July 31, 2013

YouTube Rodeo: Big Deal's Color-Drenched "Dream Machines"

Way back in May we were figuratively spinning Big Deal's terrific new record June Gloom a lot, and one of the tunes we exalted as an album highlight was the sparkling, big-beat anthem "Dream Machines." Not long after, the tune was designated the second single from the London-based quartet's sophomore set, and now, months later, it finally has a video clip to go along with it. As best as we can tell (who knows who really donned the monster suits in the first promo video from June Gloom, for the prior single "In Your Car"), the clip is the first to feature all four members of Big Deal as it is presently configured; the band began its run as simply the duo of Kasey Underwood and Alice Costelloe way back in 2010. Indeed, the opening pastiche of images captured in the still supra prominently features Huw Webb's bass guitar at the top of the frame, which may be as much a signal of Big Deal's relatively recent conversion to "band-ness" as it is of "Dream Machines"'s reliance on a foundation of fuzz-bass to drive home the tune's titanic choruses. Most of the video -- directed by a chap named Errol Rainey of the Bonzo Collective -- is pulled straight from the playbook of classic MTV visual style circa 1985, including bits of the band goofing on CCTV, shooting hoops, pulling peace signs and lip-synching the tune, all drenched in over-saturated color and rendered beautifully grainy. Mute released June Gloom June 4, and we reviewed the set for Vanyaland right here. Does this album have another single in it? Only time will tell, but, if so, we would not be surprised to see opener "Golden Light" or the closing power ballad "Close Your Eyes" get the honors. The video for "Dream Machines" embedded above premiered at Vice's Noisey yesterday.

July 27, 2013

That Was The Show That Was: Metz, The Men, Desert Sharks | The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA | 25 July

Shoe Company Marketing Department Presents: Metz, The Men, and Desert Sharks Live at The Sinclair 7/25/2013

Last time a Metz show in Boston actually went off, the room erupted into one big, drunken mosh pit, one that threatened the structural integrity of the fabled Middle East Rock Club. But for Thursday's free, shoe company-sponsored gig at a relatively new Harvard Square venue, one might have wondered just how nuts was the crowd really gonna get? The answer, it turns out, is very, very nuts.

After a solid warm-up set from New York punks Desert Sharks, the crowd anxiously anticipated what was to come from The Men. The question was, which version of the Brooklyn-based five-piece would show up? Would the set favor the Tom Petty-worship of 2013's exceptional New Moon LP, or the scuzzed punk with which The Men first made a name for themselves? In the end, fans got a little bit of both. The act opened just after 10 with what felt like a good five minutes of pulsating feedback, before bassist Ben Greenberg commenced a vicious two-note riff. The band then tore into what sounded an awful lot like "Oscillation" from 2012's Open Your Heart. It's hard to be certain, as the room sound for the set at times seemed unable to contain the band's sonic assault. The vocals and drums, in particular, struggled for recognition from underneath the throbbing might of the guitars. Even so, what could be heard sounded fantastic. In a move seemingly influenced by the characteristic intensity of the headliners, The Men emphasized the thrashier end of its considerably malleable sound, gradually layering in more and more noise before sloppily coming to a close. The highlight of its set, however, was a grooved-out take on a standout track from New Moon, "I Saw Her Face."

While The Men were received warmly, it was clear the youth were getting restless as Metz's sound check wore on. The kids wanted to mosh, hard -- and eventually they did. The last time the Torontonian trio came to Boston, the show was canceled due to, in their words, "some asshole who tried to blow up the marathon." It seemed Metz played Thursday night as if they had something to prove to make up for the missed show; the crowd was ready to meet the band's determination. The first drumroll of "Dirty Shirt" incited a massive circle pit, one that didn't dissipate until Metz burned through an extended, droning rendition of album closer "Negative Space" (bonus points go to the dude moshing with the Metz 12" tucked under his arm). What Metz lack in variation song-to-song, they more than make up for in visceral energy and shuddering intensity. Fronter Alex Edkins stared into the crowd and literally screamed the sweat off his face more times than this writer could keep track of. The night's greatest moment occurred when the band asked for the crowd to "take care of each other" before "Get Off," a tune that rocketed the crowd into an especially ecstatic frenzy. By the time Metz slumped back on stage for a quick encore, everyone in the room was too fried to even react; the Canadians had effectively squeezed all the energy out of the room. Stream the single version of "Negative Space" via the Bandcamp embed below. Metz embark on an eight-date European tour next week, return to the States for four festival dates in late summer, and then head back to Europe for a significantly longer campaign that begins on Halloween in Reykjavik, although there is no Halloween in Iceland. And that's one to grow on... -- Dillon Riley

Metz: Bandcamp | Internerds | Tumblr | Twitter

The Men: Internerds

July 25, 2013

Review: Weekend | Jinx

With its 2010 debut Sports, noise-rock trio Weekend ably assimilated a lengthy and recognizable post-punk heritage into its sound in a manner that made an indelible impression. The album was an apparent success for Slumberland Records, and a high point among a teeming morass of contemporary loud guitar offerings, in no small part because of the clear vision and songwriting acumen the act, fronted by Shaun Durkan, brought to the table. Of course, the success of Sports was abetted by strong singles including the delay-flecked "End Times," but Weekend's unpretentious approach also made them easy to support. With that success, fans could reasonably have anticipated the sophomore collection Jinx, which was released by Slumberland Tuesday, would be consistent with the now-Brooklyn-based act's established, loud parameters. Instead, the new record continues a retreat from the noisier post-punk of the formative first LP, a retreat that began on the brilliant 2011 EP Red. As the distortion ebbs, the band reveals what may be its most vital trait: it simply refuses to do the same thing twice.

