Sunday, January 30, 2011

Boston Counter Cultural Compass No. 13 :: February 2011

The Boston Counter Cultural Compass is a mysterious guide to DIY happenings in the Greater Boston area. They're found strewn about the city and in the pockets of passers by, so you never know where you may see this brightly colored leaflets. Sponsored by Bodies of Water Arts and Crafts and The Whitehaus Family Record, it is THE place to look for information about the month's best shows and also other non-music related events.
Check it all out at bostoncccompass.com
Here's February's issue ::




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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Iron & Wine :: Kiss Each Other Clean



Iron & Wine :: Kiss Each Other Clean

Warner Bros. ~  South Carolina ~ January 25th 2010

Iron & Wine signed to Warner Bros. with much fear that every artists that signs to a major label inevitably changes. The new record is indeed quite a change and does have more of a mass appeal, but it never loses its experimental energy. Incorporating more fuzz and digital noises than ever, the songs change almost in movements. The cover matches the sound quite well and recalls with giddiness the scratch art everyone used to do in art class. There's a little bit of everything on this record, even The Creek Drank the Cradle-like reflections. It turns out to prove that songwriter Sam Beam is always extremely capable of tactfully taking the reins of Iron & Wine into new directions.


ironandwine.com

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

REVIEW: Hands and Knees :: Wholesome

Hands and Knees :: Wholesome ~ Self Released ~ Boston, MA ~ January 18th, 2011
Available in 12" vinyl and limited screen print 12" vinyl

Hands and Knees :: "Sitting at the Piano Disappearing"

The classical guitar on the cover may be a bit misleading. Hands and Knees' new album Wholesome is a catchy, dance-friendly onslaught of garage-pop that also has depth and inventiveness both lyrically and musically. It's a style that inspires multiple listens. The addictive toe tapping tunes get you jumping around quickly and later you're struck with evocative and loaded images. On Wholesome it materializes in a few titles, such as "Throw Me from the Bridge of Flowers" and "Sitting at the Piano Disappearing," two standout tracks. Such surprises are strewn throughout and its refreshing to see a garage rock band give a damn about poetics.

2009's Et Tu, Fluffy? saw the band introducing a more forceful and ear-grabbing sound than their melodic self-titled debut, and it was rewarding. Wholesome maintains this strength, while at the same time exploring uncharted territory. Singer Joe O'Brien expressed his interest in making each song it's own adventure. In an interview with the Boston Globe he said, "I went through a year as a kid where I listened to Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced every night before bed — not just that I loved blazing guitar solos, but I loved how every song was its own thing. The White Album is a great example of that." While every song on the record falls into the territory of rock and roll, each one find space to meander.

Boston bands like Hands and Knees have been playing so many noisy, low production basement shows with songs like "Dancing on Your Tears" that they have a right to change the term garage rock to basement rock. Other songs blend styles, borrowing furious blues riffs for the dark and feverous "99," a little do-wop swagger for "Close Your Eyes," and punk rock fury with "The Ballad of Cottonball Johnny." The acoustic makes unconventional appearances throughout (like the aforementioned "Cottonball Johnny"), but it does get a chance to hold its own for the bouncing folk "The Moonlight is Wicked" from a working man "whistling like a foolish old man." One could even consider the playful "Fieldtrip!" to be a foray into children's music.

The song "Feather Fly" is an acapella, snapping solo for the group's female vocalist, Carina Kelly. In a live session with Bands in Boston back in 2009, the group did a hilarious bluesy rendition of a Missy Elliott song. They incorporated this interest very tactfully on the new album, without it being tacky. Kelly's vocal presence is another thing that makes the group stand out. Each of O'Brien's growls and shrieks are punctuated by the melodic croons of Kelly. She even takes the helm to solo quite a bit on Wholesome. 


If nothing else, simply how fun the band is makes it worth listening. Wholesome is available in two different limited editions of vinyl on the group's bandcamp. Their album release show is January 27th at Great Scott in Allston, MA with  Doomstar, the Needy Visions and Fedavees. Every band on this bill is a favorite and it promises to be a riotous time.



handsandknees.net
handsandknees.bandcamp.com
facebook.com/handsandknees
twitter.com/handsknees

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Monthly Concert Series @ Great Scott :: Quilt, Total Slacker, Windowspeak, No Way Jose ~ 1/23


This month marks the beginning of a monthy concert series at the Great Scott put on by the Pelly Twins. It kicks off with two favorites, Quilt and Total Slacker, on January 23rd. I don't know Windowspeak or No Way Jose, but if it's more of the same it should be amazing. 
More info at:: pellytwins.blogspot.com


