August 31, 2012

And Then This Happened: Infinity Girl, Young Adults Blitzkrieg TT The Bear's | 30 Aug.

Photos from the final two sets of last night's amazing four-band conflagration at TT The Bear's Place. We arrived during Soccer Mom's final song and spent the entirety of out-of-towners' Naomi Punk's set grooving to the Olympia, Wash.-based act's angular, percussive, dare-we-say Karp-esque jams. Which is to say, we didn't get any photos of that action. But we were down front and center for Infinity Girl and Young Adults, who together created an exhilarating finish to the evening. Wish we had the energy to tell you more now, but alas. Just look at the photos embedded above; just look at them.

August 29, 2012

In Memoriam: Algernon Cadwallader's "Cruisin'"

Earth became a distinctly less awesome place this week, and not just because of the ongoing Republican National Convention. As it turns out, the rumors were true: Philadelphia's superlative, basement-leveling indie punk unit Algernon Cadwallader has called it a day. As laid out in this blog post, drummer Tank has a kid on the way and is settling in to a nursing job, so he's retiring from active rock duty. Joe and Pete already have other projects in the works, including (we presume) running their label Hot Green Records, which released that amazing Hop Along record Get Disowned earlier this year. But let's pause for a couple minutes and reflect on the glory that was with the Algernon Cadwallader jam "Cruisin'" from its final record Parrot Flies, which we reviewed here last summer.

August 28, 2012

Review: White Laces | Moves

Sophisticated space-pop quartet White Laces' evolution has seen fronter Landis Wine and his cohort gradually bend the band's aesthetic and vibe ever closer together, as if attractive chrome pipes in parallel, the culmination of which is this atmospheric, seductive debut long player Moves. The Richmond-based act has over the last three years (during which time it released a number of singles and EPs) analytically assessed and discarded every superfluous element of its sound, and, in theory, one would think only a raw, punk-derived kernel would remain following such an exercise. But instead White Laces' efforts have revealed a sleek, soft-edged, melodic core that breathes within its own carefully conjured, fluid ambience. The sonic exploration has paid off, as Moves is one of the most promising full-length debuts of the year.

The music on Moves -- with its spare attack, off-center but ready hooks and remarkable sonic depth -- has contemporary peers such as current scene darlings Diiv. But White Laces' influences are far more seasoned: think "Dreams Never Fade" or "Procession" from the painful transition that birthed New Order from Joy Division; or think the casting about The Cure did between Seventeen Seconds and The Top. Mr. Wine's vocals on the album opener "Trading" -- whose first line is "I know I won't wake up..." -- are certainly reminiscent of Robert Smith's in his more subdued earlier years.

Nine largely asymmetrical song structures downplay the delineations "verse," "chorus" and "bridge," not because there are no clear focal points for the songs, but because White Laces operates at an elevated level that de-emphasizes such divisions and instead traffics in masterful shifts in vibe and groove. The concluding minute of "Impossible Windows" fires off mismatched clutches of snare beats to create an unsteady groove that will delight and confuse pogoing show-goers. Cascades of '80s-echoing synth color the chorus of "Carrousel" (not a typo, but a song named for the planned execution of those who turn 30 in the classic distopian sci-fi flick "Logan's Run"), while Mr. Wine's layered vocals billow out into cinematic space. Album highlight "Invocation," a stream of which is embedded below, reiterates in its opening section White Laces' long-held appreciation for motorik rhythms, which steadily pulses en route to an electrifying chorus that temporarily halts the movement of the song and apparently name-drops The KLF's biggest jam. Moves closes with the preview single "Crawl/Collapse," a spectral rocker whose spiraling denouement, perhaps more than anything else on the new collection, frames the brilliance of White Laces. Stream "Crawl/Collapse" below.

One final note: every band is layering on the reverb these days, but White Laces stands almost alone with its keen approach to imbuing its aural spaces with pronounced musicality. Much of the ambient sound on Moves was created the old fashioned way, via tracks pumped into a room over monitors and recorded as the band played live, a sort of modern reiteration of techniques pioneered by the great Les Paul. That vintage candy coating rests upon a decidedly post-punk frame, as we've stated supra. Moves will be released by Speakertree Records Sept. 11 as a digital download and LP; the first 100 of the 500 available physical copies are pressed to green vinyl. Local fans should mind our club picks in the sidebar, as White Laces is planning at least one Boston date for the mid-fall, and we'll be sure to post what we know once it can be revealed.

