Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lost Weekend :: Buffalo Tom's 25th Anniversary |November 25th-27th

When it was announced earlier this fall that Buffalo Tom would celebrate 25 years together with 3 successive shows at Brighton Music Hall my first thought was I have to go to at least one of those shows, but was hoping to make all three. Well I split the difference and attended two, Friday and Sunday, both were remarkable with the band offering varying sets and inspired performances each night.

Thanks to an older sibling with penchant for drilling whatever he liked into his little brothers head, sometime around 1990-91, I was introduced to Buffalo Tom with their sophomore release Birdbrain. Within about 10 seconds of hearing that albums title track, I was hooked and have followed the bands every move for nearly all of their 25 years so my excitement for these shows was palpable, to say the least.

Friday/Night #1:This seemed to be the must see show of the three, largely due to the evenings special guests. Early arrivals were treated to a brief but hilarious set from Eugene Mirman (Bob's Burgers, Flight of The Concords) to start the evening. Comedy at a rock show can be a dicey proposition, but Mirman managed to win the room over with wit and sharp retorts for a few inebriated hecklers. It's inexplicable that after many years of buying Ted Leo's records I had never seen him before. With just a guitar and his far reaching voice, Leo ran through a cherry picked set that featured highlights of his back catalog and a stunning cover of Uncle Tupelo's Whiskey Bottle. Leo let the crowd know early on that he was suffering from voice/throat issue and was treating it with a concoction of hot sauce and Jameson's. As nausea inducing as that sounds, it must have done the trick because he delivered a passionate performance highlighted by his considerable vocal range and gave no hint of his current ailment. The room was at capacity with a mix of die hard 40 and 30 year olds as well as 20 somethings when the weekend's unofficial emcee, Mike O'Malley (Glee, Yes, Dear) ushered Buffalo Tom on stage. Within seconds of Bill Janovitz striking the opening chords of Velvet Roof the room erupted, with the woman standing next to me going into what can only be described as a Buffalo Tom induced seizure. Over the next two hours the band ran through an impassioned and energetic set with assistance from some notable friends. Former Throwing Muses, Breeders, and Belly songstress, Tanya Donelly provided vocals on a few songs which included a chilling version of Let Me Come Over's , Frozen Lake as well as Don't Forget Me from Buffalo Tom's 2011 release Skins . Former Fuzzy members Hilken Mancini and Chris Toppin provided harmony vocals on a couple of tracks and returned to provide backing vocals along with Donelly on Treehouse. Mike Gent of The Figgs and The Gentlemen arrived on stage to provide acoustic guitar and backing vocals to Arise, Watch and the Mike O' Malley sung The Seeker, I'm a sucker for a good Who cover and that certainly qualified. Arguably the nights most anticipated guest Dinosaur Jr.'s, J. Mascis joined the the band for a few of the nights best moments, which included some of the material he produced with the band, Birdbrain, Impossible, and Sunflower Suit. He would return later to assist in closing out the show for a blistering rendition of Neil Young's, Cortez The Killer. Much of the capacity crowd lingered afterwards completely awestruck by the mesmerizing performance we had all just witnessed. Sunday couldn't come soon enough.

Buffalo Tom @ Brighton Music Hall November 25th,2011
Velvet Roof
Kitchen Door
I'm Allowed
Three Easy Pieces
Impossible w/ J. Mascis
Sunflower Suit w/ J. Mascis
Birdbrain w/ J. Mascis
Frozen Lake w/ Tanya Donelly
It's You w/ Tanya Donelly
Don't Forget Me w/ Tanya Donelly
Reason Why w/ Ted Leo
Late At Night
Darl w/ Hilken Mancini
Your Stripes w/ Chris Toppin
Treehouse w/ Tanya Donelly, Chris Toppin, & Hilken Mancini
Taillights Fade
Arise, Watch w/ Mike Gent
The Seeker w/ Mike O' Malley & Mike Gent
Cortez The Killer w/ J. Mascis

Sunday/Night #3: Former Come, Uzi, and Live Skull member Thalia Zedek opened the evening with an impressive set of dissonant guitar, violin, and throbbing rhythms, showcasing her stark and melancholic work with The Thalia Zedek Band. The third and final night of Buffalo Tom's 25th Anniversary promised to be another special of night of guitar crunch and the bands understated but potent pop hooks. Although the band sent out a message via their Facebook page that there would be fewer guest and they would play a slightly shorter set. That announcement did not deter the nearly sold-out Sunday crowd from coming out on a school night, nor did it stop the band from delivering another exuberant set with a few surprises. Including a few return appearances, including The Figgs fronter, Mike Gent providing guitar and vocals to Fortune Teller. Mean Creek's Chris Keene joined the band for Would Not Be Denied and his band mate Aurore Ounjian provided backing vocals (and tambourine) on Soda Jerk. Janovitz let us know that the pair were at a party down the street and didn't realize they were expected for night 3, as the band played an opening set on Saturday. Chalk it up to rock and roll confusion, luckily for us they made it and contributed fine performances. The angel voiced Tanya Donelly returned to provide vocals to a few songs including Torch Singer, a track we were pining to hear and it did not disappoint. The band paid a fitting tribute to their late friend and ardent Boston music supporter, Billy Ruanne on Larry.

