May 31, 2013

And Then Some Days We Get Awesome Mail 15

Salzer's Records, Ventura, CA

Did we ever tell you our college pal Brandon has a record store in Ventura, California? Truth be told, it's his dad's store, a store with a very strong history. But Brando is firmly ensconced in the family business, too. We were chuffed to receive today this tasteful T so we can represent Salzer's here on the (sweltering) east coast. We've never been to Ventura, but you can bet Salzer's will be stop numero uno if and when we ever make it that way. In the meantime, one can interface with them in an extracorporeal fashion via the Fakebooks right here. On the bizarre off-chance you have no independent record store to support, you go ahead and support Salzer's. Tell them we sent you, and perhaps Brandon will complain about me making everyone listen to Silkworm's In The West over and over for an entire semester back in the '90s.

May 29, 2013

Today's Hotness: Her Parents, Scott & Charlene's Wedding

Her Parents -- Happy Birthday (detail)

>> Our executive editor last August described U.K. spazz-pop band Her Parents' music as "hypercaffeinated," and we can't turn our back on that apt summation. It simply nails the band and its sound too well to ignore it, and it applies as firmly to the early tune "Justin Vernon" as it does to the latest album from the quartet. Her Parents, hailing from London, released May 20 the breathlessly brief long-player Happy Birthday on the beloved Alcopop! label. As we wrote here in March, the new set is so brief that it is pressed to one side of a vinyl 12" with the band's debut LP Physical Product pressed to the flip. Consider the new collection a State of the Union address for a band that has cut its teeth on strong digital singles (the aforementioned "Justin Vernon" and the ludicrously genius "Why Don't You Just Fuck Off?") and blinding passion; it also evidences the evolution of a chaotic-yet-tuneful blend of punk rock that makes this band so vital and worthy of attention. Like caffeine, Her Parents push and prod both body and mind, while reminding listeners just what a punk-influenced tune can be capable of. Lead album single "Lithuanian Mercedes" is a great case study. The tune clocks in at just over a minute and a quarter, yet is crammed with a full arsenal of snotty pub jeers, jarring halts, post-hardcore guitar lines, dramatic ambient backing vocals and a grinding chorus that is over before one can regain her senses. The sarcastic sense of play, the upbeat melodies and caterwauling tempos are delivered with a curious aggression that the band seems to revel in. Happy Birthday is all delightfully disorienting, to be sure, but it also showcases a group of musical minds that can take the high road by bludgeoning its audience with crafty intelligence as surely as it does with adolescent, brute force. Simply put, Her Parents is the kind of band the world needs. Stream "Lithuanian Mercedes" via the Soundcloud embed below, stream all of Happy Birthday at Bandcamp here, and buy Happy Birthday from Alcopop! right here. -- Edward Charlton

>> Australia is totally killing it right now in the indie rock department, in case you haven't noticed. The immense success of Tame Impala makes it the latest act to illuminate the land down under in the minds of indie fans the world over. But that's not to say Tame Impala is the only antipodean outfit making waves right at the now. Indie pop concern Scott & Charlene's Wedding, spawned in Oz but now operating out of New York, recently upped its profile with the cracking single "Fakin NYC." The tune arrives in advance of the act's sophomore LP Any Port In A Storm, which is slated for release July 22nd via Fire Records on CD, vinyl and digital. Scott & Charlene's Wedding, fronted by Craig Dermody, clearly mines a well-traveled indie rock lineage. The biting, distorted guitars and arch lyricism of "Fakin NYC" pleasantly echo prodigal slacker kings Pavement or the lo-fi pop stylings of fellow countrymen Twerps. "Fakin NYC" was inspired in part by Dermody's awkward experiences upon moving to New York City. Channeling real-life tales of security guard jobs and grating interactions with snobby New York types, the song presents a moodier attitude than the usual slacker-pop fare, but not so moody that it soaks the pop thrills propounded by scritchy guitars and shouty vocals. The band will be supporting Any Port In A Storm with a lengthy tour in Europe for much of the summer (peruse the tour dates here); there's no word yet on North American dates. Pre-order Any Port In A Storm right here. Clicky Clicky previously wrote about Scott & Charlene's Wedding's Two Weeks 10" here in March. -- Dillon Riley

May 27, 2013

New Music Night 10 with DJs Brad Almanac + Jay Clicky Clicky | River Gods | 30 May

New Music Night 10 with DJs Brad Almanac + Jay Clicky Clicky

So the endless winter ended. Unless you live in that one place in upstate New York that just got 34 inches of snow. But you don't live there, do you? You don't even know where that town is. Hopefully, a fair lot of you live proximal to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where New Music Night returns for its TENTH manifestation Thursday, May 30, at River Gods. Your faithful aural tour guides de rock for NMN continue to be Brad of Bradley's Almanac and Jay of Clicky Clicky, and it all happens from 9PM-1AM. We've been collecting and weighing the relative merits of all of the newest, bestest music for the last 60 days or so, and we are excited to share with you all the fruits of our research: new music, and even more music so new it is not even new yet... it is in like a primordial, gaseous state, dark matter. Sunspots. Plate tectonics. Gargamel. For a sense of what you're getting into, check out Brad's playlist from the March event, or our very own. Solid. Sold? Thinking about it? Here's the Facebook event page, why not click on over and pledge your allegiance?

This one's for Rock.

River Gods
125 River Street
Cambridge, MA

Accessible via Red Line at Central Square.

May 26, 2013

That Was The Show That Was: Lilys | Lilypad | 25 May

Lilys -- The Lilypad, Cambridge, MA, May 25, 2013 (photo credit Jack Stapleton)

[PHOTO CREDIT: Jack Stapleton] Just because there are no words doesn't mean we're not going to sit here and type them out anyway. Seriously, if you had told us this was ever going to happen, that we'd be sitting with friends (literally sitting) in the front row of a venue whose legal capacity is less than 100 people, sitting about 10 feet from Kurt Heasley as he led his current iteration of Lilys through a mid-sized set of jams dating from the legendary band's first five or six years, we just wouldn't believe you. Even after we witnessed it, and the last note of the closer "February Fourteenth" had been dampened, the players yanking plugs and smiling quietly at one another, even then, we turned to our compatriots and said, "I can't believe that just happened," into the eery silence that followed a five-song set by one of the greatest indie rock bands of all time. Even the announcement of the show was a jaw-dropping revelation; after all, we've been Lilys fans for 20 years. We'd just spent six months prepping a Lilys tribute comp, and had released it Monday. Now Lilys were playing in our sorta hometown on Saturday? It was too good to be true.

