Travis, Hadden, and Amelia are the three members of the Boston noise pop & psychedelic rock band NEW HIGHWAY HYMNAL. We met them years ago on the North Shore, from where they hail and since then they’ve become of the more popular bands in Boston. They’ve released a few recordings for Boston’s VANYA RECORDS. Catch their next show in Lowell on 1/17.
Here’s our 2013 year-end list… we decided to write about 10 of our favourite local bands from this year, in no particular order:
Travis: “Coke Weed creates the perfect melding of heavy, saturated guitars that churn out an unrelenting, but understated bottom end with a cloudlike sense of melody and songwriting that stays with you way after hearing it. We played with Coke Weed for the first time over the summer in Portsmouth, NH, after which we played their new album “Back To Soft” nonstop in the car on tour. Their recordings do a superb job capturing their stoned, chilled-out beauty and have been the soundtrack for me on many a long drive. I would recommend listening to them for any lazy afternoon activities.”
VIDEO: Coke Weed- SunseekersCreaturoS
Hadden: “This band always gets everybody dancing. Their live shows are full of raw energy and that energy is infectious. A good example of this is this video from Boston Fuzzstival back in August when a bunch of people in the audience (us included) jumped up on stage and started dancing with them.”
VIDEO: CreaturoS – “James Days’ Milkshake” live from Boston Fuzzstival 8/10/13
The Televibes are friends of our from the North Shore. They’ve really been picking up speed this year, gettin parties hoppin with their hooky garagey surf pop. Hadden’s been recording their new EP. It’s gonna be a real rager of a record.
Listen to their single “Catholic Stoner Camp”:
Travis: “Somehow I’ve only managed to see Kal Marks with Nick Egersheim on drums once, but I can say with full confidence that this is the best KM lineup that I’ve seen. On the record, Kal Marks is more than satisfyingly heavy, while still leaving plenty of room for careful production and beauty, especially in the area of Carl’s voice. Live, I can’t help but get chills and an irreversible smile. An especially good vid’ to check of KM is of “Where a River Starts” from an Allston show back in June. This video features my favorite track on the album, and has always been one that sticks out in my mind live. It’s especially memorable to me for the noisy guitar solo section. Go see them, you will be really happy you did.”
VIDEO: Kal Marks – “Where a River Starts” live from Allston, June 2013
Travis: “Quilt is the only band whose record stayed on my turntable so long that the sleeve collected dust next to it. I love everything about their first album and their new stuff certainly doesn’t disappoint. “Tired and Buttered” maintains everything I love about Quilt, but brings a new, deep, Beach Boys-esque complexity to the table. I love this track and can’t wait to hear more. They’re also sweethearts, which only makes it all better.”
Listen to “Tired and Buttered”
Doug Tuttle (formerly of MMOSS) released this track “Turn This Love” back in November through Trouble in Mind and we all have been pretty obsessed with it. It’s got all the elements we love of a psychedelic song – organ drones, dreamy vocal melodies, guitar JAMZ. We’re so excited for his new album due out Jan. 28!
Listen to “Turn This Love”
Amelia: “We first met our label-mates Bearstronaut in 2011 when we traveled down to SXSW together in a prison bus. The bus broke down several times and there were all sorts of other mishaps and delinquency along the way. Needless to say the experience made us all very close. They’re our “Vanya Fam” and every time we listen to their music or go to one of their shows it brings back memories of that bus ride. They’ve had some big moments this year – they played Boston Calling back in September and won Electronic Artist of the Year at the BMAs. Travis and I watched their set at the Liberty Hotel that night and we danced the whole time. It’s impossible not to dance at a Bearstronaut show. And not only do they put on a great live show, they’re all incredibly talented musicians. Nate Marsden is one of my favourite bass players around. Cool men.”
Listen to “Where I’ll Die”
Boogie Boy Metal Mouth
Amelia: “Jay Ring used to front a band that we used to play with called Gun Shop Daddy. One day Jay gave us a copy of his rap CD – we weren’t sure what to expect until we popped it in the CD player. He’s a great lyricist, and he’s got this whiskey flow Iggy Pop kind of vibe onstage. DJ Emoh Betta perfectly compliments it with his noisey punk rock beats. It bends some of my most favourite genres together and it’s awesome. I did a song with them over the summer as zSHYBABEz, i think the beat was meant for ESH but they asked me to be on it for some reason. I can’t really rap. I was just trying to be Kitty Pryde.”
Listen: “Bad Streets Are Brewin'” by BBMM & zSHYBABEz
ESH the Monolith
Amelia: “I think the first time we saw Esh must’ve been at the Middle East for Boogie Boy Metal Mouth’s release party. He’s mad talented, and puts on a really energetic and engaging live show. Every time I see him perform, it’s like he puts this spell over the room, you can’t look away. Listening to his recorded tracks has much the same effect – I find myself listening to his stuff over and over. Obviously I’m a wicked fangirl for Esh. ”
VIDEO: Esh & Arc – “Bonafide Napoleon Complex”
Brad DeMatteo’s music has gone through many transformations over the years, but Cult Fluorescent is his strongest endeavor yet. It seems like every time we see him perform he’s doing something new. He uses live vocal and bass loops and a drum machine to create the patchwork of his songs, and he’s able to make it all groove together in a really inventive, awesome ways. We just saw him last night (12/29) at Great Scott with Wakes and he was mesmerizing. Definitely go see him play the first chance you get.
Listen to everything Cult Fluorescent: