Thursday, December 30, 2010

Short Bursts :: The Flaming Lips

As we were preparing to write up our last post of the year, we realized that we hardly ever write about this band although we count them as one of our favorite acts. Oklahoma City's psychedelic acid/art pop legends, The Flaming Lips have committed to a busy 2011, the band will record and release a new song each and every month of 2011 as opposed to the traditional, work on 10 or 11 songs for a year or two. It's still unclear how these new tracks will be released or weather they will compile them for a proper release at some point. The Lips will also be sharing videos that capture the bands recording process. For now they have chosen to stay clear of a conventional follow up to last years Embryonic, in favor an ambitious recording experiment that will put music in the ears of their fans on a regular basis throughout the next year.

Wayne Coyne, Steven Drodz, and Michael Ivins will put their collective stamp on 2010, when The Lips play their fourth annual New Years Eve Freakout in Oklahoma City, where they'll perform The Soft Bulletin in it's entirety, sometime after midnight. The entire performance will be streamed live on iclips. We're looking forward to our NYE party guests reactions when they see what we can only guess will be a beautiful freak show. The way we look at it ,we'll have a house full of Flaming Lips converts by the time to 2011 hits or we'll have some extra couch space,either way come on over. Happy New Year!

Watch The Flaming Lips New Year's Eve Freakout Live at 10 PM

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Transmissions :: Wire - Two Minutes

We are in full on vacation mode this week and preparing to depart for the snow covered mountians. But we just stumbled onto this new Wire track, that was apparently released as an album tease a couple of weeks ago, so we had to find a minute or two to write. Post-punk architects and creators of that genres defining release, Wire will release Red Barked Tree on January 11 on the bands Pink Flag imprint. The band has been paired down to their core line up of Colin Newman, Graham Lewis, and Robert Grey for the ever shifting ground of another art punk manifesto. This band never seems to stay in one sonic landscape for very long. Two minutes is the track featured above and as the title suggests, is two minutes of sledgehammer shouts and buzz saw punk.

Pre-order Red Barked Tree ahead of it's release and receive The Strays EP via Pink Flag.

Wire are scheduled to play The Middle East on April 3rd, it kind of goes without saying but I'll say it anyway, you should plan accordingly and BE THERE.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Forthcoming :: Obits/Boat/Cloud Nothings

This definitely will not be our last post of the year, we've got few more things planed before we send 2010 packing. However after dedicating the bulk of the last week or so to our year end list (perhaps you've seen it?) we wanted to get to some news that's been sitting in our inbox and spread the word on a few 2011 releases we're plenty excited about.

Granted we don't have a ton of details to report as of yet, but what we do know is that blues-punk titans, Obits will release a new 12 song LP on March 29th on Sub-Pop called Moody, Standard and Poor. The album was recorded in Brooklyn's Saltland Studios with Eli Janey and Geoff Sanoff handling production duties. Per usual Moody, Standard and Poor features fronter Rick Froberg handling most of the vocals with guitarist Sohrab Habibion (Edsel) stepping up to the mic for two tracks. This release sits at the top of our 2011 most expected releases.

Obits - Pine on from 2009's I Blame You

Seattle's guitar popsters, Boat are set to return with the release of Dress Like Your Idols on March 22nd. Dress Like Your Idols, the band 4th proper full length will be once again issued by Portland, OR's Magic Marker Records and features a guest appearance from John Roderick of The Long Winters. Which makes perfect sense to us Boat's D. Crane and Mr. Roderick have the gift of creating wry, wise ass pop records, which is right in our wheelhouse. In advance of the March release of the new album the band is also planning on the releasing a single on white vinyl next month.

Dress Like Your Idols Video Promo

The long awaited full length debut from Dylan Baldi's Cloud Nothings will shortly be upon us. The self titled longplayer will be released by
Carpark Records in the U.S. and Wichata Recordings in the U.K. and Europe on January 24 & 25th respectively . The album was recorded last summer in a Baltimore warehouse with Chester Gwazda twisting knobs. Gwazda has reportedly boosted Cloud Nothings fidelity to what we can only guess will be somewhere in the mid-fi neighborhood. Baldi played every instrument on the album as well as supplied his signature orca sized pop hooks throughout. Cloud Nothings will be supporting the release with a U.S. tour, unfortunately no Boston area date has been announced yet, but we're hopefully that will be corrected shortly. Check out the track Should Have from the forthcoming release below.

