Cober is loud, but would you believe a band called SUMMERDUCK might be the loudest thing in town right now? The brand new four-piece cobbled together by ex-Night Rally bassist Farhad Ebrahimi combines big old sludgy guitar dissonance and feedback with extra-slow, sub-Melvins tempos (remember when the Melvins were a benchmark for being slow?) and harmonies so weird and deliberate that you can't help but suspect that your mind is being slowly outmaneuvered. The album, Good Luck, Summerduck, is in mastering stages as we speak, after which they plan on sending it out across the interwebs for free with a Creative Commons license ASAP.
On possibly the complete other end of the spectrum, goobery indie pop quintet the TOOTHACHES are releasing a 7-inch on Brooklyn labels Total Gaylord Records and Hugpatch next month for their songs "Sucker Punch" and "The Lucky Ones." The record is a quasi-throwback single that takes you back to the catchy-punctuality of Elvis Costello, mid-'90s guitar pop, Cyndi Lauper, and that time when glockenspiel mixed with grimy Nuggets-style garage rock (was that actually a time?). Math the Band and the Bynars join them for the release party on February 19 at Great Scott.
The ladies of APPLE BETTY, maybe Boston's most unapologetic of ham-fisted basement power chord rock-and-roll outfits, have spent the fall patching together Streakin' Across the Sky, which is set for a messy crash landing at the Middle East Upstairs on January 10 with fellow booze rockers the Big Disappointments, Miss Fairchild, and Quincunx. Apple Betty have been learning on the job for years — this gnarly one-two affair has been like throwing Ramones and Go-Go's stem cells into a dirty Petri dish.
They've reigned as Boston's scrappiest pop band for much of recent memory — the band that could go from a hoppity We Are Scientists attack, to a Pixies noise swarm, to a Detroit rock city anthem, to just dropping the bottom out into some flighty, nearly Ram-era McCartney shenanigans — and this month brings us what could be the SHILLS' shining moment. Ganymede is a 40-minute concept disc (complete with radio play-style dramatic segues) about a shipwrecked misanthrope who slowly goes crazy without anyone around to hate on. We're expecting a kind of Home Alone-meets-Apocalypse Now vibe. The Shills have been secretly working on it for a year and a half, since even before their last record came out. They're putting out the disc in triumphant self-released fashion at Middle East Upstairs on January 30 with Kid:Nap:Kin, Supervolcano, and Justin Shorey.
The future has been kept under lock and key by HALLELUJAH THE HILLS, who've been laboring for months over their follow-up to 2007's Collective Psychosis Begone at Medford's Soul Shop studio in between gigs opening for the Silver Jews and flubbing rim shots for Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. The end is in sight though — the reels of tape, presumably packed to the brim with obscure film references and big non sequitur anthems that sound like what John Lennon might be writing if he became drinking buddies with Robert Pollard, are currently heading to the mastering compound for final audio tweakage. Expect an early spring release called Colonial Drones on Misra Records. In the meantime, catch them opening for a once-in-forever Dear Leader show at the Paradise on January 16, with Faces on Film.