UPCOMING KLYAM SHOWS/RELEASES

SHOWS
Thursday, October 18 @ Lilypad – 10 PM Doors – All Ages, $7 to $10 Sliding Scale – Dumb Vision (Madison, Wisconsin), Boston Cream, Request Freebird, G. Gordon Gritty – A classic KLYAM show featuring our buds on tour from Madison, Wisconsin (nice city, nice bands that roll through Boston regularly) along with what could be described as an eclectic medley of supporting acts: Boston Cream has been known to incite spontaneous wild dances, Request Freebird unforgettable sing-alongs, and G. Gordon Gritty confusion. Dumb Vision splits the difference with their full-steam-ahead punk rock attack.

TAPES
American Whip Appeal
Nevermind tape – Mischief country/country glam trio originating in Newton, Massachusetts. We put our their Live In New York ditty a while back and they wasted little to no time congregating for a spontaneous ‘gospel’ record. The quotes are necessary; these kind folk spend a good chunk of their livelihood in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Glue tape – The mysterious Glue, oft hailed on this very site as one of the most exciting NEW local bands, is getting together for a Last Chance record production. YouTube viddies and the irregular show have kept us satisfied, but imagine a tape of the hits? Cello, bass, keyboard, voice. Oozing passion. Get ready.

Bong WishSongs under a Minute tape – Stated best by Mariam: “These were all made on a PC computer from 2010-2011.. I had this generic program called “Sound Recorder” that only allowed you to record up to a minute..so that’s essentially why the songs are all under a minute. I also used headphones to record everything. Was heavily influenced by Guided by Voices and Beat Happening at the time. I was still in the process of teaching myself guitar, I didn’t know you were supposed to tune a guitar so I just played whatever sounded interesting to me.” If that’s not amateurism in its perfect nature, I’m not sure what is. This is a special tape.

The Migs tape – We’ve been sitting on a comprehensive Migs compilation for three and a half years. Waiting for just the right moment to release it to the world. It’s coming. You bet.

 

 

En Attendant Ana Is The Best Live Band

I had the honor of seeing Parisian band En Attendant Ana two Friday nights in a row: first in Boston at O’Briens Pub and then at the Hi-Tone in Memphis as part of Gonerfest 15 Night Two. I’m writing this post because I believe them to be the best live band that I’ve seen in a LONG TIME.

I saw a lot of bands at Gonerfest 15, including some true OG favorites like Oblivians and Carbonas. I love these guys and thought their sets were amazing. I was familiar with the songs they performed. I’m new to En Attendant Ana, having only briefly listened to their most recent album Lost and Found. I liked it a lot, but seeing them live was a transformative experience. Perhaps you can relate to a band that blows your mind even if you can’t name a single song. Hit after hit, hook after hook, there is no downtime or stagnation over the course of the set. There is a constant stream of musical euphoria and that larger-than-life feeling of music-as-inspiration. A pop band with a noisy rock ‘n roll sound. The trumpet adds a layer of character that works brilliantly in this group.

Check out all their music and, if you can, go see them perform. I don’t think larger festivals and bigger shows are far out of reach. En Attendant Ana would easily blow away and bring something fresh and exciting compared to what a lot is bandied about as “pop” these days.

GETTING READY FOR GONERFEST 15

small-gf15

GONERFEST 15 is shaping up to be an extraordinary festival. And just writing this is awfully redundant because every single one of them since the first one in 2005 has showcased the very best rock ‘n roll performers who are revered not just around the US, but also across the entire world. Pretty deep. I’m saying this not as someone who is an OG Memphis pilgrim, but as someone who has gone yearly since 2015 and has admired the label’s appetite for raw rock ‘n roll (garage/punk) for as long as KLYAM has been around. Describing GONERFEST to those who are entirely unfamiliar always makes for interesting conversation. Picture a music festival that draws people from Denmark, Australia, Los Angeles, you name it. But imagine the headlining shows at a 400 capacity venue and the afterparties (which can go well past 4 AM) at a tiny dive bar packed with crowds more than ready to continue the live music party. Giorgio Murderer closing out the weekend at Murphy’s. You can’t really top that. Anyway, here is who I am particularly excited to see:

CARBONAS – Who knew recommending a band in 2010 could be so incendiary? I know I made so many people mad on Terminal Boredom for liking contemporary 2010 bands (aw shucks being only a toddler in ’93). Well the haters can stay at home and listen to their obscure, limited press color 45s while I jam out to Carbonas at The Hi-Tone on Saturday night. No ‘pausing, extra lean straight-ahead move-out-of-the-way rock ‘n roll. I always connected with this, but thought seeing them live was out of the question considering their lengthy time not releasing new music. But with an album like Carbonas (released by Goner), it makes perfect sense to stop there…in a good way.

