New Music: Duck & Cover

Duck & Cover

Duck & Cover go after it on their debut record.

Charlestown’s Duck & Cover are molded from an impressive collection of current and ex-Boston punk bands, including Acro-brats, Coffin Lids, Black Cheers, & Bang Camaro among others. Their debut self-titled record is a grinding attack that cruises between melodic metal shifts and strait forward power punk. “Dead Giveaway” and “Gather Your Strength” encapsulate Duck & Cover at their best, flexing seasoned strengths that respect each others bounds while driving forward together in a cohesive manner. If you’re a record nerd such as I, it’s an absolutely beautiful record, with Coke bottle green wax and some killer art work from Tim O’Hanlon.

Recommended If You Like: Face to Face, Descendents, La Peste, Punk Rock

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New Music: Total Navajo – Eyelids EP

Total Navajo

Total Navajo impress on their debut EP.

Total Navajo are a two piece from Los Angeles who flex quite a bit of diversity on their debut EP, Eylids. For two musicians they’re able to paint a complicated picture rather quickly, and this is most evident on their title track, which begins with a walking banjo that ascends with the help of drummer and guitarist Mitchell Rowland’s vocals, which leave just a hint of Elliot Smith’s fingerprints. However, songs such as “Voice of Eyes” and “Hand Jive” show their roots lie within traditional rock parameters, and it’s this diversity that’s made their debut EP such a grower with me.

If in the LA area you can catch Total Navajo at Lexington Bar (downtown) on December 3rd.

Recommended If You Like: Detroit Rebellion, Early Foo, Late 90’s Alt

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New Video: Mean Creek – “Anxiety Girl”

Mean Creek

Mean Creek’s new video for “Anxiety Girl” is as good as the song, which is saying a lot.

Mean Creek are one of the more exciting bands in Boston, and have garnered a good amount of National buzz over the past year on the heels of their latest album, Local Losers. Their music could easily have fit into the catalogues of Sub Pop, Matador, or Touch and Go in the 90’s – but don’t be mistaken, these kids are no nostalgia act, and interject their songs & videos a with poignant passion, creativity, and abandon that’s uniquely their own, and why the spark created by these local losers, is creating a blaze that’s visible far beyond the Hub.

Recommended If You Like: Yuck, Dinosaur Jr, Condofucks

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New Music: Cookies – Music For Touching

Cookies - "Music For Touching"

Cookies – “Music For Touching”

In a previous life I worked for a small record label doing webmaster duties and any other odd or end that was needed – be it working a merch table, lights, or plastering promo posters about the City. One of the bands on the label was Mobius Band, a trio who played synth driven indie rock – they, along with label-mate chauncey, were destined for stardom in my rose colored eyes, but alas, like most bands – they faded away after some excellent EP’s and a couple albums.

Ben Sterling, an integral part of Mobius Band, has since moved on to form Cookies – whose apt name takes the pop sensibly of Mobius Band to a sweeter & cleaner level. Gone are the “indie” textures of Mobius, replaced with a crisp sense of confidence on how a pop song should be structured, and Cookies sure know how to structure a pop song, with each note being deliberate and in the perfect place.

The below video for “Music For Touching” was performed live and shot in one take.

Recommended If You Like: Cut Copy, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Sleigh Bells

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Recommended Album: Owen Maercks – Teenage Sex Therapist

Owen Maercks - Teenage Sex Therapist

Owen Maercks gets his just due with “Teenage Sex Therapist” 36 years after its release.

36 years ago Owen Maercks debut album was tragically his last. It was a privately pressed record that was exclusively distributed to record labels and radio stations with the hopes of getting Maercks signed. Despite the juicy bait Teenage Sex Therapist provided the listening “experts” – the line never tugged with a bite, and the record became something record nerds chased and little else, drifting anonymously to the bottom of the musical lake. Thankfully, Massachusetts based Feeding Tube Records has recently help make this killer record available to the masses in a limited pressing of 500 (which appears to already be sold out) as well as digitally.

Listening to Teenage Sex Therapist today it’s hard to understand what people were(n’t) hearing in 1978, because it’s a dense, strange, and fantastic record – who’s strengths are likely the exact reason it wasn’t picked up – which is a shame, because if given the opportunity, Maercks could have explored and expanded what we now call “post-rock” into places that likely still haven’t been traipsed upon, secret fishing spots never to be found – where the big one awaits….but all we’re left with today are big fish stories, and this fantastic record, which is honestly enough.

Recommended If You Like: Television, Velvet Undergroud, Captain Beefheart, Talking Heads

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Recommended Album: Fine Steps – All Day Long

Fine Steps

Fine Steps

Released last year as part of Volar Records Strange Mutations Vol. 2 7″ boxed set – Fine Steps provide a trio of stand out tracks that’ll sway you into a place of good. Bright guitars coupled with mopey-dream vocals and a bouncy back-beat make Fine Steps sound as if Joy Division moved to L.A. and formed a Smiths inspired Surf Band.

Yeah, it’s pretty fucking good.

Recommended If You Like: Joy Division Smiths Surf Cover Bands

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Road Visions: Record Stores of Portland, Maine

Electric Buddhas gets trippy in naming their genre sections. (D. Hixon)

Electric Buddhas give a psychedelic twist to the naming of their genres. (Photo – D. Hixon)

While vacationing on Lake Ossipee, NH my Wife and I took a day trip to Portland to explore Maine’s largest city. It’s by no means a “big” city – but it resolves this with a strong dose of personality & charm – which is most evident while visiting the record shops.

Moody Lords records and vintage clothing made it a standout.

Moody Lords records & vintage clothing should be on your radar.

My first stop was Bull Moose – which unfortunately has more CD’s & DVD’s than vinyl, with the majority of records being new releases. That’s no problem if you live in Portland – but if you’re a n0n-Mainer it’s a bummer as there’s nothing unique to the selection. While I stayed away from most everything – I found some insanely affordable records in their bargin bin which made the shop worth peeping, but I’d make it later in your crawl.

Next was Moody Lords – which ended up being my favorite shop in Portland. I was greeted at the door by a quizzical babe in diapers, and once I got past the buddha I was exposed to a shop layered with tasteful vintage garb and a well manicured landscape of vinyl. Cultivation was as equally easy as it was dangerous due to the quality of fruit to pick from – and the laid back vibe, friendly service, and sloppy garage bouncing off the walls made me fall a little in love with everything. A must stop if on the hunt in Portland.

Just a few doors down I visited Strange Maine which was my most anticipated shop to visit – but in general, I was disappointed. This could be because my taste isn’t particularly metal/hard rock aligned, but I found the majority of records to be in shoddy condition and displayed in a cramped and forced way. I’ve been to a lot of dusty record stores – not my cup of tea, but could see why a collector of a certain disposition would dig this place.

Last up was Electric Buddhas which was hands down the most joy riddled shop in Portland. It’s a garden salad mix of retro video games, rare vinyl, and audiophile quality stereo equipment. While Moody Lords was manned by vixen like sirens who bleed cool and breathed hip – the Buddhas tag team of lovable (and I think admitted) dorks gave everything in the shop extra credibility, love, and care. I picked up a copy of The Freak Scene’s Psychedelic Psoul which I never thought I’d see in person – and that was one of many adjacently priced gems they had stuffed between N64 games and unopened packs of Saved by the Bell cards. Like I said, joy, as was the rest of Portland, a worthy stop for the record obsessed fiend lost in Northern New England.

 

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