COMPASS KETCHUP: Art on the Marquee

Look up and look forward as Boston continues to establish itself as a Boss in public art innovation.  Juxtaposing art with commercial and informational content via an 80-foot-tall LED multi-screen is ART ON THE MARQUEE, a public art project that screens multi-media work by local artists and students on a daily basis @the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. For the full enchilada, head to Southie on a Sunday from 8-9pm to watch the entire collection of art on loop or go to their website.

This is one of the first urban screens in the country and a very conscious attempt to create more platforms for digital art in public spaces. Of course, muchos gracias are due to the Dream Team, MASSACHUSETTS CONVENTION CENTER AUTHORITY and BOSTON CYBERARTS, for making these kind of projects/opportunities a reality for our city.

“By broadcasting this amazing media art as part of our marquee content, we hope to provide a model for future signage and urban screens in both Boston and North America – pushing the marquee content in new and unexplored directions that will please our guests and events while helping establish this program as one of the most creative and iconic in the country,” -James E. Rooney, executive director of the MCCA

If you’re a new media artist, get submittin’ those 30-second videos/animations/computer-generated works to the marquee’s eleventh call for new media art! The deadline is Sunday, August 31st at midnight.

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Every first Friday of the month, the SOWA Boston Galleries at 450 Harrison Ave stay open late, a great chance to check out the openings of all the new shows!

Find & Form Space (524 Harrison)

My first stop was Find & Form Space (one of my new favorite galleries) to check out Tim McCool‘s show “Look No Further.” I always look forward to seeing more of McCool’s fantastically witty work and this show was “Everything I’d Hoped It Would Be.”  In “Look No Further,” McCool plays with archetypes of advertising and wall text. McCool takes the oft overlooked medium of wall text and injects it with life. Interspered with McCool’s paintings are blurbs of wall text written by artists Ario Elami and Hisaya Ishii that comment on McCool’s paintings. The language of the text is an enjoyable combination of mocking and heartfelt use of stereotypical “art speak.” His work is bright, fun, and deliciously self-referential. The paintings comment on their own content and there is even wall text commenting on other wall text!

Ars Libri (500 Harrison Ave)

Ars Libri, in association with Robert Klein Gallery on Newberry Street, is currently showing Gohar Dashti‘s photo series “Iran, Untitled.” Dashti places her subjects in a tight cluster in the middle of a location-less desert. Dashti explores the constraint and isolation of her homeland, using her imagination to paint narratives that question both insider and outsider perceptions of Iran.

Boston Sculptors Gallery (486 Harrison Ave)

The Boston Sculptors Gallery is showing “Ovid’s Girls Boston/Berlin.” The show is a continuation of the mini show that was previously up at Gallery Kayafas.  The work is marvelously tactile, unconventional mediums creating unique textures and shadows. The sculptures range from abject, evoking strange bodies and warped skin, to delicate, tracing shadows on the walls.

Carroll and Sons

Carroll and Sons is currently showing the photo series “Where We Find Ourselves” by Justin Kimball. Kimball’s gorgeous photos show young people interacting with different bodies of water. The images are lush and filled with rushing water and bared skin.

Bromfield Gallery

At Bromfield Gallery I checked out “Black/White,” a show united by color palette rather than theme or medium (although a few shades of sepia did creep in here and there). I especially loved the needlepoint rivers by Ted Oliver and the spliced photos by Lisa Olson.

Kingston Gallery

At Kingston Gallery, I enjoyed the modernist-inspired book sculptures by Conny Goelz-Schmitt, the painting “Satellite from the Afterlife” by David Kinsey, and the ethereal paper sculpture, “After Waterfalls of A Mother’s Soul” also by David Kinsey.

Chase Young Gallery

The Chase Young Gallery is currently displaying “State of the Art 2014 / 4th Annual Emerging Artist Exhibition,” featuring work by Acacia Johnson, Julie Weaver, Reesa Wood, and Clara Hy Lee.

Miller Yezerski Gallery

My last stop was the group show at Miller Yezerski Gallery. My two favorite pieces both gained their impact through incredible details. Chris Jordan uses images of 50,000 cigarette lighters to create a van Gogh and Frederick Lynch uses pend and ink to divide a simple shape into a dizzying tessellation.

