February 28, 2012

Today's Hotness: Yr Friends, It Hugs Back, Slowdim

Yr Friends Have Already Left
>>Late last week Alexei Berrow surprised fans with a new EP from his project Yr Friends, the solo vehicle he commissioned last year. The new collection from the Johnny Foreigner guitarist and singer is titled Yr Friends Have Already Left and it contains five relatively placid and beautiful ballads. According to an email from Mr. Berrow, the music was inspired by the prospect of soundtracking an indie TV series, "a post-apocalyptic drama that uses real decayed buildings and urban wastelands for sets." In the interim between contacting the show's creators and learning that they had no need for his music, Berrow began writing the music in his head. Stuck with a cache of songs, he set about recording them anyway, and the result is, of course, Yr Friends Have Already Left. The quasi-title track "Yr Boyfriends Have Been Lying To You" is as forlorn and beautiful as anything Berrow has written; it pairs guitars, synth and a wistful lyric to goosebump-inducing effect. We're embedding the entire EP below, and we highly recommend after you stream it that you hop over to Bandcamp and buy buy buy. As with the debut EP Yr Friends Have Been Lying To You that we discussed here in August, the digital package contains assorted ephemera including lyrics and photographs, and it is available for ₤4 (about USD $6.50) via the Yr Friends Bandcamp right here. The aforementioned Johnny Foreigner embarks on tour Thursday to support the release of its epic third full-length Johnny Foreigner vs. Everything, which was our favorite record of 2011. Full tour dates right here.

>> Kent, England-based dream pop phenoms It Hugs Back disclosed Monday that they will release a sophomore set Laughing Party May 7. The 12-song collection is being issued on Safe And Sound Records and pre-orders are already being taken at It Hugs Back's web dojo right here. The first 100 pre-orders will ship with a bonus CD containing an additional 25 minutes of music. Laughing Party was recorded over the last year in the band's home studio known as the Record Room, which was featured in Clicky Clicky way back in 2009 in the feature Show Us Yours No. 12 (we should really bring that feature back). The quartet has unveiled one preview track from the new collection, the characteristically dreamy and ethereal "Massachusetts." While the tune is not a cover of the classic Scud Mountain Boys soul-spindler, it is still a wonderful, contemplative nodder that plays to It Hugs Back's strengths: patience, beauty and drone. Stream "Massachusetts" below. It Hugs Back launches a five-date tour March 21 that will see the band visit London, Manchester twice, Preston and Birmingham; details are here. These days we expect It Hugs Back singer and guitarist Matt Simms is better know for his gig as touring guitarist for the current iteration of the legendary UK post-punk band Wire. Or maybe not. But either way, It Hugs Back's music is excellent and the band remains curiously overlooked by many.

>> Bring on the lush and ardent Boston power pop, if you please. Indie rock lifer Paul Sentz and his henchpersons in Slowdim Monday dished up an eminently listenable new single "Money." The song is an insistent hand-clapper with big melodies, bigger guitar leads and rich vocal harmonies. It's also the first single from the foursome's debut LP, which Slowdim plans to record over the next few months with hopes of the record being issued later in 2012. Slowdim plays a release show for the single in Boston this Friday during the taste-making The Pill indie dance party at Great Scott. You should go to that. The band previously issued its Spirals EP a year ago [Bandcamp], which included the Clicky Clicky favorite "Take Your Only Heart That's Solely Free," a song that helped us close out our final set at New Music Night #2 way back in August.

February 27, 2012

YouTube Rodeo: Allo Darlin's Dazzling "Capricornia"

And I keep having these dreams and I keep having these dreams and I keep having these dreams... Ahead of the March 6 release date for its latest single "Capricornia" that we wrote about here in January, Allo Darlin' has unveiled the video for same. Six weeks ago we called the half-Kentish, half-Australian quartet's fizzing and jangly confection "a great breezy pop song that is very comfortable staying within a small conceptual box neatly labeled 'breezy pop song' on its firmly placed lid." We think the song is even more winsome when paired with this playful video of the band performing interspersed with vintage film footage shot at unnamed, sun-splashed beaches. "Capricornia" is the first single from All Darlin's sophomore full-length Europe, which features 10 songs and will be released April 17. Both the single -- whose b-side is titled "When You Were Mine" and may very well be a cover of the devastating Prince jam of the same name -- and the long-player will be issued in the U.S. by Slumberland. Bon appetit.

Guillermo Sexo with Night Fruit and The New Highway Hymnal | Radio | 1 March

Guillermo Sexo with Night Fruit and New Highway Hymnal
After reaping substantial acclaim for its entrancing 2011 collection Secret Wild [review here], Guillermo Sexo hasn't been standing idly by counting red cars or pulling hair out of its collective hair brushes or obsessively rearranging the juice glasses in its cabinet. Actually, we can't confirm they haven't been doing these things. But what we can tell you is Guillermo Sexo -- possibly in addition to all of the above -- has been turning heads with a steady stream of area live shows. Your next chance to see the quartet is thankfully close at hand, as Guillermo Sexo top-lines a very formidable bill this coming Thursday at Radio in Somerville. Also on the bill is dream pop concern Night Fruit, which in December wowed us with its brilliant single "Dark Horse." Night Fruit apparently has another single in the works and is prepping for an April tour of the upper midwest, so it's not unlikely that you could hear the band trying some new things Thursday. Also taking the stage are local psych rock superlatives The New Highway Hymnal, who are riding high from the release of their Vanya Records single "Blackened Hands," which was feted with a hat trick of record release shows earlier this month. The single -- a dark, bluesy shouter and slide-guitar workout -- was issued on clear vinyl in a limited edition of 300 for sale right here.