On the new full length we hear Weekend evolving beyond a dark, chaotic and Joy Division-inspired posture to embrace a cleaner, leaner sensibility that echoes the early-'80s entries from The Cure, New Order and Bauhaus. Opener "Mirror" trades heavily on clean, metallic bass, mechanical rhythms, a carefully architected superstructure of reverbed vocals, edgeless synths and distant guitars. It is as if the now-Brooklyn-based act has shed a rough husk comprised of jittery nerves, guitar distortion and feedback, to free a more controlled, refined darkwave core. This evolution is again apparent on the anthemic, hip-shaking bliss-out "July," in which Abe Pedroza's industrial drum clatter establishes a moody but upbeat platform for Mr. Durkan's natural, unimposing voice and guitarist Kevin Johnson's sleeper melody lines. The chorus breathlessly escapes a couple suspenseful introductory minutes to blossom into a technicolor array of airy vocals and guitar; Durkan's celebratory repetition of the tune's title is the icing on the icing on the icing... "It's Alright" swaggers with a towering electronic strut that delightfully evokes the macho guitar-techno fusion of The Jesus And Mary Chain circa 1988's brilliant single "Sidewalking" and the sexy chug of MBV's "Drive It All Over Me." "Just Drive" resuscitates some of the punkier vim of Sports, but updated production refines the lacerating distortion to marshal a gentler attack. The initial single "Sirens" remains Jinx's most gratifying composition, with its reliably, dance-ready tempo, detached vocals and softly modulating melody calling to mind the stone-cold 1983 classic from Thompson Twins, "If You Were Here."

The degree of control over the sonics of Jinx -- and the calculated quality it lends to certain of the material -- may be the aspect of the record that critics ultimately chew over most; it surprisingly engenders a sound that seems more tailored for arenas (complete with a less dour audience and a greater sense of ecstasy), as opposed to a dark basement or cold warehouse. But whether that is the aspiration or not, it is hard to care too much about the window dressing when the meat of the record -- its songs -- are so well-realized, taut and enjoyable. Jinx is available now from Slumberland on yellow vinyl, CD and digital download. Make your choice wisely right here. The trio will perform two release shows in California starting with a show in the band's former hometown of San Francisco tomorrow, and will tour the new record in earnest beginning with a date in Pittsburgh Sept. 4. All live dates are posted right here; Boston-based readers should make a note of the October 23 date at Church Of Boston with Disappears and Nothing. -- Edward Charlton

Weekend: Facebook | Internerds | Tumblr

July 22, 2013

Today's Hotness: Confessions, Landmarks, Steve Hauschildt

Confessions, Jan. 2013 (crop, transform)

​>> Pair up the fronter of a notable Boston dream-pop act and the live drummer from the ranking darkwave act of the day, and that's all the ingredients you need to mix up a tall cool glass of Your Girl, the debut EP from Confessions. Somewhat surprisingly, the Boston-based duo of Amanda Dellevigne and Alex Garcia-Rivera make music that is neither as dreamy as the former's Night Fruit nor as deliciously unsettling as the latter's Cold Cave, but even so the four songs on Your Girl please with a lightness and retro-futurist bent. It's both easy on the ears and a firm footing for further exploration by the two. Although the EP's quasi-title track "I'll Always Be Your Girl" is conventionally pleasing and will draw kicks to the dancefloor in droves, we think the real standout here is "Wonder." The latter tune touts a gently deconstructed and generously reverbed chant that implies a carefree sway despite the repeated rumination, "I'm in trouble now." The Your Girl 12" will be issued on a vinyl 12" and digitally tomorrow by Vanya Records, the sister label to Vanyaland.com, to which -- full disclosure -- this writer contributes. And firsties abound, as this Friday (July 26) Confessions make their live debut at Boston's esteemed Friday night dance party The Pill to celebrate the release of the EP. Your Girl is available for pre-order now via Bandcamp for the digital files or Big Cartel for the 12." Stream all four songs from the EP via the YouTube embed below.

>> Music fans have grown accustomed to flocking to Chicago each summer to take in the likes of Lollapalooza, Pitchfork Fest, Electric Daisy Carnival and Riot Fest. But while those big productions draw prominent national and even international talent, the Windy City for decades has boasted a strong local scene that most of those tourists sadly may never see (or, well, hear). Take, for example, one of Chicago's newer exports, the dream-pop quintet Landmarks. Despite having just three tracks to sample on the Internerds, the act's hit-to-miss ratio impresses. Landmarks evidence on its latest, second single a firm grasp on the classic Creation Records sound. The Public House 7", released May 3 via Public House Sound Recordings, also emphasizes the Chicago five-piece's strong affinity for dream-pop styles more generally as well. The band establishes in the opening moments of its particularly winsome B-side "Overflown" an insistent, krautrock groove, upon which Landmarks gradually layers spiraling, squalling guitar leads and placid keys. It's a sound that also echoes in the work of, say, contemporaries such as Kent, England's It Hugs Back or even, to perhaps a lesser extent, Munich's Lali Puna. The aforementioned groove is driven by a snappy, repetitive bass line that pushes and pulls against the messy, unsettled guitars while offering a formidable melodic counterpoint. "Overflown," along with the more subdued, more somnolent A-side "Cuscutta," is available as a pay-what-you-like download via Landmarks' Bandcamp, and you can stream the tune via the Soundcloud embed below. -- Dillon Riley

>> It is perhaps unfair to the reserved brilliance of Steve Hauschildt's dreamy electropop gem "Enter Return" to say it was the perfect thing to chill out to while we waited for last week's heatwave to break. That's because the tune's gentle rhythm, light beats and steadily cascading melody can surely transfix fans of conventional electronic fare or chillwave with or without the interference of extraordinary weather conditions. Even so, "Enter Return" was just about the only thing that was able to get our mind off the heat engulfing Boston late last week. Mr. Hauschildt's surname and warm analog electronics might lead one to believe he is another talented European producer, but in fact he is based out of Cleveland. He was also a founding member of the apparently influential ambient/experimental act Emerald. "Enter Return" is taken from the forthcoming double CD S/H, a set that collects 32 of Mr. Hauschildt's home-recorded solo tracks -- many of them previously unreleased -- produced between 2005 and 2012. The tune is one of the more recent compositions, having been recorded in Sept. 2012. S/H will be released by Editions Mego Sept. 16, and you can pre-order the collection right here. At 24 euros for the import, the price is a bit steep. But remember: this is a very large program of music, and if "Enter Return" is any indication, it will provide hours upon hours of enjoyment. And don't we all want enjoyment? Stream the tune via the Soundcloud embed below while you think it over.

