Concert Review: SARALEE, Elephant, Masingo, Elephants @ Ant Cellar (5/16/12)


Flyer by Lauren Garant (of Elephants)

Artists: SARALEE, Elephant, Masingo, Elephants
Date: Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Venue: Ant Cellar (Lowell, MA)
Comments:
Act I: Elephants– Elephants play simple, mellow music that is easy to enjoy. They give off similar vibes as SARALEE at least to me, so it is nice to see them on the same bill. Like SARALEE they are a duo, except this band strictly consists of two members on vocals and guitars. They play off each other really well and I appreciate their guitar work. It is a cool, intimate performance. I wish I could provide a bit more info or insight, but to be honest my memory of this evening is starting to fade, excuse the extremely late arrival of this write-up. I figure better late than never! Anyway, here is Elephants’ Bandcamp page: http://those-elephants.bandcamp.com/album/the-sea-ep

Act II: Masingo– Masingo is a fun band and they tend to be more on the heavier side than their predescessors on this evening. The vocalist/guitarist is pretty energetic as he jumps around and off his amp from time to time. I love when he informs the audience how they can “like” them on facebook or fuck it… here’s their page, do it! http://www.facebook.com/masingomusic

Act III: Elephant– Perhaps the strangest of all the bands tonight, Elephant (not to be confused with the first band, no s!) is an intriguing, experimantal, psychedelic, outsider esque outfit. I enjoy their performance, but I do not remember being overly enthusiastic about it either. Now, listening to their Bandcamp page I am more impressed and find their bizarre, off kilter music to be fascinating and unique. It is not for everybody, but what is? Nothing. And even if there was an artist for everybody, they would probably suck. Check out Elephant here: http://laughablerecordings.bandcamp.com/track/ostrich-egg

Act IV: SARALEE–  In the past year I have seen numerous mind expanding, truly riveting rock and rollers, but few can compete with SARALEE.  Their demo is fantastic pop music. Maybe not pop in the conventional sense, but nonetheless catchy and inclusive.  In other words, the songs are not hard to get into, they rope you in and toss you right back out with their satisfying brevity. That is SARALEE on record. For those who have not caught one of their shows, do it!  Live, the songs are even more astounding. Their performances always put me in this ethereal, wonderous state of mind.  Much of this is due to the chemistry between vocalist/guitarist Sara and drummer Lee. With the exception of noise pop champions, No Age and local favorites, Fat History Month, I have not seen a two piece so in touch with one another’s approach to music as SARALEE.  The songs all sound solid per usual, but one of my favorite moments is in between one of the tunes when Lee asks the crowd “what’s the difference between your mom and five cocks?…. Your mom can’t take a joke!”  And then he proceeds to do that little drum thing that drummers do after they crack a joke. I get a big kick out of that, I think I am the only one.  Here is a link to their glorious bandcamp page, seriously cannot advocate it enough. http://saralee.bandcamp.com/

Concert Review: Fat Creeps & Migs @ Wilder Zangcraft (6/4/12)


