Thick Shakes – Sat 2/28 – PA’s Lounge

February 28, 2009

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Q&A w/ Lindsay bass player in Thick Shakes

Q: How did Thick Shakes form? What musical projects were you folks in before starting this project?

A: We are all a bunch of amateurs when it comes to band stuff, save for Tim, who played bass for the Specific Heats a few years back. This is my first band, ever. I was teaching myself to play bass in my bedroom, but was getting bored with that and dying to play with others. As a show goer and occasional organizer, I had a few failed attempts at starting a band with other people (I played bass for one night in Royalty in Exile, onstage forgetting everything I’d practiced during the one week I’d known about the show) – finally my “oh, let me just do it myself” mentality kicked in. Tim and I have been dating since 2006 – we decided we could at least count on each other, so we set out trying to find a drummer, with me playing some crude bass lines and Tim trying out guitar. The trick was trying to find someone who was committed enough to practice regularly, but was patient enough to put up with us learning to play. After burning through two drummers (one too experienced, the other not enough), we found ourselves facing a show booked a month away, with our material half-baked and no one to drum. But immediately, my best friend, Matt, who had only played in his high school marching band, told me he was in – we didn’t miss one practice, he clicked immediately, and with six panicked nights of practice a week for the month leading up to it, we played that first show in June.

Q: You just released your debut EP Ooh Mommy, tell us about the process of creating and distributing the record.

A: We did the whole thing in a weekend, and it was a ball. Jerry MacDonald recorded us at the Shop in Weymouth, he is a good friend of ours who understands our tastes. We showed up to his studio and he pulled out a box of homemade telephone mics. He had a way of making us sound like I hoped we sound but wasn’t sure, and brought out new things too. He gets a kind of sadistic grin on his face when figuring out how to coax things into even fuzzier and messier places. Some people warned us that recording is a grueling process that will make us hate our music and each other, but I suspect I might have found a loophole in doing this with my boyfriend and best friend. No drama, just pizza.

As for distribution, it’s streaming online at thickshakes.net, and we’re putting up a download soon. Our friends started a label in Texas called Snugglehound Records, and they are putting out the eight songs on cassette; later in the spring, they’re also putting out a 7” with three of the songs.

Q: What is the most flattering/unflattering musician/band comparisons you have received from fans, friends, family, press etc…?

A: People have been pretty kind, and we are honest in our ambitions. I think we’re more interested in talking to your hips than your head. Two people told us we sound like Thee Headcoats, and we revere Billy Childish, so that was a great compliment. We’ve also heard the Sonics, and I’ll take that too, though we’re just a trio. Two people said early Who, so that was cool. We’re just too new to have gotten bad reviews and we haven’t tricked anyone who likes fancy music into listening to us.

Q: Your sound is rooted in mid 60’s garage and r&b, at what point did you first start listening to music from this era? and what are some lesser known bands from that era that you are inspired by?

A: Tim says his tastes for that stuff happened around college while playing with the Heats, but he grew up listening to the Box Tops with his dad in the car, so this stuff goes way back, and I’d agree. When your parents grew up with those influences, it’s hard to not absorb them as well, unless the opposite happens and you revolt. The three of us listen to the Nuggets comps to death; we cover Cuby & the Blizzards from the British collection, which is the first song I ever learned to sing and play at once. It’s stuff like the chunky, fuzzy leads from The Downliners Sect or this great song by Wimple Witch called “Save My Soul” that I’m thinking of when I write.

We love the Monks; our record shelf is full of the Grassroots, New Colony Six, the Lovin’ Spoonful… Tim’s tastes are more psych/pop: the Millennium, the Free Design and the Great Society. Matt has been listening to a lot of old 50s and 60s records – I hear the Big Bopper and Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs every time I’m at his place. We also like a lot of the 80s/90s garage punk revivalist stuff, so the Mummies, the Oblivians. I think we started a band because we wanted to sound like the Coachwhips, and we don’t at all, but we love anything John Dwyer touches one way or another – Sic Alps and Thee Oh Sees also.

Q: If you could play a show in Boston with 3 other local bands who would they be and at what Boston venue would you play?

A: I think of this every time we book a show ourselves, and this Saturday at PA’s, Tim’s birthday show, couldn’t be more on the mark in terms of bands we love in a place where we love to play. This is pretty much the email I sent to Tony when I pitched this show to him; I love the dim light and rec room feel. I first saw the Beat Awfuls play at PA’s maybe two or three years ago, and it really made me want to get my act together in terms of starting a band. I got to know Hands and Knees when I went to see what was one of their first ever shows with Hallelujah the Hills, and I liked them so much I asked them to play just about every show I organized after that. Spoilsport is a bunch of brilliant, multitalented people who play raunchy, surfy garage punk.

