Friday, August 15, 2014

The Rock Is In The Wrong Cradle

If you haven't already picked up Birth of Flower's "Deity" in any of its earlier incarnations -- shitty CD-R, Bandcamp files, half-formulated cassette tape -- then now's your chance to own it on vinyl, and you really should try to get a copy of it somehow (whichever format you chose) because it's definitely one of the best recordings to come out of Connecticut in the past whenever-years or so, or since any of you can remember at least. I realize that my saying Birth of Flower are Connecticut's best band (circa 2012-2014) doesn't carry much weight anymore, now that I no longer live in Connecticut, but maybe I can say that they're one of the best live bands coming out of New England right now and still get away with it. You can buy the alb from them for ten bucks in person, or from any of the better record stores around CT (Redscroll, Willimantic), or I think they've even figured out how to sell you a copy of the vinyl through the 'merch' tab on Bandcamp now. If you go to their Bandcamp page -- google 'The Horrible Truth About Flower', it's not the actual best way to get there but it's funny -- you can even swipe a free download of the album (and all of their other records, too) while you're visiting, which is a pretty easy thing for you to do right now, seeing as you're already on the internet. I mean, have I ever steered you wrong before? Probably, I guess.

Birth of Flower -


Sunday, July 27, 2014

I Can Barely See The Road

One of the few interesting things to show up unannounced in my mailbox back when I was doing Brushback in the late '90s was a Thee Psychic Hearts single, which had practically no information on it (blank label, almost nothing on the sleeve other than a sticker) but featured an amazing song called "The Tongue of The Killer" -- a six-minute b-side, no less -- that had a weird false ending and was as hooky and anthemic as all get-out, sounding somewhat like Portastatic crossed with some of the other experimental indie-rock stuff that was happening in San Diego at the time (Three Mile Pilot, The Black Heart Procession). It was actually released under the name "Thenceforth Psychichearts", but whatever, that's just someone being a little too cute. I still have the single, but it's way too scratchy to post here, so in its place I'm posting the first Thee Psychic Hearts single, which I bought some time later. I still don't know exactly when either of these singles came out-- I'm just guessing from memory that it was '97/'98 or so. This one maybe isn't up to the same level of quality as the other single, but there are still some points of interest; "Post Meredian" (which I think should actually be spelled "Post-Meridian" but, again, the lack of info isn't helping) is your basic mopey Shrimper-metal with a drum machine, while "Frenching" starts off by mimicking the opening riff from "Cradle Will Rock" and finishes with a locked groove. The picture of a toilet is an actual Polaroid slid into the sleeve, with the band's address and phone number hand-written across the back with a marker, which is how I know that this was Sean Brooks -- later of Minmae -- if that helps you at all. Didn't think so.

Thee Psychic Hearts -

"Post Meredian"


Saturday, July 26, 2014

If The Universe Is Just Us Then That's An Awful Waste Of Space

Here's the Blessed State interview that ran in Incremental Decrepitude #2, which not a lot of people saw (completely by their own choice, I understand) so I figured I'd scan it and post it here. As usual, you can right-click on the images a couple of times to make them bigger. Blessed State have a week-long tour out to Milwaukee and back coming up in August, and their "Head Space" EP came out on Safety Meeting on June 24th. I'm not gonna say 'dropped' because that's so Anthony Fantano/'90s MTV. Anyway, the rec is pressed on 12" 45, which is pretty neat, and as you can see from the pic below -- which I stole from the Safety Meeting website -- it looks pretty snazzy, too. Here's the first couple of tracks from the EP, and you can also listen to the whole thing on Bandcamp. People can 'follow' each other on Bandcamp now, did you know that? Weird.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

I Run Into The Woods A Lot To Lick The Toads

It took me long enough to get around to posting the Kitty Badass CD, mostly because I'm full-on dumb and lazy and partly because CDs are just pieces of boring plastic. Well, they're nice for the car, I'll give them that, only just not as fun to take pictures of when you've got a blog, or something. I'm pretty sure "One Cell At A Time" was pressed up as a 12", too, though for the life of me I've never seen one. Kitty Badass were definitely one of the better Connecticut bands of their time, only to have mostly escaped notice as the years have passed; their ability to meld off-kilter melodies with tempos that effortlessly shifted gears (from almost indie-pop to almost-thrash) lead to some killer hooks, and the first six tracks on this album, as a group, match up fairly evenly with anything else that came out of CT in the last half of the '90s. Of course, I'm going to be a dick by only posting four of the six songs here, though this CD shouldn't be a hard one to track down (I think Elevator was having a fire sale not too long ago, you can pick up that J.C. Superska 7" while you're at it) anyway.