Photo by the Metro

Artists: Fat Creeps, The Migs, Spook Houses, Bad Sound
Date: Monday, June 4, 2012
Venue: Wilder Zangcraft (Lowell, MA)
Comments:
Act I: Fat Creeps– In the past couple of months Fat Creeps have slowly risen to the status of KLYAM faves, ever since we saw them play one helluva show with Fat History Month, Big Mess, and Onslo at O’Brien’s Pub back in April. After that show I started listening to the Fat Creeps on a regular basis. Just last Thursday, Glen and I saw them open for The Coathangers at Great Scott, and it was mind blowing. Tonight, I get to see the trio in a small, intimate setting: the Wilder Zangcraft, the premiere basement venue in Lowell. Zangcraft is a cozy, little space, perfect for the catchy, easy to sing along to style of the Fat Creeps songs. Tonight the group is comparatively underdressed, though vocalist/guitarist Gracie Jackson is rocking a sweet, blue poncho, a wise choice on this rainy evening. I love pretty much all of the Fat Creeps songs and they rock through all the classics, so I am a happy camper. The Fat Creeps open with “Horoscope,” which they actually closed with last week at the Great Scott; it is good to switch things up, keep it fresh. “Horoscope” is a strong opener and sets the mood for the rest of the performance. I adore Gracie’s singing, reminds me of Kim Gordon, but the best is when fellow singer/bassist Mariam Saleh’s vocals also come in and they sing simultaneously.  In general, I think I appreciate that aspect of their music the most. And of course, cannot forget about Jim Leonard on drums! Solid job dude. This song also features a special guest appearance from a cute, little dog that ran around the Fat Creeps as they rocked out. That dog has some good taste in music. “Leave Her Alone” and “Nancy Drew” are awesome as usual. The latter is one of the best/catchiest songs I have heard all year. The lyrics are hilarious and always get stuck in my head. Live, the song is definitely amplified and I am always  excited when they rock into the “Do do do doo, hey Nancy Drew.” The guitars are simple, but effective and the way they repeat the line several times and then again at the end of the song just reinforces its memorabe quality. “Kerry” is a favorite of mine as well. I don’t know what it is, but I find this song to be quite amusing and I can picture my brother awkwardly dancing to it in his hilarious Justin way. I know this means nothing to most people, but fellow KLYAM administrator/co- conspirator, Glen knows exactly what I am talking about! Anyway, it is a nice little ditty. Gracie’s vocals on “700 Parts” is another stand out for me personally. All the songs are sound, it is funny because when I see them live it feels more like a band playing all of their “hits”  from throughout their discography, not just singles and demos. I cannot wait to hear a full length LP from these guys. KLYAM Luvs You!
To any readers I am sure you will love them too: http://fatcreeps.bandcamp.com/

Act II: The Migs– The Migs, everybody’s favorite New Hampshire based garage rock band! The Migs are kind of like KLYAM buddies Atlantic Thrills (RI): pure, no bullshit, rock and roll. Last (and the only) time I saw the Migs was here at the Wilder Zangcraft, the 420 show, which proved to be a spectacular show. On that great evening and tonight, Migs bring out their best and destroy. This time around, New  Highway Hymnal’s Lukas Goudreault is a full time member and he kills it on bass. The band opens with their signature “We Are Da Migs” and everything gets off on the right foot. The Migs are all about having fun, which is what true rock and roll is about anyway. The music of the Migs reminds me of why I love most of the music that is near and dear to me in the first place, because it is FUN! During the Migs set, singer/guitarist, Kevin Lareau and bassist Lukas spend most of the performance  rocking through the crowd, getting people exicted and encouraging eveyrone to dance their asses off. At one point  Kevin’s pants even fall down, but he does not seem to give a flying fuck whatsoever, the right attitude bro. This is what I love about the Migs, their enthusiasm; their devotion to communicating the joy of rock and roll through their music to the audience.  Towards the end of the show, fellow New Highway Hymnal member, Travis Hagan (drums) joins in on tambourine. Gotta love that guy! My favorite Migs tune is a slow ballad known as “You and Me.”  Folks seem to  respond the best to this number with lots of kids dancing in all sorts of unique ways. Indeed, the kids like you and me. I just had to toss in a horrible joke, it would not be a show review without it. In both Migs shows I have seen now I feel like 2012 is thown out the window for a half hour or more and it is 1965 again. An intoxicating and rare feeling.

http://themigs.bandcamp.com/ Don’t be a square, check it out!

HEY!!! Guess who also loves da migs?!  While I was googling images for the Migs, I  stumbled upon Nu Rave Brain Wave’s love for the Migs: http://nuravebrainwave.com/2011/06/introducing-the-migs/

Nice!