July 21, 2013

That Was The Show That Was: Lemonheads | Boston Common | July 20

Lemonheads | Boston Common | July 20

While it is not the most rock 'n' roll sentiment, seeing Lemonheads perform last night was a tremendous pleasure primarily for personal reasons: it was the first time we were able to synthesize rock-show-going and family-having. The logistics of raising two kids and managing careers just hadn't allowed allowed us to attempt every resident at Clicky Clicky HQ attending a show together until last night, and being able to have the missus and the kids along while taking in a set by a Clicky Clicky All-Time Top Five act was even more enjoyable than we had hoped. When it was announced months ago that Lemonheads would play at a relatively family-friendly hour, we began to plot our attendance, and fortunately the kids enjoyed it and the weather held out. It was also great to be at a show with Clicky Clicky Managing Editor Michael Piantigini once more. We've been silent on the issue in the blog out of respect for his privacy, but many friends of Clicky Clicky know that Michael experienced a major health issue in the late spring, and so we hadn't seen a show with him in months. It is great to have him back on the scene.

Lemonheads held up their end of the bargain by delivering a dynamite set, dipping as far back as the '80s into a repertoire that is overflowing with should-be-hits. A highlight of the set was a three-song stint featuring founding member Ben Deily, with whom Clicky Clicky readers are well familiar due to our coverage of Mr. Deily's current combo Varsity Drag. Deily -- who left Lemonheads to focus on his studies at the turn of the '90s -- joined the quartet last night for "Don't Tell Yourself It's OK," "Uhhhh" and "Amazing Grace." He first reunited on stage with Lemonhead-in-chief Evan Dando more than three years ago, but we haven't any idea when the last time was that the two shared a stage in Boston, so this was pretty special. Lemonheads also played cracking versions of personal favorites including "Stove" and "Rudderless." Mr. Dando was focused and funny, his voice as solid as ever and more than able to convey and color the emotions guiding his brilliant songwriting. The complete set-list is below. This iteration of Lemonheads is abetted by guitar virtuoso and musical journeyman Chris Brokaw, who -- in addition to playing in Come and The New Year and Codeine and numerous other acts, in addition to being a talented songwriter -- is the best utility player in rock music. Your lead guitarist get eaten by a shark? Call Mr. Brokaw. Drummer explode? Call Brokaw. In the context of Lemonheads last evening, his leads and rhythm playing stayed true to the band's recordings, while also creatively accenting tunes with well-place salvos of harmonics or other flourishes. He even occasionally recreated melodic elements from the recordings that weren't guitar lines, such as when he approximated a missing vocal line from "It's About Time." Brokaw's playing is brilliant, and damn it if he doesn't seem to get younger-looking each year, too.

Lemonheads are in the midst of a short strand of tour dates, having playing Providence Friday night and with a planned date in Connecticut tonight. We've posted a few more dates, and also last night's set list (as well as a link to a photo of same from Deily's Instragram feed) below. Surprisingly, this is only the second time we've ever seen Lemonheads; we reviewed a December 2006 show -- when the band was touring its self-titled Vagrant record -- right here. As for the future, Fire Records is expected to reissue expanded versions of the first three Lemonheads records later this year, and sessions for a new Lemonheads record -- a record that would include input from Deily and Juliana Hatfield, as we reported here -- were begun with Ryan Adams in 2012.

Lemonheads: Internerds | Facebook | YouTube

SET LIST: [Instagram]

Down About It
Alison's Starting To Happen
Drug Buddy
Great Big No
Left For Dead
It's A Shame About Ray
Break Me
Dawn Can't Decide
Don't Tell Yourself It's OK (with Deily)
Uhhh (with Deily) [video]
Amazing Grace (with Deily)
Outdoor Type
Hannah + Gabbi
It's About Time
Rudderless [video]
Into Your Arms


07.21.13 -- Hamden, CT -- Spaceland Ballroom
07.23.13 -- Asbury Park, NJ -- The Wonder Bar
07.24.13 -- Brooklyn, NY -- Knitting Factory
07.26.13 -- Edgartown, MA -- Flatbread Pizza Co.

July 19, 2013

New Music Night 11 DJ Sets | River Gods | 18/19 July

New Music Night 11, River Gods, Cambridge, July 18/19, 2013

[PHOTO: the great Robert L. Mathews] Here are the songs what we played whilst manning the figurative decks Thursday night and into Friday morning in the booth at the fabulous River Gods in Cambridge, Massachusetts. There was a nice big crowd and the air conditioning was cold and the Bass Ale was extra bassy, it all felt good considering the brutal heat wave enveloping the area. Seriously, it was 90 degrees when we drove through Harvard Square on our way here at 9:30 -- that's not right. So here's what we played. If you have any questions or want to know more about the songs below, hit us on Twitter or drop a comment. We may or may not do Spotify playlists of these sets in the coming days and post links here; watch this space. Also, please click over to Bradley's Almanac and check out Brad's playlists for the 9PM and 11PM hours, which we expect will be posted imminently, or at least sometime. Sometime's good, right?

