January 22, 2014
Today's Hotness: Nothing, Seeds Of Doubt, Ancient Babes
>> The Whirr/Nothing/Soccer Mom show we saw last summer was the most extraordinarily loud thing we've ever witnessed, and we've been lots of loud places. We suppose there are different qualities to loudness, but what we'll always remember about this show was that at one point the extreme volume actually made our brain vibrate inside our skull, which was a completely insane feeling. Philly-based shoegaze titans Nothing return to Boston this week at long last, ahead of the release of a hotly anticipated debut full-length titled Guilty Of Everything. The mind-blowing second preview track from the collection, the sinisterly titled "Bent Nail," is a blistering number with remarkable sonic depth. It's interesting to observe here how the band aims to translate the visceral loudness of its music to the controlled parameters of a sound recording. Bands like Dinosaur Jr. and My Bloody Valentine, two acts renowned for their aural assault, at least these days make very clean and contained recordings, ones that respect the limits of the media that hold them. This in contrast to the grinding, paint-peeling sounds of something like, oh, you know, Dinosaur's "Don't" or the so-called "holocaust section" MBV famously inserts into its live performances of the song "You Made Me Realize." On its new track "Bent Nail," Nothing submerges its massive wall of guitars, bet-everything drumming and subdued vocals neck-deep in a consistent and even reverb, the effect of which approximates well how Nothing's sound cocoons fans in a small rock club. It also emphasizes the softer, dreamy quality that lurks just below the danger and noise inherent in Nothing's music, a yin/yang relationship that echoes the tension between the beauty and the turmoil in the band's songwriting. The Jeff Zeigler-produced Guilty Of Everything will be released by Relapse March 4 on LP, CD and as a digital download. Pre-order the set right here, and then hit the embed of "Bent Nail" below to dream away your evening. Nothing, whose previous release was the 2012 EP Downward Years To Come, reunite with Boston's mighty Soccer Mom tomorrow when they anchor an epic bill at Great Scott toplined by dreampop luminaries Weekend.
>> Despite the clean lead guitar lines and upbeat tempos, it is apparently the skateboard and not the surfboard that occupies the hive mind of rising London quartet Seeds Of Doubt. Or at least the band's music has been used to score skate videos published by an international athletic shoe brand; for all we know Seeds Of Doubt hates skating. But we can be sure that what it does like is strong, hooky indie pop, which is what the band delivers on "There You Go," a compact and uptempo strummer with a sing-alongable chorus and neat little guitar leads dug into a watery, lo-fi mix. The tune features on the just-issued DCP EP, a five-song cassette available now from the always-quality Italian Beach Babes label. DCP is the first recording to feature the new four-headed iteration of Seeds Of Doubt; a previously released 12-song cassette was issued by founding member Matt as a solo endeavor. We don't know what the weather is like in London right now, but the light, summery sound of "There You Go" is a potent (if temporary, as all pop must be) antidote to the deep freeze currently gripping Boston and the surrounding environs. Somewhat surprisingly, we didn't write about Italian Beach Babes in all of 2013. That is just as likely an oversight on our part as it is any indication of what the label accomplished last year; they certainly seemed to come on strong in 2012 with splendid releases from Mooncreatures and Cold Pumas. Anyhoo, stream the breezey rocker "There You Go" via the Soundcloud embed below, and hit this link to purchase the tape from IBB. £5 plus shipping gets you the cassette and a download code.
>> When we last checked in on Vancouver-based electronic producer Ancient Babes last summer, it had just posted the '80s-echoing chillwave delight "Malcolm X In The Middle" to Soundcloud. The tune sounded like the lost track to a John Hughes teen dramedy, and in the ensuing months the man behind Ancient Babes, Sam King, continued quietly dropping tracks over at Soundcloud. Last week the best of these were bundled up into Futuristic Demon, a debut EP featuring three previously posted tracks and the compelling new cut "Occult Commando." The new tune closes the four-song taster in grand fashion, big wet snare cracks punching holes in a dreamy cycle of synth tones and small smears of guitar as Mr. King murmurs what could be the sweetest nothings or the dreamiest death threats into the middle of the mix. Sonically and compositionally "Occult Commando" is a strong step forward for Ancient Babes; the only miscalculation might be the tune didn't get the first slot on the EP, which you can stream via the embed below. Click through to download Futuristic Demon in exchange for as much or as little money as you can spare.