White Laces: Internet | Facebook | Bandcamp | Soundcloud | YouTube

August 26, 2012

Infinity Girl with Young Adults, Naomi Punk and Soccer Mom | TT The Bear's | 30 Aug.

Infinity Girl, Young Adults, Naomi Punk, Soccer Mom | TT The Bear's | 30 Aug.

Just look at that bill. Just look at it [here's the Facebook event page]. Leaving aside that this may in fact be the final time Boston fans will be able to see scene pillars Young Adults perform live (reason enough to see this for sure), the value proposition of this bill is astronomically high. Allow us to run it down. First, upstart shoegaze geniuses Infinity Girl will log what may be its, we don't know, maybe tenth show ever? It certainly can't be more than 10, but the quartet's meteoric rise has been astonishing; as we've written elsewhere, the band formed less than a year ago and has already issued the incredibly solid debut long-player Stop Being On My Side [review]. Noisier scenemates Soccer Mom and its jugular-crushing sonic assault are gripping every time they take the stage. The band is still writing and planning a new record, but it aleady has scads of excellent new material present in its live set that you need to see, including the jam with the hardcore breakdown we loved when it was aired at last month's WFNX Funeral Party show. Ambient punk heroes Young Adults, sadly, are going on hiatus after its current commitments are exhausted this fall. But as we said above, let's not even trade on that issue here. Instead, let's just remind everyone: This is the band that put out Black Hole in 2010, the album that gave us (well, officially, as opposed to the very well-received demo) "Rip It Up," "Let Us Out," "Wasting Time," "Impression" and so many other awesome tunes. And what of this band Naomi Punk, hailing from Olympia, WA? Based on a stream of their LP The Feeling over at Bandcamp, the act purveys a reverbed, pounding and cassette-primitive indie rock that would certainly seem a comfortable fit for Olympia's storied label K Records.

So whaddaya say? We'll see you Thursday. Advanced tickets advised, you don't want to get shut out of this and spend the night crying into your slice of Hi-Fi across the street. Well, do ya punk?

August 22, 2012

Today's Hotness: The Hush Now, Her Parents, Orange Blossom Flyover

The Hush Now -- Taste (digital single)

>> Boston dream pop lifers The Hush Now resurface next week with a digital single for the song "Taste," the quintet's sublime cover of Ride's classic shoegaze anthem. The Hush Now's rendition was first released May 1 as part of Clicky Clicky's Nofuckingwhere compilation, a locals-only collection featuring 11 Boston bands performing the entirety of Ride's amazing 1990 full-length debut Nowhere. As a brilliant press release writer notes, The Hush Now's version "dramatically slows the tempo of the original and expands its depth with myriad gossamer layers of guitar, bass and synth. [Fronter Noel] Kelly's vocal, by contrast, is out front and solemn, making a song that is a quasi-religious experience for Ride fans sound damn-near liturgical. It's like an endless length of fuse without a bomb, it just burns and burns and burns and then winks out." The Hush Now is currently demoing songs for a planned fourth long player, and fans can expect the band's usual slate of holiday singles as 2012 rolls through its final third. Memos, The Hush Now's third full-length, was one of our favorite records of 2011. It, along with all or almost all of the band's back catalog, is available for streaming and free download at Bandcamp right here.

>> We apologize for doing this to you, but we absolutely assure you that once you hear Her Parents' "Justin Vernon" you will be gleefully yelling "Didn't He!" without any provocation for about two days straight. London-based Her Parents, in case you didn't know, is a new project featuring former members of the mighty Glaswegian fight-pop goliath Dananananaykroyd, Internet Forever and Stairs To Korea. The new band's debut, cheekily titled Physical Product, was released via Bandcamp at few days ago, and it is overflowing with hypercaffeinated and charming post-punk. Of the 11 songs therein, only four eclipse the two-minute mark, and not by much. It's breathless and we dare say fun, even though typically we hate "fun" in "music." Too much "fun," after all, is a slippery slope that leads straight to Weird Al Yancovich. Her Parents' loud, brash and exciting music, fortunately, struggles to contain its own rampant energy, and is "fun" in the same way "fun" Black Flag was fun. You want that. You can get it right here. And we highly recommend you do. At the very least stream the hilarious, hilarious musical indictment of Justin Vernon embedded below. It will make your day.