Set 2 / 10PM / Jay
1. Confessions -- "Wonder" -- Your Girl 12"
[Electropop EP featuring members of Night Fruit and Cold Cave / Stream / Pre-order]
2. Matmos -- "I Want Snowden" -- A/V Club thing
[recorded for that A/V Club undercover thing / stream / download]
3. Burglary Years -- "Hey Do You Wanna Come Over" -- Escapist/Mayfly Sampler
4. Radiator Hospital -- "Our Song" -- Something Wild
[the summer jam to end all summer jams this summer / review / download / buy]
5. Potty Mouth -- "Sleep Talk" -- Hell Bent
[out Sept. 17 on Old Flame/Marshall Teller / pre-order]
6. Krill -- "Infinite Power" -- Lucky Leaves
[telepathic fear and loathing / review / stream / buy]
7. Bent Shapes -- "Brat Poison" -- Feels Weird
[punky album cut from debut LP due Aug. 20 / pre-order]
8. Ovlov -- "Where's My Dini" -- Am
[tremendousness from Conn.-based superfuzz brother act / blogged / stream / buy]
9. Roomrunner -- "Snac Error" -- Ideal Cities
[blogged / stream / purchase]
10. The Flash Hits! -- "Th' Kaza Stairs" -- World Tore EP
[no release date yet / YouTube]
11. What Moon Things -- "Squirrel Girl" -- Bandcamp
[Great expectations / blogged / download]
12. Amity Beach -- "Sunday Nights To Infinity" -- single
[blogged / download]
13. Eros And The Eschaton -- "20 Different Days" -- Home Address For The Civil War
[lead track from thrilling debut due next month / blogged / pre-order]
14. Winter -- "The View" -- single
[wishing a speedy recovery to Mr. Oppenheimer and his wrist / blogged / download]
15. Cloud -- "Mother Sea (radio edit)" -- Comfort Songs
[blogged / download]
16. Weekend -- "July" -- Jinx
[due July 23 / blogged / pre-order]
17. Fridge Poetry -- "Like Poetry (Froback Remix)" -- Bandcamp
[another beauty from Junior Foreigner and Evan Bernard / blogged / stream]
Set 4 / 12AM / Jay
1. Occurrence -- "Never Alone (Naked)" -- Soundcloud
[demo from the next record, featuring vocals and guitar from And Joseph's Mike Robb / download]
2. Krill -- "Theme From Krill (Reprise)" -- Lucky Leaves
[Krill forever]
3. The Shoe Ins -- "I Pledge Allegiance (To Your Body)" -- Bandcamp
[devastating party jam / YouTube / buy]
4. Eros And The Eschaton -- "Lately (I've Been Wondering)" -- Home Address For The Civil War
[so much goodness]
5. Little Big League -- "Sportswriting" -- These Are Good People
[out Aug. 6 / blogged / stream / pre-order]
6. Radiator Hospital -- "Ghost Story" -- Something Wild
[review / download / buy LP]
7. My Psychoanalyst -- "Clump Soul" -- Don't Try
[first new music in four years! / stream / download]
8. Amity Beach -- "Avalanches" -- single
[other side of that thing]


9. Bored Nothing -- "Dial Tone Blues" -- Thanks For The Mammaries EP
[blogged / download]
10. Shallow -- "Alternative" -- Under The Wildflowers Vol. 1: A Lamppost Records Compilation
11. Mona Elliot -- "River Song" -- River Song EP
12. Scud Mountain Boys -- "The Mendicant" -- Do You Love The Sun
[blogged / buy]
13. Mutes -- "Cold And Golden (Atlas Sound cover)" -- Bandcamp
14. Heyward Howkins -- "Pundit" -- Album preview
[stream / download]
15. Heaven -- "Falling Apple" -- Telepathic Love
16. Sun Glitters -- "Forward And Reverse" -- Soundcloud
[a beauty from Luxembourg / stream / download]

July 15, 2013

New Music Night 11 with DJs Brad Almanac + Jay Clicky Clicky | River Gods | 18 July

New Music Night 11 with DJs Brad Almanac + Jay Clicky Clicky

Don't tell Brad de la 'Nac, but our next and 11th New Music Night this coming Thursday is sort of our second anniversary. Do I get him chocolates? Chocolate beer? Probably something more like chocolate beer, I'm thinking. Or, you know, how about, instead, a couple hours of the finest in new and not yet new music? Which would be easy and convenient, as I've got that. IN SPADES YO. Yes, indeedy, #NMN returns for its 11th manifestation this Thursday, July 18, at River Gods, just in time to save you from what will likely be Day Five of HEATWAVE2013. Because River Gods is air-conditioned, fool. And, as such, you've got little excuse not to be there, so please join us: your faithful aural tour guides de rock will of course be Brad of Bradley's Almanac and Jay of Clicky Clicky, and it all happens from 9PM-1AM. For a sense of what you're getting into, check out Brad's playlist from the May 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?

River Gods
125 River Street
Cambridge, MA

Accessible via Red Line at Central Square.

July 14, 2013

Today's Hotness: What Moon Things, Little Big League, Fridge Poetry

What Moon Things -- Squirrel Girl (crop)

>> At least The Bradys had their popcorn trail... With the half-attention/limited attention span we employ on a regular basis given the various demands on our time, sometimes we paste a link in a text file to revisit later, only to completely forget any and all context for it. So we send out heartfelt thanks to whomever it was that pointed us to the Bandcamp page of What Moon Things recently, because the quintet-or-trio-we-can't-tell's new tune "Squirrel Girl" -- posted to Bandcamp late last month and embedded for your enjoyment below -- is a stunner. The groop appears to be based out of New Paltz, NY, as best we can tell, and formed just last year. But it has made good use of that short time, as between "Squirrel Girl" and "Astronaut..." the band has already written two tunes that we've returned to again and again this weekend. "Squirrel Girl" melds psych, shoegaze and post-punk styles into something dense, noisy and beautiful, creating an arresting sound that hints at influences like classic Flaming Lips and Modest Mouse. What Moon Things recently added bassist Chris Kehoe to a lineup that as best we can tell also includes guitarist Jake Harms, John (with no surname) on drums, Kyle James on synth and some person or thing called Metamorphic manning synth, bass and percussion. The presumed five-piece (it appears only three band members are present in the video linked supra for "Astronaut...") are preparing a full-length, and previously issued a digital single, "White Indian Ghost" b/w "Storm Moon," in August 2012 (available for download here). We're excited by the possibilities before this young band, and recommend them to your attention posthaste. Stream the swerving anti-anthem "Squirrel Girl" via the embed below.