Unfortunately we missed the last two bands,  Spook Houses and Bad Sound :(

Here are their band camp pages respectively:

http://spookhouses.bandcamp.com/

http://badsound.bandcamp.com/

Review: OnBroadway Fest 2008 (5/5/12)

Date: Saturday, May 5, 2012
Venue(s): Dirty Douglas & Ant Cellar (Lowell, MA)
Artists:
Inspector 34 @ Ant Cellar– We missed :(  http://inspector34.bandcamp.com/

Crinkleface @ Dirty Douglas– Crinkleface starts the show off (at least for me) with a loud, rocking set filled with 90s esque metalcore tunes. It is not my personal taste, but the band is good at what they do and they sound pretty tight today, so for that I will commend them. Also, the vocals are remarkably memorable. As I am typing this now, nearly a month later, when I listen to their music I can instantly identify the singer’s voice. I have to say that that is a rare stand out for me, especially since it is not a voice I particularly enjoy hearing, with all due respect because the vocals ARE in fact strong, just not my thing. It is funny though because I feel like this is the kind of band I would have adored in sixth or seventh grade, when I attended my very first shows. Glen thinks they have more of a Nirvana feel, with the whole “loud/quiet/loud dynamic.” I get what he is saying, but I do not think it all boils down to just that. In general, I feel like people use that line way too often. Ahh well, here is Crinkleface’s bandcamp page, take a look: http://crinkleface.bandcamp.com/

Friendship @ Ant Cellar– Friendship is a cool trio from the heart of Lowell. Every Friendship show (at least the two I have seen) shares two distinct features: a hanging, inverted American flag and a little tape recorder that unleashes all of your favorite pop hits. This time around the show opens with Ace of Base’s “I Saw the Sign,” before they rock into their noise fueled set. I am still getting into Friendship’s music, but I am always impressed with their unique performances. There is a charm to their prescence that I can’t quite articluate, but I do not see it in most bands. They end the set with the tape recorder playing Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” and a fantastic, serene vibe flows through the ant cellar, just a stellar ending to a fun set.

Styk @ Dirty Douglas– We missed this :(

Necklacing @ Ant Cellar– Necklacing plays heavy, hardrcore/death metal and if you know KLYAM well, then you know that really is not our thang. But, it is always nice to see an energetic, screaming frontwoman, so here’s to more ladies in the rock world! http://necklacing.bandcamp.com/

Ponds @ Dirty Douglas– Ponds play a similar style of music as Necklacing, but the crowd appears to be a bit more enthusiastic as some moshing and dancing emerges in the middle of the set. Being a short dude, I do not have to worry about thee unfortunately low ceiling like most dirty douglas desciples and I am a grateful for this, one of the few benefits to being short. I bring up this point because during Ponds’s set, another form of headbanging occurs when one  enthusiastic lad rocks so hard, he knocks his head against the pipes and plummets to the floor. Sorry dude, but I just think this is too hilarious not to mention! Rock show scars and injuries aside, here is Ponds’ Band Camp page: http://ponds.bandcamp.com/

Host @ Ant Cellar– We missed :(

Guerilla Toss @ Ant Cellar–  Ahh yes Guerilla Toss, a name I have heard literally tossed around these parts for several months now. Finally, I have the opportunity to see what other music lovers have christened as “amazing.” And I must say I truly did not anticipate them to be as awesome as they are.  Guerilla Toss’ set is filled with walls of noise, weird time signatures, insanely danceable grooves, and the  lead vocalist’s unending shrieks. I have seen countless vocalists scream their hearts out, but this frontwoman totally steals the show. Her enthusiasm is unlimited as she bops around, up and down, demolishing through the sausage fest that consumes the Ant Cellar; she turns all the men into boys in two seconds. I usually am not a huge fan of this kind of screaming in vocals, but her yalps just seem more genuine, like they are coming from some deep, dark place. It sounds as if she is being bludgeoned to death, I love it!  I also have to note the slick, stylish, bright red, “Beat It” era Michael Jackson leather jacket being worn by the guitarist, looking good my man, looking good.  Guerilla Toss’ performance is one that will stick with me forever (literally Glen says this to me during the show, and he is correct at that, though I remember all the shows!) for my favorite moment in their set is when the vocalist leaps toward me, grabs my skull and hurls my wee body back into the crowd. This jostling, trance-like  gesture of showomanship sends the pre-pubescent boy in me into paroxysms of ecstacy. When the set finally hits its conclusion, I notice that there is some blood pouring down my arm. In fact, as I am writing this now, I can still see the little dent in my arm from which the blood flows. If I could frame that  teeny scar as a mini Guerilla Toss @  the Ant Cellar memento I would. Though that seems unecessary because after this KLYAM debut the band will be rocking in my psyche anyway. FUN!!! http://guerillatoss.com/

