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.

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