To freshen your drink before the show Guillermo Sexo is offering the mesmerizing Secret Wild album track "Skyline" as a digital single, which you can stream or download via the embed below. The song is placid when it commences but steadily builds tension until the pressure is so great the feedback at the end threatens to burst the song like a hurled water balloon. We think you'll like it, so snatch it below and then save up some beer money for Thursday.

February 26, 2012

Out Now: Audio Antihero Presents Some Alternate Universe, 36-Song Compilation Benefits FSID.ORG.UK

Audio Antihero Presents: 'Some​.​Alternate​.​Universe' for FSID
Yeah, that's right, 36 friggin' songs for four pounds. Since we just spent four pounds on the Yr Friends EP, Americans, we can tell you that works out to about $6.50. We'll do the math for you -- this compilation, expertly curated by Jamie Volcano of Audio Antihero Records, asks that you pay something like $.18 per song (at a minimum, donations of a greater amount are encouraged and welcome), with all proceeds going to a UK organization that aims to eradicate Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Even without telling you about the amazing music on Some Alternate Universe, certain of it exclusive, this is a no-brainer. Don't be a dumbass. The official release date is March 5, but Audio Antihero appears happy to start taking your money immediately, thank you very much.

But, wait, the music IS amazing. Clicky Clicky favorites are well-represented and include Johnny Foreigner ("With Who, Who And What I've Got (Standard Rock)"), Benjamin Shaw ("Long Ago & Oh So Far Away"), Nosferatu D2 ("A Footnote (Demo)") and the mighty Wartgore Hellsnicker ("The Bear (New York Version)"). Adding value to the proposition are bracing tracks from Bitches (who we haven't written about in more than two years), sometimes-Johnny Foreigner tourmates Internet Forever (whose "Centre Of Your Universe" alone is worth the full price of admission here) and Salvage My Dream, whose stirring and F.M. Cornog-esque "Your Runaway Clothes And The Dying Diamonds of Your Mind" among others make this unapologetically long compilation actually incredibly rewarding.

So what we're talking about is a win-win. Help a reputable research organization curb a heartbreaking medical mystery and get dozens of great songs all for the price of just a couple pints and the pub. Do it now.

February 24, 2012

Be Prepared: The Spinto Band | Shy Pursuit | 1 May

The Spinto Band -- Shy Pursuit
There's a great moment in David Byrne's 1986 film "True Stories" in which a group of elementary school-age children suddenly march in, engulf the viewer in their own weird little sing-along, and then tumble away. The scene is memorable because there is no real antecedent for the genesis of the chant; it's in the spirit of the moment, and everyone rallies behind it. Which is an appropriate frame of reference for The Spinto Band, whose new full-length Shy Pursuit is out May 1 via the band's own Spintonic imprint. The Spinto Band is currently previewing the collection with two tracks.

Like the aforementioned "True Stories" characters, The Spinto Band completely devote themselves to the bigger picture of the song. Instead of showboating and individualism, the members populate its sound with clever arrangements and the subtle hook. "Take It" presents as a sparse groove but blossoms into a characteristically sneaky chorus. Said chorus is revelatory when it comes up from behind you, grabs you by the arms and starts swinging you around and around and around, briefly the first time, but seemingly into a spiraling forever -- past a tidy guitar solo and brief bridge -- the second time. It's magnificent. The tune at times recalls previous Spinto Band highlights such as "Crack The Whip" in the smart funk bass that lends a shade of dance floor revelry to their bright guitar-pop. Another new track, "The Living Things," is a pleasing, acoustic romp pairing almost flamenco atmospherics with a waltz time signature. Download the track from the band's web site right here, and be ready for the album to march in and delight in its efficient menagerie.

The Wilmington, Delaware-based septet first came to our attention with its terrific 2005 debut long-player Nice And Nicely Done. It quite neatly painted The Spinto Band as a rolling gang of pop devotees with the smarts to keep things simple, yet unexpected and engaging with singular chord placements, three guitars and memorable melodies. The considerable success of singles like the undeniable "Oh Mandy" (really, it should have been even more huge than it was) and a second album ensured the band was in it for the long haul. Shy Pursuit is the group's third full-length and, based on what we've heard, it would seem to refine their formula further with still slicker production and crystalline melodies. -- Edward Charlton

February 23, 2012

Hands And Knees, The Hush Now, Pastel Group Help Soundtrack "Party Like It's A Verb," Film Premieres March 1