>> The conversation about music in the context of Haverhill, Mass. -- to the extent it happens at all -- usually begins and ends with the words "Rob Zombie." But there are other things happening in the town. Take for example the shoegaze concern Orange Blossom Flyover, the brainchild of the prolific Ryan Scally. Based on a look at Orange Blossom Flyover's Bandcamp, it has been a going concern since 2010. Among the project's most recent tunes is "Near Beyond Alone," a beat-driven and blurry number that features a bending vocal from collaborator Gracie Jackson (who it should be said delivers a great fascimile of Jeanette Landray's vocals from The Glove). Densely layered with guitars and even more guitars, the tune reminds us of the work brilliant electropop concern from the last decade with the unGoogleable name Guitar (anybody remember this one?). In addition to a boatload of material at Bandcamp and Soundcloud, Orange Blossom Flyover has some physical releases available via I Had An Accident Records out of Annapolis, MD. Or we should say "had," as it appears both releases -- limited edition cassettes including a split with Daytime Television and the full-length Museum Magazine -- are sold out. Check out the stream of "Near Beyond Alone" below.

August 21, 2012

Dirty Dishes, Ghost Box Orchestra, Grass Is Green, Speedy Ortiz | Great Scott, Boston | 22 Aug.

Dirty Dishes, Ghost Box Orchestra, Grass Is Green, Speedy Ortiz at Great Scott, Boston, Aug. 22

So Wednesday we advise you catch the killer bill listed above, featuring the baked-on grit of Dirty Dishes, the "Best Psych/Experimental Act"-acclaimed Ghost Box Orchestra, the auditory pugilism of progressive post-punkers Grass Is Green, and the slithering, angular pop greatness of Speedy Ortiz. It's one in an enlarging series of ridiculously good bills that Boston seems to conjure with almost embarrassing ease these days. Not content to rock you just Wednesday, Jesse from Grass Is Green and Alex from Dirty Dishes will be rocking under the banner of their new side project Big Putts Friday at O'Brien's, along with Speedy Ortiz yet again (if Sadie from Speedy wasn't so conversant on the topic of ancient coffee shops and burrito places in Northampton, we'd have a hard time believing she isn't actually based in Boston. But we digress...) as well as Ovlov, Sneeze and Neur.

But anyway, back to Wednesday, Great Scott's got the goods, get over there and enjoy these late summer nights as they start to drink themselves away one by one. Below are some things you will be fortunate to hear, starting with the Dirty Dishes tune "Blur," the closing cut from the quartet's The Most Tarnished Birds EP that was released on CD in March (the whole thing is for sale on Bandcamp here). We haven't any idea what is in Ghost Box Orchestra's live set these days, but we find the slowly cycling groove of the quintet's 2011 Spring Tour Tape (now sold out) to be entrancing; latch on to the 14-minute nod of the B-side via the second Bandcamp embed below. Grass Is Green's 2012 release Ronson continues to move us, particularly the melodic spazz of the album-closing instrumental "Ruffleball," which we played during the March New Music Night at River Gods way back when; hear the number -- which will draw you in with whammy pedal acrobatics but will make you love it with the gentle salvo of horns at the close -- via the embed below. As for Speedy Ortiz, we recommend listening to it all, and have already done so in a number of places, including here and here.

August 20, 2012

Clicky Clicky Music Blog Presents A Benefit Show For Community Servings Featuring Guillermo Sexo, Johnny Foreigner, Speedy Ortiz & Infinity Girl | 7 Nov. | Great Scott

Clicky Clicky Music Blog Presents A Benefit Show For Community Servings Featuring Guillermo Sexo, Johnny Foreigner, Speedy Ortiz & Infinity Girl | 7 Nov. | Great Scott

[Flyer: Lewes Herriot] After months of planning, we are thrilled to announce (or more specifically announce) that Clicky Clicky Music Blog is presenting a bill for the ages, four of the best bands *anywhere*, performing together for one night only Wednesday, November 7, to raise money for one of the worthiest charities in all of the Commonwealth [Facebook event page]. The evening will be headlined by veteran Boston dream pop heroes Guillermo Sexo, who are joined by Clicky Clicky favorites all Johnny Foreigner -- yes, you read that correctly, the legendary Birmingham, England-based noise pop quartet will be there -- as well as Western, Mass. indie giants Speedy Ortiz and local shoegaze superlatives Infinity Girl. The lineup is amazing, and the bands will perform to help Clicky Clicky raise funds for Community Servings [Link]. The Jamaica Plain-based organization prepares and delivers daily free, nutritious meals to almost 800 chronically ill clients (as well as their caregivers and children) in 17 cities and towns in Massachusetts. If you'll permit us to copy and paste from, Community Servings' web site, "meals are prepared with delicious, fresh foods and are packed with the nutrition needed to fight illnesses such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis and lupus. To meet our clients' needs, we cater to their dietary restrictions, providing for 25 special diets."

