October 4, 2012

Today's Hotness: Calories, Hospitality, Fashoda Crisis, Soccer Mom

Calories -- Summer's Not

>> Birmingham, England-based indie punk heroes Calories resurfaced last week with the blistering tune "Summer's Not," a non-album freebie and precursor to the act's planned third full-length. No release date or title for the forthcoming long-player have been revealed as of yet. Interestingly, the band's Facebook page (which lists Calories' interests as "swimming | minimalism") states that Dominique James -- formerly of Sunset Cinema Club and most recently best known as the engineer/producer of a number of Johnny Foreigner recordings -- is now a member of Calories, swelling its personnel to four members for what we believe to be the first time. "Summer's Not" is the first we've heard from Calories since the release of the band's terrific, best-of-2010 release Basic Nature [review], which was issued by Tough Love. The song is no departure from the band's characteristic blend of power, brevity and anthemic melodies. The production eschews gloss in favor of grit and buzzsaw fuzz, feedback flares through the crevices between beats, and chunky bass smacks up against the face of the stereo field. It's a wonderful little number. That "Summer's Not" is not included on the next record would seem a portentous fact: if the band didn't think this song made the cut, how friggin' awesome is this record going to be? We can't wait to hear it. Stream "Summer's Not" below.

>> After spending the majority of 2012 touring behind this year's delightful self-titled full-length, Clicky Clicky faves Hospitality return with a new 7" on Merge, "The Drift" b/w "Monkey," due Oct. 30th. The label has shared the b-side, which we've embedded below, and it's certainly strong enough to have been a lead cut. The tune is a smash, much more like the music from the band's live set we wrote about here last spring than the jazzy acoustics of the band's self-titled debut [review]. Almost certainly energized from their time on the road, Brooklyn-based Hospitality sounds lean and confident, with upfront bass and vocals that are evocative and precise. Fronter Amber Papini's singing twists and questions, while a clean electric guitar stair-steps through the mix, beckoning the listener with fevered New Wave visions. Pitchfork lazily referred to this one as "proggy," and man, is that a shame. To set the record straight, "Monkey" is a tightly coiled bit of brainy pop, unafraid to tread new ground in song structure without sacrificing anything in catchiness or relevance. Like XTC, The Go-Betweens, and this writer's beloved Lilys and The Mabuses, Hospitality are beginning to enter the realm of the chord-geniuses; compositional miscreants too damned smart and playful for their own good, and now apparently the sort of band whose music is tragically confused with that of Genesis or Yes. Prog? Please. Class? You better believe it. Buy the single from Merge right here. -- Edward Charlton

>> On the virtual A-side to its new digital single, "Horatio," notable Southend, UK-based howlers Fashoda Crisis have dialed back (slightly) its characteristic vitriol and raw power to pitch a bizarre tale of demented human/equine co-dependence. It's the same sort of odd, mildly psychedelic narrative that fueled those early, Syd Barrett-penned Floyd singles, although here it is contextualized by a martial stomp. Fashoda Crisis fronter Sim Ralph is easily able to pull it off, as his stentorian declamations are equally as compelling when alternated with spooked whispering and superficially curious ranting ("...education, Education, EDUCATION!"). "Horatio" and its fiery digital flipside "He's Got Gills" feature on the band's planned Jowls Of Justice EP, which will be released on vinyl and as a download by Cognitive Dissonance Records next month; pre-orders will begin shortly, according to the band. In the meantime, stream "Horatio" below. We wrote about "He's Got Gills" here in August.

>> Boston-based noise-rock titans Soccer Mom announced this week the quartet will release a digital single, "Brides" b/w "Canoe," the first new music from the band in more than a year. The tunes will be issued by 100m Records Nov. 6. The band supports shoegazers Young Prism at Great Scott in Boston the prior night, and promised to have CDs of the single available at the show. Both songs have featured in recent live sets from Soccer Mom (indeed, "Canoe" was in the band's set March 30), so fans lucky enough to have seen the band's dominating performances recently will have passing familiarity with them. 100m is already offering pre-orders for "Brides" b/w "Canoe" right here. Get into it. We previously wrote about Soccer Mom's amazing 10" You Are Not Going To Heaven here in July 2011.

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