Motel Mattress @ Ant Cellar– I am not going to lie, I do not remember too much of Motel Mattress’ set, but I do remember enjoying it very much. I also recall my good friend Justin Cole being blown away and possibly purchasing a record? Either way, Mr.Cole is typically a  solid barometer for excellence in musical taste, so here’s a shout out to Motel Mattress!  I plan on checking out their music a bit more in the future. http://motelmattress.bandcamp.com/

Big Mess @ Dirty Douglas– Big Mess is always a great big kick in the balls, just right in the nads. The Dirty D is the best place to see Big Mess, or at least my favorite, and I am sad to see it go. I am also sad to hear that this is most likely the last time I will see bassist Josh Tracy with the band.  Tonight, the charismatic musician is bare chested and bearing a surgeon’s mask, I dig. In the past six months or so, I have come to love Big Mess and they never have dissapointed me live or in the studio. This evening is no exception and the trio destroy per ususal. The guitars are heavy, the drums roar, and it all adds up to one gigantic explosion of classic rock and roll. As I have noted before, the sound of Big Mess is one of familiarity, but these guys make it sound fresh. You can hear the hard rock of Black Sabbath and the noise  rock of Shellac, but it does not sound anicent at all. You can really hear their appreciation for music in these songs. Big Mess might also win the award for best band to headbang to!  Whether it be headbanging, moshing, or any -ing one desires, do it to Big Mess: http://bigmessma.bandcamp.com/

Atlas the Atom Smasher @ Ant Cellar– Atlas the Atom Smasher brings out the most attendees by far. The place is packed with bodies all the way and through the exit and it is not hard to see why; Atlas has served  as punk rock stalwurts in Lowell for years and sadly tonight is their final performance. I am fairly new to their music, hearing them for for the first time last fall, but I can appreciate their musical chops and lightning fast delivery. Drummer Tyler Bisson is pounding on his drum kit like a madman. His and the entire band’s charisma is as admirable as their DIY ethics. I am glad I caught Atlas the Atom Smasher while I did and I hope every member has an equally gratifying future in music and all other endeavours. http://atlastheatomsmasher.bandcamp.com/

Districts @ Dirty Douglas–  We missed :(  http://districts.bandcamp.com/

Fat History Month @ Dirty Douglas– Fat History Month are like the Black Lips of Boston for me. Which means we suck their dicks digitally on KLYAM. In other words, they are a beloved favorite worthy of the highest praise. Tonight, Sean Historymonth (I guess that is what the kids are calling him nowadays) informs Glen and I that Mark and himself  were painting all day before they arrived in Lowell.  Hard working men on all accounts!  Indeed. This performance is filled with laughs, cheers, and Naragansett beers; loads of fun. Fat History Month are at ease as they rock through many of their classics including, but not limited to “No Safe,”  “Thing I Enjoy,” “Fucking Despair,” “Free As A Cat On A Leash,” and “Old Lady Smokers,” which is played twice by request.  I do not know about you, but this is the best Fat History Month show I have seen in 2012 and the last one at the Dirty Douglas.
Hey shithead, check this out if you haven’t! http://fathistorymonth.bandcamp.com/album/june-tour-tape-bad-history-demos

