It's been a while (November, maybe?) since the last time I'd been to the Flywheel, so I was looking forward to the drive up the other weekend, and listening to a bunch of tapes in the car. Not sure what it is about the drive on the way to the Flywheel that always puts me in the mood to listen to a bunch of tapes along the way, but that's usually what happens. Maybe it's the abundance of *ahem* cruddy scenery that they've got in Western Massachusetts (lots of drab-looking hills and stuff), which makes blasting some tunes a welcome diversion more so than usual. Or maybe it's because I'm always in a good mood on my way to Massachusetts because the gas is cheaper up there. Actually, does it ever seem like I know why I do anything? Probably not.
Missing Data were already playing when I walked through the door-- in fact, their set was almost over, so I didn't really catch enough of them to make a strong impression. My initial reaction when I first heard them blaring away from across the room was that they reminded me a lot of any number of bands that I used to see at indie-rock shows back in the mid-to-late '80s, before there were enough bands and records around to make a "template" of what everybody was supposed to do. More often you'd go to the Night Shift or someplace, and the unknown opening band would just be rocking out and doing whatever weird, agressive, post-hardcore shit that they felt like doing. This was even before I went to Missing Data's Facebook and saw how they describe themselves-- "three kids, three copies of Our Band Could Be Your Life"-- which draws a loop back to my original thought, I guess. I think the bass player in Missing Data also does the "Expressway to Yr Skull" radio show, which airs a lot of neat stuff from every conceivable direction and was even written up on Jay Hinman's blog once. I was about to post a Missing Data song from their Bandcamp down below, until I found out that they deleted all the tracks that used to be on it... the songs were all more than a year old, anyway.
Going to this show was sort of a last-minute decision, or a mid-week decision anyway. I definitely wanted to catch Peeple Watchin' at some point along the way, and I already knew that Parasol were pretty good from seeing them in New Haven earlier in the year, but seeing Potty Mouth the weekend before at The Whitney House had me interested enough to want to check them again. So I said screw it, now there's three bands that I want to see, might as well make the drive up. As it turned out, Potty Mouth on this night sounded a lot better/tighter than they had the previous weekend, but I still liked their Whitney House set better-- go figure. Potty Mouth are named after a Bratmobile LP -- which should give you some idea of which direction they're coming from -- and their live set is still a bit hit-or-miss, but their "Dead Air Sessions" demo is seriously pretty great. It's got a nice dry denseness to it, like some of those '90s Albini post-rock recordings (my description is probably way off here, which wouldn't be the first time). I think it's going to be pressed up as a 12" eventually, which would be pretty cool. They've definitely made a chunk of rock which oughta sound great on a big piece of vinyl.
Peeple Watchin' is Zack from The Credentials, and while The Credentials put out a couple of my favorite punk records over the past couple of years, I still never managed to get out and see them even though they played in New Haven at least once or twice. (If you can, get ahold of their "Routines" LP, which was recorded live and in one take, playing the songs straight through in the same order that they appear on the record.) As you'd figure, Peeple Watchin' sound a lot like The Credentials, only a bit more toned-down in their delivery, like if you took The Credentials and mixed in some Bent Outta Shape... or, actually, a LOT of Bent Outta Shape. I forget what song they opened their set with -- one of their slower, more "rock" songs, obviously, like "Back to Boston" or "James F. Collins Square" -- but when they finished it, Zack said "Ha ha, I bet you thought we were gonna be a punk band!" No doubt Peeple Watchin' have some '70s rock in their sound, which can only be a good thing, right. I like the songs on the demo better, but the split 7" with NONA has a lot better sound, so whichever one you pick, you're doing alright.
I'm sure no one's going to bother reading down this far, but Parasol are becoming awesome. If I had to pick one band from New England that you should check out right now, it would be them. The two new songs they just released on their Bandcamp (for the "Scoot Over" EP) sound amazing, like a crushing mix of heavy Shoppers-type noise punk and Slumberland pop, plus they have their "Crush Season" 7" out now, which is more on the poppier side-- almost as if they're from two different bands. I almost don't want to bring up the Shoppers comparison because it's too obvious, besides not even being accurate, except that Lily from Parasol and Meredith from Shoppers both have the same ability to build up a fierce wall of noise that retains a sense of melody within it, which is really really cool. As I was watching them at the Flywheel, I noticed that right before every song, just as Lily was about to hit the strings she'd let out a short squall of feedback/patch cord noise, which is really one of the best ways to start a song ever. I also figured out that "No Right" is the newer song with the really hard-edged riff at the end, the one that's made me step back and go "wow, this is totally rocking" both times I've seen them play it.
There had been a zine fest earlier in the day and some of the zines had been laid out on a table at the show, so I bought one of the zines that Meghan of Ampere/Foreign Objects had made. The zine library that they have at the Flywheel also had the new issue of Razorcake, the one with Dead Uncles in it, but since the interview was ten or twenty pages long (ha ha) I didn't get the chance to finish reading it. I did think it was cool how they put "Dead Uncles New Haven CT" in big letters on the first page. Guess I'll have to buy my own copy, or something.
Potty Mouth, "Kids"