The following are excellent songs to listen to this summer. They aren’t new or old.
Saralee – “Take What You Can Carry” – What might be the greatest Boston basement band of the early 2010s? Saralee is in the running, without any doubt. Stoned haze, half drunk High Lifes, and pungent mildew perfectly communicated with as little as drums, guitar, and vocals. Sara and Lee. I think I’ve called Saralee “memory music” and I wonder if anyone disagrees? This particular song is the most exemplary of my past descriptions. Sorry if you didn’t get a chance to see them in the old days, but not too sorry because you can close your eyes, too.
Wakes – “Widows” – Timmy hit a sweet spot of dynamite “bedroom pop” before that label became more associated with industry plants! A label in the UK was wise enough to release the Feral Youth LP. I’ve thought this album, this song, was like audio mumblecore. Emo, but not the shitty, whiny stuff. Anxious, superstitious, you know, your average 20/(now?) 30-something laments.
Rene Chambers – “Kathy Cross” – A local anthem has emerged! Like the two previous songs, this one is cloudy and introspective. The tale of Kathy Cross is familiar. She’s runnin away to upstate NY from the city. After a day, the guy is getting kind of worried because she hasn’t returned his calls. It turns out that her getaway was a legit vacation, not some existential escape from academia as he might have suspected. “She just wants to be somebody.” Always count on Rene Chambers (now an active band in the Boston area) for intelligent rock ‘n roll commentary/comedy on the young and confused.
WEIRDO has been a musical term of endearment in Boston for decades but anyone attending shows, especially in our underground spaces, these days knows there are some real out there performers. Transcending rock ‘n roll motifs, deconstructing deconstruction itself, this stuff just about affords itself no description. Your average music writer will look for existing references and fuck I’ve been guilty of it myself… we all trying to comprehend and make sense of things, forgive me here. But here I present you with two fresh albums, from two names you might recognize, via shared line-ups, collaborations, friendships, etc, etc, etc: BIRTHING HIPS and FAT SHUGGY.
BIRTHING HIPS recently released their debut full-length NO SORRY. Nine tracks, nine instantly familiar numbers. In the best combo that I have seen, they combine what the ?????????????????? with noisy/dying guitar attacks, hardcore punk and children’s music. There are sour bubblegum moments and jazz beyond free moments. These triumphant contrasts, jeeze. Unreal.
Not every music community has a Fat Shuggy. The entrail princess. I’ve seen Shuggy in quite a few incarnations probably dating back to one year ago. There is no performer that I have seen in that time that challenges the audience as much as Shuggy. Or dismembers them. Confusion and shock. But in the end, this is a musician that just does. With a variety of unorthodox instruments and voices and sometimes alone. It is not nicey nice. It is graphic, rated R. Experiments of noise and the spoken word. Revada Casah Enoy Reveis not something that anyone could have conjured up except for Shuggy, working in its own universe. Its own sound collage. I’m sure Shug could repeat these improvisations note for note, if Shug wanted to.
“Mr. Narrator this is Bob Dylan to me.”- “History Lesson Part II” by the Minutemen.
One time somebody said to me “If you had a million dollars I bet you would use it to meet all of your favorite Rock bands like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, etc.” I don’t know how this would work lol, but the point is like the idea of me being wealthy, meeting my favorite artists would be some sort of rare, extravagant concept. Well, it’s true Floyd and Zep are old faves of mine, but with the top bands I hold near and dear to me, I have met most of them, even if just for a few moments. I guess what I’m getting at here is that it fucking rules to be a fan of mostly underground music because chiefly it’s quality art, but also the privilege of seeing numerous fantastic performances and having the pleasure to possibly chat with the creators is not rare or foreign like it is for the Big Stars.
Screw that ish (although it is great music to crank after late night concerts), here is the rap/hip-hop you gotta listen to:
Beanie Siegel – “The Truth” Blackalicious – “Deception” Booba – “Ecoute Bien” The Crest – “Heart Shaped Box” Daz Dillinger – “On Some Real Shit” Enur – “Calabria” Geto Boys – “Gota Let Your Nuts Hang” Ice Cube – “It Was A Good Day” Lauryn Hill – “That Thing” Mr. Lif – “I Phantom” NWA – “Straight Outta Compton” The Pharcyde – “Passing Me By”