Review: Wavves, King Tuff, Jacuzzi Boys @ Sinclair (10/1/13)


Bands: Wavves, King Tuff, Jacuzzi Boys
Date: Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Venue: The Sinclair (Cambridge, MA)

Jacuzzi Boys – It’s been a couple of years now since I first heard Miami FLA’s finest:  Jacuzzi Boys. They have been on my list of bands to see live ever since that time, so going into this show I am really pumped. Normally, I prefer seeing bands in smaller settings, but I have to admit Jacuzzi Boys look and sound great on the Sinclair’s massive stage. Their growling, surfy, poppy take on garage punk never sounded more excellent.

The teenage crowd of what appears to be Jacuzzi Boys newbies eats up the punk slime flavor that they unleash with each fast, hard hitting tune.  Kids are moshing pretty hard and just having a great time. I honestly didn’t expect this. I figured like most big shows I see that the youngings would politely listen to (or worse repudiate) the comparatively trashier sounds of tonight’s opening acts, and then start slam dancing during Wavves’ set. Luckily,  this is not the case and every band receives a great reaction from a city that often doesn’t deliver in this regard.

King Tuff – Much like Jacuzzi Boys, King Tuff is more of the garage pop, slam em’ out real quick variety. In fact, when I first saw this tour line up I was somewhat surprised. On one hand, King Tuff and Jacuzzi Boys are fairly popular bands with several, sharp pop records under their belt. Then again, they aren’t as clean and accessible as the headliner, Wavves. King Tuff is more akin to Nobunny, Hunx and His Punx, and even Thee Oh Sees. Looser, wilder, grimier.

Also like Jacuzzi Boys, the crowd loves the set and there’s even more moshing this time around, hardly sparing a single moment for a breather. The love is mutual however, as King Tuff appreciates the audience’s admiration and enthusiasm. At one point he even brings a young man in the front row up on stage. This kid has a black eye and King Tuff applauds him for being a rock ‘n’ roll warrior. King Tuff presents him with a customized sun medallion necklace for his rugged character.  Keep rocking son. Indeed, all of you kids keep rocking and listen to King Tuff, he’s the right role model for you.

Wavves – Though we have been fans of King Tuff and Jacuzzi Boys for years, this is the first time we had a chance to see them. Wavves is a completely different story. We’ve been Wavves devotees since the Zach Hill days. It’s been fun seeing the band evolve over the years. Alas, it has been two full years since we’ve actually seen the band. TWO YEARS! I know a fucking eternity for rock ‘n’ roll fans, but tonight we’re back.

Wavves open with “Post-Acid,” a classic from their third full length LP, King of the Beach and immediately the place is off the hook. It’s practically impossible to stand up as kids bop and mosh about, running up to stage dive every three seconds. This lasts for the remainder of the show as they perform various hits from throughout their career.

Nathan Williams introduces “Friends Were Gone” as an older song, which is true, but it sounds funny in the grand scheme of things when you’re describing something that only came out four years ago.  This and “No Hope Kids” are the only pre-King of the Beach cuts on display this evening.

Speaking of King of the Beach, it is one of my favorite albums and so hearing a steady number of choice tunes from that LP is a real pleasure for me. I still love screaming out some of the classic, self-deprecating Wavves lyrics. I swear you could start a Wavves drinking game based on self-deprecating lyrics in Wavves songs. Take a shot each time Nathan insults himself. I wouldn’t recommend it, you’d probably be dead before the song is over.

My favorite line has to be “Myyyy, my own friends hate my guts… ahh so what? Who gives a fuck?” from “Green Eyes,” the song that garners the largest crowd reaction I’d wager. It even was requested several times before it was played. Perhaps because it exemplifies what it so great about Wavves, that unabashed apathy toward, well everything.  Some of the lyrics are downright childish, but it works. There’s a suspension of reality in Wavves that celebrates what music should be – an escape.

Other King of the Beach gems include “Idiot,” (people love to say “It doesn’t mean SHIT”) Stephen Pope penned “Linus Spacehead,” “Super Soaker, and the title track.  All of these songs sound just as fantastic as they did in previous years. On  a similar note, I wasn’t flabbergasted by this year’s Afraid of Heights, yet I still find myself fully engaged with these tunes and even singing along to them as well. “Demon to Lean On,” “Sail to the Sun,” and “Afraid of Heights,” are just some of the many songs we hear from the new LP.

As a whole, Wavves kill it again, cementing their status as one of my top live bands and this show is among my top five favorite shows all year… thus far.

