July 27, 2011

Be Prepared: The Hush Now | Memos | 27 Sept.

The Hush Now -- Memos
With its track record of quality singles and full-lengths, it's no surprise that The Hush Now's forthcoming Memos is excellent. What is surprising is that the Boston dream-pop quintet's third long-player is so widely varied. The formidable act's recent performances have been epic, with live arrangements emphasizing dense, melodic guitar textures and providing bracing work-outs for the band's capital rhythm section. Memos showcases this -- how could it not -- but also much more. The record touts another in the band's increasingly reliable series of dance tunes (namely "The Glow" and its phaser-backed, falsetto funk), as well as some of the most straightforward pop ("Arkansas") and sentimental balladry (the terribly affecting "Sitting On A Slow Clock," the sweet "Mother's Lament") that The Hush Now has recorded. With the band becoming increasingly collaborative, it's hard to know where the influences and ideas are coming from, so we won't speculate. But we can report that drummer Barry Marino and lead guitarist Adam Quane each take some lead vocals on Memos; Marino also wrote the words to the classically Hush Now-styled, guitar-centric rocker "Clouds." The act self-releases Memos Sept. 27, but local fans can catch the outfit Aug. 12 performing a set as part of The Pill club night at Great Scott, Boston. The appearance is ostensibly intended to promote a single for the dance remix of "Thorns" (download here) that we first wrote about here in May that was packaged with the remixed and remastered release of the band's sophomore set Constellations (album stream), but we'll eat a Great Scott pint glass if we don't get treated to some of this new material as well.

July 26, 2011

Today's Hotness: Benjamin Shaw, Tubelord, We Were Promised Jetpacks

Benjamin Shaw
>> Still-not-dead-yet label Audio Antihero will release this fall a second full-length from ethereal and brilliant folk misfit Benjamin Shaw (third if you count the amazing, more experimental and FREE Rumfucker release, which we're never sure if we're supposed to count or not). The new collection is titled There's Always Hope, There's Always Cabernet and it will be available from Nov. 21. To remind you that Mr. Shaw is out there, biding his time in a forest north of London, Audio Antihero is issuing ahead of There's Always Hope... a double A-sided single culled from Shaw's sweet and creepy (sweepy?) 2009 debut I Got The Pox, The Pox Is What I Got. "When I Fell Over In The City" b/w "The Carpeteer" will be released -- we presume digitally, but it wouldn't be the first time label proprietor Jamie Antihero had a trick up his sleeve, either -- Aug. 22. We love the video for the latter number, which you can gaze upon right here. Shaw has two London appearances and an Edinburgh show booked among the final days of August. Bearded Magazine, of which we've only just become aware despite having rocked a beard since 1997, is already offering a .wav download of "When I Fell Over In The City" right here, so we suggest you avail yourself of that forthwith.

>> While you weren't looking, a new label collective congealed in the UK and went ahead and signed notable spiky guitar pop band Tubelord. The Kingston upon Thames-based quartet is the first signing to Pink Mist, a joint effort of labels including Clicky Clicky faves Big Scary Monsters along with Holy Roar and Blood And Biscuits. Pink Mist will release Tubelord's sophomore set Romance on Oct. 10. The foursome's first full-length Our First American Friends was issued in 2009 by Hassle Records; Tubelord has also issued a pile of brilliant singles including the debut "Feed Me A Box Of Words" and "I Am Azerrad," both released by Big Scary Monsters in 2008. Two promo tracks for Romance are already making the rounds, and we're particularly smitten with the first, "4T3," which you can stream via the embed below. The title, according to this live clip, is a reference to the number of, ahem, proverbial notches in the bedpost of one of the band's drivers. "4T3" is delicate and mesmerizing, and contrasts sharply with the jittery guitars and pushy vocals of Tubelord's early singles. Romance, comprised of 11 songs, is already available for pre-order in a variety of configurations of vinyl, CD, t-shirt and digital right here. Tubelord plays a Pink Mist showcase Aug. 16 and then will tour the UK to support Romance for two non-contiguous weeks in September and October.

4T3 by Tubelord

>> The fall record release schedule is becoming very crowded, to an exciting degree. Our heroes Johnny Foreigner will issue their third set, likely titled Johnny Foreigner vs. Everyone, in November, according to an interview fronter Alexei Berrow sat for at one of the UK festivals recently recently. Glaswegian emo standard-bearers We Were Promised Jetpacks will release a sophomore set In The Pit Of The Stomach Oct. 4 on Fat Cat; the lead promo song "Act On Impulse" can be downloaded via the ominous-looking-but-in-our-experience-quite-benign widget below, which requires you to fork over your electronic mail address. As we've twerped on the Tweeterz, we're also expecting new records from Calories, Polvo, and dozens of others we're forgetting right now. Great time to be alive, people.

