with as they get older (facing more and more loss, facing relentless responsibility, facing the realization that decay wins), while also being a bit more aware of how the small habits and objects around us help us cope with those larger struggles. And I think the more songs I wrote for the record, the more I let those themes stick around--so I think it very well be true that there is somehow a more cohesive statement in there. And if talk about "themes" sounds self-indulgent, I would say that I partially agree with you and I hope that the humor helps now and then.
CC: What can fans expect in terms of touring The Adult Section? I can't imagine you can get away from the record store for too long.
KH: Well, unfortunately not a whole lot... but probably more than none. Maybe New York one trip, Chicago on another weekend, a couple more cities here and there. We may have surprises left in us.
CC: Thanks Karl, it's been a thrill for me to do the interview.
KH: Thank you, Jay! I hope I didn't embarrass myself, but if I did, thanks for the opportunity.
Pre-order The Adult Section from Comedy Minus One records right here. The album will be released July 17.
The Karl Hendricks Trio: Facebook | Wikipedia | YouTube
July 10, 2012
Tiger Mountain With Future Carnivores, Young Adults, DJs Infinite Jeff, Bric-A-Brac and Victrola | Radio | 13 July
We use so often the phrase "make the scene" that we forget it has a literal meaning. But something about the optimism of this recent, excellent article in The Boston Phoenix about the burgeoning local music environment has us appreciating more than ever the people that quite literally make the scene happen. There's exciting stuff happening just about every night in Boston, certainly more than we can keep up with. Take for example the Tiger Mountain dance party, which this Friday presents its first of hopefully many evenings at Radio in Somerville after a three prior events held in Cambridge. On Friday three DJs will deliver dance beats, and their sets will be separated by appearances from two luminaries of the Boston music scene, forward-thinking avant-pop collective Future Carnivores and ambient punk heroes Young Adults.
Readers will recall we lauded the long-awaited debut full-length from Future Carnivores here in March. The very exciting news is the act has a second long-player about 95% complete, it just needs to be mixed, and a video for one of the tracks directed by the band's own Reuben Bettsak is slated for release later this summer. More exciting still is that the band is allowing us to offer a demo of the forthcoming track "Drugs," which is embedded below. The song touts Future Carnivores' characteristic balance of crisp beats and billowing, New Romantic vocals, and steadily builds up from a bed of acoustic guitar into a pillow of winds crafted from looped guitars, cracking snare beats and bright synth lines.
Friday's appearance by local favorites Young Adults has taken on a sense of urgency in the wake of news that fronter Chris Villon plans to leave Boston later this summer and the band isn't saying (and may not be sure) what will happen beyond three planned shows, another contemplated show, and a five-song EP that is ready to be mixed. Still, Young Adults have survived change before and we are optimistic that we have not yet heard the last of any of these dudes. But you had better get your ass to Radio Friday just in case, right? Right? Young Adults contributed a rattling version of Ride's "Decay" to Clicky Clicky's NOFUCKINGWHERE compilation that we released in May. You can download the whole comp here, but as a special treat, below is an embed of "Decay." So, let's review: Friday night, Tiger Mountain, Radio in Somerville, wear comfortable shoes, bring earplugs and perhaps your spare liver. See you there.
July 8, 2012
>> [PHOTO: James Robert Smith] Unless you are a drunk military guy looking for a fight, culturally we've always perceived Norfolk, VA as having little to offer (sorry Norfolk!). OK, that's totally unfair, and to prove it, we now have evidence that the town is also home to an indie rock scene manufacturing laser-precise guitar bombers of the highest order. Introducing You're Jovian, a quartet that released June 28 its impressively realized full-length debut, Stereochronic, for free via Bandcamp. The long-player screams of patient attention to detail, and boasts masterful, '90s-friendly college-rock guitar tones, clean and steady drumming, and the kinds of dynamics that most groups are lucky just to have the imagination for. Even while borrowing elements from many of the most timeless examples of '90s indie, You're Jovian never comes across as thieves, but rather as bright, attentive students. Those pick slaps punctuating every strum of "And Now," which we've embedded below? That's the brutally honest Fender mangling of There's Nothing Wrong With Love-era Built To Spill, baby. The part in that same song at 1:42 where the guitar jumps up into a high single-note warble while the stoned bass plays hopscotch underneath? Man, that recalls some prime Swirlies doing their random noise-slacker brainiac thing on a tune like "Upstairs." You're Jovian fronter Elliot Malvas' vocals? They're rife with all-knowing cool the likes of which Yo La Tengo's Georgia Hubley and Ira Kaplan still dish out biennially: assured and rocking, a foil to impatient tempos and solos. Absolutely killer opener "Sentimental Doubt" not only shows off the clear and crisp, yet tastefully submerged production of this album, but also plays around with its incessant chiming guitar riff. Finally, Stereochronic devolves into noise experiments and band in-jokes, a sign the foursome still rock it just for themselves, that corporate rock still sucks. Forever. Malvas and company have a seemingly effortless talent, one that deserves to be heard far past I-64 Corridor traffic jams and Clear Channel target demographics. Stream "And Now" and the stunning "All Alone" via the embeds below, then download the entire record for free at Bandcamp. -- Edward Charlton
