Bent Shapes Announce Break Up & Final Show

Earlier this afternoon Boston’s guitar pop titans, Bent Shapes announced that they will cease to exist after a farewell show at Great Scott on December 16th. This is particularly bad news for those of us who gravitate to intelligent songwriting, razor sharp hooks, and punk infused jangle. Bent Shapes had all three in spades, which is expertly displayed on last years Wolves Of Want, which the band issued on Slumberland Records. Formed in 2009 as Girlfriends by Ben Potrykus and Andy Sadoway who for the better part of the last 10 years have honed a unique blend of literal guitar pop with liberal doses of fuzz and social consciousness. By 2012, with an expanded line up the band changed their name to Bent Shapes and released a superb debut full length, Feels Weird on Father/Daughter Records. Hey Bent Shapes: thanks for existing as long as you did, for the songs that are embedded in my psyche and the ripping Live shows.

Official Statement From Bent Shapes:
After over 8 years of basement shows, tours, flexi discs, name changes, membership fluctuations, TV spots, meeting musical heroes, minivan mayhem, and dirty sprites, we’re laying these Shapes to rest,” they write, adding: “We’d like to thank each and every one of you that has had a hand in making this band what it’s been. Thank you for helping us book shows, for playing with us, for working on our gear, for coming out to see us on a weeknight, for letting us sleep on your floors and couches, for buying our records or streaming our songs, for telling your friends about our music. None of the many good times we’ve had would have been possible without you. Extra special thanks to our families, close friends, and loved ones, who have had to both fan the flames of our musical passion/obsession at times and tolerate them at others, particularly to Jerry MacDonald of Oddfellows Recording/Aurora 7 Records, Ian Doerr and Evan Murphy of Love Magnet Studios (f/k/a Mystic Steamship), Jessi Frick of Father/Daughter Records, Elio DeLuca at the Soul Shop, and Mike Schulman of Slumberland Records. You made our dreams come true.”

Bent Shapes will play their final show at Great Scott on December 16th alongside Beware The Dangers Of A Ghost Scorpion!and Laika’s Orbit. Tickets will be available on Thursday at noon at Bowery Boston. A proper send off for one of Boston’s finest.

Equal Parts Hopeful And Hopeless: A Conversation With Infinity Girl On The Eve Of Their Final Show

Today marks the release of Somewhere Nice, Someday the final full-length recording from beloved east coast shoegaze concern, Infinity Girl. After forming in Boston in 2012 and releasing their spectacular debut, Stop Being On My Side as well as it’s short playing accomplice Just Like Lovers EP the band relocated to Brooklyn for their extraordinary sophomore release, Harm. From the early basement shows which were equal parts sweat and clamor to the tuneful and inspired pop hooks of the bands recorded output Infinity Girl always seem to hint at something deeper. On the new album it’s even more evident that there is considerable substance at the foundation of these tracks. Like the material that proceeded it, the songs that occupy Somewhere Nice, Someday offer something exhilarating, engaging and wholly unique which is a testament to the band’s prowess for distilling intelligent and affecting rocks songs, enveloped in fuzz.

In a final act of celebration and requiem, Infinity Girl have embarked on a small string of Live dates which fittingly will bring them back to Cambridge for their final performance tomorrow afternoon for a matinee show at The Middle East. We recently had the pleasure of speaking Infinity Girl’s frontman, Nolan Eley to discuss the band’s just released new album, belonging to two scenes, and putting Infinity Girl to rest.

The Ash Gray Proclamation: Let’s begin with obvious, why has the band decided to put an end to Infinity Girl while coinciding with a new LP, Somewhere Nice, Someday?

Nolan Eley: It was a gradual shifting of priorities in all our lives. It was simply becoming more difficult for us to give the band the time it needed for make it worthwhile so as we were finishing up this album, we decided it would be our last.

The Ash Gray Proclamation: What was the process for creating the new LP?

Nolan Eley: We wrote most of the songs in the Fall/Winter of 2015 then recorded basics in the Summer of 2016. The following months were spent editing and recording overdubs and vocals. Then the early part of this year was mostly mixing and mastering.

The AGP: There is a theme present in the new material of hesitation towards the maturation process. Can you tell what the catalyst was to take on that subject?

Nolan: Yeah, a lot of the songs on this album deal with that. Not really hesitancy so much as just coming to terms with being an adult. I think it’s a natural outcome of being at this point in your life. I’m sure we could’ve written songs about other things but they would not have been as sincere or honest.

The AGP: The new LP’s title Somewhere Nice, Someday has a ring of hope to it. What was the motivation behind that title?

Nolan: I think it’s equal parts hopeful and hopeless. We were looking for a title that reflected the longing and uncertainty that comes at this time in a lot of people’s lives–that of a young adult, unsure and questioning.

The AGP: You have once again teamed with Dustin Joshua Smith Watson and his Disposable America label for the release of the new album. How did that partnership come about?

Nolan: We’ve been following his label for years, ever since we were in Boston ourselves and really love his attitude toward what he does. He’s definitely in it for the right reasons and puts out a lot of great music. He reached out to us as we were putting out our last album, Harm, about printing tapes which was awesome. As we were formulating release plans for this album Disposable America was pretty much the only label we wanted to reach out to. Thankfully, Dustin was on board even though we’re breaking up.

