Playlist: Anti-Valentines Day

kennedyYeah, yeah, Valentine’s Day is here. Whatever! I can’t pass up the making of a good list though. It’s like creating the perfect mixtape. However, the thought of doing something overtly sappy, well…that’s just not going to cut it. While I may be very happily involved and committed to the perfect woman for me now, this wasn’t always the case. For this sad sack, I’ve been single far more often than not on Valentine’s Day and it sucked!

So, here’s my list for the singles amongst us culled from more years of experience than I care to think about. To those who refuse to settle, freshly bouncing back from a broken relationship, unable to let go of the past, I salute you with my Anti-Valentine’s Day playlist.

SebadohRebound
Lou Barlow has been dumped and now he’s acting like a dog.

The TheDogs of Lust
Matt Johnson shows Lou how to keep those rebound feelings at bay.

The JamBitterest Pill
You’ve been invited to the Wedding of an ex. She looks perfect and happy, your torn between thinking the sucker she’s marrying has no idea what he just signed on for and wishing you were him. Welcome to this masterpiece by Paul Weller.

P.I.L.This Is Not A Love Song
Valentine’s Day is filled with love songs, but this isn’t one of them.

Joy Division Love Will Tear Us Apart
No anti-Valentine’s Day playlist is complete without this song.

Dead MilkmenIf You Love Someone Set Them On Fire
Dead Milkmen’s answer to Sting. Sometimes while you’re in the full, wallowing grandeur of being single on Valentine’s Day, you just have to add a little humor.

Tom WaitsBlue Valentine
Tom Waits embraces the Hallmark Holiday by summing up every break up that ever happened!

Husker DuDon’t Want to Know If You Are Lonely
I get it, you’re looking for a little booty call. As the late, great Grant Hart put it so succinctly, I don’t want to know if you’re lonely.

Buzzcocks Ever Fallen In Love
Again, no list would be complete without this song.

The ReplacementsAnswering Machine
While most of us will never be Paul Westerberg cool, it’s nice to know that even he has left those cringe worthy messages on someone’s answering machine or voicemail.

Velvet Underground with NicoFemme Fatale
Nico is the ultimate seductress in this song. Don’t even listen to this one. Just trust me.

Kim Deal/Robert PollardLove Hurts
A very rare instance where the cover is better than the original. Sorry Nazareth but Kim Deal and Bob Pollard together? You never stood a chance. The music world thanks you for writing the vehicle that brought them together, though.

If you’re celebrating this day, have a great time. And remember to let your loved ones know you love them every day, not just on the Hallmark Holidays. If you’re single, embrace it with fine tunes! Music can make any day better. Happy Valentine’s Day! Or Happy UnValentine’s Day!

Written by: Chris Kennedy – Boston Rock aficionado and former WFNX on-Air Personality

Twin Foxes – Sleeping On The Attic Floor | Review

AtticIt was in the spring of 2014 when I had the good fortune of being introduced to Providence’s Twin Foxes through the bands 3-song demo release, but that’s all it took, really. The 3 tracks on that EP were played relentlessly and for good reason. Twin Foxes were able to give nods to seminal 90’s guitar bands like Built To Spill, Jawbreaker, and with the pop sensibilities of Superdrag, all while  managing to deliver something wholly original, beyond those heavy weight influences.  Over the next few years Providence’s self-described heavy indie rock outfit delivered a couple of notable releases 2015’s self-titled EP and last year’s split with fellow Providence noise rock concern , Darklands. Both those EP’s found the band pushing their sound into more dynamic directions while fronter, Jared Mann delivered impressive songwriting rife with wit, introspection and alluring melodies.

Today marks the release of Twin Foxes debut full length LP, Sleeping On The Attic Floor which finds the band displaying an even heavier dose of fuzz, shoegaze, and 90’s guitar crunch than it’s predecessors, paired with the bands strongest song cycle to date. Back in December we had the chance to speak with Jared Mann in an AGP interview and gain some insight on the concept of the new material.

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.”

On the album’s opener, Mountain Twin Foxes kicks things off with a slow building track brimming with chiming guitar and complex rhythms before giving way to exhilarating squalls of feedback. On Drownd, the new sets sure fire hit, (if there was any justice or a radio station worth a damn these days) the band delivers a raucous post-punk anthem compete with a catchy as hell chorus before transitioning into a slowcore dirge. The song is reminiscent of Modest Mouse’s, The Stars Are Projectors, but here Twin Foxes put their own stamp on things with vibrant melodies and pristine instrumentation. Throughout this 10 song LP, Twin Foxes manage to surpass expectations set by their early output and intoxicating Live shows by unveiling a thoroughly engaging and expertly written and produced LP. Speaking of which, the new album was tracked and produced by Mann, an audio engineer by trade at his home studio, Distorted Forest and mastered at Machines With Magnets in Pawtucket, making SOTF a true product of the vibrant Providence scene.

Over the past couple of months I have spent a considerable amount of time listening to these songs and as much as I was smitten early on these tracks seem to reveal their subtle charms and considerable hooks during each revisitation. One of the characteristics that I have found in some of my favorite records is those albums that you can put on and find a new favorite track each and every time, Sleeping On The Attic Floor is that type of album. For instance, last month while driving down an desolate highway between Omaha and Lincoln, NE trying to follow GPS directions when seemingly out of nowhere this album’s title track came blaring out of my rental car speakers to bowl me over. The track succinctly encompasses everything that drew me to this band in the first place, angular guitar lines, intricate rhythms, and gigantic pop hooks. With Sleeping On The Attic Floor, Twin Foxes have issued an exceptional record filled with intelligent song craft buoyed upon a  sea of distortion and an LP that begs to be played repeatedly.

Sleeping On The Attic Floor get its official release today via the fine folks at R.I.’s Tor Johnson Records and Boston based Midnight Werewolf Records. Twin Foxes will be out on the road to celebrate the album release with upcoming shows in Western, MA, New Hampshire, Worcester, and Cambridge. Check the bands tour page for details.

[Stream/Buy] Twin Foxes – Sleeping On The Attic Floor

The Return of A Place To Bury Strangers

A PlaceNYC noise titans, A Place To Bury Strangers are set to return with a new LP, Pinned which is scheduled to be released by Dead Oceans on April 13th. The album will be the bands first since the closure of Death By Audio the space where Oliver Ackerman lived worked, and created with abandon. It also marks the first recordings to feature the bands newest addition, Lia Simone Braswell. In addition to solidifying herself as the band new drummer, Braswell also contributes vocals to Never Coming Back as well as elsewhere on Pinned.

A Place To Burty Strangers fronter Oliver Ackerman offered up the follwing statement on the bands new LP, 10 years into his band exitence:

“You make these decisions in your life…you’re contemplating whether or not this will be the end. You think of your mortality, those moments you could die and what that means. You’re thinking about that edge of the end, deciding whether or not it’s over. When you’re close to that edge, you could teeter over.”

Ackerman Co- Directed the video for the searing , Never Coming Back with Ebru Yildiz.

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

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