October 30, 2013

Clicky Clicky's Community Servings Benefit Show with Earthquake Party!, The Hush Now, Soccer Mom & K. Heasley of LILYS | 3 Nov. | TT The Bear's Place

We're just a few days away. Which is hard to believe, after the months of planning, all the emails, texts, yadda. It all goes down Sunday night, "it" being the second annual Clicky Clicky Music Blog Community Servings benefit show, this year featuring an absolutely massive bill: Earthquake Party!, The Hush Now, Soccer Mom and K. Heasley of Lilys. We couldn't be more excited, and we hope you will come out to TT The Bear's Place in droves to make the scene, bask in the rock and roll, and help support the cause. Doors at 8:30, tickets are $10, and all proceeds go to help Jamaica Plain-based Community Servings provide free nutritious meals to its chronically ill clients, their children and their caregivers. In addition to the bands performing, we are totally psyched to have Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz DJing between sets, and Joe Turner will bathe the stage in mind-bending visuals. And of course there will be raffles, things like gift certificates and the like. Maybe we'll raffle a ticket to next week's My Bloody Valentine show? Is that a thing people would want to buy raffle tickets for? It could happen. On top of it all, we're pretty sure you'll be able to buy a pie, because pie is awesome, and is also another way Community Servings helps raise money to feed those in need.

So here's what you need to do:

1) buy a ticket or, hell, buy a dozen tickets.

2) click over to the Facebook event page and let us know you are coming.

3) let you friends know that this show is the place to be by sharing the Facebook event in your Facebook Timeline or blasting it out your Twitter feed.

Then just show up. We will do our part: you will be rocked. In fact, let's rock you a bit now. Below we've embedded some tunes from the bands to get you pumped. Listen in, and we'll look for you Sunday night at TT's. Turn on the bright lights.

October 27, 2013

Today's Hotness: The Fireworks, Krill, Pile

The Fireworks'

>> London-based fuzz-pop upstarts The Fireworks execute very well on a simple formula, and its forthcoming sophomore single "Runaround" b/w "With My Heart" and "Asleep" situates the band in the noble sonic company of like-minded noisemakers spread across almost four decades, from Buzzcocks to The Manhattan Love Suicides. The straightforward concept should not dilute anyone's excitement about what's happening here. The quartet's A-side is amped up and distortion drenched, as over-driven guitar chords and a persistent snare cadence drive the song relentlessly forward. The final thirty seconds touts a sparkling lead guitar over top the heavily concentrated, cotton-candy strumming, as singers Emma Hall and Matthew's voices alternately proffer words and dreamy ahhs that push "Runaround" to a delightful close. It's a brilliant track, and shows a lot of promise for the two-year-old indie pop concern that traces its genesis to Matthew singing certain of his songs over the telephone to friends. "Runaround" b/w "With My Heart" and "Asleep" will be released in the U.S. by Shelflife Records Nov. 26; the single is on offer in a limited edition of 300 pieces, including 100 red vinyl circles and 200 black, and pre-orders are already being taken right here. The Portland, Ore.-based label previously issued The Fireworks' debut, a self-titled EP, in March in a limited edition of 300 pieces, and the band apparently sold out of their stock after a well-received appearance at the Indietracks festival in the Derbyshire countryside last summer. Blast off into the coming week by streaming "Runaround" early and often via the Soundcloud embed below.

>> Exploding In Sound Records disclosed this week that it has signed Boston bugcore outliers Krill, and will release a forthcoming EP from the trio in early 2014. It's a fairly unsurprising move, given the success both Krill and the label have had in 2013, and because we expect many people assumed the band was already signed to the label in the first place. Krill already enjoys a tight camaraderie with the other acts Exploding In Sound's roster, and this is underscored by the aforementioned forthcoming EP. It is titled Steve Hears Pile In Malden And Bursts Into Tears, and it is a concept release that tells the story of two characters from the Pile song "Steve's Mouth." According to Exploding In Sound's announcement about the signing and the release, "[t]he journey begins when Steve and Mouth become aware they are in a Pile song and things get weird, wonderful, and wild from there." Steve Hears Pile In Malden And Bursts Into Tears will be released on vinyl and as a digital download; no word whether the band will also release it on a thumb drive lodged in a ball of cheese. As of yet, we don't have any music to share from the planned Krill EP, but we'll be certain to share it when we do. In the meantime, there are some notable live dates coming up for Krill, including Nov. 22 at TT The Bear's in Cambridge (with Pile, Porches and Summer People) and Dec. 7 in Plymouth, Mass. for the big Ash Gray Proclamation Toys For Tots benefit show. We reviewed Krill's transcendent sophomore LP Lucky Leaves right here in July, and you can stream it via the embed below.

>> Speaking of Pile, the band went out on tour this weekend, opening their two-week foray down and up the east coast with back-to-back dates in Philly. The tour goes as far south as Gainesville, where Pile will play at The Fest. After that tour is in the history books, the Boston-based grunge heroes travel back to Philadelphia to record an EP at the Sex Dungeon in Philadelphia, the studio responsible for Pile's 2012 LP Dripping and Speedy Ortiz' Sports EP (which is about to be re-pressed by EIS, according to the label), among other recordings. The planned EP will also be released by Exploding In Sound, and -- based on an email from Pile this week -- will probably be released as a 7" in January. Unless that 7" is some other thing, in which case, WOOT, two Pile releases coming! But we think the EP mentioned in one email is the same thing as the 7" mentioned in the other email. And fear not far-flung rock fans: Pile is already planning a March tour down to the annual South By Southwest music and technology confabulation in Austin, Texas with Speedy Ortiz. We wrote about Pile and Dripping a year ago for the late, great Boston Phoenix right here. Take a listen to "Steve's Mouth" from Dripping via the Bandcamp embed below.

October 26, 2013

New Music Night 12 DJ Sets | River Gods | 24/25 Oct.

