First things first – a big thank you to our pal Scott from TeleVibes for giving me a lift to the show and, before that, tipping off that there was a show happening at the bustling Thieves Grotto. Chris has compared this basement gem to a mini Great Scott. I like that description. This particular show – a little less than a week before Christmas – was not the super packed, sweaty, raging teen/young adult festivity of yesteryear BUT it was a fun time.
Wakes is big man on campus, big man in big basement Tim Oxton singing and slinging guitar with Hadden Stemp on guitar, Amelia Gormley on keys and J Cole on drums. Count me in as a supporter of this crew. The reverby guitars are real urban, real existential. Tim’s deep narratives reach massive pinnacles during the choruses of practically every tune here. These are the memories you don’t have. A cool core of the tunes remind me of speedy mid 2000s Walkmen, some of the more underwatery jams go in a Beach Fossils direction. Quite honestly though Wakes’ Feral Youth is a monster recording – the first two tracks ‘specially, “Widows” in my deranged musical comprehension has some parts reminiscent of BLITZKRIEG BOP. Think maybe Tim figured out what I meant. The more you know the less you understand. Some times lil self-descriptors are off but LATE NIGHT MUSIC rocks this crew’s roll. ENJOY ON BC
As you know Kal Marks are typically a sludgy, beastly pop trio but him or it has also been/is a lone dude, Carl, you know the singer the guy with that instantly recognizable voice. Tonight, it is solo Kal Marks and for me anyway the performance is just as fine as the whole schabang. This is a sit down electric affair, pedals and all, the songs arranged/done somewhat differently than the album cuts. Best way I can put watching this set is like a perfect flow from song to song, including some of the Piss of the Century that I positively fanned on about a couple of years ago and ending with Life is Murder from Life is Murder the big boy juggernaut jam that might be five amazing parts or songs in one. The quiet lonely ending from this solo doing turning itself into a whispering or silent sing-a-long for the un-initiated. Happy to see Kal Marks going strong since seeing ’em at the ole Problem House with Peach Kelli Pop. ENJOY ON BC
FAST APPLE presents: Nice Guys, Kal Marks, Miami Doritos, Buttercup Date: Monday, March 17, 2014 Venue: Charlie’s Kitchen (Cambridge, MA)
I haven’t been taking care of my show “reviews” the way I should be. You can call me out on it, you can pinch my nipples extra hard when you see me next. Extra hard. So, here’s a show from a few weeks back.
Buttercup – Aww, look at the cute little buttercup, aww. Nope, not these guys. They’ll eat you up and tear you a new asshole. Tear you three. Buttercup is Nathan (guitar/vocals) and Lee (drums) of local favorites Saralee. This performance is a departure from the soft, serene pop of Saralee. Buttercup is blistering noise without a hint or care for melody or pop. With that being said, their song “Fucked You In My Car” has stuck to me for the last few weeks. It’s sticky.
Miami Doritos – The Miami Doreets are back in Boston! These Doreets just got back from a slammin’ tour with fellow rough riders NICE GUYS and they aren’t even stopping for a breather.
I first saw Miami Doritos last July and in the subsequent months I have come to adore everything about them. Which is actually funny because I often have a hard time describing the band to people. Mad people (I don’t know why they are so maddd) will go up to me and say “hey, what’s up with these doritos? Are they really from Miami? What’s going on? Who am I?” I don’t know what to tell them, but here’s a shot. Musically, this vocals/guitar/drums based two piece, are a rough mixture of bizarre garage punk and screechy noise pop. It’s not all brutality though, they are a fun, charming bunch of ragamuffins.
I’ve never been to Charlie’s before. I know, it’s whack, but I also have never lived in the city. It’s a tight venue and the place is bumpin’, bumpin’ to the doreets in all their wacky goodness. For more wacky goodness. Hit up their bandcamp: http://miamidoritos.bandcamp.com/
Kal Marks – Kal Marks is a straight up epic band. It’s hard not to get swept away in this group’s overwhelming sound and emotion. They have almost a classic rock feel to them, but not in a cheesy or pretentious way.
I’ve seen Kal Marks several times over the years, but this is the first time my brother has seen them and he’s going nuts and he’s not the only one. Alas, we have to depart earlier than expected on this evening and aren’t able to catch the full set :(. In time, we’ll catch you again Kal. http://kalmarks.bandcamp.com/
Nice Guys – The name ain’t a misnomer! Listen to them here: http://niceguys666.bandcamp.com/ and seriously pick up a copy of the Nice Guys/Miami Doritos Splifft 7″ from KLYAM Records!
