Defending The Orwells: I Remember When

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As the first person to ever write about The Orwells, I have the overwhelming responsibility to defend them. From what, from who? Nevermind. When they were 15/16 years old, they were writing catchy rock ‘n roll. The production was what you would expect from some suburban kids in their basement. By this time, I was the biggest fan of the Black Lips and they were too. This was back in the days when some good bands would e-mail us (themselves), send some links, offer words of appreciation of what we were doing. A kinship. I thought these dudes were doing shit at a much higher level than their older peers and there was some video floating around of them playing a huge show in Chicago. They seemed big, but I figured they were too young to tour. And maybe they were because it took until 2013 for them to come through Boston.

I remember that show like it was yesterday. At the now dead TT The Bears with some local band called Nice Guys whose first 7″ we would later put out. The Orwells were shooting some pool in the back of the empty club and I come through and say “Yo dudes whassup, you know who I am?” Maybe a little cocky but most likely not. I say yo I wrote about you first. ‘OH shit, Kids Like You and Me?’ Yeah dudes. Lamenting about not being able to drink — a few years away — the Chicago White Sox, and groupies? “Nah dude, not at all” – Mario. They had fresh stacks of Remember When at the merch table, though this record was old news to me, as it had a much lower key self-release (like their first two albums). So when the press narratives say that this Terrible Human Beings is their third studio album, that is not a lie, but it terribly deceives the public, those individuals who might like the hot and dirty material known as THE EARLY DAYS. Put them in their parents musty basement or put them in a studio with the guy who produced the Arctic Monkeys – I’m not really sure it makes a difference. They’ve always been a cleaner outlet to weenies or rational thinkers who think The Strokes were garage-punk. I give ’em shit for not knowing the Oblivians. But as I noticed a few years ago, these five weren’t back from the Grave like The Count Five or any nefarious ‘teen punkers’ but they are not some borderline pop punk, Melodic generics, either. And it is funny that they always seem to play with not exciting, ROCK acts.

On Terrible Human Beings, the best way I can put it is they are still Being The Orwells. They are not Trying To Be The Orwells, which is never a good look, something that usually comes from the creativity lacking depths of veteran bands. From a lot of bands, I usually think it is pretty shitty when they say they are evolving. Forced and gross. But yeah with these guys, they seem to still be coasting, and not changing their innate formula for catchy songs. It is humorous how hot spot, big time get-paid-to-write-about-bands publications make a big deal out of shit like the D chord, precision drumming, floaty bass. Draw conclusions and frame things. I don’t have to worry about The Orwells not delivering. They give a decent amount of material for the music journalists of the world – to talk bout their small forays into Indie Rock and Psychedelia. And they do, it’s no lie. They are a fun listen for tweenies and that older gentleman who comments on every of their YouTube video. How you connect or do not connect is up to you. Research the past or stay locked in the 2017 stuff. Both maybe. They fulfilled their dreams of sharing a bill with the Black Lips and now they are going to consistently sell out The Sinclair. Props my dudes.

Ryan Major and the Love Strangers

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It has a nice ring to it. One of our favorite local musicians – Ryan Major (you may have seen him singing and slinging guitar for our beloved Barbazons (RIP)) is fronting his own group these days and they are called the Love Strangers. Dude knows his history of rock ‘n roll and pens catchy numbers. The Love Strangers feature familiar players such as Travis Hagan (drums), Rob Sutherland (bass/vocals, and Scott Jones (guitar). They recorded with Caufield Schnug (Minidresses) and the result is this fun AF debut Strange Lovers. Mister Major, who I often visually liken to Lee Hazelwood and Jared Swilley, has taken a deeper dive into the world of country, more so than ever before. There were hints like ‘Two Whiskeys’ from the last Barbs album, but this EP goes further into that realm. What a realm.

I plug the cellie into some nice speakers, blast this, pick up an instrument or go behind the kit, and I’m off. Possibly the hallmark of a pop song is being able to joyfully anticipate what is to come. I feel that listening to this and for that, let me reiterate these are all remarkably well written and performed. There is plenty of grit and for lack of a better word, sleaze. Boozy, sing-a-long, is this Boston or North Carolina? Johnny Thunders. Speaking of which, there are plenty of clippityclank solos and reverby axe hijinx, in case you are wondering.

If I can choose anyone to deliver mythical rock ‘n roll odes to the road, women, and beer, I am choosin Ryan Major and the Love Strangers. Cheers.

 

Announcement: NEXT KLYAM SHOW – Feb 4th @ Club Bohemia

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FACEBOOK EVENThttps://www.facebook.com/events/1195706223816172/

We are kicking off our 2017 show series in what can only be described as TYPICAL KLYAM FASHION. We let you off the hook in January, but look at this one. Saturday February 4th at Club Bohemia. Yup, the downstairs of the Cantab Lounge on the edges of Central Square in Cambridge. We’ve thrown several shows at the palace of Mickey Bliss.

You read that right, too. It’s the return of Johnnie and the Foodmasters. Who? The KLYAM House Band. The wildest, noisiest devotees of the golden oldies era of rock and pop music. There is the Yin and Yang dynamic of the clean and professional and the raw and amateur. It is a sight to see and with tremendous bias, I can say that.

