7/30

TREAT YO SELF with The Channels (record release), Gobby, Shine (ATL, ex- Bird Names), Curse Purse (1st show! mems of Zebu, ex- Speedy Ortiz) @ Middlesex

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ALSO: Courtney White  & Rose Parry will be showing their art. Mondo Fiasco will be providing live visuals.

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86.85

Cathartic new transmission from the Portland, Maine’s own ID M Theft Able, here re-configured to I’d M Thfft Able. I Suck Am The Eye Suck In The Sky Suck just got unleashed on Montreal’s Brise-Cul Records on a sweet little C23 in a batch including tapes by Vertonen and Echo Beds.

“86.85″ occupies the A-Side, with the theftable in full-on digital/collage mode. His sound finds the bridge between classic concretists like Pierre Schaeffer and newer data-processors like D/P/I andAhnnu. Snatches of pop music deteriorate over broken radio transmissions and tonal drone. Most of the “news” segments that interject relate to age and birthdays.

On the B-side-length title track, age is addressed in an absurdist session of live performance group therapy. As far as I can tell, this was recorded in concert, with Mr. Able leading the crowd through a march of “I suck” and “Fuck It” chants. Some of these self-annihilations become specifically oriented towards the mirror of the internet – seeing your body, aging, digitally, noticing things (weight, skin) that you might not have before. It all has the air of D/P/I’s equally absurd (and beautiful) Elliot Hulse-rework “Depression Session”, but moves the magic off of YouTube and into a communal, physical space.

Pick up the physical/digital copies here.

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Freakshow

Some bands keep doing the same thing over and over again, album after album, until they spontaneously combust in a shitty room full of no one at some date 2-5 albums after their big bang. Pop groups, bands who operate in units of song… when they go this route? That’s when people start slowly bringing the barrels of handguns toward their temples.

It is an undervalued art, that of writing pop song after pop song and being able to make each a snowflake (with each also branded by the pop song writing band’s particular stamp). Each song a handcrafted vessel for the particular pop approach(es) of said band. Pulling this off demands a widening of the filter and a broadening of perspective. Evolution. Growth. Doesn’t matter if you’re talking about THE KINKS, THE PIXIES, MAC DEMARCO, QUILT, THEE OH SEES, STREET GNAR, FREE PIZZA, FAT CREEPS or whoever else. I’ve been checking in with HANDS AND KNEES on a fairly regular basis for a number of years now. I, at one point thought of them as an indie rock/pop band, but as the years have worn on country, rhythm & blues, post-punk, and a million strains of indie rock have seeped deeply into the blood flowing through these 4, collectively a hero unit of Boston underground pop going back 7+ years.

On this 5th full length of theirs, AMERICAN CHEESE, this (mostly) Boston band (Scott on guitar the outlier in Shelburne Falls) partners with Boston label BUFU RECORDS. And what HANDS AND KNEES delivers are 9 tracks full of their trademark country rock/ indie rock approach as well as forays into a bit of post-punk, and some 90s style power pop. The latter, “My Boy”, is the one song on AMERICAN CHEESE featuring lead vocals by bassist Carina. The guitars here are the most lush found on the record, filling the room, and sounding huge. Carina’s dreamy melody and delivery stands against this backdrop, the whole blending perfectly. The former, “Freakshow”, is based upon a stuttering Nick Branigan beat and the simple beauty of the syncopation that Carina creates by adding her bass line to it. Joe sings lead on this one and the rest of the songs found on the record. The guitars crash all over the place here, and there’s a Gospel-something to Joe’s vocal melody. The refrain goes, “Keep thinking about the unknown.” And that’s what HANDS AND KNEES keep doing. I mean, that’s what it’s all about right? 5+ releases in and I am still listening and still waiting to see what their next pop nugget is going to look and sound like. One of Boston’s best. A joyous band.

Below you will also find a brand new video for the song “Flying Fast” which is also found on AMERICAN CHEESE.

HANDS AND KNEES release their new album AMERICAN CHEESE tonight (7/24) @ the HOUSE THAT CD-Rs BUILT in JP, on a bill full of some of the best of the Boston Pop Underground: Nice Guys, Skinny Bones, and Alex Marantz and the Piffs.