We're announcing the event and lineup extra early because our goal is simple: we want tickets to this event to sell out, as soon as possible, so that we can accomplish three things. First, we want to raise a substantial chunk of change for Community Servings to help support them in their mission of feeding those in need. At the same time, we want to convey a strong message that Boston's indie rock community cares enough to step up and help make a difference in people's lives. And our third and final goal is that we can have a night so big, so successful, that the first two questions everyone asks the next morning are "when can we do it again?" and "what else can we do to help people in our community?"

So click this link and buy your tickets. We can promise a show so amazing that people will talk about it for a long time to come. All the bands are playing for free, so all proceeds after the club covers its costs go straight to helping pay for nutritious meals for our chronically ill neighbors and their caregivers and kids. We're also planning raffles or other ways for you to agreeably part with a little more hard-earned money the night of the event. We'll have more details on that as the date of the show approaches. For now, though, here's what you need to do:


That Lineup Again:

Guillermo Sexo

Johnny Foreigner

Speedy Ortiz

Infinity Girl

August 17, 2012

Review: Dikembe | Broad Shoulders

The emo and punk scene in Gainesville, Florida has been vibrant for so very long that this blog's executive editor lost a bass player to the lure of the student mecca some 12 years ago. Dude left BOSTON -- Piebald's Boston, The Wicked Farleys' Boston -- to go to Gainesville; this really happened. Anyway, based on the strength of the debut full-length from the southern city's latest export, Gainesville's gravitational pull on the perennial population of earnest indie and hardcore kids is likely to grow yet stronger as people inevitably turn on to the brilliant emo foursome Dikembe. The fiery quartet's new album Broad Shoulders, released Tuesday by Tiny Engines (a small label whose A&R is uneffwithable), is crammed with melodic, gritty anthems concerned with the regrets and resignations that accompany coming of age. Channeled through a textural, two-guitar attack and nailed down by a charged rhythm section that pounds time to the band's punk heart, the 10 songs on Broad Shoulders crackle with energy as intensely as they ache with honest sentiment.

The collection's comfort zone is the heads-down punk boogie of jams like "Apology Not Fucking Accepted" and the ode to Gainesville "We Could Become River Rats," but Dikembe's playing is so dextrous and songwriting so well-developed that Broad Shoulders is free of tired punk and emo tropes. The scritchy guitar tone and mournful repetition of album highlight "Not Today, Angel" recalls very early Portastatic, but the rhythm section breathes a glow onto the ballad's slow burn. Melodic guitar leads arc above gathering clouds of feedback while fronter Steven Gray murmurs his incantation, his wishing away of his corroded relationship with his dad; the chorus is buttressed by a curious, canned beat buried among the song's soft, blanket-like folds. "Not Today, Angel" is a small moment of stillness on a record that otherwise shakes with energy. The relentlessly propulsive groove of "I Watch A Lot Of Jackie Chan Movies" -- which feels like it could crescendo at any moment, but just ends up eating its own tail -- echoes slithering grinds similar to those turned out these days by Western, Mass.-based indie heroes Speedy Ortiz. Stream "Jackie Chan" and a few other selections from the album via the Soundcloud embed below.

Broad Shoulders is clearly excellent on its own merits, but it is especially gratifying for those of us still lamenting the demise of late, great Brooklyn indie punks Meneguar, who quietly called it quits in 2008 after releasing its third record, the fairly weird The In Hour (the debut I Was Born At Night and 2007's Strangers In Our House, however, are stone-cold classics). So to Meneguar fans we say, "have no fear, your ship has finally come in." Broad Shoulders was released Aug. 14 on limited edition 12" and digital download and is available for purchase right here. The vinyl comes in an edition of 500 pieces, 100 of which are clear "with blue smoke," 150 dark orange and 250 light brown. Dikembe's long player was preceded by the free, digital-only EP Chicago Bowls, which was released in 2011 and is still available for free download right here.