Well, look what we have here. Boston behemoths Kal Marks are heading out on tour next month and you’d be a fool and a communist if you missed it. They are one of Boston’s greatest exports. See for yourself. http://kalmarks.bandcamp.com/
04/17 UTICA NY @ The DEV
04/18 Kent OH. @ The Stone Tavern
04/19 Louisville KY @ Astro Black
04/20 Carbondale IL. @ The Swamp
04/21 Milwaukee WI. @ House show TBA
04/22 Chicago Il. @ Situations
04/23 Kalamazoo MI @ Milhouse
04/24 Athens OH @ Lobsterfest
04/25 Buffalo NY @ Jungle Gym
04/26 Brooklyn NY @ Death By Audio
BUT WAIT I FORGOT: If you’re in the Boston area and looking for something to do on St. Patrick’s Day you can catch the band at Charlie’s Kitchen (Cambridge) playing alongside KLYAM Records’ starlets Nice Guys and Miami Doritos (fresh off a two week tour) as well as Buttercup, whom I am not familiar with, but I’m sure is as delicious as its name.
And what the hey, here’s a video of Kal Marks playing at Mill 5 in Lowell. Shot by Steve “Rat” Albert.
Bands: Potty Mouth, Malatese, Kal Marks, DB Cooper Date: Friday, January 31, 2014 Venue: Craft House/ Crab Haus (Medford, MA)
We KLYAMERS scramble around Tufts University looking for this place for a good while until we finally see a big van with musicians unloading equipment outside of it. This is the place. I love these little clues when you’re searching for the right house that’s holding the show. I remember one time I overheard some dude respond to the doorman’s donation request with “hey man, this PBR 40 is all I have on me.” That always killed me, cause I knew right away this is the place.
I’ve never been to a show here before, but it looks like a lot of fun. A living room is packed with college kids, blowing off steam after a long, hard week of working and/or partying. It’s a relatively decent space and in fact there’s a camera set up on a tripod in the back of the room, catching all of the evening’s activity. I feel like this space is a much cleaner version of what the Die Slaughterhaus (Atlanta house venue, early double ohhs) must have been like. Ohh God, I would have killed to have caught just one Black Lips basement show in 2001 or 2005 or whenever. At least, I am here now and that’s all that matters. I am just going to sit back, wet my whistle, and let DB Cooper do all the work.
DB Cooper (formerly known as Dumpster Banana) – DB Cooper. Never heard of him or them before, but supposedly he or they are local Tufts legends. Before the show started I was informed that DB has elements of Husker Du in em’ and I can kind of see that, perhaps earlier, more hardcore driven Du, for there is plenty of fast, testosterone droolin’ grit to the DB Cooper band. I’ll point to fellow Minneapolis, alt rock losers ( and by loser I mean winners) The Replacements as a means of comparison. There’s that party hardy, loud, fast punk element, but there’s also a softer side with a heart to them. In fact, one of the songs is introduced as their “Replacements song.”
DB surely keeps the kids rocking as a tornado of smelly, perspiring bodies slam back and forth into each other at a rapid pace, crashing right into me as I stand in the back of the room on a tiny couch, trying to knock back as many bud lights as I can; I’m trying to catch up with you kids, but don’t knock over my damn beer! Makes me sad, I am no longer in college :(.
I have mixed feelings about DB Cooper. A part of me likes that Husker, Replacements vibe and just the sheer animal quality of their performance. Then again, I feel like, it’s sort of emo, death metaly high school stuff I am not too fond of, it could go either way. It’s fun, but not something I’d go out of my way to see again.
Kal Marks – Kal Marks is just the band I came to see. I fancy myself somewhat of a garage punk nut, though I don’t claim to be an expert or anything, but Kal Marks is one of the few contemporary bands I really dig that doesn’t fall under that category. Their songs may be bleak and brutally honest, but the band still rocks with so much vigor, it’s hard not to get excited when they play. Most of the songs are also quite catchy, but not in a cutesy or bubbly way. It’s all genuine, powerful, and ultimately profound.
For Kal’s set, I make sure I get a nice spot right up front, just inches away from the performers. It’s a packed crowd and like the first band, there’s a solid crowd response with lots of moshing and such. I’m actually surprised I’m able to stand up front the whole time without flying straight into the drum set.