In terms of a show that does not already exist, the Black Clouds are savage; we played with them once and will again in April for Record Hospital Fest. We are probably easy listening compared to them, but my number one down-the-line wish list band is Tunnel of Love. If you gave me the Black Clouds, Tunnel of Love and then restored Zack to the Turpentine Brothers, that would be the jackpot.

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Drug Rug – Fri 2/28 – The Paradise

February 27, 2009

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What started as two co-workers exchanging their rough demo recordings has turned into not only a long-term relationship but one of the best song writing duos to emerge from Boston in some time. Drug Rug is the love child of Tommy Allen and Sarah Cronin and along with friends, including Julian Cassanetti and Carter Tanton, they are creating a vibrant brand of country tinged rock that is as accessible as it is artistic. 

Fresh off a 13-date tour with Dr.Dog, Drug Rug has come home to finish the tour at the legendary Paradise Rock Club. Joining them will be heralded local trio Helms and the ruckus rock stomp of Viva Viva. Three great local bands in the city’s most historic rock and roll venue. Do not miss this show!

Q&A w/ Tommy Allen of Drug Rug

Q: The show on friday will be the final show of a 14-date tour through the South and back home to Boston. How was the tour? and how does it feel to be coming back home to headline at The Paradise?

A: Touring with Dr Dog was like a dream come true. How often do you get the chance to see your favorite band every night, if your not scary obsessive or a Dead head dude? The Paradise show makes us nervous. We are trying not to think about it.
Q: You just released a free-download EP The Kitchen Tapes and are in the process of recording your second full-length. How did idea come about to record on such lo-fi equipment for the EP? and how is the recording coming along for the full-length?
A: The EP is an example of what comes most naturally. There are probably fifty more EPs in shoeboxes under our bed. Our label wanted us to put something out so that is what we gave them. We are really much more focused on getting the full length out. It’s being mastered right now.
Q: What is the most flattering/unflattering musician/band comparisons you have received from fans, friends, family, press etc…?
A: We try not to dwell on the bad stuff and the good stuff can feel nice but usually isn’t true. We want to make what we like and do what we can.

Q: Aside from yourself and Sarah, as principle songwriters, who are some of the people that have been instrumental in the development of Drug Rug’s sound up to this point?

A: If Drug rug was a burger Julian Cassanetti and Carter Tanton would be the buns.

Q: If you could play a show in Boston with 3 other local bands who would they be and at what Boston venue would you play?

A: Well I guess we would start with Helms and Viva Viva at The Paradise tonight. Hope you all can make it.


Thief Thief – Wed 2/25 – O’Briens

February 25, 2009

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Thief Thief is a two-man band that deliver an onslaught of intense rhythmic synthesis in a high-decibel package. The unorthodox guitar playing, that is exciting to watch as it is to hear, and bombastic drumming sounds like Lightning Bolt getting buried alive by an avalanche of prog records. Come check them out tonight at O’Briens with Double Dragons, Hangman’s Alphabet, and Thousands.  

Q&A w/ Colin (drums) and Jeff (guitar) of Thief Thief

Q: How did Thief Thief form? What musical projects were you two in before starting this project?

A: We met while working at the same company a few years back.  We spent some time playing at a pay-by-the-hour rehearsal space and in Jeff’s basement before starting to write songs and audition bassists. After a few auditions it seemed more appealing to just write songs that the two of us could perform together. Over time, we got happier and happier with the music we were producing and decided to stick with it. We’ve had a lot of rough starts as a band and with our music. It took a lot of practice from our first tour this last summer and continued 3-4 days of rehearsal every week to make this work the way it does now.

Prior to this, there were no serious projects for either of us. Colin was in a band in the 8th grade and was in an a cappella group in college. Jeff hadn’t really been in a band besides messing around with people in high school. Part of what we had been doing for the past couple of years is figuring out what these things called “bands” do.

Q: Jeff plays an unorthodox style of guitar. Tell us about this technique about how you came about playing this way.

A: Being a two piece, I wanted to do things that make the lack of a bass or a second guitar not an issue. I tried some crazy things with a pick, but it sounded thin. I never used any guitar pedals before, and didn’t feel like going down that route. There are enough bands out there that are using looper pedals, and I wanted to do something that isn’t possible with pedals. I started with two-handed tapping after some experimentation. My genre touch points are people like Ian Williams or Marnie Stern, but their stuff is either looper-assisted or doesn’t use the second hand as a complete instrument, like a piano. I’d like to get more of the technique of a Stanley Jordan into this genre, but what he does is over the top impossible. I’d like to get crazier than what I’m doing now, but I’m still learning how. I’ve been playing guitar for more than twenty years, but only using my right hand this way for the past year or two. It’s just about getting my right hand to do what my left hand can do, together (and apart!).