Total Slacker :: "Crystal Necklace"






Quilt ~ quiltmusic.bandcamp.com
Total Slacker ~ myspace.com/totalslackerband
Windowspeak ~ windowspeakband.tumblr.com
No Way Jose ~ Vimeo

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

"Remember this Feeling that You're Feeling Right Now" :: A Tryst with the Music Tapes



“REMEMBER THIS FEELING THAT YOU’RE FEELING RIGHT NOW”



I had been interested in The Music Tapes ever since For Clouds and Tornadoes crossed my path from my editor while I was working at the radio station WERS. It had been tagged as "the band with the guy from Neutral Milk Hotel." Once I found out that it wasn't lead singer and songwriter Jeff Mangum but the singing saw player Julian Koster, my interest waned a bit, but falsely. I did the record review and the album became one of my favorites. Big fluffy white carols, freebasing childhood euphoria, it was a wintery adventure into the imagination of Julian Koster.
Cue the opening credits music::

TRACK 1. “The Minister of Longitude” by The Music Tapes
from For Clouds and Tornadoes
“How in the world can you say the world is a sad place?”

Julian’s imagination came to life back in August of 2009 when he came to play a private show at my apartment in Jamaica Plain, part of Greater Boston. A friend of mine had initially given me the intel about the tour, because she hosted Julian at her apartment the previous year.
The band had been doing these sorts of unconventional concerts for a while. Places like living rooms and basements were the venues, spaces that the band had to be invited to by fans. The show they put on for us was, however, a little different. They only played for a small group of friends as part of their "Lullabies at Bedsides" tour. The idea was to go from house to house, like Santa, and play for people all across Boston just as they were going to sleep.
Initially, I had invited Julian to play at the Whitehaus, because the Jamaica Plain art collective would’ve suited The Music Tapes quite well. However, I received an email back from the "Minister of Lullabies" that read:
"This endeavor really is best suited as bedtime hour entertainment, and is not meant so much to be a traditional ‘show.’ You seem to have a lovely place where people go often to see shows. The only thing I wonder is, do you think something meant sincerely as a precursor to dreams would work in that setting?"
It was signed by “The Strangely Nonexistent Email Reading Polar Bear.” It seemed he wanted to play for small groups of pajama clad and sleepy spectators, even “bed-bound audiences of one” were acceptable.
What ended up making the performance memorable were the people that it brought together. It was part of the magic of The Music Tapes: there were serendipities and coincidences abound, gathering around them like clouds and tornadoes. It was what Stephanie and I would jokingly call a better version of one of those quirky indie romantic comedies with a hip soundtrack that were frequently targeted at our demographic.

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Sunday, January 09, 2011

SINGLE: Doomstar! :: Sea Gull b/w Night at the Movies ~ 1.1.11


Doomstar! :: "Night at the Movies"


Doomstar! :: Sea Gull b/w Night at the Movies ~ Self-Released ~ January 1, 2011 ~ Cambridge, MA

Doomstar! ring in 2011 with some feedback and reverb. They're working on a new record with producer Justin Pizzoferrato, who just did Young Adults debut LP and has also recorded Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth. "Sea Gull" comes from the Rainbow Bloodsucker sessions, which was one of the best things to come out of Boston last year. You can download this single for free at their bandcamp.

doomstar.bandcamp.com
doomstar.com

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Monday, January 03, 2011

LP: Young Adults :: Black Hole 12"

Young Adults :: Black Hole ~ AMDISCS (Prague) ~ November 6th, 2010 ~ Allston, MA

Of all the basement shows one wanders into in Allston full of the likes of studded cronies hanging from bursting pipes, singers decapitating the audience with swinging mics, and mosh pits against steel poles, Young Adults is a different kind of show that one would pray to stumble upon instead.

They formed from members of Magic Magic and Whitetail with an interest more towards what they're calling ambient punk. It's a good way to describe the balance between heart-stopping thrash and reverb heavy drone. They've played with Wavves, Male Bonding and Best Coast and their record was produced by Justin Pizzoferrato who worked with Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., and The Hold Steady. They even have a Wipers cover on the record. The recordings can trick you a little bit, this is a band you should definitely see live.


This for some reason has great meaning::
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youngadultsband.bandcamp.com

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Saturday, January 01, 2011

Mango Nebula 2010 Collage :: Most Listened to Records of the Year


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Saturday, January 01, 2011

+++2011 :: Feliz Año Nuevo+++



Here's a couple of other things to listen to, if you're tired of the obligatory Death Cab for Cutie tune

Happy New Year.

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