OBLIVIANS – It seems like I must’ve seen Oblivians, but nope this will be the first time. Seen Jack O, seen Reigning Sound, seen Greg, but the greatest group of the bunch that also features Goner owner Eric O? That will be Friday night at the Hi-Tone. I can’t really add much original thought to the highly influential legacy of this Memphis band. Super catchy AND super raw and noisy. I’m still angry that I left a CD copy of Best of the Worst bought from Bobby Hussy in Madison, Wisconsin in a Rent-A-Car in Chicago. Hopefully someone found it and started a band.

COBRA MAN – My Cobra Man obsession took on new heights this winter as I found myself playing their New Driveway Soundtrack almost daily. I think their charm is similar to the charm that gets me going when I listen to DEVO and the B-52’s, but this Cobra Man I tell ya is a bit more showy, club-ready (and still quite nerdy). The production is so crisp with really thick groovy basslines that shine through and bring these songs to the penthouse when they could have easily stayed in the basement bedroom or garage. I saw them play at Murphy’s during the daytime Saturday Blowout (amazing), but am even more excited to see this duo light up the darkened walls of the Hi-Tone on Friday night.

GENTLEMEN JESSE – Woah is me. The first band to really hurt my eardrums back when I was relatively new to going to loud rock and roll shows was Gentlemen Jesse and His Men. 2009 opening for Black Lips at Middle East Down (in case you’re keeping track). Now, Jesse will be performing a solo set at Memphis Made. To go back to the previous point – the hurt eardrums wasn’t a bad thing. I enjoyed the music greatly. Pop rock, or power-pop they might call it. But not so super wimpy as those two words might make a purist weep or some bullshit like that.

NOTS – Goner mainstays and KLYAM favorites. Time Warp Weekends, too. Want a band that wastes no time with what they’re doing? Shouted, repetitive lyrics, with the kind of dynamic instrumentation that for lack of a better phrase is as if we’ve been blessed with the Greatest Hits of the Goner label all packed into one band. Take a minute for that. They’ll be playing Saturday night at the Hi-Tone.

SICK THOUGHTS – Like Oblivians, like Carbonas, Sick Thoughts just knows how to write a banger of a raw rock ‘n roll song without wasting any time. Album after album. Single after single. Put on any Sick Thoughts and you can be guaranteed you will start to immediately do whatever your signature “I’m really feeling this song” move is. Catch ’em right before Oblivians on Friday night.

HARLAN T. BOBO – Not going to lie, do I know much about Harlan T. Bobo? Very little and I am talking about his music. Apparently he is fairly mysterious as well, but Goner has lent their full support to what I am only guessing is a Memphis legend. I don’t know where to start, but maybe his Thursday night Hi-Tone show may be just the right kind of live introduction?

MORE TO BE CONTINUED!!!!!!!!

 

 

KLYAM Most Watched Bands

Shows that we attended (together and/or separately). 10 show minimum for locals, 6 show minimum for non-locals. Note: list does not necessarily indicate our favorite bands as we may have seen them less than the minimum amount!!! And bands we are in, not included.

Local (Boston/New England Based Bands)
Nice Guys – 89 Shows
Fat Creeps – 37 Shows
Barbazons/Fagettes – 31 Shows
Atlantic Thrills – 29 Shows
Black Beach – 27 Shows
Littlefoot – 26 Shows
Creaturos – 24 Shows
Gymshorts – 20 Shows
Miami Doritos – 19 Shows
The Monsieurs – 19 Shows
New Highway Hymnal – 19 Shows
Birthing Hips – 18 Shows
Free Pizza – 18 Shows
Televibes – 18 Shows
Beware the Dangers of a Ghost Scorpion – 17 Shows
Earthquake Party – 17 Shows
Big Mess – 16 Shows
Guerilla Toss – 16 Shows
Midriffs – 15 Shows
The Cavemen – 15 Shows
Ursula – 14 Shows
Andy California – 14 Shows
Kal Marks – 13 Shows
Request Freebird – 13 Shows
Electric Street Queens – 12 Shows
Jim Leonard – 11 Shows
Trim – 11 Shows
Blue Ray – 11 Shows
Steep Leans – 11 Shows
The Migs – 10 Shows

Non-Local/Touring Bands
Black Lips – 17 Shows
The Orwells – 12 Shows
Nobunny –  10 Shows
King Khan & The Shrines – 7 Shows
The King Khan & BBQ Show – 7 Shows
No Age – 6 Shows
Ty Segall – 6 Shows
Wavves – 6 Shows

RENE CHAMBERS – KREMLIN BATS

Plastic Response Records Listen / Buy Tape

Boston’s very own Rene Chambers has a debut record to show the world. Kremlin Bats is an 11 song digestif, fruitful and satisfying. Enrolled part-time, at least, in the Mickey Bliss school of rock and roll with R. Stevie Moore as adjunct professor, Rene Chambers (Rene as in a nominal combination of the just retired Bruins national anthem guy Rene Rancourt and Herb Chambers) produces a mostly one man show of late night synth-obsessed observations. Midnight hours, neon signs, okay that’s just two examples. But the barely removed Chambers with his slightly British affectation offers us dark, but danceable new-new wave nuggets. The ultra crisp production makes for a luxurious listen, possibly ushering in a new kind of Vegas lounge performer right here in Boston.