Although the lists of spacial guests was truncated and the band shortened their set by just one song compared to Friday's 22 songs, Buffalo Tom delivered an exhilarating set and reminded me and probably many of you of not just how important they have been over the years, but how absolutely essential they continue to be. I'd urge anyone who hasn't done so already to pick up the bands last couple of records, Three Easy Pieces and this years superb, Skins, both records are deserving of your attention. Here's hoping they do this again next year.

Buffalo Tom @ Brighton Music Hall November 27th, 2011
Arise, Watch w/ Mike Gent
Fortune Teller w/ Mike Gent
Sunday Night
Kitchen Door
Would Not Be Denied w/ Chris Keene of Mean Creek
Soda Jerk w/ Aurore Ounjian of Mean Creek
Torch Singer w/ Tanya Donelly
Don't Forget Me w/ Tanya Donelly
It's You
Late At Night
Velvet Roof
Taillight Fade
The Seeker w/ Mike O'Malley and Mike Gent
Frozen Lake w/ Tanya Donelly
There was a professional video crew filming these shows and we assume they'll be a DVD release, until then be sure to check out this video from this weekends perfomaces.

Credits: Set list information courtesy of Michael Piantigini @ Clicky Clicky Music

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Transmissions :: Echo Lake - Buried At Sea

Echo Lake - Buried at Sea from ///NO PAIN IN POP\\\ on Vimeo.

Back in August we told you London's rising dream pop outfit, Echo Lake and their then recently released Another Day/Breath Deep 7". Since then the band have been busy recording their debut full length, which is expected to be released in 2012. In addition Japan based Coco Heart Records have just re-issued the sparkling Young Silence EP and the band will issue a 4-way split EP with Gross Magic, Thoap, and Novella on December 12th via Marshall Teller Records. Echo Lake contributes the hazy pop gem, Buried At Sea, a track that they recently shot a video for off the coast of Granada, Spain with director Nalalia Stuyk.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

This Weeks Short Bursts :: Hallelujah The Hills, Young Dreams, & Yale, Massachusetts

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Wednesday brought us Amatuers the new two sided single from Boston's indie pop goliaths, Hallelujah The Hills. Neither of these tracks will be included on the bands next LP, III which is due out early next year. The A -side, Amateurs is spell-a-long rallying cry with fuzzy guitars, banjo, and fronter another set of superb anthemic lyrics from HTH lynchpin Ryan Walsh.

"Big time issues in air tight jars
There’s a furnace fuel that can outpace cars
We all made the cut so let’s break some laws
Can you turn me up in the speakers

The b-side, The Girls Are Here is equally as impressive and possible a little more triumphant, complete with female backing vocals courtesy of Noell Dorsey, Leah Hennessy, &y very Sleepy Very Sleepy's Katie Von Schleicher that add a certian sweetness to the bands already expansive canvas. You can grab a copy of the singles from the Hallelujah The Hills Bandcamp, for the ridiculously fair price of $2.00, and we recommend you get to that immediately.

The 10 piece Nordic pop collective, Young Dreams have announced that they have recently inked a deal with Australia's Modular Records. Last year when Young Dreams' multi-instrumentalist and mastermind, Matias Tellez posted three tracks to his bands Facebook page, Young Dreams became the immediate focus of international blog buzz and ended up on last summers festival circuit, with appearances at Larm, Camped Crawl, and Hove Festival. Young Dreams are readying their debut full length, due out in 2012.

The collectives eponymous track is an impressive marriage of psych, tropicalia,and borouque pop and completely in our wheel house.

Young Dreams - Young Dreams by modularpeople

Boston's rising punks, Yale,Massachusetts will return to O'Brien's on December 4th, the site of last weeks raucous Act Like You've Been Here EP release show, you should probably just go ahead and cancel any other plans for that night right now. The new EP stands firmly within the power punk camp, with rhythmic complexity of math rock and the pop sensibilities of emo's first wave . The EP's closing track and superbly titled , Keep it Shitty is a high speed power punk anthem. Remember that time when you took all that trucker speed and listened to Sorry Ma, I Forgot To Take Out The Trash? Kinda like that.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Grownup Noise November Residency| @ Toad Sommerville, MA

Ash Gray Proclamation favorites, The Grownup Noise will play their final installment of their November residency at Toad tomorrow night. Inexplicably we've never seen the band Live, that all changes tomorrow night when we drag are asses to Somerville's Porter Square, join us! Our review of The Grownup Noise' sparkling sophomore set, This Time With Feeling can be read here.

