BLACK LIPS – Still The Greatest Band

Black Lips – the mere mention of those two words has gotten KIDS LIKE YOU AND ME excited, stoked, etc. Whatever you wanna call it – our fandom has been anything but passive. We created this very website dedicated to passionate rock ‘n roll music because of BLACK LIPS. We are the dudes that have Google’d and YouTube’d the shit out of the band over the past 9 years (which is really only about half of their existence [formed in 1999]), traveled a handful of times to New York to catch them, and played Mr. Driver on the jukebox at an Irish dive downtown.

Now we can go on and on about why Ain’t Comin’ Back should be as regular a staple in the set as O Katrina, why we obsess about the Gaye Blades and why no one is going to touch the Old King Cole Younger solo album with a ten foot pole.

Plain and simple we are the Black Lips ultimate fans. Now, that’s not to say we take everything they have ever done and just gush and bow down to it. Underneath the Rainbow is pretty much just an average album and hey, I heard they’ve got a new one out. Their discography from the very first cuts through Arabia Mountain stands on its own for pushing ‘garage’ into noisier and more experimental directions. Where other bands play it safe or just plain fuzzy, the Lips always seem to have a genuine sense of humor and an amateur vibe of not caring. This is the kind of stuff that got me to pick up the guitar, drums, and sing, and not worry about doing it ‘right’.

My 13th time seeing the Lips last night at Brighton Music Hall reminded just how giddy I am thinking about and living the experience. This is just FUN. For most bands a short set is decent, but with the Lips I just want it to never end. And life goes on, too. The members have changed so probably certain songs will never be played again and what not. But at the heart of it is a band that still has heart and puts on the best time for those that care.

NEXT KLYAM SHOW: Proud Parents – MAY 22nd @ ZUZU (W/ Peach Ring, G. Gordon Gritty)

We are very excited to announce our next show! It is May 22nd (10 PM), another fantastic Rad Castle Monday night event at ZuZu in Central Square, Cambridge. Proud Parents from Madison, Wisconsin, and on tour!, are making a stop here and we are lucky to hear them perform! I am sure many of you remember a couple of years ago, The Hussy (also from Madison) played an unforgettable set at ZuZu. Our pals Heather from The Hussy plays drums/sings in Proud Parents and Tyler from Fire Heads – who were all set to play ZuZu until a bad snow storm hit – plays guitar/sings in the band. Please head over to their bandcamp and enjoy their infectious pop rock ‘n roll. I insist!

Also playing are firebrands and frankly one of the most exciting groups to emerge out of Boston in the past six months or so — PEACH RING. I would head on over to YouTube where the micro-legend Front Row Person has filmed them on a few occasions, including our Feb 4th gig at Club Bohemia.

Lastly – G. Gordon Gritty – hasn’t shown its (my?) sloppy head(s) in these parts since September. Grab your musical handbook, a pair of scissors, and a lighter.

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.

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.

A KLYAM Cyber Monday Special: Post War Science

“Every Monday should have a nickname. Sure, there’s Cyber Monday, but what about the Monday after that?”

Hunter Burgan innocuously pondered this question aloud after I referenced the Cyber Monday launch-day of Post War Science, a screen printing company run by Burgan and Ted Veralrud. The term “company” is, however, an oversimplification. Indeed, Post War Science is more like a glimpse into the world of two best friends. Friends who, relevantly, share a passion for art and other fine things that life has to offer (like coffee and donuts, for starters).

After spending nearly two decades manufacturing various two-of-a-kind screen printed shirts, Burgan and Veralrud have officially unveiled some of their original designs to the public. Additionally, they’ve made said designs available for purchase. But there’s a catch. Each unique design will have a limited quantity available for purchase, and once they are sold, they will never be sold again. The exclusivity, while strict, invites individuals who appreciate similar qualities in apparel design to dive into the PWS world of purely applicative self-expression.

Once “Oatmeal Monday” had been declared a potential nickname for the Monday after Cyber Monday, Burgan and Veralrud spent some time with Kids Like You And Me to discuss their humble beginnings, company goals, and the fact that they’d eventually like to screen print on anything, even Jerry Garcia ties.

Kids Like You and Me: From the moment Post War Science thinks of a design, to the actual manufacturing of shirts, what are the basic steps that go into the process of obtaining a PWS shirt?

