My Top Ten Shows of Twenty-Thirteen

So, here we are again. 2013 feels like a blur, a fun blur though. It just seemed to truck on by so damn fast. It didn’t feel like it was all that long ago when I was making my year end lists for 2012. I must say, every year gets better around here and 2013 was definitely our best year. We met tons of people and went to more shows than ever before (significantly more). With that in mind, I will leap off into my top ten favorite shows from the greatest year KLYAM has experienced thus far…

Storm or Howl
Storm or Howl

10) TIE!: Boston Underground Summit VI @ Cambridge Elks Lodge (9/15/) & The Beets @ The Whitehaus (11/26) – I would start a top ten list with a tie. I simply could not leave out either of these shows from my top ten, so fuck it here’s both. Firstly, this was my first Boston Underground Summit and it was a totally unique live experience for me. The show was set up as a round robin in which a band would play one song and then as soon as they were done another band would play a song and so forth until about 9 different bands had played a song, and then it went back to the first band. My head’s getting dizzy just writing this – it was indeed a dizzying experiment; constantly walking back and forth between all 3 spots in the Elks Lodge (where 3 separate bands were each set up). I compare it to an aggressive wine tasting meets a live, physical playlist/mix. In any situation, it was refreshing and broke down any hint of monotony that may have been creeping in on my fairly consistent show going consumption. My favorite bands/performances included Storm or Howl, Funeral Cone (this one left me bleeding!), Dylan Ewen, and R. Nordac’s Crying Lessons.

Holy shit, the mighty Beets. It took us two hours to get to the holy Whitehaus, but we made it just in the nick of time to catch Los Beets who came all the way from Jackson Heights, Queens, New York!! As you may or may not know, The Beets are one of our beloved KLYAM bands and this year we caught them in the flesh twice within two weeks! This was a strange show for several reasons. We were running late and I feared that we would miss The Beets, having journeyed so long for nuffin. When we arrived at the Whitehaus (for our very first time, by the way) there were few if any hellos and it was near darkness – plus we’re half blind anyway. Seconds pass and those smooth, transcendent Uruguayan voices rang through my ears and down into the depths of my bloody soul. All the blood I have puked since I found out I have gas in my veins. When the set finished, we had to flee once again to catch that dirty old train. It all happened so quickly, like a drug, The Beets drug. I know y’all would like a piece of that! REVIEWhttps://klyam.com/2013/11/27/review-the-beets-the-whitehaus/

Nice Sinclair
Nice Guys

9) FIDLAR, The Orwells, Nice Guys @ The Sinclair (10/23) – This was a nice slammer.  It’s always fun to see a local favorite (Nice Guys) dazzle an audience of newcomers and it’s all the more exceptional when they are sixteen and rambunctious! The Orwells make my liver shiver and quiver OR that’s all the alcohol? Anyway, we’ve loved these dudes for years and they put on an excellent show. They have this real clean cut exterior to them kind of like The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys, real polished rock ‘n’ roll, but beneath there’s a slimy underbelly that represents some of the bands (Black Lips, Jay Reatard) we grew up and threw up on ourselves. And FIDLAR, I’m just happy you and your fans didn’t break my nose. REVIEWhttps://klyam.com/2013/11/15/review-fidlar-the-orwells-nice-guys-the-sinclair/

Clams Great
Shannon and the Clams

8) Shannon and The Clams, The Fagettes, Atlantic Thrills @ Great Scott (11/20) – This list is a testament that we’ve been blessed with a plethora of excellent shows this year, but I can honestly say only a select few are what I would dub a “stacked line-up” and this here is one of them. Our two favorite New England based rock ‘n’ roll bands (The Fagettes and Atlantic Thrills) on the same stage as one of the best in the whole land, the fabulous Shannon and The Clams. I saw the Clams earlier this year and, while that was a great performance, this time around the crowd went a lot crazier and that always makes the difference. The band’s cover of Del Shannon’s “Runaway” alone made my night :). REVIEWhttps://klyam.com/2013/12/29/review-shannon-and-the-clams-fagettes-atlantic-thrills-great-scott-112013/