Just as we prepared to launch our Lilys tribute compilation And I Forgot A Long Time Ago How You Feel last weekend, an acquaintance got in touch to say Lilys, the long-running, shape-shifting guitar-pop unit helmed by nomadic genius Heasley was planning a warm-up show for its full-band, June 11 appearance at Chickfactor 21. And they were planning on having the show Saturday. And they were having the show five miles from our house, in a tiny venue, a tiny venue with very close residential neighbors, a tiny room whose place in history is likely solidified by a number of things, not the least of which is it was the first Boston space -- back when it was called Zeitgeist Gallery -- to host Arcade Fire. And the venue, The Lilypad, memorably hosted a Beirut show some years ago that drew substantial complaints about the noise. So now, tonight, this was going to be the venue that was playing host to Heasley's latest incarnation of Lilys, an incarnation promising to deliver a "noisy" set of rockers in Brooklyn in a few weeks? Are you kidding? When we arrived at the venue and once we had gotten situated, we turned to find the bar manned by Heasley himself. It was surrealism of Lewis Carroll-esque proportions. We bought a beer from Heasley; he expressed some excitement at the release of And I Forgot A Long Time Ago How You Feel. It was a lot to take in.

But it was true, and Lilys delivered in a big way. Heasley assumed his usual role up front with a guitar, closing his eyes and focusing as he delivered words into the microphone with increasing fervor. He was abetted by a second guitarist, a bass player, an organist and a drummer, an alternately lanky and hairy bunch who performed reverent but ecstatically rocking versions of Lilys classics. We're certain these are heavily credentialed sidemen, but we took some comfort from the fact that our very knowledgeable friend could name none of the players standing with Heasley (this made us feel less out of touch). The band deftly faded out of the music plugged through the PA and directly into the fabled "Claire Hates Me." That epic tune was quickly followed by "Ginger," and then, after a quick guitar change due to a broken string, Heasley and company ploughed headlong into "Can't Make Your Life Better," "Baby's A Dealer," and, as a closer, Lilys' debut single "February Fourteenth." It was amazing, a koan realized. It was loud, although not terribly loud. Fans who bought tickets for Chickfactor 21 should be verily psyched. The legend lives. The performance raised a fair number of questions in our mind as well, such as: why is Heasley, a songwriter whose determination to change seems to be as pronounced as the blazing speed at which is mind works, why has Heasley decided to finally look back? We hope to put these questions to Kurt sometime in the near future, but for now, all we can do is revel in the glow of an incredible show.

That set list again:

Lilys -- The Lilypad -- Cambridge, MA -- 25 May
"Claire Hates Me"
"Can't Make Your Life Better"
"Baby's A Dealer"
"February Fourteenth"

Lilys: Facebook | | MySpazzzz | Wikipedia

Selected Prior Lilys coverage:
20: Lilys | In The Presence Of Nothing
Today's Hotness: Lilys
Footage: Lilys' "February 14th" Live at Chickfactor | Sept. 22
YouTube Rodeo: Lilys' Amazing "YCJCYAQFTD," "A Nanny In Manhattan," "Baby's A Dealer"
YouTube Rodeo: Lilys' "Ginger" Live And Awesome
Coming To Your Local Bandstand: Lilys' California Mini Tour

May 24, 2013

Today's Hotness: Joey Fourr, English Singles

Joey Fourr -- Wooden Grooves (detail)

>> Maybe, just maybe, the Internet can help perpetuate mysteries, despite the regular bemoaning we hear from oldsters about the fabled age when much of what was known about underground acts could only be gleaned via rumor or a hard-to-get 'zine. Take, for instance, the latest pleasingly spooky enigma from Joey Fourr. Readers will recall that moniker is the nom de rock of Joseph Prendergast, erstwhile fronter of the late, great Tubelord. Fast on the heels of a series of five EPs (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) issued over the last 10 months, Joey Fourr returned early this month with the new tune "Wooden Grooves," a contemplative, pulsing number fabricated from open synth drones and icy, layered melodies. We reviewed here Art Is Hard's Pizza Club single featuring Joey Fourr way back in June 2012. While that track, "Cross Dresser," was a fast-paced, low-fidelity rocker, this new effort aims for more hazy and narcotic territory. With its airy, meandering intro, "Wooden Grooves" calls to mind sedate space rock along the lines of that concocted by Arc In Round or even Flying Saucer Attack. As Pendergast's multi-tracked vocals materialize in the stereo field, and forlorn guitar strums drive the rhythm, it becomes apparent that one could even draw a parallel to the moodier, more atmospheric numbers off of Lilys’ spell-binding 1995 collection Eccsame The Photon Band (a quite relevant comparison -- look no further than Arc In Round's contribution to Clicky Clicky's And I Forgot A Long Time Ago How You Feel compilation). The hushed, funereal tone, hints at dream-pop and blurry sonics enable "Wooden Grooves" to strike a firm contrast against "Cross Dresser;" it certainly evidences a broader palette and we think proportionally broadens the appeal of Joey Fourr. In a Facebook post Tuesday, Joey Fourr suggested the possibility of taking a break: "This might be our last gig for a while... After Cardiff I'll be concentrating on writing/releasing a new project which I can't talk about yet but it's gonna be ridickulous..." We’re glad that, for now anyway, Joey Fourr is keeping the mystery alive. Stream "Wooden Grooves" via the Soundcloud embed below. -- Edward Charlton

>> English Singles broke the metaphor machine. This reviewer tried desperately to compare the timelessness of pristine power-pop to that of fine wine, but, guess what? It didn't work out. Because, unlike the tradition and spirit of Sacramento, CA's English Singles and their swinging, recently issued third single "Ordinary Girls," even the finest vintages and varietals will one day degrade. The resolutely buoyant "Ordinary Girls," on the other hand is built to last on the bedrock of pop brilliance. The tune is part of a three-song 7" out now on the venerable Slumberland label, and it continues the fine tradition of pop classicism forged previously by legendary groups such as The Television Personalities and modern antecedents like the defunct D.C. unit Julie Ocean. Quite simply, English Singles revel in the joys of innocent '60s and '80s DIY pop. The recording might fuzz and crackle at the edges, but at the heart of it lead singer Scott Miller's playful, everyman melodies deliver an irresistible charge. Prickly twelve-string guitar leads and callipygian bass unite for a powerful and punchy attack. The chorus is so strong that the band mostly just keep swinging around to it, but the best part happens at roughly the two minute mark when complementary female backing vocals join in to repeat the titular chant. With only three short minutes of music, both the band (and Slumberland) hit it out of the park. Buy the 7" right here. -- Edward Charlton