July 25, 2011

Be Prepared: Soccermom | You Are Not Going To Heaven EP | 3 October

Soccermom -- You Are Not Going To Heaven
Absolutely crushing 10" extended play release from pack-leading, Boston-based noise rock juggernaut Soccermom. The quartet's 2010 single "Bill Cosby In Glamorous Chains" b/w "High On Dad" was an impressive debut, and early shows were remarkable, but Soccermom has further refined its attack. As evidenced by this six-song collection, the 'Mom continues to set its bearings via sonic references to early Lilys, Swervedriver and Polvo, but its live performances have become increasingly desperate, dynamic, precise and heavy. The band closed a set with the new song "Southern Bells" last week at Precinct and the room shuddered in the moment following the song's final staccato blast. Soccermom co-fronter Dan Parlin in particular performed as if everything was on the line, and You Are Not Going To Heaven, which will be available on letter-pressed LP and digitally, captures ably the beauty and weight of the quartet's current onslaught. Soccermom plays a release show for You Are Not Going To Heaven at TT The Bear's Place Sept. 23; LPs may be available for sale by then, but the confidence level is higher that vinyl will be ready contemporaneously with the already-firm digital release date of Oct. 3. We won't bullshit you: in 10 years someone will be flipping through your records, will see the Soccermom EP, and say, "wow, how did you get this?" And you will say, "some blog told me to get it. It's fucking awesome, right? I was really bummed when they went all Jan Hammer for their third record..." We don't have a pre-order link for the EP yet, but you should watch this space for one. As Built PR's summer 2011 comp includes "(A) Natural History," which as far as we know is the second track on the forthcoming Soccermom EP. Have a listen to the Bill Scales-sung number via the embed below (the line "I think I should take you home and keep you under glass" gets us every single time).

Soccermom: Internesticles | Facebook | Soundcloud

July 24, 2011

Review: Guillermo Sexo | Secret Wild

Guillermo Sexo's recently issued fourth full-length is doubly remarkable: not only is the Boston-based dream-pop quartet's collection Secret Wild very good, but also it strongly underscores that the band is very good at doing more than one thing -- no mean feat in today's atmosphere of the Internet subjecting acts to harder scrutiny ever earlier in their careers, before they even figure out how to do one thing right. Of course, Guillermo Sexo has been writing and recording records for more than five years at this point, and don't qualify as "new" by any metric. But all the same, the band's facility with different styles -- as particularly evidenced by Secret Wild -- is impressive.

As we stated here earlier this month, the new record charts the "middle ground between heavy atmospheric shoegaze...and Led Zeppelin-styled English folk." The same sonic range also characterized 2010's terrific and relatively slept-on (at least, admittedly, by us) full length Vivid Nights, which we discussed briefly here a year ago. But the songs on Secret Wild resonate even more strongly, perhaps because of a heightened air of psychedelia shot through the music, or perhaps because of the rich production. It's no matter -- either way Secret Wild is one of the strongest releases to date in 2011.

Highlights abound. When co-fronter Noell Dorsey pushes her voice into overdrive for the concise, spine-tingling rocker "Green Eyes," it takes on a tonal similarity to that of Sleater-Kinney's Corin Tucker. Guillermo Sexo's "Exhale" opens with melancholy strumming, and something about the production and tension consistently tricks us into thinking an explosive chord will arrive at any moment, as in The Boo Radley's epic jaw-dropper "Foster's Van." Instead, tasteful and spare guitar leads coax the composition along like a lure on a line, all while the atmospheric swirl just below the song's surface continues its seamless, endless respiration. The title track ("Secret Wild") offers a starry strummer that -- as noted supra -- reminds us of the sort of mystical English folk we assume (but about which we have to confess ignorance) must exist outside of the context of Led Zep's (and, to a lesser extent, Fields') compelling acoustic compositions. The song conveys an ideal pastoral carelessness that one only ever really gets to experience via nostalgia, which is to say you don't know it is happening until after it has happened.

