My Favorites Albums From 2014

I’m going to do my best to just stick to full length albums. Here we go in  ABC order..

Thrills Tour
Atlantic Thrills – Atlantic Thrills (Almost Ready) – I’ve been a life long fan of music, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I became enamored with local music. Atlantic Thrills was one of the first bands I gravitated towards and it’s not hard to see why. They capture the punk slime sound we crave better than anyone else in New England and that is fully on display on this long awaited debut LP. Besides the music itself and the commaraderie that comes with it, one of the other great things about seeing a favorite band over and over again is becoming accustomed to their signature songs, so when you finally hear their album it sounds like a greatest hits collection – trust me I mean that in the best way possible. For what it’s worth, the alphabet just happens to work this way, but I’m glad this album is up here first because it is indeed my favorite album of the year. #1. I will say Free Pizza’s Boston, MA is a close second though, but we’ll get there when we get there. Top Song: “Lie To Me”

Aus
Ausmuteants – Ausmuteants (AARGHT) – Yes, I’m aware this is an album from 2013, but I first heard it in 2014, so I said fuck it why not just slap it on there. This will happen at least one more time. Top Song: “Tinnitus”. LISTEN:
 http://ausmuteants.bandcamp.com/album/amusements

Ausm
Ausmuteants – Order Of Operation (Goner/AARGHT) –  I just couldn’t get enough of these Aussies. This is just fun, funny garage pop with some vicious keyboards. It sounds like an 80s new wave band that got mixed up in the garage punk scene. You’ll be singing along to these gems all year. In addition to the kickass music, as with the first record, subject matter always slays me. Just listen to “Publicity Stunts.” Top Song: “Freedom Of Information” http://ausmuteants.bandcamp.com/


Fat Creeps – Must Be Nice (Sophomore Lounge/Gnar Tapes) – Your favorite Creeps are at it again and they’re heavier than ever on their debut full-length LP. I’m naturally biased, so the EP will always be my #1, but this is a solid follow up that won’t disappoint FC fans.  Top Song: “Daydreaming” http://fatcreeps.bandcamp.com/album/must-be-nice

Free Pizzaaa
Free Pizza – Boston, MA (BUFU/Feeding Tube) –The title track says it all. This was/is a local anthem for Boston, specifically the Boston underground music scene. I’d never thought I could embrace any notion of civic pride, but this song actually did it for me and it’s always a pleasure hearing it live. Sad to say these slices recently waved good bye to us for their hometown of Miami :(. At least,  we have the music and the memories. Top Song: “Boston, MA” http://freepizzarocks.bandcamp.com/

Gymshorts
Gymshorts – No Backsies (Self-Released) -This was my kick you in the balls, lay back and smoke, chug a 40 in the alley way, fuck you dad album of 2014. Yes, yes eat all of their gymshirts. Fill those little bellies. Top Song: “HEY PARENTS!”  http://gymshorts.bandcamp.com/

NAP
Juan Wauters – N.A.P. North American Poetry (Captured Tracks) – Let me hip you to something, this kewl kat known as Juan Wauters, you may have seen/heard/spiritually merged with the man before in his previous happening, Jackson Heights, Queens, NY’s #1 The Beets. If you doug (ehhhhhhhhhh) The Beets, then you’ll love Juan solo, you’re wack if you don’t. Dude channels The Beatles, Piero, and Los Mockers – the last two are groups Juan hipped me to. It’s like soft, serene Ramones too, if you’re still not convinced. Gotta rep Queens, even though I’ve only been there three or four times. Top Song: “Sanity” http://juanwauters.com/

The Lemons
The Lemons – Hello, We’re The Lemons (Burger/Gnar Tapes/Tripp Tapes) – Holy shit, definitely one of my new favorite bands. It’s hard to not be happy when you hear/see The Lemons. You’re submerged in this little, Lemons world that’s all gooey and yummy it’s like a Cheerios commercial from 40-50 years ago. There’s no bad feelings. SHORT SHORT songs about lemon limes, candy girls, jelly beans, ice cream, kool aid, Chubby Checker! Picture The Archies, The Monkees, The Partridge Family, I think. Perhaps the sweeter more innocent version of their Gnar brethren, The Memories. It’s all that and it’s super sweet and super short. A little injection of sugary pop. It’s so quick you want it to keep going, but it leaves as quick as it came. It’s that fast high, that five second orgasm, that day you discovered you had five bucks left in your pocket. When life hands you lemons, eat em’ up, eat all the sweets up and get those cavities, it’s worth it.
Believe the hype! Top Song: “My Candy Girl” http://thelemons.bandcamp.com/

Littlefoot
Littlefoot – Night Of The Living Dreams (BUFU) –  2014 was the first time I saw or even heard of Littlefoot. I can remember it like it was just last year. I remember seeing them open the Atlantic Thrills album release show and screaming to Glen HEY! they have that sound I love, it’s like Earth Angel and shit! All of those odes to golden oldies are heavily on display here, Erica is on top of it, she’s done her homework and the extra credit assignment. Surf on some dreamy pop waves with this album. Top Song: “Worrydoll” http://littlefootlittlefoot.bandcamp.com/