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No Man Needs To Care

Nap Eyes latest release is a medley of sounds and ideas – it is a little jangly, a little dark, a little humorous, and a little bit psychedelic. The album has a general formula, incorporating the retro mysticism of old psych bands with the simplicity of modern folk and pop. The lightly worn vocals of Nigel Chapman make the music welcoming, creating an interesting contrast with the chaotic guitar parts. The rhythm and lead guitar trace over each other, leading some songs with choppy and upbeat riffs, on others creating a slow and woozy background. There are even experimental touches of warbling distortion and folk-like slide to add more texture. The band seems to thrive on incongruity, and unexpected sinister song titles like “Delirium and Persecution Paranoia” and “Dark Creedence” are given to the bright rock. That is not to say that the album is distinctly cheery, and many of the songs contain forlorn lyrics. Chapman’s voice uses subtle tricks, shifting between warm or melancholy tones in every song. The eclectic mix of sounds and concepts fit together seamlessly, and the entire album is intricate and charming.

The album was recorded on Nap Eyes’ home turf in Nova Scotia and is available now from Plastic Factory Records.

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All Mortal Greatness Is But Disease

Local duo GRUE have managed to put together something that is quite rare in underground black metal: self-released recordings with decent, relatively clean production value! Instead of a wash of reverb and distortion recorded as poorly as possible to create something like a hazy blur in the place of riffage, GRUE gives us a thick, full but relatively pristine guitar sound in which every note and chord stands right out. In fact, you wouldn’t be totally crazy in thinking the first minute or two of the RAKE EP, with its fast tempo and melodic chord changes, sounds like a really really good pop-punk record (at least until the vocals enter the picture). The vocals are up-front in the mix as well, and raspy but ultimately easily decipherable compared to many of their USBM brethren.

There is a complimentary through-line between the lyrics of this EP’s two tracks (the original track “All Mortal Greatness is But Disease” and a cover of Townes Van Zandt’s bummer country classic “Rake”). It seems to me that the first song discusses similar themes on a universal, societal level that the second one does on a personal level: the idea that everything we love and strive for and take pride in is ultimately meaningless and will slowly kill us. Such bluntness is served well by the unambiguous, up-front production style and Van Zandt’s lyrics in particular are so full of despair that it’s amazing nobody has thought to go metal with them until now.

The RAKE EP is a great follow-up to the band’s debut album and its 12 short minutes will definitely leave all you metalheads (and maybe even a few of you country fans and punk kids) wanting more. Hopefully another full-length will be forthcoming. In the meantime, you can check the band out this Monday at O’Brien’s with CHURCHBURN, BADR VOGU and ROZAMOV.

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Master Race

Pregnancy Scares’ Mind Control EP is another hit in a year of great punk albums coming out on Canada’s Deranged Records, who have recently also put out records by Institute, Pleasure Leftists, Criminal Code and Arctic Flowers. But instead of the post-punk tendencies of these other Deranged bands, Pregnancy Scares’ sound lands much closer to their other labelmates in Stoic Violence, though they play different styles of hardcore. Pregnancy Scares has a harsh, noisy, and raging sound that fans of S.H.I.T. and Warthog will be into, with high-pitched, raw vocals and the filthy, nastily-distorted guitar work. These four songs are all fantastic, but the opener “Master Race” though is the best song on here (but the other three are not far behind), with a stomping rhythm and harsh, memorable riffs. And they even find time for an great and short melodic guitar solo in there amongst the heavy riffing. Pregnancy Scares slow down a bit for the next two tracks, which are absolutely crushing. The EP ends with the, explosive, twice-as-long closer “Lobotomy” that eventually devolves into harsh, feedback chaos. These are 4 great songs from a band that’s really killing it, so pick it up from Deranged Records.

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Love Life

Hypnotically moving and shaking its limbs as it emerges from the punk rock & experimental music rabbit hole that is Boston’s underground music scene of today, PARTICULARS are in a way the ultimate kind of band when viewed in the context of the world of the Boston Hassle. In this land of Hassle, genre is never the destination, rather simply a marker along the road of life where music is digested and made sense of (perhaps). PARTICULARS are a band that no genre tag is going to be appropriate for, a band that is going to be tough to describe. That’s where I’m @ right now!! Post-punk is there, krautrocks both electronic and not, MERIDIAN BROTHERS yes, and free jazz vibes and myriad syncopated beats of the world. A picture becomes clearer after that sloppy run down, but just listen and hear the cream rise.

A tenured, respected member of Boston’s underground music community recently told me that this band is BY FAR his favorite band in Greater Boston, and maybe all of New England. Big words, but keep listening (are you listening? if not, start listening, definitely DO NOT wait to finish this madcap pile of text gush before commencing!).