New Music Night 12, River Gods, Cambridge, Oct. 24/25, 2013

Happy Saturday, rock fans. 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. Sure, the game didn't go the way anybody wanted it to (well, except for that bastard Earley), but a nice time was had by all and we're grateful for all the friendly faces that came out, even some who rolled in from Fenway after the game wrapped. We all laughed and cried and cheered and booed and all the while Mr. 'Nac and I spun the new sounds for the people. So here's what we played, with a caveat that our memory of how we re-ordered the midnight set to accommodate an early last-call is a little shifty. But we're pretty sure this is right. 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 are already online, because Brad is cool like dat. #NewMusicNight 13 is already booked, it'll be next month, on Nov. 21, same bat time, same bat channel. Ready for more new? Yeah you are.

Set 2 / 10PM / Jay
1. Los Campesinos! -- "Avocado, Baby" -- No Blues
[stream / buy / album review pending]
2. The Wolfhounds -- "Divide And Fall" -- single
[blogged / buy / stream]
3. The Weaks -- "Nietzsche's Harvest Song" -- The World Is A Terrible Place & I Hate Myself And Want To Die
[download / buy]
4. The Frost Heaves -- "20/20" -- We Have Killed The Sunset EP
[stream / download]
5. Shark? -- "Wither" -- Savior
[stream / buy]
6. Slowdim -- "Wishing Well (Mandolin version)" -- Single
[blogged / download]
7. Kardashians -- "Being Vegan Is Terribly Difficult"
[unannounced thing (we think?) by people you know (we think?). -- Ed.]
8. 2 Ton Bug -- "Haunted Lawn" -- It's A Wonderful Life
[free download]
9. You're Jovian -- "Revelations" -- single
[forthcoming single, under-rated band. -- Ed.]
10. Beach Volleyball -- "First Floor" -- single
[blogged / download / buy]
11. Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam -- "Infant Eyes" -- Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam
[blogged / download]
12. Dios Mio -- "Tough Crowd" -- single
[very, very highly recommended -- Ed. / download]
13. Tapedeck Mountain -- "Half Life" -- Sway
[stream / buy]
14. Springtime -- "Great Cop (Fugazi cover)" -- South Hill
[stream / buy]
15. The Snowy Owls -- "Next Summer" -- Summer EP
[blogged / download]
16. Radstewart -- "Arabesque Bedouin" -- Alcopop! 6 Road Bike (!!!) compilation
[stream / buy this crazy, beautiful, goddamn thing]
17. Soft Focus -- "POG" -- Day EP

Set 4 / 12AM / Jay

1. Dowsing -- "If I Fall Asleep The Cats Will Find Me" -- I Don't Even Care Anymore
[stream / buy]
2. Min Diesel -- "Mother" -- Cool Your Jets 001 split single
[blogged / buy]
3. Pinact -- "I Don't Think You'll Ever Know" -- Cool Your Jets 001 split single
[blogged / buy]
4. Julius Earthling -- "Brad's Weed" -- Far EP
[blogged / stream the EP title track]
5. You're Jovian -- "French Love Bangers" -- single
[forthcoming single, under-rated band. -- Ed.]
6. Great Hare -- "Like Flowers" -- Like Flowers
[second single from Swedish indie rockers' LP due in 2014 -- Ed. / stream / download]
7. Winter Wedding Party -- "Lying On The Grass" -- Winter Wedding Party
[blogged / stream]
8. The Superman Revenge Squad Band -- "Lately I've Found Myself Regressing" -- There Is Nothing More Frightening Than The Passing Of Time
[blogged / stream / buy]
9. Joey Fourr -- "Panspermia B.C"
10. Ancient Babes -- "Malcolm X In The Middle" -- Single
11. Acaradoux -- "Chill"
12. Heyward Howkins -- "Nogales" -- Be Frank, Furness
[stream / buy / album review forthcoming]

October 23, 2013

New Music Night 12 with DJs Brad Almanac + Jay Clicky Clicky | River Gods | 24 Oct.

New Music Night 12 with DJs Brad Almanac + Jay Clicky Clicky

Anything good on TV tonight? Anything at all? What about tomorrow? No? Yes? The Red Stockings are playing, you say? Wunderbar! There's an app for that, at least tomorrow night. And by "app" we mean you can take your ass over to River Gods in Cambridge and accomplish not one, not two, but three things. 1) You can watch Game Two of the World Series on the projection screen with the sound turned off; 2) You can listen to several hours of fresh-from-the-forge new music; and 3) you can drink beer. This is a victory for everyone; this, friends, is what makes our country great. As far as the music is concerned, 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. It is, in fact, #NewMusicNight's 12th visitation upon River Gods, and we are pleased as punch to yet again bring you the now and future sounds after taking the late summer/early fall off. For a sense of what you're getting into, check out Brad's playlist from the July 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.

October 20, 2013

Review: Black Hearted Brother | Stars Are Our Home

"We all make quite focused records individually so... it's our 'guilty pleasures' album." That's the defining statement from Neal Halstead regarding the debut full-length from Black Hearted Brother, the Slumberland-signed supergroup comprised of Nick Holton (Holton's Opulent Oog), Mark Van Hoen (of classic electronic-shoegaze group Seefeel, soon to be reissued by Light In The Attic) along with the aforementioned member of shoegaze pioneers Slowdive and later Mojave 3. And while the results collected on the album Stars Are Our Home are almost defiantly scattered, each song on this marvel of a record finds the pedigreed trio playing to strengths, and sounding like they're having fun doing it.