Dikembe: Bandcamp | Facebook | Soundcloud | YouTube


August 15, 2012

Today's Hotness: Fridge Poetry, Panda Riot, Fashoda Crisis

Fridge Poetry's 'Crash Down' demo

>> [UPDATED] Based on his remarks in our interview with his band a year ago about logging copious hours jacked into his beloved Japanese 8-track machine and Fruity Loops, it's little surprise that Johnny Foreigner drummer Junior Elvis Washington Laidley has finally revealed a bedroom project, the beats-and-electronics concern Fridge Poetry. The name itself is apt, as Mr. Laidley -- in the spirit of Dntel and The 6ths -- produces the music and then invites vocalists in to complete the tracks. Fridge Poetry's debut tune, a demo titled "Crash Down," is a remarkable, undulating dreamer that comes off as something of an update of the very early Johnny Foreigner song "Sword Buried," morphed into a contemporary remix of Crooked Fingers' "Crowned In Chrome" with a touch of Lali Puna thrown in because that is always the best thing you can do to a song. "Crash Down" features vocals and lyrics from Thomas Sherwood Nicholls, a name we assumed we knew until we did some fact checking and discovered this is not Tom from Calories or Tom from Tubelord or even Tom Campesinos! But as it happens, Mr. Nicholls' vocals previously appeared on an all-time-favorite song here at Clicky Clicky, Johnny Foreigner's somber and impressionistic ballad "All Moseley Gardens," which longtime Johnny Foreigner fans will recall as the hidden final track on the trio's smashing debut EP Arcs Across The City. Fridge Poetry's Soweto Slo Mo EP, which will contain a heretofore undetermined number of tracks, will be self-released late September or early October via Bandcamp. Fans can expect more collaborations with recognizable figures from Johnny Foreigner's constellation of indie pals, although it's a touch early for us to be naming names. For now, you've got the electronic bliss-out of "Crash Down" to occupy your ear canals; stream it via the embed below. For its part, Johnny Foreigner is about to reveal a slate of North American tour dates. Can we say that? Well, we guess we just did. The only date that's been announced as of this writing is Nov. 7 in Boston, Massachusetts. More details to come.

>> While much has been made about the more rock-oriented shoegaze revival acts of the past few years, there's less mention of the sugary, dance-oriented facet of the genre. But it's one that never truly dissipated and has been raving underground for years. Newer bands includingRumskib, Airiel and even the long-running Cocteau Twins continued to reliably release massive guitar washes paired with electronic beats long after My Bloody Valentine was left flummoxed by its own genius. Another proud and notable foot soldier of this ecstasy-rush movement is Philly-born and Chicago-based Panda Riot, whose limited-edition "Serious Radical Girls" 7" was released in early June by Saint Marie Records. The quartet's 2010 EP Far And Near established the band as a quality act, and the new three track single marks a welcome return, boasting more fully realized and bombastic production with just the right amount of cloudiness. The title track "Serious Radical Girls" features proudly chorused guitars and singer Rebecca Scott's sweet and clear vocal work (which pleasantly echoes that of Velocity Girl's Sarah Shannon). Follow-up "Golden Age Precursor" is a quick pastiche of clipped vocal samples and delay effects, and the single also includes a remix of "Serious Radical Girls" by Dean Garcia, formerly of U.K. dream-pop band Curve. Mr. Garcia is arguably one of the main drivers of the aforementioned shoegaze/dance stylistic melange, and it's doubtful Panda Riot could have identified a more logical partner for a remix. Listen to all three tracks via the embed below, and click through to Bandcamp to purchase the single, which is available in a limited edition of 400 vinyl pieces packaged with download code. -- Edward Charlton

>>Essex, UK-based smartpunx Fashoda Crisis are in the throes of creating a new vinyl EP for release this fall, according to an email from fronter Simeon Ralph. But in the meantime the act has released a characteristically cracking shouter "He's Got Gills" on a new compilation from the label Cognitive Dissonance. Well shy of two minutes in length, "He's Got Gills" touts a bruising guitar and bass attack, skull-rattling stops and starts and Mr. Ralph's throat-shredding vitriol, all of which could be said to earn the band a designation as Future Of The Left Jr. Cognitive Dissonance's compilation is titled Now That's What I Call Cognitive Dissonance Vol. 1, and you can stream the entire thing right here; it is selling for the criminally tiny price of one pound. Fashoda Crisis' previous full length, the deliciously caustic sophomore set Him They Make Learn Read, was issued last November. Stream "He's Got Gills" below.