Ted Veralrud: First, we come up with a design for a shirt that we would want to wear. The design will then be available (in limited quantities) to the public. If someone wants a shirt with the design, they can go to our site, purchase one, and Hunter and I will get together and print the image onto the shirt.

So, we’ll be doing things the way we’ve always done them, but now, other people can wear our designs as well.

Hunter Burgan: The manufacturing duties are split. The whole company is based on our friendship, and is an extension of our friendship. We work together behind every step of the process.

KLYAM: What made you guys decide to share your personal designs with the public now?

TV: I think we decided to share them with the public 13 years ago…

In the past, we didn’t really have an outlet for it. We’ve worked with the idea and have taken it pretty far, but things didn’t work out the way we wanted them to. Now, anyone can put up a web page and sell anything they want. So we can do that too. Now is the time.

HB: Yeah, the Internet finally came around to us.

TV: Right. I’m sure we could have done it this way quite a few years ago…

KLYAM: Do you guys have any background knowledge in visual design other than Ivan’s class in high school?

HB: We took another screen printing class together in college, but we dropped out of it.

TV: Did we drop out? I think we accrued a whole year of credit. We just never went.

HB: Yeah, I think we got a passing grade just by registering for the class.

TV:  We were in the cafeteria a lot. They had burritos… and pinball, I think.

That class was a step backwards from what we had already learned in Ivan’s class. After learning the basics, we eventually bought screens and got started in somebody’s garage.

HB: We made shirts for all of the bands we were in, plus patches and t-shirts for friends. As far as designs go, we also made zines in high school that had our own designs. I went on to design shirts for AFI and other bands I’ve been in.

We’ve had a lot of experience with these types of things, even if we didn’t learn it all in school.

KLYAM: How would you describe PWS designs from a stylistic point of view?

TV: When you think of a design, there are few popular topics you’ll want to cover, like coffee, burritos, donuts…Then we’ll approach the design, but not with a specific style in mind. We just do whatever we want.

HB: The only true requirement we have is that our designs are something that we would want to wear. Something we would like to look at. We’re doing something we think is cool, designs that we know each other would appreciate.

TV: We’ve made shirts before that were basically inside jokes. I don’t know if we’ll ever put those up, because then we’d have to explain what they meant. So we’re doing whatever we want, but, if a shirt doesn’t make sense we can’t put it on our site.

HB: Well, we’ll just do two of those. Or three.

TV: Okay, because there are a few that I want to do. Hunter would appreciate them, but nobody else would! They’ll probably show up though. We’ll narrow it down to three.

KLYAM: Why is the PWS policy, which basically states “Once sold out, the design is never coming back, EVER AGAIN,” so strict?

TV: That’s just the way it has always been. Once we print the shirts, that’s it! Well…one shirt came back.

HB: One shirt did come back, but it was a little bit different. But that’s the deal. That specific design, in the specific way that you see it, will never be done again.

Maybe, maybe years from now, something about the design will be changed. The colors may be different, the head may be cut off, you know.

KLYAM: So even if your Grandma came up to you and really wanted a duplicate of an old design, you would say no?

HB: If my Grandma came back from the dead and asked for a shirt, I might dig into my own personal collection and just give her one of mine.

KLYAM: So you’re saying there ARE exceptions to this strict rule, but only for dead Grandma?

HB: Yes. Well, zombie. Zombie Grandma.

KLYAM: Are designs that were created in the past still accessible? Will customers ever see variations of those designs?

HB: We’re gonna leave some of those designs in the past. Some of them would probably land us with a lawsuit if we attempted to sell them. But a lot of the designs that we plan on using have some sort of inspiration from past designs.

TV: There are some older ones that we were originally going to use, but never printed. Those might show up.

Before you screen print, you have to get a transparency of your image to expose the screen with. I think I have every single one we’ve ever used. So if we did want to go back to an older shirt, I have everything. I’ve never thrown a transparency away.

HB: That’s pretty good!

TV: They’re all stored together in a massive rat’s nest…

KLYAM: That still counts!

TV: Definitely.

KLYAM: Will Post War Science ever take requests for designs, or are the designs completely at your own uninfluenced discretion? For example, if I asked you to design an octopus shirt, would Ted then put his own flair to it, draw the octopus eating a donut, and sell it to the public?

TV: If I’m going to design an octopus eating donuts, he’s going to be eating 8 donuts.

HB: And drinking a cup of coffee.

TV: Oh yeah, right.