>> Just when you thought we couldn't find more bands to like coming out of Phiadelphia right now, here comes Little Big League. The rising guitar-pop quartet, fronted by Michelle Zauner and including former Titus Andronicus drummer Ian Dykstra, will release via Tiny Engines next month a debut full-length called These Are Good People. The set touts dynamic indie punk tunes highlighted by neatly arranged guitars that leave plenty of room for Ms. Zauner's affecting, high alto (which works in that range that always reminds us of Kiss Me Deadly's Emily Elizabeth). These Are Good People is at its best at its most ambitious, and you can hear the band pushing itself in the record's thoughtfully constructed and produced centerpiece "Sportswriting." Its composition is patient, there is noticeably more reverb applied to the guitars, and Zauner offers her most emotional vocal of the record. These Are Good People is out Aug. 6, and it will be available on a vinyl 12" or as a digital download. Pre-orders are being taken now right here and include t-shirt or poster bundles, cheap downloads and a 20% off checkout code, according to Little Big Leagues tumblr. Stream the first three cuts from the nine-song collecton via the Bandcamp embed below. Little Big League previously issued a 7" single, "Tokyo Drift" b/w "St. John," in April 2012. Little Big League is presently on tour and will play a show in Boston at Church on July 21 before making their way back to Philly for a record release show at The Fire on the 25th.

>> Junior Elvis Washington Laidley, the chief architect of the Birmingham, England-based electropop project Fridge Poetry and drummer in noise-pop titans Johnny Foreigner, would seem to have stumbled on something of a vocal muse for the former concern in Philly punk fixture Evan Bernard. The pair met when Mr. Bernard signed on to drive Johnny Foreigner around North America last fall. The pair first collaborated on the epic, yearning ballad "I'll See" from Fridge Poetry's April Soweto Slo Mo EP that we wrote about here, and now Bernard's heart-felt singing now graces a second Fridge Poetry jam, "Like Poetry," a remix of which was recently posted for auditory consumption at Bandcamp. The "Froback Remix" of "Like Poetry" situates Bernard's characteristically nostalgic and soaring vocals within a sparkling array of tinkling piano and a crashing, crash cymbal-heavy jungle beat. It's unclear whether it will be this remix or a different version that will be included on a planned forthcoming EP from Fridge Poetry. But according to the project's Bandcamp the EP will be called Leen van Pelt and will feature additional collaborations with JoFo tour mates Playlounge, Mutes (the project of Johnny Foreigner guitar tech James Brown), and a fellow named Paul Rafferty (who is not this guy). We will, of course, bring you further bulletins as events warrant, but in the interim get set to bliss out to Fridge Poetry's latest and greatest via the embed below.

July 11, 2013

Today's Hotness: Cloud, Polvo

Cloud -- Mother Sea (crop, transform)

>> The catalog of imaginatively inept London-based indie label Audio Antihero has held many wonders over the years, but never before has it included an American act, let alone one with significant Boston roots. That all changed with the label's recent signing of the now-LA-based noise-pop act Cloud. We first stumbled upon Cloud about a year ago due to his contributions to a lo-fi release from Boston slowcore concern Marblemouth. Both Cloud and Marblemouth are satellites orbiting the Practice Room Records collective, a nebulous entity that also counts among its number Clicky Clicky faves Winter; indeed, Winter's namesake Samira Winter contributes vocals to two tunes on Cloud's new record and also appeared on Cloud's 2011 set, Rocket. Right, Cloud's new record, that's what we were talking about... the project is the brainchild of Tyler Taormina, and Audio Antihero will re-issue on Aug. 5 Comfort Songs, Cloud's third release originally issued in Sept. 2012 as a download. The 11-track collection is available from Audio Antihero in a limited edition of 140 compact discs as well as, of course, digital download, and the lead single for the Audio Antihero edition is the stormy and densely layered strummer "Mother Sea." There's something of Conor Oberst's general agitation and gift for description in Taormina's delivery and songwriting respectively, but Mr. Oberst has to our knowledge never arranged as noisy a bed to lie in as the churning instrumental to "Mother Sea." A conventional rhythm guitar track is buried amid rich reverb, spiraling and droning piano chords, slowly arcing feedback, and sundry unidentified aural embellishments, all of which conspire in the song's final two-and-a-half minutes to create a hypnotic ebb and flow, not unlike the cycling of crashing waves. Which, given the title of the song, either makes Mr. Taormina brilliant or extremely lucky. Readers who took a closer look at the recent Audio Antihero charity compilation Regal Vs. Steamboat that we wrote about last month likely saw that there is also a song from Cloud among the comp's 31 tracks, the tune "A Song Of What Stays" (originally released on Cloud's Elephant Era full-length from 2010) which you can stream right here. Stream "Mother Sea" via the Bandcamp embed below, and then click through to pre-order all of Comfort Songs from Audio Antihero. It's something you'll be glad you did.