Party Like It's A Verb Boston/World Premiere
Three Clicky Clicky favorites feature prominently in the soundtrack to the new unromantic comedy "Party Like It's A Verb," and this is no accident: we recommended the bands ourselves to producer Jeff Stern while the film was in some stage of production in the summer of 2010. Heady times, heady times indeed. But perhaps the headiest times are to come, as the film will make its Boston (and world) premiere at the Brattle Theater in Cambridge, MA, March 1 (Facebook Event Page / BUY TICKETS NOW). It's no accident the film will premiere here, either, as the core creative team behind "Party Like It's A Verb" met at Boston University's film program and the movie was shot in Cambridge, Somerville, and New London, CT. The screening begins at 7:30PM and will be followed by a question-and-answer session with director Rob Peyrebrune, producer Mary Baker, and stars Giulia Rozzi and the aforementioned Mr. Stern. And somewhere in the feature you will encounter Pastel Group's moody bleeper "Mistreated," The Hush Now's unabashed dance anthem "Vietnam Giraffe," and Hands And Knees' rootsy bomp in the form of the numbers "Dancing On Your Tears" and "Fieldtrip!" We've got embeds of all four songs below so you can study up and maybe quietly sing along during the screening. While you're listening, have a look at the quick interview we did with Mr. Peyrebrune about how he went about selecting music for the film. Bonus points were awarded for the excellent use of the word "partyability."
Clicky Clicky Music Blog: I assume you didn't pick these songs solely because they are cool. Can you give specific examples of how the music you selected helped you emphasize some part of the narrative or illuminate some aspect of your characters?

Rob Peyrebrune: I specifically tried to shy away from using music to help describe the characters or give indications about the story. I wanted to let the audience find their own relationship with the characters. I did use the music to help set the pace of the party. We used a bit of a stronger beat to drive things forward when we needed to. As a comedy, the music also worked as a nice contrast to the action. There's a scene with two guys sitting and talking awkwardly on a couch with a dance-pop song, Andree Belle's "Dance With Me," in the background. It still cracks me up. A similar thing happens when the main character is leaving a phone message for woman who just broke his heart while Sandman's "From Behind" is playing. While I did carefully select which songs played when, I tried to make it feel as organic as possible so that the characters were in an environment that seemed unresponsive to them.

CCMB: When you were picking songs for the soundtrack, did you have to approach it with a kind of detachment? I am interested in knowing how much you picked songs you personally liked, or whether you picked them strictly to fulfill some inherent narrative or thematic need?

RP: I would say that more than anything, I considered the songs to be part of the setting. It got to be a little tricky as they were songs that would have been picked by one of the characters for a party playlist. This character (Chuck) isn't really someone I personally identify with so it became a bit of a search for common ground, almost like negotiating with your freshman year roommate that you got stuck with. They're all songs I like, but only a specific part of what I like. In order of importance, our qualifications were: affordability (our budget was negligible), partyability, and how well they fit with the other songs chosen.

CCMB: Which song on the soundtrack was the biggest "euraka!" moment, as far as fitting perfectly what you had been imagining in your head for the film?

RP: The song that really jumped out at me was "Fieldtrip!" by Hands And Knees. It has a rough-around-the-edges feel to it that fits very well with what we are trying to do. It's an optimistic song that fits the attitude and reflects elements of the film without conspicuously referring to it. Halfway through my second listen, I knew it would be a perfect way to end the film.

February 21, 2012

Today's Hotness: Fire Island Pines, MaoTzu, High Heels

Fire Island Pines -- Rickie Lee Jones EP
>> The delicate and charming Cornwall, England-based indie pop concern Fire Island Pines, of whom we first wrote here last April, returns next week with a tidy 7" EP. Rickie Lee Jones' four songs combine clean, ringing guitars with sincere, spoke-sung vocals that suggest a more leisurely Morrissey as much as they do a far more youthful Tindersticks. It's certainly a sound under-represented among the louder and more psychedelic devastations that have dominated indie music recently. The EP is available in a limited edition of 150 black vinyl discs packaged with a postcard that carries a link to download digital versions of the songs. It's worth noting Fire Island Pines takes its name from a small beach resort town near Long Island that has earned a reputation for lavish, drug-fueled boardwalk celebrations in the summer months. And really, there couldn't be better imagery than that for a song like "I Was A Runaway." Starting with a faraway reverb serenade, the song builds to the moment a wayward character would enter an amazing party, swept in the spectacle of tan faces and beautiful nightlife. As the march continues, the snare locks in and bright melodies dance around lines like "Where was your elegance?," and "tripping over your shoes, and falling into your car." This is indie rock for the cocktail party, and all the things that make such parties memorable, awkward, and out of time. Stream all of the Rickie Lee Jones EP below, and preorder right here. -- Edward Charlton

>> MaoTzu is enigmatic Chicago songwriter Jamarcus Drake, perhaps the latest notable torchbearer for the Syd Barrett School Of Effortless Whimsy. Mr. Drake's third and latest MaoTzu release, Doodles, is brimming with bedroom charm and enlivened by commensurate audio fidelity. While certain tracks seem more realized than others, the entire collection is unified by a never-ending sense of inspiration (several songs refer to anime, video games and TV shows). The serene strummer "Howl's Moving Castle" transverses the same hazy space mapped by the sweet spot in Pink Floyd's catalogue, the weird post-Barrett, pre-Darkside Of The Moon records. "Case Closed" takes a dreamier route than much of the rest of Doodles, but the choppy guitar, hand-clap breaks, and the amazing guitar solo that closes out the tune mark it as another album highlight. Drake logs time with a number of Chicago-area bands including Martin, King Of Yale and Forestcousin, but we're hopeful he continues to mine MaoTzu for its substantial and quirky gold. Stream "Howl's Moving Castle" below. -- Edward Charlton

