Wakes, Kal Marks (Solo) @ Thieves Grotto (12/21/14)

First things first – a big thank you to our pal Scott from TeleVibes for giving me a lift to the show and, before that, tipping off that there was a show happening at the bustling Thieves Grotto. Chris has compared this basement gem to a mini Great Scott. I like that description. This particular show – a little less than a week before Christmas – was not the super packed, sweaty, raging teen/young adult festivity of yesteryear BUT it was a fun time.

Wakes is big man on campus, big man in big basement Tim Oxton singing and slinging guitar with Hadden Stemp on guitar, Amelia Gormley on keys and J Cole on drums. Count me in as a supporter of this crew. The reverby guitars are real urban, real existential. Tim’s deep narratives reach massive pinnacles during the choruses of practically every tune here. These are the memories you don’t have. A cool core of the tunes remind me of speedy mid 2000s Walkmen, some of the more underwatery jams go in a Beach Fossils direction. Quite honestly though Wakes’ Feral Youth is a monster recording – the first two tracks ‘specially, “Widows” in my deranged musical comprehension has some parts reminiscent of BLITZKRIEG BOP. Think maybe Tim figured out what I meant. The more you know the less you understand. Some times lil self-descriptors are off but LATE NIGHT MUSIC rocks this crew’s roll. ENJOY ON BC

As you know Kal Marks are typically a sludgy, beastly pop trio but him or it has also been/is a lone dude, Carl, you know the singer the guy with that instantly recognizable voice. Tonight, it is solo Kal Marks and for me anyway the performance is just as fine as the whole schabang. This is a sit down electric affair, pedals and all, the songs arranged/done somewhat differently than the album cuts. Best way I can put watching this set is like a perfect flow from song to song, including some of the Piss of the Century that I positively fanned on about a couple of years ago and ending with Life is Murder from Life is Murder the big boy juggernaut jam that might be five amazing parts or songs in one. The quiet lonely ending from this solo doing turning itself into a whispering or silent sing-a-long for the un-initiated. Happy to see Kal Marks going strong since seeing ’em at the ole Problem House with Peach Kelli Pop. ENJOY ON BC

Review: Burger Caravan of Stars @ Brighton Music Hall (10/29/14)

Review by Joanna Trachtenberg

OK folks it was now time for round 2 of the Burger Records Caravan of Stars. The first round happened last year when The Growlers, Gap Dream, Pangea and a few other megastars did the tour. Tonight Pangea were returning this time as HEADLINERS! Pangea have finally hit the big time. They have toured the world. They have a record deal with a label which may or may not be major. Ok enough about them now. We’ll get to them later.

Starting the show were Puerto Rican punx AJ Davila y Terror Amor. I was sorta familiar with their stuff because I knew of AJ Davila from his other band Davila 666 who I saw a few years ago. They brought the energy. Too bad there wasn’t a bigger crowd to see them. I’d say that Mozes and The Firstborn were probably the most psych band of the night. I saw them back in February opening for, you guessed it, Pangea and they were really good then. They were fine now as well. There were times however that I couldn’t hear the vocal as well as I hoped but I never blame the band for that. Now it was time for Cherry Glazerr to make their Boston debut. I had been looking forward to seeing them for a while now. They were the first band to bring a real crowd. Their songs are lofi fuzz-pop about things such as cats, grilled cheese and other sweet topics.

The Coathangers were now up to rip shit up. Playing mostly tracks from their 2 most recent releases they banged hard through their set. There were times when band members switched instruments and everyone got in on the singing and shouting. After their set I was chatting with some of the members. I found out that one of the girls in The Coathangers was the sister of one of the members of The Hiss who were one of the more underrated garage punk bands of the 2000’s. Pangea played all their hits to finish the show. They played what I would expect to hear from them including Badillac, Sick Shit, Offer, Too Drunk to Cum and River. At the end I bought another Burger button and I can officially say that I am a Burger Bitch!

Review: ACLU Benefit, Big Buck Hunter, Nice Guys @ Weenie Hut (11/22/14)

ACLU Benefit is on stage at the Weenie Hut, nothing new for Noah, whose been playing his bitingly honest music for decades. It’s only in the past year or so that I have had the fortune of discovering and seeing Benefit play. I say fortune because his performances are spectacles. No outrageous antics – more like a community, participatory atmosphere led by a tall, deep voiced dude on electric guitar. He guides fearless sing-a-longs “It’s a lonely lonely world, it’s a lonely lonely world” and “We will hold you when you fall down” and “BEEEERRRRRRRR” and “Everyone is going to die”. Written after the passing of Robin Williams. I typically feel uncomfortable in these situations and so do you, but there’s something about just not caring and enjoying life’s special moments. ACLU Benefit makes it all well and lively. If I had my way, I’d want him to play a set at every show. Every time I write about ACLU Benefit I have deja vu about writing about ACLU Benefit. I’m satisfied with that. This set was my favorite I have seen – the mixture of new songs and old standards and Lil B MIT lecture references. World music fans (not the genre but like everyone), there’s a real gem here.  Old and young, college student or veteran Axis attendee – you’ve been missing out or you’ve been missing in. [BANDCAMP]