Marty
The Marty Kings – XVII (Self-Released) – Yeah, yeah, yeah, this isn’t from 2014. I told you this would come up again and I’m a man of my word. Well, I first heard this thang just this October and it’s too fucking fantastic for me not include it. I was cruising around with those sweet ass Nice Guys and I thunk what the funk is this? It’s so bubblegummy and poppy, but in that raw, off kilterish way I always luv. Those boys informed me that this was the mastmerind Andy Macbain, the man behind Tunnel Of Love and another band you’ll be seeing on here very shortly… Top Song: “Little Arthur”  http://themonsieurs.bandcamp.com/album/xvii

Memories hot
The Memories – Hot Afternoon (Burger/Gnar Tapes) – I had/have a huge boner for last year’s Love Is The Law and it’s lasted longer than four hours. Here we are again in 2014 and the vibes are still groovin’. It’s the same spirit, a bit funkier and even more laid back. If Love’ was the 60s, then Hot is the 70s. Do it up. Top Song: “Dad’s Not Home” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aE_vAq1wRO4

The Monsieurs LP
The Monsieurs – The Monsieurs (Black Gladiator/Slovenly) –  This is pure, primal rock ‘n’ roll slime with a splash of punk and a pinch of pop. Real pop, bubblegummy in your tummy fun. Innocence… well not so innocent. It’s fun to be bad and this is about as badass as it gets. Various Boston garage legends here maintain their reputation and lurk the streets of beantown to fight again and again and again. Top Song: “Kari Ann”  http://slovenly.bandcamp.com/album/the-monsieurs

NOTS
NOTS – We Are NOTS (Goner) – You can never go wrong with Goner. Some kids way back said Memphis was dead, but damn it sure as hell is alive on this record. NOTS is straight up no holds barred fun with violent keyboards to add fuel to the fire. It’s one of those bestial sounds that makes me climb on top of the refrigerator and hop off like I’m five years old again, much to the chagrin of the folks downstairs. TOP SONG: “Insect Eyes” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Yvjewj28wU

The_Orwells_-_Disgraceland
The Orwells – Disgraceland (Atlantic/Canvasback) – I’ve heard a lot of talk about this being too clean and commercial in comparison to their previous LP Remember When. Fair, but honestly it’s not that much cleaner and as far as I’m concerned The Orwells have always been mershy, radio friendly in a way, in a FABULOUS way. These feel like radio songs. Hit songs. One after another (some definitely stronger than others). Even when these dudes were fourteen and trying to sound like Black Lips and Back From the Grave comps, they still sounded rather accessible. You could see what they were going for and how they completely drove past it. That isn’t to say I think they’re better than the Lips or whoever, it’s just that even when they were a garage band they didn’t really sound like one. Whatever it is, they hit it right and they have the songs, the talent, and the live show to back it up. TOP SONG: “Blood Bubbles” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g87QQ4RX_KU

Ty man
Ty Segall – Manipulator (Drag City) – Ty again, big surprise buddy! Yes, Ty is back on my year end lists. There are no surprises here, there shouldn’t be. We rep the shit we love all year long and admittedly most of them fall under similar genres, hail from the same regions, and appear on the the same or similar labels. I’m okay with that, while I always love expanding there is such little time on this planet I intend to spend it with the music I love. As much as I dug Ty’s all acoustic effort in last year’s Sleeper, I’m really happy to see the dude rocking out once again. This is his longest monstrosity to date and while it’s not the same fuzz of early Segall, he maintains his true flavor and destroys. TOP SONG: “Feel” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4VA-b5ORxI

Now hold up, before y’all pack up your shit and leave, I must give a massive shout out to all of the KLYAM Records releases we love and are insanely proud to have put out in 2014. More cumming in 2015….

KLYAM-002: Nice Guys/Miami Doritos Splifft 7″
Nice Guys cover
http://niceguys666.bandcamp.com/album/splifft-7

KLYAM-003: Back Pages Singles 13 TAPE
BackPagesSingles13
http://klyam.bigcartel.com/product/back-pages-singles-13

KLYAM-004: The Electric Street Queens – Live From Your Dreams, We’re The Electric Street Queens TAPE
ESQ-COVER
http://electricstreetqueens.bandcamp.com/

All releases available here: http://klyam.bigcartel.com/, at the the following Boston area record stores: Deep Thoughts in Jamaica Plain, Weirdo Records in Cambridge, and Armageddon Records in Cambridge, and at all KLYAM Presents shows.

That’s all folks!