As far as the songs go, there’s a lot of terrific material on display, much of which appears on their latest and greatest release Life is Murder. My favorite tonight is album opener “Love is a Song, Not an Answer.” Check out the whole album here: http://kalmarks.bandcamp.com/
Malatese – Malatese are on tour from Harrisonburg, Virginia and they are playing a couple of shows with their good buddies in Kal Marks. Tonight here and tomorrow night at Death By Audio in Brooklyn. Some day, I will attend a show there.
I didn’t get a good grasp on Malatese, but they were interesting to say the very least. Definitely far out and more experimental in nature than any of the other bands on the bill. Some say they are no wave and noise. I feel y’all on both accounts. If you’re into weird, but still rockin’ music, check out Malatese here: http://malatese.bandcamp.com/
Potty Mouth – I’ve heard a lot of folks rave about Northampton’s Potty Mouth, but I’ve actually never listened to them myself. Sometimes, seeing a band live for the first time is the perfect introduction. The band sounds decent with some tight, noisy, 90’s flavored rock, but for most of their performance I’m unable to actually visibly see the band play. There are too many bodies in front of me and I am simply too lazy to move up further at this point. To be frank, I am not sure if I stuck around for their entire set. Those bud lights finally caught up with me. Check out Potty Mouth here: http://pottymouth.bandcamp.com/
This show was presented by the good folks over at Apple Jam Productions. Let’s do it again sometime.
I know I’m a little late on this and I already ran my mouth off in my last post regarding my top shows of 2013, so I’ll do my best to keep this one short and sweet. Here we go…
10) Dylan Ewen & The Southern Gospel Gangbusters – Country Fried, Southern Pride (BUFU Records) – Gangbusters? More like Gangbangers! I really got into a lot of Dylan Ewen this year in his various projects and out of all of them this was my favorite. For my money, this has Dylan’s rawest, most in your face lyrics with a nasty, bad ass gangsta edge that puts him up there with Cube, Dre, and Mr. Big. So wild. AND it’s all set to a full backing band (drums, guitar, bass, viola, banjo, mandalin, harmonica, you name it) busting out southern gospel, bluegrass, and country. I had the pleasure of catching the band live in the heart of JP last month and I errr uhh nearly wet myself. TOP SONG: “500 Days of Bummer” http://dylanewen.bandcamp.com/album/country-fried-southern-pride
9) Bent Shapes – Feels Weird (Father/Daughter Records) – I just received this record as a Christmas gift and I’m loving it. As a long time fan of Bent Shapes/Girlfirends this is a terrific mix of classics and some solid new jams. Every track is strong. On one hand, it feels like a greatest hits compilation and then on the other it comes across as a completely new entity. It works both ways. TOP SONG: : “I Was Here, But I Disappear”
8) Shannon And The Clams – Dreams In The Rat House (Hardly Art) – Shannon and The Clams is a big favorite of mine, so this album was a serious treat this year. This one falls in line with all of their previous work: rock ‘n’ roll at its purest. 50’s doo wop, garage rock, Ramones styled punk rock, and some of the best voices you will ever hear. It may not be the most original music, but it’s rock ‘n’ roll. This is the plateau, this is the ideal, this is the benchmark. TOP SONG: “If I Could Count”
7) Idiot Genes – S/T (Self-Released) – The third (but not final!) Boston band on this list, Idiot Genes are one of the most recent bands I have listened to in 2013. I first caught them at a show at O’Brien’s Pub last August and I was enamored with their oddball sense of humor and surly, apathetic punk attitude. Subsequently, I hopped on their bandcamp and I was blown away by what I heard. I related to the band’s sloppy, lethargic, wasted narrative. The feeling of being fucked and fagged and shagged. I was frustrated and hearing the Idiot Genes reminded me why I hold rock ‘n’ roll so near and dear to me in the first place. It is my elixir, the temporary cure to all of life’s problems. They are almost like a different kind of party band, an after party band, a hangover band. This all sounds like one miserable hangover, and by miserable I mean extraordinary. Makes me want to drink too much and then regret some of it the next day, especially when the hangover doesn’t go away by 5 /6 PM like it usually does, so then you just drink more, until the next day after that when you’re even more hungover AND still a little drunk. So, what do you do? you crack open a beer and drink some more and then you listen to Idiot Genes, one of my new favorite rock ‘n’ roll elixirs for that temporary cure. Drunk Consistently. Listen here and join me in a nightcap. Cheers. TOP SONG: “The Charles Mansion” http://stupidpants.bandcamp.com/album/idiot-genes
