Category Archives: Boston Counter Cultural Compass

Fond Experiences @ NEU MF ’14 (Friday, September 5, 2014)

This past weekend, starting September 4th at Club Bohemia and ending on the 6th at Cuisine En Locale, New England Underground Music Festival 2014 took place with dozens of live performances and tables (with records, tapes, and other physically pleasing artifacts) and the focus was NEW ENGLAND. Yep, lots of interesting happenings regularly evolve the participatory culture in this community – and if you don’t know what that means check out the September issue of the Boston Compass for a worthy explanation written by Sam Potrykus. Speaking of which, Sam and Dan Shea, who has long been a foremost advocate of Boston underground arts, deserve some major props for setting up NEUMF 2014 in conjunction with their nonprofit/volunteer organization, the Boston Hassle.

An event like NEUMF is sundry for us KLYAMers; you can usually find us round town at underground R’n’R events of the garage/punk variety so something like NEUMF is a brilliant step away from business as usual into the… unknown. Right on.

As we walk some paces down Highland Ave in an effort to locate Cuisine En Locale (ya gram that place you used to go for baby showers) we finally arrive, greeted by familiar company: members of Nice Guys, Phaze, The Lentils. Most always a fine salute. Then I see Gracie Jackson, the 7:20 PM performa. Aw shit she just finished playing her set! Course I tell her my disenchantment of barely missing her perform with her solo group.  Must have been nice for those who got the privilege.

Walk into the main area, already up and jamming on stage are Soft Eyes. Not like I actually could tell, I mean I did get my eyes checked. Should be wearing those glasses. I step a little closer and recognize hey that’s Luke on guitar. He and crew are serving up some wailing psychedelia, spiraling guitar work with that oh so distinct organ sound. I get more and more into it as the set flows through. The last song is a faster mover in the bunch, bringing me happiness Ty Segall & White Fence style. Luke tells us they got a buncha shows coming, I’m listening!

Next up is Worn Leather who call Connecticut their home. Their three piece punchy punk I hoped would stir up the crowd a bit more, but I enjoyed boppin my head to them, most especially during the guitarist/singer’s axe solos. There are some nice possibilities with solid bass and drum behind ya and he seemed to know that!

Back to that stage that Soft Eyes was on is Lair. I remember Lair markedly well, in fact I could say they were the most memorable group that I saw at NEUMF. A duo – guitar and drums – but that’s simplifying the story. Third member was this looping station thing [i don’t play music I appreciate it it’s probably not called a looping station]. Drummer with headset, guitarist fond of intermittently screaming and talking. Lightning Bolt vibes sometimes, ‘weirder’ but more melodic Guerrilla Toss vibes, and more straight ahead doom and thunder. Lair’s presence did it for me more than the music itself, which I mean ya dawg this is all pretty new to me and maybe hundreds of others. We’ll see!

Next band I peered deep into was Video Nasties. As they’re playing, I’m thinking damn what I am going to say about these guys. I love ’em. Never saw ’em before, never heard of them, but wow I don’t even think I can articulate what I’m hearing! That kinda thing. There was a unique energy to their set – maybe it was the dude who was pacing back and forth dancing. Not just a dude but a singer in the band. I hardly noticed the off-stage microphone until he started speaking into it! Hahaha. No drummer necessary…they got machines for that. Also a dude on synths (who sang, too, I believe) and a tall man guitarist/singer. Their stage presence, clang, and strut like DEVO, maybe a super chilled out Lost Sounds. I was into everything they did. Count me most impressed, keep rockin dudes.

At one time KLYAM delved briefly into the world of Electronic Music courtesy of our Queen’s brother Richard Franke. I am not a rock ‘n roll purist or anti-electronic music… I just happen to really love and prefer raw, fun, exciting, live instrument aided rock ‘n roll music. But I can get down with dance music, finding some sounds pleasing, riveting even, when I hear them. That’s exactly the case with JEROME. I totally dug his mix which I guess some could simply call ‘techno’ but I’ll stick with the term beats. A whole bunch of us were dancing, maybe it looked funny from a far. I dunno, don’t care. Fun times.

The Lentils here we come. Lentil Luke was feeling in a more relaxing mood – he said it himself. And with the aid of Gracie Jackson (guitar) and Ben Katzman (drums) alongside his trusty mate Nehemiah (bass), why not everyone take a seat and bear witness to the mouthy, crisp Velvet autumn reflections of Mister Luke. The way he writes songs, they kinda float along wistfully, and the crew follows along, sprinkling some leads, adding some OoOmph. If Vermont was the United Kingdom, it’s all good! The past couple of inclinations of the band that I saw were harder rockin (they took a seat here too) so a gent like me mighta been surmising something like that but this was a neat surprise and cool to see some familiar faces take part in it.

(New England) Patriots there’s no mistaking them. Leaders of the night pack – they play this late for a reason. Crowd flips a lid like no other band performing this night, moshing, crowd surfing. They’ve seen these guys before. I think. I hadn’t. What? Ya thats crazy. Glad I did. Chaotic, noisy – louder than Bob Kraft’s private jet. They’ve garnered the acclaim of many women and men and in between and I am now involved in their schemes, in the front row, seeing these Pats bounce back and forth. Good exercise doesn’t come without some sweat. Alla Boston’s noise outfits of recent years aren’t just spitting distortion and incoherence, there always be some hooks and candied fun to their game. Pats got that. Special Teams.