>> Just in time for the season of serial heat waves comes a deliriously sweaty, futilely forehead-mopping cassette single from Boston garage rockers Thick Shakes. Released this weekend and available now at Bandcamp and via Aurora 7 Records, the quartet's French Dyppe features two fiery organ rave-ups along with instrumental versions of same for all of your party DJ needs. The band's fast-food referencing name is certainly fitting, as it’s easy to imagine that magical era when pimply-faced boys and girls gyrated to primitive fuzz pedals in a place as wholesome (and well, unwholesome) as a local, greasy burger joint. Why? Because that was the only place they could go with the kind of jukebox required to seed a future punk movement. Like the original apes of that era (? & The Mysterians, Strawberry Alarm Clock, The Kingsmen), Thick Shakes' music acknowledges the rebellious jubilation hiding within us all. Of course this youthful tradition of epiphany through volume has carried into every subsequent generation since, and here, the Bostonians capture those origins with all the right moments of abandon and taste, imbuing the final product with just enough contemporary production touches and nuances. Dig the yelping verse that pops in "Friends Like These," and the pick scrapes on the guitar at 0:35 during "Jaywalker." Not to mention the amazing, sharp organ work that is sadly lacking in a lot of music made today. With just two songs, Thick Shakes lay claim to the perennially untamable garage rock zeitgeist. Stream the mind-blower "Jaywalker" below, and get thee that cassingle pronto. -- Edward Charlton
>> The intermittent side-project of Johnny Foreigner fronter Alexei Berrow, Yr Friends, has loosed another short stack of songs to the Internetosphere. Yr Friends Am Shit At Poetry comprises four tracks, three spoken-word-spangled tracks of Lex's patented brand of affecting logorrhea and one shambling acoustic cover of Modest Mouse's "Third Planet From The Sun." The latter song makes us wonder how it is possible that we've never heard Johnny Foreigner playing Modest Mouse's "Shit Luck," because Lex would be ace at singing it. Calling the songs of Yr Friends Am Shit At Poetry sketches doesn't do them justice, as they don't sound dashed off. But they are unusual in that they are structurally linear, something Mr. Berrow addresses on the Yr Friends tumblr: "I don't know what these songs are. I told loads of people I was doing poetry but I think I'm using that as a pretentious way to say, no choruses. Or much singing." There is gold in this collection, particularly the synth-led lead track "My Summa In Ibeefa" and the more characteristically spare strummer "Another Quiet Friday Night At The Chloro Party," and we've embedded the latter track below. The entire collection is just two pounds sterling via Bandcamp, and all proceeds will help Lex keep his head above water while waiting months to get paid for working merch at the 'lympics in Old Smoke starting at the end of the month. Buy buy buy! We haven't had any updates officially from the Johnny Foreigner camp regarding the mythical U.S. tour they mentioned last month, but we remain cautiously optimistic. The Birmingham, England-based noise pop titans' third full-length Johnny Foreigner vs. Everyhing is being reissued later this summer, as we've mentioned previously in these electronic pages.
Posted by Jay Breitling at 7/08/2012 11:45:00 PM
July 6, 2012
Bedroom Eyes Record Release Show With Sneeze, Lube, Kal Marks And Big Mess | O'Brien's Pub, Boston | 9 July
There's no denying rising shoegaze concern Bedroom Eyes, with one foot firmly planted in Boston and another in its native New Hampshire, are having a huge year. The Boston Phoenix just named them the best new band in New Hampshire, fercrissakes, and according to Wikipedia there are 1.3 million people in the Granite State. Sure, not ALL of them have bands, but still, you gotta figure the list is long, and Bedroom Eyes is at the top. On Monday the groop will self-release a debut full length What Are You Wrong With on CD and digital download. The album will be feted with a record release show/mini-tour homecoming show at O'Brien's Pub in Boston the same night, with supporting sets from noise pop luminaries Sneeze, Lube, Kal Marks and Big Mess. Rock fans may or may not recall Sneeze as being behind the awesome track "Brainage Pipe," which feature on the recent, excellent As Built PR comp you can download for free right here (we also played the track at the May installation of New Music Night, playlist here).