New Highway Hymnal @ Ant Cellar– One of the best Boston bands right here and certainly one of my favorites. I have seen NHH several times now and it seems to get better, honestly, not just saying that for no reason. Glen, on the other hand, has not experienced NHH up until this point. The group is a tour de force live and it is great to see what the bands sounds/looks like through a new set of eyes. Tonight, people are moshing to the wild, psychdelic zounds of the music whilst singer Hadden hops into the crowd.  He has a crazed look on his face, it is as if  he is staring right through my soul. Their performance is easily one of the funnest from the whole fest. The set climaxes in destruction as bodies and instruments are tossed around like a town whore. Then in what  feels like a split second I hear an explosion, I am covered in water, and the room reeks of feces. Fortunately, I am not covered in actual shit,  just shit water. So, drummer Travis and I essentially are shit brothers! A lovely way to conclude OnBroadway Fest 2008.
http://thenewhighwayhymnal.bandcamp.com/

Matahari @ Ant Cellar– We missed :(  http://matahari.bandcamp.com/

I would  like to thank Anthony Richerdz , Nick Egersheim, and Gregory Ragnio for putting this shindig on as well as all the bands that played OnBroadway Fest 2008. KLYAM loves you all long time.

Album Review: Atlas The Atom Smasher’s “The Snowmiser Suite”

Artist: Atlas the Atom Smasher
Full Title: The Snowmiser Suite
Release Date: January 1, 2012
Label: Self-Released
Comments: It’s 2012, the apocalypse is almost upon us and the end of the world is nigh. Alright, no, I personally don’t buy into anything relating to the mayan calendar or December 21st of this year. However, if you were to ask Atlas The Atom Smasher, it can be the perfect subject matter to base an album around. “The Snowmiser Suite”, the Punk trio’s newest release, is exactly that: one 12 minute, three part punk rock odyssey about finding oneself and making sense of the world’s problems right in the midst of, you guessed it, the apocalypse. The song’s three movements each call to mind different emotions that might come out of a situation such as this. At some points the lyrics reflect hope for mankind’s future, while in other places there is a sense of anger about the factors that might have led to the world’s destruction. Finally, the boys in Atlas seem to reach a point of understanding and even acceptance with the chaos they’ve depicted here.
The EP begins with ominous guitar chords that build right into the first movement “Snowmiser”; here frontman Aaron Hibbert sings with a kind of pained optimism. The state of the world he depicts is anything but pleasant, but he holds on to a small sense of hope as he proclaims “we’ll be okay someday”, a line that goes on to be a recurring idea later in the song.
The second movement, “Heatmiser”, abruptly transitions from hopeful anthem into furious hardcore driven by the relentless rhythm section of bassist Josh Wilson and Drummer Tyler Bisson. Whatever hope might have existed in the first movement vanishes here; Hibbert and Bisson trade off angry vocals, each railing against humanities’ choices and actions (Killing the mother for fuel to survive/ as if killing each other could keep us alive). To close out the second section, the band features some fine guest appearances, the first by vocalist Chelsea Maida, who brings back the idea that “we’ll be okay”. Guitarist Nicholas Wiedeman (Big Mess) provides a heavily distorted guitar solo over a slow, heavy, blues interlude that marks the end of movement two.
From here, the band progresses into movement three, a quick paced, straightforward punk rock romp that brings back that lighthearted optimism shown at the beginning of the record. Judging from the lyrics, Hibbert appears to have reached a point of peace and acceptance as he sings “I hope that I finally get to see the apocalypse”, as if he knows whats coming, yet has no problem with it. There are even clever jabs at subjects like religion: “raise up your arms as if praising the sun could save us from anything and all that we’ve done to ourselves”. This memorable EP comes to a close with Hibbert and company proudly exclaiming “we’ll be okay”. The difference this time is that they seem confident, as if over the last 12 minutes they were able to reach an understanding of the world’s problems that led to this horrible situation.
Overall, “The Snowmiser Suite” is a very impressive release that approaches the subject of doomsday from many different angles. Hibbert’s lyrics move back and forth between optimism and pessimism, hope and despair, and sometimes pure, unabashed anger. In the process, he brings up subtle political, religious, and even environmental ideas as they could relate to the end of the world. Underneath the vocals, his band moves flawlessly through tempo and meter shifts while effectively interpreting the different moods the lyrics evoke. Each movement captures a different element of modern punk rock. Sometimes it is melodic, other times aggressive, but above all it is quick paced and full of energy while still bringing a complexity not typically seen in punk today.

