Bands: Saralee, Flag Day, Sean Nicholas Savage, Free Pizza Date: Saturday, March 1, 2014 Venue: Whitehaus (Jamaica Plain, MA)
Saralee – Last time (which was actually the first time) we were here, it all happened in a flash. We came, we saw [Jackson Heights Queens, NY’s holiest The Beets], we came again, and then we had to abruptly leave to make the train home. Fortunately, this time we arrive early to sit back and relax within the haus, and chat with some colorful characters, both old and new, pounding down Rolling Rocks aka “dad’s beer” according to one, Ben Katzman. Shine on you crazy diamond!
Saralee has been a KLYAM favorite since 2011. In many ways they were our introduction to the Boston underground music scene. Some of our first basement shows were Saralee shows. I associate their music with dank, steel reserved beer reeking basement spaces, such as this one tonight, and a stoned, serene state of mind doesn’t hurt either. It’s hard not to have this image in mind, because I’ve only seen the band in basements. Problem House. Gay Gardens. Ant Cellar (Lowell). JP Drizzle. And now Whitehaus. You could say they are the quintessential Boston basement band, like it’s an essential ingredient in the Saralee sound. A sound that is somewhat hard to describe. I’ve been asked before what does Saralee sound like? And I honestly have trouble defining it. It’s more of a mood if anything. They are soft, but also intense at the same time. Heavy need not be a volume. There’s a dreamlike quality to them too. All things considered, Whitehaus is a perfect venue for Saralee; for whatever reason I have never seen the band at an above ground establishment and I’m a completely okay with that.
Flag Day – Flag Day sort of throws me off guard, which is always a plus. In other words, I won’t forget this performance because it is akin to a radical, industrial pop DJ set. It’s a combo of what I believe is original material as well as a series of contemporary and classic hits for the crowd to dance their asses off to and they do. Everything from the Bee Gees’ ” Stayin’ Alive” to The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” to some Blink -182 song to Wavves’ “King of the Beach.” This onslaught of bratty, manic dance inducing pop reminded me of why these songs are memorable in the first place and made me reflect on when I first heard them at various points in my life. Deep Thoughts. Ok, it’s time to take it easy for a second. http://everydayisflagday.bandcamp.com/
Sean Nicholas Savage – Straight up, I am not present for most of his set (for the second half, physically, for the first half mentally), but I can see a lot of folks going bonkers to this gentle Canadian’s impassioned music. WORD. Check it out here: http://arbutusrecords.com/?page_id=30
Free Pizza – We missed Free Pizza :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( , hey it’s okay buddy we’ll see em’ again soon! :). One of the best in Boston and one of my faves all around. Listen to their epic debut here: http://freepizzarocks.bandcamp.com/
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.
Our town’s own SARALEE released their self titled debut full-length earlier this year by way of Ride The Snake and yup, I am a happy man. SARALEE’s that rare band that I fondly remember seeing then obsessively continuously listen to ’til the present. That was two and a half years ago roughly. Sounds a little intense I know – but you go ahead; open up seven song Demo. Positively I can say, this record Saralee is more of the same as that: intimate, nostalgic, rock and roll. Leave the labels on your desk, the duo go hard, go soft, go at a pace that works so very well for them. They haunt the rest of us. As I hear this record through my speakers, the drum set in my room is vibrating. There’s no obvious drumming on “Bugs In My Coffee,” but I picture Lee’s set making similar noise. Sara and Lee complement each other so well that their minimalist aesthetic is a continuous stream of ‘gettin it right’, just really how they like. It reminds me of my very first basement show which wasn’t that long ago. A perceptive experience that you want to perpetually familiarize yourself with. That’s Saralee and with them I can’t quite find any points of musical reference. Pop music for the non-masses, it’s too real stuff for most people to handle. I feel this way about The Beets as well. Count every song as a favorite of mine though special props to “Jackalantern House” as one that’s sorta planted on the back end of Side B, but has that trademark saralee ending that ya, I can never properly write about. Check out the organ part that concludes “Lead The Fire” for enchantment. Also this is the most neatly packaged record that I bought this year with silk screen cover and insert. Very nice.
1 Lead the fire
2 The Motion
3 White pipes
6 Children of the night
8 Cold Feet
9 Jackalantern House
10 Bugs in my coffee
11 On a train
Bad History Month: Bad History Month is solo Sean History Month, singer and guitarist of Fat History Month, who you all know as Boston’s dearest underground band. The crowds descend downstairs, greeted by the warm presence of Sean, his guitar, amp, and bass drum. The bass drum seems to be something of a new addition for Sean as he has anointed us the crowd a focus group for his percussion aided performance. Sean’s gentle playing is a beautiful thing, full of depth and intensity. The liberating, calming sound that is a History Month set is so distinguishing, so relaxing. I kept thinking to myself, what a pleasure to be in a basement right now listening to this set. The only tune that I recognize is “Fucking Despair” from the same-name-can’t-recommend-enough album so don’t count me in as an expert of the nitty gritty for tonight’s set. Which might not be a bad thing – the mood generated was most notable and left us feeling better than we did thirty minutes prior.
