February 27, 2013
Today's Hotness: Chandeliers, Universal Disappointment Sponge, Best Practices
>> Boston's dark and stormy noise pop concern Chandeliers -- who also will not be playing the newly announced Boston Calling festival Memorial Day Weekend -- returned a couple weeks ago with new music under the deceptively mundane title Monday EP. The actually quite electrifying five-song set picks up where the trio left off with last year's brilliant Big-Shot Weekend cassette. Meaning the band's frenetic intensity, characteristically murky vocals and fiery guitar work remain intact and propel these five new compositions to such great heights. Opener "Swim Gym" sets a brisk pace (indeed, none of the songs here runs more than 152 seconds), thrashing through a waltz-timed bridge underpinned by crushing drumming. "Temperance" lightens the mood substantially, showcasing the band at perhaps its most straightforward and melodic. EP closer "Not Smart (Just Well Educated)" commences with bright, lean lead guitar, but plunges quickly into a pool of reverb and jangle interrupted only by the recurrence of the bright opening theme. It's worth emphasizing how fiercely independent Chandeliers are, as this is yet another dynamite collection that the band self-recorded, self-mixed and self-mastered. Monday is available to stream now at Bandcamp, and the band aims to have it released on 7" vinyl, which we hope means there is a label out there smart enough to recognize these guys are the realest of real deals. Stream Monday via the embed below.
>> Fans of Fashoda Crisis earlier this month were gifted a cracking collection of songs from band fronter Sim Ralph's slightly less vitriolic but entirely more mad side project Universal Disappointment Sponge. The new Essex, England-based concern wasn't exactly a secret, as there had been scattered mentions among the more recent social media missives from Fashoda Crisis, but we certainly didn't expect the five-song set Time To Surrender Puny Earthlings to drop into our digital laps last week. The short collection was recorded in January and is presently available as a pay-what-you-like download that comes packaged with guitar tabs and lyrics, a nice embellishment that we'd certainly like to see more of from bands. Along with Mr. Ralph, who's commanding vocals are plainly evident here, the new quartet includes vocalist Chrissy, bassist Dave and drummer J. The first number on the EP, "The Lost Art Of Steeplejacking," begins with some sort of ranting about tapes, an a capella chant backed by screaming, which ushers in a start-and-stop stone groove and layered guy-girl vocals that approximate some form of dementia. Things get weirder and more rocking from there. The subdued verses of "Lemon The Pole" are feints that set off heavy, wiry choruses, which of course leads to a breaking of the fourth wall, and some dialogue ("look, the pole's not going to lemon itself"), before the song leaps back into a grinding, heads-down boogie. Universal Disappointment Sponge have lined up a handful of gigs beginning in late March, and should you be lucky enough to be based in the UK we exhort you to get out and see what they've got up their musical sleeves. In the meantime, treat yourself to the stream of Time To Surrender Puny Earthlings that we've embedded below for just such a purpose. Fashoda Crisis' most recent output is the Jowls Of Justice EP, which was released digitally to the Bandcamps of the world in mid-January; check it out here.
>> A third tremendous new release from mid-February was given unto us by Best Practices, the Providence-based melodic hardcore titans responsible for last year's exhilarating and almost-hilariously brief The EP LP (which we wrote about here a year ago). The quartet released Feb. 19 a soaring new EP titled Sore Subjects; somewhat ridiculously, the new EP is actually about a minute shorter than last year's single-sided, 12-minute opus (which makes us think we haven't heard a band get so much done in so little time since the first couple of Calories releases). The music on Best Practices' new collection, which is available as a pay-what-you-like download at Bandcamp now, fizzes with the same volatile energy and imagination that drives the music of legends like Drive Like Jehu and Fucked Up. But it also echoes '90s indie rockers such as Garden Variety... there's that indie rock peanut butter sneaking into their hardcore punk chocolate (mental note: hardcore punk chocolate would be an awesome album title). Sore Subjects' second tune, "Home For Halloween," pitches the curve via the soft acoustic guitar opening, but the song is quickly overtaken by desperate and almost unhinged vocals and Superchunk-at-doubletime guitars. The EP comes to a thrilling climax in the final minute of closer "Brita'd," when a weirdly scrambled lead guitar line convulses across the top of the mix. The EP was largely recorded at Amherst's Dead Air Studios last June with engineer Will Killingsworth, who we find ourselves talking about more and more here at Clicky Clicky. Vocals were recorded in October and earlier this month at Providence DIY space Squid Amps. The EP LP is still available on 12" vinyl from Tiny Engines right here, although as of this writing there are apparently only 16 copies left, so neither dilly nor dally lest you miss out on this gem. Will someone step up and release Sore Subjects on vinyl? We certainly hope so. Stream the EP below.