Thursday, February 24, 2011

Reviewed :: BOAT - Dress Like Your Idols

Seattle's self proclaimed sloppy pop outfit, Boat return with their fourth full length, Dress Your Idols. The album is set to be released on March 22nd on the band's long time label, Portland, OR based Magic Marker Records. Dress Like Your Idols picks up where 2009's Setting The Paces left off. A bit of polish has been applied to D. Crane's catchy as hell pop songs due to Boat recording at (the now defunct) Two Sticks Audio in the bands home town. This marks the first time the band have balanced their tried and true method of recording at home with the benefits of professional studio tools. Well, after this they might have to abandon that sloppy pop tag, because Dress Like Your Idols is filled with perfectly executed and irresistible pop moments, with the bands signature tongue and cheek wit intact.

It's on tracks, Bite My Lips, Forever In Armitron, and the John Roderick (The Long Winters) guested Landlocked that Boat deliver on the promise of their previous recordings, and then some. These are fully realized and instantly addicting pop nuggets that have us reaching for this LP on a nearly daily basis. Elsewhere the band shines on home recordings such as, Water it Down ,which provide charming and albeit brief interludes that assist in the flow and superb sequencing of Dress Like Your Idols.

Not only have Boat achieved the dubious task of following up a high water mark album like Setting The Paces, they've managed to surpass it. Albums about love, girls, and idols aren't supposed to be so consistently rewarding, but Dress Like Your Idols isn't just another indie pop record. Far from it.

BOAT - (I'll Beat My Chest Like) King Kong

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Transmissions :: The Hush Now

This just in: Boston's jangle pop titans, The Hush Now have announced they will play Church on March 10th. To celebrate/promote the occasion the boys have offered up this show announcement via video. Rock and roll propaganda? Yes and we love it, plus who could blame them after seeing the line up they've assembled.

@Church 3/10/11
11:00 - The Hush Now
10:00 - A Bit Much
9:00 - Action Verbs
8:00 - Butterknife
Grab tickets

Friday, February 18, 2011

Introducing :: The Megaphonic Thift

Bergen, Norway's rising noise stalwarts, The Megaphonic Thrift wear their influences proudly and prominently on their collective sleeves, giving nods to Dinosaur Jr., My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth, and we even hear a bit of Swervedriver in there as well. However the band never come off like copyists, quite the opposite actually. The Megaphonic Thrift make hypnotic noise pop that manages to deconstruct those influences to deliver something wholly original.

Born from the embers of Norwegian bands, Casiokids, The Low Frequency in Stereo, and Stereo 21, The Megaphonic Thrift formed in 2007 and released the Acid Blues/Mad Mary 7" in 2008, A Thousand Years of Destruction [EP] in 2009. All while earning a reputation as a ferocious live act from their native Norway to their much talked about 2010 SXSW sets.

On March 8th The Megaphonic Thrift will release their debut full length, Decay Decoy on Canada's Sonic Unyon Records The band has announced a short U.S. tour including another stop at this years SXSW. If you're headed to Austin next month, we implore you not miss your chance to catch The Megaphonic Thift Live.The rest of us will have to hold out hope for a Boton show in the not too distant future.

U.S. Tour Dates
3/13 – New York, NY – Mercury Lounge w/Arbouretum and more
3/14 Brooklyn, NY – The Rock Shop, Brooklyn Vegan SXSW-send off
3/16 SXSW – Flavorpill/Musebox/I Rock I Roll/Bellhouse NY Day Party
3/19 SXSW –American Art Authority Day Party (4PM)
3/19 SXSW – Main showcase at Speakeasy (8PM)

[MP3] The Megaphonic Thrift - Candy Sin

[MP3] The Megaphonic Thrift - Sister Joan

[Watch] The Megaphonic Thrift - Talks Like A Weed [
SXSW 2010]

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Reviewed :: Lifeguards - Waving at the Astronauts

Q: Can someone with a nom de plume of Echos Myron contribute a negative review of a Robert Pollard project for a blog called The Ash Gray Proclamation?

Dropping today (February 15th),via Serious Business Records/Ernest Jennings Recording Co. Lifeguards Waving at the Astronauts is the second Robert Pollard album of 2011, and again pairs Pollard with ex-Cobra Verde, ex-Guided by Voices 2.0 guitarist Doug Gillard. While we assume Pollard is good for 3 or 4 more releases this year, (Mars Classroom, his highly anticipated collaboration with ex-Volcano Suns and Big Dipper ax man Gary Waleik is due in March) Pollard is off to a great start in twenty-eleven with January’s excellent solo release Space City Kicks, and this thoroughly rewarding merger of Prog and Pop by Lifegards. Pollard and Gillard have paired up before, on 1999’s magnificent Speak Kindly of Your Volunteer Fire Department and again on 2003’s solid Mist King Urth. While Speak Kindly, arguably one of the best Robert Pollard records of the post classic lineup GBV cannon, sounded more like a Pollard solo record, Astronauts sounds like more of a collaboration record in the vain of his work released under Airport 5 with long time foil Tobin Sprout and Go Back Snowball, his collab with Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan. Like those records, Astronauts is the product of Pollard (deftly in this case) applying lyrics and melodies to music already recorded, at least in demo-form, by Gillard. What separates this record from its piece-meal predecessors is that on Astronauts, the listener can hear Pollard apply his tremendous gift for melody and uncanny ability to write hooks –to fairly straightforward guitar riffs.

