October 24, 2016
Hey This Weird Thing Happened Where Someone Gave Us Studio Time To Give Away So We Gave It To Aüva And Let's See What Happens, Shall We?
[PHOTO: Evan Xiner Hong] So, in case you haven't noticed, we're fans of rising Boston indie pop sextet Aüva. We put the act on a bill for this year's Together fest, wrote about its video clip earlier in July, and have enjoyed listening to its 2016 self-titled LP. And so, when an old friend from the Boston music scene in April presented us with a very intriguing opportunity, we were compelled to think of Aüva yet one more time. Said (very kind) friend provided us with a substantial chunk of studio time in one of the city's top studios -- and with a Boston Music Award-winning engineer nominated yet again this year -- for us to give away (just give away, just like that, like it was a beer or an extra crew neck sweater) to a deserving band. There were a couple caveats we were happy to countenance, the upshot of which was we needed to identify a young, able band that had never recorded in a proper studio before. As Aüva's prior EPs and aforementioned LP were self-recorded, they hit Clicky Clicky's short list quickly, and were the last act standing after the Clicky Clicky Brain Trust's deliberations were complete in mid-summer.
So, here's what's going to happen: next month, Aüva will enter the recently re-everythinged Mad Oak Studios in Allston Rock City for five days to record new music with the great Benny Grotto. The band has graciously agreed to document the recording sessions, which we will share with you, dear reader, in as close to real time as we can manage. What can we expect? 28-minute prog odyssey? A passel of sticky, deafening stoner-rock jams? Probably not. But the point is we don't know, and it will be exciting to find out. After a successful summer tour including a date playing adjacent to Brian Wilson in New Hampshire, Aüva has been primarily woodshedding, but area fans can catch them performing live Nov. 11 at Make Out Point; the bill also includes Amherst, Mass.' Calico Blue. Those unfamiliar with the venue would do well to consult a punk. While we wait for the show and new recordings to roll around, how about taking another listen to Aüva?
Aüva: Bandcamp | Facebook | Internerds
Footage: Aüva's Swaying Surf-Pop Gem "Better"
Together Again: Clicky Clicky Presents Two Nights of Adventurous Electronics And Under-Pop May 18+19
October 13, 2016
>> Richmond future-pop leading lights White Laces roll into town tomorrow at the tail end of a week-long east coast tour supporting its long-germinating third album No Floor, which hit new release bins late last month. With its latest and third record, White Laces ventures further into an aesthetic marked by dramatic electronics and vast reverbs that at times eschews live instrumentation almost entirely. The stark contrast between the guitar-centered and relatively angular sound of White Laces' early years and the boundless atmospheres it has conjured for itself more recently is no more apparent than when contrasting a recently released compilation of remastered early track, Sick Of Summer, with No Floor. No Floor is announced by the swirling faux strings and bashing electro beat of "Youth Vote," with fronter Landis Wine dropping the en medias res line "I figured I'd take a ride" as a invocation. Album preview tracks "Dots" and "Cheese" follow with increasingly greater electronic flourishes that deepen the divide between the White Laces of today and the more conventional approach of the band's early years. Indeed, as the chiming opening of "Cheese" -- whose melody echoes faintly the verse of P.I.L.'s "Rise" -- transitions to its own serene verse, it is difficult to identify any non-electronic sounds. Even so, the music never feels synthetic, in large part because Mr. Wine's soulful vocals on No Floor are the most emotionally direct of the band's entire oeuvre. In a departure from prior practice, No Floor was recorded primarily at home, with additional vocal tracking at a studio in Richmond, and it was mixed by Philadelphia hitmaker Jeff Zeigler (Mr. Zeigler had previously tracked White Laces 2014 sophomore set Trance, which we reviewed right here). White Laces performs a Boston-area show Friday night at Trixie's Palace, a non-traditional venue whose coordinates can be ascertained by consulting a knowledgeable punk rock enthusiast. Also on the bill are Jroy Divorbison, We Can All Be Sorry, Jarva Land and The Owens. Richmond-based Egghunt Records released No Floor September 30 on CD, as a digital download, and in a hyper limited edition of 50 vinyl long-playing records; purchase the set in an of its physical manifestations and in various bundles (which can include the aforementioned remaster of Sick Of Summer as well as a pretty bitchin' t-shirt) directly from the label right here.