May 23, 2013

We Heartily Endorse This Product And / Or Service: The Scrutiny Podcast

The Scrutiny Podcast Episode IV sponsored by Clicky Clicky Music Blog

Another podcast, ugh. Right? We already were devoted to a nice, small, round number of podcasts before The Scrutiny Podcast came along, and then it had the gall to be intelligent, engaging and funny. So now we have to listen to the goddamn thing every time they make one. In fact, right after we heard the first one in January, we contacted host Cameron Keiber about a possible sponsorship, because Mr. Keiber and be-hatted co-host Richard Bouchard bring a smart, informed and appealingly (that's gotta be a word, right?) unfiltered vantage point to the topics they grapple with. And there is personal growth, man: in this fourth episode, sponsored by Clicky Clicky and embedded below, Keiber actually admits to softening his much-belabored position on Kickstarter! One of the subtexts of The Scrutiny Podcast we love is listening to Keiber kind of work out his own issues with the microphone on. And jeez, let's not forget about Mr. Bouchard, who in Scrutiny Episode IV: A New Hope delivers the following golden quote: "The problem for me [with Kickstarter], is that it annoys me." Which, when we type it out, we suppose, it doesn't look quite as funny as it was when he said it; just trust us.

Episode IV, of course, is not just concerned with Kickstarter. In the second hour guests Katrina Galore, Chris Barrett, Ruby Rose Fox and the intrepid hosts weigh topics including the bizarre crackdown on house shows in Boston by law enforcement (ineptly) posing as rock fans on Facebook; venue licensing weirdness; whether or not local blogs are too nice [fuck you -- Ed.]; and what is the appropriate role of music criticism in a small music ecosystem ("the scene," man). While all of the above is well and good, none of it is our favorite part about Scrutiny. Our favorite part is the chemistry between Keiber and Bouchard: the pair's witty sparring reminds us of the best buddy films, like, say, the modern classic "48 Hrs." We don't want to spoil it, but in the 87th minute of this edition of Scrutiny there is a subtle two-word burn of Keiber delivered by Bouchard that will make you laugh out loud, or "LOL," as the kids say. So go ahead, listen to it. We heartily endorse this product and/or service, The Scrutiny Podcast. Stream it via the embed below, or click the button to download it and take it with you as you walk about doing your thing. Learn more over at the Midriff Records blog and the podcast's Facebook domicile.

May 22, 2013

Premiere: Winter's Dreamy, Innocent "Bedroom Philosophies"

It seems like it was just 120 days ago, give or take, that we were writing about the excellent debut EP from upstart Boston dream pop outfit Winter. Since the formation of the band late last year, it has expanded from simply a duo comprised of fronter Samira Winter and guitarist/producer Nolan Eley to a quartet that now counts among its number Mr. Eley's Infinity Girl bandmate Kyle Oppenheimer on bass and Slowdim's Ana Karina DaCosta behind the kit. And so it has come to pass that the foursome has created an alluring pastels-and-shadows video for "Bedroom Philosophies," a key track from Winter's late 2012 entry, the Daydreaming EP (which you can still download right here). The truth is we jumped at the opportunity to premiere the clip because the stills we'd seen within our social networks were so pretty and arresting. We are not familiar with contemporary video directors in the least (well, save for our dog Jeff Stern), but the production marshaled here by director Joseph Holcomb is very impressive, as the soft lighting and loose vibe of the talent on-screen jibes perfectly with Winter's sugary amalgamation of '60s girl group and modern dream-pop sounds. Like the duality inherent in the fabled McDonald's McDLT sandwich, a strong part of Winter's allure is the juxtaposition of fun and cool, the former being very strongly visually represented in the video by Ms. Winter and Ms. DaCosta, while Mssrs. Eley and Oppenheimer and their quiet, focused performances bring to bear the latter. We suppose the video clip for "Bedroom Philosophies" is all the more impressive because Mr. Holcomb is still a student, presumably at Emerson College, where the clip was filmed on the sound stage in recent weeks. So what's next for the quartet? Ms. Winter tells Clicky Clicky that the band is preparing to release a single of the song "The View," and that the band will be back playing shows starting at the end of the July with dates planned throughout the end of the summer. We can't wait to hear new music from the act and to finally see them perform live, but in the meantime, settle in to a dreamy Wednesday afternoon with the video embedded above.

Winter: | Bandcamp | Twitter

May 20, 2013

A N D I F O R G O T A L O N G T I M E A G O H O W Y O U F E E L : ten now acts perform selections from the early recordings of Lilys, 1991-1995

A N D  I  F O R G O T  A  L O N G  T I M E  H O W  Y O U  F E E L : ten now acts perform selections from the early recordings of Lilys, 1991-1995


We suppose to begin at the beginning would be to report that in the summer of 1993 we were driving with the windows down one afternoon in Ardmore, PA, the radio was dialed to Princeton's WPRB, and then we first heard "Claire Hates Me" by Lilys. The tune is a rush of dense guitar and gently modulating melody with an impassioned vocal, so nice it was released twice: first as one side of a split 7" as part of Simple Machines Records terrific triple-7" box set Neapolitan Metropolitan, then as the closing track to Lilys' towering shoegaze classic, In The Presence Of Nothing, released in September 1992. The indelible lead guitar line of "Claire" was instantly mapped to our brain, and we remember literally singing it to our friend Justin later that same summer day, in an attempt to articulate just how inherently, objectively wonderful the song is. To our knowledge that day was our first exposure to Lilys, and the impression was deep and -- obviously -- lasting. "Claire Hates Me" remains our favorite song, and we write about In The Presence Of Nothing as often as we possibly can; we marked the record's 20th anniversary here.