While nowhere on Astronauts does Gillard deliver Pollard a pure meatball like Pop Zeus, although the stellar lead track Paradise Is Not So Bad comes pretty close. Uncle Bob hits Gillard’s compositions to all fields with power, knocking (Doing The)Math,You’re Gonna Need A Mountain, andThey Called Him So Much right out of the ballpark. While many of these tracks are more rhythmic than melodic, and fairly standard-rock instrumental tracks, the fact that Pollard transforms the other 6 compositions into memorable, hum-able pop songs, is a testament to his unparalleled pop chops, and what makes Waving at the Astronauts such a enjoyable listen.

~Echos Myron

LIFEGUARDS - Paradise Is Not So Bad by seriousbusiness

Friday, February 11, 2011

Follow The Links :: Winter 2011

Welcome one and all to Follow The Links, a new feature where we will gather up the finest in free, legal, and highly recommended new music streams and downloads. With the advent of Bandcamp and Soundcloud, as well as the generosity of the artists themselves, the discovery of your new favorite band, album, or rare live recording has never been easier. Although we will continue to post audio content in our regular features, Follow The Links will allow us to point you to music deserving of your attention in a consolidated and concise format. We hope you find this exercise to be a fruitful one and by all means feel free to share your thoughts and suggestions on this and future installments.

We Are Losers - The Newbridge, Kildare, IRL fuzz poppers issued their 3 song debut last summer and hooked us in immediately. The band has just posted a brand new track, Cheerleader, two and half minutes of sublime indie pop that you will find below. You can also download the bands debut EP from their bandcamp site.

We Are Losers - Cheerleader


Maritime - it's been a full four years since Maritime released any new music and eight since Davey von Bohlen and Dan Didier formed the band out of the ashes of the highly influential and in our eyes criminally over looked, The Promise Ring. On April 5th Maritime will release LP #4, Human Hearts on Dangerbird Records. The band is currently giving away the track Paraphernalia at the cost of your e-mail address at their site. We have also posted the track below , mainly because it's an irresistible pop song and we think you should hear it.

Maritime - Paraphernalia

Chris North & the Love Parade - In late December Chris North fronter for Boston's American/Irish folk outfit The Points North, somewhat quietly released this self titled EP. As a genre we usually don't go for a lot of the "folk" stuff but there is something about these songs as well as North's Music with The Points North that strikes a chord with us. Beautiful and haunting all at once. Chris has made these songs available at his Bandcamp site for free however we request that you support his efforts with a donation of $5.00 or more.

Shows: Chris North will play Gay Gardens performance space in Allston on 2/18 and The Points North will play T.T. The Bears on 2/24 with The Craters.

Bandcamp/The Points North/Twitter

The Bigger Lovers - We were flat out ecstatic when we heard that Philadelphia's purveyors of intelligent power pop were reuniting and reissuing their fantastic debut album How I Learned To Stop Worrying. As if that wasn't enough the band has just released their first new music since 2004's This Affair Never Happened… and Here are Eleven Songs About It, in the form of the new digital EP dubbed, The Little Giant Maxi-Single. Technically this one isn't free,but it's pretty close, four songs for a measly $4.00. The EP can be streamed and purchased over at The Bigger Lovers Bandcamp page or at finer digital retailers. You might as well pre-order the bands debut on limited edition 180 gram vinyl while you're at it. The Bigger Lovers have announced one hometown show in March, but we're totally hopping that the band adds some additional dates,like uh um Boston!


Yuck - Ever since releasing their debut single, last March these Londoners have been planted firmly on our radar as well as the rest of the interwebs. On February 15th Yuck will release their highly anticipated self titled debut and will answer the question that all blog buzzed bands must eventually address, was the hype justified? Based on the amount of time we've spent listening to the tracks that occupy their first long player, the answer is a resounding yes. You can hear a handful of these songs at the bands Soundcloud and Bandcamp pages.

Yuck - Holing Out

Low -Deluth,MN's slow core/minimalist legends are set to return on April 12th with C'mom via Sub-Pop. The 10 track album was recorded at Sacred Heart Studios, a former catholic church and where they tracked 2002's Trust. The albums cover art has some local ties, it was snapped by Boston music blogger and all around nice guy, Brad Searles from Bradley's Almanac. Low have just announced a tour in support of C'mon that will have them in town for a show at the soon to be reopened Paramount Center on April 29th. Try to Sleep is the first track revealed from C'mon and it's yours in exchange for your electronic address.


