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Massachusetts artists you should be listening to in 2013, part one





2013 marks my sixth year as a resident of Massachusetts. Over the years, I’ve been perpetually awed by how many inspired artists live, make, and play here, and equally awed by the fact that so many of them inevitably go unheard by anyone outside of this state. In addition, I feel like I constantly have friends from New York and other parts of the country/world asking, "hey . . . .  who are some good bands from Boston?" To make answering all of this more simple, here is part one of what will hopefully be an ongoing series through 2013, covering Massachusetts musicians worth checking out whether you live here or not. This first installment includes a mix of artists with considerable local followings who for whatever reason haven’t amassed a deserved national following -- as well as brand new artists worth keeping an eye on in the coming months.

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Potty Mouth >>
If you've been following the Phoenix's music coverage over the past year, you've most definitely read something about Potty Mouth, a Western Mass 4-piece post-punk who released one of the best local EPs of last year, Sun Damage. That will be followed by a full-length later this year; "Damage" (above) is the first single from the forthcoming LP. Catch them next on February 11th with Hilly Eye, Slutever, and Tomboy presented by Resilient Bstrd.



Guerilla Toss >>
I heard this band's name around for months before ever checking them out. One day I decided to blindly play one of their songs on my college radio show without having ever listened to it. I was so mesmerized that without hesitation I proceeded to play every recording on their Soundcloud in a row on air -- all noisy experimental punk with ear-splitting screeching vox and interesting angular cyclical guitar riffs. They are currently on tour with The Dreebs from Brooklyn and I am definitely keeping my schedule entirely clear on January 26th for when they play together at the Elks Lodge in Cambridge with Ed Schrader's Music Beat







Speedy Ortiz >>
According to the band's Livejournal they just finished their first full-length, a 10-song LP recorded by Justin Pizzoferrato, which is exciting because their 2012 Sports EP was one of the best local releases in recent memory -- five tracks of angsty 90s-inspired indie rock with heavy drums. "A lot of the songs I write for this band are just like a character who is into fighting and having a million boyfriends . . . stuff about violence and knives and guns all sorts of things that are so far removed from my life as a poet in an MFA program," singer Sadie Dupuis told us in May.) Speedy Ortiz just finished a tour with Baltimore's Roomrunner.




Fat Creeps
>> My favorite local song of 2012 was "700 Parts" by Fat Creeps, the closing track from their excellent debut EP, a mix of moody Mazzy Star-inspired vox, grungy garage pop guitars and dissonant harmonizing. If you're in Boston catch them January 24th at O'Brien's with Pile and Bunny's a Swine presented by Allston Pudding, or if you're in New York they'll be at Death by Audio with Slutever on February 9th. Last week they posted two tracks from a forthcoming split with ZEBU on Feeding Tube Records.


Bent Shapes >>
When I first started paying attention to local music around 2009, one of the first bands I found on MySpace were Girlfriends, whose members are now in Bent Shapes. At the time they had tracks from one scuzzy cassette tape on their page and I quickly became a big fan. That band released a string of 7-inches, including some of my favorite Boston songs ever ("Gov't Seizure", "Cave Kids") and toured with bands like Weed Hounds and Colleen Green.

This year my house hosted shows with Bent Shapes as a full band, singer Ben Potrykus solo as Ben Shapes, and drummer Andy Sadoway's project Snooze with Emily Jane Powers. Across each iteration of Girlfriends/Bent Shapes, the constant is always the band's knack for excellent pop songcraft with smart, critical lyricism and huge hooks. So psyched for their debut full-length which I am promised is coming out in 2013.

Also they just released their first music video: 





Creaturos >> pRIMORDIAL sOUNDS is a Boston-based label entirely worth following whether you live here or not. They've only released a handful of tapes so far but are frequently found booking and DJing some of the best gigs around town for fans of garage, psych, punk, experimental pop, etc. A highlight of their 2012 output was the seriously excellent Swampp Thingg, the debut cassette by CreaturoS, a band of former members of DOOMSTAR! RIYL home-recorded melodic garage punk long-burners with psychedelic surf riffs and sticky hooks. Stream:

   


California X >> One of the best bands in Massachusetts right now; Amherst, MA garage punks with a debut full-length out next month on Don Giovanni, which follows one single out via the UK’s Sound of Sweet Nothing label. Inspired very much by the sounds of 80s Western Mass indie rock and classic punk sounds. Stream the whole Don Giovanni LP via SPIN or the 2012 single below. Cali X play Boston on January 18 at PA's with Dig Safe, Sneeze, and No Fun.




Psychic Blood
>>  Western Mass noise punks who I first caught opening for Nu Sensae last summer. They are currently taking a break from shows to work on new material, coordinating the release of their Drrry 7" via Nerve Hold, and have an EP titled Nightmare Beaches recorded. Stream their 7-inch: 





Dawn Fauna >> Anna Rochinski from Quilt's latest project, a duo with Regina Peterson formerly of the Points North on flute I've seen them perform various living rooms and basements around Boston with a couple of different drummers, all completely mesmerizing dream pop sets with Rochinski's ethereal voice sitting center stage. At a recent show, her intricate guitar work resonated with the complexity of dozens of guitars playing at once.


Cottaging >> Cottaging are a fairly new Boston punk band, formed last year by former members of Diet Cokeheads, Cult Ritual and Libyans. I first heard of them in the fall, when they played at WWTA with Merchandise and California X. The band's most recently recorded tracks are all minimal post-punky drums and bass with creeping, experimental vox. Here's "Meet Me at the Puritan", which starts out fairly slow but by the end layers intricate droney guitar work with tons of pounding distortion. Their Soundcloud says notes as the B-side of a forthcoming tape.

Burglary Years >> This band has a split record coming out with Michigan shoegaze post-punks Procession in 2013. Based on the quick string of shoegazey twee-pop demos and home-recordings posted to the Burglary Years Bandcamp, it is worth looking forward to. I think an excellent introduction to this band is the way in which they've chosen to describe themselves in their Facebook biography: "Definitely not a hardcore/punk band. We wish we were on Sarah Records." Here are their first two demos as well as their indie-pop rendition of "Dancing in the Dark" which is really perfect.

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