So that would be the beginning for us as listeners and fans. And that is, we suppose, ultimately the first step on a path that leads us to this blog post, almost exactly 20 years later, that announces AND I FORGOT A LONG TIME AGO HOW YOU FEEL, the second digital comp to be issued by Clicky Clicky Music Blog in as many years. The collection features 10 now acts performing selections from the early recordings of Lilys, 1991-1995. Why parse off this first period of the legendarily mercurial band, the brainchild of itinerant musical savant Kurt Heasley, a band that is still a going concern today, that released a single just last fall, that is preparing perhaps as we speak for a highly anticipated, full-band performance at this year's Chickfactor 21 festival? Well, because we can, for starters, and a compilation needs to have a focal point, but also this is our favorite period of the band's work. Different web sites disagree as to whether Lilys sophomore full-length Eccsame The Photon Band was issued at the end of 1994 or the beginning of 1995, and at this point we suppose it doesn't matter. It is the album after that one, 1996's brilliant Better Can't Make Your Life Better, that presented the most stark transition of Lilys' twisting career, from shoegaze and space-pop to Monkees and Kinks-influenced mod-crazy guitar jams. So it is easy to draw a bright line at 1995. Which we did here for AND I FORGOT A LONG TIME AGO HOW YOU FEEL when we began canvassing bands to participate last year.

Oh right, the bands. We couldn't be more thrilled to include on this compilation some of our very favorite acts, Lilys fans all. One difference between last year's Ride tribute comp Nofuckingwhere and this Lilys comp is we did not limit our selection of acts to only those based in Boston. Boston, of course, is still represented by the mighty Soccer Mom, indie pop leading lights Cuffs, shoegaze phenoms Infinity Girl and indie punk giants Speedy Ortiz (who live in Northampton but feel like a Boston band, we think everyone will agree). But we're particularly proud of the non-Boston acts presented here on AND I FORGOT A LONG TIME AGO HOW YOU FEEL. There's old Clicky Clicky favorites Arc In Round (whose stunning version of "The Turtle Which Died Before Knowing" is the slowly swirling eye of the comp) and its Philly scenemates Pet Milk and The Weaks; Portland, OR-based indie pop heroes Lubec; Richmond dream pop titans White Laces; and one new act we're very excited about, Milk Pale, a collaboration between Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!'s Lee Sargent and Broken Social Scene's Justin Peroff. There's so much to say about the recordings these bands made that we'd have to double the length of this blog post to do it justice, and knowing how fickle blog readers can be, we'll skip that for now -- we'll be on WMBR's Pipeline! talking about the comp on May 28, so listen in for deeper analysis then. We would like to extend a special thanks (there are even more below) to Pet Milk for jumping in late in the game to ensure that Lilys' first single, "February Fourteenth," could take its rightful place at the top of the track listing.

All songs appear on the comp in the chronological (then numerical) order of their original release. Suffice it to say, the comp's line up is killer, the songs are all amazing, and we're endlessly grateful not just for the gift of the music that Kurt Heasley and Lilys have given to us all, but also for the time and energy all of the contributors gave to this project. There's more info about each contributing band and their recordings in the digital liner notes in the .zip file hyperlinked above and below, so giddyup. We've yakked long enough... Ladies and gentlemen, we are proud to present AND I FORGOT A LONG TIME AGO HOW YOU FEEL.

Click the appropriate link to download a .zip file that contains the 10 tracks as WAV, MP3, as well as a PDF containing the aforementioned digital liner notes created by friend-of-the-blog Matt Dressen. The comp is also on SOUNDCLOUD.

​​1. February Fourteenth -- Pet Milk *
2. Elizabeth Colour Wheel -- Cuffs +
3. Claire Hates Me -- Infinity Girl +
4. Ginger -- Soccer Mom #
5. YCJCYAQFTJ -- Lubec #
​6. Elsa -- The Weaks ^
​7. Day Of The Monkey -- Milkpale &
​8. The Turtle Which Died Before Knowing -- Arc In Round &
​9. The Hermit Crab -- Speedy Ortiz &
1​0​. Radiotricity -- White Laces &

* = released March 1991 as "February Fourteenth" b/w "Threw A Day" on Slumberland, DRYL-7
+ = released September 1992 on In The Presence Of Nothing, Slumberland SLR 20 / SpinART 2
# = released March 1994 on A Brief History Of Amazing Letdowns, SpinART 11
^ = recorded 1993 or 1994, released May 2000 on The Lilys / Aspera Ad Astra, Tiger Style TS-002
& = released January 1995 on Eccsame The Photon Band, SpinART 43


One final special thanks to the folks instrumental in helping Clicky Clicky pull all of this together, or offering support and encouragement of same: Eddie Charlton, William D. Scales, Matt Dressen, Jessica Thompson, Brad Searles, Michael Marotta, Joshua Pickering, Jeff Breeze and, of course, all of the bands. And a special shout out to Clicky Clicky Managing Editor Michael "Rock" Piantigini from Jay: I can't wait for you to hear this, man.

May 19, 2013

T H I S. 0 5. 20. 2 0 1 3. A N D I F O R G O T A L O N G T I M E A G O H O W Y O U F E E L.

Lemuria, The Young Leaves, Varsity Drag And Ex-Magicians | TT The Bear's Place | 21 May

Lemuria, The Young Leaves, Varsity Drag, Ex-Magicians | TT The Bear's | 21 May

As we quipped on the Facebooks a couple weeks ago, summer doesn't begin until you've seen Varsity Drag performing their monster jam "Summertime" live. So summer begins, for us anyway, Tuesday night at TT's when the Cambridge, Mass.-based indie punks support Buffalo's finest, indie pop heroes Lemuria. Also performing are Holliston, MA punks The Young Leaves and locals Ex-Magicians, making this Tuesday night most steadfastly alright for rocking. More details at this Facebook event page, we assume. Maybe?

Lemuria is touring ahead of the release of its third long-player The Distance Is So Big, which Wikipedia tells us was recorded at least in part with legend J. Robbins and which will be issued June 18 on Bridge 9. That title will sound familiar to fans who have already discovered the band's new tune "Oahu, Hawaii," which was premiered at NPR this past week. Spoiler alert: the album title is ripped right from the chorus of "Oahu, Hawaii." The nine-year-old trio's current spring tour terminates on the 31st in Pittsburgh, and Lemuria already has a UK tour booked for late July/early August, and plans for a west coast tour of the U.S. after that. No rest for the wicked, eh. If you can't be arsed to click through to the NPR link above, check out the embed below of "They Are Who I Say They Are," the slow-burning b-side to the 2010 single "Chautauqua County," which was also released by Bridge 9.

Clicky Clicky faves Varsity Drag's appearance will be its first in many moons, and perhaps the first since the band's cracking split single with Chestnut Rd. was released in mid-January. The Drag's side of that release -- also embedded below -- featured the new, Ben Deily-penned pogo-anthem "Mind Like A Sieve," which we are once again embedding for your aural entertainment. There are some exciting things afoot in the larger Varsity Drag ecosystem, and as soon as they can be made public we'll certainly let you know. In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed for a new record from the Cambridge, MA-based triumvirate. Also below for your listening pleasure is The Young Leaves' excellent "Alive And Well" single from 2012 and Ex-Magicians' single from January "Adirondack Bound."

