Aug 05 2008

Allston (Boston) Rock City

Published by at 12:02 am under Alternative,Boston,MP3's,Song of the Day

This is a mix of great songs from bands in Boston that, despite my best efforts, won’t get unstuck from my head. And there’s a reason they’re stuck there. That being that they’re great. And when I feel that void creeping in, the one I get after scrolling through all 7,000 songs on my iPod and not finding a single thing to listen to, that I click a random link from one of these bands myspace pages, and hopefully find something new to latch on to. So hopefully, one (or more!) of these tracks will become your new obsession. So folks, here you go, a brief introduction to Allston Rock City. (Some of these albums might be a bit tough to get, so if any of it strikes your fancy, shoot me an e-mail (PeterNC9@gmail.com) and I’ll steer you in the right direction.)

Tulsa – Mass – Clouds of distortion, jagged classic-rock guitar solos, and Carter Tanton’s reverb drenched voice, floating through the song in his best Jim James. This is one of those songs that makes you want to storm a castle with an army at your back. In slow motion. Up hill.
If you dig My Morning Jacket, you’ll love Tulsa. Grab I was Submerged, and look for their newest LP sometime this fall.

The Toothaches – It’s All Gunna Be OK – And after you stormed your castle, settle down with the Toothaches. From their first LP, A Month of Sundays, this is one of the happiest songs I know. And as I sit here, hung-over on a Sunday, it’s all I need. Also pictured above. They’re adorable. Oh god, don’t tell them I said that. They’ll hurt me.

Hooray For Earth – Warm OutHFE are kind of like if the dude from Islands fronted Nine Inch Nails. Or if Beck decided to redo Odelay as a grunge epic. I’ve used this line in a past review, but if the birth of a star were to have a soundtrack, the Cellphone EP (and Warm Out) might be appropriate. Also one of my favorite songs in recent memory.

Helms – It Takes Skin to Win – If Slint formed a super group with Explosions in the Sky, and wrote more hook-oriented songs, it’d almost be as good as Helms. I’ve had this song stuck in the back of my head for three years. And their live shows are unlike anything else in town. Their album McCarthy is a good place to start.

King Tuff – LadyKing Tuff isn’t from Boston, so this is kind of cheating. But he writes brilliant 60s power pop. Super lo-fi, completely self-recorded, he sounds like a more cohesive Television. I was introduced to King Tuff at a show my band played last summer in Vermont. Toward the end of our set, he strode in, looking like a grizzlier Neil Young, walked on stage, picked up a guitar, and just started shredding. He didn’t say anything, it was unreal.

Ketman – Oubliette – When I first saw Ketman, I thought I’d walked in on a Meat Puppets show. They were recently voted best new band in Boston by a reputable weekly mag, and are definitely the best power-trio in town. I did an interview in Performer Magazine with them this month. Their new album, El Torro, is like a hard slap in the face. In a good way.

Twink – What The DickensTwink’s one-sheet describes his music as “chaotic toytronica.” A Very Fine Adventure sounds like one of Jon Brion’s freaked out instrumentals, or b-sides to the I Heart Huckabees soundtrack. Slightly atonal toy piano floats through elaborate arrangements of other toy instruments, synthesizers and a whole bevy of phasing, pulsing instruments I can’t name. It’s a trip, freak out. But make sure a pillow or a friend is handy, you’ll eventually want to cuddle.

Get into it. And please, don’t be shy, contact these people, find where they’re playing, enjoy their tunes, and support local music!

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Allston (Boston) Rock City”

  1. Evanon 05 Aug 2008 at 10:25 am

    Love the dirty water…

  2. Mike Jamorama Hammilon 05 Aug 2008 at 12:41 pm

    If Slint formed a super group with Explosions in the Sky, and wrote more hook-oriented songs, it’d almost be as good as Helms. I’ve had this song stuck in the back of my head for three years. And their live shows are unlike anything else in town. Their album McCarthy is a good place to start.

  3. Alykon 14 Aug 2008 at 3:10 am

    Allston: also home to the world’s greatest Super 88.

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