HB: You know, that’s a great question because in asking the question, you just answered the question. I don’t think we would consider just any old suggestion. But certainly, somebody could say something that would inspire us. Legally, we can’t consider people’s suggestions.

TV: Yeah, if we start doing that, people will start saying “You stole my idea!” Not unlike the octopus eating 7 donuts and drinking a cup of coffee. That was all our idea.

KLYAM: No you’re right. That octopus idea was all you guys.

TV: Oh yeah, totally.

HB: Exactly. If people want to make suggestions to help remind us of ideas that we’ve already thought of years before, that’s fine. But legally speaking we can’t take suggestions.

KLYAM: Will you ever create designs for bands other than your own band(s)?

HB: I don’t think that’s legal either…

TV: We might come up with some cool fake band names and make those. Which is something I totally thought about doing yesterday, but I didn’t have time.

KLYAM: So that’s legally prohibited even if an artist or musician approaches you to design for them?

HB: You mean like if the Beatles approached us to make a design for their band?

KLYAM: Exactly.

HB: Then we would consider it, maybe. But we’d have to work out a deal. A profits sharing deal.

But really, we’re not mass producing anything. It wouldn’t benefit any band if we made shirts for them. A band’s goal is to sell as many shirts as they can, and that’s not our goal.

TV: But if Pearl Jam wanted 20 shirts, we’d probably do it.

KLYAM: Will you guys ever expand the product line to things like hoodies, or…things like Jerry Garcia ties?

TV: We’re gonna start with t-shirts and small posters for now. We have a lot of ideas for future products that we want to introduce. As far as hoodies, I’d say definitely, but we’ll probably refer to them as hooded sweatshirts.

HB: Yeah, definitely hooded sweatshirts. I don’t know about Jerry Garcia ties. I don’t think we’ll ever do those, but we might just do a different TYPE of tie.

KLYAM: You know what Hunter? I specifically said like Jerry Garcia ties…

TV: If I found a Jerry Garcia tie, I’d probably print on it. And a Rush Limbaugh tie, I’d print on one of those too.

KLYAM: Will PWS be selling designs in-store, or just online?

HB: Right now we’re mostly focused on online sales. We’d have to work it out with a given retailer to do in-store sales. Having said that, if any retailers are reading this and want to approach us with a plan, right on.

TV: In-store sales might be kind of tricky, because we would have to manufacture those shirts in various random sizes. Unless of course someone comes up with an all-sizes-fits-all shirt. That said, if there is anyone reading this who is working on such a shirt, let us know.

KLYAM: Will any other designers/artists contribute to PWS products?

TV: It’s pretty much going to be just us, but we have had contributions from other people before. It just depends. I mean, if we run into Dave Hillis…

He was a dude in Ivan’s class. He was not the greatest artist, but we loved his drawings.

HB: It’s going to be us no matter what, but we might make a special exception. It would have to be a very special exception.

KLYAM: What avenues has PWS considered to spread the word about the company? 

HB: Text to…keyboard? What’s the online version of “word of mouth”?

TV: Um… key to screen?

HB: Right, key to screen. For now we’re using digital means. I mean, we’re using word of mouth too. I’m going to go hit the streets later today and start whispering in people’s ears…but most of the promotion will be online.

TV: We’re not necessarily going to run advertisement. We’re starting small. Still, we take the whole process seriously.

HB: Starting small is important. Everything successful that I’ve done in my life has started off small, and as a labor of love. It grew over time and built up to be something that was better and better every year. PWS is no exception to that. We’re starting at this exact point for now. Hopefully, we will build a catalogue of good designs, and a loyal customer base of people who are on the same wavelength as Ted and I. We’ll continue to grow, and take it from there.

Glassjaw: I Deem Perfection


 You know? “No, you don’t know, you don’t know, you don’t know!” As Daryl Palumbo belts these lines in “You Think You’re John Fucking Lennon” one thing remains perfectly clear. You have no idea what Daryl is so angry about, but as a band these guys are at their prime! It’s brilliant; it’s brutal; it’s beautiful; ladies and gentlemen, it’s Glassjaw.