>> Maybe our social networks were just skewed weirdly today, or maybe the lack of any preview music didn't elicit the typical Pavlovian "!OMG Firsties!" response from the blogosphere, but whatever the reason, we were surprised by the lack of widespread enthusiasm at today's news that post-rock legends Polvo will release their sixth LP Oct. 1. The set is called Siberia and it will be released by the highly esteemed Merge label, who among other things also did the honors for Polvo's 2009 comeback record In Prism and the 2011 single "Heavy Detour," which, curiously, was described as being "taken from Polvo's upcoming album." We say curious because the eight-song track list for Siberia does not contain a song called "Heavy Detour." Was the title changed for the record, or did the band have a change of heart? We suppose we'll find out Oct. 1 when Siberia hits the new release bins (or, we suppose, a week ahead of time when the record is inevitably streaming at Pantsfork Advance or NPR First Listen or whatever is The Thing two months from now). We're not sure how well this opinion will be received, but despite releasing some very great music in the intervening years, we still don't know that any new Polvo record will ever hold our affections as strongly as the band's epic double 10" from 1996, Exploded Drawing. The album has too many highlights to mention, but do yourself a favor and click the YouTube embed below to listen to the 11-minute-plus masterwork "When Will You Die For The Last Time In My Dreams," the song that closed out Exploded Drawing. Siberia can be pre-ordered now from Merge on CD and LP right here, and those who pre-order will also receive a poster along with their order, which will arrive on or around the Oct. 1 release date, Merge promises. For a related and somewhat weirder thrill, check out this video we just stumbled upon of an ice skater named Emily Hughes performing her routine to "When Will You Die For The Last Time In My Dreams," intercut with footage of a Roomba vacuum cleaner doing it's thing. INTERNET FUCK YEAH!

July 9, 2013

Review: Radiator Hospital | Something Wild

It seems like only yesterday we were praising the merits of the latest and greatest from the white-hot Philadelphia underground, but even so it didn't take us long to turn up something new from the musically fertile City of Brotherly Love, something that just may be the best the metropolis has to offer this year, Radiator Hospital's terrific LP Something Wild.

Indie pop concern Radiator Hospital is the brainchild of Philly-based singer/songwriter Sam Cook-Parrott. While Something Wild features a fully fleshed-out, four-piece band including Swearin' drummer Jeff Bolt on the skins, Mr. Cook-Parrott has been releasing singles and EPs with different collaborators for a few years under the Radiator Hospital moniker. Incidentally, Mr. Bolt isn't the only connection between Radiator Hospital and Swearin’: the two acts also share a living space. That’s right, folks, the house that brought you Swearin', Waxahatchee and the Crutchfields twins' mutual side project Great Thunder is also home to yet one more killer indie rock act. Indeed, Something Wild was even recorded in said house. And while a new record from Swearin' could be out this fall, any new entries in the realm of indie pop in 2013 will have to go a very great distance to surpass the brilliance of Something Wild.

Breathlessly brief at under a half hour, Something Wild still captivates and satisfies in a way few other records have this year. That's largely because it's so dynamic. The long-player, which touts 13 tracks, boasts an impressive stylistic breadth and depth offering almost equal parts revved-up pop-punk, unguarded folk and jangly downer-pop. Indeed, at times individual songs can sound like the product of different groups. But what's best about Something Wild, however, is that it never feels the least bit empty. Cook-Parrott jettisons all unnecessary excess, and occasionally even conventional song structures, to focus more intently on crafting short and sweet bursts of sugary pop goodness. Even in the single rare instance that the band draws things out over three minutes during the acoustic strummer "Big Cloud," the subdued tune more than gets by on the raw immediacy of pretty, layered vocal harmonies and rootsy instrumentation.

Cook-Parrott is just as comfortable nasally waxing poetic over a brittle and crudely recorded acoustic guitar as he is belting out love-lorn narratives above over-driven guitars and pounding drums. Needless to say he's just as effective at conveying emotion either way. It should come as no surprise then that Something Wild's greatest track, "Your Boyfriend," reaches its emotional climax when Cook-Parrott and co. shift from one dynamic extreme to the other. Kudos to any band that can turn real emotional pain into catchy summer jams as well as these guys do. With no shortage of electrifying tunes, from the belter "Our Song" (and its fist-banging chorus "You won't get off that easy, no don't say you love me, when you know you don't") to the, uh, other belter "Ghost Story," Radiator Hospital delivers the goods in as impressive a fashion as we've heard all year. Something Wild is due July 15 on LP from Salinas Records and pre-orders are being taken right here. The record is also available as a free download from Bandcamp (click through the embed below), so indie rock fans have no excuse not to treat themselves to Something Wild. -- Dillon Riley

Radiator Hospital: Bandcamp | Facebook | Internerds | Vimeo

July 8, 2013

Young Adults, Grooms, Ovlov and Soccer Mom | Great Scott, Boston | 11 July

Grooms, Young Adults, Soccer Mom, Ovlov | Great Scott, Boston | 12 July

We snuck a sideways reference to Ovlov into our Speedy Ortiz review last week -- despite the trio not hailing from Massachusetts, which was sort of the point we were making -- as sort of a last-ditch effort to make a timely mention of the rising Connecticut grunge-pop goliath. The act released its full-length debut Am a week ago, but our plate had been too full to really give the LP the attention it deserved. By Saturday, however, Ovlov had been added to this Thursday's upcoming white-hot Grooms/Young Adults/Soccer Mom bill, and voila! A new news peg was born. Ovlov itself is by no means new, as its Bandcamp bastion offers a couple EPs and a single, the earliest of which arrived in 2009. However, Am has significantly raised the profile of the act, presently a threesome of brothers Steve, Theo and Jon Hartlett (as the youngest of three boys, this writer can only imagine the fisticuffs that occur in the van). Theirs is a refreshing and thrilling collection of songs, one surprisingly nimble given the degree of sludge tossed up across the stereo field. It's the kind of record that we expect you'll see compared a fair amount to Dinosaur Jr.'s classic You're Living All Over Me, and we're willing to submit that, goddamn, that's not too far off. It is big melodies and a precise rhythm section that move Am relentlessly forward, and we think that once you latch on to the Soundcloud stream embedded below, you'll find it hard to stop listening. We direct your attention to the opener "Grapes," as it touts the tunefulness of Swedish pop geniuses The Wannadies and the raw power of Glaswegian noise-pop titans Projekt A-ko. Another of the many highlights of Am is the slack strummer "Where's My Dini?", which is one of several tracks that features vocals from Speedy Ortiz fronter Sadie Dupuis. Exploding In Sound Records released Am July 2, and it is on offer as a limited edition 12" vinyl LP (purportedly pressed to "piss yellow" and "swamp green" media) and digital download. You can purchase one or both via Ovlov's aforementioned Bandcamp page right here.