7) Guerilla Toss, Fat Creeps, Nice Guys, Designer Halloween Show @ Cambridge Elks Lodge (10/19) – Halloween is usually a good excuse for everyone to let loose, get wasted, and eat a shit ton of candy. Oh yeah, and to dress up like their favorite bands and play a set full of bizarre covers. That’s my favorite part. G Toss took to the role of one Meatloaf, Designer dropped down to their skivvies and cranked out a noisy set of Blink – 182 numbers, and Fat Creeps destroyed as the legendary Cramps. My favorite performance by far was the Nice Guys as The Mummies. Being somewhat of a garage junkie, I’d kill to see The Mummies and I felt like this came inches away from the real thang. Alex Mum demolishing his keyboards was priceless. Poor keyboards, they never had a chance. REVIEWhttps://klyam.com/2013/11/08/review-fat-creeps-nice-guys-designer-guerilla-toss-cambridge-elks-101913/

Wavves

6) Wavves, King Tuff, Jacuzzi Boys @ The Sinclair (10/1) – Wavves is one of those bands I’ve cherished over the years. One of the few bigger bands I still enjoy. I wasn’t overly enthusiastic with their latest record, Afraid of Heights, but it has grown on me. Studio work aside, this band still kills me live. It’s as if these songs were made to be heard exclusively live. From Wavves’ inception, there’s been a great anthemic feel to their music and this show at Sinclair is enough evidence for me that they can still kick out the jams like the best of them. It was also a pleasure to finally see King Tuff and Jacuzzi Boys, bands we’ve been aching to see for a few years now. And on a personal note, I was happy to chat with Wavves’ members Stephen Pope and Alex Gates about their past (and future) in the magnificent Memphis bands The Barbaras, Girls of the Gravitron, and Cretin Stompers. REVIEWhttps://klyam.com/2013/10/04/review-wavves-king-tuff-jacuzzi-boys-sinclair-10113/

Ty Bowery
A photo of three sexy men

5) Ty Segall @ The Bowery Ballroom (8/30) – What up New York City? We voyage to NYC once or twice a year to see some of our favorite bands. This time it was the man, Ty Segall, the global ambassador for rock ‘n’ roll. If rock ‘n’ roll had a representative at the UN it would be this man. For this show/tour Ty and his bodacious band played an all acoustic set, performing the album Sleeper in its entirety as well as some old classics such as “Girlfriend.” I’ve never seen kids (including myself) mosh and stage dive to acoustic music before and I may never again. Only you Ty, only you. REVIEWhttps://klyam.com/2013/10/08/review-ty-segall-bowery-ballroom-83013/

Hunxxx
Hunx and His Punx

4) Hunx and His Punx, Hunters, The Fagettes @ Brighton Music Hall (8/23) – Let’s face it we’re fairly predictable around here –  but that’s NOT a bad thing! because we are consistently enthralled with gorgeous music, at least I think so. It’s true! Hunx is a long time KLYAM favorite and a must see live band (seriously do it!). Just writing about Hunx gets me all revved up and ready to go. This year the band morphed into ultra punx with the release of their epic, early hardcore punk ode Street Punk, and they brought all the piss and vinegar with them when they destroyed our fair city last August.  The set’s most memorable moment actually came from a couple of kinky crowd members, when a young man was accosted by a topless middle aged woman and the two proceeded to slobber over one another for the remainder of the show. I will never be able to listen to “Lover’s Lane” the same way ever again. “Just gotta touch you and squeeze you, and make you mine/I want to hold you til the end of time.” Yeesh, did they have to take it so literally?! Stellar set from Fagettes as always. Hunters were cool too. REVIEWhttps://klyam.com/2013/09/09/review-hunx-and-his-punx-hunters-fagettes-brighton-music-hall-82313/

