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Viewfinder: Hurry – Waiting For You

hurry
When Philadelphia’s emo leaning guitar pop concern, Everyone Everywhere met their end, I was incredibly disappointed. They were just one of those bands that I envisioned finding moderate and sustainable success based on two very good full lengths as well as an EP, released between 2009-2012, but alas it was not to be. Well,  as luck would have it former Everyone Everywhere’s, Matt Scottoline isn’t one to sit around and lament the past and promptly starting writing and recording music under the moniker of Hurry. Scottoline is set to issue Hurry’s 4th full length on February 23rd via Lame-O-Records with Every Little Thought and has offered up a blissed out power pop nugget with Waiting For You.

2017: The Year In Review | Top 10 Albums

top LP'sThrow another year end list on the fire! With the last days 2017 looming, we have selected our favorite LP’s of the year. This was another banner year for the independent music being made in the American Northeast corridor. We also saw exceptional records from rising as well as established acts and in one case we got the first new recordings in a couple of decades. We thank you for your continued readership and support of this site. Stick around because we have a big 2018 planned.

We wish you an incredible Christmas and New Year filled with beautiful noise.

10. Milked – Death on Mars [EiS]
MilkedFormer Geronimo! front man, Kelly Johnson returned last summer with a new project armed with 9 songs about a sci-fi future, drenched in fuzz. Well, my obsession with album has only deepened since posting our review. Whether on the frantic sludge rock of White Punks In Angst or the pop hook fest that is Goodbye Durango Death On Mars is a remarkable debut album, buzzing with cathartic post-punk.

Stream: Spotify |Bandcamp | AGP Review 

9.Beverly TenderWhat Have You Done To My Water? [Disposable America]
6a287-unnamedAfter the high bar set up by 2015’s Lord Mayor Makes 1,000 Speeches, Beverly Tender had their work cut out for them if they were to match their self-released debut EP.  Well, as you’ve probably guessed Beverly Tender exceeded all expectations with a superb collection of skewed pop and angular guitar anthems. The one noticeable flaw is the brevity of this set, but luckily it stands up wonderfully to repeat listens. Just put it on at a day long loop.

Stream: Spotify| Bandcamp| AGP Review

8. SlowdiveSlowdive [Dead Oceans]
slowUK Shoegaze legends reunited in 2014 to some shows in their homeland and luckily for their stateside fans expanded the live dates to include two tours of the U.S. over the past few years. On Slowdive the band deliver a near flawless record overflowing with droning ambience, C86 influence pop, and their signature guitar haze. However, what makes this LP so exceptional is that Slowdive manage to create something completely unique while retaining just enough of the elements of what made their early recordings so captivating.

Stream: Spotify|Bandcamp

7. Rick RudeMake Mine Tuesday [Sophomore Lounge | Tiny Radars]
rickThis New Hampshire collective provided the year’s biggest eureka moment with Make Mine On Tuesday. With twin guitar interplay reminiscent of Keep It Like A Secret era Built To Spill and the scrappy lo-fi charm of early Guided By Voices, Rick Rude delivered the year’s most addictive listens. For all the heavyweight influences and comparisons on Make Mine Tuesday the ensemble manages to carve out a space all their own and on tracks like Bald & Fat in Houston, TX and Sunhead they delivered one of the years most varied and sonically diverse LP.

Stream: Spotify|Bandcamp

6. The New Year Snow [Undertow]
SnowThese Texan’s have held a very special spot in my heart since discovering the incredible and sadly retired Bedhead (92-98) back in college. Since then I have followed along with Matt and Bubba Kadane’s post Bedhead outfit, The New Year. Early on the band seemed to expand upon the slo-core path of their earlier work, but over the past 4 albums The New Year has become an archetypal institution all their own. Snow represents another step forward for the band and finds the Kadane’s turning in a stunning new collection of sparse, deliberate, and beautifully arranged pop songs.