Back to their home after a tour with Sun Young…the Big Buck Hunter trio. Nah maybe foursome, thanks to Kurt’s trusty tape player that was somehow perfectly timed with the band’s set. Not really sure how that came to be, but it was a perfect addition. Buck Hunter’s all over the map stylistically speaking, comedic dissonant pop through and through. Something like “Garden” is a real big, big tune. A mover; it never lets you settle down. That’s admirable. Kurt transforms into guitar hero status early and often, economical playing in tough times. Keyboards hold things down for the most part, but even that dude isn’t afraid to venture off on his own. As long as there’s Couch (drums) powering through, always bearing an acute sense of timing and brute. There’s not really a Boston comparison to ’em though Sun Young (who we missed tonight, damn!) are outstanding complements. At times I felt like I was watching the Grateful Dead Pavement Redux and there ya go I never saw either of them, but pretty sure I’d have a good old time. [BANDCAMP]

In a hallway in a basement two nights a row seeing Nice Guys that’s what we do here at KLYAM. They even got a set-list this time. They’re “Legit”. Well, so the night before last, that was Friday Night at Thieves Grotto. I don’t know what they give the kids there, what’s in that magic marker that brandishes you a number upon entry. But for some good reason, it’s always packed and there’s always some serious moshing and fun when these Nice Guys start wailing. They can go up there and cover who knows, Kaufman’s “I Trusted You” with drummer Soul Eater on vocals and everyone goes ape shit all the same. Well, I think that review is coming soon from Chris, so I’ll stick with last night at the weenie hut. A bit more subdued affair at the hut but the sound and passion, the oozin rampant punk it’s slightly addicting if not more. For no bullshizz rock ‘n roll, these guys remain at top of the Pyramid around here. They’ve played a ton in 2014 so the word tight might come up but really anything can happen. No crowd member is ever safe as this is something of a lively bunch, willing to bring the show to your face. [BANDCAMP / KLYAM RECORDS 7″ ]

So we missed Sun Young and Rosie and the Rosies. Click on their hyperlinks

Show Review: Bass Drum of Death, The People’s Temple, Black Beach @ Middle East Upstairs (10/6/14)

By Joanna Trachtenberg

This was the Illegally Blind show I have been waiting for for quite a while. That’s right: 2 Time Super Bowl Champions The Mighty Bass Drum of Death are back in town! For those of you who don’t know. Illegally Blind is Jason Trefts’s booking company.

I saw the opening band Black Beach only about a week earlier blow the roof off of Thieves Grotto. They were probably my favorite band at that party so I was looking forward to seeing them again. They were the perfect local band to open this show. They played pretty much the same set as a week ago but they sounded and looked even better with the lights and projections around the stage. They rip hard and are a force to be reckoned with. John from Bass Drum of Death even commented that they are the best opener he has seen so far on their tour. Big props to Jason for adding them to the bill.

After a brief break Michigan psych 5 piece The People’s Temple came on. This was my first time seeing them. I have heard their recordings and I think that they rock much harder live than on those recordings. For some reason I thought they were going to be more laid back. I guess to keep up with Bass Drum of Death you really gotta rip it. Their singer reminded me a little of Hadden from The New Highway Hymnal. They impressed me.

Now it was time for 2 Time Super Bowl Champions The Mighty Bass Drum of Death to rip everyone a new asshole. The crowd started jostling as soon as John Barrett strummed the opening riff of Velvet Itch. As the heavy hitting jams continued, the crowd just got more wild. The band members long hair went flying around the stage nonstop as they played. Bass Drum of Death just put out a rippin’ new album appropriately titled RIP THIS! So obviously they featured a number of songs from it. They also did a number of my favorite older songs of their such as I Wanna Be Forgotten, Nerve Jamming & Get Found. For some songs there were girls that jumped onstage and danced. Just watch the video of Crawling After You. For their encore they did GB City track Religious Girls and a cover of Spirit In The Sky which at first I wondered if it was BRMC’s Spread Your Love because those songs have similar chord progressions. After the show I got to chill with the guys. They are some of the most awesome nice guys ever. Finally it was time for me to go home and let my bruises heal. This was not the first time I was bruised at a BDOD show.