LP Review: GYMSHORTS – No Backsies

Gymshorts
When I think of the word(s) GYMSHORTS I’m immediately sent back to seventh grade PE – sweaty balls, field hockey, and boys shoving lacrosse sticks up each other’s asses. Puberty is a strange time. I alleviated most of my confusions  and frustrations with music. I listened to the Ramones and Sex Pistols, while the bullies listened to Simple Plan and Sum 41 (losers!) Look at me now, I turned out just fine, writing about rock ‘n’ roll bands like Providence, RI’s own GYMSHORTS. These GYMSHORTS do in fact bring me back to my angst filled teen years, but this time it’s actually fun!

GYMSHORTS fit into what we’re into in the KLYAM “punk slime all of the time” universe. We didn’t just say punk slime 80% of the time, punk slime when you feel like it, no, all of the time. I think these shorts get it. They hang ten on tsunamis, bust balls, stay out late, get high, rob banks, and kill their parents. They lean towards that nasty side of the garage spectrum, a spectrum/genre that has become a large part of New England music. While Atlantic Thrills take care of the fuzzy bubblegum pop, Ravi Shavi shakes your soul, kids like New Highway Hymnal and TeleVibes scrape through your brain with their blistering psych noise, GYMSHORTS continue the garage trend that Nice Guys and Miami Doritos have embodied – scummy, surly stoner rock that doesn’t give a fuck if you care about them or not. “I Wanna get highhhh and I wanna get stonedddd” See, I didn’t even know there was a difference.

No Backsies! – ohh yeah that’s the name of the album, in case you can’t read headliners – is a nine song, consistent kick in the ass, a barrage of surfy, screeching garage skunk. The music isn’t pretty or easy on the ears in any way, but it’s also not noise either. The band has their shit together, they aren’t falling apart or tripping over each other, or whatever. Perhaps, they decided to save the brown acid for another day.

GYMSHORTS aren’t doing anything revolutionary here, but who is? Some dude somewhere with a lacrosse stick up his ass doing a handstand and singing the blues. The miserable blues. And that brings me to my last point before I fucking crash. I want to go out on a strong note, I understand we all have lives outside of my ‘reviews’, I’m a professional.

MY POINT about GYMSHORTS  and the ‘garage’ tag that gets slapped on their asses is that this music, despite all it’s angst and anger (the very kind I shared as a child), and lurid subject matter, it is ultimately fun and entertaining and that’s what good rock ‘n’ roll should be.There’s not enough time to be miserable and depressed, wondering why that little squeeze from down the street isn’t fucking you. This is time you could spend learning how to play pool, until you become the greatest pool player of all time, so much so that there are now lines of people waiting to fuck you that are so long that they begin all the way down the street at that little squeeze’s door step. And on the jukebox they will be blasting GYMSHORTS – “I WANT TO GO TO BEDDDDD!!!” Me too. Goodnight!

“I used to hate the smell of sweaty ball Gymshorts in the morning, now it’s the smell of victory!” – Matthew 19:19… HEY MOM, HEY DAD! THE GYMSHORTS ARE GOING ON TOUR. HOLY FUCK! NO WAYYYY…

Gymshorts tour
Tour with Vulture Shit. Check it all out here including their stop at SXSW https://www.facebook.com/events/219222644932963/

Review: Bellwire – “summEP”

Bellwire – you might not know them now, but you might soon. They’re from New Hampshire, but will be calling Allston home in a little while. They’ve put on their [Bandcamp] a three song EP called summEP. So I checked it out and I like what they’re doing. Remember Afroman? Me neither, but to me Bellwire’s EP is like him producing that no longer existent Vice surf band, Japanese Motors. A cheesy combination on paper and one I’m still not entirely comfortable publishing, but let me get to the bottom of things. “The Bell Hop” is quirky rock ‘n roll – a style that I’ll keep praising as long as the practitioners keep things fresh. There’s borrowing and twisting of surf, Pavement, and punk. The other two songs, “Leaky Seams” and “Sunsick on Fisher Street,” venture into powerpoppy regions of sound yet maintain keen levels of freakishness in the vocals in the former and the latter is a modern update of “I Want Candy” (Strangeloves, not Bow Wow; I know I name dropped Afroman).  I’m curious about this band now. They seem like they’re having a good time.

 

klyamrecommended

Classic Album Review: The Reatards – Teenage Hate (1998)


Band: The Reatards
Label: Goner
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.