May 16, 2013

Today's Hotness: Big Deal, Hex Map

Big Deal -- Dream Machines (detail)

>> We hear singles. Like Gary Coleman's character in the 1981 comedy "On The Right Track" could see winning racehorses. So we weren't too surprised when, just hours after we filed our copy with Vanyaland for our review of the new Big Deal record, which review pegged "Dream Machines" as an album highlight, it was announced that the song would be the second single from the new set. As we said here in our review of the London-based duo's June Gloom, which streets June 4 on Mute, the "[b]ig-beat album highlight 'Dream Machines' somewhat surprisingly pushes a message of cultural disengagement with the Leary-esque lyric 'what you wanted and what you chose, you can't have both... I've been dreaming of dropping out...'" The pair's words are set in a beautiful firmament of short tremeloed guitar snips refracting in a hazy reverb, but when the chorus kicks in thick chords buttress principals Kacey Underwood and Alice Costelloe's gentle voices and push the song straight into anthem territory. The composition wins with a simple, clattering rhythm track almost begs for a remix -- and we hate remixes. Anyway, it is a brilliant choice for a single, although perhaps a less conventional pick than the hook-ridden pop of "In Your Car," which got the nod as the first single from June Gloom. The record is available for pre-order now on vinyl, CD and digitally via this link, this link, or that link, respectively. There is also a limited edition of signed vinyl and CDs that ship with a t-shirt iron-on, which is pretty cool. Big Deal perform at this Saturday's The Great Escape festival in Brighton, England, plays three dates in France at the end of the month, and then spends the first half of June touring about the UK. No U.S. dates have been announced yet, but we're hopeful the band will plot a jaunt on our side of the ocean. In the meantime, stream the terrific second single "Dream Machines" via the Soundcloud embed below.

>> Boston-based post-rock concern Hex Map have been dormant for some time, but the band is poised for a big return with a live date Friday and a new, sophomore colection coming next month. The duo of Mike Gintz and Nick Burgess (a lineup that enlarges to a quartet for live shows) are preparing to release in June the moody and measured long-player Ruin Value. Hex Map packs the new collection with tense, industrial (and almost post-apocalyptic) assemblages of guitar and percussion. Opener "The Black River" boasts a bludgeoning attack and restrained but reverbed vocal as evocative as an early Black Sabbath number, despite the modern, architectural vibration. But that song's weight and force -- elements that return later in the record on the uneasy arcade game console rocker "Rat King" are just two of the ways Hex Map fabricates the rock. Elsewhere electronic flourishes spangle the stereo field, or a vocal is pushed hard toward Layne Staley-esque degrees of desperation. Album highlight "November 17" strikes a juxtaposition against "The Black River," as it touts a gentle vocal, a reliable 5/4 groove and a more fluidly articulated melody, resulting in a track that echoes Radiohead circa Amnesiac. The band was cool enough to allow us to post "November 17" via the embed below. Ruin Value is available for pre-order right now via Hex Map's Bandcamp wigwam right here; the eight-song collection is on offer as a vinyl LP (in a limited edition of 150 copies pressed to translucent media) or digital download. Hex Map is playing its first show in almost a year Friday at O'Brien's Pub in Allston Rock City with Leagues, Rozamov and Mooncusser; check out the deets via the Facebook event page right here. Ruin Value will be self-released by the band June 14.

May 15, 2013

Show Us Yours #15: Bent Shapes

Bent Shapes' Practice Space, Boston, MA

To be sure, Boston has always been an indie-pop town, long before there was even the term "indie pop," see Exh. A, The Modern Lovers. But as the scene ebbs and flows and one paws through releases and cycles through shows, sometimes you can lose sight of the great indie pop resident within our oddly shaped metropolis. We're not trendspotting or calling for a renaissance, we're pretty sure it's there all the time, like hardcore bands and Pabst and that one tall guy at all the shows. But we are excited that some of the scene's heavy hitters are about to release some hotly anticipated new music, something we learned when we checked in with the good people of Bent Shapes. The trio are planning to release later this year their debut long-player Feels Weird, a title which longtime fans will recall (from Liz Pelly's Boston Phoenix piece a year ago) was almost the name the band chose to replace its original moniker, Girlfriends. With that in mind, we thought it was high time to check in with Bent Shapes to learn about where they make their magic, what that magic smells like, and what plans the band is forming around the release of Feels Weird. We put our usual battery of questions to fronter and guitarist Ben Potrykus, bassist Supriya Gunda and drummer Andy Sadoway, and they graciously responded. Although the ominous reference to a west coast label below makes us worry about a potential Tupac/Biggie thing on the horizon, maybe we're reading too much into it. We're grateful to the band for playing along; now let's read what they had to say, and have a listen back to the cracking "Panel Of Experts" single.

Clicky Clicky: So why do you use this space, or how did it come to pass that this was the one that you settled on?

Supriya: We are serial practice space monogamists, known around town for courting a space and dropping her like a hot potato once she gets too frigid or stuffy. Who knows though, this might be 'the one.'

CC: Is there an idiosyncrasy or quirk of the space that has affected one of your songs, or even your overall sound?

Supriya: There are few places to practice in Boston. We've been in and out of rooms in this building for the better part of the last decade in various former lives. The quirks are our own ghosts.

Andy: And a whiteboard drawing of Jeff Lynne talking to our friend Emeen from Spirit Kid ( about his album. It's a reminder that we need to work harder on our music OR ELSE...

CC: You walk into your space. What's the first thing that you smell? Why won't that smell go away?

Andy: The hallway outside of our room smells like what I remember Old Spice "Musk" scent to be. I was about to Google "Old Spice Musk" right now for a reminder of what it’s like, but then I realized that you can’t Google smells (yet). It's too bad that the hallway smells so dank, because I think the new scent is the management's attempt at making the space smell better. The hallway used to smell like stale beer and cigarettes, which I miss at this point. I tried to burn some Nag Champa to get rid of the "Musk," but that Old friend comes back each week to haunt us. You know what they say: another week, another bucket of "Musk" mopped on the floor.

CC: Off the top of our head, Bent Shapes is one of the few bands we can think of in Boston that underwent a name change, which happened almost exactly a year ago. "Mission Accomplished," or did that solve more problems than the original name created? You gonna change your name again the next time Mars goes into retrograde?