6) Colleen Green – Sock It To Me (Hardly Art) – Sock it to me? Ok. Ms. Green is one cool cucumber with all her Richard Nixon and True Romance references on her latest album Sock It To Me. Much like Shannon and the Clams, with this album Colleen maintains the same rock ‘n’ roll flavor she’s always had, it’s just stronger than ever. Just a great example of how pop music doesn’t have to be a big mass machine product, instead it can be as simple as a guitar, a drum machine, and passionate vocals. TOP SONG: “Number One” (The Queers cover)
5) The Monsieurs – Rock The Night (Self-Released) – Damn son, this past October I had the enormous fortune of cumming across my legs when I came across The Monsieurs at the Brighton Music Y’all opening up for the holy King Khan & The Shrines. I’ve heard plenty of great garage spunk this year, but this new release from The Monsieurs was/is a real dessert, a dish best served cold. A cold, sudden punch right in the nads that is. Seriously though, these dudettes and dude really fucking rock and pack in the punches. This band has all the bells and whistles and bubblegum and grit that you and your buddies get off on every time you listen to Hunx and Nobunny and hopefully Fagettes at home on your dad’s worn out stereo, BUTT Monsieurs turn it up to 11. From the first few seconds of “Shadow” to the last gasping breaths of “At the Hop,” this record is garage pop on steroids. Lead singer Andy Macbain is a beast, a force to be reckoned with, and his vocals are out of control, off the wall. It’s all sludgey and thuddy and LOUD. If you like rock ‘n’ roll with a rambunctious ummphhh up your ass then here ya go – yet, it’s still as sweet as a little old lady taking 20 hours to cross the street with her little old cane? So sweet it helps that sludge go down smoother… I see big things for The Monsiuers in Twenty Fourteen. In 2014, let their album Rock the Night become your musical lubricant! TOP SONG: “Kari Ann” http://themonsieurs.bandcamp.com/album/rock-the-night-8-song-digital-album
4) King Khan & The Shrines – Idle No More (Merge) – It’s always a great year whenever one of our Honorary KLYAMERS releases an album and King Khan is among our top OG’s. You could say he helped make us who we are today to paraphrase a line in the tune “So Wild,” a song dedicated to the late, great Jay Reatard. RIP Jay forever and ever. For once your wild spirit may rest in peace… the chaos of the world so foreign, yet so familiar, you feel this tone on King Khan & The Shrines’ Idle No More, their first album since 2007. It’s a very personal album, the most mature to date. Highly spiritual as ever, yet it still maintains that fantastic Khan spirit of ubiquitous joy. Love. And coming back to the KLYAM, that’s one thing I love about rock ‘n’ roll (as we see it), all the bands we rep, and this record. No matter how torturous the world can be, there’s still a light. Khan and his crew take the misery, the darkness, and they turn it on its ugly head, ultimately receiving a boisterous, fun filled album as ever been conceived by the Shrines. TOP SONG: “Bite My Tongue”
3) Nobunny – Secret Songs (Goner) – Nobunny continues the trend on this list of artists releasing albums that preserve their raw, rock ‘n’ roll character and yet augment their craft at the same time. Secrets Songs is stacked with smash hit after smash hit haha; every tune is a blast, no filler. Love Visions will probably always be my favorite, but I have to send my accolades to Mr. Bunny here. This LP has the most variety ever on a Nobunny record lyrically, musically, and aesthetically. There’s several fast poppers, screeching hardcore punks odes, and a batch of soft gentle numbers for the ladies and in particular for the Birthday Girl. NO NO 4 LYFE! TOP SONG: This is a toughie, but for now I’m going to go with “Bye Bye Roxie”
2) Peach Kelli Pop – Peach Kelli Pop II (Burger) – I know this came out in 2012, but I heard it in its entirety in 2013 and I loved it so damn much that I just couldn’t leave it off the list! This is one of the greatest pop records I have ever heard. Like I said earlier regarding Colleen Green, pop music doesn’t have to be mass produced and this certainly applies here. I was in love with PKP’s first album and I didn’t think it could be topped at the time. What was I thinking?! As awesome as her debut is, it doesn’t have anything on its sequel. Holy shit, this thing is incredible. PKP II is like Terminator 2, if it was a movie. A full blast of immediate, catchy pop songs from start to finish is what we have here. Peach Kelli Pop – Allie Hanlon channels bubblegum, garage, and 60’s Girl Groups in all of these short, but ever so sweet songs. It’s like injecting yourself with bubblegum pop music and feeling that instantaneous sugary high! This record always puts me in the best mood. Cheers. TOP SONG: “Red Leather”http://peachkellipop.bandcamp.com/
