February 15, 2015

Today's Hotness: The Prefab Messiahs, Red Sea, R.M. Hendrix

>> Editor's Note: We're not dead, we're just extremely sleepy, as the coroner once said of Alan Stanwyck.

>> We first encountered Massachusetts’ superb psych-rock concern The Prefab Messiahs when they played The Lilypad with (who else?) Lilys back in 2013. While new to the publication then, the group's origins lie in the early 1980s, an era that for regional indie rock fans is synonymous with the truncated initial reign of legends Mission Of Burma. However, post-punk was only a slice of what the Bay State was cooking back then. The gentlemen behind The Prefab Messiahs reinvigorated their mojo in the past decade via a wealth of “DIY garage-pop-psych provocation.” This work, and the rubbing of shoulders with other garage-revival figureheads at the time of the quartet's 30th anniversary, has precipitated the imminent release of a new maxi-EP titled, awesomely, Keep Your Stupid Dreams Alive. Coming out as a co-release on KLYAM and Burger on virtually every format but DataPlay (so 10" vinyl via KLYAM, cassette via Burger, and CDs and digital downloads, too), the whole eight-song shebang is the band's first new release in 32 years, and it hits racks on March 10. Burger makes a lot of sense for The Prefab Messiahs, as many of the respected label's lo-fi, neon, classicist power-pop acts indeed sound like the grandchildren of psych-pop’s first revival that occurred around the time that the ‘Fabs four-med.

Your first look at and listen to Keep Your Stupid Dreams Alive comes via the overloaded, animated dose of a video for "Weirdoz Everywhere" posted above (longtime fans will also remember it was part of that aforementioned live set at The Lilypad). The EP kicks off with the tune "Ssydarthurr" which not only (re-)introduces the act’s freakbeat influences and straightforward tones, but also its low-key sense of humor, something that separates these gentlemen from many of their stone-faced peers. And that element, ultimately, is what so many adherents miss about the spirit of '67 at the acid gallery. Take Syd Barrett: for all of his pioneering sounds, he was not above the silly, sidelong lyric. The Prefabs' "College Radio" commences with some menacing staccato guitar work and slapdash backing vocals and echo effects, all the while cheekily celebrating left-of-the-dial culture with a supernatural twist. The title track (and EP highlight) rides a steady, mid-period Rolling Stones rhythm and a simple, soaring harmony throughout a delightfully wistful and catchy chorus. The stark march of "Keep Your Stupid Dreams Alive" builds in the bridge to a chaotic ending, marking the tune as both an economical and flippant piece of pop gold. Keep an eye on the KLYAM digital storefront and the Burger web dojo for pre-order info for Keep Your Stupid Dreams Alive, which incidentally was engineered by sometimes-Lilys Doug Tuttle and Jesse Gallagher. -- Edward Charlton

>> We were excited to see another publication spill some ink for Atlanta art-rock quartet Red Sea and its terrific release In The Salon, which we wrote about here last year. The mini-album is seeing its first physical release in the form of a cassette from Bayonet Records, a new label co-run by Beach Fossils' Dustin Payseur and Katie Garcia (Ms. Garcia, if you don't know, was previously the label manager for Captured Tracks). And, boy, are we equally excited for Bayonet. Not only do the couple have the good sense and taste to release Salon, but they have introduced this reviewer to Red Sea scene mates Warehouse, as well. Presenting a scrappier, exuberant take on Red Sea's weirdo jazzy grooves, the latter band are now also firmly on our radar after just one listen to sophisti-punk lead single "Promethean Gaze." There, brilliant chord patterns, and Elaine Edenfield's Kim Gordon-esque vocals (which hit sarcastic low notes in a singular style that also recalls Red Sea) completely overwhelm. Both In The Salon and Warehouse's Tesseract are out later in March. Keep an eye on the Bayonet site for the launch of the online store and grab these fast, they'll likely move fast once the progressive indie movement takes over the country by storm [That's gonna happen, right? -- Ed.]. -- Edward Charlton

>> Boston DIY shoegazer R.M. Hendrix appears to be gearing up for a new record, and the proof is two wonderful demos he posted to Soundcloud recently. The first, a dark, hazy strummer titled "Half-Mast In Golden Light," takes you into its confidence via bending guitar chords, which drift between hard-panned drums as Mr. Hendrix looses a dreamy verse over top. Shortly after the song crosses the minute mark, spectral synth spreads over top the persistent strumming, pauses for a delightful, crumbling lead guitar interlude, and then returns. The tune is so strong in its demo form that we can't imagine it being improved upon, but we are always pleased when we're wrong about that sort of thing. The second demo, "Wolf On The Edges," is similarly arranged; it pursues a pulsing rhythm and gradually builds upwards from Axel Wilner-esque minimalism, employing soft, inevitable chord changes to achieve a tense, buzzing crescendo once Hendrix's subdued vocals give way. Any new collection would be Hendrix's first since Urban Turks Country Jerks, which was issued by Dallas-based Moon Sounds Records in April 2014; we wrote about that right here. Senior Writer Edward Charlton initiated our coverage of R.M. Hendrix right here in 2012, around the time of the release of Hendrix's Pink Skin EP. Stream "Half-Mast In Golden Light" and "Wolf On The Edges" via the Soundcloud embeds below.


DanP said...

Thanks again for the excellent tips and enjoyable writing, gentlemen. xx

Jay Breitling said...

The pleasure is ours, Dan. Once all these blizzards and some near-term work shenanigans are behind us, there will be much more for readers to pore over. Cheers. Jay

Anonymous said...

Fun fact: The Prefab Messiahs opened for Mission of Burma on December 4, 1982 at Xit in Worcester, MA. Small world.