Q: What is the most flattering/sickening musician/band comparisons you have received from fans, friends, family, press etc…?

A: I dunno… “like Hella, but listenable”? We obsessed over Hold Your Horse Is for a while, first trying to figure out how the fuck they were doing what they were doing, then gradually picking apart some of the secrets and learning a few songs. They’re pretty untouchable though. Colin’s girlfriend’s father said we sound jazzy.  A guy at his also work said we have a “nice [King] Crimson thing going on” in one of our songs.

Q: What does 2009 have in store for Thief Thief? When are you hoping to record/release an album?

A: We’re trying to write one or two more songs, and then we want to do an awesome full-length this summer or fall. We recorded an EP a year ago, but we’re looking to improve on that a lot. By summer time we also want to hit the road for some short 1-2 week tours.

Q: If you could play a show in Boston with 3 other local bands who would they be and at what Boston venue would you play?

A: Jeff: Number one would be our friends Ba-na-nas, but they may have broken up again. The world needs more Joyce brothers. We really like Big Bear too, and throw in Helms for good measure. Probably Middle East Upstairs.

Colin: Aerosmith, Godsmack and the Dropkick Murphys on a blimp over Fenway.


Watch Thief Thief

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Pretty and Nice – “Wandering Eye” – 2/19 – Great Scott

February 23, 2009

The Needy Visions – Sun 2/22 – Milky Way

February 21, 2009

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The Needy Visions are a four-piece rock band who’s psychedelic garage-rock is as endearing as it is original. This is a band that is capable of reminding people why they started loving rock music in the first place, it reaches you on that level. Imagine the boiling-over creativity of Talking Heads ’77 combined with the raw guts of Nuggets-era psychedelia and you’ll start to have an idea of the colors this band paints with. This is one of Boston’s favorite bands for a reason, come find out why this sunday for FREE!

In from NYC to open the night is an excellent band called The Beets.Also on the bill is another local favorite The Serious Geniuses who will be bringing their own lively brand of psychedelic music to the stage. This is one of the last Free Sundaze at the Milky Way and is sure to be a show to remember.

Q&A w/ Dan Shea guitar/vocals in The Needy Visions

Q: How did The Needy Visions form? What other musical projects are the members of the band in?

A: I made a very low quality demo tape and tried playing the songs with some dudes. We called ourselves Plantain Mother. We never really played live. A short while later I played this tape for Sam P(Visions’ bassist), he liked the songs, we brought in my longtime friend and co-conspirator Bill Conroy on drums and we were a band. Over the course of many months we played with a bunch of guitarists, finally finding THE ONE in another friend, Elliott Chaffee. When Bill moved away we scrambled for a long while for a drummer, but finally ended our search after playing for a bit with Cambridge’s own, the wonderful John Allen.

Everyone in the band except myself is in another band. 
Sam Potrykus, our bassist, plays with: Peace, Loving + Baixa.
John our drummer plays with: Beat Awfuls + Headband.
Elliot our lead guitarist plays with: World Map.<<<

Q: You have been putting on shows in Boston for some time now. You have your own label/community called Bodies of Water Art and Crafts as well as booking the Milky Way and soon Church. How do you manage the synthesis of these undertakings along with booking shows for your own band?

A: It all naturally blends together. All I’ve ever done is put together shows for music makers that I love, while trying to foster community. Nothing has changed, except now I actually get to play some of these shows! Being involved in all of this show organizing has certainly aided us in getting good shows. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Also! I AM starting to book Church, a club in the Fenway area! Good music get in touch! Let’s make this a special special place!<<<

Q: What is the most flattering/sickening musician/band comparisons you have received from fans, friends, family, press etc…?

A: Some girl at our first show told me that we sounded like Kings of Leon. I had never heard them at the time, but I saw them on Saturday Night Live a few months ago, and they made me sick. So off the top of my head, Kings of Leon.

As for flattering, well we’ve gotten lots of wonderful comparisons. Anytime someone compares us to a band that I love it is flattering.<<<

Q: Being someone who has been involved in the Boston music scene for some time now you have seen and heard a lots of different bands. What are some of the differences in the scene between when you first started booking shows in Boston and right now?