>> The High Heels cohort counts among its number conspirators including members of Wussy and Why?, but it is helmed by Austin Brown, a man who seems to be in touch with the finer points of '90s indie rock. The second and latest High Heels long player, On Square Waves, is rife with fuzzy, down-tuned guitar pounders and short kitchen-sink instrumentals laced together into a seamless fever dream of music. "Tracers Emblazoned" is a yearning, melodic anthem in 108-second miniature that touts spectral guitar leads and complementary stream-of-consciousness lyrics bolstered by simple vocal harmonies. "Unspooled Coil" sets out a steady gallop of twinkly, tremolo plinks and fat bass. Brown tastefully indulges in some free-associative imagery that recalls Kim Gordon at times and the overall vibe is not unlike Yo La Tengo at their most Electr-O-Pura-fied. Thick and delightful stuff. On Square Waves was released via Bandcamp earlier this month; check out the embed of "Unspooled Coil" below and grab the entire collection right here. -- Edward Charlton

February 20, 2012

Review: Hospitality | Hospitality

Hospitality's eponymous full-length debut imparts a sense of spirit before you've even torn the plastic off, simply via the scene on the album cover. The aging family is a fitting symbol for the music herein; a weathered foursome in a regal plank boat, soaking up the sun on the Hudson's first autumnal days. These are people who have lived, who were wild, and now it's time for them to reexamine the memories of youth.

With an EP already under their collective belt dating back to 2008, Brooklyn-based Hospitality seems to have wasted none of the time between in creating an album of stylish, flashing indie-pop. Dreamy fronter Amber Papini and primary instrumentalists Nathan Michel and Brian Betancourt incorporate strings, odd electronics, and full, jazzy chording into their songs, elements that keep the music unpredictable even within the relatively formal conventions of indie pop.

Papini's voice also sets the band apart. Quite awesomely, according to their press release, "she learned to sing by imitating Richard Butler on Psychedelic Furs' Talk Talk Talk." This is made apparent by her odd inflections and tumbling lyrics, which also recall more recent weirdo coffeehouse singers like Thao Nguyen and Joanna Newsom. Opener and album highlight "Eighth Avenue" offers up a strummy vamp while Papini harps on pinging lines like "out of my twenties and bars and bathroom halls, pass 22 to 44." Lead single "Friends of Friends" [video] features the sort of bright horns and left-turn chorus that Feist has employed to wide appeal. The odd "Julie" touts a lost-sounding melody that recalls The Beatles' "Blue Jay Way," while "The Birthday" builds in a pleasantly abstract manner before a brief shoegaze-styled bliss out. Despite the many surprises, Hospitality are at their best when they keep the tempo up on rockers ("The Right Profession," "Betty Wang") that steer the group away from straight-laced singer-songwriter fare. With such an enjoyable debut full-length, it will be worth the wait to hear the group continue to traverse its unique currents. Hospitality was released by Merge Jan. 31. The band launches an extensive series of tour dates later this month, beginning with San Francisco's Noise Pop Festival; full tour dates are below. -- Edward Charlton

Hospitality: Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter | Youtube

02.25 -- San Francisco, CA -- Great American Music Hall
02.26 -- Los Angeles, CA -- Troubadour
02.29 -- Toronto, ON -- Horseshoe Tavern
03.02 -- Boston, MA -- Brighton Music Hall
03.03 -- New York, NY -- Bowery Ballroom
03.07 -- New Haven, CT -- BAR
03.09 -- Chapel Hill, NC -- Local 506
03.10 -- Atlanta, GA -- The Earl
03.11 -- Orlando, FL -- Orange You Glad Festival
03.14 -- Austin, TX -- SXSW
03.15 -- Austin, TX -- SXSW
03.16 -- Austin, TX -- SXSW
03.17 -- Austin, TX -- SXSW
03.18 -- Dallas, TX -- Bro Fest
03.20 -- Birmingham, AL -- Bottletree
03.21 -- Nashville, TN -- High Watt @ Mercy Lounge
03.22 -- Asheville, NC -- Emerald Lounge
03.30 -- New Haven, CT -- Toad’s Place
04.02 -- Washington, DC -- 9:30 Club
04.03 -- Philadelphia, PA -- Trocadero
04.05 -- Chicago, IL -- Metro

Hospitality by NYLONmag

February 19, 2012

Earthquake Party! Ride Imaginary Fault Line To Chicago, Back

Earthquake Party! Chicago-and-back tour
We've been meaning to make mention of Boston fuzz-pop superlatives Earthquake Party! for weeks, ever since being blown away by their recent radio session for the inimitable Pipeline! show on WMBR hosted by Jeff Breeze. Seriously, have you heard this thing? There's a blinding version of "Pretty Little Hands," the highlight track of the band's recent Vs. Pizza cassingle release that we wrote about here in January. There are massive covers of Black Tambourine's "Throw Aggi From The Bridge" and Guided By Voices' "Tractor Rape Chain." And then there's cracking new tracks like the garage basher "Trash." What more could you ask for? Seriously, what's your problem?