Summer Flashbacks

The following are excellent songs to listen to this summer. They aren’t new or old.

Saralee – “Take What You Can Carry” – What might be the greatest Boston basement band of the early 2010s? Saralee is in the running, without any doubt. Stoned haze, half drunk High Lifes, and pungent mildew perfectly communicated with as little as drums, guitar, and vocals. Sara and Lee. I think I’ve called Saralee “memory music” and I wonder if anyone disagrees? This particular song is the most exemplary of my past descriptions. Sorry if you didn’t get a chance to see them in the old days, but not too sorry because you can close your eyes, too.

Wakes – “Widows” – Timmy hit a sweet spot of dynamite “bedroom pop” before that label became more associated with industry plants! A label in the UK was wise enough to release the Feral Youth LP. I’ve thought this album, this song, was like audio mumblecore. Emo, but not the shitty, whiny stuff. Anxious, superstitious, you know, your average 20/(now?) 30-something laments.

Rene Chambers – “Kathy Cross” – A local anthem has emerged! Like the two previous songs, this one is cloudy and introspective. The tale of Kathy Cross is familiar. She’s runnin away to upstate NY from the city. After a day, the guy is getting kind of worried because she hasn’t returned his calls. It turns out that her getaway was a legit vacation, not some existential escape from academia as he might have suspected. “She just wants to be somebody.” Always count on Rene Chambers (now an active band in the Boston area) for intelligent rock ‘n roll commentary/comedy on the young and confused.

Miracle Johan – Green 17

“Antoine Walker! Antoine Walker! Antoine Walker! Welcome hoooooome”
Sings Miracle Johan over a gutsy self-produced medley of sound effects, and one passionately laid down drum track. And such was the start to a four year, one-of-a-kind creative streak that began in 2005 when Antoine Walker was traded back to the Celtics after stints in Dallas and Atlanta. So just as Danny Ainge, the boss of the team, had vowed to rebuild the C’s and get a 17th banner hanging in the rafters of the Garden, so did Miracle Johan eventually make a vow: to record a song for every player on the roster of our beloved basketball team until they got that Championship. Weird, yeah, but we’re talking Miracle Johan.

He was easing himself back into 4-track recording after having played bass in the western Mass. band Bears. In his words, he recorded a “weird instrumental using crash cymbals as hi hats and was going to put vocals down when I realized I had no idea what I was going to sing about. Antoine’s first game back after the initial trade was happening that night, so I just sang about that (assuming I’d someday return to do something more serious over it).” So what did he do? He showed some friends his creation and mustered up the courage to post the song to Celticsblog.com in a very 2005 “Hey-look-what-i-found-on-the-internet” way.

His friends made him a Myspace and a second song “I Swear to God I’m Funky” was in the works. This one was about seven foot, gum-chewing center Mark Blount. Miracle Johan raps from the perspective of Blount. Brilliant. What I love about these songs: they are raw, imperfect recreations of moments in time. I was a teenager writing about the Boston Celtics on my Boston-sports themed website when I first encountered Miracle Johan. He would join my staff and write some amazing articles, but at the same time he was leading a charge of what some may call Outsider Music; Miracle was amassing from scratch a four volume musical of his thoughts on the Boston Celtics in real time. And, these were real heady tunes, something collectively closer to underground punk rock/hip hop than anything seeking approval via formula or precedent.

One example of the spaciest of space jams: Dan Dickau, the not oft-remembered reserve guard, sings on Volume 2: “sitting in the hospital bed. Used to play basketball, now I’m learning how to play the guitar. It’s a good, good thing that I don’t don’t need my ACL to jam out on the guitar.” Miracle Johan’s Dickau is either a brilliant Jandek or a talentless hack, but more likely messed up on meds as he sings of “A Zillion Ponies.” Miracle’s songs displayed, in his own words, “musical evolution,” and the variety over the years certainly displays this.