The AGP: How has the band evolved over its six year existence?

Nolan: It has evolved pretty naturally I think. We were never really concerned with how to brand ourselves or about going in a specific direction so any evolving we did was just a byproduct of changes in our circumstances. I’d like to think all our albums are pretty earnest and reflect candidly what our preoccupations were at the time of writing them.

The AGP: What will you miss most about being in Infinity Girl?
Nolan: Playing shows with really great bands.

The AGP: Which one’s come to mind when looking back at these shows?

Nolan: Mostly the bands of our best friends, like Big Eater, Kindling, Coaches, and Happy You, but also bands I’m unfamiliar with that then surprise me. A recent example is this band Marge from Philly that we played with a few months ago. I had never heard of them before the show but I loved them! Their latest record, Bruise Easy is probably my favorite of the year.

The AGP: What can we expect from the final performances which culminates with Saturday’s afternoon set at the Middle East?

Nolan: Hmmm.. Nothing special really. We’re trying to play some songs we haven’t played in a while. Let’s just hope I can remember them.

The AGP: What has it meant to belong to both the Boston and NYC music scenes ?

Nolan: It was great to be a part of both. It gave me a good perspective on what is special about both scenes. Boston’s community is much more supportive and tight-knit. New York, on the other hand, has a seemingly endless supply of amazing bands. Just when you think you know the scene pretty well you’ll catch a band you’ve never heard of and they’ll just blow your mind.

The AGP: Has the band put any thought into how Infinity Girl will be remembered?

Nolan: I’m not sure. Stuff like that never really seemed to be on our minds. We were just friends with a similar taste in music that liked making records. If people like listening, that’s great. I’d honestly be surprised if anyone is still listening in ten years.

The AGP: What’s next for you in terms of future musical endeavors?

Nolan: Some of the guys will continue playing in this band, Coaches. A few weeks ago I put out a solo record under Dotted 8th’s and I’ll probably continue making music like that but I have no plans to put together a band or play any shows.

Coaches & Sons + Allston Pudding + Clicky Clikcy Music Blog + Disposable America Present: “Somewhere Nice, Someday Record Release & Farewell
Infinity Girl~Kindling~Elizabeth Colour Wheel & Leaner
Saturday September 9th |1PM Matinee Show | The Middle East Cambridge, MA
Facebook Event
Advance Ticketing

Bryan Hamill|@theashgrayproc

Soft Fangs – Fractures | Review

It was sometime during the winter of 2014 when I happened upon the debut release from John Lutkevitch and his recording vehicle Soft Fangs. I remember a late afternoon snowfall and being mildly hung over from the previous evening, when the eureka moment hit. The 5 songs on that EP stopped me dead in my tracks, they seemed oddly familiar to me although I had never heard them before. Perhaps it was the sense of intimacy and nostalgia on those tracks or perhaps it was the honeyed hushed vocals and dark pop sensibilities that Lutkevitch’s exhibited on each of those songs. Either way I was all in on first listen. Last year Soft Fangs delivered their full length debut, The Light which found Soft Fangs expanding their sound beautifully, with fleshed out instrumentation while maintaining the lo-fi aesthetic and stark arrangements.

On the new set, Fractures issued last week via the estimable Disposable America imprint Soft Fangs return armed with an enticing and engaging new set. The LP was recorded last winter in Maine where Lutkevitch was holed up for a three day period where he “wore slippers & played until the cops came”. Fractures opens with the gently plucked guitar strums of Elephant Girl before giving way to cymbal crashes and an understated snare drum with John Lutkevitch delivering lyrical devastation in his usual whispered vocal, “Why do you try to impress me? I’m Nobody”. The track is a strong reminder of what Soft Fangs do best, dark folk pop laced with melancholy. Elsewhere the LP addresses the establishment on Cop, the despair of alienation on We Don’t Live Together Anymore, and an anti folk song, aptly titled Folk Guitar.  The track that seems to stick with me and has me returning to this LP for more is Honey Colony, an outstanding and gorgeous piece of songwriting that oozes with subtle pop hooks, an understated chord progression, and the albums strongest lyrical passage. A tale of the life of worker bee and one of unrequited love disguised in pop perfection. As whole Fractures manages to build on Lutkevich’s past work, while carving out some exciting new sonic territory and delivering the exemplary song-craft he hinted at on that snow covered afternoon in 2014.

Listen: Soft Fangs – Honey Colony

Soft Fangs play News Cafe in Pawtucket along with Night Nurses and Half Hearted Hero on September 22nd.

Ted Leo Readies The Hanged Man + Expands Tour

Ted Leo is poised to release the hotly anticipated follow up to 2010’s The Brutilist Bricks with The Hanged Man on Friday. Earlier today we were treated with the arrival of the Rachael Lictman directed and K-Tel themed video for the album’s second single, Can’t Go Back . Leo has also announced some additional live dates, including 3 New England area dates highlighted by a December 2nd show at The Columbus Theater in Providence, with support from Buffalo Tom‘s Bill Janovitz.