Cloud Nothings - Should Have

Friday, December 17, 2010

The AGP's 10 Favorite Albums of 2010

The task of selecting our favorite records from any 12 month period can prove to be an arduous one and 2010 was no exception , as we could have easily expanded the list to 20 and still missed a few quality LP's. In the last year we have witnessed what can only be described as a renaissance of indie rock, with the return of our favorite 90's bands like Guided By Voices, Superchunk, and Pavement as well as a promising new crop of bands like Male Bonding, Wild Nothings, and Allston's ambient punks, Young Adults. We thoroughly enjoyed what we heard in 2010 and look forward with great anticipation to the deluge of 2011 releases to come. However before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let us commemorate what we consider to be the 10 best records of 2010.

As we've done in years past we consult our music libraries in our homes, itunes, and as well as those records that always seemed to find their way onto the car stereo. We'd like to mention the following releases that were inexplicably left off the list but deserve a mention as well as a listen: Belle and Sebastian - Write About Love, Calories - Basic Nature, and Weekend - Sports , to name but a few. We've taken the liberty of embedding songs from each album featured. Thanks to Soundcloud for being good sports and making these track available to us. And now without further blabbering our favorite records of 2010.

1. Titus Andronicus - The Monitor [XL Recordings]

A concept album about the American Civil War seemed like a project better suited for The Decemberists than New Jersey punk goliaths, Titus Andronicus. However it only took about about a minute for us to realize our preconceived notions were completely misguided. Although there is a conceptual theme throughout, The Monitor is about Titus fronter Patrick Stickles' love/hate relationship with his home state of New Jersey, just as much as it's about the struggles, hardships, and ideals of the Civil War. We found ourselves reaching for this album over and over and it never let us it down. The Monitor is an ambitious record no one will argue that, but it's also a flawless and impassioned one from beginning to end.

Review/Purchase from XL Recordings

Titus Andronicus - A More Perfect Union

2. No Age - Everything in Between [Sub-Pop]

As the founding fathers of the DIY scene in LA centered around the all ages performance space, The Smell , Randy Randall and Dean Spunt have delivered hard and honest punk over the past few years without a misstep. This album continues that tradition and finds No Age a little more accessible but not less engaging or jarring. If Everything In Between is there most listener friendly album it's also their most varied, with charging punk, ambient electronics, and luminous distortion. Everything in Between is a sparkling pop record with a sense of adventure and chaos.

The AGP Review / Purchase from Sub-Pop

No Age - Fever Dreaming

3. Los Campesinos! - Romance is Boring [Wichita/Arts & Crafts]

A darker and meaner sounding record than their two preceding full lengths, not that those were exactly Yummy Yummy Yummy, I have Love In My Tummy, but Romance is Borring finds Los Campesinos! delving deeper into the their favorite topic, the decay of romantic relationships. This would make for a grim listening experience if the songs weren't the bands strongest to date. There are Listed Buildings and Straight In at 101 are fine examples of Gareth Los Campesinos (no one uses surname in LC!) gift of delivering comical and often devastating lyrical compositions. Romance is Boring is a near perfect cacophony of noise and pop from a band on the verge of something great.

Review/Live Review/ Purchase from Arts & Crafts

Los Campesinos! - There Are Listed Buildings

4. Boston Spaceships - Our Cubehouse Still Rocks [GBV, Inc]

With this years reunion of Guided By Voices' classic line up it's understandable if you missed a release or two from The Fading Captain. But it would be criminal if you didn't take at least a few minutes to examine the excellence of album #4 from Pollard's Boston Spaceships. I don't know if it's the rock solid line up of Chris Slusarenko and John Moen or if it's that Bob saves his best pop songs for the Spaceships. Either way Our Cubehouse Still Rocks is dexterous record of pop, punk, and prog. Not that we want the GBV reunion to ever end, but when it does we look forward to the attention and praise Our Cubehouse Still Rocks justly deserves.

The AGP Review/Purchase from The Factory of Raw Essentials/Rockathon

Boston Spaceships - Come on Baby Grace

5. Superchunk - Majesty Shredding [Merge]

Little did we know the return of Superchunk would be this triumphant. After a nine years of inactivity Chapel Hill's indie rock institution delievered Majesty Shredding, a record that recalls the band early to mid 90's heyday of energetic guitar pop. Just when Superchunk have absolutely nothing to prove comes 11 frantic pop burst that pogo through the first few tracks, slowing down occasionally to catch their breath, only to come charging back again and again. Majesty Shredding serves as a great reminder of the caliber of band that Superchunk is, as well as nice introduction for new fans. Majesty Shredding can sit proudly next to the bands best work.