Meet the (large) band:
AJ Durham – Guitar, Keyboards
Matt Delligatti – Guitar
Billy Mcshane - Vocals, Saxophone, Keyboards
Borey Shin - Analog Synthesizer
Robin Lohrey – Analog Synthersizer
Pat Kuehn – Bass
Nick Neuburg – Drums/Compositions

7 pieces. Members of CANDY TRUCK, AYKROYD, BILLY’s BOYS LIVE!, LOLCAT, CULT & LEPER, MATT DELLIGATTI TRIO, and no doubt other groups. The arrangements found on this debut release by PARTICULARS, simply called PARTICULARS EP, are strange and often unexpected, and to say that the players are good would be an understatement. Drummer/ composer NICK NEUBERG has brought this collection of purely heady, music experimentalists together, and it is him then that we can thank for this new band that immediately, straight out of the gate, demands attention well beyond Boston, and even the USofA. Challenging music does not often get this groove oriented, or for that matter, fun (Boston contemporaries GUERILLA TOSS have a similar sentiment woven into the fabric of their approach I would say).

PARTICULARS EP drips of electronics, mean saxophone outbursts, worldly beats, and most of all the unexpected. Troubling sounds of mystery mince with cartoon-ish synths. It’s the weirdest dance party that will never happen (unless you’re @ a PARTICULARS show…). Vocals pepper the 7 song album (long for an EP!), but never even engage the forefront  of these pieces, this music. The meatiest melodies come courtesy of various synthesizers, but they are also not the focus. It’s hard to say what the focus is on this EP other than to bring together potentially disparate approaches, and styles in a seamless manner that nearly comes across as classic, despite the fact that I have never heard anything like this before. “Knock Knock” @ 4:34 in length is my favorite track here at least for the time being. Wisps of ASMUS TIETCHENS  float through the air. Saxophones get involved. A guy walks by and shouts something as an unsettling feeling sinks in. Sax and synth trade barbs. An island vibe takes us out McShane’s sax there to remind us that we have not switched channels (bandcamp sites.) This song uses a pile of different synth sounds (some of which you know those skweee folks are also using) and it all works. An Adventure. Each track here an adventure. Each with a different feel, and vibe, a vast spectrum represented. You might fall in love with this band and this EP if you are an adventurous listener and you’ve found your way here. EP is only on bandcamp now, but if there is any righteousness left in this multiverse then that won’t be the end of the tale. In case you can’t tell, I think that this is a really wonderful album.

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86.85

Cathartic new transmission from the Portland, Maine’s own ID M Theft Able, here re-configured to I’d M Thfft Able. I Suck Am The Eye Suck In The Sky Suck just got unleashed on Montreal’s Brise-Cul Records on a sweet little C23 in a batch including tapes by Vertonen and Echo Beds.

“86.85″ occupies the A-Side, with the theftable in full-on digital/collage mode. His sound finds the bridge between classic concretists like Pierre Schaeffer and newer data-processors like D/P/I and Ahnnu. Snatches of pop music deteriorate over broken radio transmissions and tonal drone. Most of the “news” segments that interject relate to age and birthdays.

On the B-side-length title track, age is addressed in an absurdist session of live performance group therapy. As far as I can tell, this was recorded in concert, with Mr. Able leading the crowd through a march of “I suck” and “Fuck It” chants. Some of these self-annihilations become specifically oriented towards the mirror of the internet – seeing your body, aging, digitally, noticing things (weight, skin) that you might not have before. It all has the air of D/P/I’s equally absurd (and beautiful) Elliot Hulse-rework “Depression Session”, but moves the magic off of YouTube and into a communal, physical space.

Pick up the physical/digital copies here – stream above.

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The Deep Freeze Mice - Minstrel Radio Yoghurt

Finally! Out this week on Night People is The Deep Freeze Mice compilation, The Best Of The Deep Freeze Mice 1979-1988. The LP features tracks from the 10 albums the band recorded by the four-piece between 1979 and 1988, highlighting their unique brand of post-punk/art rock which incorporated elements of psychedelia, punk, and British pop music. Musically think somewhere between The Animalsand some of the poppier music on the It’s War Boys roster. Teaser tracks like “Something Else Instead,” originally from the 1984 album I Love You Little Bo Bo With You Delicate Golden Lions, sound like the organ-laden garage punk of Hank Wood & The Hammerheads doing their best to approximate Sarah Records. “A Ten Legged Beast,” on the other had, could be a lost British Invasion song from the 60s, except for the band’s comically absurd lyrics. The 16 songs that make up the album, compiled by guitarist/vocalist Alan Jenkins himself, does a good job representing the entirety of their ten albums, and features some essential British music of the 1980s.