The long-player's first three tracks, taken as a triptych, evidence Black Hearted Brother excitedly trying on different hats as its modus operandi steadily gels. The band introduces itself with the opening instrumental title track, whose warm, foregrounded synths are run serially through all manner of filters, pads and circuits. As the rich tones gently ebb and flow, a clean guitar and metronomic kick drum propel the song. The trio's love of space rock, '70s German progressive and early electronica are apparent, and these sounds are referenced regularly across the dozen songs of Stars Are Our Home. Lead single "(I Don't Mean To) Wonder" thrills in the second slot and marks the first of many stylistic shifts on the collection, as the threesome leaps decades ahead to the sounds of Halstead and Mr. Van Hoen's early '90s heyday. The song's thick distortion and groaning feedback give way to a plaintive verse that uses the same sort of long-delay vocal production that marked much of Halstead's 1995 Slowdive swan-song Pygmalion. "(I Don't Mean To) Wonder" then mounts a great one-off chorus, which points to a powerful instrumental outro that decrescendos before embracing the fuzz once more; it's here listeners can first sense the giddy delight in collaborating that spurs Black Hearted Brother. With the third track "This Is How It Feels," the trio's songwriting comes more sharply into focus. The bright and pristine pop song commences with a bobbing, bass-led verse featuring chipper snare hits that smartly contrast with the lovelorn vocals. This melancholy section is interrupted by an exuberant, organ-driven chorus that recalls both Stereolab and jubilant Motown backing vocalists.

The balance of the record adheres to the blueprint established by the opening triptych -- save for the remarkable album highlight, "Time In The Machine." The centerpiece of the album, "Time In The Machine" is so vibrant, animated and fully-realized that it stands tall within this set of very good songs. The tune opens with an orchestra of bass, synth strings, delicate acoustic guitar and galloping drums; it's a dead-ringer for the classy drama that is the bread and butter of bands like Broken Social Scene. That's a funny comparison, as it is likely that the principals of Black Hearted Brother directly influenced the work of Kevin Drew and his Canadian cohort. This reviewer is going to go so far as to consider it a "teacher becomes the student" moment, and it is awesome to hear it play out as Black Hearted Brother build a subtle, yet monumental, piece. Considering the lives Halstead, Holton and Van Hoen have lived, the emotional resonance echoes powerfully. After the moving introduction, the song reveals its primary motif to be the downcast, perfect acoustic melody that anchors the wall of sound around it. Halstead's voice softly intones a mantra whose simple melody plays against the chord changes, steady rain of synth and locked, delay pedal whooshes. The song resolutely builds but tapers before achieving an ultimate climax. Instead, it slowly cools with a bruised, withdrawn pride that leaves a long-lasting impression.

Though Stars Are Our Home -- which will be released by Slumberland Tuesday -- may be seen by its creators as an exercise in a lack of restraint, the principals' own pathos and consideration instill a sense of purpose that highlights just how much they love what they do. That alone is enough to make Stars Are Our Home a recommended release, but, more importantly, the record represents a new morning in the careers of honest-to-goodness alt. music lifers. Buy the record as a double LP or CD from Slumberland right here. -- Edward Charlton

Black Hearted Brother: Internerds | Facebook

October 19, 2013

Today's Hotness: The Wolfhounds, Soltero, Household

The Wolfhounds'

>> Long-time readers are well aware of our penchant for big-guitar belters, and a forthcoming single from veteran UK indie rockers The Wolfhounds authoritatively delivers the goods. The band first formed in the mid-'80s before folding around 1990, and those first five years yielded many things, of which perhaps the best is the towering second single "The Anti-Midas Touch." The band reformed in 2005 to mark the 20th anniversary of its first single, and the next year played a 20th anniversary celebration for the seminal NME "C86" compilation, according to our shadowy friends over at the Wikipedia. The Wolfhounds' latest, "Divide And Fall" b/w "The Ten Commandments Of Public Life" is being released digitally Oct. 28 via Oddbox Records, and pre-orders of the limited edition of 300 blood-red vinyl 7" discs will ship out on or around Nov. 4. The single's very formidable A-side is rough, desperate and melodic, and recalls the best of Superchunk's first four years. "The Ten Commandments Of Public Life" is more subdued, contemplative and psychedelic, and stretches across more than five minutes that somehow still feel too short. This single is the band's second of the year on Oddbox; in January the label released The Wolfhounds "Cheer Up" single, which boasts four songs and is apparently still available on vinyl. Based on a tweet from Oddbox Thursday, the forthcoming single is already at least half sold-out on pre-orders, so you'd be well-served to get your order in sooner rather than later. Could there be a full-length in the offing? We certainly hope so, because this latest single is among the best music The Wolfhounds have recorded in any decade. Stream "Divide And Fall" b/w "The Ten Commandments Of Public Life" via the Bandcamp embed below, and click through to order a copy before they go the way of the dodo bird.

>> It's hard to believe, but it's been 11 years since we first saw long-running, itinerant indie pop concern Soltero. It was a memorable night, headlined by the then-still-unsigned but already-incredible Mobius Band, and punctuated by our first experience standing near the late, great Billy Ruane as he was going off, charging around in front of the band at various acute angles, driven by the music. Soltero was terrific, with fronter Tim Howard practically shaking as the songs flowed through him, and we distinctly remember turning to a friend after the band finished up the brilliant "The Moment You Said Yes" and one of us making a favorable comparison to Elvis Costello. In the many years since then, Mr. Howard has lived in two more major mid-Atlantic metropolises, as well as North Carolina and Central America, and he's released just about as many records as he's had residences. The moving around suggests a restlessness and yen for adventure that can be heard in the music of Soltero's latest collection, the short set Jamming The Gaydar. The patient and mildly spooky opener "In The Sun" is pocked with hand percussion and muted guitar, while its melody glides along on flotillas of organ, droning tenor saxophone and cascading guitar lines. Album highlight "Big Satellite" commences with a wistful guitar melody and organ, then blossoms via layers of guitars and stacked sax tracks into something like a more reserved scale model of a weighty Built To Spill-styled jammer. Jamming The Gaydar is a very rewarding (and, incidentally, very seasonally appropriate) collection that showcases Howard's songwriting and arranging acumen, and it is available now as a free download -- at least for now -- via Bandcamp. We've embedded the entire record for your perusal below, which we certainly recommend to your attention.

