photo description

The annual transition from winter headlong into summer has been completed and here at The Ash Gray Proclamation offices we’re finding a way to be OK with the welcoming warm breezes coming through our open windows in our favorite already tourist ridden south shore town. So what better time to point to the forthcoming release from Roanoke, VA’s dream pop trio, Eternal Summers. The bands fourth LP, Gold And Stone will be issued by Kanine Records on June 2nd, the very same night that band plays Great Scott. Eternal Summers have just shared a second advance with, Come Alive. Vocalist Nicole Yun credits some hefty influences such as Bjork, Laetitia Sadier (Stereolab), and Trish Keenan (Broadcast) for influencing the pristine pop of Come Alive.

Earlier this week one of Boston’s most beloved bands, Mean Creek announced that were bowing out, but not before issuing their final banger, Forgotten Streets. The track epitomizes the bands nearly 10 year run of delivering charging and impassioned anthems. After 3 full length LP’s and an EP , Mean Creek have decided to close the curtain on their terms, citing a disaffection with the music business.You can read the bands official announcement over at the estimable Vanyaland.  But don’t pour one out for Mean Creek just yet, you’ll have a chance to bid farewell in person when the band plays their final show at The Middle East Downstairs with Soul Asylum and The Meat Puppets on June 28th.

Ashville, N.C.’s  lo-fi pop concern, Elvis Depressedly are poised to issue their sophomore LP, New Alhambra via Allston’s Run For Cover Records on May 12th. The duo of Mat Cothran and Delaney Mills have built loyal fan base largely in part to a string of excellent cassette and digital releases. For New Alhambra, the duo took steps to maintain there lo-fi aesthetic, recording with only one mic while utilizing vintage gear that they describe as “outdated”. Add Cothran’s use of samples of old wresting matches and television evangelists and you have an instantly addictive LP. 9 tracks of intelligent  noise pop, welcome to the wheel house. The entire LP is streaming over at the A.V. Club for your streaming convenience.

photo description

There are few bands that necessitate the fervor that  rock legends, The Replacements generated last week when it was announced that the reconstituted band  would play the 525 capacity Harvard Square venue, The Sinclair, as part of Converse Rubber Tracks Boston. Add Massachusetts beloved Dinosaur Jr. and Boston’s rising , The Young Leaves to the bill and you have the hottest ticket of the year. By early afternoon fans were lined up outside the venue in hopes of avoiding getting shut out of the show once they reached capacity even with winning of the lottery only tickets. By the time doors opened the line of hopeful attendees had stretched all the way down the street and then some. Suddenly I was overcome by a feeling I hadn’t experienced since the winter of 1991, I was about to bear witness to the cacophony of The Replacements.

First up though was a stirring and raucous set from locals, The Young Leaves who easily won over the unfamiliar and those chomping at the bit for the evenings headliner with an impressive set of 90′s infused indie guitar rock. Which fronter, Christopher Chaisson surmised

“Obviously we’re excited to see the Replacements and Dinosaur Jr., we’ve been ripping them off for the past 30 minutes,”

Next up was Massachusetts’, sludge rock titans, Dinosaur Jr. with little fanfare the trio of J. Mascis, Lou Barlow, and Murph took to the stage in workmen like fashion and unleashed an exhilarating and sonically jarring set filled with the bands trademark guitar fuzz. Mascis was in fine form delivering blistering leads on Dino Jr. classics like Start Choppin’ as well as Back To Your Heart from the bands 2007 return LP, Beyond.