August 12, 2012



In late 2011, Clicky Clicky Music Blog presented the world premiere of / listening party for Johnny Foreigner's outstanding third album Johnny Foreigner vs. Everything right here in Boston, a/k/a Awesometown. This year, we're upping our game. Clicky Clicky Music Blog is thrilled to present Birmingham, England-based noise-pop heroes Johnny Foreigner in Boston, Massachusetts, at a very special event Nov. 7. Details to come. Shit is about to get epic. #vsBoston #GhostTeam #JoFoOverNorthAmerica

Selected Prior Johnny Foreigner Coverage
Pre-Orders Available Now For Johnny Foreigner's Johnny Foreigner vs. Everything Double LP Reissue
Today's Hotness: Lewes Herriot Joins Johnny Foreigner
Review: Johnny Foreigner | Johnny Foreigner Vs. Everything
Cut The Rope And Jump Off: The Johnny Foreigner Interview
Review: Johnny Foreigner | Certain Songs Are Cursed EP

August 9, 2012

YouTube Rodeo: Screaming Maldini's "Summer, Somewhere"

This one fell between our proverbial sofa cushions while we were on holiday last week with very slow Internet connectivity. Which, actually, is a step-up over prior years, connectivity-wise, so all in all, not so bad. But as it stands, we only were able to watch the first 50 seconds or so of this charming video until earlier this evening, which video features Sheffield, England-based indie pop savants Screaming Maldini and a coalition of the willing (namely, members of Sheffield Cathedral Choir and Albion) a capella-bombing a local charity shop with its newest, throbbingly jubilant, achingly catchy number. Fans who sign up for the Screaming Maldini mailer will get a free download of the track, so sign up here. The we-don't-even-know-how-many-anymore-tet in June released "Life In Glorious Stereo," the first single from its forthcoming, self-titled, debut long-player, which is slated for release via Alcopop! Records and Hip Hip Hip this fall, all of which we wrote about here. And, hey! Fall is right around the corner, and now we're excited about it. Although we don't have the closet space anymore to hit the thrift stores these days, shame, really. But, dammit, we've got this song, and now you do, too.

Screaming Maldini: Bandcamp | Interzizzles | Facebook | YouTube

August 8, 2012

Today's Hotness: She, Sir, Velcro, Quicksand, Occurrence

She Sir -- You Could Be Tiger non-album digital single

>> For most music fans, there are usually one or two bands so beloved and pure that with each new second of recorded sound they offer, the results feel like a lovingly wrapped gift from an old friend. Here at Clicky Clicky HQ, one of those groups is Austin's thoughtful and restless She, Sir, which is touting a new, free digital single "You Could Be Tiger," available here. Like most long-term relationships, a fair amount of patience is required in order for things to bloom, and the quartet -- founded by the duo of Russell Karloff and M. Grusha -- are no exception. Unconcerned with churning out rushed laptop sessions or pointless album filler, She, Sir is devoted to the cult of the song, fervently, almost spiritually, calibrating and exploring tones, drum patterns and complex academic harmonies in order to perfectly realize their psychedelic mini-suites. Schedules, studio money and the disposable hustle of contemporary indie rock be damned; there are more timeless motives at play here. "You Could Be Tiger" is the best summation of the band's approach yet, highlighting She, Sir's talent for pounding instrumental passages and quick verses and refrains in less than two-and-a-half minutes. Like the material on 2010's Yens EP [review], "You Could Be Tiger," which will not be included on a planned LP, further refines the band's ability to mix its established avant tendencies (dream-pop textures, complicated time signatures and unique alternate tunings) with '60s-inspired psych-pop songwriting. Along with the band's usual delicate analogue production, the highlight here is the gorgeous 12-string acoustic melody and outro solo which repurposes jangle rock touchstones like The Byrds and later, The Rain Parade and mid-period Lilys. It’s all just further testament to how this band, like their hero Brian Wilson, exudes the prodigal coolness of a visionary lost in a room full of instruments, in search of some greater truth. The She, Sir web site notes that new singles from the planned album will materialize later in the year, so here's hoping that the presents keep on coming. -- Edward Charlton

>> It's time to acknowledge that there is simply something in the water in Australia and New Zealand to account for that corner of the globe's glut of quality guitar-pop songwriters producing innocent, unpretentious and glistening nuggets of indie pop, year in and year out. The Clean, The Go-Betweens, The Lucksmiths, Eddy Current Suppression Ring, the list goes on. And now add to it newcomers Velcro, a Melbourne-based trio that trades in mellow and ramshackle strummers of the Aussie variety. As much is clear based on the strength of the act's forthcoming debut EP Dreamboat, due Aug. 13 on cassette from the new London-based Njord imprint. Velcro bucks today's typical indie-rock production trends by featuring a very dry run-through of their occasionally Pavement-esque songs. The snare drum is front and center, with no affectations. The electric guitars cut through with plenty of attack and each string in the chords can be heard individually. And fronter Curtis Wakeling’s warbly Grant McLennan-by-way-of-Adam Green vocals offer up pure sincerity. Title track "Dreamboat" opens the EP with an up-front, diving female vocal hook, but the tune hinges on the descent into the second part of the chord progression, where things go from plucky and melodic to punchy and throbbing; the repeated low chords approximate a snap of the senses after a mid-afternoon daydream. The Dreamboat EP is available from Released By Njord for four pounds, and you can click through the Bandcamp embed below to purchase. Fans who are wholly smitten may want to peruse Velcro's own Bandcamp page, which appears to feature a mess of additional songs. -- Edward Charlton