Show Review: TYVEK / Cloud Nothings @ Sinclair (10/8/14)

By Joanna TrachtenbergI saw Cloud Nothings for the second time this year. It was a tough decision for me to choose between seeing Cloud Nothings or seeing Warpaint who were playing the same night at Royale. One of the reasons why I chose this show was because of the opening band Tyvek who I will get to later. The first band on were Chandos who are a new local band I’d never heard of. I met a couple of their band members before the show and they told me that they are kind of punkish and thought I’d like them based on my tastes. They came on and sounded decent but I didn’t find anything extra special about them. I thought that Black Beach opening for Bass Drum of Death a few days earlier were much better because they had more bang for their buck.

Now it was time for the band of the night TYVEK! They were so amazing. This was my first time seeing them and they impressed me so much. They remind me of a rawer version of Parquet Courts. I overheard someone refer to them as “choppy” which I can only assume was a compliment. Some of the songs they played included Honda, Underwater 1, This One or That One and my personal favorite Wayne County Roads. I wish that the crowd was more into them. Most of the crowd was standing still during their set yet I was bouncing the entire time. One thing in common with Tyvek and Cloud Nothings is that they have both had bass drum trouble when I have seen them. At the beginning of Tyvek’s set the bass drum kept shifting and they couldn’t get it to be still on the stage. The drummer was having trouble playing it so they had to finish their set using Cloud Nothings’s bass drum. That reminded me of when I saw Cloud Nothings in April and the drummer was playing so hard that he broke his bass drum. At least Bass Drum of Death didn’t have Bass Drum Trouble. That would have been ironic though if they did.

Anyway back to Cloud Nothings. Cloud Nothings hour or so long set consisted mostly of songs from their two recent albums Here And Nowhere Else and Attack On Memory. I don’t know his name but their dummer is such a beast out there. He really enhances their live performances. The highlight of their set was the 10+ minute version of Wasted Days which turned into a mini jam. Then for an encore they played No Future/No Past which they did not play when I saw them in April. Afterwords I ran into a few of the Tyvek guys and I told them how much I loved them. I want to see them again soon.

Review: Bass Drum of Death, Thunderbloods, Vundabar @ Great Scott (2/3/14)

Written By: Joanna Trachtenberg

Last week I saw 2 Time Super Bowl Champions, The Mighty, Bass Drum Of Death! but before 2TSBCTMBDOD could go on two other bands (who have yet to win any super bowls so far) had to get the crowd warmed up. First up were Vundabar. They played indie pop rock that got quite rhythmic at times. They were pretty good but I think I would have preferred something a little punkier. Next were Thunderbloods who play fun rock n roll. I remember them from when I saw them open for Night Beats & The New Highway Hymnal last year. This time Travis from TNHH was drumming with them. They dedicated one of their songs to Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who had died the previous day. For a few songs the singer and guitarist went into the crowd to help start the pit going. They ended their set as usual with their great cover of Faces’s OOh La La. The best part of the show other than 2TSBCTMBDOD‘s performance was watching 2TSBCTMBDOD drummer Len set up the actual Bass Drum Of Death. No, it was time for 2 Time Super Bowl Champions, The Mighty, Bass Drum Of Death to shine and prove why they have won a pair of Super Bowls. 2TSBCTMBDOD’s quarterback John Barrett wanted to get things going immediately so the band started with “I Wanna Be Forgotten,” which is probably my favorite song of theirs. I think I got bruises right away as the pit went full force. It was roasting in there so if Change Span were playing (I’m certainly glad they weren’t) there probably would have been a bare-breasted Lynear Unyts. If there were a bet like there was in the Super Bowl with Red Hot Chili Peppers if whether or not a member of Bass Drum Of Death would have his shirt off you woulda won because Len removed his shirt about halfway through. Unfortunately, they didn’t do an encore because I think it may have been too much for everyone. Bass Drum of Death sounded great and they proved why they have won 2 Super Bowls. After the show I talked to the guys and they showed me their Super Bowl rings and I asked John how he liked his trip to Disneyland after winning MVP. John also told me that he accidentally dropped his shoes in the toilet.