Stream: Bandcamp

5.Bad History Month Dead And Loving It: An Introductory Exploration of Pessimysticism [EiS]
Dead For the better part of 10 years Sean Bean has captured our attention with intelligent lyricism ripe with self-deprecation, first as Boston’s anti folk noise duo Fat History Month. In relative short time he amassed an impressive catalog of full lengths, EP, split releases, and plenty of basement shows. Dead and Loving It… marks the first official release under Bad History Month moniker, a name Bean adopted from FHM’s excellent 2013 release. This new LP is an incredible study of self-examination and existentialism. It’s also an album that display’s Bean as a gifted songwriter. Dead And Loving it is work of substance and emotion that offers a glimpse of hope out the despair exhibited thought out the LP, particularly on The Church Of Nothing Matters. Bleak as fuck, but completely stunning from start to finish.

Stream: Spotify|Bandcamp

4. Mount EerieA Crow Looked At Me [P.W. Elverum & Sun]
a crowFor those unfamiliar with this story, Phil Elverum the man behind both The Microphones and more recently, Mount Eerie suffered an enormous personal loss after his wife died due to an inoperable cancer in 2016. He recorded these songs shortly after her passing in the home they shared with their newborn daughter while utilizing her instruments. To say this is a devastating record is a bit of an understatement, but for all the sadness that drips from these songs there’s both beauty and honestly in these tracks as well. A Crow Looked At Me is an incredible cathartic document of loss, remembering the little things in life, and finding a way to dust ourselves off and trudge on for the people that need us most.

Stream: Spotify |Bandcamp

3. PileA Hairshirt of Purpose [EiS]
pileIt’s been something to see Boston’s post-punk goliaths Pile, evolve from their inception in the mid 00’s to the string of superb full lengths. On A Hairshirt of Purpose, Pile manages to exceed the lofty expectations set by 2015’s You’re Better Than This with an album that pushes the bands sounds in new and exciting directions while retaining their gift for combining dexterous and complex instrumentation paired with honest self-reflection. On album number six Pile have delivered their finest record, at least until they get around to recording the next one.

Stream: Spotify|Bandcamp

2. Guided By Voices – How Do You Spell Heaven [GBV Inc.]
heavenIn April Robert Pollard’s issued his 100th full length release with August By Cake a sprawling 32 track double album which in addition to some instant Pollard classics featured songwriting and vocal contributions from Doug Gillard, Mark Shue, Kevin March, and Bobby Bare Jr. Then in the heat of August Pollard delivered GBV album #2 of 2017, How Do You Spell Heaven? A concise and focused effort reminiscent of the TVT years and arguably Pollard’s most accessible set of songs since Isolation Drills. The album kicks off with The Birthday Democrats, a catchy as all hell guitar pop anthem of the highest order. How Do Spell Heaven? Is the album casual fans have been dying for GBV to record and one the obsessives will embrace, which further proves that Robert Pollard shows no signs of slowing down or delivering a sub-par album. Not bad for a guy who just turned 60th with 101 LP’s to his credit.

Stream
Spotify

1. Meat WaveThe Incessant [Side One Dummy]
meatThe Incessant had our backs in 2017. It was there to comfort us during the early days of a certain narcissistic idiots Presidency, to cure our workday frustrations, and could be heard by anyone within an earshot of our vehicles on summer road trips. Meat Wave fronter Chris Sutter wrote the bulk of this set in the aftermath of the dissolution of 12 year relationship and he voices his displeasure throughout the album. The Incessant is a jagged noise pop opus with plenty of wit, spite, and pop hooks. The album isn’t all cacophony, Sutter takes a deep death on Birdland, only to bludgeon us with biting and arresting lyricism, “down into the valley surrounded by scum, no point in climbing out, you burned everyone you love.”

Stream: Spotify|Bandcamp

Photo Credit: Noel Kelly of The Hush Now @ The Davis Square Theater

2017: The Year In Review | Top 25 Tracks

AGP tracks 2With the end of our calendar year upon us, many of us blogging types turn to cast a gaze over the past 12 months and deliver a year end recap. It’s been a few years since we  completed this exercise, but with a year as strong as  2017 was, the opportunity to spotlight the releases and artists that one could’ve found clamoring from the AGP offices in  the past year was too good to pass up. We have compiled the 25 songs below that ended up in heavy rotation on our turntables as well as on the various streaming platforms we frequented this year. You’ll probable notice the  bulk of favorite tracks have origins in the American Northeast which speaks volumes about those artists, labels like Disposable America and Exploding in Sound Records, not to mention the thriving scenes in Allston, Northampton,  Brooklyn, and Providence.

