November 6, 2013
Today's Hotness: All Dogs, Idiot Genes, Soft Focus
>> You are going to start hearing Columbus, OH-based indie-punkers All Dogs' name quite often. The young, female-led trio is signed to Salinas Records, a label the music cognoscenti have come to know well for releasing the crucial indie rock platters from Swearin', Waxahatchee and Radiator Hospital over the last two years. Indeed, All Dogs' music neatly fits into the label's aesthetic: the threesome's four-four rockers burst with energy even at the mid-tempo that characterizes the opening pair of tunes from the very enjoyable self-titled, debut 7" that Salinas released last week. The rudimentary instrumentation leaves a lot of space for fronter Maryn Jones' clear and evocative voice to take a starring role, and hers (which recalls that of Bettie Serveert fronter Carol Van Dijk at times) is particularly affecting during the doleful closing cut "Say," certainly a highlight even among this very strong four-song collection. The All Dogs 7" is available via mail order now, and easily worth double the $5 asking price, so click this link to get yours from Salinas before the first run is gone, 'cause these are gonna go fast. All Dogs don't have any shows booked until next month, but Boston fans should take note now that further out in the future the band will be at Great Scott Jan. 21 supporting their very, very hotly tipped labelmates Waxahatchee, who just finished a triumphant strand of UK dates. We expect that will be a show everyone will talk about all through the late winter and into the spring, and we advise you to get tickets ASAP because the buzz is only going to get louder. And that may or may not be your tinnitus talking. What? I can't hear you, the phone keeps ringing. What? Stream the exquisite All Dogs single via the Bandcamp embed below. All Dogs are already at work on songs for a full-length, and previously issued a very fine split tape with Slouch.
>> You thrilled the sandpaper-across-the-face vibes of its self-titled EP at the beginning of the year, which included the bouncy shouter "The Charles Mansion," and now Allston Rock City fuzz-pop standouts Idiot Genes are back with another eight-pack of beery, big-muff anthems. Idiot Genes come by all of their bashing and feedback and sludge honestly: the new collection, titled Lousey, was recorded in the quartet's practice space earlier this fall. The set is thronged with throaty belters including the breakneck bomp of opener "Regular" and the more moderately paced "Soaked Pillow." The latter's lyrics evoke an easy smile, particularly the closing chant "WHEN I DREAM I DROOL! WHEN I DREAM I DROOL!" It's tempting to employ the word "primitive" here to try to capture the essence of the foursome's collective appeal, but that word would not do justice to the way Idiot Genes' music will infiltrate your consciousness. Lousey was released via Bandcamp on Hallowe'en; stream it via the embed below and then click and paywhutchalike to acquire the digital files for your personal use. Idiot Genes are playing on a ridiculously good bill (presented by Allston Pudding) Nov. 14 top-lined by UK-based indie sensations Paws and Philadelphia nu-emo stars Little Big League, who rule. We featured Idiot Genes' "The Charles Mansion" during New Music Night 10 last spring.
>> There was little actual use of soft focus employed by Soft Focus, the scrappy, youthful Cambridge, Mass.-based indie pop group whose music we have been enjoying lately, and who, sadly, have apparently already called it a day. But perhaps the threesome's name evinces itself in other ways. Soft Focus gradually resolved over the past year with a couple of singles, and now comes the posthumous Day EP, which showcases well the band's bashing, gleeful style. Jangly, sometimes angular guitar lines announce each of the four songs here, and the ensuing performances and production suggest that the trio's music is an apt soundtrack for a swinging basement show. One can almost see (smell? -- Ed.) the beer stains, smiling faces and taped-up Christmas lights as tunes like the yearning, head-bobbing opener "POG" ply their charms. Drummer Garren Orr keeps the snare tight and fast, while lead singer Joe Holcomb delivers emotional, punk-braised vocals -- which incidentally, recall those of Shout Out Louds fronter Adam Olenius -- without clouding the carefree character of the tunes. On EP highlight "Summer Sin" the band executes perfectly. Crisp lead guitar proclaims a bright melody and presents 12-string resonance, which in sum reminds this reviewer of George Harrison's work on "Nowhere Man." While that influence is likely not front of mind for Soft Focus, their listing of Bloc Party as an inspiration frames the Day EP in an interesting light. It's evidence of a younger generation of DIY musicians taking decade-old references and reshaping them into part of their own musical identity. It is hard to know whether such influences would have continued to guide the band's music, as this EP and one other referenced at Bandcamp would seem to be the final transmissions from Soft Focus (two of its principals have apparently gone to the west coast). Even if that next EP fails to materialize, the Day EP is a fine way to go out. It was released to the wilds of the Internerds Oct. 2 and is available as a pay-what-you-choose download; stream it below and then click through to make it your very, very own. -- Edward Charlton