Guillermo Sexo self-released Secret Wild July 16 in a limited edition of 300 white LPs, 100 t-shirts with download codes and also digitally. Five of the album's nine tracks can be streamed at Bandcamp, and we've embedded a player containing same below. But wait, there's more! The digital version of Secret Wild comes packaged with three otherwise unreleased demos; these are not included on the vinyl, although those who purchase the LP receive download codes for the digital version of the album which includes the three demos. Guillermo Sexo is planning a tour to support the record that will launch in September.

Guillermo Sexo: Facebook | Bandcamp | YouTube

July 21, 2011

Laughing All The Way To Church: The Clicky Clicky Video Interview with Ben Deily of Varsity Drag

Frankly, we've been asking bands to work with us on doing something creative with interviews for so long (who has the time, anyway?) that when Ben Deily of local pop-punk goliaths Varsity Drag proposed a video interview we were floored. And the fact that the clip above is hysterically funny and includes bassist Lisa Marie Deily and drummer Josh Pickering (Mr. Pickering ably standing in as the reader of our questions) is icing on the cake. It contains an introduction soundtracked by classical music and subtitles, fercrissakes. So if you were wondering any combination of the following, we suggest you sit back with a beverage and watch the 14-minute clip above: the status of Deily's scoring a production of Hamlet; the likelihood and timing of the rumored Lemonheads shows celebrating the band's first three records; Mr. Deily's memories of the last time played a show with Moving Targets' Kenny Chambers. Varsity Drag, of course, will share the stage once again with Kenny Chambers this Saturday, for the big, big rock show event, during which the Drag will play its own stuff, some new stuff, some old Lemonheads stuff, and who knows what else. To quote fictional southern brothel operator Porky, "here comes your night to remember!" Our heart-felt thanks to Ben, Lisa and Josh for the time and energy invested in this video. Varsity Drag headlines Church Saturday night and is slated to perform 'round midnight. Church is located at 69 Kilmarnock Street, Boston. Tickets!

Varsity Drag: Facebook | Bandcamp | YouTube | Flickr

Selected Previous Varsity Drag Coverage:
Varsity Drag with Soccermom | PA's Lounge | 10 April 2010
Review: Varsity Drag | Night Owls [MP3]
Be Prepared: Varsity Drag | Night Owls | Date TBD
And Then This Happened: Varsity Drag | Middle East Rock Club | 8/7/09
Remarks: Varsity Drag, Grownup Noise, Winterpills
Review: Varsity Drag | Rock and Roll Is Such A Hassle: Live in Europe
Varsity Drag @ Cantab Lounge, March 2009
Varsity Drag @ O'Brien's, August 2008
Varsity Drag @ Cantab Lounge, February 2008
Free Range Music: Varsity Drag, May 2006

July 20, 2011

Today's Hotness: Warm Weather, Spanish Prisoners

Warm Weather
>> Upstart indie pop trio Warm Weather recently issued a remarkably accomplished debut EP. The five-song release is titled Dances, and it showcases impressively developed songwriting and arranging -- not to mention musicianship. With Beach Boys-grade harmonies, busy Afro-pop inflections and tasteful production, it is hard to believe Warm Weather has been a going concern for less than a year (the LA-based band formed only last fall after its members were graduated from college). Listeners will likely identify a superficial likeness to the light and tightly organized pop of Vampire Weekend, but given the group dynamic on display here we don't think the typically trite Beach Boys reference point is off-base (not too shabby for a three-piece); Paul Simon fans will also likely dig this. Dances is available to download from Bandcamp for free in its entirety right here, and we think you will be glad you availed yourself of the opportunity. Below is an embed of the title track to whet your appetite. Dances was self-released by the band June 9; Justin Lerman from the band tells us the three are at work on a follow-up EP that will likely contain four songs and be released before the end of the summer.

>> Brooklyn-based psych-pop quartet Spanish Prisoners are preparing to release in early October a terrific debut full-length of '60s-influenced pop titled Gold Fools. The nine-song collection is filled with understated, hazy but charming dreamers including the snappy "Rich Blood," the slow-burning, mod swayer "Los Angeles Guitar Dream" and the deliciously psychedelic "Slow Decay." The foursome, fronted by a chap named Leo Maymind, is promoting Gold Fools with a free digital single "Know No Violence," which you can obtain for as little as zero American dollars from Bandcamp; check out the embed below. "Los Angeles Guitar Dream," was previously issued as a digital single in 2009 (check it out at Bandcamp here), but an updated version is what opens Gold Fools. Spanish Prisoners has four hometown gigs on the horizon, and we list them below "Know No Violence."

