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.
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