We’ve curated an all-star lineup in support of the Foodmasters return: JIM LEONARD. Rock and roll juggernaut, back from Scotland. He’s been doing his thing for years, in a variety of iterations. Top notch on record, top notch live. THEE CAVEMYN – back to the basics rock and roll. Primitivalia as I have termed it. Boom doom BOOM. That riff. The line-up has seen many varieties, fuck I even used to react in it, but this latest one is a contemporary Boston underground supergroup featuring members of Nice Guys, Big Buck Hunter, Birthing Hips, and a newer group that is playing this show – PEACH RING, another contemporary Boston underground supergroup. We’ve never seen them, but oh we’ve heard them and we are excited for the noiseeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!

KLYAM will be spinning records and I might introduce the bands in some MC capacity. 21+. $8.

See you there!!!!!!!!

Band of the Week: The Submissives

This recommendation of Montreal’s The Submissives comes through via our pal Hugo of Time Warp Week Ends. Hugo’s taste in music is top notch (after all, we met at Gonerfest while waiting for Nots to kick off opening ceremonies). I asked him what’s the good stuff up in Montreal? He pointed us in the direction of The Submissives. And what a recommendation. Hugo used my initial reaction – dying guitars and stoned vocals – in his year ender, and I like what he had to say in one of his write-ups so here:

“Dolly Parton on sizzurp, the Shangri-La’s on methadone. This is drug-related, in a cool creative way. And the disheveled retro visual aesthetic is effortless and strong.”

Much has been written about The Submissives, which started as a solo recording project and has blossomed into a live band consisting of some seasoned and some amateur musicians. Amazing.

Book Write-Up: The Autograph of Steve Industry (By: Ben Hersey)

Release: 2016
Publisher: Magic Helicopter Press

I like textbooks. I don’t like fiction. I like deep shit. When I looked at the back of this book, which – let me stop right there. Holding onto this book feels so nice. The cover is something to be grasped. The back cover says it is FICTION. And as I said, I don’t do well with fiction. I would like to ask that the publishers revise that. I did a full reading of The Autograph and it felt more like almost non-fiction. Comedy, too. Before even digging in: “Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons – living or dead – is entirely coincidental.” I’m from the North Shore, kid. Kowloon is real as fuck. Bennigans in Wakefield. That’s not a thing. Anyway, I really loved reading this book. I found myself reading it in a forced Boston accent. Enjoying the references to actual places and people. If you grew up in Eastern Mass, or even if you’ve familiarized yourself with the area, you know these places and these people. These are our family members, our friends, yada yada. I could be Steve Industry. It is good stuff. So Steve Industry is a writer, foremost. He also has a bunch of other jobs, but his writing and his music – very intertwined, we learn – takes precedent in his life. Boom, there’s a song right there. I like that mentality. An everyday kind of guy, but he is on another level. Moonstruck. I am going to give this a second read, because the first time through I would like to think I was following along. Lots of laughs. But I was page flipping. I was suckered in. I had a feeling this would be like the book version of a mumblecore film. Excellent character “studies,” no plot. And that is what I am looking for, if it is going to be fiction. I’ve never read a North-Shore-Core book, or any writing that is explicitly Boston. It could have turned ugly, but the writing is so all over the place that only a funny person, whose life went through the ringer that is Route One, could shine through as a genuine scribe of the Keno zeitgeist circa 2009? The one-liners, the deep shit. Some of it complete nonsense, meant to throw you off guard. Each chapter starts with a question. That is irrelevant. It is all about the way Steve rants and raves and communicates with his family, his bandmates, and his own mind. I think it said he hates Good Will Hunting, but maybe ’cause he is that dude. Guy. This is hopefully the first of many novels of this style. Naked confessional, transparency. Populist. A super fun read. Round two – I will be taking notes.

GGG’s MOST LISTENED TO IN 2016 (PART TWO)

Friends – I was re-reading the original post and it just did not feel complete. Nope. There were at least two notables missing. Most of the time I am listening to stuff at work. And sure sometimes I decide to be fun and do Pandora, get some randomness flowing. But often times I get locked in these repeat stretches that I alluded to earlier. I thought back to earlier on in the year – like Spring/Summer, the stuff that I was big on, as well as stuff as recent as a month back. The very new.  Here are some more:

Adam Green – Aladdin and in General – Adam is a guy I know everything about and a guy I know nothing about. He is doing what you are not, saying what you are not. I was pumped to hear about Aladdin. New music from AG, he’s good people. Flirting with realms of the real and the surreal, he almost effortlessly makes something that Chris D likes to call “songs.” These maneuver around a hodge podge of rock ‘n roll and pop styling, but the performances (the production, in a theatrical sense) and absurd/nonsensical lyrical content give it the appeal to me. Now imagine those as film qualities and you have Aladdin. But this past spring/summer I went back to all of Green’s albums, binged on them for weeks straight. Minor Love – which was my entrance into his solo world and came out in 2010 – is the one I go back to. “Castles and Tassels” check this out: “The ass of the business class was his passion. A number by hustle, he numbered his muscles. Honored by honest, he fell down upon us.” That’s so good! He takes all obvious meaning out of everything, leaving us literally nothing, except what you make of it. Which can be intense.