And the weiner is…
1) Hunx and His Punx – Street Punk (Hardly Art) – I know, I know I’m a Hardly Art whore. Haha, that should be a marketing trend. Labels should pick up on this. I can picture it now “I’m a Burger Whore!” or “Be a Burger Whore!” Shirts, pins, posters, let’s do it! I say this all with love. Anywhooo, since the dawn of KLYAM five years ago, Hunx and His Punx is one of the only, if only (possibly?) band that has consistently put out new, exceptional releases each year. With this album, Hunx and his cronies have snarled their way into the bowels of the rock ‘n’ roll/garage/punk landscape. I just adore and admire the way the band mixes up early hardcore punk (Germs, Misfits, Black Flag) with their classic garage rock style. Half of me says it’s an affectionate satire and the other says this is the real deal, this is the music itself. It feels like Circle Jerks or whoever comes to mind. When Hunx says he wants to beat you with a baseball bat, his screams are terrific and serve as a true homage to the aforementioned punk legends, but let’s not forget he’s saying this all because of his BAD SKIN! That’s part of the fun. I’m glad someone finally made (I could be wrong here and I very well may be missing out on loads of great, similarly styled albums) a piece of work that connects the dots in these various styles of pure rock ‘n’ roll music, which is not very pure to begin with. It’s so satisfying. I’ve always felt like that early wave of hardcore punk was like garage rock’s weird, fucked up cousin. It’s all coming from the same place essentially. It’s all about total and agonizing frustration and partying your ass off to cure that frustration. Hunx and His Punx get it. By the way, some of Shannon Shaw’s finest vocals! TOP SONG: “Mud In Your Eyes”
So, that’s it. That’s my list, but before I depart I have to give some mo’ shout outs. Here are some honorable mentions. Ben Tan – Inside Out, The Memories – Love Is The Law, Kal Marks – Life Is Murder, Saralee – S/T, The Gabba Ghouls – S/T, Kaviar Special – S/T, and last but certainly not least Lust Cats Of The Gutters – S/T , an album that was released in 2012, but nonetheless one of the best albums I heard all year.
2013 was also the first year of our record label KLYAM Records. We were/are extremely proud that our first release was one of our favorite records from 2012: Fat Creeps S/T EP
I chose not to include it on this list, because A) It was one of our own releases, B) It was originally released in 2012 and that’s when we heard it and loved it, and so forth, and C) It’s an EP and this is a list of my top LPs. Still, I couldn’t go without repping this record in a year end list of top records. Furthermore, if you haven’t picked up this album yet, then do yourself a favor and grab one now before it’s too late You can order it from KLYAM Records here: http://klyam.bigcartel.com/ The record is also available at Weirdo Records and Armageddon Records, both in Cambridge, MA.
We look forward to 2014 as we have more records and shows and reviews then can be imagined! Stay tuned, then turn on, and then drop out, and we’ll meet up and listen to records or something.
Bands: Way too many to name. Date(s): Friday-Saturday, November 8 and 9, 2013 Venue: Cambridge Elks Lodge
Every year the good people over at Boston Hassle throw a big ass music festival featuring over 40 local and national bands. Essentially, they do what they do best year round, just in the most gigantic way possible. This is the fifth Hassle Fest (formerly known as Homegrown) and the first ever attended by us, the KLYAM and we had a shit ton of fun! We are forever grateful for having the Boston Hassle around us and all of the great music they promote on a daily basis, much of which was on display at this year’s Hassle Fest. We have never experienced anything quite similar. Simply one band after another, with no breathing room in between. Exhilarating. Overwhelming. Punk Slime All Of The Time – at least in spirit. So yeah, I set out to write about every single band. This quickly became impossible due to work schedules, train schedules, and our general black out status over the course of the weekend. The following is a recap of some of the bands we saw that left me with the best impression and/or I remember best.
Zebu! – The Zebu! dudes always put on a good show and interact very well with their audience. They use up their twenty minutes bashing out a string of noise rock fused jams including a cover of The Vaselines classic “Molly’s Lips,” which they twist into “Molly’s tits.” Hehe.
Per usual in Zebu! shows, Ted walks through the crowd, shirtless, singing and shrieking about. He parades all the way to the back, until he is practically in the next room.