atlantic thrills bbq

3) Ravi Shavi, The New Highway Hymnal, Atlantic Thrills “Rock ‘n’ Roll BBQ With Psychedelic Sauce” – We saw quite a bit of shows in Providence, RI this year and every single time we came to see our chief punk slime animals in Atlantic Thrills. Mix them up with fellow Providence soul machines Ravi Shavi and our Boston psych creatures The New Highawy Hymnal and I’m one happy camper. All of this madness was set to the background of the TRIPPY Lysergic Factory Light Show! I don’t think I’ve ever “danced” more in my life,  charming some attendees, perhaps frightening most. Those were fucked times, fun times. I woke up the next morning covered in dirt and blood and my dick hurt a little bit (only a little bit).  In hindsight, it was the perfect summer night. REVIEWhttps://klyam.com/2013/07/27/review-ravi-shavi-the-new-highway-hymnal-atlantic-thrills-in-providence-71313/

2) The New Highway Hymnal, Atlantic Thrills, Polaroids, The Real Tom Hanks @ Wilder Zangcraft (2/23) – Once again, The New Highway Hymnal and Atlantic Thrills throwing straight up wild shows! This show took place at one of my favorite DIY spaces, a tiny basement in Lowell that was overwhelmingly consumed by 50 or more plastered college kids all accompanied by the perpetual, visual mindfuck that is the Lysergic Factory Light Show. NHH demolished my skin and bones as can be expected at Lowell basements shows. But, on this night my sweet, sozzled eyes have never seen such a fantastic, frenetic show from Providence’s finest, Atlantic Thrills. It was great to sing/scream along to all the songs, slam back pbr after pbr, and smash into my peers for a couple hours. In my primitive state of mind, I think I screamed “Lies” and “Demolicion” at the band about two hundred times. Lunacy at its most depraved. The Real Tom Hanks and Polaroids were both exciting and ethereal in their own rights. A memorable night in my life to say the very least. REVIEWhttps://klyam.com/2013/03/08/concert-review-the-new-highway-hymnal-atlantic-thrills-polaroids-the-real-tom-hanks-wilder-zangcraft-22313/

1) Hassle Fest 5 @ Cambridge Elks Lodge (11/7-11/8) – How could this not be number 1? This was/is the pinnacle of local underground music. A two day festival showcasing some of the best, most groundbreaking, and above all invigorating bands both at home and across the nation. So, as I’ve said before, it’s pretty much a microcosm for everything the Boston Hassle promotes all year long. Every single day. And we couldn’t salute y’all enough. I’ve found that several local music fans (some of which played the festival themselves) walked away with similar feelings as my own. I know we KLYAMERS have never seen anything else like it, just a constant barrage of band after band after band. It felt intimate and gigantic all at once. Unforgettable. My favorite sets included Fat Creeps, Guerilla Toss, Lightning Bolt, The Beets, and Kal Marks. REVIEWhttps://klyam.com/2013/12/13/hassle-fest-recap-118-913/

So, that’s that. Top albums of the year coming up next.

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.

*SHOW ALERT* GZA & Sweet Valley @ Paradise (10/19/12)

The GZA, the Genius himself, is touring with Wavves’ Nathan Williams’ (and l’il bro Kynan’s) new side project Sweet Valley and hitting up Boston’s Paradise Rock Club on Friday, October 19, 2012! This show is especially significant because the GZA will be playing his classic LP Liquid Swords in its entirety. Killer Mike and Bear Hands are opening as well. Here is the full list of tour dates from Pitchfork:
09-14 Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom *
09-15 Toronto, Ontario – Soundstage *
09-16 Detroit, MI – St. Andrews *
09-17 Pittsburgh, PA – Altar Bar *
09-18 Cleveland, OH – Grog Shop *
09-19 Chicago, IL – Metro *
09-20 Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue *
09-22 Denver, CO – Summit Music Hall *
09-25 San Francisco, CA – Fillmore *
09-26 Sacramento, CA – Ace of Spades *
09-28 Santa Ana, CA – Observatory *
09-29 Los Angeles, CA – El Rey *
09-30 Solana Beach, CA – Belly Up *
10-02 Phoenix, AZ – Marquee *
10-18 New York, NY – Irving Plaza (CMJ) *

* with Killer Mike, Sweet Valley, Bear Hands

P.S. Sweet Valley’s debut Stay Calm is out this week on Fool’s Gold Records.