Just when I thought the electricity in the room had reached it’s pinnacle, there they were. The Replacements: Paul Westerberg, Tommy Stinson, Dave Minehan (formally of The Neighborhoods) and Josh Freeze stood in front of the packed venue dawning lone ranger masks and launching head long into set chock full anthems and should of been hits with a  gritty rendition of Seen Your Video. During the first few songs I was immediately taken by how great they sounded. Don’t get me wrong they still posses plenty of the ramshackle charm I’ve come to expect, but there’s a certain amount of precision thanks in large to the additions of Minehan and Freeze. However the night belonged to Westerberg who led The Mats through the cherry picked set that included charging performances of The Ledge, Bastards of The Young, Anywhere Is Better Than Here and even an old Live staple, Another Girl, Another Planet. The band returned for a short encore which began with a thorough acoustic guitar smashing by Westerberg, before delving into a cathartic and stirring take on the bands ode to the disaffected with Unsatisfied. It was on the sets closing song, the power pop anthem, Alex Chilton that drew the exuberant evening to close with the capacity crowd bouncing in unison and singing along to every word.

*Photo Credit: Matthew Shelter-Vanyaland

photo description

It’s high time we point you to the pensive bedroom pop outfit, Camera Shy. The outfit consists of current and former members of San Francisco shoegazers,Whirr.Nick Bassett and Alexandra Morte remained a creative team after Morte had exited Whirr. Boston’s Run For Cover Records will release the duo self titled debut LP on July 14th. The eponymous offering was recorded with producer Arthur Rizk in Philadelphia. The albums lead track, Your Only One is an early contender for song of the summer with its chiming guitar lines and ripe with hazy melancholia.

Gainesvile, Florida’s emo-punk concern, Dikembe are poised to release a new 7′ EP, Ledge on June 2nd which can be pre-ordered via Jeremy Records. The EP follows last years spirited full length, Mediumship and continues in that vein by building charging guitar anthems, with smart lyricism, without losing any of their formidable punk edge. The band has offered Teeth In The Sink from the forthcoming Ledge EP, roll the windows down and rattle your speakers.

Co-located in Dayton, Detroit, and Rockville, rising psych pop outfit Joseph Airport have returned to issue a new 10 track EP, Zombus Walrie which follows the bands exemplary debut LP, Stronger Better. Joseph Airport discharge concise, off kilter pop songs drenched in psychedelia that have a way of burrowing there way into your brain for days on end. Hey Joe! You’re In A Coma makes a strong case for the bands lo-fi charms in under a minute. Once again the cover/collage and sequencing comes courtesy of Robert Pollard. A limited number of physical copies of Zombus Walrie exist and can be had at Joseph Airport’s Bandcamp storefront.

Today the good people of Wisconsin celebrate their largest city for the inaugural Milwaukee Day. The one time home to PBR, Schlitz, Liberace, and Violent Femmes will play host to a grassroots celebration to their DIY history and hope to inspire the a bright future for of Milwaukee. To mark the occasion indie pop stalwarts, Maritime have issued the aptly titled track and accompanying video for Milwaukee, their first new recording since 2011’s excellent Human Hearts LP. Expect more new music from former Promise Ring alumni, Davey Von Bolen, Dan Didier and co. in the form of a new Maritime full length later this year. Until then feast on the video chock full of Milwakeean pride.

photo description

Oscar Wilde once said,“Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative”. What does that have to do with my infrequent contributions to this blog?  Who the hell knows, but I will say that the silence is over, the computers have been rebooted, and the club is open, or something like that. Welcome to the 1st installment of Hit The Post, a weekly segment collecting new and forthcoming releases from artists deserving of our collective attention. This week we say farewell to Chicago’s noise pop titans, Geronimo!, hello to rising guitar pop heroes, Downies, and check in with locals New Dog.

Last Saturday Chicago noise pop concern, Geronimo! played their final show at Beat Kitchen, 3 days before the release of their posthumous, Buzz Yr Girlfriend: Vol. 4 – Why Did You Leave Me? released by the the estimable Exploding In Sound Records The trio of guitarist Kelly Johnson, keyboardist Ben Grigg and drummer Matt Schwerin went out in top form issuing the stunning 3 track EP that marks the bands most accomplished and sonically arresting output. Geronimo! existed for 7 years and issued 3 full length LP’s and 3 EP’s as part of the Buzz Yr Girlfriend series will be dearly missed. Their final track Fires of Hell does everything right, intelligent lyrics, dynamic rhythms, and dense layers of guitar fuzz. The excellent new EP is a a bittersweet consolation  to the reality of knowing I’ll never see these songs performed Live. R.IP. Geronimo!