>> With two particularly hot releases rocketing from its city limits this month, rock fans can only hope that the underpop sounds of Minneapolis are set for a renewed campaign for stylistic supremacy. Private Interests' power-pop revelation, its Only For A Moment EP, hits new release bins at the end of next week. But just tomorrow indie-pop four-piece Real Numbers releases a hotly anticipated and long-awaited full-length debut, despite having toiled in the figurative salt mines of international indie for as long as a decade. The jangle commandos' new C86-indebted collection, Wordless Wonder, is thronged with instant classics touting big melodies, scritchy guitars and maximum pep. Opener "Frank Infatuation" is timeless, and makes for an auspicious start to this high-quality release. The tune is all fuzzy strums, plunky bass, and surfy leads, delivered at a carefree, upbeat tempo, and, sure, there's a formula at work, but when the formula is this fun and well-executed, no ones cares. If you dig "Frank Infatuation" -- and it is undeniable -- make sure to check out this earlier version Real Numbers released as a digital single in 2014. Wordless Wonder's barn-storming "Just So Far Away" is even more potent, hitting hard with a chorus first before blitzkrieging through short verses and right back to the chorus again. The album truly is all killer and no filler, and will likely be featured in a number of year-end lists before 2016 is through. Eternal it-label Slumberland Records releases Wordless Wonder tomorrow on CD, as a digital download, and on white or black vinyl. Purchase your copy of the set in any or all of these formats via Slumberland right here. The record was preceded by a number of 12" EPs, cassette tracks and digital singles, all of which appear to be on offer via the Real Numbers bandcamp dojo right here. Stream the aforementioned "Frank Infatuation" and the equally fun "New Boy" via the Soundcloud embed below.
October 12, 2016
[PHOTOS: Tiffany Law for Clicky Clicky Music Blog] The reverbed keys and dense shoegazey guitars on Psychopomp, Michelle Zauner's full-length debut with her latest project Japanese Breakfast, represented a sharp stylistic pivot away from the music of her beloved and much-Clicky Clicky'd Philly indie combo Little Big League. That and the fact that Psychopomp was largely inspired by the loss of Ms. Zauner's mother to cancer provided ready-made narratives ahead of the long-player's release. But the big story for Psychopomp, which was issued last spring, has to be its superlative songwriting, which couches concise hooks and earworm choruses within expansive production. It is one of the year's more arresting releases.
Last Wednesday night at Cambridge, Mass.'s Sinclair the band ran through a tight live reworking of the record, while mixing in a number of affirmative nods to certain key influences. Among the live set's highlights were performances of widely heralded album preview tracks. Japanese Breakfast's cover of Birthday Girls' "Everybody Wants To Love You," whose sprightly indie pop guitar leads -- admittedly something of a tonal outlier on record -- practically blossomed in a live setting. Better still was the band's sparkling rendition of "In Heaven," a track that doubles as Psychopomp's thesis statement, and one that felt particularly cathartic presented on stage. Multi-instrumentalist Nick Hawley-Garner flipped between guitar and keys throughout the set, working to animate Psychopomp's lush and at times Smashing Pumpkins-indebted arrangements.
Even so, and aside from a gorgeous cover of The Cranberries' eternal teen-pop smash "Dreams," the night's biggest moment was Japanese Breakfast's set-closer, an as yet-untitled new tune touting bubbly synth and auto-tune styled vocals from Zauner. For this, she abandoned her guitar and bounced around the stage, underscoring this reviewer's hunch that the band may be heading in a poppier, and perhaps thrillingly experimental, direction. Following its show at The Sinclair, Japanese Breakfast played two sold-out "hometown" shows in Brooklyn and Philadelphia; next week the act heads across the ocean for a three-week tour of the UK and Western Europe. Stream all of Psychopomp via the Bandcamp embed below and click through to purchase the set on vinyl, cassette or as a digital download.
Popular New York group Porches headlined the night, proffering plenty of cuts from its moody, swaying Domino Records debut Pool. Bandleader Aaron Maine has grabbed headlines for taking his project in a bolder direction away from its earlier downer folk-rock. He now leads a much looser live outfit, and has become something of an enigmatic focal point: video clips now depict his slightly off-kilter delivery and dance moves. There are few indie groups out there with as strong a stage chemistry, which likely accounts for the incredible live takes on Pool highlights "Car," "Mood," and "Braid." New York alt R&B outfit Rivergazer, whose Kevin Farrant also plays guitar in the Porches live band, opened the night with tasteful numbers from its recent Only 4 U EP. -- Dillon Riley
Japanese Breakfast: Bandcamp | Facebook
Review: Little Big League/Ovlov | "Year Of The Sunhouse," "Pure Bliss Choices" b/w "The Great Crocodile"
That Was The Show That Was: Little Big League with Paws, Idiot Genes | Great Scott | 14 Nov.
Today's Hotness: Little Big League
October 7, 2016
Nofuckingwhere Alums Occurrence Release The Past Will Last Forever, First Live Show Tomorrow In New York
New York-based polymath Ken Urban delivered today the latest LP from his shape-shifting musical vehicle Occurrence. The new set, The Past Will Live Forever, marks a return to the dark, dramatic and brooding material of the Occurrence oeuvre of what we can now call the B.W.S.F. [that is, before Wayne S. Feldman] era. Indeed, while the 2013 LP Decks (which we premiered here) and an attendant EP created primarily in partnership with Mr. Feldman were notably bouyant and relatively bright, with his dysphoric new collection Mr. Urban -- along with another former schoolmate, current collaborator Cat Hollyer -- has seemingly retrenched, embracing once more the tension and psychodrama of earlier Occurrence collections. Longtime readers likely recall being first introduced to Occurrence via the act's appearance on our Ride tribute compilation, Nofuckingwhere, for which Mr. Urban crafted an anxious and stinging re-imagining of Nowhere's title cut.