Listen: Wavves- “Hippies Is Punks” (Adult Swim Singles)

This week Wavves dropped the track “Hippies Is Punk” for Adult Swim’s 12 Tracks 12 Straight Weeks Singles Program. Give it a listen at the link below. What do y’all think? Perhaps a hint at what is to come on the upcoming Wavves LP to be released later this year.
http://www.adultswim.com/promos/201206_singles/index.html?cid=homepage_singles2012

Pitchfork Interviews Sweet Valley


Sweet Valley is a cool new project from Nathan Williams and his brother Joel or “Kynan” eh I don’t know Pitchfork is confusing. Anywho, the group unleashes some nasty beats, showcasing Nathan’s love for hip hop, which hasn’t been as prevalent in his mainstay, Wavves. Their debut is entitled Stay Calm and will be released by Fool’s Gold on August 7, 2012. Check out this Pitchfork interview at the link below.
http://pitchfork.com/news/47252-wavves-nathan-williams-and-his-brother-talk-instrumental-beat-project-sweet-valley/ Article by Carrie Battanon

P.S. Nathan gives us the skinny on the next Wavves LP: “The new record is already done– we just finished mixing. I think it’s a lot bigger sounding than King of the Beach or Life Sux. I guess it’s more geared towards 90s big chords.”

Nathan Williams & L’il Bro Kynan Introduce Sweet Valley- “Total Carnage”

Wavves’ Nathan Williams has teamed up with his younger brother Kynan in a new project called Sweet Valley and here is the debut cut “Total Carnage” from their upcoming release Stay Calm out on Fool’s Gold on August 7, 2012!

More info here: http://www.spin.com/#articles/wavves-nathan-williams-debuts-sweet-valley-track-total-carnage

Random Badass Playlist For Y’all to Enjoy…

1) Buddy Holly– “Dearest” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebsYCJinxKU

2) The Dixie Cups– “Chapel of Love” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTq7w8P6_2I

3) Bent Shapes (formerly Girlfriends)- “I Was Here But I Disappear” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_4UVdsc_ps

4) Best Coast– “Sun Was High (So Was I)”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xdansEXFjg

5) Best Coast– “The Only Place” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoPoRuNTo9U

6) Wavves– “Wavves” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyxwkUUrpTI

7) Antsy Pants & Kimya Dawson– “Tree Hugger” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R378SwPH-b0

8) The New Highway Hymnal– “Hey Kid (Gotta Run)” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8Yxb54zxSw

9) Lotus Plaza– “Rain Down” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dO0V3fD8z7c

10) Joey Ramone– “What A Wonderful World” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFbkVOBAorE

11) Elvis Presley– “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqv5b0UjR4g

12) Smith Westerns– “Imagine Part III” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLAlSRf-fDk

13) Righteous Brothers– “Unchained Melody” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiiyq2xrSI0

14) Everly Brothers– “Made to Love” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUdYW4ZYjUo

15) Rolling Stones– “Monkey Man” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNY8eYmzdH4

16) The Animals– “We’ve Gotta Get Out Of This Place” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUpBSvN1a50

17) The Duprees– “You Belong To Me” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCeNCvwEFU8

18) Natural Child- “Ray Thompson’s Blues” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEjxdnC1vQ4

19) Go- Go’s– “Vacation” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxC8KatxJxo

20) GG Allin– “I Wanna Kill You” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeTNfoSu9nI

21) GG Allin– “Fuck Authority” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6FNvENuGuk