The band announces that they are happy to be celebrating their tenth anniversary and that they are releasing a greatest hits album on BUFU Records. Damn, pick that shit up. http://zebu.bandcamp.com/
Kal Marks – I’ve been digging Kal Marks for a while now and I’ve seen them with various line-ups over the years, but this is definitely the finest performance I’ve seen from the band thus far. Lead singer Carl has an undeniably distinct voice that just reverberates throughout the room and rests inside your ear drums for weeks to come. It’s like an odd, mumbly/grungy, southern drawl that one either finds appealing or nauseating. Most fall under the former category.
Besides Carl’s voice, the band has really come a long way since I last saw them (though, they were a rare two piece that night, so I’m not the best one to be judging), particularly with the addition of drummer Nick Egersheim (Big Mess). I’ve long been a fan of Nick’s powerful, sledgehammer drumming and I can’t think of a better fit for Kal Marks.
As a whole the band has a ginormous ROCK sound to them, very epic, very big deal. The guitars jostle back and forth producing incredible build ups and break downs. It’s almost intimidating, overwhelming, and strangely accessible, which isn’t a terrible word. Listen to Life Is Murder here: http://kalmarks.bandcamp.com/ It’s one of the best records you will hear all year.
Ed Schrader’s Music Beat – Here’s a band people have been recommending to me/us for at least a year and a half now, and I can certainly see why. This being our first Ed Schrader experience, I am flabbergasted. The place is roaring to the sweet, sublime sounds of Ed Schrader’s Music Beat. Glen comments that he was inspired by Ed before he even heard him!
Ed Schrader delivers a loony bass heavy sonic blast that drills my ears even way in the back of the Elks Lodge. The place is packed to the gills with Ed Schrader nut bags. I specifically love how Ed switches up between soft, serene Frank Sinatra drenched vocals to fast, pummeling screams. Ed makes it a point to make a special shout out to the Profit$ and how awesome it is to have him in our city. There ya go. The set crashed to its conclusion with a sick little cover of KISS’ “Rock and Roll All Nite,” which must have shoved old Ben Katzman into paroxysms of ecstasy. Check out Ed Schrader’s Music Beat here if you want to be shoved into paroxysms of ecstasy: http://edschradersmusicbeat.bandcamp.com/
The Beets – YIPPEE KI YAY MELON FARMER, IT’S THE BEETS! The Beets from Jackson Heights, Queens, NY, back in beautiful Boston for you and me. And I’ve never seen so many enthusiastic Beets fans all in one room before. It is fabulous to see the Elks filled to the brim with hundreds of kids of all ages, well maybe not all ages (in theory there could be!), all surrounding Juan Wauters (vocals/guitar), Tall Juan Zaballa (vocals/bass), and their Amerikan flag proudly hoisted behind them. Alas, no Chie Mori (vocals/drums) this time around :(, but two beets beat it off just fine, no fumblin’, no foolin’ around. There’s work to be done dawg. Despite the large crowd, this Beets set still feels just as warm and fuzzy as ever. Glen and I snag a nice lil spot up front, so close to the band that we are probably freaking them out, no way!
We first saw The Beets at a secret show at Wellesley College (opening for No Age) back in April 2009. I remember thinking they were a strange combination of Black Lips meets Beat Happening. At the time, I didn’t truly appreciate it though and about a year and half passed by before I started listening to The Beets again. The fall of 2010, a time when folks could find me listening to Spit In The Face of People Who Don’t Want To Be Cool (2009) on repeat, especially the song “Broken English.” Boy, did I love that song. I used to turn up the speakers all the way – I eventually broke them – blaring The Beets and tossing a tennis ball against my dorm room walls, annoying the hell out of all my fellow dormatory chums. I guess they just didn’t want to be cool.
Later that summer (2011) we caught The Beets again on a bill with Slumberland’s Brilliant Colors at a basement show in Allston (Problem House). While that show was fine and cozy, I don’t recall kids going apeshit for The Beets, at least not in serious numbers. Tonight is a different story. As I mentioned earlier there are many enthusiastic Beets fans in the house.