LP Review: “Zoo Traffic” (Yankee Power)

Artist: Yankee Power
Release Date: August 21, 2012
Track list :
1) Adopted Love Doll
2) Swing
3) Wrong Kind
4) Given Into Contrary
5) Dr. Daisy
6) Fuzz Minisery
7) Because It’s Hard
8) Stray
9) Real Folk
10) Modern Change
11) Shiver Of Sharks
12) Dear Old Friend
13) Two Quarters
14) Open Breast

Comments: I met half of Yankee Power in the year Two Thousand and Six. Mr. Tom Calvert (guitar/vocals) and Mr. CJ Kanouff (drums) were WHSTV production icons, legends. So, when I heard that these dudes were unleashing some jams, I had to see what all the fuss was about. Now, we are in the year Two Thousand and Twelve, and just recently I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Jeff Gallagher (guitar/vocals), who is nothing but a straight shooter, a real charming man. I have yet to meet Mr. Mark Fallon (Bass/Vocals), but I am confident he is an upstanding gentlemen.
Okay now, I listen to a lot of music, way too much music. In fact, as I am writing this, my ears are splitting because I have been blasting tunes on my ipod and from my computer all day. I can’t live without it, and with this I have come to accept that I will be deaf before I’m fifty (hopefully, hopefully not thirty), but I’m optimistic that by that time technology will bring all sorts of fun gadgets to keep my musical intake flowin’. Working on this site, I certainly come across TONS of bands, but few are as diverse as Yankee Power. That’s not a stock line, that’s the truth.  Zoo Traffic is a colorful album filled with all sorts of styles, it constantly switches up its sound, yet maintains an overall distinct character, unique to Yankee Power.

The opener, “Adopted Love Doll,” (which is accompanied by a hilarious video that can be seen below) is a savage, powerhouse, quasi-heavy metal pop song that brings to mind everyone from Andrew W.K. to Alice In Chains (especially in some of the vocals) to many of the garage/party rock bands we champion on this site. Point being, ‘Love Doll’ is a fast rocker, guaranteed to get you headbanging and fist pumping or else you’ve sniffed too much glue and should perhaps stay at home next Saturday night. Definitely a contender for my new alarm clock; the song just has that let’s get up and go! motivational quality to it. I also can’t forget to mention the outstanding drum work of CJ Kanouff – simple, but the song’s driving force for sure.

The next number, “Swing,” is a dramatic change of pace in which the band slows things down a bit.  On “Swing,” we hear a much more folk/country oriented sound for the band, which appears frequently throughout this album. I truly appreciate the vocals of Jeff Gallagher, the dude has an amazing voice, but what I really dig is his range. Just like the band’s overall sound, Jeff’s vocals are never quite the same – track by track. He is able to scream and shout, like on the album opener, and yet on other songs, such as “Dear Old Friend,” his voice is soothing and soft, drawing comparisons to John Lennon and Paul Simon, at least to me.

But, Jeff isn’t the only top notch singer here. Often fellow guitarist Tom Calvert delivers some fantastic vocals as well. My favorite song with Tom’s lead vocals is the country fueled ballad, “Real Folk,” which I find equally humorous and sincere, and I mean that in the best possible way. It reminds me of Ween in this manner, which is awesome because Ween is incredible. Two great moments on Zoo Traffic include dual vocals from Jeff and Tom on “Wrong Kind” and “Stray.” In a sane world, the latter would be a top 40 hit. But, that’s whatever… music charts are silly and irrelevant. “Stray” is a beautiful pop song and one of the catchiest I’ve heard all year. Just further evidence of how powerful these songs really are. I must have listened to “Stray” at least forty or fifty times by now, maybe more (time I could have spent selecting the president and other political scum, completing homework assignments, wacking off [well, moreso anyway], among other wholesome activities.) But, NO! this song just hooked me in and won’t let me go.

Another cut that runs deep, so deep, so deep, puts her ass to sleep, is “Because It’s Hard,” sung by bassist Mark Fallon.  This ditty is a total stand out and is the unofficial Amish Anthem. Whenever I hear this, folksy, Celtic  Poguesian tune, I picture images of Amish men and women, and children smiling, laughing, working, and reflecting the light they have come to know. This year, I am blasting this song on repeat during Thanksgiving Dinner, just for the Amish. Amish Rock. Amish Core 2015, get on that bro.

I can’t recommend Yankee Power’s Zoo Traffic enough; I have had a real pleasure excessively listening to and reviewing this puppy. I can truly say this album opened up my tastebuds, which is a rare feat as some miscreants have noted in the past. This LP is definitely a twenty twelve gem and continues the trend I’ve noticed with other twenty twelve favorites of mine (Fat Creeps, The Barbaras, etc.) which is basically creating such strong songs that when you listen to the music it feels more like a greatest hits compilation than simply one album. My next mission in life is to see all the Yankee Power hits on the live stage! To quote the Sneaky Pinks, I can’t wait.

Check out their music here! http://theyankeepower.bandcamp.com/

LP Review: Barbaras 2006-2008

Artist: The Barbaras
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Label: Goner
Track List:
1) Day At the Shrine
2) Heaven Hangs
3) Grief Touches Everyone
4) Topsy Turvy Magic
5) Superball
6) Only One
7) Breathing Underwater
8) Devour the Jungle Deer
9) Grey Eggs
10) Flow
11) Why Should I Love You?
12) Bluebirds
13) How Many Times
14) Summertime Road
15) Annual Botanical

Comments: Two years ago my ears had the pleasure of hearing both The Barbaras and The Magic Kids for the first time. The latter gained national attention/critical acclaim with the release of their debut LP Memphis, but sadly few have ever heard of the former. Which is a shame because the Magic Kids are basically the product of the Barbaras, at least that’s one way to look at it. In the time since then, I have often YouTube’d Barbaras songs and viddied thee old live clip or two. I fell in love with these songs, the few of them that were available, but I wanted more. Now in 2012, the Barbaras album I and so many other weirdo Memphis pop creeps have been anticipating has finally arrived. I honestly never thought I would see the day.