That’s all for this month folks! Photos by Suzi Grossman. When I’m not writing for the Hassle, you can find me over at Suzi Looks at Lots of Art.

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Amadeus North America | Travel Industry's technology partner

The AMADEUS kids have got one foot on each coast as they bring forth choice words, images, ideas, and inspiration from The Inspired, and they’re laying it out in zine form.

The sequel to their new quarterly magazine (of the same name) is coming out later this month and it’s gonna be siiiick. Back in March, they released Issue #01 which is almost 40 pages you’ll want to revisit again and again. The artwork and pics alone make this a go-to for perusal, while the conversations and features will engross you with stories of insight and influence in the creative process.

Needless to say, we’re pretty stoked for issue #02 which will be featuring creativity catalysts like GIANNI ARONE, DANA WOULFE, WILL WILSON, WITCHORIA, L.A. WITCH, TSONS OF TSUNAMI, EMILY LUBANKO, HELEN POPINCHALK, MORGAN GRENIERKEELY MURPHY, KELLY RULE, MATT ZAREMBA and KATE MITCHELL.

On 7/26, they’ll be unleashing all this goodness with an affair to remember @Lilypad in Inman Square, 7/26, 7-10pm with Tsons of Tsunami there to stimulate your auditory glands. Make sure to grab your own copy of Amadeus #02 for $10 a pop. It’s worth it.

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Minimal bleakness from underground America stalwart RICK WEAVER. Known well for his video work, though perhaps not as well as he is known for his musical output, with “BLACK MEDICINE: PART ONE” Weaver gives us the descent of a man trying to find himself. With disastrous consequences. Lynch and Cronenberg echo through the chambers of RICK WEAVER’s tale, visually surely, but musically as well, in ways. A chilling reverb doused guitar riff meanders through the dimly lit, corroded corridors of this video release. It is eventually obscured by a growing static, but the reign of noise is only temporary, and the riff returns by the piece’s conclusion to roam once more.

BLACK MEDICINE is a film cycle, and above what we have is, yes, the first piece of the puzzle. When will we receive more for our journey to continue? No one is talking. The music that is found and will be found as part of this film cycle comes from several of Weaver’s recent releases: the amazing BLACK MEDICINE (MORE RECORDS), THE PERFECT MAN, and the upcoming BLUE SKY. Based out of Chattanooga and having used a number of monikers over the years for solo and collaborative projects (DINNER MUSIC, NEW FLESH (coincidence?)) it’s good to see RICK WEAVER going completely strange under his own name (he also currently plays in FORM A LOG). A real weird one this guy, I will be looking out for future installments of this series, as well as whatever other dispatches come from this man’s direction. Giving me the creeps over here. And I like it.

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More heavy as is humanly possible Rhode Island infected sludge from DEAD AIR. Late last year they released a s/t record via beloved pillar of scum LOAD RECORDS. Sludge rock, noise rock TAKE YOU’RE PICK. Now defunct, DEAD AIR leave behind them piles of steaming heaviness that several random strangers may come across and shove into disgusting garbage barrels on their way to sitting down to eat delicious dinners sometime in the distant future. Members of BLACK CLOUDS and that band THE TRAPS that just got reissue treatment by CASTLE FACE RECORDS.

Before they passed DEAD AIR dropped off a smidge of vid for the song “Master of the Universe” from the LOAD record. LESS THAN A YEAR later I am finally getting around to mentioning it here (to be fair I only came across the vid maybe 3 months ago). What movie is the vid footage from? You got me, but I’d like to know so I can watch it. Directed by J.X. Williams.

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OLDEN YOLK is the solo project of Quilt’s Shane Butler, who recently celebrated the release of his 2nd full-length album as a member of QUILT with January’s ‘Held In Splendor’ (Mexican Summer).

While just a handful of tracks have been released under this nom-de-tune, Butler’s latest Olden Yolk track (here, the romantically titled “Snow Orchid”) should find instant appeal among fans of Quilt’s gently droning, finger-picked guitar-based vibrations. Much like Butler’s own organically-dainty drawing pictured as the central image in the Youtube clip below, “Snow Orchid” reveals its charms through warm childlike repetitions and the aural-fidelity of crisp but fleeting chalk-drawings fading in the sun.

