ENERGETIC: It’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world digs in to Hooray for Earth.
Not every local rocker is hibernating or joining Bang Camaro this winter. Some of them are actually being productive — laying down tracks that you and yours will be rocking out to well into next year’s thaw.
This past year was a stellar one for 28 DEGREES TAURUS. They toured their æthereal little butts off, released a few new tracks, prepared a pair of new releases, and, most important, landed their coyly pop-tinted blend of Sonic Youth, Slowdive, and Blonde Redhead at the center of the local rock radar. Jinsen’s wash of guitars soaked in chorus and static make a sort of Cocteau Triplet out of Karina Dacosta’s voice, which has a knack for streaking by like a comet. They’ll release the long-promised Underwater Love Sequences EP at Great Scott on January 3, playing along with ACTION CAMP, OKAY THURSDAY, and BROKEN RIVER PROPHET. Then they’ll vamoose on a winter-defying East Coast tour and return to bestow their proper full-length (Something To Feel) at T.T. the Bear’s on February 7.
HALLELUJAH THE HILLS released their Collective Psychosis Begone on Misra this past year to nationwide smiles, and justly so. Each song is a perfect marriage of reckless abandon and, well, recklesser abandon. On January 4, the boys will perform the entire CD front-to-back (first time evah) at the Middle East upstairs, on a bill with FACES ON FILM and REPORTS. Perhaps by then there’ll be some dispatchable information on singer Ryan Walsh’s next endeavor, the DEWEY DEATH METAL SYSTEM.
After six years and 129 shows (eight of which were out of town), the beloved popsters of SCAMPER will cease scampering, as well as synchronized-jumping. It’s difficult to be sad over a band who make everybody so damn happy, but I’ll try. It’s extra hard because their farewell show on Groundhog Day at the Middle East downstairs is a solid bill featuring ALOUD, HARRIS, and BAKER.
One of the biggest surprises of the past year has been Allston’s THIS CAR UP. In their short existence, they’ve made quite a rep for themselves, thanks to exuberant live shows bolstered by big horn sections, smooth Casiotones, ample on-stage antics, and the sort of hyper-genuine indie pop that might be boring if it weren’t played with such clear-eyed conviction. A smattering of new songs from the as-yet-untitled album (freshly recorded in DC by T.J. Lipple of Aloha) is posted to their MySpace page, but for the full effect, check out their release show at Great Scott on February 9 with the SHILLS, MEAN CREEK, and A HERO NEXT DOOR.
In case you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to destroy your own face with blasts of molten rock, you should mark your calendar for NEPTUNE at Great Scott on February 16. The line-up is impressive enough, with HELMS, ANIMAL HOSPITAL, and a floral installation by Andrew Plummer all promising to do you right, but the important part is that once the show is over, Neptune’s new full-length Gong Lake will be a part of our world — and what a different world that will be. A sneak preview hurt my brains in the best possible way. Following that, the group will take a tour down to Texas for a Radium/Table of the Elements showcase at SxSW.
If the songs smuggled over to me from HOORAY FOR EARTH’s forthcoming EP Cellphone are any indication, the band won’t be runners-up (as they were in this year’s Phoenix/FNX Best Music Poll) for long. Each track bristles with energy and the sort of gimmick-free confidence you don’t see much of these days. Never samy, always ambitious — it’s a matter of time before the nation at large gets over the band name and digs in. On February 29, Hooray for Earth ring in the leap year with the release of Cellphone (on Cambridge’s own Dopamine Records) at the Middle East downstairs, along with ZAMBRI and AGE RINGS.
Oh, and speaking of Age Rings: they’ll be using that same date to release a digital-only single that the Phoenix’s own Will Spitz characterizes as a teaser for their “forthcoming-better-than-the-White-Album double album,” the viscously titled Black Honey, which they recorded with Jack Younger at his Basement 247 studios in Allston. Early signs indicate some endearing pop songs with interest-piquing titles à la “Vanessa’s Neck.”
Brooding and unstoppable, the vets of BLACK HELICOPTER have once again been hard at work recording a set of new songs at their Analog Divide studio for a forthcoming full-length on Ecstatic Peace. Whereas their past records were held together by the mortar of some predetermined concept, bassist Zack Lazar asserts that they have “run out of ideas for concepts” and are now content to release an unbound pile of further ear-rending awesomeness, “shooting for March.” In addition, the band will be included in a forthcoming 10-record box set of seven-inch singles from Ecstatic Peace (which will also feature MV+EE and Thurston Moore), and they’ll enjoy a jaunt to SxSW to play a label showcase and, if they’re lucky, have their faces destroyed at the aforementioned Neptune show.
Over the past year, KETMAN have taken a knack for aggressive innovation, an odd fascination with Esperanto, a love of Czeslaw Milosz, and a staunch refusal to suck, and forged them all into what could be Boston’s most exciting power trio. At times, the songs on their forthcoming homonymous full-length evince the meticulous roar of DC bands like Fugazi or maybe even Kerosene 454; elsewhere, Ketman unleashes the succinct ferocity of West Coasters like the Minutemen and No Knife. On January 10 at Great Scott, they play with PET GENIUS, CODETTA, and the phenomenal (and recently reunited) DISAPPEARER. The album won’t be out till at least April, but if you’re looking for an album to look forward to, this is it.