Bass Drum of Death Set-List:
I Wanna Be Forgotten
Black Don’t Glow
Velvet Itch
Bad Reputation,
GB City
Faces Of The Wind
Leaves
Heart Attack Kid
Nerve Jamming
Way Out
Spare Room
Young Pros
Shattered Me
Crawling After You
Get Found

Review: Pangea, Mozes And The Firstborn, Zip-Tie Handcuffs @ Great Scott (2/15/14)

Written By: Joanna Trachtenberg

I just saw Apart Pangea (Actually just plain Pangea. Just so you know I refuse to call Pangea “Together Pangea” because I have known them and loved them since they were only known as Pangea) the other night. I had to walk a while in the snow just to get there. I got there just in time as the first band Zip-Tie Handcuffs were starting. They played aggressive punk rock. I could see that the Pangea guys liked them just like the FIDLAR guys liked Nice Guys. The singer dedicated one of their songs to his wife who was one of the few people in the crowd. I also think that a few of the people in the crowd during their set were friends of theirs considering that they were a local band. Between bands I chatted with a few of the Pangea guys who remembered me from when I saw them at the Burgerama Tour. Unfortunately Zuk wasn’t with them anymore. According to Pangea he’s in the process of starting his own band. Mozes And The Firstborn were the next band on. They were more garage psych than punk. They come all the way from The Netherlands. They were great. This was their first full US tour. One of the guys made a comment that it was very warm onstage. As Pangea were setting up I heard a few Secret Machines songs from their 3rd album playing. Pangea’s setlist included Sick Shit, Badillac, Offer, Too Drunk To Cum, Plasma, River and a few more songs. They got the crowd bouncing but there wasn’t as much of a pit as there was when I saw Fuzz and Bass Drum of Death because there was a much smaller crowd. I really wish they had played Snakedog and Killer Dreams. After the show I helped the Pangea guys by holding the door as they carried equipment out and clearing some of the snow away from their van. Being from Southern California they are not used to this kind of weather. Pangea told me that they are going to tour Europe for the first time ever in the summer. They are super psyched about that and I think they will get a great reception from the European fans.

Review: Fat Creeps, Bleeding Rainbow, Bent Shapes (2/26/14)

Written By: Joanna Trachtenberg

This past week I went to see some bands in a basement. The show was originally going to be at a burger place but they were having problems with the venue and moved the show. Hunters, who were supposed to play, cancelled the tour because their singer got injured. Bent Shapes replaced them and opened the show. I once saw Bent Shapes a few years ago when they were called Girlfriends. Their sound hasn’t really changed much. They play jangly power-pop punk that was good. Bleeding Rainbow, who I thought were gonna headline, played 2nd. They really made a lot of noise in that tiny basement. One thing I like when bands play in venues like this is that their sound doesn’t reverberate all over the place. It just stays there so you can just stand there and feel enveloped in the sound. I was hoping that Bleeding Rainbow would have played a few more songs. Local girls the Fat Creeps along with Travis Hagan of The New Highway Hymnal on drums closed the show. They are readying their debut album for the Gnarly dudes of Gnar Tapes. This is such an honor for them to be hooked up with those guys. Their early releases were put out by my friends at KLYAM. They played their nice brand of psych slacker punk. Fat Creeps are gonna be huge very soon. I just know it.

Bleeding Rainbow’s Set-List
White Noise
Tell Me
Time & Place
Pink Ruff
So You Know’
Start Again
Images
Get Lost

Review: The Beets @ The Whitehaus

Bands: Ronnie Nordac, Dylan Ewen & The Sulk Scouts, The Beets
Date: November 26, 2013
Venue: The Whitehaus

THE BEETS of QUEENS performing in Boston, two times in about a three week span. I’ll take it. You’ll take it. Let’s make this a regular occurrence – why not? Thanks to Dylan and Ben (of BUFU Records, pictured above) and B.O.W. Shows, The Beets came through, full band/full visuals, to play the illustrious Whitehaus. Opening for the trio was the man himself Ronnie Nordac as well as Dylan and the Sulk Scouts. Now, a legitimate show reviewer might just omit the following, but I won’t: train delays and bus shuttles and all of that kinda crazy shit meant that we KLYAM were running a bit behind. We missed Ronnie and Dylan. And I’m still pretty pissed. But we ran as fast as we could, got pointed in the right direction by Naked Man Simon, and descended into a dark, crowded underground. The Beets were all set up, flash forward exactly one minute. They start playing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THE BEETS – guitar/vocals Juan Wauters, bass/vocals Tall Juan Zaballa, and Chie Mori drums/vocals – are without any second guessing, simply one of my favorite bands to listen to – live, recorded, on YouTube, whatever. It was back in April 2009 that this band came into my life. Wellesley College opening for No Age. There weren’t many of us there, but you can ask Nick and he’ll tell ya all about it. I remember thinking Beets’ sound was a bit like Black Lips, like Beat Happening, two juggernauts themselves right there. Well whatever the case maybe, a couple years passed by, and we heard they were playing the Problem House. That was something else. I remember Chris begging for some “Broken English” and he did indeed get his wish. Then there was Hassle Fest, still very fresh in my mind. Their set was a highlight, a passionate affair. Ben Katz and Chris Collins going ape shit, singing along.