At center focus in this track is a circular arpeggiated riff and a layer of drones which calls to mind both Sufi music and eastern-flavored psychedlia (66 Beatles, etc), as well as Butler’s precise, almost-British phrasing on the nature themed lyrics. A dulcimer and a colorful twinkling keyboard that almost sounds like a spinning wheel fills out the rest of the arrangement. As an extra surprise, the song fills out with a deep, bassy vocal hum that sounds impressive coming from the pixie-like singer.

Butler should follow this muse, which acts as a refreshing, more experimental complement to his work with Quilt.

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THE CHANNELS finally and officially release their early 14′ tape LO FRUIT tonight. BUFU RECORDS released this 9 song oddball stagger through new & no wave, countrified post-punk, & neg-pop and I have to say it’s absolutely one of my favorite albums of the year, from anywhere.

Check out some earlier words spilled by me about this record!!!

Here’s a band footage & youtube highlight reel vid for the the track “6″ off of LO FRUIT. Wes takes lead vocals here and takes the boys on a fat bottomed sparkling pop post-punk journey of 1 minute and 48 seconds. A fantastic band perfectly blending the singular sonic special-ness of four striking young men (perhaps known more for other bands found elsewhere in the city?), there’s never dry eye or an empty belly in the house when they get done telling us ALL ABOUT that sweet and strange fruit that they won’t stop bringing up!!! A fine addition to Boston post-punk/ weird rock canon. Grab a tape!!

7/30 TREAT YO SELF (JULY) w/The Channels (record release), Gobby, Shine (ATL, ex- Bird Names), Curse Purse (1st show! mems of Zebu, ex- Speedy Ortiz) @ Middlesex
ALSO: Courtney White  & Rose Parry will be showing their art. Mondo Fiasco will be providing live visuals.

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Sean/ Jeff heaves a sizable mass of his potent and singular existential melancholy in our direction once more, this one set to video. BAD HISTORY MONTH is the moniker he has used since his guitar playing in the duo FAT HISTORY MONTH ceased. It’s also an FHM album title. His is not a straight line.

But who the fuck wants a straight line? What we have is the video for “Staring At My Hands” from BAD HISTORY MONTH’s split LP with DUST OF 1000 YEARS. They call it FAMOUS CIGARETTES and it was recently released by heavy duty rock champions EXPLODING IN SOUND (and was recently written up Hassle-like by James Moore). Everyone involved is kind enough to allow us to premier the video. And so here we are.

The song is a stunner. Sean/Jeff lays down a strange path of song, chopped and spliced solo voice and guitar, crunchy ambient electronics, nude piano, shambling indie rock, serious riffage… it’s all so seamlessly woven together, that once you step back to scope the whole for its pieces, it’s almost revelatory. The many different colored threads used to create this patchwork shouldn’t make as much sense as it does. But it does. Oh it does! And throughout Jeff/Sean further weaves in his lessons and stories and the other mis-remembered ephemera that constitute the poetry of truly one of Boston’s finest in that department. Shades of  Phil Elverum lurk here yes, but that’s only because he’s one of the few that have traveled any kind of comparable musical path, or at least that’s all that I have to communicate to you some small part about what this music is and does.

A haunting and dreamlike pop thing that gets me on the perfect day for its grey approach. The guitar sounds and vocals sound so great here. Boston’s very cool MONDO FIASCO video crew created the draining video above which I must say works so incredibly well for this song. More precisely that would be Ethan Long and Adric Gilesthat filmed the video, under strict artistic direction of Jeffery Meffery. I feel… good.

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If the name “Francisco Franco” sounds familiar to you, go give your high school world history teacher a pat on the back– Mr. Franco was the aggressive dictator of Spain for much of the 20th century. But this Philadelphia trio’s name comes from an amalgamation of its guitarists’ last names (Matt Franco and Rob Francisco), and their namesake seems pretty ironic given the chill vibe of “Three Cushion Champs”. Guitars meander and jingle on this mellow, stream of consciousness instrumental track, while the vid gives us a brief tour of Philadelphia. (Speaking of which, the City of Brotherly Love has been busting out a lot of good tunes and bands as of late– search the Hassle for “Philly” or “Philadelphia” and you’ll see what I mean.)