Now, how about some songs.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Reviewed :: Circus Devils - Capsized! | Happy Jack Rock Records #27

Since 2001 Robert Pollard, Tim and Todd Tobias have been quietly releasing unconventional and arresting records under the Circus Devils moniker. The band is if nothing else incredibly consistent, with each record bringing an element of the unexpected. Capsized! the trio's new and overall ninth offering was released last month is no exception. The album opens with To England With Tigers, the first of (count em') four instrumentals on the album which lend to the Capsized! cinematic feel and provides this varied collection with some breathing room from track to track. What follows is the the title track, complete with a twinkling piano and scuzzy guitars. If Circus Devils ever had a radio ready single, that is if commercial radio didn't completely suck, that song would undoubtedly be Cycopean Runways. That track is far an away the surprise of the set and easily the poppiest track to ever grace a Circus Devils album.

Circus Devils have always seemed to be Pollard's most polarizing outfit even for Pollard completists , but for the better part of the last 11 years it's featured some his most inventive and spirited output. Pollard makes a case for this throughout Capsized! , notably on the blissed out soft rock of Legendary Breakfast Code and it's nostalgic chorus "It's such a coffin sailboat everyday, I miss your legendary breakfast code" and again on the mid set stomper Leave The Knife Curtis with Pollard delivering spoken word verses a midst sinister and fuzzed out rhythms.

Capsized! deftly marries contrasting genres such as prog, soft rock, radio ready pop, and terrifying soundscapes, while retaining the trio's odd ball charm. Circus Devils have issued their most cohesive and mesmerizing LP to date. At times unconventional and even challenging, but ultimately it's completely spellbinding.

Circus Devils - Cyclopean Runways by ashgrayproclamation

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Forthcoming :: Teenage Cool Kids - Denton After Sunset

Denton, TX's whimsical pop outfit, Teenage Cool Kids will release their third and quite possibly final LP with the aptly titled, Denton After Sunset on December 6th. The new set can be currently heard and downloaded via the Teenage Cool Kids Bandcamp page and will also be available on limited run vinyl from Dull Tools Records. Denton After Sunset was recorded shortly after an extensive tour of the U.S. and Europe for 2009's superlative Foreign Lands. The albums 9 tracks features TCK delivering earnest and discordant melodies as well as their trademark razor sharp pop hooks and lyrics that read like a Dear John letter from fronter Andrew Savage.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Transmissions :: Scratch Acid - Moron's Moron | Live in Atlanta

David Yow and David Wm. Sims are back and out on the road with their pre Jesus Lizard outfit, Scratch Acid. They play The Paradise on Wednesday and based on this video (shot at The Earl in Atlanta last week), madness will ensue.

Advance ticketing can be sorted out here.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Reviewed :: The Blue Dress - These Happy Golden Years [EP]

Cape Cod's psych pop stalwarts, The Blue Dress first popped up on our radar last summer with the release of their wonderful debut, Demo EP. In fact, we beat the shit of that release's 4 tracks on almost daily basis. So when we heard the band would be releasing a new cassette/digital EP via Chicago's excellent Already Dead Tapes we were more than a little eager to hear the new material. We wrote about the release and premiered one of the albums track earlier this fall, but that only upped our anticipation.

For the recording of These Happy Golden Years, the adroit duo of Patrick Tottenham and Timothy Sylvia expanded upon their sound with multifarious instrumentation courtesy of contributions from Ben Raymond (trumpet), Kassie Carlson (violin), Kristie Defastano (vocals), and Rob Kelly of The Soft White 3-Way (keyboards). The EP was tracked by Silvia at Treetops Studios in September and features 3 new compositions and a re-working of the Demo EP's standout, Deth Ray, re-titled here as My Deth Ray. The set starts with arguably the bands strongest track to date with The Totem, it features driving and distorted guitar lines and a killer, albeit nihilistic chorus, "there's nothing on the other side". My Deth Ray has been transformed from an austere acoustic dirge to a triumphant foot stomper complete with trumpet wails and tenacious rhythms. Over Your Eyes finds The Blue Dress displaying their dexterous gift for creating chilling psych pop, with big chords and even bigger hooks. The EP comes to a close with the release's longest track, Frozen Daughter which comes in just under the six minute mark with not a second wasted, combining drone, noise, bursts of trumpet, and tribal drumming. It brings to mind the early work of Mercury Rev, particularly Yourself Is Steam, at least to our ears.

These Happy Golden Years finds The Blue Dress pushing their sound forward with an engaging and devastating collection of songs, albeit far too short for our liking, nonetheless it's one of the finest recordings we've heard all year.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Age Rings, Guillermo Sexo, Marconi, & The Future Everybody @ Radio| Sommerville| November 5, 2011

On Saturday Age Rings will celebrate the re-release of their brilliant Black Honey LP, via Boston's Midriff Records.We wrote about the re-release back in September. Foolishly, we've squandered our previous chances to catch Age Rings Live, but it looks like the stars will align themselves long enough for us to catch the owners of one our favorite records of 2011, in a couple days time. Age Rings will be supported by Boston's dream pop phenoms, Guillermo Sexo. Marconi and The Future Everybody will also perform. It seems like you just found your excuse to make it to the freshly opened Radio. Plan accordingly and acquire your advance tickets here.

Now some songs:

Important Guy by Age Rings