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Madalyn Merkey - Archipelago

Today’s musical explorations turn to the sounds of Oakland-based electronic artist MADALYN MERKEY, who first appeared in 2012 with her debut LP SCENT. While her newest LP, VALLEY GIRL, is currently on pre-order from NEW IMAGES LIMITED, a sprawling and sparkly 9-minute long teaser track “Archipelago” is streaming both on her Soundcloud and on one of the Wire’s recent playlists.

The attention is deserved for the artist, who seems to be quite at home creating a track that feels alien and free-roaming, yet stylish and warm. “Valley Girl was inspired by the agriculture and landscapes of Oakland, California and its horizon of rolling hills,” says Merkey on her “artist’s statement” for the record (a hifalutin concept, but it works here). “The peaks and valleys of the album’s landscape are made of fifteen computer generated tones that cycle through melodies driven by ambisonic surround-sound locations to define space.”

Ambisonic surround-sound locations? One can only imagine what that means without at least a napkin drawing, but it definitely works whatever she’s doing. They key with an album title like VALLEY GIRL might just be the notion of space. There is space in valleys. “Archipelago’s” gently buzzing (yet barely-tonal) waves flit from ear to ear as dazzling melodic fluttering fireflies dance in the thick blackness. Taking her time while managing to keep a natural pace within the composition, Merkey then inverts the mood by dipping the track in what sounds like a magical yet ominous time-slowing goo begetting faint patches of ultra-processed vocals barely distinguishable from her pads of electronic sounds.

“Archipelago’s” keen inner-weaving of sounds/tones maintains a distinctly relaxing vibe that possesses a magic that borders on paranoia. Fireflies turn to locusts and then lunar moths. Sometimes the space lets you see in the dark.

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Review: Black Pus/Oozing Wound - Split LP

Providence institution Brian Chippendale’s BLACK PUS offer up two new blood-boiling drum noise freakouts for this here split LP. “Blood Will Run” and “Total Eclipse” are the shortest and longest songs by either band on this record, respectively. The former features a much cleaner vocal take then we’re used to hearing from Chippendale, accompanied for the first half of the song by nothing more than a steady drum beat. The lyrics reference the horrendous slaying of Jordan Davis and Chippendale’s drumming paints both the brutality of the incident and the intended loudness of the music nicely.

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Join the Hassle AV team! Submit your video content.

Hey you with the face!

- Are you making amazing animated shorts?
- Maybe you create live action short films, or documentaries??
- Maybe you want to scour Boston and New England with our A.V Team
looking for the weird and wonderful to video document???
- Or do you make cool music videos for bands (or want to) and need a medium through which to transmit your goods?????
- Actually, don’t you make experimental films of some variety that you would like to share with an audience primed for mind expansion??????
- Or do you want to help us shoot video @ Hassle shows???????

Yeah, we bet you do!!!!!!!!!!!

You don’t have to live in Boston or New England to submit, so send us something, and/or get in touch about joining up with our A.V Team!

We would also love to meet those of you with editing and audio skills!

BOSTONHASSLEVIDEO@GMAIL.COM

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Review: En Nihil/Filth - Black Earth

The ferocious and felicitously matched power electronic gurus En Nihil and Filth have a new split cassette out on Out-of-Body Records. It’s called Black Earth and it is some seriously grim shit. En Nihil has been blasting harsh noise for over two decades now, experimenting with a variegated range of styles from sinister drones to the most abrasive walls of sound. Filth is a younger but no less compelling project that blends synth, EQ feedback and tape manipulations into icy cold sound constructions. As for this split, each act, possessed by throbbing beats, takes a slightly more rhythm driven approach than usual.

En Nihil’s contribution, grounded in a thick drone of low seething static, is on average the more spacious of the two. The lush sound spaces he creates are filled by a high-end of carefully controlled industrial noise. For the most part, Filth’s side takes a more raw and violent approach as it blasts its way through synthesizer freak outs and tape reel abuse, spontaneously accelerating beats and a palette of pulsating psychedelic noises, not to mention vocals distorted into something inhuman. His is the more chaotic of the two sides, more prone to abrupt changes than prolonged drones.

All together, the two sides flow together and create a records that’s primal and cathartic, machine-like but organic. The ideal soundtrack for a journey through wasted industrial landscapes or the psychic nether reaches of your bedroom at night.

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