Outdoor Vinyl Summer Series: Through The Magical Door

Band: The Electric Bunnies
Year: 2009
Label: Florida’s Dying

Some people might be wired to just not accept this kinda stuff, but if you’re one of the lucky ones, these kinds of records are audible blessings… you ‘get it’ or better yet it just resonates along with the other demented recordings in your library. Like Girls of the Gravitron and Kazalok (to name two bands whose records I acquired via the label that put this one out, Florida’s Dying), Electric Bunnies march in their own universe, to their own conceptual beat, and that’s that. Through The Magical Door is far more psychedelic, eastern sounding, and tribal than those records I mentioned, but it operates along that noisy/garage/folk/luscious pop spectrum which I can not seem to get enough of. The first four songs of Side A and the first two of Side B flow like early Barbaras and Smith Westerns goodies. Sunny punk. There are instrumental oddities galore and big deviations from the standard rock ‘n roll format. I like. The gatefold design and included board game speaks to the VIR of this release. Yes, it is worth the physical luxury. Listening to Through The Magical Door makes me feel like I am in on something like-minded underground heads may have missed (again!) so you like-minded underground heads scurry to your store of choice (Florida’s Dying web store) and get on it. It’s out there, weird, and not straightforward. Like you and me. Personally, I would not be surprised if in due listens this splits time alongside all my favorites I mentioned above. Good work Rich.

Outdoor Vinyl Summer Series: … The Savage Young Sonics

Band: The Sonics
Label: Norton Records

Picked up this Norton Records LP from Deep Thoughts on Memorial Day and sadly I haven’t played it as much as a guy like me should. Encompassing the first four years of The Sonics in chronological order from A1 ’61 home recordings to B9 ’64 home recordings and some dance and teen club performances sprinkled in, Savage Young Sonics sounds like a band both comfortable dabbling in instrumental surf and gradually more eager to rock ‘n roll.  Apparently they were able to pack in hundreds of adolescents from all over Tacoma. Maybe a good chunk of older folks too: at the drop of the needle my gram started doing the jitterbug, all while smiling widely throughout the first coupla numbers. She wonders out loud when this music from. 1961 I say. “Back in your day?” Yeah! She’s endured louder, naughtier, more primal records (courtesy of my outdoor record player) so comparatively speaking this one is not nearly as rough as the back cover notes suggest. She’s in shock when Andy from Side B calls for people to come to see them at the Medford Armory. Nat that Medford, but hey what a fun time that must have been. The Sonics influence ain’t a joke, though; the crazed spirit of the ’90s and ’00s ‘garage’ groups can be traced to Sonics mania pre- The Witch. A saucy bunch taking things up a dozen notches. Thank the SAX, thank the ORGAN.

Review: Fat Creeps, The Memories, Street Gnar, Miami Doritos @ Whitehaus (5/31/14)

Bands: Fat Creeps, The Memories, The Lemons, Street Gnar, Miami Doritos
Date: Saturday, May 31, 2014
Venue: Whitehaus (Jamaica Plain, MA)

Miami Doritos - It feels like déjà vu seeing Miami Doritos slaying at thee olde vanillahouse. I saw them two weeks ago on a bill with Fat Creeps, Crosss, and Loose Tooth. This set is pretty much similar to that one and that’s fine by me. There’s a mixture of new songs, newish songs, and some vintage Doreets. I tells ya, for my money it doesn’t get much better than Kurt and Alex slamming into “Bike Cops” when you’re feeling rather toasted. It’s always a highlight of mine, just makes my spidey sense tingle. It’s like discovering you still have twenty more minutes to sleep in before getting up for work. I’ll take a spiritually arousing Miami Doritos set to kick off a show anytime.

Catch the band live before they catch you. It will be fun, it will be educational, it will make you laugh, it may even make you cry. One thing is certain, you will need to bring an extra pair of pants because you will finish before they finish. Get started here: http://miamidoritos.bandcamp.com/

And why not strap on your Compton hat and grab this smelly 7″ Splifft from the Big KLYAM Cartel: http://klyam.bigcartel.com/product/nice-guys-miami-doritos-splifft-7

Street Gnar – I only catch a few moments of this and it sounds like a combination of dream pop and experimental noise. Reminds me of Lowell’s Chill City Icon. http://streetgnar.bandcamp.com/

The Lemons - Damn, I missed these guys :(.  http://thelemons.bandcamp.com/ They are coming back on August 12 at Great Scott!