>> From the "This Is Awesome" department comes word that the kind folks at ShopRadioCast (and, in Canada, Dine Alone Records) will reissue post-hardcore standouts Quicksand’s 1993 masterpiece Slip. The re-release will be pressed onto crisp 180-gram vinyl in a limited edition of 1,500 pieces and will be available Sept. 11. Fans will be excited to learn that Quicksand's undeniable cover of The Smiths' "How Soon Is Now?," originally released as a b-side to the "Dine Alone" single, is included on the reissue. Domestic punters so inclined can choose between red-and-black or green-and-yellow swirled LPs (Dine Alone is selling the good ol’ black). And the whole she-bang is remastered! The blogosphere was set abuzz in June when the band reunited to play a one-off show for Revelation Records’ 25th anniversary. Now the band has just announced a show in Brooklyn for Sept. 25, the night after a previously announced date at Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan; Quicksand are also slated to perform in Los Angeles at FYF Fest in September. Is there more to come? We don't know, but we do know that fronter Walter Schreifels is very busy, and apparently too busy to release his hotly anticipated second solo record any time soon. In the meantime, pre-order Slip at ShopRadioCast and pass the wait by screaming "Head To Wall" in the car, because that's what this reviewer plans to do [I'd choose "Too Official." -- Ed.]. -- Edward Charlton

>> Cambridge, Mass.-based electronic concern Occurrence, the long-time musical outlet of playwright and deeply cool dude Ken Urban (who, among other things, indirectly introduced us to Superchunk in 1992), has officially annexed frequent collaborator Wayne S. Feldman into the band. Mr. Feldman's musical pedigree is both long and curious, but most recently he has helped Mr. Urban mix the last two Occurrence records and contributed guitar and sonics to the band's contribution to Clicky Clicky's Ride tribute compilation Nofuckingwhere, the track "Nowhere." Feldman also starred in the crushingly poignant, Jeff Stern-directed video for Occurrence's "Bleeder," which you can watch here. Mssrs. Urban and Feldman are currently writing and recording a new record, but you can stream their exquisitely dark take on "Nowhere" below.

August 7, 2012

Review: Bedroom Eyes | What Are You Wrong With

Dense, bending chords, drifting vocals and desperate rhythms drive the terrific recent long-player from Boston shoegaze luminaries Bedroom Eyes. The collection, self-released by the quartet July 9, entices with its big melodies, superfuzzed guitars and bass and healthy blasts of feedback and static. All of which make What Are You Wrong With the record we've waited a long time to hear a Boston band make, a kind of golden mean between Dinosaur Jr's Bug and My Bloody Valentine's Isn't Anything. And despite only recently locating the second half of the band to the city and having a very short life span to date, Bedroom Eyes' biting blend of shoegaze and punk is presently among the most intense and captivating in the Boston underground.

The buzz-sawing verses of opener and album highlight "Garmonbozia" pump fuzz-bass sunshine under radiant, shimmering guitars, each verse building to a glorious cacophony in the chorus. As with the entire album, everything is limned with a rich sonic grit. Indeed, What Are You Wrong With succeeds as much because of its rough edges as it does for its uncannily memorable melodies. All sounds are gratifyingly loud and sent to tape that way, allowing the music to smash up against the stereo field in a manner that approximates both the listener being "there" live, caught in the swirl, and one of the more memorable moments of "Kentucky Fried Movie" (for a young teen-aged boy, anyway). The production allows the recordings to shudder with a barely contained energy, bringing to bear Bedroom Eyes' Allston basement show cred in a deliciously visceral way.