The Past Will Last Forever is at its most agile on the early preview track "My Days And Nights Belong To You," which strings together sharp rhythm patterns and pairs them with bleeping and ambient synth backing, while Ms. Hollyer eerily harmonizes with herself via multitracked vocals. But as with much of Urban's work (which includes scads of very well received plays), the greatest excitement comes from odd and surreal moments and sensibilities. "A Bruised Ivy Grad" opens with quavering, almost unhinged vocals in verses built over a hard beat; sampled voices occasionally intercede, a crumbling sound momentarily intrudes, but the wobbly falsetto always returns. Album highlight "Ghost Free Home" feints with the feigned ease of vibrato cowboy guitar leads, but harsh, monolithic verses serially interject before a remarkable ambient passage takes root in the middle of the song and spreads out in every direction and consumes the balance of its six minutes. Urban, Hollyer and collaborator Johnny Hager perform cuts from The Past Will Last Forever tomorrow night at Rockwood Music Hall in Manhattan, an event that marks six-year-old Occurrence's very first live performance. It's a 7PM show, and to the best of our knowledge tickets remain available, so why not make a night of it? The Past Will Last Forever is available now as a digital download and in a very limited edition of 150 vinyl long-players, all of which can be procured via the Occurrence Bandcamp page right here. Stream the album via the embed below.
Occurrence: Bandcamp | Facebook | Soundcloud
October 3, 2016
Boston lost one of its most prolific songwriters when Guillermo Sexo and Emerald Comets mastermind Reuben Bettsak decamped for the American South this summer. True to form, he remained productive right up until the end of his local residency; what has since been deemed the final Guillermo Sexo album, the space-rock triumph Eclipse [review], was released in April, and two preview tracks for a forthcoming Emerald Comets set were released to the wilds of the Internerds in August. Today we are pleased to premiere for you the entirety of that set, titled Explore Your Dreams, the first and final Emerald Comets long-player to have been recorded in Massachusetts with Hub-based collaborators Jason Layne, Kristy Foye, and Steve Rowe and with help from Western Mass. hitmaker Justin Pizzoferrato.
It being a solo vehicle, Emerald Comets' music touts a different flavor than that of the better-known Guillermo Sexo. The former has typically been quieter, rawer, and more subdued, but fans will recognize certain stylistic hallmarks, such as the pastoral psychedelia of Explore Your Dreams's placid opener "Monochrome." More so than any other Emerald Comets release to date, Explore Your Dreams feels fully realized. This is perhaps due as much to the set's relatively long gestation period as it is to the efforts of the aforementioned collaborators. The dynamic feel of upbeat early preview single "Fortress" is substantially enhanced by Mr. Pizzoferrato's drumming, and Ms. Foye's cello rests eerily but on point in the center of the mix, at times applying a swaying melodicism, at others boosting the rhythm with bowed chops.
The set ends very strong with back-to-back album highlights "Explore Your Dreams" and "Cornflakes And Stout." The former fizzes with the rough-hewn vim of a Guided By Voices track, while the latter is a gentler, more melodic, and folk rock-tinged strummer in the vein of Ultimate Painting, the quality UK combo whose delightful LP Dusk was released by Trouble In Mind Friday. Longtime readers will recognize Emerald Comets' "Lost In Our Land" and "Revolutionary Earthworms," earlier versions of which came into being as part of our inaugural Regolith songwriting challenge, which of course was undertaken by the indefatigable Bettsak and resulted in the EP Inside Dream Room (still available for free here).
Explore Your Dreams is available now via Bandcamp, and you can stream the entire collection via the embed below. While we expect it will take Mr. Bettsak some time to find collaborators in his new environs, fans in the Greater Hotlanta should certainly keep their eyes on the club listings: we'd wager it won't be too long before Bettsak brings the rock to the denizens of his new home town. We previously premiered Emerald Comets' self-titled EP here in 2014.
Emerald Comets: Bandcamp | Facebook
Review: Guillermo Sexo | Eclipse
That Was The Show That Was: Infinity Girl, Lubec, Guillermo Sexo, Havania Whaal | Great Scott | 9 July
Regolith A1E3: Reuben Bettsak Presents Emerald Comets' Inside Dream Room
Premiere: Emerald Comets | Emerald Comets EP
Review: Guillermo Sexo | Dark Spring
Review: Guillermo Sexo | Bring Down Your Arms EP
That Was The Show That Was: Guillermo Sexo Record Release Show with Soccermom, Night Fruit and Young Adults
Review: Guillermo Sexo | Secret Wild