25. Protomartyr – A Private Understanding

24. Soft Fangs – Honey Colony

23. Big Heet – On A Wire

22. Lost Film – I Forget

21. Kindling – Wait

20. The Bats – Rooftops

19. Milked – Goodbye Durango

18. Yankee Bluff – Like An Insect

17. Black Beach – Cluttered Head

16. The Spirit of The Beehive – Cops Come Looking

15. Tobin Sprout – Cowboy Curtains

14. Rick Rude – Bald & Fat In Houston, TX

13. Two Inch Astronaut – Can You Please Not Help

12. Twin Foxes – Own Eyes

11. Infinity Girl – Don’t Believe

10.  Tery Malts – Cheap Mimicry 

9. Out – Wound Up

8. Downtown Boys – A Wall

7. The Cherry Wave – Don’t Start

6.The Persian Leaps – Picture My Reaction

5. Slowdive – Star Roving

4. Meat Wave – Leopard Print Jet Ski

3. Pile – Texas

2. Guided By Voices – Low Flying Perfection

1. Bad History Month – The Nonexistent Distance

A Conversation With Jared Mann of Twin Foxes

tf_promo_6I first discovered Providence’s Twin Foxes in 2014 when I happened upon their their 3 song demo. I was immediately taken by the trio’s penchant for earnest lyricism, gigantic pop hooks, and their noise rock prowess. Since then the band has continued to impress with a self titled EP in 2015 and this years excellent split with Darklands . On February 9th Twin Foxes will issue their debut full length, Sleeping On The Attic Floor and tonight the band will play Noise For Toys |PVD. Earlier this week I caught up with Twin Foxes’ fronter Jared Mann to talk about the new album, the Providence scene, and his lack of a bad Christmas sweater.

The Ash Gray Proclamation: What can you tell us about the forthcoming LP?

Jared Mann: The new record is called Sleeping on the Attic Floor. It’s our first LP, but it’s probably the heaviest thing we’ve done music and lyric wise. I took on some themes of self-discovery, mental illness, and family history in my own life and I believe used the record as a stepping stone to grow as a person. Music’s super therapeutic for me, and spilling my guts this time around just felt right. The production aspect was something I had dreamt up a while ago. I can get pretty particular about that stuff, and since I’m an audio engineer for my job, I just took upon myself to engineer and produce it at my studio, Distorted Forest. We mixed and mastered at Machines with Magnets.

The Ash Gray Proclamation: What are the release plans for Sleeping On The Attic Floor?

Jared Mann: The record will be coming out on Midnight Werewolf Records out of Boston and Tor Johnson Records out of Providence on 2/9/17. Both labels have been super supportive of the record, and it just feels right doing it with them. They work super hard and are involved in the whole process. As true diy-ers we definitely connect at that level.

The Ash Gray Proclamation: How do you feel Twin Foxes have evolved since you began?

Jared Mann: Well I think when we originally started, I was kinda burnt out on music. I had done it for years, and this was just a way to play punk music again and have fun. But it kinda made me fall in love with it all over again. I think the other guys feel the same way too. A musical relationship grew from playing with each other, and I think something bigger blossomed. Now with this record coming out, I’m pretty confident in saying it’s the best thing I’ve done creatively so far.

The Ash Gray Proclamation: What can you tell us about the current landscape of the Providence scene?

Jared Mann: Providence has a great scene. It’s small but a lot of these people have been doing it for a long time. Whether you play in the same genre or not, I think people are generally stoked if you’re doing something creative. There’s a lot of great bands, venues, and people that ensure shows and spaces keep happening. We recently lost a few venues, which has been a bummer, but I know something good will come from it. It always does.

The AGP: Any favorite Providence acts we should be checking out?

Jared: Boring, Darklands, Snowplows, 14 Foot 1, Way Out, Fine, Double Dragon, Hurt Ensemble, Gap Year, Minibeast, Edgar Clinks, Whore Paint, Violet, Goon Planet, Weak Teeth, Hairspray Queen. I’m sure I’m forgetting others too!

The AGP: As we prepare for the inaugural Noise For Toys – Toys For Toys benefit tonight I’m compelled to ask, what’s the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received ?