07.30 -- Fireproof -- Brooklyn, NY
08.04 -- Littlefield -- Brooklyn, NY
08.18 -- Shea Stadium -- Brooklyn, NY
08.27 -- The Schoolhouse -- Brooklyn, NY

Please Be Advised: Clicky Clicky Radio | Thursdays, 8-10PM

Clicky Clicky Radio, Thursdays from 8-10PM, BostonFreeRadio-dot-com

July 18, 2011

Today's Hotness: Algernon Cadwallader, Yr Dead Friends

Algernon Cadwallader -- Parrot Flies
>> Oxford, England label concern Big Scary Monsters disclosed today it will release Philadelphia-based emo heroes Algernon Cadwallader's absolutely devastating, devastating sophomore set in Europe next month. The new collection, Parrot Flies, will be issued Aug. 22, right after the trio completes a 32-date tour of Europe and the UK that commences tomorrow. Big Scary Monsters' European iteration of Parrot Flies is available for pre-order now on CD or 12" vinyl. The vinyl is in an edition of 500, with 200 transparent blue discs and 300 black discs; BSM also has an exclusive t-shirt offering, and you can see all your merch options right here. More importantly, you can also stream all of Parrot Flies via the Soundcloud embed below. Download the final track "Cruisin'," which showcases well the band's characteristically unbridled energy, noodly and melodic guitar lines and damaged vocals, for free right here. We checked in at Algernon Cadwallader's web dojo a couple days ago and as far as we can tell Parrot Flies as yet has no US label attached to it, although the band was hoping to sell copies on the West Coast leg of its just-wrapped US tour.

Algernon Cadwallader - Parrot Flies by punktastic

>> Johnny Foreigner singer and guitarist Alexei Berrow will make his solo debut at a live gig later this month. Operating under the characteristically cheery name Yr Dead Friends, Berrow will play "a load of depressing songs on his own that you've never heard," which impresses us to no end because it means Lex is even more of a song-writing machine than we had heretofore appreciated. The guy writes a lot of songs; it's amazing. Anyway, the gig is at Trinity in Harrow, which the Internetzez tells us is in North London, and Yr Dead Friends will be supporting Johnny Foreigner's Alcopop! labelmates Ute and Uxbridge-based emo/math-ers I Saved Latin. Someone bootleg this gig for us pretty pretty pretty please? Your brief Johnny Foreigner update then: the band has recorded a tonne of songs for their third full length, which is expected out later this year. So many songs, in fact, that the band is worried the potential length of the record may be more than the average listener can bear. Frankly, we hope they put every damn song on the album. No one is more ready to make a double or even triple record than Johnny Foreigner. We'll keep you posted.

July 17, 2011

That Was The Show That Was: Guillermo Sexo Record Release Show with Soccermom, Night Fruit and Young Adults

Guillermo Sexo graciously engineered a dream bill of local acts for its record release show last night at Precinct in Somerville, but the crowd was certainly at its densest for the main event when the Boston-based quartet commenced its set after midnight. Being feted was the band's fourth full-length Secret Wild, an entrancing nine-song set that crackles with energy while charting middle ground between heavy atmospheric shoegaze (put on your good headphones and listen to the album closer "Industry" embedded below several times and see if it doesn't somehow change you) and Led Zeppelin-styled English folk ("Secret Wild"). Guillermo Sexo played a number of songs from the new collection, and highlights of their set included a chilling run through album opener "Color The Noise" and its bashing choruses, and a crushing iteration of the searing shouter "Green Eyes." It was our first time seeing Guillermo Sexo, but we look forward to seeing them a lot more. We first wrote about the band right here a year ago.

As we stated supra, the undercard last night was not one to write off; we'd pay full fare to see just one of these acts, so the fact that we were able to see all four last night was not only convenient, but also approached thrilling. Young Adults' bracing set of reverbed punk fist-bangers was delivered with reliable vim, and we'd be lying if we weren't totally psyched to hear once more our favorite YA jam "Wasting Time." Providing middle support were Cantabrigians Night Fruit. The bass guitar-less trio -- named by the Phoenix in January as one of Boston's best new acts for 2011 -- impressed with songs that recalled Polvo and even late great midwest stargazers (terrible iffy pun) Hum. In a live setting Night Fruit comes across grittier and tougher than the music on their Triangles EP, which was released a year ago. Clicky Clicky favorites Soccermom delivered a triumphant set of bending, suprematist guitar anthems and stop-start bludgeoning which included two songs we'd not yet heard tentatively titled "Four Deep In The Left" and "Thoughts & Prayers." Which sadly means fans will have to wait to possess these tunes until there is a release following the band's long-awaited 10" You Are Not Going To Heaven, which will be available in early October, and is already listed at Amazon. Soccermom plays a release show for You Are Not Going To Heaven at TT The Bear's Place Sept. 23, and tickets are already on sale here.