Earthquake Party embarks next week on its very first tour, but not before a local gig tomorrow night hosted by Allston Pudding. Thereafter, as the title of this post suggests, the band tours out to Chicago and back with a second limited edition of Vs. Pizza in tow (this one on white cassettes, as opposed to the first edition's black). The trio rounds things out at Cake Shop in New York March 11, after which we hope they are heading straight back into the studio. In the meantime, you can stream the cassingle below, and download Earthquake Party!'s Pipeline! session right here. Get out to the show tomorrow.

February 17, 2012

Today's Hotness: Ahuizotl, Grass Is Green, Best Practices

Ahuizotl -- Lice EP
>> Few things get us as excited as Dinosaur Jr.-influenced losercore, and so it took only seconds of listening to Ahuizotl's recent Lice EP to know we had struck gold. The Cologne, Germany-based guitar pop quartet certainly wears its '80s and '90s American underground influences on its proverbial sleeves (search the band name on YouTube and you will find fronter Barry Langer covering all the greats, including Palace's "I Am A Cinematographer" and Pavement's "Elevate Me Later"). And the same goes for the thrilling seven-song set Ahuitzol self-released last summer. The act -- which just last week opened for Wild Flag in Cologne -- is named for a creature that ancient Aztecs believed had a hand on its tail, but that's not important right now. What is important is that the foursome's music communicates right at gut-level with big guitars, tastefully restrained synth and earnest vocals. The brilliantly understated "Slide" rests somewhere on an axis between Yo La Tengo's "Blue Line Swinger" and The Cure's "Play For Today." The strummer "Work Is Over (If You Want It)" recalls Versus (particularly the chorus "this is a call to arms / I know you're strong enough to hold me...") and is both buoyant with longing and helplessly tethered by resignation. "Self-Made" makes it by dropping dense guitar in and out of over top of insistent fuzz bass and strikes a neat crescendo before a guitar solo rendered in liquid mercury. Ahuizotl's Bandcamp also houses two earlier collections fo material that suggest Mr. Langer has been honing his craft for almost a decade, and while there are bright spots in the back catalogue, the energy and focus of Lice is a huge step forward for the band. Have a listen to "Slide" below and then click over to hear the entire EP, it is dynamite.

>> We're getting a first taste of what Boston post-hardcore upstarts Grass Is Green have been brewing up for their return next month. The quartet has crafted what sounds like an ambitious concept album about a fictional character named Ronson, and the preview track "Nice Guy Of The Year Award" recently popped up on the Internerds. The detailed and intricate rocker suggests the new collection -- recorded all analog to tape, executive produced by Susan Rogers and co-produced with Alex Prieto at The Recording Company in Boston -- will be a massive step forward for the band, both from a production and songwriting standpoint. The band's previous impressive effort Chibimoon showcased a lot of promise and an almost equal amount of quirk, but it is nothing compared to the tactical precision, conspicious power and impressive gloss that marks "Nice Guy." Grass Is Green is taking pre-orders for Ronson now through its Bandcamp page right here. The band will tour for the entire month of March and full tour dates are online right here. We first wrote about the band here last April upon the release of the EP Chibimoon.

>> Best Practices' forthcoming, ridonkulously titled The EP LP delivers euphorically overdriven post-punk in breathlessly short, hypercaffienated bursts. At least that is what we surmise based on the two bracing preview tracks we can't stop streaming. Neither of these eclipses 75 seconds, and the Providence-based quartet's complete nine-song set clocks in at a blinding 12 minutes. Indeed, the collection is so compact that it will come on a one-sided 12" when Tiny Engines releases it April 24. Stream "Welcome To Erf" and "Future Cougar" via the embed below, and get ready to press play over and over and over and over again. Additional album tracks will be posted each week for streaming leading up to the start of pre-orders, which will commence sometime next month. The EP LP is Best Practices' Tiny Engines debut, and it was recorded July 2011 by Will Killingsworth at Dead Air Studios in Western Massachusetts. Additional vocals were recorded by Dan Sawyer at The Parlour in Rhode Island. The band features current and former members of Light The Fuse And Run, Wow, Owls!, Weak Teeth and Jesuscentric. If tape is your thing, apparently The EP LP was also released in a limited edition of 100 cassettes by the un-Googlable Teeth Like Swords.

February 11, 2012

Be Prepared: Geoff Farina | The Wishes Of The Dead | 5 March

Geoff Farina -- The Wishes Of The Dead
Mind alteringly anachronistic and pure music from former leader of Boston-bred, jazz-inflected, post-punk powerhouse Karate, The Wishes Of The Dead is Geoff Farina's first solo record in a decade. The rootsy album, written while Mr. Farina lived in rural Maine after his wife's one-year teaching contract at Colby College concluded, features songs placid and troubled, their spare settings (no rhythm section) situating the compositions within large expanses in which trouble recedes into ripples among chiming guitar accompaniment. The trouble is instant, but Farina's incisive lyrics and dry voice provide a reporter's detached vantage. It's a familiar, entrancing vocal style that Mr. Farina has used to confide in the listener since the earliest Karate recordings. That paired with the guitar virtuoso and music scholar's vibrant and intricate acoustic guitar tracks makes The Wishes Of The Dead a consistently rich and rewarding collection. The set was mastered by Bob Weston and is being released in the UK by Damnably March 5 on CD and digital download. The first single from the collection is "Hammer And Spade," which charms with its simple vocal harmonies and housefly-on-a-hot-day slide guitar. The single will include two live tracks, the traditional "St. Anne's Reel" and the Secret Stars' "Not About A Birthday" (Farina, in addition to his tenure in Karate, among other things was also was a principal in Secret Stars). As an aside, we'll say that seeing Karate in its early four-piece formation playing a basement at Wesleyan University Feb. 26, 1997 is still one of the best shows we've ever seen. We have three SoundCloud embeds below for your perusal. Pre-order The Wishes Of The Dead from Damnably right here.