Ben: I think it worked out great. Way less confusion, given that we haven't found any other bands called Bent Shapes. No problems with other bands, press, or venues. We tried to play out a lot when the name changed and get some songs out fast, to make sure we were pretty visible. We'll change it the next time Halley's Comet comes around.

CC: What do the next six months look like for the band? You've got an album in the works -- what can you tell us about that? Do you plan to tour to support it?

Ben: It's called Feels Weird and it'll be out on a West Coast label in late summer. More details are going be announced really soon, but we are planning on touring soon after it comes out for a few weeks. There's talk of an US East Coast trip, but we may get into the Midwest or parts of Canada as well. Fingers crossed!

Bent Shapes: Internerds | Facebook | Soundcloud

Previous Show Us Yours episodes:
Shapes And Sizes | Dirty On Purpose | Relay | Mobius Band | Frightened Rabbit | Assembly Now | Meneguar | Okay Paddy | Charmparticles | Calories | Sun Airway | It Hugs Back | Lubec | A Giant Dog

May 12, 2013

YouTube Rodeo: Johnny Foreigner's All-Seeing "Le Sigh"

Earlier this week Birmingham, England-based noise pop titans Johnny Foreigner threw back the curtain on the video above, a "Timecode"-styled clip for a new song called "Le Sigh," a bracing rocker in the vein of some of the band's early work (the bit "of a copy of a copy of a copy..." reminds us of "Dressed Like Emily," a hot one collected up on the early demos set Every Day Is A Constant Battle). "Le Sigh" will feature on a forthcoming EP, according to this Facebook post. There had been talk of a single on Alcopop! coming this summer, and we're going to go ahead and assume -- whether facts bear it out, we shall see -- that the extraordinarily prolific band was thinking single in their collective brain, then went into the studio and walked out with an EP. The words to "Le Sigh" were posted to Johnny Foreigner's tumblr right here, so European fans should be ready to sing along when the band embarks of a continental tour early next month (study up, kids!). The dates for that sojourn are posted right here. The band kicks the tour off with a SHHHHH SECRET HOMETOWN SHOW at a presently undisclosed location June 5, and then hops across the ocean for a strand of dates including one in Zagreb, where we once spent a lovely half-hour in the police station at 5AM in 1997, because police with machine guns are very convincing, even despite the language barrier. As a rabid fan of Johnny Foreigner, we swoon at the prospect of a new release and a new album cycle. It's an exciting time to be a fan, and we're hopeful the band can be convinced that after Europe, a return trip to America would be a great way to spend the late fall. In the meantime, feel free to stream "Le Sigh" at will via the embed above. Johnny Foreigner's most recent collection was the digital-only EP Manhattan Projects, issued in March, which featured re-imagined and re-titled versions of a number of tunes from the quartet's catalog including "(Don't) Throw Us Your Slang" along with five other tunes. That EP is still on offer at Bandcamp (digital versions only) right here.

Johnny Foreigner: Internerds | Faceblerrrrrr | Bandcamp | Soundcloud

May 10, 2013

Today's Hotness: Mahogany, Snowden, Teardrop Factory

Mahogany -- Phase Break (detail)

>> Like Tom Waits, art-pop concern Mahogany keep getting weirder while staying the same (to whit, Wikipedia describes the once-octet thusly: "an electric music-based multidisciplinary media ensemble currently working in Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, and other locations"). After only faint rumors and dead-ends in regards to the follow-up to their massive, brilliant and still misunderstood 2006 album Connectivity!, the band has finally released a new song. And it's a doozy, too. "Phase Break" is an eight-minute cycle of beats, choruses, and synths that incorporates elements of house music and disco into Mahogany's purposefully modernist, architectural dream-pop. As with "Leo Ryan (Our Pharoah's Slave)" by this blog's beloved Lilys, Mahogany synthesize myriad ideas and carefully constructed sounds into a full-blown mini-suite that plays as much as a mediation and art project regarding a beloved form as it does a coherent piece of music. That, however, is exactly what will likely please patient fans of the Mahogany cult; arguably anyone that fully understands where this band is coming from will appreciate the continued and pronounced proclivity for pop eccentricity. The group -- here just the duo of Jaclyn Slimm and founder Andrew Prinz -- fuses elements of Cocteau Twins bass-chord groove with every manner of analog drum patches, pristine cello work and Ms. Slimm's elegant vocals. At the two-minute mark, the song takes the first of many turns as a funk bass line enters; later, Mr. Prinz's familiar vocals announce the delightful "phase break" chorus. Additional playful twists ensue and exhaust in due course their saturated and crafty intentions, allowing "Phase Break" to meet the lofty expectations of fans who've been waiting on a sign from Mahogany. Incorporating elements of dance music will hopefully win Mahogany an even larger share of fans, although it is the complicated joys of its non-traditional compositions that should really wow admirers. We are eager to hear and see what magic the band conjures next. -- Edward Charlton

>> For many twenty-somethings, the post-punk and garage-rock renaissance in the early years of the new millennium served as an introduction to the wider world of indie music and its antecedents. Sure, those Interpol and Franz Ferdinand albums may have gotten less play once those early dorm parties were over and listeners found, say, PiL and This Heat, but one never forgets their first true loves. Another memorable band of the last decade for many was Atlanta's Snowden, fronted by Jordan Jeffares. The act hasn't released a new full length since 2006's potent debut Anti-Anti on Jade Tree. But come May 14 that all changes, when Serpents And Snakes releases No One In Control, the act's long-anticipated sophomore full-length. Much has changed in the musical landscape over the past seven years, but Snowden's vision remains pleasantly consistent. Indeed, the new collection is a fitting successor to Anti-Anti, and combines moody distorted synth and bass textures with spindly guitar riffs and clean, almost tribal drumming. While the grungy "Hiss" and new-wavey "The Beat Comes" keep the pace up like prior repertoire highlights "Anti-Anti" and "Kill The Power," much of No One In Control abides in a slower tempo that makes the band's dream pop all the dreamier. The synthetic 12-string acoustic atmosphere of "Anemone Arms" echoes '80s alt. acts like Crowded House or The Church; it's an unexpected but well-reasoned reach that works well for Snowden. The opening title track of the new collection even evokes the choral elements of a band like Ride, relying on singer Jordan Jeffares’ syrupy voice, which is glossy and tuneful throughout despite his monotone delivery. Snowden resoundingly delivers the goods on No One In Control, leading one to wonder why Jeffares waited seven years between long players (although, it should be noted there were EPs in 2007 and 2010). Regardless, like an old college friend, it's great to hear from him once again. Snowden embarks on a month-long U.S. tour May 30, and will play a Boston date at Great Scott June 26; full tour dates are posted right here. -- Edward Charlton

Stream all of No One In Control at Soundcloud right here.