The Fire Note Review / Live Review / Purchase from Merge

Superchunk - Crossed Wires

6. The Capstan Shafts - Revelation Skirts [Rainbow Quartz]

Dean Wells, the hook wielding mastermind of The Capstan Shafts recorded and released his most fully realized and focused recordings to date on Revelation Skirts. With assistance from drummer/producer Matt Lemay, Wells' delivers 14 mid-fi pop anthems in just over 30 minutes with not a second wasted. The songs are superbly crafted, concise and catchy as hell. With the brevity of Revelation Skirts we found ourselves listening to this LP multiple times a day nearly every day since it's release. Although the first spin hooked us in, repeated listens have proven that this record is completely addicting and equally as durable. Big guitars and even bigger hooks on Revelation Skirts made for one of 2010 most enjoyable listens.

The AGP Review / Purchase

The Capstan Shafts - Quiet Wars

7. The National - High Violet [4AD]

Ever since being introduced to The National with their 2003 second album, Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers we've been hooked on this NYC by way of Ohio quintet and over the past few years they have barely taken a mistep, releasing excellent, albeit dark and brooding records, one after another. High Violet is both powerful and poetic often both at the same time, all while sad bastard vocalist, Matt Berringer delivers his most claustrophobic and harrowing lyrics to date. High Violet spoke to us and reminded us that things don't always work out the way we plan. Being disappointed never sounded better.

Chromewaves Review/Purchase From 4AD Records

The National - Blood Buzz Ohio

8. Clinic - Bubblegum [Domino]

This record was a bigger surprise than Shane MacGowan's new teeth! As big fans of Clinic's kraut rock infused early records we were somewhat underwhelmed by the bands last couple of releases. However that all changed once we heard the reinvention of Clinic on their latest LP, Bublegum. With the addition of dulcimers, harpsichords, and strings the band brings a whole new dimension to the their sound. Through the album's 13 tracks the band reveals a few surprises from behind those surgical masks. Sure there's a few of the bands trademark disorientated fuzzed up stompers, but they also reveal an affinity for classic pop structures and British folk. The album works best when they employ all of these strengths on the same song, like on the stunning closer, Orangutan.

The AGP Review/Purchase From Domino Records

Clinic - I'm Aware

9. Walter Schreifels - An Open Letter To The Scene [AFS]

For his first solo outing, the former Gorilla Biscuits/Quicksand/ and current Rival Schools member Walter Schreifels issued a laid back record filled with acoustic pop strummers. The songs writing is sparkling and frankly is what makes the record shine, well that and Walter's weary albeit captivating vocals. I gifted this record to my brother because that's what great records make you do, they make you want to share the music and tell your friends. Open Letter To The Scene certainly qualifies as a great record.

Clicky Clicky Review/Purchase from Academy Fight Song

Walter Schreifels - Arthur Lee's Lullaby

10. Pernice Brothers - Goodbye, Killer
[Ashmont Records]

The superbly crafted tales of love and life that have occupied previous Pernice Brother albums is in tact on Goodbye, Killer. However with a couple of exceptions, Pernice jettisons the familiar ground of chamber pop for the more intimate and road ready acoustics and electric twang featured on the albums 10 tracks. Goodbye, Killer is a bit of grower that slowly unfolds and reveals it's incredible charm with each subsequent listen. Pernice continues to be an amazingly consistent songwiter with very few peers, just listen to Newport News or the impeccable,The End of Faith for your proof. Goodbye, Killer is a sturdy no frills record that treads the line between alt-country and pop beautifully.

The Boston Phoenix Review/Purchase From Ashmont Records

Pernice Brothers - The Great Depression

*The AGP collage was created and photographed by Hamills', Colin, Joshua, Nicole, and Bryan.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Seasonal Sounds :: Swearing at Motorists

We thought we'd check in to let you know that we're hard at work compiling our favorite albums of 2010 and hope to have it ready for your eyes and ears (fingers crossed) shortly. In the meantime please enjoy some holiday music courtesy of Dayton, OH's by way of Germany's Swearing at Motorists as we continue to find and post some of this seasons finest holiday tracks. Swearing at Motorists fronter Dave Doughman recent took to covering Wham!'s Last Christmas as well as the standard Silver Bells. Both songs are available for free at Secretly Canadian as well as the Swearing at Motorists' Myspace haunt.