Now for the grand finale here. Minibeast featuring Peter Prescott (drummer in Mission of Burma) on guitar/keyboard/effects and a few other musicians on other instruments. Not ya typical rock band – off beam experimentation with some poppier flare now and then. One of those ‘wowza’ live experiences that gets you or me confused in a good kind of way. Throw any and all biases and expectations out the window. Course the night was a little fuzzy at this point!

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.


October Boston Compass Issue Release Show!

Issue #33 is coming soon and what better way is there to celebrate this than to have some good ‘ole bands play at TT The Bears?

That’s right. October 1st is the date. The bands? SKIMASK, Casanovas In Heat, Dolores Boys, and Beach Cops. This is happening at 8 PM.

There will be 15,000 copies they say — so you gotta get one. First hand. And watch good bands.

Concert Review: Fat Creeps, Radio Control, Wet Nurse, Vacation, Ex-Planets @ Starlab (9/14/12)

Artists: Fat Creeps, Radio Control, Wet Nurse, Vacation, ExPlanets
Date: Friday, September 14, 2012
Venue: Starlab (Somerville, MA)
Act I: ExPlanets–  Let me start off by saying, how nice it is to be back in the Starlab! This is KLYAM’s second time here, with our last venture being wayyy back in April 2011- seeing The White Wires from Ottawa, Canada. Great show! I love the look of the Starlab- arcades, couches, and Boston Counter Cultural Compasses hanging around to boot! Check out the KLYAM plug in this month’s compass btw, thanks again guys! The basement itself has to be one of the nicest looking basements I have ever seen. So when the ExPlanets start their set I am feeling pretty good, remembering the fun times I had hear about a year and half ago. For the first few minutes of the band’s set the lights are on, which seems kind of odd, because I have never seen a band perform in a fully lit basement, an intriguing sight, I suppose. The lights begin to dim and everything is back to normal, so to speak. ExPlanets are fun to watch and their sound (at least tonight) reminds me of the aforementioned White Wires as well as the legendary garage rock band The Spaceshits. And no I am not just name dropping Canadian bands I know! They share similar pop sensibilities as these bands, but with a louder, faster delivery. In any case, I plan on further exploring the work of the ExPlanets.

Set List:
Can’t Wait (3 Count)
All You Want
Punch Line
Don’t You
Close The Door
Gutter Blind
Not Going Away
Free To Go
Wrapped Up
Catching Up
Talk About It

Act II: Vacation– Vacation voyaged all the way from Ohio and I am applauding them for making the trek to Boston for this evening’s show. They are a solid band, a lot of fun actually. The spirits amongst the attendees seems to increase during their set as people pogo and chant along to their catchy pop drenched punk tunes. Everyone is having a gay olde time and then suddenly the lights go out and the room is pitch black. I can’t see anything. Next, I hear the words “HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!”  The lights flicker on and one of the Vacation’s guitarists is plastered with a nice l’il birthday cake. Happy Birthday! Fun set!

Act III: Wet Nurse– Florida’s Wet Nurse is the perfect band to follow Vacation and ExPlanets, for they share their predecessors’ taste for balls out, rock ‘n’ roll fun! Their songs are short and catchy; straight to the point, no filler, the way it should be. They definitely appeal to the garage side of me, which is a large chunk of my musical tastes as if this web site could not be further evidence of that. As I am writing this now I am listening to Wet Nurse’s latest offering, Daily Whatever and I am totally digging it! Check it out here:

Set List:

Act IV
: Fat Creeps– The one and only Fat Creeps, one of my favorite bands. NO WAY REALLY?!! I can only imagine someone that visits this site frequently must be thinking that. SHUTTT UP! Anyway, before I drift, it is cool to see these Creeps in a basement again, since I usually see them perform at clubs/bars, I appreciate the change of setting, it’s good to switch things up. Tonight, the trio opens with “Horoscope,” a fine tune from the Fat Creeps EP released last month and a fan favorite at that. Most of the set contains various Creeps classics like “Secrets,” “Nancy Drew,” and my personal fave “700 Parts.” In addition to these vintage tunes, the band unleashes some fresh material in the form of the relatively new “Dad Weed” and a totally new song I am not familiar with at all. Then, the group starts to play a song that seriously fucking rocks and I think to myself “damn, this new Creeps song sounds like The Stooges.” As soon as I recognize the lyrics I realize it is in fact a cover of The Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” Impressive cover to say the least. Speaking of old school punk, my favorite moment in their set is the mini trivia session held in between songs. Vocalist/Bassist Mariam Saleh announces that they are giving away a free beer to anyone that can name Joey Ramone’s real name. Without any hesitation I holler “Jeffery Hyman!” Naturally for providing the correct answer Mariam prestents me with a delicious Narragansett. Thanks again! Moral of the story, go see (and listen) to the Fat Creeps and you can one day be a winner just like me.

Act V
: Radio Control–  This fun filled evening of no bullshit punk rock and roll is capped off by one of Somerville’s sweetest bands, Radio Control. Radio Control is Matt (vocals/guitar) and Kristina (vocals/drums) and together the two create a mish mash of garage, post-punk, and undeniable pop hooks. I hear a lot of The Replacements, especially in Matt’s vocals. In many ways their music feels like it’s a full band, at least to my ears. This is the second time I have seen these cats, with the first being an epic show at the Great Scott on April 2 of twenty twelve, opening for Hunx and His Punx and Heavy Cream. Great show! I dug the pair that time, but this show is even better. An excellent way to close tonight’s festivities.

P.S. RC are super cool people and it is a pleasure to have made their acquaintance, hope to see y’all in the near future! Keep on rockin!