Jared: Funny enough I grew up not celebrating Christmas haha! So I’m probably not the guy to ask, but I’ve gotten into it later in life. It’s mainly my close friends that exchange stuff, and those gifts are all pretty great. I never got any bad Christmas sweaters or anything, but I’d probably even like those too.

The AGP: Other than a new album what can we expect from Twin Foxes in 2018?

Jared: Well we’re going on tour in February for some dates with the band, then I’m doing a run of solo shows in March. I have the next record demoed out too, so I figure we’ll start production on that soon as well.

Tonight: Noise For Toys – A Toys For Tots Benefit| PVD AS220 @ 8PM
Hallelujah The Hills + Coaches + Kal Marks + Twin Foxes + Black Beach
$10/$7 with an unwrapped toy

Event Page

NFT PVD

Beverly Tender – What Have You Done To My Water?

If the welcoming news that Beverly Tender were set to return with a new album this fall wasn’t enough, they also came armed with an advance track, Theme From Beverly Tender to bowl us over and raise our already high expectations. The duo of Molly Hastings and Tristan Brooks began what we have now come to know as Beverly Tender while attending Wesleyan University. Since then the duo have released their debut EP, and set up camp in both Philadelphia and Raleigh, before settling in to the vibrant and burgeoning Providence music scene. With the new set, What Have You Done To My Water? Beverly Tender have teamed up regional indie taste makers, Disposable America for the follow up to 2015’s aforementioned self-released debut EP, Lord Mayor Makes 1,000 Speeches.

Throughout the new set Beverly Tender deliver an alluring collection of skewed guitar pop while combining elements of noise, twee, and slo-core. Often there’s a certain merit that gets awarded to albums that take time sink in, a grower if you will. But, once in  a while an album comes along and grabs you by the collar and you fall for it instantly. Such is the case with What Have You Done To My Water?, it’s immediate an infectious record from start to finish.Over the past few weeks  I have found myself revisiting this release often and each time I seem find  a new favorite song, which goes to the strength of this material. On tracks like Doggie Dog World and Whose Taxidermy Horse, Beverly Tender displays their uncanny ability to push their sound to the point of collapse only to pull back and find beauty in the decay, much to the credit of Hastings’ honest and endearing wordplay which floats atop her angular guitar lines and Brooks’ adept and propulsive percussion.  Although Beverly Tender occupy similar terrain as contemporaries such as Speedy Ortiz, Palehound as well as indie architects, Helium they manage to carve out their own space with delicate atmospherics, jagged distortion, coupled with earnest and wistful vocals. It’s on the opening track, Theme From Beverly Tender where Hastings asks the questions, Will I be like this my whole life? Will I regret this my whole life? Perhaps it’s some kind of an ode to the struggle of the human spirit or a moment of personal reflection, but either way it’s a beautiful and intricate rocks song that sets the tone for a remarkable album that delivers on the promise of the bands previous recordings. What Have You Done To My Water? Is filled with cathartic and relatable material distilled with a glorious clamor throughout its brisk 24 minutes.

Kindling – Hush | Review

HUSH

Since starting as the recording project of Stephen Pierce and Gretchen Williams in 2014, Easthampton, MA heavy shoegaze concern Kindling have cemented themselves as one the genre’s most captivating and interesting acts. It’s been a very active past three years with the band having played countless shows up and down the east coast and Canada while issuing multiple singles, splits, and EP’s , as well as last year’s remarkable debut full length, Everywhere Else. That LP although undoubtedly falling within the confines of shoegaze and  giving nods to that genre’s touchstones like My Bloody Valentine and Ride, hinted at something a bit more expansive and melody riddled. On Hush, Kindling unveil arguably, their most exhilarating and accomplished material to date.

Kindling recorded Hush in their hometown at Sonelab with assistance from engineer and frequent collaborator Justin Pizzoferato (Speedy Oritiz/Dinosaur Jr.) The new set displays some of the same characteristics of the bands earlier material to even greater affect. The band continues a beautiful marriage of crushing guitar interplay and sublime melodies throughout. Hush proves to be an ever more dynamic affair than its predecessor and one that benefits from the bands ability to show restraint and know just when to pull back the crushing fuzz. Which allows for subtle atmospherics and varied instrumentation, with the addition of sitar and mellotron to the mix. Throughout Hush, Pierce and Williams inject an element of hope into these songs of loss atop oceans of fuzz. On tracks like Destroy Yrself , Everywhere, and Better World Kindling deliver sonic anthems that our as catchy and sweet as they are punishing. This is the sound of a band evolving and honing their considerable craft through catharsis and undeniable pop hooks. Let’s hope you haven’t closed the books on your favorite records of the year, because Hush is one late 2017 release that deserves your full attention.