Okay, let’s get to the record itself. It’s beefed up that’s for sure. In my mind, I envision members Billy Hayes, Stephen Pope, Will McElroy, Bennett Foster, and Alex Gates hopping on stage with tremendous, roid induced muscles- like pro wrestlers.  That’s what this LP is- Barbaras beefed up. Anything you’ve heard before, it’s bigger – with the help of  producers Jay Reatard and Alicja Trout, I must add. And you can definitely see where Jay’s production style plays a role in this record.  Songs like “Day At The Shrine,” “Grief Touches Everyone,”  and “Devour the Jungle Deer” possess that fast paced, hard hitting drum quality. It’s honestly like hearing another Jay record at some moments. Oh and I should mention, for you sad folks that are unaware, Billy is the former drummer for Jay Reatard’s live backing band and former drummer for Wavves; Stephen is the former bassist for Jay live and current bassist for Wavves. These aren’t mere accomplishments for the resume, oh no, they are all intertwined.

On this record, you can hear the similarities in all three bands. In particular, in the eccentric songwriting of Billy Hayes. Tracks like “Grey Eggs” and “Why Should I Love You?” are reminiscent (for me as a listener) of Billy’s main songwriting contributions on Wavves’ King of the Beach (2010) – “Convertible Balloon” and “Baby Say Goodbye.” Billy creates his own world with these songs,  and I’m constantly reminded of old school Nintendo video games,  just lying around with a Nintendo in my room. In general, Billy’s vocals play a big role here, but he is certainly not the only one. Pretty much all the guys lay down some nasty vocals, and the singing is probably the highlight for me. This is where I best hear the Beach Boys/Phil Spector references everyone makes. Of course, you really can’t not listen to this and not walk away with those feelings. Specifically, some of my favorite moments are when the band unabashedly mimics a 60’s favorite. The very Beach Boys esque  “buh bub bub buh” in “Topsy Turvy Magic,” the girl group stylings of “Breathing Underwater,” the doo woppy vocals in “How Many Times,” or the epic, insanely layered, psychedelic Beatles 1967 ode “Annual Botanical” that closes the album.

So yeah, Barbaras are obviously heavily influenced by the music of the 60s, but they take this music and subvert it with their own bizarre, demented personalities, which is a key factor in why this band outshines most of their contemporaries. They are derivative, yet they carve out their own distinct character and in that way no one can say they sound like anyone else, past or present.

LP Review: “Twins” (Ty Segall)

Release Date: 10-9-2012
Label: Drag City

Comments: There are a few ways to examine Twins, which amounts to be Ty Segall’s sixth solo album. One approach would be to first make note that this is the third musical project of 2012 that has the Ty Segall name slapped on it in some form. The other approach would ignore those releases and treat this as the follow-up to 2011’s Goodbye Bread. The former approach seems to work best with Twins. Without having Ty Segall Band’s Slaughterhouse in mind, I am pretty sure several people (whose last Ty listening experience is Goodbye Bread) would be confused with Twins – whoa, Ty became 90% incapacitating guitar riffs? Sure, Goodbye Bread featured some real jams – “You Make The Sun Fry,” “My Head Explodes,” to name two, and 2010’s Melted is full o’ fuzz, but the difference is that Twins does a significantly more noticeable attempt at getting to the heart of the song – fast and with little left to spare. Slaughterhouse did this exceptionally well and it does seem like Ty had some similar ideas in mind in the crafting of Twins. There’s that fuzz pedal and that guitar solo – which we heard about well before this release.

“Thank God For Sinners” is an an affirmation that Ty is going full throttle again. Then there’s the fastest song on the record, “You’re The Doctor,” with increasingly dynamite fuzz, layers of solo, and some drumming that must have reminded Ty of his old days pounding on the “Skin” recording. Fans of older Ty (which is weird to say given the man’s youth) might be even more receptive to “Inside Your Heart,” which has some piano, but some mid-song jamming that is just three words away from Slaughterhouse “Tell Me What’s Inside Your Heart.” The thing that I love about Ty is that he is not quite recycling old riffs and song structures – he is innovative. Like having Brigid Dawson sing on “The Hill” while a rampage is going on in the background. Twins poppiest moments at this point come on “Would You Be My Love.” The bass-line is killer and the general sludge that probably doesn’t only have me thinking Nirvana. Only on “Ghost” does Ty restrain himself from the kind of electric indulgence that is apparent on the previous five tracks. The result is mixed, but that is hardly a knock. “They Told Me Too” is the opposite sounding – Ty feasts himself on his effects pedals. “Love Fuzz” is another pop oriented tune – it would not be out of place before or after a Black Keys number on the radio. The fuzz comes in the form of a repetitive rhythm section, bolstering the onslaught of the lead near the end. I got to give a shout out to “Handglams” for going the extra distance. Ty had done a similar thing vocally/stylistically with “I Am With You” from Goodbye, but here he really cranks things up and departs from that nicey nicey entrance, adding some good stuff in there that we just haven’t really heard from the man. Acoustic guitar and no drums make up “Gold On The Shore” before Ty finishes things with “There Is No Tomorrow,” a mid-tempo closer.