SARALEE: I won’t speak for Chris, but I think he’ll agree with me here – Saralee is a band we hold near and dear. We first saw Sara [vocal/guitar] and Lee [drums] perform as Saralee back on May 26, 2011, opening for Peach Kelli Pop at the Problem House in Allston. That was our first Boston basement show. From that point forward – roughly – our eyes were opened to the magic of the local scene. Seeing Saralee in a grimy basement is all I know of seeing Saralee first hand. So when they took to the non-stage last night, I was brought to a rather familiar place. A cozy place. The tunes of Saralee are like small pieces of nostalgia, a soundtrack to things that might have occurred in childhood or yesterday or in the future. They are uplifting songs, at least to my hears. The only comparison I can really come up with is early OCs – if in light tone and playful minimalism. They played a dozen or so jams, most topping out at around a couple of minutes. There was a time during the winter months of both 2012 and 2013 that I spent hours for several consecutive days listening to Saralee’s DEMO at work. You’d think I would get sick of it, but it just put me in high spirits…continuously. That was the case with SARALEE tonight. I loved every minute of it, Lee’s artistic drumming synced with Sara’s ultra reverby delivery. This is a band that has won hearts across the nation in a tour culminating in this very basement. I’m sure of it. Their self-titled LP just released on 12″ hand-screened vinyl is stunning. Listen there and pick up a copy or pick up the copy and smile wide! It’ll be a favorite.
Giving Up: One of the most unfortunate things that can happen for a big fan of live music is showing up late and paying the consequences of being squished in the back. This is most trying in close quarters. So there we go, I don’t think I ever got a solid view of Giving Up, but thank God for my ears. I heard ’em! I dug what I heard, bizarre folk sorta like Page France but noisy, more demented. Catchy! A perfect complement to Saralee being all hazily distinct and stuff. Memory music. Also, I’ve been informed that Lee was on drums. Nice Lee. Check these Midwesterners out: http://givingup.bandcamp.com/ !
Guerilla Toss: G-Toss can just about do anything they damn want and like most things so very irresistible, crowds will follow! Every show I’ve seen Guerilla Toss play has been push and shove, so beware people who like to take things easy. There’s not another Guerilla Toss in the world – Cassie, Peter, Simon, Ian, and Arian – make/display some of the craziest stuff I’ve ever heard/seen. Punk rock stripped to its most feral motions, radically spun with noise, glitches, consistent freak outs. It’s a very held together thing though. I’m always amused just by being witness to what is going on and the domineering clutching fist enveloping the crowd, making them suspects of a short duration assault. YA i’m down for this! http://guerillatoss.bandcamp.com/
One of Boston’s finest bands, Saralee are on tour RIGHT NOW and you’d be a damn fool if you missed em’. They’re hitting the road with Louisville, Kentucky’s Giving Up and they’re heading to a city near you…
October 9 – Le Commune Louisville, KY w/ Gangly Youth and White reaper
October 10 – Summit City Whitesburg, KY w/ Globsters and Oh, June
October 11 – Nashville, TN
October 12 – Crab Shaq Athens, GA w/ Parrothead and Deep State
October 13 – Crystal Lake, GA
October 14 – Red Door Record Shop Valdosta, GA
October 15 – 529 Atlanta, GA
October 16 – The Hang Fire Savannah, GA
October 17 – New York City Pizza Greensboro, NC
October 18- The Cave Chapel Hill, NC
October 19 – Storage Section B Richmond, VA w/ Cale and Heavy Midgets
October 20 – Club K Baltimore, MD
October 21 – Kung Fu Necktie Philadelphia, PA
October 22 – The Hose New York, New York
October 23 – TBA Hadley, MA
October 24 – Billings Hall Burlington, VT w/ Big Ups and Assbees
October 25 – The Oak+the Axe Biddeford, ME
October 26 – The Spot Boston, MA w/ Guerilla Toss
October 27 – Phunk House Rochester, NY
Giving Up only:
October 28 – Mystery College Ohio
October 29 – TBA
Check out the new LP from Boston’s soft pop masters Saralee. They are playing their 12″ vinyl release show tonight at the Middle East ZuZu w/ Happy Jawbone Family Band. If you dig anything else from Saralee (and you ought to), then you will enjoy this sucker. And if you haven’t heard of them before, now is your chance!
Saralee is a KLYAM fave and one of thee Boston essentials. Saralee is one of those bands I really hate describing to people, just listen to it. If I had to say, what I find appealing about them is their undeniable pop quality and just overall aura. But, there’s something unique about it, it’s like a totally different sound/world. If you haven’t been turned on to their demo, I ought to just waltz right into your living room and turn you on myself. OR you can click this link here: http://saralee.bandcamp.com/album/demo Yeah, I’d click that if I were you.
Check out Anonymous Dog Tapes and Records! They are putting out some fine cassettes for various artists including Boston KLYAM faves Fat History Month (“I Finally Understand What People Mean When They Say Drifting”) and SARALEE(“Untitled”). Click here: http://anonymousdog.com/