>> England’s Faux Discx has been steadily inching up our list of 2013's record labels to watch, given that, as our executive editor so succinctly stated recentky, "it seems to be building a nice little universe of stuff." We first encountered the concern in 2012 when it issued Cold Pumas' excellent post-punk platter Persistent Malaise. On May 27 it will release Brighton, England lo-fi rockers Teardrop Factory's debut, the Topshop EP, in a limited edition of 300 vinyl 7" records. As with the other label signatories (including the brilliantly monikered Sauna Youth as well as Vision Fortune, among others), Teardrop Factory effortlessly combine messy, youthful energy with fully-realized songwriting and rich, analog (sounding) production. The band dares to keep their cards close, and so we're left with colorful intrigue and only one member's first name -- Andy. "Vanity Unfair," the preview track from the EP, is sadly not a cover of the classic single from The Ocean Blue. But it is nonetheless a brief, but gratifying, stormy two-chord rocker. Riding the groove, the singer (presumably Andy) offers a quick spoke-sung verse before his distaff counterpart steers the tune into a relaxed, brooding chorus. Distorted bass chug and reverbed drums (dig that massive wave of washed crash and ride cymbals), lend the tune the flavor of a frenzied live performance. The downcast energy recalls O.G. downer-pop Anglos like Eternal, Secret Shine or Jesus & Mary Chain. The production on "Vanity Unfair" touts a perfectly proportioned blend of hi-fi direction and the full-frequency onslaught of the best lo-fi (which, truly, makes us wish indie groups would ditch the fake "digi-studios" or completely lazy indifference and make stuff like this). The Topshop EP is another winner for Faux Discx, a label that is proving it knows where it's at when it comes to rich, analog guitar pop packaged with a little bit of mystery, a little brashness, and a whole lot of understated class. Pre-order here, and stream "Vanity Unfair" via the Bandcamp embed below. -- Edward Charlton

May 8, 2013

Today's Hotness: Hallelujah The Hills, Broken Shoulder, Soda Fabric

Hallelujah The Hills -- Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Trash Can (detail)

>> We haven't gone through our archives to see how often we've said it, or how consistently, but we've got a standard rap about odds 'n' sods collections. At best, such a collection gathers together relatively inconvenient-to-gather stuff. In the best-case scenario -- and this is certainly dependent on the band -- the stuff evidences exciting chance-taking that presents a broader set of possibilities, or even a broader stylistic scope, than what ends up on a "proper" album by the act in question. [DELETED LONG ASIDE ABOUT PINK FLOYD]. But we're not talking about Floyd today, we are talking about Boston treasure Hallelujah The Hills. Its terrific Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Trash Can, released Tuesday, is an exciting collection of non-album singles, coulda-shouldas and curiosities (the most curious of these is an unsolicited dance remix Hallelujah The Hills received of "Wave Backwards To Massachusetts"). The 21-song set also contains three new songs, including "Confessions Of An Ex-Ghost," which recalls a similarly excellent pop classic from Love As Laughter. It speaks to the overall quality of Hallelujah The Hills' work that its loose ends don't sound like session seconds compared to the new tracks and singles. Hallelujah The Hills' not-so-secret weapon is the facility with which fronter Ryan Walsh's voice conveys myriad emotional dimensions. Compound that with the fact that he's a brilliant lyricist -- clever, self-effacing, often dead-on with a Malkmus-ian deadpan -- and a cracking coterie of collaborators and it's easy to see why there's gold at every turn here, from the spitting vitriol of the overdriven live version of the stomping shouter "(You Better Hope You) Die Before Me" to the breezy and whip-smart strummer "Honey, Don't It All Seem So Phony." Hallelujah The Hills played its last show for the foreseeable future last Friday at the Sinclair in Cambridge, MA, and now intends to turn its attention to writing and recording a new album. The act's most recent long-player was 2012's No One Knows What Will Happen Next. We think you can stream all of Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Trash Can via the Bandcamp embed below, which you should do, as it will make you whole.

>> A couple years ago we were just finishing up a long stint of travel for the day job, which required of us a lot of airplane trips to the center of the good ol' U.S. of A. and back again. We were pretty well exhausted by all of this -- not the travel, but the work -- and one of the rare pleasures of it all was sitting down on the airplane, closing our eyes, and listening to Broken Shoulder's tremendous debut long-player Broken Shoulderrr. The set, still available for purchase via Audio Antihero right here, is a trance-facilitating pastiche of melody and noise, pretty and engaging and just challenging enough but not so much so that one can't listen to it while resting. On an airplane. Over the last couple years the music of now Tokyo-based Broken Shoulder has varied stylistically somewhat on succeeding releases, embracing at times more chaos than melody. We are pleased to hear something of a return to the sound of that debut collection on the band's latest, Title Track. The highlight of the collection is the closing number "What Is Thirteen?," which arranges field recording, droning guitar arpeggiation and other sonic elements into a gently churning aural roux that seems to spread in every direction all at once before receding into an insectoid buzz and urban crowd noise. Title Track is available for purchase as a digital download and CDR via Broken Shoulder's Bandcamp right here, and we've embedded the entire set for streaming below. The CDR's are packaged in a handmade paper sleeve with fancy stickers, if that's the sort of thing you like. The collection was recorded in January 2013 at mastermind Neil Debnam's home in Japan and mastered by the great Benjamin Shaw (who, incidentally, just played what he claims will be his final live gig in London). Stream Title Track via the embed below; whether you purchase a plane ticket as well, well, we'll leave that up to you.

>> This publication regularly decries the glut of contemporary guitar bands that have "discovered" reverb and find the genre tag "surf" a convenient descriptor for weak material, but that doesn't mean we don't ever find a band we like making surfy sounds. Take for example Israel-based guitar-pop unit Soda Fabric, a quartet that recently released a third digital single from its planned EP titled Tears On The Beach. The tune is called "She Hides Her Soul," and in its first moments its splashy electric snare and clean guitars come across as a little too benign. But the song steadily gathers intensity and bursts with a delightfully unhinged mania at each chorus: fronter Moosh Fabric's vocals decompose into throaty shouts, Shachak Fabric pelts the crash cymbals until the din resembles a sheer, but palpable, curtain of white noise. "She Hides Her Soul" was released to the wilds of the Internet April 25, and you can download it from Bandcamp right here, or stream it via the embed below. There is also a kitschy video for "She Hides Her Soul" that features a girl dancing in animal-print underwear and chewing gum at the same time; if that is your thing, you can watch it right here. There is no release date at present for Tears On The Beach, but the art is on display right here along with a pledge that it is "coming out soon," in a limited edition. Soda Fabric is plotting a tour of Germany, according to this post.