With Twins, there is not as much cohesion in sound here as on Hair, Slaughterhouse, or maybe even any Ty release post-Lemons. Ty has reached new levels of sonic exploration, though, and it is abundantly clear that he can really do the heavy almost pseudo-metal stuff just as well as the slower tempo output. There are several tunes on Twins that are the most ‘this’ or the most ‘that’ in the grand scheme of Ty Segall. As I have expected on more than one occasion this year, I expect a broader crowd to be turned onto Ty.  It’s not like the stuff he did before 2012 did not lend itself to more ears, but his music is proving he is not a mere ‘garage wunderkind’ – which seems to be a pretty damn awesome thing to be in itself! It seems fairly fitting that NME [9 out of 10] and the like are giving their high praise – maybe they have not seen a dude like this since Alex Turner (who has name dropped Ty as someone whose stuff he is really into). But Turner can’t say he has released three fantastic albums in a seven month span. Nor can too many musicians at all.

Classic Album Review: The Final Solutions – Disco Eraser (2003)


Artist: The Final Solutions
Year: 2003
Label: Misprint
Tracklist:
1) Deep Six
2) Bottom Of The Chain
3) I See You On A Path
4) Eat Shit, Hologram
5) No Final Solution
6) Need Me
7) I Can’t Sing Through My Fuzz Pedal
8) Electrofied
9) Disco Eraser
10) Russian Interpreter
11) Not Good
12) You Make Me Laugh
13) Die In The City
14) 40 Licks

Comments: Expecting Disco? You boring fucks! Well yes sir, Disco Eraser that is. The 2003 LP released by Jay Reatard side project- The Final Solutions. I bet you weren’t expecting a review in 2012 however. Why now you may ask. Well, this week KLYAM and friends will be attending the Boston screening of the Jay doc Better Than Something and I want to see everyone there! And if you are not a Boston denizen then hit up a local theater when the flick hits your town. So, in honor of this great event I decided to review a Jay record and with this being my most recent listen, why not? Here it goes…

I have always been one to judge a book (in this case an album) by its cover. Here we see five gentlemen standing outside a brick building just hanging around pounding back some Busch Lights. And that’s the feel of this record for me.  It’s very much a “let’s get shitty and jam” kinda record. No real female touch involved.  There’s an odd masculine (not macho) presence throughout most of Jay’s work and I certainly see it here. Just a bunch of dudes having fun and getting rowdy, but with instruments. Jay under the psudonym “Jimmie Jewlz” and his cronies (Quinn, Tommy, Justice, and Zac) mix together the raw, trashy sound of The Reatards with the more experimental, synth heavy style of the Lost Sounds (in fact fellow Lost Sound Alicja Trout co-produced the album with Jay). This is a fine piece of punk slime, the punk slime we champion on this site. Final Solutions definitely fill your little bellies with dark, vicious jam after jam. Nearly each song is under the two minute mark. The band cuts out any hint of filler, which truly makes the listener have a hard time hating this thing. And if you’re like me you already get a stiffy anyway when you hear most Jay recordings. Purchasing this record is the sonic equivalent of paying for a scantily clad woman to toss you around the room for twenty minutes, beating you mercilessly with each punch representing a new song. The opening track, “Deep Six” certainly wraps its noose around your neck and sets the tone for the rest of the record. Fast, futuristic, and instantly stuck in your skull. It smoothly translates into “Bottom  Of The Chain” a powerhouse song that is extremely catchy and diabolical, leading us to the LP’s greatest moment, “I See You On a Path.” The latter is a true pop gem, and though this album has loads of hooks, this track is a standout that foreshadows Jay’s incredible talents as a pop musician (however Tommy is actually the main songwriter on this song). The “oohhhhhoohwoooo” vocals are insane! coupled with the simple drum work, it doesn’t get any better. Then of course there’s classic Jay mantras in songs such as “Eat Shit, Hologram” where lead vocalist Zac Ives constantly declares “EAT SHIT!!!” Poor Hologram. One of my favorite tracks is the humorous, “I Can’t Sing Through My Fuzz Pedal,” which kicks off with some poorly recorded vocals that are naturally fitting. Not every song is a knock out, but like I said earlier these numbers are so brief, there’s not enough time to dislike them, you just go a long for the ride. There’s nothing earth shattering on this record and it pretty much sticks with the same sound/style, but it’s a fucking awesome sound and the whole band destroys.  I will make one exception actually. The final song “40 Licks” feels pleasantly out of place- it’s like an 80’s pop song. It’s really cool though – not a pussy song – I assure you no wavers out there. I have a burning desire to sync it up with that club scene in  The Terminator when Arnold finally finds Sarah Connor and he pushes through all the dancers in slo-mo! So yeah, a solid album from The Final Solutions – absolutely one of Jay Reatard’s greatest musical contributions, not quite as amazing as his later output, but certainly worthy of (high) recommendation. This shit has incredible replay power; I’ve listened to it three times while writing this review!

