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Fist Full of Fur, from Ummm Productions

Fist Full of Fur, from Ummm Productions

This is the coolest short film about a guy in a gorilla suit traveling through Boston one day that you will ever see. And it’s the only one to my knowledge that was assembled from thousands of still images. 5,205 still images to be precise.

Fist Full Of Fur from Ummm Productions on Vimeo.

Sooo good.

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TLOS '09 Album of the Year contender: Love. Trust. Faith. Lust.

TLOS '09 Album of the Year contender: Love. Trust. Faith. Lust.

“From the couple times I’ve seen MEandJOANCOLLINS, I’m beginning to think they might be the best band from Boston right now … M&JC has a compelling package of music and charisma that’s hard to deny.” – Rob V, Cheap Thrills Boston.

MEandJOANCOLLINS [MySpace] deliver the goods. And I’ve seen ’em do it first hand, I wanna say, 10-15 times since 2007. A few years back, they “got married” at the Abbey Lounge (RIP) – this meant a faux drag wedding between co-gtr/vocalists Bo Barringer and Jen Grygiel with bassist Jim Collins (no relation) presiding over the ceremony. After Grygiel kissed the bride, they launched into a cover of VH1’s 12th Greatest Power Ballad. (The Crüe, if used properly, can make a cheap publicity stunt look like a stroke of genius). It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen happen in Somerville. Another highlight was their 2008 WBCN Rumble performance; I was shocked and horrified to see them bounced in the first round.

They're on their way. Just set them free. Home sweet home.

They're on their way. Just set them free. Home sweet home.

They emerged from the wreckage of Barringer’s ex-band, The Collisions, several years before The New Collisions (no relation) crashed head-on into Boston’s music scene. (I apologize if my puns are sometimes too subtile). Their sound is an accessible mix of garage, glam, and British popular music (Bowie, T. Rex, Pulp, the Velvets, the Zombies, Spoon, Of Montreal – you get the idea) with hand claps, sleazy boy/girl vocals, and face-melting riffage courtesy of Barringer (his guitar work is featured even more heavily in the band’s excellent new material – a looser, more expansive crop of tunes, many written by Grygiel). I’d call the rhythm section their “secret weapon” if it weren’t for the fact that Collins (Gene Dante, The Buckners, Paula Kelley, Eddie Japan) and drummer Jason Marchionna (Fluttr Effect) are household names to many on the scene.

Love. Trust. Faith. Lust., the band’s debut album, is one of the best discs of 2009 – local, national, or anywhere. Standout tracks include the unbelievably catchy “That’s Not What I Want,” modern breakup classic “Crime of the Century (So Far…),” breezy pop gem “Typical Asshole,” and brooding set closer “Strangest Thing.” Those tracks get an A+; the rest of the album gets an A.

MEandJOANCOLLINS celebrates Grygiel’s “dirty thirty” this Saturday, June 20, 11:00 p.m., at Allston’s Great Scott. The rest of the lineup ain’t bad either: The Main Drag (9:00), Ketman (10:00), Ho-Ag (midnight). So give the blogs a rest for a night and check out this great show. You really do need to get out of the house more. (People talking behind your back). 

Also, be sure to click the link labeled “The Crüe” in the second paragraph. It’s by far the best part of this post. 

MP3: Crime of the Century (So Far…)

CD Baby: Love. Trust. Faith. Lust.

Press: The Phoenix | Adequacy.net | RSL

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Look at these fucking hipsters.

Look at these fucking hipsters.

I like to experience new albums – at least the ones I’m particularly interested in – much in the same way I would a movie or a short book: in one sitting (listening from start to finish, usually on headphones). Then I’ll make a snap judgement and try to fit it into one of the following three categories:

a) This isn’t for me. There are lots of reasons I don’t like certain stuff. An album might be really overrated (Bon Iver, LCD Soundsystem), too precious (Death Cab for Cutie, The Wrens), too boring (No Age, Burial), too irritating (Destroyer, MIA), a combination of all these factors (Animal Collective, Panda Bear), or too much of an MC whose idea of “rapping” is telling mundane stories while speaking in a cockney accent over garage beats (The Streets). Okay, fine, all of the previously mentioned artists have a few cool tracks, but you get the point.

b) This is a work of genius! I’m going to listen to this album a 10,000 times over the next few days and talk everybody’s ear off about it … then overdose and burn out on it completely. These albums can be “pixie discs,” delivering an exciting sugar rush with little nutritional value (The Strokes, MGMT, Black Kids) – or one trick ponies (Sigur Ros, Explosions in the Sky, Clinic), bands that do one thing really well, but give you so much of that one good thing that it becomes old really fast.

c) I don’t know if I liked that or not. These are the “difficult” albums. They’re strange and alien at first, but also vaguely familiar, and there’s something (a surprising lyric/chord change/mix of influences, an oddly compelling singer, etc) that piques your interest – a thing that makes you go “hmm,” to quote our good friends at Music Factory, C&C. These usually end up being my favorite records, my desert island discs, if you will.

grizzly_bear-veckatimest-cover-betterVeckatimest, the new album from Brooklyn art rockers Grizzly Bear is a perfect example of the Type C category. Last year, I missed them open for fellow Type C-ers Radiohead, in Mansfield, MA, but I didn’t realize what I was missing. Early reviews for Veckatimest (leaked months ago) were all loaded with foaming at the mouth / NME-style praise. I’m always skeptical of (and usually disappointed with) albums that get this level of hype, but this time I was pleasantly surprised.

Two songs, “Two Weeks” and “As You Wait for the Others” – the album’s catchiest, most melodic tracks – stood out immediately. The vocal harmonies on the chorus of “As You Wait” gives me goosebumps; it’s one of the best songs I’ve heard in a long time (see video clip below). “Southern Point” opens the album on an ominous note then launches into a great little acoustic guitar riff and primal, galloping drums. Others like “Fine for Now” and “Cheerleader” develop slowly and take a bit longer to grow on you, but are worth the effort. Veckatimest closes with “Foreground,” a stark and beautiful song with a hint of dread – it sounds like something Radiohead might choose to end one of their albums (like “The Tourist” or “Motion Picture Soundtrack”).

Super highly recommended.

Oh shit – Grizzly Bear is playing at the Berklee Performance Center tonight! (it’s sold out – stop smiling). Instead you’ll have to settle for watching a crappy quality YouTube clip of their new music video for “Two Weeks,” a disturbing “Black Hole Sun” homage. Enjoy!

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