Lastly, following the show I run into guitarist Alex Gates (he is the other main dude that gets plastered, possibly raped, and killed in the video below) and I compliment him for his work in Wavves, but more importantly his work in various Memphis bands over the years including Cretin Stompers (which are stomping your way shortly), Magic Kids, The Barbaras, Kazalok, and most of all, Girls of the Gravitron. This really trips him out because he claims that no one has ever approached him about Girls of the Gravitron before and that he hasn’t even thought about those songs since they were recorded. Nonetheless, he is appreciative and a generally swell guy. As is Stephen Pope, whom I got to chat with about The Barbaras and Cretin Stompers. I didn’t get to see Nathan, but that’s cool. So yeah, I know this last paragraph means nothing to most of you, but do yourself a favor and look up all of the aforementioned bands. I can’t urge you enough. And if you are Alex Gates, Stephen Pope, or just someone else in existence that knows and loves those bands, please leave a comment. We have so much to talk about. Love Chris.

P.S. sorry for freaking you out Alex.

Classic Album Review: “Chandrasekar Limit” – Kazalok [2006]



Band: 
Kazalok
Label: Shake Your Ass Records
Year: 2006

Comments: What was going on in the Memphis, Tennessee area in 2006? Aside from lots of ‘cuin (nah, I’ve never been there), ‘ckin, and whatever else, a group of dudes in their early 20s were making some odd rock ‘n roll. And most likely doing the same kinds of social activities that their peers had long engaged in. Memphis legend (in the eyes of the music types that matter) Jay Reatard was probably touring his ass off and likewise making a great deal of music. Now whether or not Tard and the dudes in Kazalok – Cole Weintraub, Bennett Foster, Billy Hayes, and Alex Gates – were bros at this point is unknown to me, but by the sound of Chandrasekar Limit, it seems not. Opening tune “Eolian Process”  is a bit like Animal Collective, a campfire kind of song. “Cia”, however, is a complete rocker, almost calling to mind bands like Interpol and Tapes ‘n Tapes – heavy, but accessible (in the ‘indie’ sense of the word). On the last song of the A Side, “Caspian Sea,” we hear “the Caspian Sea ain’t what it used to be, in fact I think I’ll stay at home” – this is the cheeky early rock ‘n roll ballad that later associated bands like Girls of the Gravitron, even more so Barbaras, and Magic Kids a touch would take a gamble (and very much succeed) on creating. Is that the auto-harp I hear?  It’s bizarre music, but not really for dudes like me who are fond of it.

The happy-go-lucky yet sinister thing continues on “White Devils” in its chirpy guitar lead, and ultra smooth rhythm. Sounds like the guys are having a bunch of fun jamming around and enthusiastically adding their $.02 to a demented vision of pop music. I like the vision. “Summertime Worksong” might be the least off-kilter of the bunch. I’m really feeling The Loon vibes on there. The quintessential Memphis finale as I call it is “Ping Pong With The Stars”  which is not easy “’cause it’s light years away” is like Barbaras closer “Annual Botanical” – led by acoustic guitar strums; a final story that documents friendly ole times… that one summer. This kind of – everyone join in – joy, isn’t something you get very often. The Lovely Feathers did it right on Hind Hind Legs. It’s a loss to music that this isn’t some kind of widespread, noteworthy EP. Of course, I love it more because I’ve been following this family tree for some time now. If you haven’t really been tracking these guys closely or if you don’t even know what I am talking about, I wouldn’t really start with Chandrasekar and work your way up. Especially not if you are expecting a clean, straightforward sound throughout. In that case, I’m not sure. The production on this is decidedly scrappy – a better audio experience than Let It Bloom and Smith Westerns and laughable compared to say Blood Visions. Stephen Pope (formerly of  Boston Chinks, Barbaras, Jay Reatard, currently in Wavves) recorded it. He did very well. This EP is also outside the realm of a lot of the garage stuff, which might be why some have overlooked it. Whatever though — this is something that might be hard to get your hands on (check Florida’s Dying), but go on, get a hold of Kazalok somehow. You can write your own review.

klyamrecommended

An Inside Joke You Don’t Get (Segment Two)

The following is the second segment of An Inside Joke You Don’t Get, which has me asking a complete outsider for his/her opinion on songs, music videos, and other such entertainment that you might find while browsing KLYAM. The outsider’s opinion could, at times, be harsh, derogatory, and inappropriate. Such is life so I haven’t censored any commentary. It’s interesting and humorous to witness reactions to stuff that we all know and love; it is truly obscure and random to the greater majority. 