Since 2011 Ridgewood, NJ Double Double Whammy imprint has been home to some of indie pops finest offerings. With releases under their collective belts from Frankie Cosmos, Radiator Hospital, and LVL UP, DDW has become one of our go to labels and for good reason. Earlier this week DDW issued Widow, the debut track from Downies a band featuring members of the aforementioned LVL Up as well as Porches. Widow introduces us to Downies with a concise blast of guitar fuzz and gargantuan pop hooks.

Anar Badalov formally of Travels and Metal Hearts has singed on with iconic pacific northwest label, Kill Rock Stars for the release of his second New Dog LP. The forthcoming, Classic Ballroom Dances will be released by KRS on June 2nd and follows 2013 No Dog debut, Lost Weekend. Badalov recorded the album alone in his apartment as he did with his debut, he describes the process, “Not having someone to lean on, musically, is both terrifying and doubly rewarding. You work at your own pace, and set your own rules.” The advance track is a beauty, check the ominous balladry of The Airport Lobby, below.

photo description

There’s something very exciting about entering a venue to see a band that has somehow managed to eluded you for the better part of 24 years. That band, a long time favorite of this site, Swervedriver have been back on the grid since returning to action at 2008 after an eight year hiatus. The Oxford U.K. shoegaze titans are just about to wrap up a U.S. tour in support of their first new album in 17 years, I Wasn’t Born To Lose You, released earlier this month and there was no way we were going to squander the opportunity to be present and accounted for.

The band walked on stage to a near sell-out crowd and launched right in to Autodidact, the opening track from their new LP. Flanked by guitarist, Jimmy Hartridge and Mick Quinn (formerly of Supergrass), Adam Franklin led the band through a nearly 2 hour set that featured an effective blend of new material and tracks from the bands early work, including stunning performances of Rave Down, MM Abduction, and Son Of Mustang Ford. As I stepped back to scan the crowd a few times throughout the performance, it was impressive to see the same feverish response to the bands established material as well as the new tracks. This was especially evident during the bands performance of their lead single off I Wasn’t Born To Lose You, Setting Sun.Going into to my first Swevedriver Live experience my expectations were stratospheric, I was potentially setting myself for disappointment, but the band managed to exceed my lofty expectations and deliver one of the most dynamic and exuberant Live shows I’ve seen in recent memory. The night came to an exhilarating close with the one, two punch of Last Train To Satansville and Duel from the bands high water reaching, 1993 LP, Mezcal Head. Well worth the 24 year wait.

 Los Angeles outfit, Gateway Drugs delivered a strong performance of engaging and inspired psych pop with a liberal dose of guitar fuzz that seemed to resonate with the early arrivals.

Photo courtesy of LA Record, due to ours coming out like rubbish.

Since the release of their debut single last summer, Boston based noise-gaze quartet Coaches have garnered some well deserve praise in and around the Boston music scene. We first heard the band on WZBC’s Flyweight radio program when the track amisarewaswere stopped us dead in our tracks, with its fuzz covered pop hooks and fist pumping chorus “ Massachusetts Summer Nights”, it was a formidable introduction to say the least.  It’s had clamoring for what the band will deliver next.

In advance of tonight’s Coaches and Ash Gray Proclamation collaboration, Noise For Toys we caught up with  Coaches fronter Brady Custis to discuss among other things, his bands plans to release a new EP, The Pixies, and his best Christmas present. Thanks to Brady for taking the time to answer a few question and to Jay from Clicky Clicky Music for providing the introduction that spawned tonight’s Noise For Toys benefit show.

