05/19/2013 Leave a comment
Eddy Current Suppression Ring covers The Go-Go’s classic “We Got The Beat.” That’s right, I said classic.
punk slime ALL OF THE time
05/16/2013 Leave a comment
Sally Cinnamon makes the best vids! Here’s an unreleased Hunx song, I’ll be keeping an eye out for.
05/13/2013 Leave a comment
Check out this Heartland interview with Smith Westerns. It covers a lot of band history, if you’re into that sort of thang. Keep your eyes peeled for their upcoming album, Soft Will out on Mom + Pop (6/11). And if you’re a Boston fellow, catch them at the Sinclair (Cambridge) on Saturday, July 27!
05/12/2013 Leave a comment
What up world, I know you’re dying to hear some fresh music, so here’s a brand spankin’ new demo from Moldy Naan, our fellow No Age devotee, Nick Rasmussen. It’s folky, it’s freaky, but is it Freak Folk? Nah, do people even use that term anymore? Moldy Naan reminds me of Bob Dylan, Gangbang Gordon, and Hank Williams, quite the motley crue! The song available on Moldy Naan’s bandcamp page (link below) is called “Two-Headed Boy” and if you have any imagination left in you, then it will bring you to a different place. A wee, mental journey never hurt anyone. CLICK CLICK CLICK http://moldynaan.bandcamp.com/track/two-headed-boy
Yankee Power are playing at the Rosebud in Somerville tonight in honor of their latest release Patriot Act [EP]. Pick one up tonight! But, if you’re impatient like me, listen to it here: http://theyankeepower.bandcamp.com/album/patriot-act-ep The Stampede and Dave Crespo’s After Party are also playing.
Everyone’s favorite band on Die Slaughterhaus (except for Black Lips, of course), Deerhunter is heading on tour again and if you’ve been paying attention then you know that they just dropped their sixth album, Monomania on 4AD. The new LP shows off the band’s ever growing niche for writing strong pop/rock ‘n’ roll songs, while still maintaining the raw, garage edge they created back in their Die Slaughterhaus days.
Deerhunter is playing at the Royale in Boston on Monday, September 16. Check out the full tour dates below.
18th May – Ekko Le Guess Who Festival, Urecht
20th May – Vera, 9711 NV Groningen
21st May – AB Club, Brussels
22nd May – La Trianon, Paris
23rd May – Primavera, Barcelona
30th May – Optimus Primavera Sound (Porto), Porto
7th June – Governor’s Ball (7-9th June), Randall’s Island, New York
21st June – ATP Festival curated by Deerhunter 21-23rd June, Camber Sands, Camber
23rd August – Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix
27th August – Harlow’s, Sacramento
30th August – Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver
31st August – Bumbershoot Festival, Seattle
3rd September – Music Fest NW, Portland
6th September – Urban Lounge, Salt Lake City
7th September – Bluebird Theater, Denver
9th September – Fineline, Minneapolis
10th September – Metro (Chicago), Chicago
11th September – Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland
12th September – Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto
13th September – Skully’s, Columbus
16th September – Royale Night Club, Boston
20th September – Union Transfer, Philadelphia
21st September – 9:30 Club, Washington DC
22nd September – Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro
1st December – Hostess Club Weekender, Tokyo
Band: The Reatards
Year: 1998 (original release), 2011 (reissue with Fuck Elvis We’re The Reatards)
On January 13, 2010 rock and roll lost one of its most prolific practitioners, Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr. aka Jay Reatard. Jay was only 29, but in his short time on this planet he had built up an intimidating discography comprising of at least 75 vinyl releases, all of which he recorded by himself, typically in his living room, giving Jay’s recordings a raw, intimate, lo-fi aesthetic. I have always been a fervent admirer of his solo work, but it wasn’t until recently that I truly appreciated his first band, The Reatards and their debut LP Teenage Hate released in 1998 when Jay was only seventeen years old. It is now being re-released by Memphis garage label, Goner – the same label that initially released it in 1998 – to celebrate the short life of its creator.
Teenage Hate is honestly unlike anything else I have ever heard. There’s an authenticity to it that is almost unreal. In eighteen songs, seventeen year old Jay creates a soundtrack for youth rebellion. Jay sings about the very issues that affect him on a daily basis. In opener, “I’m So Gone,” Jay laments, “I’m so gone, I got no home.” It’s songs such as this where the teenage hate in the title comes through. Having dropped out of school after 8th grade and moved out of his parent’s house soon after, Jay lived in some of the tiniest, cheapest houses Memphis had to offer; hardly a place to call home.