So there’s “Scabs,” the redhead current Boston Celtics analyst/broadcaster Brian Scalabrine who needs very little introduction. White Mamba is a legend among basketball fans around the world. Not the most gifted player (career average 3 points per game and only 61 total starts over 10 years), his personality and hustle is/was A+. Miracle Johan paid fun tributes to him with the tough-guy jam “Hard Rock Life” (featuring a more than on-point guitar solo and overall virtuoso playing) and the french horn elementary throwback “Awesome O’Clock”. Scal, if you haven’t heard these, check these out now! Right now!

The one constant each year was a song for future Hall of Famer and hometown hero Paul Pierce. First was the “Return of the Truth,” which has Pierce rapping: “This city’s more than irish pubs and bars, you want proof? I’ll show you about a dozen scars, I’m the truth.” Pierce sounds optimistic about raising another banner to the roof, but patience is a virtue they say. The next year freaking Paul Pierce informs us in “No Media Love” that he knows he’s one of the best players in the league. Any other chatter about him is irrelevant. Well, until he got injured during the 2006-2007 season. Pierce was hampered with foot and elbow injuries and the Celtics ended up losing eighteen straight games, a franchise record. Something had to be done. Over a spacey synth sequence, Pierce wonders, after the awful season has ended, in “Nowhere to Go But Up”:

“Am I really the captain of a team with the second worst record in the entire NBA? The most celebrated franchise in the entire history of the NBA. And now it has nationally been criticized and accused of tanking to get a high lottery pick? Are you serious? This is the Boston Celtics.”

We all know what happens next. Danny Ainge ‘wisened up” and made some deals to “be at an elite level”. Banner 18 level. Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett. The Big 3 they were called. An unstoppable force with a 66-16 record. “A Whole New Pierce” speaks of the new team dynamic that got everybody excited. Things were much easier with proven all-stars playing next to and bringing the best out in Pierce. At the end of it, there’s a snippet of Naismith Hall of Famer Bob Cousy, who did some commentary alongside beloved announcer-duo Mike Gorman and Tommy Heinsohn. With the Celtics off to a 7-0 start to the season, Cooz asks “Why does it seem like a lot more fun so far this year? Why are we smiling a lot more?” We all know the ending: they won it all. And ten years later (earlier this year), Pierce’s #34 got raised to the rafters at the Garden.

The up-and-down and all around events year-in and year-out gave Miracle plenty of material, but there was usually a little scrambling as Miracle found himself in the quagmire of devoting free time to the endeavor, not to mention recording VHS copies of every game (to use for sampling the commentary of Mike and Tommy). Miracle’s lyrics could almost be analyzed as separate from the music, as listeners are presented with engaging captions of the season and all of these player personalities. Different and more exciting than reading a blog or watching a post-game show on TV. A solid supplement or stand-alone endeavor!

So you’re wondering: how popular was Miracle Johan at the height of his game? Other than real life friends and in Celtics message board enclaves, Miracle got around a bit. One day he noticed a gigantic spike in his daily PureVolume listenership: 3,000+ listens. What’s the story with that, he wondered. It turns out his page had been linked to on a Bill Simmons’ ESPN daily links posting. Not bad. A couple other noteworthy media mentions turned up: his friends in The Mobius Band name dropped him in a Pitchfork interview and more locally, the Boston Phoenix hunted Miracle Johan down, invited him to a game, took his picture, and next thing you know: a feature story was published. (The Boston Phoenix shut down in 2013 and with it came down the article, which had also been posted online.)

As for the actual Celtics – were they bumping Miracle Johan in the locker room? Rumor has it, yes. Maybe. Perhaps Justin Reed (rest in peace) passed along the legend of Miracle Johan after they had a chance meeting in the bowling alley adjacent to MJ’s high school reunion. The Celtics second round draft choice Reed just so happened to be at Kings Bowling Alley. Miracle mustered up a bit of old fashion bravery, approached the big dude with the goatee and eventually slipped the baller a link to his PureVolume. Wild!

The legacy of Miracle Johan is that damn, some guy actually did this. And he did it so good. He inspired me in my own home-recording adventure, reminding us, much like Kevin Garnett did after the Celtics won: ANYTHING IS POSSSSSSSSSIBLEEEEEEEE. Heck, he might have also inspired a Paul Pierce commercial on ESPN. A passion and a sense of humour wins you championships. Scalabrine knew that. Miracle Johan did, too.

To commemorate the Boston Celtics championship run in 2008, to celebrate all of the music that Miracle Johan created since he began the project in 2005, and to optimistically anticipate Banner 18, KLYAM Records is proudly releasing eighteen, four tape box sets of Miracle Johan’s music. Each individual volume/year will be available as well! All of Miracle Johan’s Green 17 and other recordings dating back to the late ‘90s (special shout out to the Hawaii Demos) are streaming on Bandcamp!