December 1, 2013

Today's Hotness: Grass Is Green, Porches., LVL UP, Eugene Quell

Detail of the art from Grass Is Green's Vacation Vinny

The last time Boston-based progressive indie goliath Grass Is Green graced these electronic pages they were party to the epic local release show in July for Speedy Ortiz' year-defining Major Arcana. Now the dome-crushing quartet is back with a new long-player of its own, due next month. The set, Grass Is Green's fourth, is titled Vacation Vinny, and believe you us it is massive and formidable [review pending]. The set was recorded in September with Julian Fader and Carlos Hernandez at The Silent Barn; that's the same team behind Krill's Lucky Leaves and a flotilla of additional compelling now sounds. Ahead of its release via the mighty Exploding In Sound, Grass Is Green has loosed to the wilds of the Internerds a single, "Vacation 2.0." The song is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser, rife with stop-start dynamics and crisp, brittle guitars. The foursome whips through multiple time signatures during the brisk, three-minute blast without ever losing control of the song's central melody. "Vacation 2.0" is a dizzying bit of math-punk that comfortably packs enough ideas for four different songs despite its short running time. Stream the song via the Soundcloud embed below, and then hit this link to pre-order the full-length. Vacation Vinny will be released Jan. 14 as an LP or download, by which time Grass Is Green will already be out on its first tour of 2014 along with the aforementioned Speedy Ortiz (all confirmed dates and TBAs are listed below the embed, for you pre-planning party people). A local release show for Vacation Vinny is slated for Jan. 25 at the Cambridge Elks Lodge, with an absolutely insane bill featuring Krill, Ovlov, Palehound and Trespasser. -- Dillon Riley

01.03 -- New Haven, CT
01.04 -- Philadelphia, PA -- The Keystone
01.05 -- Baltimore, MD -- Floristree
01.06 -- Richmond, VA -- Strange Matter
01.07 -- Chapel Hill, NC -- Local 506
01.08 -- Columbia, SC
01.09 -- Jacksonville, FL
01.10 -- Tampa, FL
01.11 -- Tallahassee, FL -- Office Lounge
01.12 -- Atlanta, GA -- Capsule Gallery
01.13 -- Birmingham, AL --The Forge
01.14 -- Nashville, TN --The Stone Fox
01.15 -- Knoxville, TN
01.16 -- Charlottesville, VA --Tea Bar
01.17 -- Washington, DC
01.18 -- Northampton, MA

>> We've spent a significant amount of time of late grooving to the recent split from Porches. and LVL UP. Fans of both know the acts are fixtures in the New York DIY scene, the former having released their debut long player Slow Dance In The Cosmos via Exploding In Sound earlier this year, and the latter recently wrapping dates with Clicky Clicky faves Little Big League and Pile. As fate would have it, Porches. and LVL UP are on very friendly terms, a dividend of which was the release last week of a very enjoyable split 7" on the Birdtapes label. Porches. owns the A-Side, delivering a smoldering bit of downer folk with "Strapping Young Weirdos" alongside "Townie Blunt Guts," a bouncing ode to the depressing reality of a lifetime spent in one's hometown. Fronter Aaron Maine is an excellent storyteller, which makes it easy to root for the suspect characters that populate his perma-bummed tunes. LVL UP, who rule the flip, get compared to early Weezer with some regularity. While the act certainly packs pop hooks into its guitar sludge, LVL UP excel when they keep things short and sloppy -- call it self-editing by proxy, something Weezer has long since forgotten in their race to the bottom of painful self-parody. LVL UP's second cut on the single, "Bad Blood," is probably their best song to date, so this split (released Nov. 26) is a crucial listen. You can pick up the vinyl here, or download the tracks over here right now. -- Dillon Riley

>> And what turns out to be our third and final bit of Exploding In Sound related news for Today's Hotness: the debut single from fuzz-rock newcomer Eugene Quell. A preview of a soon-to-be-released and apparently eponymous debut EP from Mr. Quell, the song "Weird Purr" was our formal introduction to the man; according to his Bandcamp outpost Quell has been banging around the UK indie scene for two decades. Despite the deep UK roots, "Weird Purr" proclaims a distinct American influence, as certain elements of the tune echo early Modest Mouse and Pixies. Indeed, with its slick acoustic intro and insistent rhythm, the track wouldn't be too far out of place on The Bends, easily Radiohead's most American-sounding record. Even so, Eugene Quell (knowingly or not) distinguishes his work from that of the aforementioned monsters of indie rock. Layers of distorted guitar pile up and fade out within seconds of entering the mix, burning in breaks that hint at a cathartic release that never quite transpires. The song is all build with no clear-cut pay-off, making for an arresting introduction to a project we will have our collective ears attuned to in the coming months. Eugene Otto Quell is set to be released as a free download New Years Day via Sonic Anhedonic and Exploding In Sound right here. Stream "Weird Purr" via the Soundcloud embed below. -- Dillon Riley

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