Jay shrieks and curses with the fervor and unabashed vulgarity of scum punk legends GG Allin and Darby Crash. Teenage Hate’s sound is as brutal as the lead singer himself. The record’s rackety, lo-fi production is simply dirty and will turn off most listeners, but charm those of us that love gritty garage. Sonically and musically, The Reatards owe a large debt to fellow Memphis garage punkers, The Oblivians, who served as mentors for the young Jay. Like The Oblivians, The Reatards create simple, sloppy and straight to the point punk rock songs, taking heavy influence from the blues, 60s garage and its imitators, as well as Memphis’s own Sun Records (Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Roy Orbison) The Reatards, however, put a much deeper emphasis on immediate pop hooks.
Most songs have clear hooks and lyrics that are easy to sing along to. “When I Get Mad” could be an anthem for drunk, incoherent, pissed off boys across America: “When I get mad I don’t think/said I don’t give a shit about anything/when I get mad I’ll break anything/cause I don’t give a fuck about anything.” It’s not poetry, but that’s what is great about it. A poet would add metaphors and other pretty things to articulate the frustration of being seventeen. But, Jay is a real teenage punk in the midst of all the bedlam a poverty stricken, teenage, rock ‘n’ roll musician must endure. On this track, Jay sounds like Elvis on robitussin singing out of a garbage can. Truly beneath the noise, his vocals have a touch of traditional country, blues, and 50s- early 60s rock ‘n’ roll. Jay is simply telling his story with these songs.
Songs like “When I Get Mad” highlight the authenticity I spoke of earlier. Jay didn’t bullshit. When he said he’ll break anything, he meant it, as it was not uncommon for Reatards shows to culminate in broken beer bottles and blood. Often singers are far removed from the words that come out of their mouths, but with Jay everything is very direct and painfully real.
Jay’s presence on this record is undeniable, but his bandmates also play a big role in Teenage Hate’s overall sound quality. Steve Albundy Reatard plays the bass and Elvis Wong Reatard bashes away on the drums, both serving as the driving force behind these songs. Jay is the main songwriter and he created the hooks, but the songs wouldn’t sound nearly as catchy without the other Reatards. All three together are a juggernaut, like a burnt out 97’ Buick going 110 mph, they are relentless. Each song is extremely fast, averaging about a minute and half. In fact, they fly by so quickly that you have to listen to them at least a few times to truly appreciate the songwriting and pick up on some of the subtle influences.
As much as I love The Reatards, I will say that eighteen songs can be a handful. Eighteen songs of grimy guitars, muttered vocals, and lyrics about “teenage whores” can wear you down after a while. I wouldn’t say that by the end of the record, The Reatards are a one trick pony, but you feel like you get the idea long before it has reached its conclusion. The strongest songs are at the beginning, “I’m So Gone,” “Stacye,” “When I Get Mad,” “Outta Of My Head, Into My Bed,” but there are solid tunes throughout the whole album. I feel like some of the later tracks would stand out to me more if I heard them on their own, somewhere else, but after hearing so many other, somewhat similar songs they just feel weaker. The album’s closer “I Can Live Without You,” (the longest track at a whopping 3:06) lacks the excitement of an earlier song like “Stacye,” (misspelled for whatever reason) which is much more immediate with its Bay City Rollers styled chants “S T A C Y E.”
At its heart, Teenage Hate is a collection of classic themed pop songs buried beneath a slimy ramshackle production. It’s harsh, it’s filthy, it’s honest, but above all it’s fun. As visceral and volatile as this record is, it’s ultimately a fun rock ‘n’ roll record in the traditions of Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones, and The Ramones. This record is just the beginning of Jay’s career, foreshadowing what he would later master in his synth punk band the Lost Sounds and with even wider success as a solo artist, earning him a place on Matador Records. Alas, Jay’s life and career ended shortly, but this re-release is a testament to Jay’s legacy, with it now garnering far more attention than it ever received in its initial run. Web sites such as Pitchfork now seem to be writing about every new posthumous Jay release, helping to popularize not only his garage music, but the often ignored punk sub-genre as a whole. Garage rock and Jay Reatard are like the anti-indie hero, the anti-Conor Oberst, if you will. This music isn’t a joke in any way, but it’s all about having fun and not taking yourself too seriously. Just look at the band’s name.