>> Paul Simon once wrote "my life is made of patterns that can scarcely be controlled." One careening cycle that this reviewer has observed in his brief time was the rise of and retreat from the popular consciousness of lean, taut, and danceable post-punk. Indeed, the first four years of the present millennium were a glorious time for that particular aesthetic, until over-exposure eventually got the best of the movement and it fell from fashion. Absence, of course, can make the heart grow fonder, and so we were pleased to recently happen upon Household, whose preview single "A New Leaf" serves not only as a nice taste of their upcoming, six-song EP -- titled Elaines and due on Dull Knife Records -- but also as a pleasant reminder of the finer points of upbeat indie. In the wake of the Brooklyn combo's 2011 debut full-length Items, the band continues to nip and tuck at their core sound. "A New Leaf" presents pared-down instrumentation, resulting in a complete excision of excess notes or drum beats. And yes, while the rigid guitar lines and Wire-styled strums of the chorus recall the clean Telecasters of the kinetic punk of yore, or even a peppier Young Marble Giants, Household still manages to imprint their own identity on its music. Much of the vocals, dry production, and DIY slinkiness have more in common with many of the earnest female-led outfits within the Pacific Northwest scene, like Grass Widow, Chastity Belt and myriad other basement dwellers and K Records signatories. Taken in sum, the complete package inspires the need to bob the head and shake the hips a bit, and provides a refreshing twist to a familiar sound. Elaines was originally slated for release Nov. 5, but a manufacturing error has delayed the release of the vinyl until Nov. 30. Pre-order the EP from Dull Knife right here, and stream "A New Leaf" via the Bandcamp embed below. -- Edward Charlton

October 15, 2013

Sons Of Death Rough Francis Headline Middle East Up Friday

Literal Sons Of Death Rough Francis Headline Middle East Up Friday

For the last few decades the phrase "The Sons Of Death" has meant one thing and one thing only here at Clicky Clicky HQ. That was the name of the group of street toughs that escorted Arthur Fonzarelli, a/k/a "The Fonz," to a dental appointment in this episode of the popular American television series "Happy Days." The dentist, incidentally, may have been played by the great Joe Don Baker, if our memory serves. But we digress. The same year "Happy Days" was introduced to the idiot box, the Detroit-based proto-punk act Death recorded a demo tape and thereafter developed a cult following that has now exploded in the wake of Drafthouse Films' excellent 2012 rockumentary "A Band Called Death." It's an amazing story about a punk act that couldn't get a break, that couldn't get the respect they deserved, because the industry just wouldn't support a band called Death comprised of black men playing heavy, raw guitar music. If you haven't seen the film, we recommend you do.

But we're still one step removed from where we're going with this blog post, because, you see, one of the guys in Death, Bobby Hackney, had three sons -- the literal sons of Death. And they, along with some associates, have got a garage-punk band of their own called Rough Francis. And they rock. Rough Francis operates out of Burlington, Vermont and play brawlers like "Not A Nice Guy" and the more swinging "Black And Red." And, as the title of this blog post suggests, the band will topline a late bill (10PM doors) upstairs at the Middle East in Cambridge, MA this Friday. Our operatives report that Rough Francis was amazing at their last area appearance at Charlestown's Tavern At The End Of The World, when the act was out supporting the release of its debut long-player Maximum Soul Power. After the Middle East date the Vermonters head to Brooklyn to play an all-ages CMJ show at Klub Europa. Maximum Soul Power is available as an LP or compact disc right here, and as a digital download via Bandcamp. Stream the record via the embed below -- we strongly advise going straight to track two, the blinder "I-90 East" -- and click through to purchase.

Rough Francis: Internerds | Facebook

October 14, 2013

Review: The Superman Revenge Squad Band | There Is Nothing More Frightening Than The Passing Of Time

Superlatives are nothing new when it comes to our coverage of Ben Parker and his music. Here we compared Mr. Parker favorably to Morrissey and Kurt Cobain, and here we counseled musicians to give up because the Croydon, England-based Parker operates at such a high level it makes the majority of other music pointless. Indeed, Parker's elevated songcraft, and particularly its focus and intensity, continues to surprise us with each successive release (only slightly more than we remain surprised at his relative lack of notoriety). That said, the first superlative that comes to mind when considering Parker's latest musical outing is rather absurd, although we think he would find it funny: There Is Nothing More Frightening Than The Passing Of Time, released today by London's fine small indie Audio Antihero, is the best album you will hear this year by a band that technically doesn't exist.

That's because The Superman Revenge Squad Band -- an augmented, ensemble version of Parker's long-time solo/duo unit Superman Revenge Squad -- isn't a going concern, but rather a group commissioned for a couple of (increasingly rare) live dates. And while the Band's new, eight-song collection presents only a few new compositions, it does so in thrilling, understated group arrangements of those as well as certain finer tracks from the SRS repertoire. While the spare and stark, OG Superman Revenge Squad's music is routinely flawless, the new iterations are transformative, enhancing what could be likened to a black-and-white experience so that it has become something vibrantly colorful. All of the recordings are both splendid in their more fulsome execution, and revelatory in much the same (curious) way as Bonnie "Prince" Billy's 2004 collection Greatest Palace Music. Opener "Lately I've Found Myself Regressing" and the classic self-empowerment/self-negating anthem "I'm Gonna Go To Bed And When I Wake Up I'm Gonna Be Someone Else" absolutely swing, driven by drummer (and brother) Adam Parker's virtuosic time-keeping, which complements perfectly the torrent of lyrics that tumble from Ben's mouth as soon as his lips part. Subtle touches of slide guitar, minimal cymbal accents, and piano add significant dimension to the brooding title track to the 2009 long-player We're Here For Duration... We Hope. There are still some spare numbers, such as the acoustic ballad "Paulie In Rocky Three," and they are still quite affecting. And the lyrical brilliance remains as well (Parker memorably explains in the opening verse to "Flavor Flav" that "...if you leave me we'd look like Public Enemy without Flavor Flav, it'll be functional, and records will still sell after all, Chuck D is still the main man, we'll get through this somehow, but I don't think I'd want to fight the power without you by my side..."). But the clattering rhythms and cool drone of saxophone and accordion that spur the new version of "A Funny Thing You Said," for example, feel just as natural and almost conventional, or at least a Frankenstein-ed pastiche of conventionality.