Guillermo Sexo: Facebook | Bandcamp | YouTube
Young Adults: Facebook | Bandcamp | YouTube
Night Fruit: Facebook | Bandcamp | YouTube
Soccermom: Internets | Facebook | MP3s

July 12, 2011

Review: Dananananaykroyd | There Is A Way [album stream]

Brash, fiery, overdriven and weird, Dananananaykroyd's sophomore full-length brilliantly capitalizes on the Glaswegian sextet's strengths. The exuberant aggro-pop is here (the early promo song "Muscle Memory" would actually chart, if the world were just), the ludicrously energetic performances are here, and Ross Robinson's production is as perfectly realized as we could have hoped. Hyperactive as ever and not afraid to take unhinged vocals directly to 11, Dananananaykroyd somehow also sounds particularly focused on There Is A Way. Whether that is a product of the soul-searching that led to the band's recent independence (it left Best Before Records after the release of its debut Hey Everyone! and this new collection was released on the band's new label Pizza College), or the influence of Mr. Robinson, really doesn't matter.

What matters is the pop-leaning material ("Reboot," "Muscle Memory") explodes with the sort of energy that we would more readily ascribe to Metallica's Kill 'Em All. When Dananananaykroyd gets heavy the delivery is pleasurably brutal (as in the Fugazi-in-space brawler "All Us Authors"). There Is A Way is not all about the attack and weight, however: the six lads have some new tricks up their sleeves as well, which becomes apparent as soon as the band launches into the surprisingly potent, whipsaw funk of "Think & Feel." The tune not only adds a degree of rhythmic swing (and the pre-chorus that begins at :30 zanily includes the lyrics "Dananananana, Dananananana" -- we love when bands slyly reference themselves), but the band notably expands its sonic palate by incorporating dense, chaotic, skronking horns in the close. Elsewhere, the final 20 seconds of "Apostrophe" beautifully swirl away from the triumphant last lyric into a pool of feedback. Opener "Reboot" commences with a piano chord before being overtaken by a motorik rhythm.

The performances and Mr. Robinson's production are precise; even Mr. Robinson's addition of new sonic dimensions (via reverbed elements in the higher octaves, skull-beating drums and generally crispy crunchy guitar ju-jitsu) to Dananananaykroyd's characteristic sound adds clarity, not clutter. We must admit being a bit anxious to hear what Mr. Robinson would do with Dananananaykroyd, as we expressed here in April. On the one hand, the so-called "Godfather of Nu Metal" had worked on that one really flat-sounding recent The Cure record; but on the other hand he had produced At The Drive-In's legendary Relationship Of Command LP. Fortunately for everyone involved, There Is A Way is beautifully rendered and more readily favors the latter; it's hard to consider the record anything other than an unqualified success. There Is A Way was released June 13 and you can buy it in various formats from the band right here. The band's prior full length Hey Everyone! was one of our favorite records of 2009. Dananananaykroyd is currently neck-deep in the UK summer festival circuit, and in the fall it embarks on a UK tour; full tour dates are listed here.

Dananananaykroyd: Interzizzles | Facebook | YouTube | Soundcloud

Dananananaykroyd - There Is A Way

July 11, 2011

Footage: The War On Drugs' "Baby Missiles"

Philadelphia's The War On Drugs issue its sophomore set Slave Ambient Aug. 16 via Secretly Canadian, which is cause for some celebration given how much we like the band's preceding work (the full-length debut Wagonwheel Blues was one of our favorite records of 2008). What we have above is a video for the promo song "Baby Missiles," which we first wrote about here in May. There's not a lot of what you'd term narrative in the video clip, which is apparently culled from fronter Adam Granduciel's personal cache of Super 8 reels, but the images are soft and soothing and swiftly paced, making the visuals a fine complement to the song. True to the press verbiage, "Baby Missiles" pairs a motorik rhythm with the sort of organ sound that jumped out of '80s FM classics "Glory Days" or "Walk Of Life." It's a surprisingly winning pairing of elements, made all the more delectable by Mr. Granduciel's characteristically rapid-fire, slap-backed vocals. All told, it really sounds like summer. Not long after the release of Slave Ambient (which, in addition to all the typical formats, will also be released as a 45RPM double 12"), The War On Drugs pay a visit to Boston's Brighton Music Hall on Aug. 21. If you can't get enough of the jam above, you can also grab the Soundcloud stream below.