05/10/2013 Leave a comment
Bands: The Orwells, Palma Violets
Date: Monday, May 6, 2013
Venue: Brighton Music Hall (Brighton/Allston, MA)
Before I kick into this evening’s performances, let me flash back a few months to Wednesday, February 27. The Orwells, an up and coming rock ‘n’ roll band from Chicago, made their live debut in Boston at T.T. the Bears, where my KLYAM co-conspirator, Glen, a long-time Orwells fan/early supporter (http://klyam.com/2011/01/31/band-spotlight-the-orwells/) was enthusiastically in attendance and ecstatic to finally meet the men behind one of his favorite bands. Local pizza punks, Nice Guys opened. It was a great show (http://klyam.com/2013/03/03/concert-review-the-orwells-tt-the-bears-22713/) or so I am told, for I could not be in attendance that night. Alas, for the last few months Glen has had the bragging rights to say he’s seen The Orwells live and I have not. Now, as the Spring semester is coming to a close, I am outside the realm of academic requirements and ready to take in one of the music world’s most promsing bands: The Orwells
Not to make it seem like The Orwells are this untouchable force, they are actually just mellow, fun loving dudes, appreciating their time on the road, being able to play for fans – new and old – and spreading the gospel of Black Lips stylized rock ‘n’ roll. Like last time, as Glen noted, the boys are playing a quick round of pool before they hit the stage. I briefly chat with Mario Cuomo (vocals) and Matt O’Keefe (guitar) and we discuss the Chicago punk scene/HoZac Blackout Fest, their current tour with Palma Violets, and opening for our favorite band, the Black Lips this past New Year’s Eve at One Eyed Jacks in New Orleans (http://artofcl.com/features/photos-nye-black-lips-king-louies-missing-monuments-orwells/). But, before diving too in depth into a conversation, Matt politely says, “alright man, I’m going to do my thing, we’ll talk to you after the show.” Five minutes later, The Orwells are up on stage.
They blast right into Remember When classic, “In My Bed.” The whole band rocks like they are seasoned veterans, it is nuts to think that this is a band that formed just a few years back. The quality sound system (minus the vocals, which aren’t bad, but could be better) further amplify the loud, firece delivery of The Orwells.
Lead vocalist, Mario Cuomo best captures the rock’n'roll/garage attitude of the band. He is an energetic performer and he never slows down for a moment. His charisma brings even more life to the group’s already vibrant songwriting. Mario rolls his eyes back like they are two inches away from dropping out of their sockets. His showmanship nicely complements his vocals, which are naturally loud, baritone, almost doomy. Unfortunately, the mics are not nearly loud enough to capture his vocals and other members of the crowd agree with me on this account. You can hear pretty much everything he sings, but I want it to be a bit higher. Overall, not a big deal and merely a flaw of the PA, not the band.
My favorite part of the show is when they play my top Orwells song, “Halloween All Year,” a slow, epic ballad that shows how Orwells can expand far beyond the typical, youthful garage band making noise. It’s like a dark, slow dance number from a derranged 50s-60s pop group meets the poppiest cuts from New England based garage rock revivalists, The Migs and Atlantic Thrills. The band also plays a new song entitled, “Other Voices,” which can be heard here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uS9VrCmM3iI. This is one of the quintet’s best songs to date, drawing comparisons to crisper, cleaner sounding “garage” bands such as Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, and The Libertines, while still maintaining some punk slime flavor, perhaps easier for a Spaceshits fan to digest. The band closes with a cover of The Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” and to quote a fellow attendee, “What else can you ask for?” Gentlemen, well done.
We came to see The Orwells. Just to make that clear to anyone reading this. We don’t know much about Palma Violets, but it’s only 10 P.M. why not stay for the headlining band?
Palma Violets are a UK based rock band, and I stress rock. No “and/’n’ roll.” If rock ‘n’ roll is like The Ramones soaking up the sounds of the 50s and 60s with bubblegum, surf, and garage, then just plain rock is like hard rock or to be pejorative, generic rock. That’s how I feel about Palma Violets. Very generic, too commerical sounding, almost like wannabe rock stars or wannabe Arctic Monkeys or Editors. They appear to be too in love with themselves, like this is the greatest rock and roll show ever! I appreciate the enthusiasm, but I am not feeling it. I feel no connection with these songs at all. Most of the crowd, however, does. People mosh and dance and sing along to the songs of the apparently great Palma Violets. It looks like a mini soccer riot on the dance floor of the Brighton Music Hall. Seriously, one of the most enthusiastic, yet small, crowds I have seen in a Boston club. Despite my apathy, Palma Violets put on a fun show (for the fans) and they crowd surf and play their instruments in the crowd at times, and I’m jealous. I’m jealous that I can only muster a few headbangs, for this isn’t The Migs, this isn’t my music. Or as the English would say, this isn’t my cup of tea.
Here’s a video of The Orwells performing “Mallrats (La La La)” from their last Boston show at T.T. The Bears (2/23/13).