Even before it released this long-player, it was already a big year for Bedroom Eyes. The band was named the best underground act in New Hampshire, even when half its members had already made the jump to Boston. What the cognoscenti knew was there was no reason to expect a let-down, as Bedroom Eyes had already unleashed on an eager public of early adopters a tantalizing clutch of excellent demos and compilation tracks, including iterations of "Big Boo," "Soggy," and a thrilling cover of Ride's "In A Different Place" on Clicky Clicky's Nofuckingwhere compilation (still available for free download here).

What Are You Wrong With strongly delivers on the promise of those early tracks, while offering new insights into the rapidly rising band. Songs such as "Weak Back" and "Dissipate" evidence Bedroom Eyes allowing itself to work odd grooves and explore sound and space outside the constraints of verse-chorus-verse inevitability. The blunt-force of the wall of guitar and desperate rhythmic intensity of the former track builds and then breaks down, settling into a quiet lumbering groove of fuzz bass and edgeless feedback that provides perhaps the most satisfying and beautifully pure moments on the record. "Touch Of Sap" has verses that sway and bend, and a pummelling chorus that recalls scene-legends Swirlies. What Are You Wrong With has no filler, just lots of killer. Buy it on CD or as a digital download via the Bandcamp embed below. As we reported here last month, the foursome is already at work on a follow-up, an EP to be released on cassette; we'll keep you posted.

Bedroom Eyes: Tumblaaaaah | Facebook | Bandcamp

August 3, 2012

Today's Hotness: Pedro The Lion, Ringo Deathstarr

Pedro The Lion

[Playing a little post-vacation catch-up here, with massive help from long-time friend of the blog Vanessa Deroo. We're pleased to welcome her writing to these electronic pages, and hope we'll be able to wring more out of her as her new, busy English lifestyle permits. -- Ed.]

>> It's hard to believe so much time has blown past, but we suppose we're at a point now where the name of David Bazan's mothballed project Pedro The Lion may not ring a bell with younger indie fans. But for those of a certain age, Bazan's defunct slowcore act -- which issued its debut long-player It's Hard To Find A Friend 14 years ago -- means intimate and scorched songs contemplating misplaced trust, broken faith and unsteady redemption. Over an 11-year span from 1995 to 2006, Seattle-based Pedro The Lion released five LPs, from the aforementioned flawless and raw debut LP to the electrifying finale Achilles Heel; a number of EPs and singles complete the Pedro The Lion catalogue. "Bad Diary Days," from It's Hard To Find A Friend, is an all-time favorite song of this blog's executive editor, we should point out. Thankfully, more indie fans will be able to discover for themselves the smoky magic of Pedro The Lion, as stalwart indie concern Jade Tree Records announced late last month that it will reissue this fall It's Hard To Find A Friend, The Only Reason I Feel Secure, Winners Never Quit, Control and Achilles Heel. Four LPs were remastered from the original sources by long-time co-conspirator TW Walsh; Winners Never Quit, the band's first and perhaps finest conceptual collection released in 2000, was remastered by John McCaig. The reissues are due from Jade Tree Oct. 30 and are available for pre-order now. A bundle of all five LPs packaged with a turntable mat and limited edition 10" by 10" print by Bazan is also available for a cool USD$70, but only until Aug. 31. Stream "A Mind of Her Own," the climax of 2000's Winners Never Quit, via the Soundcloud embed below. -- Vanessa Deroo, correspondent

>> Austin-based shoegaze heroes Ringo Deathstarr are wrapping a successful, fan-backed album campaign that we've followed closely here at Clicky Clicky headquarters. The trio announced in late July that its second long-player is titled Mauve; it will be issued by Sonic Unyon in the US and Club AC30 in the UK Sept. 24. The album release will be preceded by tour dates in Japan and South America and will coincide with a massive North American tour through late October. According to a Facebook post the trio will be in Boston Oct. 19; we expect UK and European dates are also in the cards. The 335 fans who supported the release via the PledgeMusic funding campaign will likely receive the record prior to the completion of the planned West Coast leg, but perhaps not before the release of the pending first single from the set, "Rip," an open invitation to noisy dreams which got premiered on Pitchfork here last month and which you can stream via the Soundcloud embed below. A stream of another track, a "drone in D flat" called "Girls We Know," was made available exclusively to pledgers and showcases the doomier, later JAMC-influenced side of Ringo Deathstarr. Mauve was produced by fronter and guitarist Elliot Frazer in Austin and Los Angeles earlier this year, in between touring with such luminaries as Smashing Pumpkins and the mighty Johnny Foreigner. The Deathstarr's full-length debut Colour Trip was one of Clicky Clicky's favorite records of 2011. -- Vanessa Deroo, correspondent