But back to Bedroom Eyes. Certain selections from the act's new collection are available digitally via Bandcamp right here for free, and to wet your whistle we're embedding the stunningly beautiful tune "Garmonbozia" below. Based on the album art linked above, the song is the lead track from the new album, which touts an additional 10 tracks. Speaking of free, in case you missed it, Bedroom Eyes' intense cover of Ride's "In A Different Place" was one of the many highlights from our Nofuckingwhere compilation, which compilation you can still download for free right here. Finally, the chaps in the band tell us they are already at work on a follow-up to What Are You Wrong With, and it will be an EP tentatively set for release on cassette at some date yet to be determined. So start saving your nickels, and get out Monday night to support the now sounds.
Posted by Jay Breitling at 7/06/2012 10:35:00 PM
July 2, 2012
We planned this small tribute so far ahead that we lost track of it when it rolled around. But it is worth noting that on June 5, 1992 -- twenty years ago last month -- Boston's own Drop Nineteens released their full-length debut Delaware on Caroline. An impossibly important record for us, on par with Ride's Nowhere and, well, a lot of other things that came out between 1990 and 1993 or so, when all the important records came out (LOLzy LOLzy ha ha ha wink wink). Or so it seemed at the time. This cover shot still pretty much exists, and every time we drive by it in
>>A weekend update from Austin, Texas' celebrated shoegaze/big beat terrorists Ringo Deathstarr tells fans who backed the trio's planned sophomore full-length that the record has been mastered, will be out in September, and will be promoted with a three-month world tour kicking off in August and lasting into December. Album backers will, if everything goes as planned, have the album in hand before the tour commences. No word on a title or any song titles yet, but we will watch for new news vigilantly. Ringo Deathstarr's 2011 full-length debut Colour Trip was one of our favorite records of the year; we reviewed it here and we reviewed the band's cataclysmic Boston show, which transpired a year ago today, right here. Colour Trip wasn't The Deathstarr's only release last year: it also issued the bracing Shadows EP, from which the song "Prisms," embedded for streaming below, is taken.
>> Fans of the Portland, Ore.-based guitar pop heroes Lubec got a do-you-want-the-good-news-first-or-bad-news-first? email from the band last week that we think nets out to a win for fans. Or at least those who had pre-ordered the band's Wilderness Days LP, which readers will recall combines the band's previously issued (and excellent) EP Nothing Is Enough! with previously unreleased tracks. Wilderness Days was to be released July 17, but because of delays with the pressing plant the LP will ship about a month later. That's the bad news. The good news is that Lubec is making it up to fans by sending them a free 7" single featuring the dynamite number "You're A Good Idea." The cut was previously available online last winter -- indeed, we wrote about it here -- when the band was pondering the release of a single for the tune "Riptide" (never released). "You're A Good Idea" was recorded at Tape Op Magazine studio in Portland; you may recall us describing it thusly: "a melodic tour de force of kaleidoscopic guitar, simple cascades of piano and punchy bass playing." The single has already been in production and will now ship prior to the LP, but Wilderness Days will still come packaged with the previously promised array of bonus materials. It will also arrive via expedited shipping courtesy of the band. Everybody wins! Stream Lubec's phenomenal track "Cherry Adair" from the aforementioned Nothing Is Enough! EP via the embed below.
>> Cambridge, Mass.-based electronic concern Occurrence surprised fans a couple weeks back with the surprise release of an instrumental collection Future Strangers, which is available for free download via Bandcamp right here. Stripped of sole proprietor Ken Urban's characteristically harrowing lyrics and received neuroses, the eight compositions of the collection crystallize into some of the most focused and nuanced in the Occurrence catalogue. The beats are heavier and the rhythm more urgent in lead track "Twin Brother Shadow Collective." Closer "Dead Techno (for Marla Gibbs)" -- yeah, you read that right -- is a 14-minute epic that would seem to take inspiration from the horrific grinding that begins The Smiths classic "Meat Is Murder," but slackens into a thoughtful swirl before evolving into serial, aggressive salvos of white noise. The real gem of the set is the penultimate track "False Heart," which achieves a pacific balance among swelling faux strings and the steady mid-tempo beat and pulsing tones that overtake them. The songs were created by Mr. Urban over the last two years with input from regular collaborator Wayne S. Feldman. It's already been a very productive year for Occurrence, which released the full-length collection The Apocalypse Is Postponed in January and capped Clicky Clicky's acclaimed Nofuckingwhere compilation with a stinging re-imagining of the title track to Ride's epochal debut full-length Nowhere (Nofuckingwhere is still available for free download right here). Stream "False Heart" below.