Kitty Badass -

"Brand New Vampires"

"New Vow"



Saturday, May 31, 2014

I'm Willing To Be Disliked

I'm not sure what they did with all the trash cans that used to be around Roggie's, but all of a sudden you gotta walk clear to the Dunkin' Donuts on the other side of Cleveland Circle just to throw your lemonade bottle away. I guess I should appreciate the exercise, but nah, I'd rather just complain about it. I've been noticing this in other places around Massachusetts, too, like in front of the Flywheel; for some reason Massachusetts is getting rid of trash cans at the same time they're adding more toll booths. Makes sense, right? This was also the same night as Game Seven of the Bruins-Canadiens series, meaning that whole neighborhood was crawling with Bruins "fans" and the game was on the TVs downstairs at Roggie's while the bands were playing, and if that's not a night of entertainment then I guess it isn't. Neutral Fixation started things off with their mix of Void-shifty hardcore tempos and weird noise shit, which at this point (now that both bands were in the same room right in front of me) finally wised me up to the fact that what they and NASA Space Universe are doing aren't all that far apart. I guess it's the way that the vocalist sounds like Tommy Perkins sometimes that was throwing me off before. Really, NeuFix were a full-on mess the first time I saw them (last year) but they put together a set that was way more coherent this time, and they even totally jammed-out in spots, like when they got to the Cream "Born Under a Bad Sign" rip that comes up twice in "Down in The Dirt". Pretty mean stuff. As I've said before (in a zine that none of you read), as sketchy as NeuFix might sometimes be live, their recordings are all fairly mighty, so you should maybe google the Tampered Reels bandcamp one of these days and see what's up.

Zipperhead were nuts and completely shredded the place, I don't know why I didn't bother to pick up their demo while it was still around (probably because I didn't think their track on "Harsh & Hard" was all that great -- once again, I'm pretty dumb sometimes) but I was practically in awe as I watched their set, in between dodging all the shit that was flying. Boston's pretty hot right now so there's probably at least five other Boston bands as good or better that I'm just not aware of yet, but are there any Boston bands that I've seen over the past, say, 12 months that are better than Zipperhead? NO. How psyched am I to be moving up here? (Not completely, I mean, there's a lot of Patriots fans, but still.) I can't say that I could describe Zipperhead in any way that would make sense -- their sound is probably a lot closer to the "raw punk" thing that the d-beat/noisecore stuff that I'm more used to -- so I'll leave that to someone else, I mean, don't ask me these things, I don't even rate enough to get the address to the Boiler Room yet.

Then NASA Space Universe came on and totally raged, of course, they've got some extended harsh noise stuff in their catalog but live they're just straight-up rock and they pretty much clobbered everyone sideways. I missed them when they played someone's backyard in Western Mass a couple of years ago, so I was glad to be able to catch them this time, and they brought a bunch of tour goodies with them, including an LP of seven new songs plus the "ICE" EP from 2012 on the flip; that's one of the new songs down below. NSU were on tour with OFF!, if you can imagine that (hey House of Blues, hey Vince Neil, hey Punk Rock Bowling), but I forgot to ask them if they had any good stories, since right now I could use a couple.

NASA Space Universe -


Zipperhead -

"Rotting in The City"

Neutral Fixation -

"Down in The Dirt"

Sunday, May 25, 2014

I Will Not Do Anything That I Do Not Want To Do

The other month I made my way down to 33 Golden St. in the middle of a total Nor'easter to check out Wolfghost, which in the end was kinda worth it because Wolfghost freakin' slayed, making up for having to drive back and forth to New London both ways without being able to see 15 feet in front of me. I never really caught The Royale Brothers but Wolfghost is a sort-of offshoot/evolution of The Royale Brothers in some ways, though maybe harder -- sounding like prime-era Blackfoot fronted by Nick Cave or something. (I wonder if Joey's gotten sick of being compared to Nick Cave all the time; just for laughs, I googled it and it came up like 50 times.) Anyway, they had a couple of loose demos on their Bandcamp page a while ago, which they've since upgraded with two new recordings (including a faster, tough-boogie version of "My Woman") which you can listen to on repeat all day and then buy for two bucks if you want. Heck yes, you want.