Aside from the brilliant, biting lyrics and intense, minimalist guitar-playing, the most interesting thing about Parker and the music he has made with Superman Revenge Squad, its legendary and volatile pre-cursor project Nosferatu D2 and even the band that preceded that, Tempertwig, is the steady reductive refinement of his music. As Parker worked and re-worked his sound over the past decade, he steadily reduced personnel and tightened instrumentation. The end result stripped brother Adam's drumming and electrical current from Nosferatu D2 to reveal Superman Revenge Squad, comprised solely of Parker's voice accompanied by acoustic guitar, and representing the hardest, sparest kernel of his aesthetic. While more recently the Squad has added a cello here, and a live date with a drummer there, this set presents the most lush, full and calm versions of Parker's music to date. And yet There Is Nothing More Frightening Than The Passing Of Time is a surprising destination for Parker's music. Nothing underscores this more than the use of smooth saxophone playing and buoyant accordion, which completely transform these songs from dark and dour into something wry and substantially lighter in tone. And while Parker may look upon the capital-B Band as an interesting, infrequent outlet for his music, it is certainly a very successful experiment indeed, and one well worth revisiting. Buy There Is Nothing More Frightening Than The Passing Of Time from Audio Antihero via Bandcamp right here. The full album is streaming via the embed below.

Superman Revenge Squad: Internets | Facebook

Previous Superman Revenge Squad coverage:
Today's Hotness: The Superman Revenge Squad Band
Nosferatu D2 Legacy Revisited, Remastered Recording Of Final Show Now Available From Audio Antihero
YouTube Rodeo: Superman Revenge Squad's "Dead Crow Blues"
Review: Nosferatu D2 | We're Gonna Walk Around This City With Our Headphones On To Block Out The Noise
Out: Superman Revenge Squad's "We're Here For Duration... We Hope!"
A Dish Best Served Cold: The Clicky Clicky Interview With Ben Parker
Logorrhea, Pathos and Superman Revenge Squad
Every Band I've Ever Loved Has Let Me Down Eventually

October 13, 2013

That Was The Show That Was | Grooms with Young Adults, Chandeliers, Vegans | Great Scott | 9 Oct.

[PHOTOS: Quinn Banford, special to Clicky Clicky] It's fun to witness the give-and-take between the two preposterously fertile music scenes of Allston and Brooklyn. Grooms, a notable dream-pop trio based in the latter, have played the former a fair amount on bills spangled with local luminaries. Wednesday night at the venerable Great Scott was no different. There the Brooklyn combo bowed a national tour intended to promote its shit-hot new record, Infinity Caller, slotted third in a bill top-lined by Boston-bred heavyweights Young Adults. The mysteriously small crowd that materialized early were treated to opening sets from Vegans and Chandeliers.

Grooms wasted no time hitting their stride, and pumping out should-be hit after should-be hit at a remarkable rate. Fronter Travis Johnson joked from the stage about ingesting great speed just prior to the quartet's set, and, yes, Heisenberg, it was blue. Too soon, indeed. Grooms opened with "Lion Name," much to our delight, and thereafter continued to bring the proverbial and literal noise. Perhaps they were feeding off the energy they knew Young Adults would bring later, or maybe they were extra stoked to be launching the tour, but whatever the reason these dudes really rocked the fuck out. On record Grooms exhibits substantial restraint, but on Wednesday its music was chaotic, explosive and enshrouded in distortion. All of this made the live presentation of new album-highlight "I Think Were Alone Now" even more awesome.

We missed openers Vegans, but did arrive in time for Chandeliers, whose too-brief time on stage was light on banter and heavy on electrifying, math-y rock. Maybe a little *too* heavy at first, as fronter Dan Coulson ripped straight through a string during the trio's very first number. Chris Villon from YA was quick to supply a loaner, however, and the rest of the set went off with nary a hitch. An interesting aspect of Chandeliers' live sound is the treatment that clothes Mr. Coulson's vocals. The sound is distorted and makes his voice sound as if it is coming through a payphone, adding a singular dimension to the oft-busy arrangements.

Young Adults, as is their usual practice, decisively ended the evening with an eardrum-eviscerating performance. It's no secret, of course, that they are very loud -- like "ears ringing for the next business week" loud. But fans know the threesome's shuddering racket isn't simply noise for noise's sake, however: anthemic jams reside breathe from beneath the sludge. The band played tunes from its Born In '91 EP as well as plenty of old jams. Despite battling some serious sniffles, the aforementioned Mr. Villon and his merry men were reliably intense, and blared punk-gaze stompers well into early Thursday morning. -- Dillon Riley

October 9, 2013

Today's Hotness: Winter Wedding Party, Beach Volleyball

Winter Wedding Party

>> It's hard always being a noisy rocker. Even the most prickly believer must sometimes admit that, in place of a big sound bristling with feedback, autumnal acoustic introspection just does the trick in certain instances. In the best cases, one can even split the difference. Take for example the tremendous album cut "Lying In The Grass" from the international duo of Hallie Pritts and Jules Etienne, who operate an indie rock enterprise under the moniker Winter Wedding Party. The act is a sort-of side project whose two principals are based on opposing sides of the Atlantic -- Ms. Pritts in Pittsburgh, Mr. Etienne in Berlin. The pair's pending collection hardly seems to suffer from the great distance separating them; remarkably, Pritts and Etienne fleshed out the songs and recorded them in 10 days after a blur of a rendezvous in Berlin. Curiously (criminally?) tucked away at the end of the set is "Lying In The Grass," a ballad blessed with one of those endlessly sing-along-able, profoundly bittersweet, slow-burning choruses. Padded out with some sub-bass organ work in the intro, the song blossoms with acoustic chords in brief verses that spotlight Pritts' charming vocal -- always delicate and feminine without being coy or showing off. The first chorus hits, and then the band kind of keeps giving it to you for the rest of the song. The cascading melody and crestfallen sentiment will put a lump right in the back of your throat, every time. And Pitts sticks the knife in at the end, as well, softly intoning "...but I was wrong." The duo throw in some cool, KAOS Pad-evoking delay effects as a sort of solo -- tastefully applying a bit of noisy improvisation to gently skew the reverie. If Winter Wedding Party can get something this strong together in a mere 10 days, it makes one very interested to know what additional travel opportunities might yield in the pair's future. Winter Wedding Party's entire self-titled full-length is worth a listen, and it appears it will be officially released in some capacity by the label Chedda Yo! later this week. But you needn't wait to hear the record, which is already streaming at Soundcloud, or its key closing track, which we've embedded below. -- Edward Charlton