The Memories – Few bands can make my eyes light up like these Memories. Ahh yes the memories come back to me literally. Memories of the time I saw the band at a haus in JP last October with Colleen Green, White Fang, Ronnie Nordac’s Crying Lessons, and Smarty. This set tonight is like a time machine back to that breezy, beautiful autumn night.

Front dude Rikky is an all star performer. A true entertainer. With just a few words, moves, and mannerisms he can captivate an audience. He’s Dude Love  if Dude Love had a rad band that journeyed across the country and beyond nearly all year long.  For my non pro wrestling enthusiasts Dude Love was Mick Foley’s hippie alter ego. And if you don’t know who Mick Foley is then I just can’t help you. Matt Altieri would be disappointed in you.

Speaking of love, it’s the theme of the evening. It’s the theme of The Memories. It’s everywhere, it’s in their hearts and souls, and it’s in the air. The smell of love in the air… or marijuana smoke. These cats can’t go more than a couple songs without firing up another joint. And their songs aren’t long either!

Love and weed. Those are the themes of The Memories and this show. As I’m writing this though, I just remembered my English teachers telling me that themes are not just one, but an entire statement. Damn and I was an English Major. I’ve failed.  But Hey! it’s all good. I’m with The Memories.

Jumping back to the joints for a second, besides this act complementing the music and vibe itself, it also establishes the point that house shows are always superior in nature to any other show. That goes for pretty much most bands, but with The Memories it is especially true. I really can’t picture seeing these dudes anywhere other than a tight, tiny spot. Haha  that sounded far more licentious (I love this word) than I intended it to be.

As I mentioned earlier Rikky can work a crowd and half of the pleasure of taking in a Memories show is his/the band’s light hearted sense of humor. This comes through in most of their songs on tape/record, but it’s far more animated when you see it live.

Once again, it’s like a trip back to my first Memories experience. All of the songs are performed to a tee. Such playful classics as “Dad’s Not Home,” “Higher,” “You Need A Big Man,” “Go Down On You,” and many others.  Those last two are essential. Big Man Rikky is able to take a typically disgusting sentiment and make it palatable in a pop song, because it’s funny in a coy sort of way. Wink wink, nudge nudge.

If Ice Cube, Steve Albini, or myself said YOU NEED A BIG MAN to a woman then we’d probably get clocked in the head. “You awful, awful man!”  But, it works here. It’s simultaneously mocking and celebrating males’ obsession with their own anatomy. It’s funny, Rikky even flexes his arms as he says “A big man tough and a big man strong, you need a big man thick and a big man long.” ExtenZe needs to get on this. I smell a theme song.

The show closes with Rikky spreading a few words of wisdom. He enlightens us about the meaning of this evening’s final tune. (I’m paraphrasing) Sometimes in life you find something you’re good at and very passionate about, so you want to pursue it full time. Then he pauses…. “nah, I’m fucking with you, this song is about eating pussy,” and with that they kick into what is arguably the finest Memories tune “Go Down On You.” The song is a great example of how the band mashes their sweet, 60s AM pop sound with sexy/stoner themed lyrics.

Definitely one of the best live bands around right now.  Seeing them up front and personal brings a new life to these already exquisite tunes. http://burgerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/love-is-the-law

Fat Creeps – A running theme tonight is the actual basement setting itself. A lot of music freaks (including myself) attribute their most memorable show experiences to seeing shows in basements/houses. It’s an entirely different environment from your typical aboveground, legitimate establishment – even if it’s a swell venue, the swells aren’t as tasty as a place like the Whitehaus.

Besides seeing the Creeps at BUFU Fest I haven’t seen them in months. New Year’s Eve was the last time actually. So, hey man it’s great to actually see the band with a proper set. It’s been ohh so long. Their music is perfect for a a basement show too. It hits on all the emotions. It can be fun and happy, solemn and murky, upbeat and sexy. You name it. I’ve felt it. Whatever.