How was the video for “Vomit”?
It was excellent. I’m afraid to call it the best, as some have called it.
How about the song itself?
It was done by who?
Girls.
You know to me, it sounded like two songs. I didn’t see the first part connected to the second part. Although it works. The first part is “I’m looking for you” and the second part is “Come in to my heart.” He’s looking for somebody in the first half!
Did you think it sounded like a classic rock song?
No. Classic rock songs usually suck. This was actually good. Well, actually, that’s unfair. There are some good classic rock songs.
How about Honey Bunny?
Good tune. It has something memorable. “Da da da girl that I love” (Humming to himself)
What about the video? Did you notice any re-occuring themes amongst the videos (“Vomit” and “Honey Bunny”)?
Gay men like nice cars.
Care to elaborate?
He wasn’t rubbing himself all over the seat. He was just doing cool guy stuff. Sitting up in the convertible.
But how do you know he’s gay, wasn’t he with a girl?
Isn’t the name of the band Girls? And there are all guys in it. Either it’s something they like or something they are… and they haven’t figured it out yet. I’m going with the are. They have to be careful to not overproduce the video. They have to watch out for the Brady Bunch tile-o-rama. Corny video tricks. But they didn’t go too far, but they could have.
So what’d you think of Girls live [on Jimmy Fallon]?
An appropriate song for the Fallon show. “Oh God, I’m tired. What time is this show on?”
What’d you think of the back-up singers?
Under-utilized. I felt they didn’t have a big enough role. But that’s not up for me to say. Sometimes all you need is a pinch instead of a spoonful.  Oh yeah what is it? My ma, ma ma, or mommy?
My Ma
He’s looking for his mother. Like much of Jimmy Fallon’s audience. “Can I have a drink of water?” “No Fallon’s on, shut up.”
What about Nobunny’s “Blow Dumb” video?
Mercifully short. It would help if I got the reference, “Blow Dumb'”. What does this mean? Am I showing my age or my intelligence?
Okay, Nobunny live.
They’re a musical group, right? There was no music in this video. There was one good guitar playing and bad cymbals. Everything else was visual. I could’ve turned on the blender and it would be fine.
I’m sure the song had vocals and a tune. The video didn’t do it justice. Or maybe it did?

How was “Bug”?
I actually liked it. The only thing that bugged me: is that an upside down Oreo symbol on their album cover? On the right, sticking out of his back. Is that off an Oreo cookie? Does that mean infinite oreo cookies? They should get together with Girls and sing “I wish I had an oreo and a oreo and a glass of milk.”
What are you thinking about their live performance?
Two stoner pedophiles and their twelve year old lead singer. Did you see the two old guys and the kid singing? What, do they pay him in candy?
Who comes up with the songs?
I don’t think there’s a brain cell between the three of them. Probably the quiet one on guitar.
[Interrupts song…]
Why, you tell me who’s the retard in the back, boppin’ away? The manager or the parole officer?
(The song “No Hope Kids” ends)
I probably have to apologize for the last comment because they’re a very good band. Just keep the kids away from them. See that’s a second impression.
If they zoom into his (Billy Hayes) courdoroys any more I’d say the video was payed for by Levi’s.

So what about “Lovers Lane?”
How did his boyfriend die? AIDs related car crash? That’s how they died in the ’50s.

New Wavves “Nodding Off” Indecisive On YouTube

Wavves seems to cause phases, physics pun non-withstanding, in fans and non-fans. The first phase was the reaction to cramped shack garage band boy making LO-FI. The second phase was the reaction to the studio surfer equipped with Reatard’s old backing band (the super indie switcharoo). The third phase was the reaction to Billy Hayes departure from the drums. This was big news at KLYAM then Pitchfork then every other blog. The fourth phase seems to be in process. With news that Nathan is composing music for an MTV show and making songs about meeting Dave Grohl and guys not being enough, there has been quite a bit of backlash as expected. Just go watch the video and view the comments.

The song itself is, in my opinion, a lil bit of old old, a lil new new. There’s that constant noise in the background and the reoccurring oohhhhhhs, but now with precision recording and the voice of girlfriend Beth.

Song Review: “Mutant” (Wavves)

This tune is immediately catchy (like the best of King of the Beach) with a prominent drum beat, distorted guitars, and clear vocals. “Mutant” has immediately hooky verses, a nice whistling interlude, and a powerful finish a la “Linus Spacehead,” but not quite as strong. This is a good one, for sure.

