photo description

After tonight the city of Boston will be a decidedly quieter place, as beloved noise pop locals, Soccer Mom bid their final farewell at Great Scott. Soccer Mom leave us with two of the finest releases to come out of our city this decade with 2011′s You Are Not Going To Heaven and last years self titled full length. Like all good things Soccer Mom have come to an end, but if history taught us anything, they wont go quietly. Earlier this week we had the chance to catch up with Soccer Mom’s Dan Parlin and Justin Kehoe to talk about the past 5 years of Soccer Mom, tonight’s farewell show, and the new projects that the soon to former member of the band are working on. Thank you to the entire band for 5 years of sonic fury and for taking the time to answer a few questions.

The Ash Gray Proclamation: Last September the band issued a written statement announcing it was calling it a day. Can you tell us what led to that decision?

Justin Kehoe : Not sure how much of the specifics are worth going into. It’s probably a little boring. Not a lot of drama, you know? No big argument or fallout. Our songwriting had slowed to a glacial crawl, and I think it was indicative of how individually our expectations for playing music were sort of drifting apart. You know, we’re such good friends, we probably could have taken a hiatus for a year, played a show every once in a great while, maybe gotten it together to do more recording at some point, and you know just sort of continue to exist as a low-activity band for years, or until someone moves… or whatever. That works for some people. But I think we all just wanted to put a cap on it. Announce it, play a final show, and then move on.

Dan Parlin: As a band in Boston, we accomplished quite a bit more than I think any of us really expected to. Going into making the LP, we were playing out tons and really working quite a bit on that side. As a result, we got great shows, but sort of stopped producing new things and taking longer than we should have to get stuff out there. It became clear that to go much further than we had would take an amount of effort, and money, frankly, that we were not in a place to deliver. With people’s lives moving in all sorts of directions, it seemed like a quit-while-you’re-ahead situation (“ahead” being mostly about all still being close friends and remaining proud of what we had done). We weren’t able to just “get in the van”. That’s what it takes. 

AGP: After you play your final show this Friday and effectively close the book on the band, how will you look back on the past 5 years of Soccer Mom?

Justin: Fondly. I’ve never played better shows. I’ve never had more fun playing. The last few years just would have been a lot less fun. A lot more lonely without the Moms. I’m going to miss practice, the weekly hanging out, most of all.

Dan: Really fondly. I wouldn’t have ever guessed how much musical and personal closeness would come out of it – between us and the bands/friends we connected with along the way. It’s the thing I’m most proud of being involved in, for sure, and it was super fun. 

AGP: When you started Soccer Mom what were your expectations for the band? Do you collectively feel you met those expectations both in the studio and on stage?

Dan:  It was never supposed to be a band, and started with such non-existent expectations for me that it was a delight to go along for the ride. We far exceeded anything I imagined. Were we all 15 years younger, I’m sure we’d have done even more.

Justin: For me, joining the band a year or two in, at the outset I didn’t expect much more than to hang out with pals in the practice space, play a few shows, and maybe record something. The quality of our shows, and of the music we made in my three and a half years in the band far exceeded my expectations. 

AGP: What can you tell us about your new project, Gold Muse?When can we expect to hear any of the material you and Dan have been working on or catch the band playing out?

Dan: Gold Muse is myself and Will (Scales) , Deb Warfield and Justin Lally. The songs so far are a good mix of poppy shoegaze with a nice dose of new wave. It’s different from Soccer Mom for sure, and we’re very excited to get stuff out there. We are looking at recording some songs over the summer for a digital release/demo. We are ready to be playing out, so I’m hoping you’ll see something this summer- nothing booked currently, though.Justin is also involved in a couple new projects, one of which is New Dog, who just signed to Kill Rock Stars. They are going on a 3-week European tour right after this final show. He’s also playing in a band called Rivers & Plains….currently nothing released but stuff has been recorded and sounds really great. 

As a band that has played T.T. The Bears Place on numerous occasions, what are your thoughts on the recent news that the famed Central Square club will be closing in July?

Dan: This is a real shame. The first band I was in in Boston played some of our first shows there and everything I have done since has happened there at some point. All of us have played in bands prior to Soccer Mom and we all played TTs. Soccer Mom played there a lot, they were awesome to us and I’ll miss seeing shows there terribly. 

Justin: This is just super sad. I’ve played some of my best shows at T.T.’s, and have seen some of my favorite shows there. I’ve always liked the room–the size of it, the ability to get a reprieve from the noise during a long show by sneaking over to the far side of the bar. I’ll miss it. I mean, I won’t miss having to try and play over metal bands playing under your feet at the Middle East downstairs. But everything else I’ll miss. It’s a damn shame. There’s already a crunch for good nights for local bands to play, so it’s either going to get that much harder for everyone except the handful of bands that are a consistent draw, or another venue will have to step in.    

AGP: Do you feel your two releases, You’re Not Going To Heaven and your self-titled full length achieved what you set out to do as a recording unit?

Dan: I think so. There are always things to change in hindsight. I do believe we never quite captured some of the sonic elements that were integral to our writing and live set. But on the other side of that coin, we made records that did showcase the compositions and actual playing more than I would have felt comfortable with if that were the goal from the outset. 

Justin: I can’t speak to “…Heaven,” that was a different drummer. But I’m very happy with the full length (as well as the two song “single” we recorded with Kevin Micka). I mean, we fought–or maybe just I fought–about a lot of stupid shit along the way to making it. But I think everyone just did a great job with it. I love that record. I think we all had slightly different ideas about what exactly (or even roughly) it is that a record is supposed to capture. And the LP, by having to balance those different expectations, becomes its own thing in a lot of ways. But, for me that mutation that comes from collaboration, from having to meet, at least part way–someone else’s expectations, that’s the real beauty of music.

AGP: What can we expect from Soccer Mom final performance?

Dan: Good times and ear aches.

Justin: Something from all four releases (7″, 10″, cd single, s/t full length), plus maybe a couple others… Oh, and of course, volume. As always, bring earplugs.

Tonight Soccer Mom say goodbye with a cant miss show at Great Scott. I mean, just look at this incridible line up: Soccer Mom, Chandos, Infinity Girl, and Coaches. Pour one out.

photo description

It can be challenging to remain objective when surveying the work of any artist you follow and consume with fervor with each and every release and even more so with the uber prolific, Robert Pollard. Since releasing his first proper solo LP, 1996′s masterwork Not In My Airforce, Pollard’s solo output has been a considerably consistent affair. Earlier this week, Robert Pollard released his 21st solo LP, Faulty Superheroes which finds him casting off some his most accessible and instantly lovable song cycle in recent years.

The album opens with a dazzling power pop number, What A Man which wouldn’t have felt out of place on an early 2000′s GBV album like Universal Truths And Cycles. Pollard delivers a concise 30 minutes of catchy as hell and stylistically varied off kilter guitar pop with flourishes of prog, British invasion pop, psychedelic folk. With tracks like the peppy ballad Up, Up, Up, the Kinksesque, Take Me To Yolita, and the charging fuzz rock of Mozart’s Throne Faulty Superheroes finds Pollard, distilling 12 hook laden rock songs that maintain the mid-fi aesthetic he established during GBV’s “Doug Gillard Years” and that he return to earlier this year with Ricked Wicky.

Keeping up with the frantic pace in which Robert Pollard releases music can be a daunting task even for the die hard, but when he goes and delivers a record as well crafted and instantly addicting as Faulty Superheroes it’s a testament to a man that continues to refine his craft. This time around he’s turned in one of his finest solo offerings to date. A record choc full of quantum sized pop hooks and sublimely beautiful lyricism.

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.