If you haven’t felt it you should spend the rest of your worthless life figuring out what went wrong at the following tour dates with The Lentils:

Monday, July 14 in Brattleboro, VT at THE FUTURE
Tuesday, July 15 in Buffalo, NY at SPIRAL SCRATCH RECORDS w/ JOHNS and SPACE WOLVES
Wednesday, July 16 in Columbus, OH at ACE OF CUPS
Thursday, July 17 in Chicago, IL at AUXILIARY ARTS w/ JIMMY WHISPERS and THE SUEVES
Friday, July 18 in Chicago, IL at THE OBSERVATORY w/ THE HECKS and WUME
Saturday, July 19 in Louisville, KY at Astro Black
Sunday, July 20 Nashville, TN at PUSSY PALACE w/ IDLE BLOOM
Tuesday, July 22 in Atlanta, GA at GOAT FARM ARTS CENTER
Wednesday, July 23 in Athens, GA at SECRET SQUIRREL
Thursday, July 24 in Charlotte, NC at RECESS FEST
Friday, July 25 in Boone, NC at BLACK CAT
Saturday, July 26 in Washington D.C. for Fringe Fest w/ CHAIN AND THE GANG
Sunday, July 27 in Philly, PA w/ BUGS AND RATS at Teri’s
Monday, July 28 in Boston, MA at MIDDLESEX w/ BUGS AND RATS

 http://fatcreeps.bandcamp.com/ Get their latest LP Must Be Nice  out now!

Review: Fat Creeps – “Must Be Nice” [2014]

Band: Fat Creeps
Label: Sophomore Lounge [LP] / Gnar Tapes [CS]

Sometimes people have a habit of associating music with a particular season or climate, but you see listening to the Fat Creeps is an everyday kind of musical experience. This is hardly anything new! From their early days when they readily donned costumes and frequently changed guitars and instruments up through the more subdued times of late, Fat Creeps’ sound has remained about the same: indefinable, but always rocking – sometimes straight up pop, sometimes far more strange!

The first recordings of the Fat Creeps – their self-titled EP released in 2012 and later issued physically by us KLYAM Records and their two song Feeding Tube split 12” with ZEBU! – are peppered with all waves of punk and surf-pop with guitarist/vocalists Gracie Jackson and Mariam Saleh often singing in harmony or trading lines. Those two songs, “Dad Weed” and “Daydreaming” appear 1-2 on Must Be Nice, the band’s first full-length album released on Sophomore Lounge and GNAR Tapes. Their inclusion here is an excellent way to acknowledge their past and usher in some newer sounds. Third track “He Comes In Loudly” supremely shows off the styling and distinctions of Gracie and Mariam. In fact, this one sounds like a best of everything that the pair has done in their four years together. Gracie’s astounding and mumbly vocals on the verses meet up with Mariam’s haunting backing vocals before they so elegantly collide; Gracie ruptures into a brief solo before finishing the song as it started. After this most intriguing song and with good reason, Fat Creeps diversify their arsenal from here on out.

“In Name Only” is Must Be Nice’s “700 Parts,” a Gracie song for sure! Super chill, super hard to figure out what she’s saying, dreamy, surfy. “Blue” is similarly vibed, although it is markedly faster and here Mariam sings her articulate leads. Same is the case for the first two songs on SIDE B. “I’ve Got” is insanely hooky, the bass fuller than ever it seems and the guitars screeching in the old garage. The girls are up to trouble by the time those sludgy distorted four chords enter into the picture and someone’s won or warn.

Get ready to break out your best late ‘70s dance moves for “Party” and don’t be surprised if you catch your hip or not so hip mom, dad, grandmother, and sis causing their own raucus in the rumpus room. Take DEVO and the B-52’s for a point of reference. Fat Creeps certainly have the sweet ability of uniting the punks, the hippiesters, and the family accountant who will instantly reminisce of his days spinning The Gun Club’s Fire of Love at the college radio station. Must Be Nice has you toe-tappin’, head bobbin’ through and through, perhaps most unevenly on “Bak 2 School” – anxiety is high, but so isn’t the whatever factor. Just give me noisy guitars and a throbbing bass. No words necessary. In pure helmets and wedding dress Fat Creeps fashion, the band goes full circle, ending the album with their first song, their first video, the one that drew the acclaim of the Boston Phoenix and the rest of us. NANCY DREW. We got Gracie in our left ear, Mariam in our right, in this more minimalistic, poppy number with one chorus you ain’t forgetting anytime soon!