Grade: A

Glen’s Best/Worst of 2010: Albums

With over one hundred reviews in the books (108 to be precise), I think I’m  all done with reviewing music in 2010. Going forward, I plan on exclusively publishing reviews of music that I like. I’d rather not be an influence in turning away people from music. If someone likes something that I don’t, that’s just how it is! Ain’t nothing I can do. It turns out that I liked most of the music I heard this year; the mean score for a CD Review was 84. In the grand scheme of albums that I’ve heard over the course of my lifetime, there weren’t any top-to-bottom gems. A top-to-bottom gem, in case you are wondering, is an album with at least 75% “A+” songs. Such albums would be considered instant favorites. That said, I gave out “A-” or better to 23 albums.

Best Albums [Album, Band, Label]:
1. King of the Beach – Wavves – I listened to this pretty much non-stop during the summer of 2010. It was perfect listening material, whether it was blasting from the inside stereo as I chilled outside or blasting in the car radio on my way to work. I like my music loud and pretty much every instrument is mixed really loudly on this record. That might be annoying to some, but for me, it was pleasantly nice. A record that never gets boring despite numerous listens over a lengthy period of time is a sensational record. The songs (which I was skeptical of at first) that dabble in experimental rock/psychedelia (“Baseball Cards,”When Will You Come, and “Mickey Mouse”) fit right in with the warm vibes that is King of the Beach. This is the best.

2. Teen Dream – Beach House – Sub Pop – Let me give you a little history of my experience with this album. I first heard it in early December 2009…it leaked really really early. This was also when I was grading albums kind of funky. As a result, I really nit-picked this one to the bone. Early in 2010, I revisited this mainly after reading nearly universal acclaim. Could I have possibly missed something? Surely. There was a time in February/March when I obsessed over Teen Dream. It’s a powerful mesh of dreamy tunes that are extremely uplifting, yet direly haunting. The atmosphere that surrounds the album is truly what wins me over. It’s unlike anything I really heard before.

3. The Maine Coons – The Maine Coons – Spent Planet – I have to really give a bunch of credit to The Maine Coons. When I first heard them open for Nobunny, I thought they were a great opening band, but not so noteworthy as to further look them up after the show. I then heard this album sometime later and thought, well, this is a good album! Upon further investigation, it turned out to be my most highly rated one. It’s garage-pop, at its finest. It’s almost as if the ghost of King Khan & BBQ Show past revived itself, but with a big ole’ keyboard on top of the traditional guitar/drums/tambourine set-up. This is 2010’s Invisible Girl.

4. Hippies – Harlem – Matador – Way back when, I was pretty convinced that this was going to sit at the top of the list. While it’s not #1, it is #4 and #4 is damn good. For a 16 track record, there’s surprisingly little-to-no rough patches along the way. Every song can’t be “Gay Human Bones” after all, but a whole bunch of them continue the spirit that commenced when Harlem released their fine 2008 debut LP Free Drugs ;-). While they sometimes get compared to some KLYAM-recommended contemporaries, these guys are pretty unique in their style of song and Hippies exemplifies that at length.

5. First Blood – Nobunny – Goner – Let me start off with something: Nobunny is a great songwriter. While he often (unfairly) gets lumped into the gimmick or rip-off-dead-punk-legend-wearing-bunny mask-and-nothing-but-underwear category, he’s got skills that allow him to successfully dabble in a variety of rock and roll styles. He can manipulate his voice to quasi-Joey Ramone on punk songs, while on others he toys around with a more country or power-pop twang. My favorite Nobunny songs are the fast ones, but he can get all romantically twisted and confounded on a lot of the slower ones. The enhanced studio production of First Blood should give the bunny-man more recognition than ever before and he deserves it more than anyone in music.

6. Cum Stain – Cum Stain – Burger Records 
7. WWII – White Wires – Dirtnap Records
8. Memphis – Magic Kids – True Panther Records
9. Gay Singles – Hunx & His Punx – True Panther Records
10. Halcyon Digest – Deerhunter – 4AD

Honorable Mentions: Be Brave (Strange Boys), I Will Be (Dum Dum Girls), Melted (Ty Segall)

Worst Album
1. There Is Love In You – Four Tet – Domino Records – I might be the only one who disliked this album, but man was it painful. It’s like a bad hangover…it’s something you’d rather forget than ever bring up again.