Of course, Thursday night is about much more than just Ovlov, as Clicky Clicky stalwarts Young Adults and Soccer Mom are also slated to perform, and the evening is top-lined by the New York band every band seems to want to be playing with these days, Grooms. All of the above happens at Great Scott in Allston, and as of this writing tickets are still available. While we were at the beach last month Young Adults issued a pretty sweet video for its tune "Spectre" that is well worth your eyeballs, check that out right here. As for Soccer Mom, the band is allegedly in the midst of recording for a future release, and we're hopeful that there may even be new music to hear from the band before the year is out (a man can dream, can't he?). Anyway, go to Great Scott Thursday, make that your way of taking a stand against The Man, at least this week. It's the big, big show in Boston Thursday, and all the dizzles are at this Facebook event pizzle.

July 5, 2013

Today's Hotness: Speedy Ortiz, Winter, New Dog

Speedy Ortiz -- Major Arcana (crop, transform)

>> Vanyaland Friday afternoon posted our review of this summer's "it" record, Speedy Ortiz's terrific debut long-player Major Arcana. In the piece we bemoaned the lack of critical engagement with Speedy's music, and specifically the crush of lazy writing that reduced discussion of the Western Mass.-based quartet's many talents to formulaic comparisons to classic '90s bands. Are those comparisons valid, or useful? Sure, sometimes they are. But we felt that they were the only story being told, and that writers -- we're guessing the young ones that weren't a witness to the amazing sounds of the early '90s in the first place -- were spending more time coming up with purported referents than they were actually describing what Speedy Ortiz does when it picks up its instruments. One angle we ultimately cut from the piece was -- and this is pure conjecture -- how such reductive thinking about the Northampton quartet was potentially a big disappointment to Speedy fronter Sadie Dupuis. It's no secret that she spends a good portion of her non-rock band time in a creative writing MFA program, and our undergraduate experience allows us to assume with a high degree of confidence that Ms. Dupuis therefore probably spends a lot of her academic time analyzing and interpreting creative works. In that context, we'd expect it'd be a pretty big bummer to have something to which one devotes a large amount of creative energy given what appears to be minimal mental consideration. We dunno, maybe Dupuis' attitude is it's only rock 'n' roll, yadda yadda. We'll ask her about it sometime. In the meantime, head over to Vanyaland to read our review of Major Arcana. It's a tremendous indie rock record, and one that is going to stick with people for a very long time. Major Arcana has been streaming at NPR's First Listen for the past week, but that stream will go dark in the next few days, so instead check out the three singles from the record via the Soundcloud embeds below.

>> We made a brief reference to this at our Facebook page Tuesday, but we want to circle back around to the terrific digital single issued this week by upstart Boston dream-pop foursome Winter. The act, fronted by Samira Winter and featuring also Nolan Eley and Kyle Oppenheimer from local shoegaze heroes Infinity Girl and Ana Karina DaCosta from power-pop leading lights Slowdim, haven't released new music since its late 2012 entry, the Daydreaming EP, which we wrote about here in January. There is an immediately perceptible difference to the new Winter single, which is titled "The View." Namely, it sounds as if the lead vocal -- while it is obscured under the band's characteristic sonic gauze -- is largely being handled by Mr. Eley. Ms. Winter is also credited, and listeners can find her voice tucked into one of the many layers of sound within Eley's production. "The View" is held aloft by a clean, twinkling lead guitar melody, which serves as clothespins to fix in place billowing layers of processed guitar, cello and violin and Mr. Oppenheimer's bass work. Somewhere in all of the silky proceedings you will hear the suggestion -- just the faintest suggestion -- of the "James Bond" theme, making the soft-focus jam just slightly mysterious. It's a grand single, and we're hopeful the band is already writing for another larger set of songs (at the same time, we're also hoping Infinity Girl is looking toward the return of drummer Sebastian Modek, who has been out of the country since the beginning of the year). Winter released its first video, for Daydreaming's "Bedroom Philosophies," in May, and at that time expected to be making a return to local stages sometime this month. According to the band's tumblr, its next local gig is actually not until early Autumn, when it will perform at the Allston Street Fair. However, we'll keep an eye out for additional dates. In the meantime, stream "The View" via the embed below, and click through for the download.

>> We were sorry to hear about the dissolution of local slow-core luminaries Travels, who we've followed pretty closely here at the blog. In the wake of the break we've enjoyed the few tunes we've heard from Mona Elliot, and we see now that they have been gathered together along with a fourth and packaged as the River Song EP, which we highly recommend to your attention. However, it wasn't until early this week that we had heard anything new from the other principal member of Travels, Anar Badalov. Mr. Badalov -- who our most devoted readers will recall first came across our radar in 2006 when he was performing as part of the Baltimore duo Metal Hearts -- now has a solo project called New Dog. New Dog is preparing to release a full-length later this year tentatively titled Lost Weekend, and there are already a few demos available to stream on the Internerds. "Smoking In The Living Room" weaves finger-picked guitar, a simple metronomic beat and tinkling piano into a soft tapestry of sounds that dissipates as quickly as it takes shape. "Slow Drifting" bounces around a pokey rhythm with a playing style more attuned to acoustic blues before coalescing around some big melodic chords in the song's final minute. The three tunes together evidence that Badalov still possesses great facility in building music centered around an entrancing, meditative core, and we look forward to hearing Lost Weekend in its entirety. Stream the demos via the Bandcamp embed below.