Ted Leo Tour Dates:

SEPT 09 New York, NY at South Street Seaport
SEPT 14 Philadelphia, PA at Union Transfer
SEPT 15 Washington, DC at The Black Cat
SEPT 16 Washington, DC at The Black Cat
SEPT 17 Boston, MA at Brighton Music Hal
SEPT 19 Toronto, ON at Lee’s Palace
SEPT 20 Detroit, MI at The Magic Stick
SEPT 22 Chicago, Il at the Goose Island Block Party
SEPT 23 Cleveland, OH at The Grog Shop
SEPT 24 Pittsburgh, PA at Spirit Hall
OCT 23 Richmond, VA at Strange Matter
OCT 24 Carrboro, NC at The Cat’s Cradle
OCT 25 Atlanta, GA at The Masquerade
OCT 27 Dallas, TX at Club Dada
OCT 28 Austin, TX at The Mohawk
OCT 30 Santa Fe, NM at Meow Wolf
NOV 01 San Diego, CA at The Casbah
NOV 03 Los Angeles, CA at The Teragram Ballroom
NOV 04 San Francisco, CA at Bimbo’s 365 Club
NOV 06 Portland, OR at Revolution Hall
NOV 07 Vancouver, BC at The Cobalt
NOV 08 Seattle, WA at The Crocodile
NOV 11 Minneapolis, MN at Triple Rock Social Club
NOV 13 Columbus, OH at Skully’s Music Diner
DEC 02 Providence, RI at The Columbus Theater
DEC 03 Portland, ME at Port City Music Hall
DEC 04 Burlington, VT at Arts Riot
DEC 05 Montreal, QC at La Sala Rosa
DEC 07 Ithaca, NY at The Haunt
DEC 08 Hamden, CT at The Ballroom at Outer Space
DEC 09 Brooklyn, NY at Music Hall of Williamsburg

New Track: Queen Moo Reconciles The Past With Exuberance on ‘Gone’

Rising Central Connecticut experimental pop outfit, Queen Moo have just issued there sophomore set, Mean Well courtesy of San Diego’s Topshelf Records. The band came together in 2014 after guitarist Jason Rule and Kevin O’Donnell decided to end their tenure as Sorority Noise’ rhythm section. Currently, I’m obsessed with this LP and it’s lead single, Gone. An introspective track that deals with Rule’s newly minted sobriety, life in recovery and letting go of the past. Gone displays Queen Moo’s strong pop sensibilities, complex rhythms, that seem to float atop a deluge of angular guitar lines.

Queen Moo will be hitting the road in support of Mean Well and stop at The Middle East on December 21st as part of the Topshelf Records Winter Tour alongside Prawn, Slingshot Dakota and People Like You.

For The Benefit: Deerhoof Unveil Mountain Moves Early For Charity

San Francisco’s singular art punks, Deerhoof have decided to issue their new LP, Mountain Moves two weeks ahead of schedule as a pay what you want offering, starting at $1.00 USD via their Bandcamp page. The band will donate all proceeds to the Emergent Fund a grass roots organization created in the wake of the 2016 election to support communities marginalized and belittled during the Trump campaign.

The new LP features collaborations from Jen Wasner of Wye Oak and Stereolab’s Laeticia Sadier, which you can preview below. Mountain Moves will be officially released on September 8th on Joyful Recordings. So, I get to hear the new Deerhoof LP early while supporting a worthwhile and just cause? In like Flynn!

Milked – Death On Mars | Review

It came as a big disappointment when Chicago noise rock concern Geronimo! called it a day in the spring of 2015 after an impressive 7 year run. However,the band’s linchpin, Kelly Johnson didn’t stay idle for long and by summer was releasing new music under the moniker Milked. Milked have issued their new set, Death On Mars via Brooklyn’s taste maker imprint, Exploding In Sound Records.

Over the past 5 weeks I have been utterly obsessed with this release. Weather driving to Maine for a summer get away, the long overdue redesigning our site, late night training runs, or trips to the convenience store to satisfy my wife’s pregnancy cravings, the go to record of the summer continues to be Death On Mars. Which is a testament to the depth of the 9 expertly crafted fuzz drenched rock songs that occupy this LP.

The album kicks off with the frenetic, White Punks in Angst which properly sets the tone for next 25 minutes an ensuing blitzkrieg of pop hooks. With invigorating and infectious tracks like Caledonia, Oscillate and thee in a perfect world it would be a smash hit, Goodbye Durango. As immediate and engaging as Death on Mars is, it benefits from repeated listens which provides further illumination of Johnson’s penchant for intelligent word play and earnest pop sensibilities. With a concept in play on the LP of looking back from the future, from another planet with the benefit and course of knowing how things turn out the LP. Above all Death On Mars is a set guitar anthems of the highest caliber, with a nods to both noise outfits like Drive Like Jehu as well as fuzz pop contemporaries like Ovlov. Milked has delivered one of the years best, an album that could precipitate high kicks in the living room and sing alongs in the ice cream aisle at 7-11 or so I’m told.

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