May 6, 2013

That Was The Show That Was: Bleeding Rainbow | Wonder Ballroom | Portland, OR | 3 May

Bleeding Rainbow at Wonder Ballroom, Portland, OR, photo by Matt Dressen for Clicky Clicky, all rights reserved -- Deep Moves(detail)

[PHOTO: Matt Dressen for Clicky Clicky] Philadelphia noise-pop crew Bleeding Rainbow blasted through a bristling, low-fanfare set at Portland's Wonder Ballroom Friday, visiting town in support of its third record Yeah Right, which was released earlier this year on Kanine Records. Bleeding Rainbow has successfully moved beyond the more traditional pop approach of its past and in the direction of a more calculated guitar band, one evocative of a very specific point in alternative rock history. The strength of the band's more recent approach was on full display Friday.

Opening for the Cave Singers -- a band composed of former members of defunct poppy post-hardcore act Pretty Girls Make Graves -- the group wore their hardened, tour-heavy tightness and passion on their collective sleeve. While Bleeding Rainbow's previous iteration as Reading Rainbow was perhaps a more singular vehicle for bassist Sarah Everton and guitar player Rob Garcia -- due to neat, '80s noise-pop songwriting within a minimal, duo format -- the new four-piece incarnation very enjoyably conjured Friday a jammy, early '90s buzz-rock vibe that was a welcome surprise for those familiar with their previous work. One need not look further than Goo or Dirty-period Sonic Youth to understand Bleeding Rainbow's recent inspiration; indeed, Ms. Everton's neon SY t-shirt left little doubt of this. Just about every song of the Philadelphia foursome's set aimed for the fizzing intensity of the mid-section instrumental segments of classics like "Kool Thing" and "Sugar Kane." Some bands like to evoke the 1960s Brill Building. Others want to sound like NME’s C86 cassette. Bleeding Rainbow seem bent on approximating the treasured "1991: The Year Punk Broke" VHS.

Saddled with an early set time, the quartet confronted a thin crowd that was made all the smaller by the large floor of Wonder Ballroom. Even so, the Rainbow won over the initially unreceptive audience through sheer energy. One could not help but wonder if they could have had an easier time with the audience working within the more cozy confines of one of the smaller, more indie-centric venues around town. These concerns were soon forgotten, though, as the Ballroom's well-crafted sound engineering filled the room with guitars. Bleeding Rainbow's set consisted almost entirely of Yeah Right's thick, pounding chords and loud, simple drum beats from Dominique Montgomery. In particular, opener "Pink Ruff" and "You're Not Alone" crashed through the venue with the power of a tidal wave. Everton and Mr. Garcia pushed the songs vocally with close harmonies that cut across guitarist Al Creedon's single note squeals and bloops. The band closed with a new song, "Monochrome," a stunner with pummeling open chord freak outs that had Everton excitedly rolling around on the floor. Where many bands draw inspiration from indie rock's elder statesperson, Bleeding Rainbow showed Friday they don't aspire to simply remind listeners of the alterna-heyday, they want to live it. The quartet wraps its current tour Friday, then heads back out on the road in June with the hotly tipped Boston indie rock concern Fat Creeps; full dates for that are posted right here. Stream all of Yeah Right via the Bandcamp embed below. -- Edward Charlton.

Bleeding Rainbow: Internerds | Facebook | Bandcamp

May 2, 2013

Review: It Hugs Back | Recommended Record

With little fanfare -- at least here in America -- Kent, England-based It Hugs Back has been steadily building a formidable catalog of records and singles over the last several years. Its latest long-player, Recommended Record, is a lush, engaging and often aurally stunning marvel that gives the foursome a strong claim on a place in the vanguard of contemporary psych-pop. The set is roughly split into motorik groovers ("Sometimes") and gentle strummers that cushion persistently breathy vocals ("Teenage Drone"), although there are exciting moments that don't fit neatly into either pile, such as the blaring freakout "Big Sighs." That the music on Recommended Record runs the stylistic gamut with such ease is a tribute to the highly-developed and tasteful songwriting of the group, songwriting that evidences a keen ability to synthesize elements from a well-chosen stylistic palette.

The set commences with the charged, propulsive and kaleidoscopic rush of "Sa Sa Sa Sails," a sugary rocker that drips with the same sort of shuddering, guitar-heavy psychedelia as the best moments of the early Mercury Rev catalog. Even with the level of bombast high on the track, It Hugs Back guitarist and singer Matt Simms, who also plays guitar for post-punk legends WIRE these days, continues to sing with his characteristically dreamy, even delivery. From there the collection makes the first of many tidy transitions, here to the hip-shaking, organ-addled preview track "Go Magic!," which cleverly contrasts megaphoned lead vocals with pretty, terraced vocal harmonies and closes with wondrous, clanging guitars. The logically titled "Piano Drone" channels German legends Neu!, and the spooky "Sometimes" channels The Flaming Lips channeling Neu!, but Recommended Record also touts plenty of the catchy guitar pop -- in the vein of the Pitchfork-acknowledged 2009 single "Workday" -- that It Hugs Back is best known for. These include album highlight "Teenage Hands," as well as "Skateboard Rhythm," and the poignant, burbling "Waiting Room." That latter tune touts a subdued melody with swirled rhythm guitar that could have been inspired, perhaps improbably, by the introduction to Grateful Dead's "Crazy Fingers." While all of these reference points suggests a record that sounds scattershot and disjointed, in fact just the opposite is true, and -- as ever -- It Hugs Back succeeds by setting its own parameters in creating a warm, fuzzy and insular aesthetic.

Recommended Record will be issued on Safe And Sound Records worldwide on Monday and you can purchase it on CD or vinyl directly from It Hugs Back right here. All purchases are rewarded with an immediate digital download of the collection, and the first 100 pre-orders come packaged with a bonus EP. We've embedded a stream of the entire album below. It Hugs Back's prior record, the sophomore set Laughing Party, was released a year ago. We featured It Hugs Back in number 12 of our recently resuscitated Show Us Yours feature back in 2009.

It Hugs Back: Internerds | Facebook | Soundcloud