Monday, December 17, 2012

Live Tonight :: HallelujahThe Hills, 14 foot 1, CreaturoS, and Magic Magic @ The Middle East Upstairs

Tonight at The Middle East AGP favorites and Boston's genre bending popsmiths, Hallelujah The Hills play a rare early set on an impressive bill that featutes 14 foot 1 celebrating the release of their new 7" Two. As well as sets from CreaturoS and Magic Magic. Hallelujah The Hills have been working on the follow up to this years superb No One Knows What Happens Next, perhaps the band will give a glimpse into the material they're currently working on. Doors are at 8, for more information consult the  FB Event page.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Video Premiere :: The Hush Now - I'm Always Broke In December + An Interview With Barry Marino

Boston indie pop stalwarts and AGP favorites, The Hush Now have returned to continue their now yearly tradition of recording and releasing smart and engaging tracks for the holidays. Come to think of it, that's the bands year round MO. In October the band issued their Halloween single, The Flapper and late last month delivered I'm Always Broke In December in time for Christmas. The wistful and flat out beautiful track was written by drummer and vocalist, Barry Marino. We recently caught up with Barry to discuss the new song, the recording of the next full length from The Hush Now, and the art of bad Christmas gifts. In addition were thrilled to be able to premiere the just completed video for I'm Always Broke In December, which Barry just finished editing and sent over to us in the middle of the night.

The Ash Gray Proclamation: Can you tell me how the new Holiday single, I'm Always Broke in December came about?

Barry Marino: I was in my apartment last December, working a riff to death on the guitar. I started singing sarcastically about products in the commercials of some bad Christmas movie. I realized I couldn't afford most of them. Then I got bummed. money seems to evaporate for musicians, especially during the holidays. The positive to being broke and disenchanted during the holidays is knowing that, in the least, I can go home and enjoy time with my parents and sisters and lots of wine.

AGP: What is your approach on making videos, weather it be for a song or a video flyer to promote a show?

Barry: The two approaches definitely differ. A great song can lend itself to a great storyline for a music video, but the visuals need to retain the viewer's attention in order to be successful in any way. I try to find ways to challenge myself and not repeat ideas. For me, video fliers are fun exercises in creating something to quick to grab someones attention. I usually try to have fun with them using different background music or filming techniques, but all in all it all comes down to making a funny one minute movie.

AGP: What is your main goal or objective When you commit to making a film to accompany a track like I'm Always Broke In December?

Barry: All bets are off when it comes to Christmas videos. I'm not sure there is a way to not make a Christmas song/video cheesy. I went in knowing that the expectations weren't as severe as they usually would be for a regular video. Still, I like to take the creative process as seriously as I can and still get the footage I need. This was the first video I directed that I also took the lead, however. It was interesting to hand out instructions and set up shots while dressed in wig and costume. I'm not sure I want to do that again as it was a lot to juggle. The actors in the video are some friends and family, so it tied in well with the song content and the spirit of the season. The craft service table I set up of Irish coffees and beer certainly didn't hurt the effort.

AGP: In the spirit of the new song and video, what's the worst and the best gift you have ever given for Christmas?

Barry: I'm terrible with gift giving. I've always liked hand-made gifts. The best gift I've given might have been a Leg Lamp (from A Christmas Story) that my mother and I put together for my father. He promptly put it up in the attic window so it would overlook the neighborhood with pride. My sisters have always received the worst gifts from me. I made them these really nice, boutique cd cases and told them that the cd inside was a personalized song that summed up my feelings for them. It was a 3 minute loop of the 4 worst sounds I could make. I also gave them soap.

AGP: What can you tell us about the recording of the next album from The Hush Now?

Barry: In October we headed back to Mad Oak Studios and started recording with our captain, Benny Grotto. Mad Oak feels like home, it was a lot fun to crank out 12 new songs. These ones are a mix of new tunes written together and other songs/ideas individually brought to the table. With Memos, we had started to show that everyone in the band is a songwriter. This latest batch of songs evolved from that idea. Everyone has a couple. I believe we're heading back into the studio early 2013 (Apocalypse pending) to record another batch of songs we're currently working out, from which we'll have to sit down and decide what to do with them all.

AGP: We've seen a steady stream of solo recordings on your Bandcamp page, most recently last springs I Made These Gems In A Month. Can we expect more solo releases coming down the pike?

Barry: You bet, I don't think the writing will ever stop. I have a handful of songs I'm currently working on, I'll most likely write/record another album in February for the RPM Challenge ( and I usually have one-offs that I put online. I have some audio/video projects as well, but we'll have to see what the schedule look likes.

AGP: How do you decide which songs you'll present to the band and which ones will be included in your solo output?

Barry: I think every idea I have usually starts out intended as a solo effort. If there are a lot of quiet acoustics or hushed vocals, I might think it wouldn't work with the band. But that's not always the case. Things Fall Down and I'm Always Broke In December were initially solo songs that the band decided to work out together.

Mainly, if the song is fun and I can picture Noel dancing along, I'll submit it.

I'm Always Broke In December is available at The Hush Now Bandcamp page as a pay what you want deal. We recomend paying a visit, grabbing the track and supporting The Hush Now.

Thank you to Barry Marino as well as the rest of The Hush Now for taking the time and sharring their music and new video. Cheers [ed.]

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

New [Holiday] Sounds Now :: Los Campesinos Give The Gift Of A Seasonal Smash

Welsh twee punk goliaths, Los Campesinos have just presented their Christmas gift, when earlier today they offered up thier Holiday themed new single, A Doe To A Deer as a free download . The band will play their last show of the year this Saturday at Islington Assembly Hall in London, which will be there last with bassist Ellen Campesinos who announced just last week that she will be leaving  the band. 2013 will find the band issuing the follow up to 2011's exceptional, Hello Sadness LP. In the meantimne head on over to LC! Blog  grab the track which sits on the top of our holiday playlist as well hold us over until the band issue there next and highly anticipated full length.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

New Sounds Now :: Benjamin Shaw & Fighting Kites

This is usually the time of year when we turn our attention to year end lists and the like. However seeing how our energies were pulled away from the site at times this year and its been a bit sporadic around here, so we thought we would write while the opportunity presented itself. In addition we're looking toward the next year as a new begining around here, so look for some changes coming which will include regular and frequent updates as well as new contributors in the coming months.

 We would like to  turn your attention to some holiday music that in our estimation is well worth a listen, as well as providing a welcome respite to the overplayed and tired sounds of the season.

A couple of artists from London's superb Audio Antihero label, Benjamin Shaw formally of Nosferatu D2 as well a as recently turning in a series of staggering solo releases has teamed with instrumental outfit Fighting Kites for This Christmas (I Just Want To Be Left Alone). The track was originally included on Darren Hayman/Fika Records advent calendar. But now available as a charity single/pay what you want offering. Proceeds from the track go to Shelter- The Housing And Homelessness Charity. Shaw's solemn vocal and Fighting Kites direct and dynamic instrumentation on the track make this a nearly flawless collaboration.