"Baby Missiles" by The War On Drugs by DOJAGSC

July 10, 2011

Guillermo Sexo Record Release Show With Soccermom, Young Adults | Precinct, Somerville | 16 July

Guillermo Sexo record release show for Secret Wild, with Soccer Mom, Young Adults
So we know earlier in the summer, we were all like "the Ringo Deathstarr/Young Adults show is the show of the summer," or some such. Which may turn out being true. But what if it becomes a close call? What if the Guillermo Sexo record release show next weekend turns out to be seriously off the chizz-nain? After all, the new Guillermo Sexo record Secret Wild is wonderful [review forthcoming]. And also Clicky Clicky faves Soccermom AND Young Adults are also on the bill. And both of those acts are seriously at the top of their game right now. Young Adults played "Wasting Time" during their headline slot for the Deathstarr gig [review here] and the entire crowd hollered along, the room started to get that heat ripple look that you see when you stare across asphalt parking lots on a boiling-hot summer day. It was amazing. And Soccermom's headline set for the Get Help record release show at the end of May was a jaw-dropper [review]. What we're saying is all the ingredients are in place. Next Saturday is going to be bonkers. This isn't just about you buying us beers. This is bigger. This is about awesome indie rock in Boston. Be there.

Young Adults - Wasting Time by Tympanogram

July 9, 2011

That Was The Show That Was: The Grownup Noise | Johnny D's, Somerville | 8 July

Brilliant, Boston-based folk pop superlatives The Grownup Noise's hour of stirring, upbeat material Friday night marked at least a few milestones. In addition to being accordion-fingerer/keyboard banger Todd Marsten's birthday, the performance was the last Boston date with cellist and back-up singer Katie Franich, who is leaving the band to pursue an advanced degree in Chicago. The set was also billed as the band's summer tour kick-off (dates below), but fronter Paul Hansen mentioned from the stage The Grownup Noise was rounding out a week of dates with lively San Franciscans Blisses B (both bands took to the floor with acoustic instruments for the latter act's rousing final number), so we were a bit confused. But no matter. For those unfamiliar with The Grownup Noise, the quintet trades in smiling, wry pop, blessed with neatly arranged, McCartney-grade composition and an undercurrent of Westerberg-styled depression.

Last night's show drew heavily from the band's sophomore full-length This Time With Feeling, which was released earlier this year on the heels of the rock-solid Shall We? EP sprung in late 2010 (a self-titled record was released in 2007). But there were also a few new songs in the set as well. The breezy winner "Strawmen" opened the evening, and a fully realized and beatific "Outside" -- released as a spare solo composition on the aforementioned Shall We? -- closed out the triumphant set. Between the two the crowd was treated to a transcendent "Six Foot Solemn Oath" -- which features a desperately beautiful duet layering of Mr. Hansen and Ms. Franich's voices in its second half -- as well as the gripping new number "Fight Against Paranoia" and a wacky take on "Midnight Hour." Wacky because as the band jammed toward a finish Hansen and Marsten traded licks including varying themes from the Star Wars soundtrack, the A-Team theme and the lead salvo from "Crazy Train."

Which leads us to this point. One thing we noted last night is just how deft a guitarist fronter Hansen is. He occasionally unfurled some attention-grabbing leads, undulating streams of melody that spread like thrown spools of wide, shiny ribbon. It wasn't flashy, it was just really wonderful, and given how little of it Hansen incorporates, it makes it all the more special when it comes out. We don't envy Mr. Hansen's potential/probable search for a voice as perfectly suited to the job of trading lines with his own as that of Ms. Franich, but we're hopeful. The Grownup Noise has a very busy summer ahead, as evidenced by the cascade of appearances listed below, but really, at this point, we selfishly just want them to stay in town and play for us. Buy This Time With Feeling at Bandcamp right here.