Aside from Glen and myself, Hassle Fest organizers Chris Collins and Ben Katzman are among these Beets zealots, rambunctiously dancing and singing along to each and every Beets song. It’s damn near hard not to; with just a couple of guitars these Queens kids can start a riot if they wanted to. The dudes open with Spit opener “Happy, But On My Way” and they play a satisfying mish mash of material from all three of their distinguished albums. My favorites on this evening include “What Did I Do” and “Why Should I Live If I Won’t Fit.” The latter is a fantastic anthem for all of us outsiders, and if you’re a Beets fan you probably are an outsider or maybe you’re an insider, but an outsider at heart or an outsider, but an insider at heart. The Beets can be puzzling. Make you contemplate life while you dance. Keep your mind moving just as fast as your hips, I dig. Lastly, at the request of the audience The Beets plink out “Friends of Friends.” Tis a great show.
Set – List:
“Happy, But On My Way”
“Now I Live”
“What Did I Do” (written as “Why Did I Do”)
“In Your Head”
“I Don’t Know”
“Why Should I Live If I Won’t Fit”
“Knock On Wood”
“Friends of Friends”
Lightning Bolt – Lightning Bolt headlines the first night of Hassle Fest and rightfully so. The legendary noise duo formed nearly 20 years ago and have been deafening the youth over and over again ever since. I first heard of Lightning Bolt at the recommendation of a hip college professor in 2009. I was reading The Catcher In The Rye and this young, hip college professor suggested I listen to Lightning Bolt and Hasil Adkins. It was a fun day. Since then, Lightning Bolt has been on my list of “bands to see before I die.” I’ve seen chaotic videos of the pair (Brian Chippendale – drums/vocals and Brian Gibson – bass) in wrestling masks (as they appear tonight) playing on the floor while a crowd of crazy kids pile all around them. It looked amazing and I wanted in.
Last I heard of Lightning Bolt till now was that they were playing and even selling out the Paradise Rock Club, a large venue, not exactly what I expected from the band. Glad to see they have made it to a bigger level and still retain their gritty, abrasive nature, but I am so happy that my first Lightning Bolt show is here at the much smaller Cambridge Elks Lodge. And as I predicted, the place is full of vast amounts of Lightning Bolts fans, all tucked away in this tiny spot, and balls out bedlam ensues.
I’ve/we’ve never experienced anything quite like a Lightning Bolt show. It’s LOUD as fuck (thankfully I threw on some earplugs, about the second or third time I have ever done this) and it’s just a non stop mosh pit. The ear splitting, constant barrage of noise coming from the Brians’ drums and bass is the perfect soundtrack for mayhem. It’s like a 30-40 minute tornado. Kids even crash into the drum set and it topples over from time to time. By the end of the set, I’m drenched in sweat and I remain soaked for the next two hours. So yes, go see Lightning Bolt if you get a chance. Footage shot by Sixdust/NYC Music
Fat Creeps – KLYAM Records’ own Fat Creeps are among the most anticipated bands to play the Hassle Fest and by the time they hit the stage (or lack thereof), a solid crowd is built up around them.
Tonight’s set consists of some of the band’s louder, noisier tunes and the whole performance is one of the heaviest I have seen from the trio. Songs include the pop gems like “Fooled” and “Secrets,” which feature some nasty, extended vocals – “I Can’t hear youuuuuu!” as well as some fast punk rockers like “Going to the Party” and “Daydreaming.”
I notice a lot of new faces at this show, I can see that many of them are taking a shine to the Fat Creeps. The seemingly younger crowd produce a healthy, fun loving mosh pit during “Going to the Party,” something that typically doesn’t occur at most Creeps shows.
Spacin’ – Spacin’, some dudes from Philly, some seriously spacin’ dudes. These fellas are fun, laid back, dare I say psychedelic. It’s an overused description, but for all intents and purposes, we’ll stick with psychedelic for now. No need to get into all the hairy, in depth, emotional details. What do I look like their fucking biographer? So yeah, it’s jam, bluesy psych stuff. They’d pal around with the likes of Moontower and Future Days if they were around these parts; a bit dirtier than those folks though. Not downright filthy either.
A pair of hoolgians grab the band’s mic and sing into it while the band continues to solo as if nothing is going on. They all spaced out. Maybe. Space out with Spacin’ right here: http://spacin.bandcamp.com/album/1-1-11-demo
Guerilla Toss – There’s been a lot of commotion surrounding Guerilla Toss lately and they’ve earned it. I mean there’s always commotion surrounding Guerilla Toss. It’s that primal, incomparable rawness that sets them apart from just about every other band I have ever seen and most other bands you will see too. I’m not going to pretend like I understand the technical sophistication that makes up the music of Guerilla Toss. I don’t know much about no wave or free jazz or whatever, but I know what I like and I like Guerilla Toss.