Gruff Rhys - Originally intended as an album of piano ballads to lament his 40th birthday, thankfully that plan went a little off course in favor of impeccably constructed albeit off kilter pop songs (with horns) from the Super Furry Animals fronter. Rhys' third solo outing will be released in the U.K. on February 14th on Turnstile, however U.S. fans will have to wait until May 3rd before we can get our mitts on Hotel Shampoo via Wichita Recordings. As of yesterday you can now listen to the album in it's entirety at The Gruffington Post or on the widget that you'll find below.

Gruff Rhys - Sensations in The Dark [Video]

Listen To Hotel Shampoo
The Gruffington Post/Facebook

Fat History Month - These Boston lo-fi noise makers and frequent basement dwellers are responsible for one of our current favorite releases, First Tape which includes a ramshackle cover of Daniel Johnston's Casper The Friendly Ghost, among other noise drenched nuggets. Due to limited information available on line it's unclear when this album was actually released, we think and hope recently. The band makes regular appearances throughout the New England underground. They play Gay Gardens, Allston on March 26th with State Champion. Up until about 24hrs ago First Tape was available at Bandcamp, however it has since been taken down. Until we can locate that fine release, we hope you will find consultation in the track we found as the Bedroom Suck Records Soundcloud page.

Fat History Month - Money=Time=Death

Official/Bedroom Sucks

The Skull Defekts - Often referred to as Sweden's answer to Sonic Youth, The Skull Defekts have been at the center of the Swedish experimental scene since their inception in 2005 and for good reason,. On February 15th the band returns with Peer Amid on Thrill Jockey with a fifth member in tow, Daniel Higgs of Lungfish, who supplies vocals, chants, and various instrumentation. The bands label is offering the album track Fragrant Nimbus as a free download, go get it.

The Skull Defekts - Fragrant Nimbus
Thrill Jockey/Official/Facebook

Robert Pollard / GBV - What would this exercise be without the inclusion of Uncle Bob and his various vehicles for his seemingly endless deluge of material. With the near perfect, Space City Kicks already under his belt this year and collaborative releases from Lifeguards with former GBV guitarist Doug Gillard which will be released next week, as well as Mars Classroom with Big Dipper's Gary Waliek due in late March. There's plenty for us Pollard fans to look forward to in the very near future. You can hear the lead track off The Lifeguards' Waving at The Astronauts, Paradise Is Not So Bad at Serious Business Records. Not to mention that the reunion of Guided By Voices classic line up is alive and well and they have just added a couple more live dates, including one at this years Sasquatch Festival in Seattle. We're hoping for another trip east from Dayton but until then we're happy to find this bootleg from the Isolation Drills tour. GBVDB, the encyclopedic on-line resource for everything and anything you wanted to know about Guided By Voices and Robert Pollard, have recently unearthed The Last of The No Hit Wonders, Live at The Mercury, Austin, TX 06/17/01 and offered it as a free download. We remember this tour fondly which included some highlights from Suitcase as well as the bands TVT years.

Download The Last of The No Hit Wonders from GBVDB

[MP3/Stream] Guided By Voices - Settlement Down [Live in Autin]

Robert Pollard

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Transmissions :: The Answering Machine

Lifeline, is the title track from the forthcoming sophomore LP from Manchester England's The Answering Machine. Your new heartbreak anthem has arrived. Lifeline will be released on February 21st.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Plan Accordingly ::The Radio Dept.

Swedish dream pop stalwarts, The Radio Dept.,will make their Boston debut tonight when the trio plays The Middle East with San Francisco's rising shoegazers Young Prisms. The Radio Dept. are currently on tour to support last years critical smash, Clinging to a Scheme and their just released collection, Passive Aggressive: Singles 2002-2010. After just checking with The Middle East box office and their ticketing agency we are pleased to tell you that there are a few tickets still available for tonight's show. An obvious must see show for 2011, be there.

The Radio Dept. - Never Follow Suit [Official]

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Forthcoming :: Rival Schools - Pedals

On March 8th NYC post hardcore titans Rival Schools will release their long awaited second album, Pedals. The album will be released by Photo Finish/Atlantic on March 8th and follows the critically lauded United By Fate, released back in 2001. You can currently pre-order Pedals in a variety of exclusive packages that include vinyl, hoodies, and Rival Schools high top sneakers. Coming on the heels of fronter, Walter Schreifels' exceptional solo debut, An Open Letter to The Scene, which landed firmly on our 10 favorite albums of 2010 list. Pedals features 10 diverse tracks, some of which reportedly have an acoustic foundation, that we're guessing were influenced by Walter recent solo recordings. Rival Schools will play some east coast dates that lead up to the release of Pedals including a show on March 5th at The Brighton Music Hall before heading over to Europe for a co-headlining jaunt with ..And You Will Know us by the Trail of Dead.

Rival Schools U.S. Dates
March 2nd Chicago, IL Lincoln Hall
March 5th Boston, MA Brighton Music Hall
March 6th Washington, DC Rock & Roll Hotel
March 7th Philadelphia, PA Johnny Brenda's
March 8th New York, NY Santos Party House

Last fall Rival Schools released a digital single and video for Shot after Shot. You can grab it at the bands site at the low cost of your e-mail address.

Rival Schools - Shot After Shot