Noisy, surfy, garagey, who cares-y, Fat Creeps keep things light always. The spooky and haunting aura that has surrounded them since the beginning is only slightly demystified on Must Be Nice and hey, that sure is nice. I wouldn’t go up to them and start quoting their songs, but if I was you and you were me, I would attend every possible show of theirs that you can.  And lastly, credit to Jim Leonard, who drummed on this record and all of Fat Creeps earlier offerings. His versatile and tight drumming is instantly recognizable, holding down the fort economically and just-in-time like an expert operations manager.



Review: Miami Doritos, Loose Tooth, Crosss @ Whitehaus/Deep Thoughts (5/17/14)

Bands: Fat Creeps, Crosss, Loose Tooth, Miami Doritos
Date: Saturday, May 17, 2014
Venue: Whitehaus/Deep Thoughts (Jamaica Plain, MA)

Miami Doritos – I believe the glam goddesses of rock ‘n’ roll flicked me on this planet to see kick ass bands like Miami Doritos in dank, dusty basements such as the Whitehaus. Well, I’m certain I was put here for other reasons as well, but what’s better than a nice, wholesome Miami Doreets set in JP? Nothing else. It’s 200 million thousand times greater than seeing some shitty, schlock rock band in a big, boring stadium that’s for sure. Ha, actually imagine seeing Kurt and Alex at one of those big ass shows. The Miami Doreets just planted in the middle of the Xfinity Center. I’m picturing it now and giggling like a little school girl. Keep laughing buddy.

But, enough of that tom foolery. Miami Doritos are a KLYAM Records band and they are one of the best around town. Of course, I would say that. I have to say that, but even if I didn’t have to say that I still would, because it’s true. Their brand of fiercely intimate, noisy two piece slacker spunk garage rawk brings me back to the days of fellow Boston two piece greats Fat History Month. The Doreets have that same silly, strangely comical, almost awkward quality to them. It’s a massive middle finger to all yee loser indie rock bands that take yourselves way too seriously. These Doreets are above all that and you can tell their just having fun with the music. And everyone else is having fun hearing it.  http://miamidoritos.bandcamp.com/ And order here for the band’s splifft 7″ with Nice Guys: http://klyam.bigcartel.com/product/nice-guys-miami-doritos-splifft-7

 Loose Tooth – This band is from Philly and they’re excited to be here. They have this very Pavementy, 90s “indie” rock style to them. It’s fairly relaxed, but still rocking. Most folks are nodding along, 40s and what have you in hand, gently enjoying the music.

At one point, one of the guitarists announces that today is her sister’s 21st  birthday and she feels bad that she is out of town for it. So, she whips out her phone and snapchats (is that the correct term? I’m a luddite and don’t keep up with the times) everyone singing happy birthday to her sister. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! http://loosetoothphilly.bandcamp.com/

Following their set, the crowd takes a pleasant, mid show jaunt down to Deep Thoughts, also in JP, for the remainder of the show.  I’ve shopped at this record store before and the first two KLYAM Records releases (Fat Creeps 10″ and Nice Guys/Miami Doritos Splifft 7″) are in stock here, but I’ve never seen a show here until tonight. It’s spacious and really has potential as a legitimate venue. It’s a big basement, but no stages or anything like that, which is how it ought to be. Well, stages can work sometimes, but I’m liking them less and less. Point being, there’s plenty of room, but it’s still intimate.

Crosss - This is a first for me and I actually haven’t even heard their music before. Though, I have seen one of these Canadian gents perform before in the band Soupcans from Toronto. I almost forgot how tall those fuckers are!

