Before I get started on the vagaries of local music, I want to say this: Every so often, you hear a band that is so worthless and awful that you just want to see them quit the planet as soon as possible and trouble no more the ears and minds of decent, hardworking people. But it rarely goes down that way. Bad bands have a way of lingering like a barnyard stench. But I'm happy today because this fantasy--the immediate vaporization of an awful purveyor of horrific music--has finally happened, or, at least, it was close enough.
I am, of course, talking about Test Icicles and their album of excrement For Screening Purposes Only--which I sampled in toto some weeks ago and it quite literally made me fear my iPod. They had one song that wasn't entirely worthless--the one that can basically go out for Halloween as a Bloc Party C-side with "Triangle" or some such shit in the title--and the rest was like being renditioned to a Syrian jail. Well, the band has officially broken up today and will soon trouble the world no more with their hideous, hideous noise. It's a clear sign that we aint takin' no shit in the '06. These guys need to find entire new careers and never ever speak to each other again. And to anyone out there who pimped this waste: get yr damn head examined. And, so: TETS.
Now, as you should know by now, tomorrow DCist is throwing down at DC9 with The Hard Tomorrows and Olivia Mancini and the
Speaking of Mr. Leafblower, if you follow his adventures habitually, you're probably aware that he's pretty enthusiastic about The Nethers. In fact, it's quite possible that Leaf is, at this point, way more enthusiastic about The Nethers than The Nethers are themselves. They are off getting heard all over the country right now, I may not be able to compete with Leaf as far as level of love, but I definitely thing they're on to something--their dark and dirty folky VUishness can be quite transfixing. I think that if you enjoy the Exit Clov, you should have little trouble making the lateral slide over to liking these guys as well. They return to DC9 on April 1. In the meantime, Leaf's gonna get to see them so many times that the Super Furry Animals are gonna get crazy jealous and wonder if they're, like, not going steady anymore.
Who I am that enthusiastic about is Georgie James. Featuring Laura Burhenn and John Davis of the late and lamented Q And Not U, the backstory on these guys is that they fancied a bit of the working together, so they delved deep into their record collections, forging connections and drawing up inspiration. Now, I've found that quite often, when you get these sort of worlds in collision sorts of collaborations, what happens is that you end up with an induglent sort of noodlegasm as two musicians, having been given another head to go inside besides their own, run totally amok. Then you go to their show, having prepared to, as Here's a Hint says, engage your arms for maximum folding. You listen, and yeah, it's...good, you guess, but it takes like a ten minute explanation to sort out what you like about them and during that time, suns collide, cars are stolen, and hundreds of families sink into poverty.
There's nothing like that going on with Georgie James. These songs are bright and tight, cohesive and contained, and gorgeously sharp. You can spot up those influences--the cask-aged ache of an old soul record here, the drive of vintage Krautrock there, sunny 70's style harmonies peeking out around brittle, angular melodies--but they never feel quaint. Informed without being encumbered. I love musicians who don't coast, and the reward for reinvigorating the creative process is self-evident--I think what they've wrought moves both Burhenn and Davis to somewhere that their previous work doesn't predict. But I do predict these songs are going to sound fantastic live, so mark March 23 on your datebooks so you can catch them at the Black Cat with The Joggers. NYCers can experience Georgie James at Rothko March 25, you lucky Balmerans get to have the fun at the Ottobar eleven days before the DC date.
Laura, by the way, will also be playing a pair of dates at the Strathmore as a part of their Artist in Residence program. On March 1, she'll be playing solo grand piano, featuring her own work as well as songs from her fave songwriters. On March 29, she'll be backed by a full band performing a new work specially commissioned by Strathmore.
After hearing so much about Hello Tokyo, I felt it was incumbent upon me to get a listen for myself. They're nice enough to have their EP, I (heart) teh Internets, available for download and what can I say? You got the melodic sludge suckerpunch of "Same Mistake", a winning and playful side on display on "Kick It", and the cowbell-enhanced clapalong pop of "Bury Yourself." Three songs, three distinctly different ways to rock you. Sold. Moreover, I'm told that lead singer Kat is the former Full Minute of Mercury chanteuse that I did not care for--well, if that's the case, allow me to do a complete 180 here: she's great fronting this band. They'll also be playing DC April 1 at Asylum, so, I guess there will be some hard choices to make that day.
A minor quibble: On their website, they seem to pull a Big Yawn style error by claiming to be excited about working with "an Emmy Award winning producer." Maybe Felicity Huffman's trying her hand at something new, but we have to imagine they mean "Grammy"--unless of course, they mean their record is being produced by The Shatner, in which case good, better, BEST!
Channels, featuring J. Robbins (late of Burning Airlines) hace recently completed a full-length album that will be released by Dischord "sometime before Summer '06." Elsewhere in Dischordiana, the label plans to release a record from Soccer Team, featuring not the Ryan Nelsen of DC United fame, but the Ryan Nelson of the Routineers. There's no firm release date for the record, which had its beginnings as a "flight of fancy" basement tape style collaboration with Melissa Quinley that was evidently deemed cohesive enough to be released.
Finally, my good friend Mr. Paul Kamran played the latest version of "Bleeding Hearts" for me today. The song, which will be on Paul's upcoming EP, was white hot the day it was debuted and has somehow been rendered even more bestever by a factor of ten. Granted, I am way biased, but I'm confident that there will simply be no arguing with this song, nor the others, which will soon be spirited away to Chelsea to get mixed and mastered. Paul will play solo at Wonderland on March 12, and currently plans to release his EP at Galaxy Hut on April 29, where he will appear with one of his favorite bands, Doylestown PA's Aderbat.
-----LISTEN AND LEARN
The Nethers | MySpace | "Hung Herself in a Birdcage"
Georgie James | MySpace
Laura Burhenn | MySpace | "Helicopters", "Memory"
Hello Tokyo | "Kick It", "Bury Yourself", "Same Mistake"
Channels | "Chivaree"
Paul Kamran | MySpace (I'm not sure if the songs on MySpace will be on the EP)
Aderbat | MySpace