Album Review: Putrifiers II (Thee Oh Sees)


Band:
Thee Oh Sees
Release:
September 18, 2012
Label:
In The Red

Comments: Thirteen albums deep, Thee Oh Sees made me think: just what will their next album sound like? If there were any indications before we got to preview some of the songs, it was that this was not a full band album. It was primarily written by John Dwyer in the role of multi-instrumental captain with help from long-time engineer Chris Woodhouse (drums) and Mikal Cronin (sax) just to name two. Dwyer’s done this before; actually, just last year with Castlemania. I love Castlemania’s wildly psychedelic moments and distinctive tape production. With the longest song clocking in at 3 minutes and 20 seconds, that record stands in contrast to the full band’s lengthy inclinations on Carrion Crawler/The Dream. With Putrifiers II, it sounds like Dwyer is interested in trying some new things, but with a keen remembrance of past successes. On the opener, “Wax Face,” I think of Carrion Crawler/The Dream, with its buzzing bass-line, fast pace, and array of effects for Dwyer’s guitar playing. The one thing that stands out on this track and stays that way for the rest of the album is Dwyer’s vocals. Dwyer doesn’t seem to be straining himself too much, just letting melodies stand as most distinct and the vocals as a creepy, yet squeaky clean and well-mixed after-thought. “Hang A Picture” is more Castlemania than Carrion, thanks to that acoustic guitar that Dwyer likes to bring out on record sometimes. It’s also easy to get lost in the sea of instrumentation. You might miss some horns if you aren’t paying attention. The fuzz sounds like a synthesizer, maybe it is, maybe it is.  “So Nice” is a stand-out track for me. “Remember a day when fat kids got high? A light twisted sky enlightening me.” With a Velvet Underground styling (eastern influence and all — is that a viola?), this song marches along, sounding much briefer than its near 4 minutes. Ya wouldn’t know this on record though with “Cloud #1” serving as a continuation/instrumental. “Flood’s New Light” – which has just made the online media rounds, receiving very high praise – seems to channel the supreme energies that resulted in Help, the 2009 release that had some “ba-ba-ba-ba-ba” hooks to its own credit! You might even stop and think, ‘wait is that King Khan and the Shrines?’ at the beginning. I did. By “Putrifiers II,” Dwyer’s talent becomes abundantly clear. He makes some strange music (with some strange titles and some strange album art), but can so easily craft an identifiable pop gem, which I’d say this title track is. The flute and saxophone parts toward the close of the track are superb additions and slightly surprising – I wasn’t sure if Dwyer would break out into a full-out jam or some experimentally savvy finish or something of that nature. “Will We Be Scared” has me thinking Atlas Sound in more ways than one: 1) vocals (namely!) and 2) that old timer chord progression. Still, though, “Will” is distinctively Oh Sees, credit some extra psychedelic moments and choice picking. If I could see the band perform any of these Putrifiers II live, I’d bet “Lupine Dominus” would be one of them. It’s as ‘complete’ as they come on this record. It surprises me when it ends. “Goodbye Baby” is an odd-duck, culled from a long line of brief ’60s pop songs. “Wicked Park” is much the same way, but is just about a perfect closer. That acoustic guitar makes a comeback and for me I imagine Dwyer just strumming along on someone’s abandoned back porch. Just fun loving stuff that might serve as a nightcap to bizarre entertainment. With Putrifiers II, I feel like there will be a new breed of listeners that are just starting to get into Thee Oh Sees, perhaps because they caught them live after going to a show with a friend or saw the name on some high capacity music site. I sure hope they take this album for what it is — a few left and right turns within a familiar framework of past work. Great, awesome, cool, whatever, I feel it’s necessary to end this review with the mindset of how it started. What will #15 sound like? Not that it matters because I sense this will be getting many spins throughout the fall.