>> Beach Volleyball seems an odd choice of band name for a group of stormy, London-based shoegazers. Its songs are generally of the more downcast persuasion, but closer inspection establishes that the quartet's sunny moniker might make sense, even beyond any possible irony. In the wake of two fuzzy demo EPs a year ago, Beach Volleyball issued at the end of the summer a debut studio full-length called Broadcast. The set is available via Bandcamp for a meager two pounds and it's really, really good. What's most surprising is just how clear and purposeful the production of the songs is on the new recordings, in comparison to the demos. Older tunes like "Witches" and "(sharp stick)" are remarkably more realized -- transformed, really. The guitar tones sound surprisingly fresh and evocative in contrast to the muffled fuzz (not a bad thing!) of the demos. While the collection runs the gamut from droning, expansive dream-pop to breathless whammy-blasters, this reviewer prefers -- at least for now -- the more slowly-paced tunes. The best of these is "Swim/Drift," a beautifully bending number that neatly digests the essence of the band into three-and-a-half shimmering minutes. The twin guitars of Alex Smith and Adam O’Sullivan stage a clean, icy glide that is bathed in warm tape delay for an effect that echoes My Bloody Valentine's terrific "Blown A Wish." Here, however, the melodies and chords are a little less alien and more readily relateable. Smith's deep, cast-aside vocals hover just below the surface of the mix, and, taken in tandem with the tasteful two-chord drift, yield a resigned yet captivating pop song. Along with fervent dedication to craft, a final bliss-out section at the end really seals the deal. A closing melodic guitar line blurs the sense of sadness into one of pensive hope -– perhaps a bright and playful day at the beach doesn't sound so bad after all? Beach Volleyball perhaps benefits most from a confidence that eludes many of its contemporaries. And ace influences don't hurt, either. The cold, crystalline drones on display during the more mellow songs call to mind post-rock acts like Epic45, Belong, and the short-lived Sarah Records band Eternal -– all of which are certainly deserving of disciples. While Broadcast is presently only available digitally, some poking around on Facebook makes plain that perhaps some sort of physical release is in the works; there is also a promise of even newer new music perhaps by year's end, an exciting prospect give the crest Beach Volleyball seems to be riding right now. Anyway, stay tuned, as Broadcast begs to be heard on vinyl. For now, get your immediate fix via the Bandcamp embed below. -- Edward Charlton

October 6, 2013

Today's Hotness: Slowdim, Julius Earthling, Pinact


>> Attentive readers may recall our preview piece for the Ash Gray Proclamation's summer blowout Summer Fades, which featured among others Boston power-pop luminaries Slowdim. When we checked in with Slowdim's Paul Sentz he disclosed that he and bassist Ana Karina DaCosta were writing material for a possible EP and were also contemplating recording a washed out, slowed-down version of their tune "Wishing Well," complete with mandolin. Well, the duo has delivered, and in a big way. The new recording touts a very cool, icy drone that plays against the usual "down-home" sound of a mandolin; indeed, it goes nicely with the cooler, autumn weather. Mr. Sentz' lead vocal when separated from the denser, punchier context of the original iteration of the song is revealed to be gentler, sweeter, a bit forlorn, even. And the delay on the electric guitar as the new version fades softly acknowledges Sentz's affinity for the guitar work of David Howell Evans. We are very pleased to be able to premiere the song for you here via the Bandcamp embed below. The original version of "Wishing Well" shines brightly in the second slot of this year's debut full-length Slowdim, which was released in March and which we reviewed right here. That self-titled effort is slated to pop up on ITunes soon, although if you've been waiting for the record to appear on ITunes before you purchase it, well, you've got issues that we can't even begin to know how to address.

>> We've got a small circle of solid sources who regularly recommend stuff to our attention, something Clicky Clicky is grateful for, and, frankly, thrives on. We were pleased to get a good tip from friend-of-the-blog Jeff Breeze (he of Pipeline! fame) recently, which tip pointed us in the direction of relatively new Jamaica Plain-based noise-pop trio Julius Earthling. The threesome are poised to release Nov. 1 on Allston's New Neighbor Records a five-song cassette EP titled For. There's little to be learned out on the wider Internets about Julius Earthling, but we expect that is a situation that won't persist, as the title track to the forthcoming EP is a barn-burner that will certainly garner attention. The waltz-timed tune is centered around a tumbling cycle of scritchy chords, a shouty vocal and an unhinged lead guitar, which taken in sum suggests a keen ear for the finer sounds of the contemporary underground as well as, perhaps, an appreciation for old Flaming Lips sides. The EP was recorded by Bradford Krieger at Hanging Horse Studios in Norwood, Mass. last spring, and Mr. Krieger also mixed, mastered and takes a production credit on the recording. Check out "For" for yourself via the Bandcamp embed below, and be prepared to see these guys drill up into the underground like a triumvirate of amped Dig-Dugs, because they've got something going on that people are going to be stoked about.