February 10, 2012

Today's Hotness: Johnny Foreigner, Old Bricks, Cats And Cats And Cats

Johnny Foreigner
>> We had seen the chatter and innuendo, and we had crossed our little indie rock fingers, and our prayers have now been answered: Birmingham, England-based guitar-pop titans Johnny Foreigner have confirmed that as soon as April Alcopop! Records will issue a double-LP version of the band's shattering, best of 2011 album Vs. Everything. According to this blog post, the original release will fill three LP sides, and side four will contain "all the b-sides from the singles and it'll have fancy BIG art and be generally super impressive." Alcopop! will take pre-orders beginning in March and the first 100 to commit get some not-yet-revealed bonus the very prospect of which fills us with delight. Speaking of March, Johnny Foreigner embarks on that first of that month on a nine-date tour of England; full dates and buy links are posted right here and the trio promises the London and Birmingham dates will rival in scope the epic original Vs. Everything album release shows. This is all awesome news. But wait, there's also a new track to revel in, the outtake "(Small Fraud)," apparently hated by bassist Kelly Southern, but we suppose that's her prerogative. It's one of Johnny Foreigner's bleepy, spoken word constructions, reminiscent of You Thought You Saw A Shooting Star...'s "Elegy For Post-Teenage Living, Part 2" or the "Criminals" b-side "Palace Fires," and we think it's quite lovely. Stream the embed below, and surf around to Saam's place to grab the .wav download, yeh? We reviewed Johnny Foreigner vs. Everything right here in November.

>> From Raleigh, North Carolina comes word of City Lights, the second full-length from Old Bricks. The hypnotic duo, comprised of Stuart Edwards and Andy Holmes, released the set just before the new year on Grip Tapes. City Lights trades in the slow-burning torch songs that one would expect from gentlemen who seem to be able to play anything with detail and patience. The spectral record features that kind of warm, carefully constructed indie rock that can only come about after months of thought on long, humid nights. It's not unlike the beautiful introversion of Austin's She, Sir and their Yens EP of 2010, which we reviewed here. Like the Carolina heat, the music surrounds like a thick blanket, with capo-guitar strums, distant delay sirens, and the dense analog bass presenting a sort of backwoods, organic dream-pop that is best evident on the steady "Gleam." The song, streamable via the embed below, sounds like a more sunburnt Ride, still trying to stomp through one of their classics despite the sting. City Lights is available to purchase right here in a limited edition of 300 LPs and as a digital download; the download comes with a nine-song bonus EP Pretty Black & White. Old Bricks released its debut full-length Farmers in 2009. -- Edward Charlton

>> While we didn't follow the band closely or for long, we are sorry to hear that Cats And Cats And Cats are calling it a day; the charmingly monikered band played one of its final shows tonight in London. Cats And Cats And Cats had been together for seven years and had logged two full-lengths along with a number of EPs, singles and compilation appearances. Tomorrow the band embarks on a final 14-date tour of Europe. Function Records is issuing a tour-support CD titled Catsalogue in a limited edition of 150, which contains 11 Cats favorites selected by the band and carries a download code providing access to additional audio and video. If you can't catch Cats And Cats And Cats in Europe, you can order the collection from Function right here. The quartet first crossed our radar with their cover of "Cut Your Hair," which opened Filthy Little Angel's Pavement tribute comp Show Me A Word That Rhymes With Pavement released in early 2010 that we wrote about here. Cats And Cats And Cats's song "Celebration," from its final LP Motherwhale, was featured in our playlist during New Music Night 1 last June. Godspeed, Cats And Cats And Cats. Take a listen.

February 8, 2012

Today's Hotness: Lubec, Los Campesinos!, Winterpills

This Is Not A Lubec Single, Or Maybe It Is
>> Should you be so foolhardy as to not be a friend to Clicky Clicky on The Facebook, then you are likely not aware of the most recent recording from Lubec. The guitar-pop band has posted a startlingly brilliant new song to its Bandcamp dojo, so dig the embed below, and then click over to download the thing for free. Oh, right, the song: "You're A Good Idea (Theme From Lubec)" is a melodic tour de force of kaleidoscopic guitar, simple cascades of piano and punchy bass playing. Not bad for an act that re-invented itself from scratch last year. Indeed, it is heartening to find that fronter Eddie Charlton was able to constitute a very potent band after making the move from Richmond to Portland. We checked in briefly with Mr. Charlton this evening and he says his new iteration of Lubec is firing on all cylinders and is considering a number of different options for releasing new material (although the planned single we posted about on Facebook Jan. 19 may be scotched in favor of something different). We last wrote about Lubec some 13 months ago here upon the release of the act's amazing "Cherry Adair" video; the band released its debut EP Nothing Is Enough in October 2010. Lubec is definitely one to watch, but for now, just listen.