I will say…………..last night was maybe even more special! People were itching for more Beets, perhaps feeling like they’ve been missing something from their life these past 17 days. It was awesome to be surrounded by several people that may have been turned onto this show from Hassle Fest. Well anyway, with flags draped behind them, lights attached to microphones, The Beets went along. Jumping up and down at the hit of a drum, the pluck of the guitars, head bobbing. Most of the dozen or so songs that THE BEETS played are characteristically short, but characteristically oh so memorable for those of us obsessed. “Happy But On My Way,” “Why Should I Live If I Don’t Fit,” my top dawg “What Did I Do?, and the ultimate lil teaser, shout-along “The Devil” from Spit On The Face; 90 second clanger “Cold Lips,” “Watching T.V,” “Knock On Wood,” and “Flight 14” which they did as an encore (yo if they played more after this, don’t even tell me!!!!!!!!!!!!!) from Stay Home; and from their most recent LP Let The Poison Out, we got “Let Clock Work”, “Doing As I Do,” “I Think I Might Have Built A Horse,” “Friends of Friends”; a pair of covers — Beatles “Day Tripper” and Howard Sterns “Silver Nickles and Golden Dimes”; and a really really really cool song sung by Chie. Am I forgetting some???? Maybe.

The bottom line right here is that The Beets are a must-see/must-hear group. Their minimalist rock ‘n roll ways go deep in that the experience is always like very few I’ve encountered in the many shows I go to. If the Beets were from around here, you’d be reading review after review, and honestly we’d never tire of writing about them. No exaggeration.

CHECK OUT THE BEETS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Review: FUZZ, CCR Headcleaner, CreaturoS @ Great Scott

OCT_2013 001

Date: Monday, October 14

CreaturoS: People arrived early and in large numbers to see locals CreaturoS on what would, of course, be a fun night of rock ‘n roll entertainment. I’ve seen CreaturoS on a few occasions, in a lil ole Allston shimmy, at the MidEast Upstairs, at Fuzzstival. At O’Briens. At Great Scott on this night – I can say I had my most enjoyable CreaturoS experience. They were loud, they were proud, and the songs just had a certain meat to them that seemed to be previously lacking. The guitar solos were virtuoso quality, one after another it seemed. You’d have to be stiffer than stiffs not to groove around. Maybe I was just not in a moving mood at the previous gigs or something. While the crowd didn’t flood the stage during “James Days’ Milkshake” as they did @ FUZZSTIVAL, I got the feeling that that could have happened at any point. This was an opening set to remember.

Set- List:
“James”
“Love Corner”
“Sunrise”
“Last Summer”
“Always Mind”
“Know I’m Wrong”
“Charlie Brown”
“Short Shorts”
“Ruff Puke”
“Beach”

CCR Headcleaner: I think the only way I could describe CCR Headcleaner is transcendent. With their own light show and a relentless flurry of noise, pounding, squall, I haven’t seen a group serve up a psychedelic sludge stage show quite like CCR. This wasn’t really for me, though, call me a wussie all you want. I kind of like the fact that they never relented and just went full force through their whole set, which felt like it was at least an hour long. Oatmeal crackers can do that to you, kids. I checked these dawgs out before and after the show and I’m diggin on their recorded stuff. I may not be physically prepared for a Headcleaner show. Someday I hope.

FUZZ: For a dude who hadn’t been to Boston in years, Ty must have felt a little comfort playing among a dense, sold out crowd. I’ve praised the dude on this very cyberformat countless times since being swept away with Melted in ’10. So to finally see him perform in Boston with FUZZ …what can I say. You might fall into two camps, if you’re reading this review: you either went to this show or you didn’t. If you did, your mind was blown, you were deeply staring at the stage with a smile, nodding your head. Or you were in on the action, shaking around like a nut. I’m not even sure what songs FUZZ played or didn’t play, there was some differentiation, but it was hard not to get absolutely lost in Charlie Mootheart’s tormenting axing. Keep singing Ty and banging hard, but check out that solo! WTF!!!!!!!!!! I’m into the whole FUZZ thing – though metal and hard rock aren’t my go-to styles – but if you are really into those things, you probably walked away from this show, thinking to yourself, damn this might have been the greatest thing I’ve seen in a while. And I didn’t have to go to the DCU Center. wait, what. I feel you people. I know what that’s like. Loose Sutures, What’s In My Head, This Time I Got A Reason, ya ya ya you know them all.