Monday, May 19, 2014

You Think You Know So Much But I've Yet To Learn A Thing

It amuses me to think that when I saw The Safes at Cafe Nine back in '07 they already had three CDs out, and now here it is seven years later and they're still pumping out solid albums, the latest being "Record Heat", which officially came out a couple of weeks ago I think (yup, "released April 29 2014" -- thanks, Google). Not "amuses me" in the sense that I think it's funny, since there's no one left around here anymore with a sense of humor, although me continuing to post on a blog that hasn't had a visitor in 8 months almost counts for one. More like amusing in the sense that The Safes continue to churn out hand-made Raspberries/Kinks-minded guitar pop, damn-the-torpedoes style, to an indie scene that's grown increasingly indifferent to rock compared to a generation or two earlier, when The Safes would've been as big as Green, as least. One of The Safes' strong suits has always been that they know how to pull the plug on an idea once the point's been made, so the ten songs here clock in at 25 minutes, but even with that they managed to throw in some twists along the way; Kathleen Wilson of Thee Lexington Arrows sings the lead vocal on one track, and it looks like Dad even pitched in with some sax. "Hopes Up, Guard Down" is definitely the 'hit' of the bunch, with a couple of punchy hooks including the transcendent "diamond in the ground" bridge, reminding me of Big Dipper's "Loch Ness Monster" in that sense. The full album is up on their Bandcamp, too, which you can check out here.

The Safes -

"Hopes Up, Guard Down"
(listen-only file)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

I Found The Secret Of Life The Other Day But Then It Kinda Bummed Me Out

I could've sworn that a TWIABP song was playing over the PA when I walked into the Firehouse for this show, but then I went to a Five Guys a couple of nights later and the same song was playing so now I just think it was Modest Mouse or something... they had to put down wood planks out in the back yard so people could step over the muck, which reminded me of when I used to live up in Maine during mud season, plus there's that cross beam at the bottom of the stairway to the deck which I'm always almost hitting my head on. You have no idea what I'm talking about, and that's okay... I ended up digging Fat Creeps' set way more than I expected, which later had me digging around through their on-line discography a little bit more, which is how I found this sorta-new track "He Comes In Loudly" which was my favorite song all week the first week that I heard it. It took about ten listens before I decided that the song was near-perfect -- it's the "ooooh-oooh-oooh ahh-aahh-ahhh" harmony part that really kills me -- with the instrumentation perfectly matched by the laconic vocal delivery which only gets odder as the song progresses. Cool shit, you should check it out (down below, that's how this stuff works). Bands like Fat Creeps are always getting compared to Grass Widow for some reason, but I hear a lot of Broken Water in them, mixed with some slo-core (things like Low and stuff), though they have some straight-up rockier/poppier songs, too. The bass player pumps out cool New Order-type propulsive bass lines non-stop, and when a band's rhythm section is locked-on (as they are here) it just makes things sound so much better... in-between bands they played "Customer" (my favorite Replacements song) and the rest of "Sorry Ma" too, which I think is the second time I've been to the Firehouse where they've done that, so someone there knows what's up... GNäRDS ruled, plus they did a Roky cover! When I first peeked at their set list and saw that it was like twelve songs long, in my head I was like "come on guys, you're the shitty openers, no one wants to hear every single one of your shitty songs" but then all of their songs were like seventy seconds or less and they all fuckin' ripped -- making me think of something like Yi's "Got a Stone" (wicked rocking and sorta spastic like that), only not as good obviously since nobody's as good as Yi, but still. About two songs into their set I'd forgotten all about their Wikipedia-length set list and instead was going (in my head) "who is this shitty opening band that I've never heard about that somehow fuckin' rules?" Their last two songs were kinda crappy -- gotta stay away from that late-era Minutemen/Big Boys funk stuff -- but, you know, it's like your pal Nik Carter says, it's about a vibe, it's about a feeling, where were you when you first heard Guns 'n Roses?, which makes you wanna punch him in the face. You have no idea what I'm talking about, and that's okay.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Everyone I Know Is An Asshole

A snazzy 48-song CD of Sockeye stuff -- including Rush, Crass, Happy Flowers, and Fang covers -- packaged to look like a 7" so that hopefully Scott Munroe would try to play it on his turntable and break it. The place where I got this doesn't seem to be around anymore, but you can Google 100% Zero and most likely find a copy. Like you really need a 79-minute CD-R of Sockeye rarities? Yes. Yes, you do.

Sockeye -

"All My Friends Have Feet"

"Everyone I Know is an Asshole"

"Slam Dunk Your Ass"

"Vietnam Was Funny"

"INXS Guy"

"Train Wreck Scavenger Hunt"

"You Plus Us Is Yus"