The Grownup Noise: Intertrousers | Facebook | YouTube | Soundcloud

08.09 -- THE 5 SPOT -- NASHVILLE, TN
08.11 -- HI-DIVE -- DENVER, CO
08.24 -- HI-DIVE -- SEATTLE , WA

July 7, 2011

Today's Hotness: Arc In Round, White Laces

Arc In Round

>> Philly-based dream-pop veterans Arc In Round (lest we forget the band's years working under the nom de guerre Relay) kick off Monday night's Kurt Vile show at Brighton Music Hall, and we strongly advise folks to get there early to check the quartet out. Co-fronted by in-demand recording engineer/live sound guy Jeff Zeigler, Arc In Round has issued a second EP, logically titled II, hot on the heels of its long-awaited debut EP Diagonal Fields, which was released early in 2011. The II EP unsurprisingly centers around Arc In Round's standout song "II," which has been kicking around for years (we wrote about a version of the track in 2008 here). The latest iteration of the song sounds as if the tempo has increased, or at least the drums are more rocking. "II" still swirls like a classic Lorelei jam, but this face-melting version from the new, four-song (plus a remix) EP is perhaps more visceral, immediate and dense than anything that storied Slumberland act recorded. The rest of II is similarly strong (for example, "Volume Sets All The Time" sounds like what you wished Ladytron sounded like these days), and we again exhort you to see Arc In Round Monday night in Allston-Brighton. The band's complete tour dates are below (note the Allentown date is with goth-tinged shoegaze luminaries SOARS), and below that we've embedded the entire II EP. Buy it at Bandcamp (it's currently being sold at "name your price" for a limited time. You're welcome).

07.10 -- Death By Audio -- Brooklyn, NY
07.11 -- Brighton Music Hall -- Boston, MA
07.12 -- La Sala Rossa -- Montreal, PQ
07.13 -- Lee's Palace -- Toronto, ON
07.14 -- Grog Shop -- Cleveland, OH
07.15 -- Russian Recording -- Bloomington, IN
07.16 -- Subterranean -- Chicago, IL
08.26 -- Kung Fu Necktie -- Philadelphia, PA
09.23 -- Allentown Brewworks -- Allentown, PA

>> Also in town early next week are rising Richmond noise rockers White Laces. The act launches a two week-long strand of tour dates Tuesday night in Jamaica Plain, when it brings its fractured pop to a low-key, non-traditional venue called Muthership. Long-time readers will recall we have written about White Laces, fronted by former Cinemasophia member Landis Wine, a bit over the last year or two. White Laces is no stranger to JP; the band recorded a fair amount of material there a year ago that wound up on White Laces' eponymous debut EP, which we wrote about here last September. White Laces has a pending release in the works, the single "Hands In Mexico" b/w "Bastard's Dead." The A side may be the catchiest song White Laces has recorded to date; the song is particularly gripping when the repeated ascending guitar arpeggio gets munched up by a crazy bending finale. To promote the tour White Laces is giving away an MP3 of "Hands In Mexico" at Bandcamp right here. If you prefer the stream, have at it below.

July 6, 2011

Today's Hotness: Mike Quinn, Projekt A-ko

>> We were excited to hear from Mike Quinn, who in the prior decade fronted erstwhile Scranton, PA-based indie rock champions Okay Paddy. That band's 2006 set The Cactus Has A Point [review here] was one of our favorite records of 2006. Around the time Okay Paddy hung up its gloves for the last time, Quinn moved on to the more trad-leaning folk/vaudeville/bluegrass concern ...And The Moneynotes, which put out a couple nifty, sometimes wacky, releases including New Cornucopia!, which we reviewed here in late 2008. Well, all that set-up is just to contextualize the news that Mr. Quinn is back with an enjoyable solo set called Magico, which was released June 7.

The collection is proof positive that Quinn continues to both embrace traditional, roots-leaning styles and possesses a charming sense of humor. The uptempo, harmonica-appointed, acoustic strummer that opens the record is titled "Big Shit." We have no idea what the shambling rocker "What It Wud" is about, but Quinn's diction delivering lines like "then maybe we oughta go out to Fairmount Park, see if they got any chocolate sauce like they did before" is either aping Adam Sandler's portrayal of the undersmart or sorta satirizing a Pennsylvania accent, to brilliant effect. The highlight of Magico has to be "The Devil Has A Heart," which commences with shuddering slide guitar and buries a pretty piano melody before setting a wickedly jaunty groove. As with much of Quinn's recent work, the chorus sounds best when hollered with thick glass beer mug in hand. We've embedded the curious video for the tune above, in which Quinn appears to imagine a series of lonely accidental deaths out in the beautiful Pennsylvania wilderness. Buy Magico from Bandcamp right here.