Concert Review: Atlas the Atom Smasher (CD Release)@ UML Fox Common

Artists: Atlas the Atom Smasher, Big Mess, Bella Birds, In the Direction of the Sun, and Crashing Cars
Date: Friday, March 2, 2012
Venue: UMass Lowell Fox Common (Lowell, MA)
Comments:
Act I: Crashing Cars– Nice alliteration in the title! Crashing Cars is seriously a great way to describe this band, there’s a lot of aggression to their performance and they play driving, loud, fast rock music.  I definitely get a lot of early to mid 90s  grunge vibes and there is a lot of emotion in each of their songs. and the performance itself.  It’s not exactly my cup of tea, but they are undeniably talented musicians and I can imagine there is a decent amount of appeal for their angsty approach to this style of music. Check out their band camp page here: http://crashingcars.bandcamp.com/

Act II: In the Direction of the Sun– Unfortunately, much of the audience that witnessed Crashing Cars vanish in the time between Act I and II. Which is a  damn shame because these guys really rock hard and give it their A game … for just the four or five of us that are left standing there. It is a set full of tesosterone fueled, angry, death metal/hardcore blast after blast. Once again, this isn’t my kind of music, but I commend them for a charismatic and passionate performance, especially considering the sudden decrease in attendance. At times, I feel like it is the death metal version of Atlantic Thrills, which of course is a great “I don’t give a fuck, let’s just have fun and go wild!” attitude. The best attitude to have. If you’re big  into heavier, more diabolical stuff check these guys out here: http://inthedirectionofthesunma.bandcamp.com/

Act III: Bella Birds– Next up is Bella Birds, a charming folk duo with strong hooks and strong harmonies. A bit more people show up and it is cool to see yet another transition in genre/style/approach, which is a characteristic I always note about thse Fox Common shows. Their performance is engaging and they interact well with the audience, often with light humor and positivity. Here’s the link to their site:  http://www.thebellabirds.com/

Act IV: Big Mess– Ahh yes, the mighty Big Mess. Generally speaking, I’m not the biggest fan of instrumental music, but Big Mess is a massive exception. This trio rocks and kills it at each and every show. The bands plays slow, haunting quasi metal/hardcore with an equal proportion of sludge and pop sensibility. The songs aren’t poppy, but all of them have incredible hooks that get stuck in my head on a daily basis. When I wear my badass, redneck esque snowboots “The Hook” instantly pops in my head, for example. If I worked out I’m sure Big Mess would appear on my playlist. During this performance I hear a lot of My War/Slip It In era Black Flag in their music.  The Big Mess on this evening is no different than the Big Mess on any other evening, but I walk away with those early hardcore/crossover metal, mid 80s-SST vibes. I see a lot of similarities in the two bands, though Big Mess is more in control in their musicianship, it’s less chaotic, but just as cathartic. I’ve seen them several times now and the sets are always familiar, but it never gets old, the songs are strong enough that it’s  always refreshing. http://bigmessma.bandcamp.com/album/big-mess

Act V: Atlas the Atom Smasher– Atlas the Atom Smasher is one of the hardest working local bands in Boston and tonight’s show is a celebration for the release of their latest CD, The Snowmiser Suite, a 12 minute punk epic about the impending apocalypse. Despite the dour subject matter behind the muisc, Atlas is infinitely positive and enthusiastic, especially drummer Tyler Bisson, and this is reflected in their music. They play loud, fast punk driven songs, but with a bit more variation and experimentaion than most bands that fall under that category. The sound is incredibly loud and much of that can be attributed to the Fox Common’s permanent ear damaging PA, but it certainly fit really well with the music. Their performance overall is impressive as is The Snowmiser Suite itself. Give it some much earned ear time: http://atlastheatomsmasher.bandcamp.com/album/the-snowmiser-suite