So, instead of throwing out names like Boredoms or another noise/experimental/avant garde band I don’t actually know anything about as a means of comparison, I’m going to stick with what I know: my own gut feeling and Jay Reatard. Huh? yes, I am probably the only person that will compare Guerilla Toss to Jay Reatard. But, I can only speak from personal experience. When I see Guerilla Toss, I get that same, uncertain, somewhat uncomfortable feeling in my stomach that I got all those years ago when I saw Jay all revved up on stage before he passed away far too young. While the late musician played comparatively far more straight forward rock ‘n’ roll than Guerilla Toss, both artists share a similar brutal aesthetic that is particularly amplified during a live show. With Tard and Toss the music serves as a gigantic bulldozer that rolls over you with little to no care for your preservation. There is no conventional verbal interaction with the audience. There is no applause after each song to serve as an ego boost for the artists. There is no time check, time is suspended. In a few simple words, Guerilla Toss is the most confrontational band I have seen since Jay Reatard; the band and the audience together behave as they ought to at a rock ‘n’ roll show, like primitive, savage animals.
Give Guerilla Toss’ new record Gay Disco (NNA Tapes) a listen and check out everything else G Toss here: http://guerillatoss.com/
All around Hassle Fest was a mesmerizing experience, a constant assault of excellent music – both foreign and homegrown. Can’t wait for next year.
1. Fat Creeps – Fat Creeps EP – This is by far my favorite EP of this year. It is crazy good. Every song is special in its own way and, on that note, it is tough to compare Fat Creeps to other bands. The music is downright catchy first and foremost. “Leave Her Alone” is the capstone with its top-notch harmonies and surfy guitar solo, but there’s really something to love about all of ’em, such as the endings to “700 Parts” and “Horoscope,” the punch of “Cherry,” and Mariam and Gracie’s vocal showcase in “Secrets” and “Fooled”. Fat Creeps played several shows in 2012 and they’ve been garnering notice locally, nationally, and internationally. It is easy to see why with this talented trio. We saw them about a dozen times this year and were bummed out about the shows we couldn’t make. Yeah, they’re that great!
2. The Maine Coons – The Maine Coons 7″ – The Maine Coons – the hidden gem of underground garage/punk – released their s/t debut a couple years back. That was a favorite, landing on our year end lists. Two years later there is this 7″. All songs on this 7″ are on that LP. Coincidentally or not, they are top tier with reference to the album. I remember getting this in the mail and playing it several times in a row. For days. It’s a masterpiece recalling the King Khan & BBQ Show, if that dude Leo Chips had been on keyboard since the beginning. I’m not sure I’ve heard a 7″ that gets the job like this one does in a long time. “Uniform Choice” is the most outstanding, in my opinion, but as I’ve made clear…you can’t go wrong with any of ’em.
3. The Fagettes – If I See Him Again7″ – Fagettes are a band that I had heard of prior to listening to this 7″…at least the name. How could one forget? Anyway, this is a delightful release. Singers Ryan and Melanie trade words, with a keen sense of good ole rock and roll charm. The three songs from this release are recorded damn well, capturing all that fun. I especially dig “My Girl Looks Like Johnny Thunders,” with the organ and other great instrumentation. No wonder why they’ve made a name for themselves around here. Can’t wait for more!
Nobunny – Maximumrockandroll EP
Kal Marks – Piss of the Century EP Gremlins UK – Gremlins UK 7″
11/1 Great Scott (Allston) Tour kick off!
11/2 Bard College NY w/ Arvid Noe & Small Wonder
11/3 Ithaca NY @ Cornell
11/4 Kent Oh. @ Stone Tavern
11/5 Kalamazoo Mi. @ Corner Record Shop w/ Totally Rad, Morseville Bridge.
11/6 Chicago Il. @ 86′ Mets w/ The New Diet, Animal City, Meatwave
11/7 Bloomington In. @ Handmendown house w/ Dust from 1000 years
11/8 Louisville KY. @ Jeff’s house of Sex w/ Tropical Trash, the misfits?
11/9 Athens Oh. @TBA
11/10 Richmond Va. @ Bauhaus w/ Starfish Prime, Gunboat, Heavy Midgets
11/11 Philadelphia Pa. @ Kung Fu Necktie
11/12 Brooklyn NY. Spike Hill w/ Music Band, Big Ups, Dirty Virgins.