>> It can't all always be good news, dear readers. Word came down Monday from amazing Glaswegian indie rock underdogs Projekt A-ko that a planned second album has been, ahem, scotched for now. Fronter Fergus Lowrie, he formerly of '90s luminaries Urusei Yatsura, contacted folks who had paid for a pre-order of the album last year, stating with admirable frankness that "[w]ork, births and deaths have all played a part in the delay, but the main cause has been a continuing evolution in my understanding of tone and texture. Multiple recording sessions have been ditched and each time I seem to be moving further away from any destination. Until I can work out where I’m at I can’t guarantee when (or even if) the next Projekt A-ko album will be completed." Mr. Lowrie continues working with his experimental noise outfit Obscure Desire of the Bourgeoisie and has devoted a lot of time recently to co-producing a documentary about the abstract noise scene in Scotland. "This exposure to experimental music has made me think long and hard about my own musical assumptions and experiences," Lowrie wrote. All of that said, he has left open the door to perhaps one day getting a second Projekt A-ko record completed, and we are quite hopeful this happens. The trio's debut Yoyodyne was our second favorite album of 2009.

July 3, 2011

That Was The Show That Was: Ringo Deathstarr with Young Adults | Great Scott | 2 July

Oh man, we wanted so badly to believe, and our faith was totally affirmed and rewarded. After missing two prior area appearances by the mighty Ringo Deathstarr, we were finally witness to the chaos and awe-inducing moments for which the trio's live shows are known. Certain small details go great lengths to convey the fury of the spectacle, and here's one: about two-thirds of the way through the Deathstarr's soon-to-be legendary set, co-fronter Elliot Frazier opted to forego crowd surfing, and instead -- after a couple deft adjustments to his army of guitar pedals -- carelessly threw his guitar into the crowd. It traveled perhaps a half-dozen people deep into the frothing mass, and then returned to the stage as if delivered by a persistent wave.

Thankfully the performance wasn't as deafening as we'd heard they could be, but it was still gloriously loud, and breathlessly paced. When the Austin-based shoegaze titans took to the stage it asked that the lights go down and the monitors go up, and from the first strum of the guitars it was on. The set included catalog cuts like "Sweet Girl," "Some Kind Of Sad" and "Down On You" from the band's debut EP, both cuts from the In Love single, and highlights from the long-awaited full-length Colour Trip, including "Imagine Hearts," "So High," "Two Girls" and "Kaleidoscope." That latter track is one of our favorites of the year, and the live rendering was terrific. Ringo Deathstarr delivered on every front, the power, the attitude, the songs, the showmanship. We believe. We totally fucking believe.

Not to be outdone, local noise-pop heroes Young Adults turned in an efficient, bracing headline set of non-stop anthems. With recently ensconced bass player Danny O'Neill seamlessly holding down the low end and backing vocals, the band was at the top its storied game. The appreciative crowd -- which appeared to think after the destruction laid by the Deathstarr, but returned in full-force once guitarist Chris Villon stepped to the microphone -- was treated to thrilling versions of Young Adults should-be-hits including an overwhelmingly brilliant iteration of "Wasting Time" and "Bummer Summer," which Mr. Villon stated was not going to get played live much longer. The band's full set list is below, and we can not wait to see them again in two weeks' time as part of the bill for the big, big Guillermo Sexo record release show, which bill also features the transcendent locals Soccermom. That show is July 16 at Precinct in Somerville, per the listing in the Clicky Clicky Club Picks in the right-hand sidebar. Here's the full Young Adults set list:

"Rip It Up"
"Let Us Out"
"Stasis" (new)
"Life Under Review"
"Bummer Summer"
"Wasting Time"

Ringo Deathstarr: Internerds | Facebook | YouTube | Soundcloud
Young Adults: Internerds | Facebook | YouTube | Soundcloud

July 1, 2011

Catching Up With Depeche Clicky: Hush Now Piece In The Boston Phoenix

Hush Now piece in the Best of Music Issue of the Boston Phoenix, June 16, 2011
So in the middle of the month last month we had a piece run in The Boston Phoenix, our first printed clip since, oh, 1996. Above is a few scans inartfully tiled together. For whatever reason some of the text was lost when we converted the PDF to JPG; frankly, that sort of voodoo is beyond us. The words were in the PDF, but they wouldn't copy and paste. No matter. If you want to read all the goldanged words, they are all in the online version of the piece right here. What piece, you say? Well, Phoenix music editor Michael Marotta asked us to write up a piece about a somewhat unsung Boston band for the Boston Phoenix's Best Music Poll issue which streeted June 16. We picked The Hush Now, unsurprisingly. Anyway read above or read at the Phoenix, we don't care. Just thought it was neat-o to have something printed to paper again after all these years.