[MP3] Swearing at Motorists - Last Christmas

[MP3] Swearing at Motorists - Silver Bells

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Los Campesinos! - Christmas Songs + 'zines

Our favorite indie pop octet, Los Campesinos! have announced the release and publication of the bands own quarterly 'zine and music bundle, Heat Rash. As a subscriber LC! fans will receive exclusive art, writing, as well as limited edition 7" singles and MP3's. This will allow the band to write, record, and release music spontaneously throughout the year in addition to their full length release schedule.

If you subscribe to Heat Rash before December 20th you will receive two new Christmas songs, Kindle a Flame In Her Heart and The Holly And The Ivy. The band has posted the A side to this exclusive digital single on their blog and we've also embedded it below for your convenience.

Subscription details and further information can be found at the newly launched Heat Rash site.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Seasonal Sounds :: Nosferatu D2

In 2009 the criminally defunct Nosferatu D2 finally saw their one and only full length LP, We're Gonna Walk Around This City With Our Headphones on to Block Out The Noise, released through the good graces of the Audio Anti-Hero label. That record features our hands down favorite Christmas song and it's being offered for free throughout the month of December over at the Audio Anti-Hero Bandcamp Page. Sadly, brothers Ben and Adam Parker packed it in back in 2007 however Ben Parker has been releasing records under the name Superman Revenge Squad, his latest, Dead Crow Blues (Records Records Records) is an absolute stunner. Both Nosferatu D2 and Superman Revenge Squad can both be obtained at finer digital shops as well as their U.K. based labels.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Reviewed :: Big Troubles - Worry

Over the next couple of weeks we will be focusing on our favorite releases of the last 12 months, just like every other blog, site, and music outlet in the free world. But before we get all Top 20 of 2010 on your collective asses, we wanted to dedicate some time to file our last edition of Reviewed for this year.

Over the last couple of years we've noticed a crop of young bands revisiting the shoegazer sounds we totally fell for in the late 80's and early 90's. Some of these bands bring some fresh ideas and unique execution of those influences while other are merely retreads, yes I'm talking to you Beach Fossils. The best example of the former that we can think of comes from Ridgewood, New Jersey's Big Troubles and their debut LP Worry. The album was released back in September by Brooklyn's Olde English Spelling Bee Records and nearly a day has passed since then that we haven't felt the need to give it a spin.

Songwriters Alex Craig and Ian Drennan create a varied and captivating debut on Worry. While Craig delivers fuzzed out pop gems, Drennan turns the abrasion up to 11 for some warm and accessible lo-fi pop moments. You only have to hear about ten seconds of the opening track, Video Rock to pin point the bands love of shoegaze bands like My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus and Mary Chain, but elsewhere on the album there are some obvious nods to 90's lo-fi heroes Guided By Voices as well the early recordings of Dinosaur Jr. Throughout Worry the band manages to create something bigger than the influences, something special, a noise pop juggernaut.

Tracks like Slouch and Freudian Slips display Craig/Drennan's knack for writing the perfect three minute pop song. Elsewhere Big Troubles enter quieter territory, but are no less captivating on the gorgeous, Georgia as well as the album closer, the spaced out and aptly titled Astrology Screen Savers.

To think that this is a starting point for this promising young band is a bit a mind blower, to release an album so completely satisfying as Worry on the first attempt is nothing short of astonishing. Please don't take our word for it, listen for yourself at the Big Troubles Bandcamp page, and relish the fuzzy pop bliss within.

Big Troubles - Freudian Slips

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Transmissions :: GY!BE @ ATP

These are for those of us who couldn't be in attendance at this weekends Godspeed You! Black Emperor curated, All Tomorrows Parties The Nightmare Before Christmas. Not to mention those of us in Boston and elsewhere who somehow have been completely passed over on this reunion tour. The two videos were taken by the gracious YouTuber, polar1One and capture the band performing Storm, the opening song from the bands Friday night set in Minehead, UK.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Free Show :: Hands & Knees + Magic Magic

Boston's Pysch Poppers Doomstar! will be taking over The Middlesex Lounge the first Wednesday of every month for what we hope will become a long standing tradition. Tonight will feature performances from Magic Magic and Hands and Knees with Noah and Spencer from Doomstar! spinning in between sets. The show is completely free and will start at 10PM tonight!

For more information please check out pRIMORDIAL SOUNDS.