Anyhow, I’m digging this track– the relaxed guitars remind me a bit of Mac DeMarco– and look forward to listening to more from Francisco Franco. Their full-length self-titled LP, which includes “Three Cushion Champs”, is available from New Images.

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Slug Gut

Next To Christie’s is the latest album to drop from the psychedelic cloud of Boston’s psych-pop wunderkind Al Marantz. Marantz has come out with a handful of magical lo-fi solo albums over the past few years, in addition to being a member of the awesome garage psych band Future Days. Performing from the nebulous frontiers of bedroom-style solo explorations, Next To Christie’s is a unique blend of sounds that range from acoustic singer-songwriter type compositions to trippy electronic weirdness, carefully pulled together into a coherent and complementary list of tracks.

The album starts off pretty down-to-earth with opener “Chemical Rose’, featuring soothing yet haunting vocal harmonies and clean acoustic guitar on top of a computer generated beat, but over the next few tracks things take off into more far out territories. On a good chunk of the tracks, Marantz uses careful doses of chorus effects on otherwise melody driven instrumentals, lending a warm psychedelic swirl to his already warm aesthetic. By the time we hit track four, “Hill Crossing”, the quirky electronic tidbits are slightly more pronounced, coming out even further on the next track, “Brain Caper”. The next few tracks weave in and out like this, eventually hitting a sort of emotional climax with a field recording of (presumably) the interior of Christie’s Restaurant during a rush. Juxtaposed with this recording, the eerie and melancholic penultimate track “Ghost Toast” sounds especially beautiful.

The album ends quietly with the sweet little pop ditty “Fall Behind”, featuring Marantz singing a sad sounding melody about being alone in his soft falsetto while strumming a ukulele. Overall, the variety of different styles on each track  come together really nicely, making for an incredibly fun lo-fi blend of psychedelic warmth with acoustic intimacy and all out electronic hypnotism. This one’s destined to you transport you to somewhere very nice.

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Kitchen Sink Realism

Up until recently I was unfamiliar with the Vatican Analog label, but after checking out a few releases from the internationally-based experimental collective, I am totally sold. While plenty of the label’s output is worthy of further inspection, it’s Kitchen Sink Realism by the quartet known as CRYSTAL FUCKING DUST which first caught my attention.

I don’t know much about this act, other than that this particular work was recorded in Sweden some time last December. I imagine it was very cold and very dark. As far as the equipment used, there are definitely some synthesizers, possibly some modular equipment or modular-style sampling, and a somewhat yelpy vocalist processed through a delay (or possibly just some vocal samples) thrown in every now and then as well. I’m pretty sure it was done live in one take. I imagine many knobs are being twiddled. The mysteriousness of the recording doesn’t work against it, though. If anything it can deepen one’s appreciation to have to work a little to figure out how music like this is generated.

The track starts off based on a repetitive bit of rhythm that sounds reminiscent of typewriter keys, some fat droning wave forms and a couple looped piano notes, but goes through an impressive number of variations in its 22 minute run time. At points it is ominous and brooding, at others much lighter and more playful. On the whole it’s a great introduction to a really great label, and makes perfect background music for repetitive tasks or long, thoughtful walks at dusk.

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Hash Sesh

Tony Molina has garnered a great deal of acclaim over the last couple of years as some of the recordings that he made under his own name began to find their way into the hands of a larger circle of ears, leading eventually to some kind of recording agreement with none other than MATADOR RECORDS. I first heard his solo stuff somewhere along that timeline leading to MATADOR, and a ways back Maxwell Parrot wrote about his DISSED AND DISMISSED record. He was also in the band VIOLENT CHANGE that we’ve written about here as well, (though he’s not anymore it would appear). I am into the straight TONY MOLINA brand of pop-meets-various-punks-and-indie-rocks, and if you too are (or even if you are not), you probably should check out THE OVENS.

Tony Molina’s pre-solo band is what the record label (MELTERS) is saying about the band in reference to the 7″ they just put out by them, spurred on no doubt by Molina’s recent success. The 7″ is only called 7″, and the reason that more thought wasn’t put into the name probably stems from the fact that the tracks were recorded back in 2005 by the band, but are only seeing the light of day for the first time right now with this MELTERS release. 7″ amounts to the 4th release by THE OVENS, a now defunct part of Tony Molina’s history, but nevertheless an amazing band for the right kind of listener. I really love this band and their music. I mean, I also love the first two WEEZER records. And I also have a great story that makes the band special to me too. Wanna hear it? I thought you did.