>> Sticking with new noise but jumping continents, upstart Aberdeen, Scotland-based indie label/events concern Cool Your Jets issued in mid-September a bracing first split-single featuring tunes by acts Pinact and Min Diesel. We're particularly taken with Glasgow-based duo Pinact's nice pair on the A-side, "Beauty Freak" and "Yusef." Each one is a rough-hewn guitar anthem that echoes the hyper-kinetic sound of indie legends Husker Du or, say, notable contemporaries No Age. "Beauty Freak" commences with a few moments of rising amp noise before popping off into a heavy boogie groove, where as "Yusef" slows the pace and intensifies the beat to cultivate more of a head-banging, fist-banging mania. Pinact have two prior releases under their belt, one a somewhat more emo, three-song 'zine/EP highlighted by the chaotic rocker "Flake" (and with art by Clicky Clicky fave Joey Fourr) issued in February of this year, and the other a 2012 EP titled Spill Your Guts, Let Out Some Noise that is also filled to the brim with melodic bangers. Fans who purchase the Cool Yr Jets split on vinyl will receive the music as a digital download that includes three additional numbers: "Squeak" and "I Don't Think You'll Ever Know" from Pinact and "Celery" from Min Diesel. Stream the A- and B-sides below, and click through for an opportunity to hand over whatever your equivalent of four British pounds plus shipping is in order to obtain the physical item.

October 4, 2013

That Was The Show That Was: King Tuff, Wavves and Jacuzzi Boys | The Sinclair | 1 Oct.

That Was The Show That Was: King Tuff, Wavves | Sinclair | 1 Oct.

At first blush, Brattleboro-bred power-pop trio King Tuff don't sound all that punk. The band colored its recently reissued debut Was Dead with agitated jangle, bright hooks and fundamental drumming, and lead Tuff Kyle Thomas -- who has also served time in Witch with J. Mascis and was also a member of freak-folk concern Feathers -- would seem more likely to cite Alex Chilton than, say, Ian MacKaye as an influence. But here was King Tuff on Tuesday, on a bill sandwiched between the primitive scuzz-punk of Jacuzzi Boys and lo-fi heros-cum-Weezer acolytes Wavves. And there were the kids, slam dancing away as Thomas' impressive mane bopped beneath his trademark "ME MAKE ROCK ROLL" trucker hat. At times the man looked positively dismayed at the carnage before him, but that didn't preclude him from tossing out Tootsie Rolls to devotees in honor of the "first day of Halloween."

After simmering in the under-underground for years, King Tuff landed on Sub Pop, and that leap to hyperspace seemed to be reflected in the crowd's adulation; there were probably more chants for the band following Jacuzzi Boys' opening set than for Wavves. And King Tuff did not disappoint. They were note-perfect on the jams from the self-titled Sub Pop debut, and proffered a towering, mosh-ready iteration of the anthem "Bad Thing." The songs from Was Dead stood out, spurred by extra oomph from behind the drum kit, which caused the songs' hooks to burst from beneath heavy distortion to the front of the mix. "Dancing On You," in particular, had the crowd pogo-ing with glee -- not aggression -- and offered a rare break in an otherwise extremely physical show.

Wavves have been touring their excellent fourth LP Afraid Of Heights for well over a year now, and it shows. Their set was packed tightly with slam-baiting jam upon slam-baiting jam. The gentlemen in Wavves don't present as imposing figures -- they convey instead a goofy stoner charm with their Blue Album pop smarts -- and neither do their fans. So, while sure the circle pit that erupted produced plenty of flying limbs, it's doubtful anyone feared bodily injury while inevitably mixing it up during "No Hope Kids." Jacuzzi Boys opened the night with a tenacious set of Cali-punk-indebted distortion pedal abuse. The King Tuff / Wavves / Jacuzzi Boys tour rolls on through Oct. 15 in Los Angeles, after which King Tuff heads northward for a short strand of dates in San Franciso, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver. Check out all the tour dates at Sub Pop's King Tuff page right here. -- Dillon Riley

King Tuff: Internerds | Label | Facebook

October 3, 2013

New England Underground Music Festival with Coke Weed, Pile, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Ovlov, Bobb Trimble, Dozens More | 4-5 Oct. | Cambridge Elks, Democracy Center

New England Underground Music Festival with Coke Weed, Pile, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Ovlov, Bobb Trimble, Dozens More | 4-5 Oct. | Cambridge Elks, Democracy Center

Well this is ridiculous. The good people that bring you the Boston Hassle, Boston Compass and B.O.W. Shows are hosting the above-referenced festival this weekend, a super-ambitious event that presents as complete a picture of the regional music scene as it presently stands as you will likely ever experience. If you were an alien from space (and don't be so sure you are not), this would be your Cliff's Notes on, like, everything that matters, delivered at what we can only describe as a Chuck-Bartowski-flashing-the-entire-Intersect blinding pace. This means 20-minute sets set up like a line of dominoes across 14 hours spread over two days. Can you handle this? Probably. It's all ages, too, sliding scale price -- it's an inclusive thing. Besides the short set times -- which we think it's not unfair to say are a bit *too* short -- this is what those larger festivals in town should aspire to. But there's more to be excited about than just the structure and ambition: there's a crapload of insanely good indie rock and electronic acts. From the dusty twang of Portland, Maine's Coke Weed to the face-Brillo-ing fuzz of Connecticut college rock titans Ovlov, from the sonic explorations of Keith Fullerton Whitman to the psychedelic wandering of legendary New England psych veteran Bobb Trimble, this festival boasts an impressive scope.

So what else can we tell you? How about some key sets we think you need to see? Allow us to break it down for you below, where you will also find some streaming music embeds.

Oct. 4 // Cambridge Elks Lodge

6:20 -- Coke Weed
7:00 -- Hands and Knees
9:20 -- Pile
9:40 -- Neptune
10:20 -- Keith Fullerton Whitman

Oct. 5 // Democracy Center

4:20 -- Ovlov

After Party // Lilypad

Bobb Trimble (Burger Records Tape Release)