Mavis The Dog / The Jetsies – Silver Racecar – Mavis The Dog (read my 2014 feature for an insight into the mind) came back. I came a couple of years late to the obscure Philly musician’s output, but did that matter at all? Of course not. Mavis’ heady home spun psychedelia is even more rustic and dreamy as The Jetsies. Like a winter jaunt to The Alps or an extended stay as an Aspen ski instructor, this is high altitude, memory music. Take your time, enjoy your nature.

Jim Leonard – A Brief History of Slime – You know who kicked off the 2010s? It was Swampscott’s Jim Leonard. Jim’s a ridiculous fellow once he gets his hands on some instruments and recording equipment. I think it was one of the first times I met Jim when he was with Fat Creeps, probably at the old Precinct or something. I asked him if he had done any solo recordings. He pointed me to the ole Bandcamp and the rest is pretty nutty. This is still one of the coolest batch of recordings we are fortunate to have exist in the realm of online music. I would not be surprised if cover bands are formed solely to replay this album in its entirety. Everyone wants to nail it and Jim did. Jim is in a league of his own – real as shit and fun as **ck. We can captcha it on film.

 

 

GGG’s MOST LISTENED TO IN 2016

Music is pretty contrived and unoriginal.  So what happens is you write about it and you nerd out hard. And mainly no one cares. A few of your fellow nerds care and these are the people that comment or ‘engage’ with shit that you spew out there. The PR machine is so sadly desperate for bloggers like us to care. Please please listen. No stop sending us your shit, maybe when I was like 19 years old, I would give you a chance. Cut it out. No one cares about anything, and those that actually do, KLYAM, we set the tone. We are not going to let the PR machine dictate our content. Most of it is lousy corporate rock. Oh nice, you isolated your self from humanity for a year and a half, recorded in a fancy studio, or have some intriguing backstory. Elaborate – but I still don’t care! You listen to stuff and hopefully it resonates and you don’t feel embarrassed to be witnessing some boring shit. That’s pretty much it. I hope to offer a perspective of some kind so here is the stuff I listened to most in 2016:

THE B-52’s Third Album – 1983 – WHAMMY! – Shout out to Bobby Hussy for the leads on this one. My prior exposure to The B-52’s was: seeing them live in Vegas when I was 9 years old (my first concert), and listening to their debut album, which I have consistently snagged from my parent’s record collection, and their later singles “Roam” and “Love Shack,” which I will go out and assume most people are familiar with. WHAMMY! is an incredible album to listen to – at any time, at any place – and it is also fun to play along with. The B-52’s PERFORM and OWN this synth/drum machine heavy masterpiece. Fun, pop oriented songwriting, but very very weird. The mixing on this is very spacey. If I am short on time, I go with “Song for a Future Generation” – featuring vocals from all members. Wacked but not at all.

Icky Boyfriends – A Love Obscene – Snotty 90s San Fran give no f’s kind of group. Kind of group that could not do a wrong. The best kind. This is not garage, this is not noise, this is what it is, rock ‘n roll. I repeat – the best kind. Probably like other peeps that Get It (TM), I find myself unable to listen to “Nervous Guy” once. Usually clock in around seven to nine repeats. Have I made it through the entire 56 song compilation? No, not really. I don’t need to, but I will.

Lou Reed – “Crazy Feeling” – Wasn’t until 2016 when I scoped out and listened to Lou Reed’s Coney Island Baby. Record is very good, very Lou. It is this song in particular that I have myself a “Nervous Guy” moment. It is the first song on the record, so it works favorably for multiple repeat listens. The head bobbing bass line and transitions to the chorus is immaculate.

Miracle Johan  – Miracle Johan blazed a trail in one man band home recordings in the mid 2000s. That trail is like a double black diamond at King Pine Ski Resort. Maybe somebody went down it, but we’re not sure if they made it down the mountain. In the case of Miracle, he decided to create a song for each Boston Celtic player until the team won a championship. He performed from the perspective of each player for a truly bizarre catalog of offerings. Mainly of the hip-hop variety. Often changing the pitch of the vocals and building songs around a catchy theme or phrase, Miracle Johan was not (as far as I am aware) trying to get these licensed for inclusion in the NBA 2K series. No, this is just the work of a superfan and super talented musician. Even if you are not a C’s fan, you will admire the work Johan put into these recordings, or in some instances the lack of work. Like the song “A Zillion Ponies (Dan Dickau),” which chronicles the little-known bench player who blew his achilles and is learning how to play guitar from his hospital bed. Loopy from the meds, he anxiously puts his feelings to song: “I’m Dan Dickau and I’m human with real emotions like a real human. My emotions are sweet like a river running through a forest. And A Zillion Ponies.” On a totally different note, Miracle Johan’s discography also includes one of the chillest listens – Hawaii Demos – that have wet my whistle for shit, nearly a decade. MJ was featured in the Boston Phoenix way back when.