>> Clicky Clicky faves Los Campesinos! will issue March 19 a second single from the Cardiff-based act's Best of 2011 collection Hello Sadness. The single is the riffy, warbling and anthemic album cut "Songs About Your Girlfriend," and a video will precede the single's release next week on St. Valentine's Day. On the heels of the single's release, Los Campesinos! will launch an 11-date UK tour. You can stream "Songs About Your Girlfriend" right now at the Soundcloud embed below; full tour dates are online right here. Los Camp! is currently rounding out a very extensive U.S. tour, the final dates of which we're posting below the song embed. We previewed Hello Sadness, the band's fifth full-length, right here.

02.12 -- CASBAH -- SAN DIEGO, CA
02.15 -- CLUB DADA -- DALLAS, TX

>> Props to our pals at the Ash Gray Proclamation for this post making us aware of the new full-length release coming from Northampton, Mass.'s Winterpills. The folk-rock act will release next week All My Lovely Goners on CD and as a digital download. At the same time the band is running a Kickstarter campaign for a vinyl release of the album, with a goal of raising $7,000 in order to get a deluxe vinyl package ready for Record Store Day, April 21. Pledging 20 bucks here gets you the LP when it's available, and additional tiers of giving offer access to premiums topping out with Executive Producer credit or house shows. We first turned on to Winterpills with the release of their eponymous 2005 debut, which we wrote about for Junkmedia right here. Winterpills play two shows to mark the release of All My Lovely Goners, Saturday the 18th in New York and Saturday the 25th at the Iron Horse in Northampton. We jotted some brief remarks about a July 2009 Winterpills set supporting Clicky Clicky faves Varsity Drag in Cambridge right here. Here's an oldie-but-goodie from the 2005 set:

February 7, 2012

YouTube Rodeo: Arctic Splash's "Denim Tuxedo" Live, Loud

Are you seriously gonna go so low? This clip was filmed live at PYT Friday in Philadelphia. We mean, obviously, this is Philly, you should be able to tell just by watching it. If you pour two-thirds of a watery draft beer over yourself while you sit there in the pajamas that you've been wearing for two days running including while you worked, you can probably recreate the real vibe of our wonder years in the city. Arctic Splash, fronted by longtime Philly scenemaker Joey Sweeney as we mentioned last month, is currently working on its first LP. Album teaser you ask? Sure.

February 6, 2012

YouTube Rodeo: Good Dangers' Live Take on "Abigail"

Sure, in at least our part of Los Estados Unidos it feels like winter never came. But all the same it is nice to have a reminder that spring is inevitable, and with it good times in the sun. And today we're getting that vibe from the live clip embedded above of London-based Good Dangers' new song, "Abigail." The song is the lead track from the quintet's cryptically titled forthcoming single "DFYF," which will be available March 19 via Good Dangers' own Brasilia Records (the label takes its name from another early Good Dangers tune, the Vimeo video for which has now gone private). No word on a traditional b-side, but Gav Dangers tells Clicky Clicky that the release will be complemented with some remixes.

The band would seem to be the most patient ever. Years beyond its prior incarnation as Assembly Now (subject of Show Us Yours #6 in March 2007), indeed, years beyond announcing that it had transmogrified into Good Dangers, we finally have a glimpse at what the band's first UK single will be. Although this isn't the first noise we've heard from the band; late last spring the track "So Unkind" was released by Cosine as the label's inaugural release (which we wrote about here), and we were jazzed to such an extent that we featured the tune in our playlist for New Music Night 1. You remember that tune, right? It goes like this:

February 3, 2012

Today's Hotness: Big Deal, Whirr, Projekt A-ko

>> Please do not construe our silence on the release of Big Deal's full-length debut Lights Out as anything other than a lack of time on our part. We followed the band closely through the release of their early singles in 2010 and 2011, and wrote about Big Deal most recently here in October. We are pleased that the charming and hazy full-length Lights Out lives up to all that early promise. As Mr. Yang pointed out in his spot-on assessment here, yes, the London-based duo is working with a limited palette (two voices, two guitars), but through some beautiful alchemy the melodies, production and performances meld into the proverbial sum-greater-than-its-parts. Perhaps it is the performances -- earnest, hurt, lovelorn -- that make songs like "Chair" and "Cool Like Kurt" so powerful. The latter song so magically crystallizes the feelings of fragile, youthful romance: uncertainty, longing, the fleeting nature of the enterprise. Out of context this lyric is a little creepy, but we can't think of any more perfect way to sum up feelings that at this point in our lives are barely accessible via memory: "take me to your bed, don't take me home, before this is oh, before this is over." Lights Out was finally released in America on Mute Jan. 24 in the wake of an eponymous EP; the set was issued in the UK Sept. 5. Big Deal plays what we believe are its first U.S. shows next month (full dates below), despite male half of the duo Kacey Underwood being an American. The band has completed a new video for the song "Talk," which you can expect to see online soon. In the meantime, in case you've forgotten what it sounds like, you can stream below. Dig in.