Kindling will release Hush tomorrow via 6131 Records and will play a series of record release shows this week including a show this Sunday at News Cafe in Pawtucket alongside Twin Foxes and Boring.
Event Info

Secret Star: Robert Pollard Turns 60

bob old school

Long before anyone knew, Robert Pollard was making album covers for fantastical bands and filling the world with his undeniable pop wonderment. Luckily the secret broke in the early 90’s with a series of extraordinary releases and a fateful trip to New York City for a performance at CMJ’s New Music Seminar in 1993 with his drinking buddies from Dayton, OH. By the time I stumbled onto Guided By Voices I was serving as the music director at my college radio station and became immediately obsessed with the bands 7th LP, the outer worldly lo-fi pop opus, Bee Thousand. From there I was on a quest to obtain every song that had come before and everything that would come next. Like many, GBV was the band I was waiting for my entire life,  and Bob had a seemingly endless supply of tape hiss and arena hooks steeped with the 4 P’s of rock to fuel my fandom. I’ve had the good fortune to meet Bob on a few occasions and he has always been gracious and welcoming to his fans and devotees. In 2001 I was at my last stop on my decade long radio tour when I got to spend the day with band who was out supporting the recently released Isolation Drills LP. I got to tag along for their radio session that spring afternoon and managed to land the emcee gig for that nights show at The Paradise. I remember waiting in the wings with Bob just before they were about to take the stage when he turned to me with some advice, “when you introduce us don’t just call us Guided By Voices, we’re Guided By Fucking Voices. You gotta get the kids excited”. Needless to say that intro got me into a little hot water the next day, but I couldn’t care less. I just had the honor of welcoming Guided By Voices to the stage in my hometown under careful guidance from Bob. It was a surreal honor to say the least. With the recent one two punch of August By Cake and How Do You Spell Heaven? Both released this year. Bob shows no signs of slowing in fact these records prove that he is releasing some of his finest material. Is Bob Pollard Rock’s Greatest Living Songwriter? That friends, is an indisputable fact! In celebration of Robert Ellsworth Pollard’s 60th Birthday I have asked his band-mates, co-conspirators, and fans alike to share some thoughts as well as Birthday wishes.

Happy Birthday Bob! Thank you for continuing to knock us out with your melodies, hooks, and high-kicks!

Its been motivating over the years to witness Bob seize moments to be creative in certain situations. One great memory is the time we played Lexington at a newly renovated place with fresh drywall up in the green room. An 8-foot doorway-sized plank of Sheetrock was still in the room, leaning against the wall. Our sets are long, so what would be better for Bob to write his set-list on than that? He wrote the entire set-list on the piece of drywall then carried it out to the stage during our entrance like Moses with the Ten Commandments. He continues to inspire with spontaneous bursts of creative energy.

Doug Gillard – Guided By Voices – Guitarist

Pollard 1a

Recently one of my favorite songs is Everybody Thinks I’m A Raincloud (When I’m Not Looking), and favorite album(s)right now are Alien Lanes (just reminds me of when I really got into GBV, and how lucky I am to be playing with him now), and his solo album From a Compound Eye it is just incredible to me when I go back and listen to how amazing those songs are and the true force of Bob’s songwriting especially after The Electrifying Conclusion tour! I have so many great memories with Bob, but one that stands out is when I stayed with him and he would play all the songs on Half Smiles of the Decomposed every morning while we had coffee, and watching “Heavy Metal Parking Lot in slow motion ,I cherish that time with him!

The influence of GBV of Bob’s music, etc. Because Bob is such a prolific and truly a unique songwriter, I believe he influences all genres of music, film and visual art! He will always be discovered and change peoples lives with his music and live performances!

Kevin March – Guided By Voices, Drummer

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