July 2, 2013

Today's Hotness: Bored Nothing, Kigo

Bored Nothing -- Thanks For The Mammaries EP (crop, transform)

>> Sounding as laid-back and natural as when your humble scribe first listened to it in his underwear, the latest release from Melbourne, Australia's slacktastic Bored Nothing captured that relaxed mindset, and man, was it perfect for the occasion. The self-released, four-song Thanks For The Mammaries EP (not the wording that we expect many use on Mother's Day) collects a set of warm, fuzzy lo-fi rock tunes that tout just enough strange tones and warbling to recreate for listeners the bedroom in which it was recorded. Bored Nothing is a vehicle largely driven by a fellow named Fergus Miller, who has been releasing music under the Bored Nothing moniker for about three years. The songs from this latest EP are the sort that travel with you during the day -- never forcing themselves in, but always eager to provide the right frame of reference for your thoughts. The two strongest cuts, "Just Because" and "Dial Tone Blues," showcase the disparate soft and loud aspects of the project. The former is a tape-machine acoustic lament that is achingly beautiful in its clunking rhythm and loping chord structure. It needs little more than a repeated chorus to work its charm. "Dial Tone Blues" is a more surfy, guitar-pop number that layers clean electric guitars and a helping of reverb over Miller's slight falsetto. The result is a mellow bouncer that echoes efforts of bands like Real Estate or even Further (circa their great, under-appreciated lo-fi statement Grimes Golden). The biggest appeal of Thanks For The Mammaries is in the approach: its charm could be compared to that of the self-titled third Velvet Underground album, where the closeted mix of rock elements works more as a lullaby than an alarm. Go ahead and get cozy. Stream the EP via the embed below and click through to download it gratis. Bored Nothing also contributed a tune to the recent Audio Antihero compilation we wrote about here last month, so take some time to revisit the Homerically titled strummer "Black Snuff Pouch And Scuffed Mood Ring (Original Version Recorded While I Was Writing It, Through My Laptop Speaker While I Was Watching 'Castaway' With Tom Hanks On TV, Which By The Way, Did Not Make Much Of An Impression On Me)" right here. As for the future of Bored Nothing, it sounds like the band is taking some time off to write a new record after a flurry of recent live dates, so Mammaries will have to occupy you for the foreseeable future. -- Edward Charlton

>> Sure, Tame Impala undeniably has their dream-pop moments, but we honestly can't call to mind another contemporary Australian shoegaze act (without resorting to the Googles). Until now, that is, as we recently turned on to Kigo and the act's clipped, neon approach to the form. Comprised solely of one D.B. Pearce, Brisbane-based Kigo's latest EP, self-released in late May as a digital download under the title Some Other Place, beautifully explores some singular textures and monumental moments within a framework marked by maximum delay and distortion. The music is almost gothic; indeed, Kigo's compositions carry a certain dark element to them, calling to mind the music of mighty lovesliescrushing and their ecclesiastical tones. Closer "Washed" features a guitar lead that hints ever so briefly at The Cure's "Pictures Of You." But it is the song "I Won't (I Can't)" that is the highlight of Some Other Place. It is almost a love-letter to the blistering alien world that is My Bloody Valentine's "To Here Knows When." Glitchy drums flicker underneath dark, excoriating distortion, while soft whispering, cooing, and a pleasant, rising synth-flute line imbue the song with a gentle humanity, even eroticism. Some Other Place furthers the great shoegaze and dream-pop conversation, one which newer bands keep current and relevant as each endeavors to put its unique stamp on the revered sound and style. Kigo does all of this, and from a country where -- at least from an outsider vantage point -- this sort of thing is a little more rare and precious. Stream the EP via the embed below and click through to download it for whatever you'd like to pay for it. And then get ready for more, as an update to Kigo's Facebook teepee from last week indicates that a new EP is already being written. Thereafter the pace of releases may slow, as Pearce considers writing a full-length collection. -- Edward Charlton

July 1, 2013

Speedy Ortiz's Major Arcana Release Show With Grass Is Green, Vegans, Kal Marks | Great Scott | 6 July

Speedy Ortiz's Major Arcana Release Show With Grass Is Green, Vegans, Kal Marks | Great Scott | 6 July

It's a weird week with a Thursday-shaped hole in it, or maybe a giant leisure chasm, if you are among those fortunate to have Friday off work/school/life. At the far end of said chasm we think the living will be a touch strange and electric, as we will finally all exist in a world where one can possess Major Arcana, which to date seems to have been the most-talked-about record of 2013. Speedy Ortiz's pre-release singles have come at regular intervals to keep the chins wagging (ploing! blaam! pizzow!) for the last couple months, but today the whole enchilada dropped in the form of an album stream via NPR's First Listen platform (the true album release, as in the day we expect Carpark will have the record in stores for you to purchase it, is a week from tomorrow). If you haven't spent any time with Major Arcana yet, well, stop what you are doing and get in there, because we expect the talk is only going to increase, as the Western Mass.-based quartet's debut full-length is as strong as they come. We'll have a lot more to say on the subject next week here and in the electronic pages of Vanyaland, which will run our review.

For now let's concentrate on the brilliant spectacle that will be Saturday's Boston release show. For the occasion, Speedy O-dawg has enlisted progressive post-hardcore wunderkinds Grass Is Green, who slay on the regular and have had their share of digital ink-facsimile in the Clicky Clicky, and who also played the release show for Speedy Ortiz's widely heralded Sports EP in May 2012, which we guess makes Grass Is Green a bit of a lucky rabbit's foot for Speedy? Also on the bill this Saturday are Vegans and Kal Marks. Full event details are at this Facebook event page right here; readers in New York would do well to see Speedy Ortiz not Saturday but rather Friday night, when it fetes the release of the LP at Death By Audio in Brooklyn with support from BFFs Roomrunner (who we recently wrote about here), Californiax, No One and the Somebodies and The Sediment Club. That's a whole lot of rock music; you'd do well to get your inoculations up to date before the week is out. Speedy Ortiz will embark on an exhaustive/exhausting five-week tour July 9; they are very likely coming to your town to do the Speedy Ortiz curse to your favorite DIY space, so check out the tour dates posted here and warn your indie rockers. Finally, there will be at least one "music" "video" coming along in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out.