Much like studying a serial killer, before you can fathom enjoying this sporadic, hybrid that is the JAW, we must delve into the groups history. The Long Island based band remains one of the most melodic, influential, misunderstood, and underestimated groups in the past ten years. Formed in 1993, when vocalist Daryl Palumbo and guitarist Justin Beck met at a camp, these guys were destined to be different. In their earliest efforts (these songs can be found in a collection coined “The Impossible Shot”) you can hear unique ideas, and tremendous energy. It is evident that the band had something special that even they didn’t fully understand. In 1997 the band recorded and released the EP Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. This album was re-released in 2001. The album is pure energy from start to finish. The best thing about the EP is that Glassjaw wasn’t trying to change the world, or make a brilliant album. They wanted a CD that represented hardcore at its finest. The tracks represent just that.

In 2000, GJ released the cult classic “Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence” through Roadrunner. The band hoped to put an end to the Nu-Metal craze that was Limp Bizkit, KoRn, etc. Not only were their attempts widely successful, they metaphorically curb stomped rap/rock. At this time I will give readers the opportunity to reflect, bow, and praise these Long Islanders……

Little did they know this album would be praised and their pioneering style would be copied (poorly) for years to come. You know that neighbor who always copies the other neighbor’s terrific jokes? They take a great joke, re-tell it incorrectly to the wrong audience, without all the subtleties that made the joke funny. Then they tell it again. No one laughs because the teller doesn’t fully comprehend their own tongue, and the riddle is now over used. This is exactly what happened to the style represented in “EYEWTKAS.” Artists who praised GJ’s work tried to recreate something pure in a formulaic way. They created “organized chaos” if you will. This just doesn’t work; Hence, the birth of Screamo.

Let me make it clear that Glassjaw is not to blame, and this doesn’t make the album any less enjoyable. Any artist who does anything unique will be poorly copied. It is inevitable. Just realize when you listen to the album that Glassjaw is not trying to be The Used, or Norma Jean. Glassjaw is being Glassjaw. I would say this is the most emotionally riveting album I have ever heard. From the first second of “Pretty Lush” to the line “now the record’s over” with tasteful delay, your ears and mind will be compelled in a way you never imagined. EYEWTKAS is an album that dares explore the dark avenues most people, and artists stay clear of. The record is bold, raw, and brutally honest. Unfortunately the corporation backing the band were linear, profit crazed zombies. Beck and Palumbo have frowned upon their treatment at Roadrunner openly in interviews.

With line up changes (the band had an immense number through the years) a substantial following, and a new label, GJ released “Worship and Tribute” in 2002. Many artists can appear unique once, after that they are revealed as a one trick pony of sorts; Not Glassjaw. The band and Ross Robinson pick up right where “EYEWTKAS” left off. As a band they are much more mature. The album embellishes upon GJ’s chaos while also tuning into Daryl’s wonderful hooks, and more melodic moments. The lyrics are more insightful, and Glassjaw seems to acknowledge their strange style in this record. Worship is an untouchable follow up.

After difficulty with tour, Daryl dealing with Crohn’s disease, and the start of Head Automatica, the band went on a hiatus. Fans waited impatiently. We were given a B-side to Worship, a handful of shows, and a page full of questions. Every year, for the past four years fans have expected the release. The wonderful thing about GJ is that fans are not upset. The true followers never turned their back on these guys. With high hopes they waited. Well it’s refreshing to say that Glassjaw is back in full force. The band has been touring, and releasing new music along with videos. Although they now record and tour as a four piece, they are tighter and more creative than ever.

The mystery of Glassjaw is what makes them so great. In today’s music industry we are fed so much information at once. It is difficult for anything to stick. Glassjaw is sticking to what they know. It’s odd, unpredictable, and fans love it. If you ask me, they have formed a brilliant marketing scheme. However, I don’t think that was their intent. If you visited their website a few months ago, you would arrive to a page of their flag logo. A drum loop quietly plays in the background….wait two minutes…..”BURNING!” You would be blown away by their first single release from their anticipated new album. A few months later we were given “All Good Junkies Go To Heaven,” “Jesus Glue” and recently, “Natural Born Farmer.” These songs were all initially released on vinyl. The band also put up a music video of “You Think You’re John Fucking Lennon.” The video was a live take of the track in what looks like their practice space. They also put up a live cut of a song called “Stars.”

Glassjaw fans have every reason in the world to be optimistic. The band is touring, releasing music, and sticking to what they believe. These are the bands finest releases yet. If you are about to ask when the album is coming out, or why the songs are released on vinyl than I haven’t done my job. You certainly don’t get it, and the band couldn’t care less. I re-introduce Glassjaw: the band your friends never understood.