KLYAM Most Watched Bands

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

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

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

RENE CHAMBERS – KREMLIN BATS

Plastic Response Records Listen / Buy Tape

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

Miracle Johan – Green 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Band Recommendation: Model Zero

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We all know that Memphis, Tennessee has/had the greatest bands. STAX. Goner Records, Jay Reatard, The Oblivians, NOTS, The Barbaras, Girls of the Gravitron, Yesse Yavis. I’m forgetting a lot. I know, I’m sorry. So what about the contemporary group called Model Zero?  Dang, I don’t even know if they’re around anymore. First and last I heard of them (until now) was at Gonerfest, outside of Memphis Made. Their stuff clicked with me – drum machine + real drummer, a variety of dance punk, but like if Giorgio Murderer was less bare bones and got funky on us. I remember hearing “Japanese Death Poem” live and being like “yup, I’m in.” Except it was one and done. Until I decided to do an ole search. An ole Googling of “Model Zero Bandcamp,” because I was craving for more of this group. They had to have recorded something right?

And look at this. https://modelzero.bandcamp.com/releases

That’s a four song tape with my favorite damn one on there. If the members of this group catch wind of this post, please keep doing what you’re doing. I’m not a freaking barometer of what is cool and in fact I hope the opposite, but let me tell you that you’re one of the most exciting groups going right now and that is based on very limited, limited information.

Cheers

AMERICAN WHIP APPEAL ON TOUR (JANUARY 2018)

American Whip Appeal rides again. James Coarse (vocals/guitar), Hannah Barbarian (bass), and Buck Palace (drums/guitar) doing their own realest rock, bizarre in content and presentation, and groovy and fun. Making their way down to New Orleans, where the _________________. Please do see them:

January 2 – Amherst, MA – The Internet
January 3 – NYC, NY – Live in LoveLove Studio
January 4 – NYC, NY – American Light Beer Reading (ask)
January 5 – Philly, PA – TBA
January 6 – DC – Slash Run
January 9 – Memphis, TN – Bar DKDC
January 11 – Birmingham, AL – The Nick
January 12 – New Orleans, LA – Snack Shack

Band of the Week: The Glue

The Glue is no longer underground! In fact the New England based group is proudly our new Band of the Week.

Maybe you were at the KLYAM show they played on November 17 or perhaps you caught ’em a week later at the Newton Underground Pop Arts and Performance Showcase. Maybe not. The Glue said that they are a one/two-times a year band, but we’re hoping that is surely not the case.

One of the more unique outfits I have caught in the past year or so, The Glue is made up of Lily (keyboard/vocals), her dad Mike (cello), Lena (bass/vocals), and Martha (keyboard/vocals). Their sets brought to mind the short, sweet, cozy unpredictability of a band like The Beets, although with a whole different set of instrumentation and performance character. The Glue were in a perfect comfort zone without a PA as Lily emerges from behind her keyboard and shouts about Ten Mile Creek. This anything-is-possible, plus classical tinged cello improvisations, nature is encouraging and liberating. Just what we all need!

Check out The Glue on YouTube:

“Pie song”
“Ten Mile Creek”
“Field of Diamonds” (Johnny Cash)
“Cut Your Bangs” (Radiator Hospital) 

GONERFEST 14 HIGHLIGHTS PT.1 (L.A. & NOLA)

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Everyone’s Gonerfest is a personal Gonerfest. Everyone’s Memphis is a personal Memphis. Folks travel far and wide, or in some cases – not at all – to get to Gonerfest to see the best bands in the land. For us, this was our third trip down there. Veteran status? King Louie might beg to differ. At any case, if it was not for the precise organization of the heads at Goner and the cooperation of the city, venues, groups, and fans, this might be a different animal. Instead, it’s for the most part a meeting of minds, a reunion for many, or for the uninitiated – the first annual.

I will call it an international summit, with some representation of the past, present, and future. Where bands unite, where bands stop on tour, where bands play their first (and maybe last?) show. Is there a Goner sound? If anything I learned this weekend, it’s that no, no there is not. Maybe in 2009, but not in 2017. And the record label/store is better off for it. There are some sounds and scenes that curry a bit more favor across the board. Los Angeles and New Orleans have some wild bands, shoving that straight-ahead, raw, fast sound into our welcoming ears. Die Group (Los Angeles) are mainstays and were a definite highlight for me on Thursday night at the Hi-Tone. Almost from the second they begin to play, I’m into it and there is no resting after that. Sex Tape Records – Die Group’s record label – put on a Friday early morning afterparty at Bar DKDC and this was a choice shindig with the Sex Tape’s very own Brain Bagz (Salt Lake City) and Tenement Rats. Now, it being a long drunken night, I thought Tenement Rats’ Jonny Watkins was Pitbull. A garage punk Pitbull. Yes, that Pitbull. It took some clarification. Count me in as a big fan of both groups, both with the noisy, catchy immediacy we need in these modern times.

New Orleans deserves a paragraph of its own. From my very first Gonerfest (12), I gathered some intel that this is a very incestuous group of music playing individuals. Playing in each others bands, supporting each other. From the start we had NOLA king King Louie (weirdly called King Louis on a Memphis news website?) playing opening ceremonies in a new band with Abe White, formerly of The Manatees (Memphis). A few hours later BENNI started Night One at the Hi-Tone. With an album recently released on Goner, the mysterious BENNI might just be the weirdest project of the bunch. Armed with a few synthesizers and a talk box, he eased us into what would be a night of heavy rock ‘n roll. Kind of like Couteau Latex did last year. It would be more than 24 hours until we got another dose of freewheeling New Orleans punk – this time at the legendary Murphy’s for the Night Two afterparty. Gonerfest alum Die Rötzz, and Dummy Dumpster (both been around for more than a decade) along with newer crew Enoch Ramone got the booze spent revelers moshing around into each other. Maybe it was the peck on the cheek from Don Perry (eternal gratitude for the rides to the afterparties and the laughs), or maybe it wasn’t, but the Enoch frontman was in a frenzy start to finish, save for the “Gates of Steel” DEVO cover, which was sung by Sam from Trampoline Team. Maybe Murphy’s is the true second home of these NOLA characters as this year’s  Saturday afternoon Blowout brought us three performances: GUSHERS, IS IS, and HEAVY LIDS. While the first and last just mentioned groups are more in line with the above mentioned quick zip, speedfire r’n’r and absolutely rocked it, it’s that middle group that put on arguably the most subdued, but interesting performance. Masterminded by Giorgio Murderer and featuring members of Trampoline Team and Black Abba. This was the closest thing we got to that unmistakable Giorgio/Buck Biloxi sound. Click the link and go be offended.

Pt. Two coming soon…………………….