October 2, 2013

Show Us Yours #19: Hallelujah The Hills

Hallelujah The Hills' Puritan Garage practice space

As we struggled to come up with a clever lede for this piece, we were continually haunted by the thought that Ryan Walsh would not be struggling to come up with clever lede for this piece. Mr. Walsh, the leader of Boston indie rock greats Hallelujah The Hills, is both smarter than your average bear and -- probably by a wider margin -- smarter than your average songwriter, and he writes, among other things, songs about writing songs that are not, you know, really just songs about writing songs. He writes ridiculously good lines, like "I saw you breaking down in a magazine / And I never told a soul what it meant to me / Now I’m on a mission fueled by LSD / Trying to break these patterns." And along these lines Walsh and Hallelujah The Hills have reliably turned out compelling and vital "chord based cosmic Americana" since 2005. The current big news is the band intends to record and then issue next year (May 20, to be exact) a fourth long-playing collection, which carries the title Do You Have Romantic Courage? HtH, as they are wont to be abbreviated, launched a crowd-sourcing effort to fund the record yesterday and has already raised 37.28% of their modest goal as of press time. There's even album art to look at already. We were looking for an excuse to speak with Walsh for this piece, Number 19 in our series of looks into the practice spaces of notable indie rock bands, and this news seemed like a dandy hook, so here we are. In our short interview below you'll encounter references to a prominent and liked politician (surprising) and urine (surprisingly common in these pieces), and there is also a link to a video clip of an unusual window opening and closing. We think that's a good summary of the absurd magic of Hallelujah The Hills. We'd like to specifically call your attention to Walsh's tidy reduction of the conundrum confronting the present-day music industry: "Is Spotify more convenient than Kickstarters are annoying?" Will that question end up being this generation's "Do You Want New Wave Or Do You Want The Truth?" Perhaps. We think Walsh would argue that there aren't as many definitive answers as there are curious questions. So settle in and read on. Think about supporting the band's Kickstarter, the promotional video for which literally made us laugh out loud. If you wanna try before you buy, there are links to music below the interview, and HtH is playing on a tremendous bill with Clicky Clicky faves Soccer Mom Oct. 10 a week from tomorrow. So much to do, you'd best start doing.
Clicky Clicky Music Blog: So why do you use this practice space?

Ryan Walsh: We wanted a place where rehearsal and recording sessions would not be interrupted by other bands. In a place like The Sound Museum this is a constant problem. We found a place called Puritan Garage which is mostly auto repair shops and us.

I did my time in The Sound Museum. If your readers don't know, The Sound Museum is like an abandoned office/warehouse unit turned into one rehearsal room stacked on top of the other. It's run down and filthy. There was a guy who lived in tiny room next to us. He was in his 40s and he was living in a closet-sized room in the Sound Museum. No kitchen, no shower. I don't know how or why he did it. He would listen to conservative talk radio all day and night long. He hated all of the musicians. Understandably. Imagine if you lived somewhere where at any moment a full band could start blasting at full volume? Even late night at night when you're trying to sleep? I'm surprised he didn't murder some drummer one night. Sometimes when he went to the bathroom (which was a minute walk down some hallways from his door and our room) I would try and psyche myself up to take a peak in his room and see his set up. I never did though. I wonder if he's still there.

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

RW: The quirk of the space is the location and the layout. It's hard to imagine what on earth this room was ever used for besides throwing a band in there. We're on a raised loft level of the space (the other bands are downstairs). There's a drawbridge-style giant window you can open by pulling on this rope-and-pulley system. And then, outside, even though cars rarely drive by, there is a lot of foot traffic. It's part of some short cut between a bus stop and the train, I think. People stop to talk to us. We once got roped into a security guard telling us ghost stories for 30 minutes. Deval Patrick's campaign headquarters is nearby. He came out once while we were taking a break outside and told us, "You've got a real nice sound."

CC: You walk into your space. What's the first thing that you smell?

RW: Well, we just got a brand-new rug on the 2nd floor because the toilet ruptured this summer and the entire floor was soaked in urine. It was hard to take for a few weeks. Now it's all brand new and we're finding it invigorating. But, still, it probably smells like musty cig butts in there, in general.

CC: You officially announced Tuesday you're working on your fourth album, which presently carries the title Do You Have Romantic Courage? I know you've been in bands before HtH, notably The Stairs, which recently had a reunion. But even so, I'm wondering if you personally anticipate this new record -- or I guess emotionally approach it -- differently than a first record. You know, presumably you got all the pressing heart-break and fuck-you songs out of you on the first record, right? What's left?

RW: Well, I've always tried to write songs that went somewhere unexpected beyond the heart-break and the personal FU topics. But after years of doing that, then the love songs become the exotic novelty, ya know? I think I just try and write about characters who are searching for something: sometimes it's redemption, or revenge, or enlightenment, or purpose, or clarity, or the pattern in the noise... but sure, sometimes they're searching for love -- just like all of us.

On the last record (No One Knows What Happens Next) I tried to be very direct and very relatable, which maybe isn't the case on the first two albums. On this one I want to marry the abstract instincts of the early albums with the direct, cohesive approach the last batch of new songs took on. If the song is about someone who's detached from reality, for example, I at least want him or her to be able to explain that to the listener.

CC: You'll be crowd-sourcing a portion of the funding you'll need to make the new record. Were you or any of the guys in the band wary of going that road? My advice to bands considering it is that it is fine as long as the value proposition is clear to the backers, and the promises made are delivered. After all, this is America -- there's nothing more American than people being able to do with their money whatever it is that they want to do. Still, I think once you say "Kickstarter" these days, people's eyes glaze over. Do you feel like you need to work hard -- and maybe harder than you should -- to make the prospect exciting for people?

RW: I've said it before and I'll say it again: "Is Spotify more convenient than Kickstarters are annoying?" Because, although that's a gross simplification, that's basically what listeners need to ask themselves. That's the decision we're all faced with here. If you choose the super convenient listening platforms with the low payouts to artists, cool, that's awesome -- but if you're a fair person, you have to accept that bands will maybe need to resort to the crowd-sourcing method of paying for studios, mixing and mastering. And, look, if failed crowd-sourcing attempts is what breaks up some bands, oh well. It's a risk on both ends. I'm completely aware of crowd-sourcing fatigue -- we're doing a couple things to try and combat that but I'll keep that under wraps for now. Anyway, another answer to that questions is: it's a pre-order of our new album that comes out in May. If enough people pre-order we can record in a studio and make it pretty spectacular!

Hallelujah The Hills: Internerds | Bandcamp | Facebook

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 | Bent Shapes | Krill | Golden Gurls | Earthquake Party!