The only time I’ve gone to SXSW was a bunch of years ago with my band NEEDY VISIONS. My friends in the band WILDLIFE/ WILDILDLIFE were also up in Austin’s butt for the thing. They were awesomely asked to play AQUARIUS RECORDS/ WFMU’s showcase at some bar. There to see them, I was also interested in other bands playing this particular showcase, naturally. THE OVENS were playing, but I had no idea who they were at the time. Thankfully I had a friend in Andy Crane from WILDLIFE/ WILDILDLIFE, who literally forced me in front of THE OVENS, demanding I pay attention (not that I was fighting too hard). And I was blown the fuck away. Thanks Andy. If you listen to their recordings and you have room in your heart for WEEZER, and other metal loving power pop groups, then you’ll understand my commitment to THE OVENS. I saw this same commitment to the band in Andy’s eyes. Perhaps it now gets passed to you? Not new tracks, but FRESH, never before released. Only 4 songs, but if you hear what I’m saying, then you’ll love the shit out of every single one. And if not, then maybe you were born at the wrong time or some other bullshit. Long live Tony Molina, but never forget THE OVENS.

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If The Shit Fits

If you’re a garage rock fan who hasn’t yet checked out the Castle Face Live in San Francisco series, take note. So far, it’s featured killer live sets from both psych-weirdo-masters White Fence and heavy garage rockers Fuzz. Next up comes a live selection from Austin, TX’s OBN III’s, whose brash and high-adrenaline punk is instantly infectious on “If The Shit Fits”. One part gnarly garage rock to three parts punch-you-in-the-face punk, if “If The Shit Fits” is anything like the rest of Live, the full album is definitely worth listening to. Not to mention– unlike the earlier bands featured in the series, OBN III’s are still relatively unknown so, hopefully, they’ll benefit from the exposure from this release.

Dig it? The full album is getting a limited release from Castle Face, so get your grubby little paws on it at your fave record store sooner rather than later. Stream “If The Shit Fits” below.

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Puce Mary - Courses

Frederikke Hoffmeier, the Danish industrial electronics purveyor behind Puce Mary, recently released a new LP Persona on the Copenhagen noise label Posh Isolation. While her live set is powerfully loud, Hoffmeier’s album explores territory that’s just as intimately psychological as it is physical. The opaque warble of her voice on COURSES evokes the tenor of a pre-verbal thought, before it has been refined, dulled and made communicable by the conscious mind; when it’s nothing but crude psychic agitation. The frequencies of this vocal split into two layers with dissonant meanings. The grating lower register threatens while the upper shelf sounds panicked and frightened. The synth throbs lurking in the background are true industrial sounds, not just in reference to an artist or movement that has been dubbed as such. They suggest a purring pulsing radio transmitter through a cell phone or any number of phenomena adding to the current of white noise that surrounds us whether we notice it or not. These synths are not abrasive but they are threatening, not just in timbre but in association. Grip it here.

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Sirens

The electronic music of André Obin creates small little worlds of its own, building them with a vibrant array of synthesizers. His latest song, Sirens, opens with a simmering sound that seems to slowly fall into and open up the rest of the song. As other synthesizers come in as small bursts, a heavy tension is built. Every new sound introduced is odd and unique, but is woven in seamlessly as if no other could belong there. The song drifts along until it finds a constant, plunking back beat, allowing the song to begin to move along at a steady pace. The vocals finally arrive, Obin’s voice filtered through effects that give it a distant and murmuring quality. The vague vocals don’t detract from the intricate electronic soundscape that has been mounting, which reaches its peak at the middle of the song. Overlaying a colorful variety of found sounds, it evolves into a thick electronic scene that brings out distinct feelings. Sirens has a water like characteristics, washing out in waves. It hypnotizes with its deep serene tone, having a calming effect. Though each individual chill synthesizer sound is simple, Obin proves that when compiled the right way they can become inexplicably emotional and complicated.

It can be downloaded now, or you can experience the André Obin’s synth pop live at Great Scott on September 10th.

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