03.11 -- The Glasslands -- Brooklyn, NY
03.12 -- Mercury Lounge -- New York, NY
03.13-03.18 -- SXSW TBA -- Austin, TX
03.20 -- The Echo -- Los Angeles, CA

>> Pun Canoes was the first outlet we saw to report that Whirr's hotly anticipated full length Pipe Dream will be released by Tee Pee Records March 13. The venerable publication characterizes the set as Whirr's second full length, but we think that is incorrect: the act -- when it was going by its previous nomme de rock Whirl -- released its Distressor EP in 2010. So, right, this will be its first full-length. Pipe Dream contains the title track from the excellent June EP, "Junebouvier" (but not the b-side "Sundae") that we first wrote about here in September, as well as eight other numbers we are very eager to hear. Peruse the full track listing at Pun Canoes right here. Whirr will tour out to Austin in March for the obligatory strand of SXSW performances, and full dates are posted right here. "Junebouvier," in case you missed it, is a stunningly beautiful dream-pop track that we highly recommend (having included it during our October New Music Night set). Listen to it:

>> Projekt A-ko fans have reason for optimism, as an email this week from fronter Fergus Lawrie states that progress has resumed on a new album. Lawrie, as we wrote here in October, has been keeping busy with noisier, improvisational pasttimes including Angel Of Everyone Murder. A video featuring that project is included in a new DVD from Kovorox Sound titled Video Vomit Volume 1. As for Projekt A-ko, Mr. Lawrie says a new track may be posted online "in the next couple of months." The new song would be the first since the release of the fan-only cover of Drop Nineteens' "Winona." Projekt A-ko's towering, monumental, incredible, terrific, etc. full-length debut Yoyodyne! was our second favorite record of 2009. It is mammoth.

February 1, 2012

Midriff Records Night with Eldridge Rodriguez, Lucky Dragon, M.G. Lederman and Greg Lyon | Radio | 2 Feb.

Midriff Records Night with Eldridge Rodriguez, Lucky Dragon, M.G. Lederman and Greg Lyon
If there is an LVMH of Boston indie rock, then surely it is Midriff Records. The venerable label, home to indie rock luminaries including The Beatings, Age Rings and Greg Lyon, celebrates this year its 10th anniversary with a number of events, including a monthly residency at Somerville's Radio that begins tomorrow. The inaugural evening features Eldridge Rodriguez, the aforementioned Mr. Lyon and new signees Lucky Dragon and M.G. Lederman onstage upstairs, while magician and escape artist Eric Robitaille will do his thing downstairs at Moe's Lounge, presumably between sets, assuming he can get himself escaped from whatever predicament he has put himself into in the span of 10 or 15 minutes or so. Otherwise it could be a long night for Mr. Robitaille. Feel the Facebook Event page vibrations right here.

The next event is already on the books and transpires March 23, when The Beatings will perform its acclaimed 2002 full-length debut Italiano! in its entirety, front to back. Midriff, of course, will continue to release hot rock and roll musics this year, and already on deck is an EP from Age Rings and full-length albums from Eldridge Rodriguez, Greg Lyon, M.G. Lederman and Lucky Dragon. As far as the back catalogue goes, well get ready: March will also see a sale on older titles, discounted to move. We told you and told you to buy The Beatings' Holding On To Hand Grenades in 2006; apparently the planned sale prices will leave you with no credible excuse.

Excited? You should be. Get out tomorrow night and get in on the ground floor with the thing that will be that thing that is the thing. With magic. Now listen to Greg.

Rock Over Boston: Thurston Moore & Kurt Vile | 1.31.2012

[Thurston Moore at the Somerville Theatre, 1/31/2012. Photo by Michael Piantigini.]

"Sonic Youth lives!" shouted one patron last night, during one of the quiet breaks between a pair of quiet songs (why can't people handle quiet anymore? why does it make them nervous?). And it may yet. Or not. Mum is still the word, and this isn't TMZ or something, so I'll lay off the speculating. But this "solo" Thurston Moore, as distinct from the member of any number of one-off projects who produce cassettes full of droning feedback and other interesting things, is a chill take on the fractured art-pop of latter day Sonic Youth.

And if we are indeed entering a post-Sonic Youth era and this is how it is to be from now on - largely acoustic, with an emphasis on subtle coloring and melodies from harps and violins, with only occasional descents (or ascents) into noisy chaos - I'm good with that.

I'd only seen opener Kurt Vile with his backing band the Violators (and this show was billed as such in some places), which certainly gives a tougher, heavier edge to his stuff. Here he was on his own but for some harp accompaniment on a couple of tunes and it's a whole different deal. It just seems easier to get lost in his meandering alternate-tunings and surreal lyrics nearly as effectively as you can on a pair of headphones if you let yourself go. He closed with an unexpected but revelatory cover of Gram Parsons' "A Song For You." I just re-listened to the original, and damn if it isn't now an obvious influence on Vile's style.

- Michael Piantigini

Thurston Moore: Facebook | Twitter | Sonic Youth
Kurt Vile: Intertubes | Facebook | Twitter

[Kurt Vile at the Somerville Theatre, 1/31/2012. Photo by Michael Piantigini.]