Top Three Tracks:
(1) Putrifiers II
(2) Will We Be Scared
(3) Flood’s New Light

Album Review: Ty Segall Band – “Slaughterhouse”


Band:
Ty Segall Band
Label:
In The Red Records
Release:
6/2012

Comments: It would be reasonable for a KLYAM reader at this moment to think to themselves, “damn, they’re all about Ty Segall lately!” We aren’t secretly working for Ty, by the way. It’s just been that what the guy has been doing lately is nothing short of incredible. Slaughterhouse, as many of you may know, is the work of Ty’s live band, which in addition to he, includes Emily Rose Epstein (drums), Mikal Cronin (bass), and Charlie Mootheart (guitar). Technically speaking, this is the band’s first studio release. (There is a 2011 complete band live album called Live In Aisle 5.)

It’s hard to tell exactly how this record was produced. In many ways, it sounds like a ‘everyone ready? 1-2-3-4!!!’ click and record effort. The depth and clarity of each instrument is something else. Getting back to the record itself, I find it fascinating to look at this from a loose concept record whose name tells all angle. You think Slaughterhouse and you don’t think of a sunny afternoon walk in the town common. It’s more like the guitars and all associated effects are no longer producers of music, but are more like intelligently crafted guns. Even Ty’s vocals aren’t at all like the Ty that we’ve heard from the beginning. He’s vicious, carefree, and destructive. He screams and he says ‘fuck yeah’ and ‘fuck this fucking song’! The songs themselves don’t fall far from the creators’ tree. The band is on the same page as Ty and the three of them, well they don’t give a flying fuck either. Some might say well “Fuzz War” is just a loada shit noises and random chords. I would’ve said that two years ago. If you look at this from a macro perspective, it’s almost a perfect ending. We start with “Death” and work backwards to when the mayhem began. (Don’t go back and listen to every song in the reverse order — though that might actually be interesting to some… including myself.) At this point you might be thinking, so what’s the best song on this thing? Well it’s “Wave Goodbye”. I believe [after much deliberation] that “Wave” is the best thing that Segall has done to date. It’s a perfectly crafted song. From start to finish, it’s a monster. You know Ty’s up to no good when he starts off “I went to churches and I went to school, I played by all of your mother’s rules”. That solo never gets old, either. The pounding of Emily Rose Epstein. Mikal and Charlie. Man. “Wave Goodbye” is so supreme that it sort of leaves you wanting to compare the other songs to past Ty efforts. But you will find that you can not simply do that. Even the 1 minute 30 second “Muscle Man” most effortlessly can compete with the fuzziest and loudest there is on Melted. Speaking of loud and fuzzy.

Where to go from here with that. Friggin “That’s The Bag I’m In” slaps “Muscle Man” around with its dick. You can’t help but smile when Ty instructs “extra fast” on the “Diddy Wah Diddy” cover. Ty and Charlie get extra giddy at times on that song and Ty. Funny dude. “I got a car with wheels. Who fuckin’ cares? Fuck this fuckin’ song. DIDDY WAH DIDDY…Wait, rewind it, let’s go again!” This is a tight band.  If we care to backtrack a bit, we can talk about some of the other tracks. “I Bought My Eyes” is insane. Some people who prefer damaging aural attacks might say this is the front-runner of them all. It sort of is. The other contender is “Tell Me What’s Inside Your Heart.” First. Any coincidence that they’ve been playing “Eyes,” “Wave Goodbye,” and Tell Me” live? They must love them long time too, right? If songs were people (as I often make the comparison), who would win in a 5k running race, “Eyes” or “Tell Me”? If you are a Melted purist, you might be more of “The Tongue” type (though that means you could be an “Imaginary Person” or “Caesar” purist…cover your ears, kids…and this isn’t an insult, those are my favorite songs, too). Or maybe you like yourself some “Oh Mary,” which indeed is a Ty Segall cover. And by Ty Segall cover, I mean one guitar/two drums one-man band 2009 style. This time around, Ty’s vocals sound nearly identical, but the instrumentation is more bopping, controlled, and clearer. Controlled chaos. I’ve seen it listed sometimes as “Mary Ann,” which either is a mistake of journalists or a purposeful re-branding made for an onslaught of first-time amateur Ty listeners. Let’s go to the bottom of Slaughterhouse.

I was about to say this is Ty’s best release. I’m not sure if it is entirely appropriate to say that though. I can’t imagine too many record reviewers have asked what the roles were of John Hassall and Gary Powell in the making of Libertine records. I don’t have any liner notes in front of me (still waiting for the record to arrive in physical form) so I feel bad coming to any conclusions and giving misinformed credits. I know the band has switched up instruments live and they are all capable of doing that kind of thing. Did it happen on Slaughterhouse? Either way, this really is a special record. This is only the beginning of my experience with it. I can’t wait to drop the needle for the first time and hear the first screeches of “Death” and the final barrage of noise on “Fuzz War”. And everything in between. Right now, I’m going to place it ahead of Hair, which I raved about. Like most great rock and roll, I can see this being under-appreciated. Maybe people aren’t on the same wavelength as I am about the capabilities of these four, but it’s really something that ought to be examined. Excellent!