The Ash Gray Proclmation: Last summer Coaches seemed to come out of nowhere with the AmIsAreWasWere single can you tell me how the band came together?

Brady Custis: We all just kind of met through school and got along well enough to where we had some chemistry, musically speaking. Pretty much everyone in the band has a very different musical background and while that makes it really difficult to arrange a song sometimes, it can force us all to rethink our own connotations of how a song should sound. Everyone has to make compromises and that helps us think about whats best for the song instead of what each individual person would or should typically play.

AGP: Did you have firm vision of what your were aiming for with Coaches first recordings?

Brady: I did and I didn’t. “Amisare” was the first song I wrote specifically for the band after we started playing together. We recorded it no more than 2 weeks after I brought it in and we arranged it. I think most bands will understand that you can have as much vision as possible in the studio but there’s only so much you can do because of time and money constraints. It’s a delicate balance between fighting the sounds on tape to bend to your will and embracing them for what they are.

AGP: What type of affect has playing in the Boston underground had on the bands sound?

Brady: A huge affect. Everyone is shaped by their surroundings and we’re no exception. I’m originally from just outside Washington DC and I was admittedly homesick from the scene I grew up with for a long time. Actually, The Pixies are what helped me turn that around. They we’re always one of my favorite bands growing up and when you live here, you realize just how fucking Massachusetts they sound. I hope that makes sense to anyone else. They just capture the feeling of this state perfectly. I think bands like Pile, Speedy Ortiz, and countless others I’ve seen manage to capture that same kind of feeling The Pixies did, which I can only really attribute to Massachusetts itself.

AGP: Are there any plans to release new music in the coming year?

Brady: We’ve got an EP in the works. Four songs, I’m mixing it now. One of them is a (I hope not creepy) love song called “Elizabeth Warren”. It’ll come out when people want to hear it. Hopefully soon.

AGP: Tomorrow you will play the Noise For Toys, a Toys For Tots benefit at TT The Bears Place, a show you helped organize. What motivated you to get involved with an event like that?

Brady: There are so many positive reasons to be involved with benefit shows I could talk for hours about it.
First and foremost is that Toys for Tots is an incredible organization that works extremely hard to help families who have hit hard times have a happy holiday regardless of their financial situation. It doesn’t just benefit the children, but the parents and all of their relatives also since they’re able to focus on family instead of some unnecessary disappointment or guilt over merchandise. Beyond that, benefit shows have the uncanny ability of weeding out all of the ego and machismo that goes along with so much of any music scene these days. That’s not what we’re about and I don’t want to be involved with that. Making sure everyone knows that the night is not about them, but for the good of the community instead, is an added benefit.

AGP: In spirit of the season, can you tell us your best and worst holiday gift?

Brady: Am I gonna lose some cred for this? I just have such a vivid memory of walking downstairs on Christmas morning and seeing that Santa had left me both The Blue Album and Pinkerton sitting on the couch, unwrapped, when I was about 12 or so. I had only ever heard The Blue Album (on loan from my older brother Kevin), and seeing the cover art for “Pinkerton” for the first time just blew me away. I remember wanting Christmas to be over faster just so I could go listen to it over and over again. I’ve never really stopped doing that.

For the worst, I’d have to say: A gun rack… I don’t even own a gun, let alone many guns that would necessitate an entire rack. What am I gonna do with a gun rack?

But really, any gift is a good gift, right?

You can catch Coaches tonight at T.T. The Bears Place, as they co-present Noise For Toys,  A Toys For Tots Benefit alongside The Ash Gray Proclamation and in association with Clicky Clicky Music. The evening will also feature can’t miss performances from recent Carpark Records signees, Chandos, Yonkers noise pop outfit Palehound and Western MA’s skuzz punks Worms. Noise For Toys is free with an unwrapped toy or $10, but we want all the toys.

Coaches – amiswasarewere/let it happen