A: DJ culture is a much larger component of the overall music “scene” here than “back in the day.” There are some very cool djs doing some very cool things all over town. Also, it very much appears to me there has been some breaking down of the barriers between different sub-scenes in Boston. This especially goes for the larger DIY music community, which is really the only “scene” I know anything about. Punk, and noise and the rest of it seems much less farther apart than it used to in this town. We still don’t have a legit(or long term semi-legit) gathering space for Boston DIY though. I wish I could say that that had changed. One day!<<<

Q: If you could play a show in Boston with 3 other local bands who would they be and at what Boston venue would you play?

A: Ok, this is supremely difficult because I love many many bands, but…
Drug Rug(they family, and we look up to them), Big Digits(best dudes in the whole world, should and will be famous party starters), General Interest(perhaps my favorite Boston band, and fine people) @ the Whitehaus in JP(because it is the spot with the most positive impact on Boston music in the last few years… and I live down the street).

Listen to the Needy Visions


PILES – 2/18/09 – Limelight

February 20, 2009

This past wed. was the first ever live music performance at Limelight in Boston. The bill was Battle House, PILES, and Hot Box. Battle House put on a great performance followed by an intense set by PILES. This band does not beat around the bush, instead they beat your face in with raw off-kilter rock. It is impossible to take your eyes off their drummer who exudes pure rock energy at every turn, enjoy this footage of just that.


Pretty & Nice – Thu 2/19 – Great Scott

February 18, 2009

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Catchy without being too sweet and frenetic without losing control, Pretty & Nice are forging a high-energy brand of fashionable rock and roll that sounds like Wire on anti-depressants or a more succinct Q & Not U. The foundation for their approach to song writing lies in the post-punk/new wave sound of the early 80’s but there is enough modern stylings here to separate this band from being a cliche throwback. The buzzsaw guitar tones jab in lockstep with the drums while falsetto vocals dance in the web, a web that upon listening to this band you might very well find yourself stuck in. Their sophomore album Get Young was released in 2008 to much critical praise and the convenience of having a recording studio in their basement can only mean that their next album is probably not too far off.

This show is a 7′ release party for The Toothaches who have recently moved from Boston to Brooklyn. This five-piece plays sugar-in-the-raw pop filtered through a plethora of instrumentation including glockenspiel, ukelele, trumpet, and keys. Also on the bill is the synth-laden pop of Math The Band and The Bynars. Strap on your dancing shoes and expect your beer to be perpetually half-full.

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Q&A w/ Holden Lewis vocals/bass in Pretty & Nice

Q: A year after Pretty & Nice originally formed you decided to move from Burlington to Boston. What were some of the pros and cons when contemplating that decision?

A: I had gone to school here in Boston, so I knew a bunch about the area, the clubs, where to live, and some few things about the scenes here and what people were already doing.  The idea that it was a new place for the band, but we weren’t entirely clueless about it made things really easy, it was just legwork figuring out where to move to really. The hardest part (logistically) of relocating P&N was that we wanted to have a studio in the house, so we had to find a place that we could afford that would also have enough space for a boatload of recording gear.  One of the big reasons we wanted to move was to find new musicians to play with, as we felt the Burlington crowd wasn’t brimming with people we’d work well with.  Boston definitely has more people moving here all the time, lots of musicians already around, and generally more people who are looking to do more than just play on the weekends for friends.

Q: In a past interview you stated, “… just the notion of writing a pop song today is ironic.” If that is the case, then at what exact point in the history of pop music did this happen? and why?

A: I think maybe that statement relates more to the indie rock culture or industry or whatever.  Its definitely ironic that where people used to say pop to refer to the Beatles or the Knack, pop now means Britney Spears, bubblegum, gloss and whatever else is on tv.   Aside from the aforementioned confusion that you get from those not in the know or whatever, Pop is just such a confusing genre and idea these days…

Q: What is the most flattering/sickening musician/band comparisons you have r eceived from fans, friends, family, press etc…?

A: A lot of younger people at shows have compared us to bands like the Killers or Arctic Monkeys, which is always astounding to us.

Q: You’re latest record Get Young was released on Sub Pop subsidiary Hardly Art. How has being on this label effected the bands success? and will you be staying with them for the next album?

A: Hardly Art/Sub Pop definitely carries a lot of clout, which is lent to us in that they signed us.  Its put our music in SO many more ears than it would have without them and we’re super happy that they were able to do that for us.  They’re also all really sweet folks and really easy to work with.  We haven’t really talked much about the next album except about that we want to keep writing and recording a bunch, hopefully sooner than later.

Q: If you could play a show in Boston with 3 other local bands who would they be and at what Boston venue would you play?

A: I’ll just answer for myself maybe…. Reports, Age Rings, Wonderful Spells are definitely bands I’d love to play a show with soon.  I love Great Scott and the Middle East, but I also like having shows in new places… so maybe it would be somewhere else?   
Listen to Pretty & Nice
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