Cross (from Halifax, Nova Scotia) has a heavy, droning sound to them. It’s a slow menace that builds up and attacks you. Part metal, part psych, a pinch of noise. It’s dark and doomy. I don’t find myself falling in love with the band or finding any desire to move myself to the music, but it seems like most people are into it. They have a decent sound and they are talented musicians, but I feel satisfied after a couple songs and after that I don’t feel like I need to hear more. It just all sounds the same.  To anyone that disagrees with me, remember this is only my opinion and there’s a good chance I LOVE bands that you think suck ass. It’s a big fucking world and there’s plenty of room for all of us. http://crosss.bandcamp.com/

Alas, we have to leave early and we miss KLYAM Records’ OGs Fat Creeps :(. Catch them on their upcoming tour with The Lentils this Summer!: https://www.facebook.com/events/592681867496760/


The July Boston Compass Is Available!

The Boston Counter Cultural Compass does a whole lotta describing: art, film, and show listings that go above (and definitely BELOW if you know what I mean) and beyond any other local resource. Also, inside the Compass you’ll find some Funnies and album reviews! I am very grateful – as are many that pick up the monthly newspaper – that such a thing exists; credit and appreciation goes to the many volunteers of the Boston Hassle, the organization responsible for producing the Compass and sponsoring and supporting many of the events listed within! Boston is a lively city with much to do, see, and hear every single night. If you are visiting, touring through, or even if you live in the area and somehow haven’t heard of the Compass, pick one up or read it online.

CHECK OUT JULY’S COMPASS (#54): http://www.bostonhassle.com/compass/54-july-2014/

Review: Phaze, Shame Thugs, John Flannelly @ Charlie’s (6/30/14)

Bands: Soft Eyes, Phaze, Shame Thugs, John Flannelly
Date: Monday, June 30, 2014
Venue: Charlie’s Kitchen [Cambridge]

This was SHAMEFUL to admit it, my first Charlie’s Kitchen experience. Don’t get me wrong here, I always see the events, the spectacular musical parties thrown by some of the finest Boston bookers, FAST APPLE, on Monday nights. I was able to make things work, unfortunately not for the entire duration of the show. Very bummed I missed seeing Soft Eyes - the home spun psych ventures of Luke Goudreault (formerly of MMOSS, The MIGS!!!, and New Highway Hymnal) whose live band also includes Rachel Neveu (formerly of MMOSS), drummer Travis Hagan (Fat Creeps, NHH), and possibly some other members that I did not see roaming the venue. Do head over to the SE BC and stream Lazy Life in its mono White Fencian/Migsian chromatic splendor.

John Flannelly of Indiana got things started ground level as he worked on his keyboard and pedals set-up, delivering what sounded like an experimental combo of beats and loop effects. John’s take on music is certainly deeper in the sense that I had not a clue what he was going for and perhaps nobody did except for the performer himself. I found the unpredictability and non-conventional nature of his set-up somewhat more fascinating than the actual rhythmic collage. http://johnflannelly.bandcamp.com/

Next up was the bass/keyboard duo $hame Thug$, also from Indiana and on tour with John Flannelly. I don’t think I will be forgetting their set anytime soon at least not their first song which prominently featured a hip-hop sample of this guy shouting YEAH!. The keyboardist rapped with some voice modulated echo throughout the course of the set. I will say I haven’t really seen any band like SHAME THUGS – the taping of individual keys, the total surreal dreamy r&b mood – though maybe the closest thing to them I’ve heard is Kitty Pryde so take that for whatever, but the Thugs are rawer which I like.

PHAZE get ready KLYAMers, PHAZE is a band you’ll be hearing about a lot more. At least from me and hopefully beyond and beyond. Jesse DeFrancesco is at the helm of this rock ‘n roll band, which, live, we have Nick on drums. PHAZE is riffy rock ‘n roll, bluesy in some spots, anchored in all by Jesse’s prepunk singin and tenacity for going hard and going nuts. On recording PHAZE is chiller (real real neat, just wait and see), but with the drumming, these guys wallop. Being in the audience and hearing PHAZE for the first time was quite like when I first saw The Migs. All excitement, the ‘this is really special, I’m grateful I’m here right now’ feeling. Specially on “Backwards”. Ya know! http://allstontapes.bandcamp.com/releases


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