hey, i’m from worcester and i play in gnards and gay shapes. i get out to as many shows in the area as i can. here are my favorite hometown bands of the year and what they’ve been up to.
GODDARD (photo credit: targét)
man… this band. whoooeee. progear, protude, t4s. i wanna talk to sampson! this year i spent an amazing six days in europe being roadie to these guys. anne, the bass player, was six-months pregnant. the hospitality flowed. goddard toured in support of the DIT documentary. it cuts from jason (lead guitar and vocals) to steve albini, to mark mothersbaugh. whaaaaat. andy kivela is seriously one of the most talented drummers i’ve ever seen. my brother, moe sherzai doubles up the space echoes and guitar with jason. because of this, they’ve got an amazing stereophonic live set that booms so sweetly. obviously they are on a small break while jason and anne have their first kid, but i am excited to see them come back, for sure. their song writing has really taken shape and they’re making something really sonically pleasing. steve albini recorded their half of a split with giraffes? giraffes! go find it now.
UH-HUH (photo credit: yuya peco takeda)
pretty much the funnest live band in town. the young crew seems to go nuts for uh-huh. these boys have know each since like middle school. all four of them have been in bands, in different forms, together since they were like 16. i came across them while starting to live in the worcester collectives. charles, the lead singer, also plays drums in my favorite new band of the year, dot gov. i hung out with these guys when i recorded their demo over a weekend very near my birthday last year. beauties, all of them. clarissa, on second guitar, has been writing some real great solo songs. got to hear them when she opened up for ralph white/colby nathan. josh holden, who is an anime encyclopedia, did some gnarly stuff to a gameboy and uses it to make insane chiptunes under the name ghostly babe from beyond the grave. eab, aka alaska’s daddy, aka the geablin, aka geab, aka the mug master, has been working on some ill drawings. watch out for his comics. it’s great seeing eab’s fliers float all around town.
LOOKS REALISTIC (photo credit: mike griffin)
i can’t say enough about their newest album, va/a, released by beerontherug. it’s simply great electronic music. joe is one of the hardest working people i know. between this, homeowner, bastian void, the label moss archive, in addition to any number of design projects, this guy is well immersed and versed. i’ve watched him evolve from a sh101-head into a modular synth jammer with the most respect. the other half, who’s new to worcester, ryan, is knee deep in art and music as well. so glad to have his new blood and personality in our town. he does this solo lo-fi ariel pink influenced stuff under ryan kayhart. also hear he’s got some black metal (blostma) tunes in the works… whaaaaat. looks realistic’s new album has some excellent tracks on it with deep electronic influences from a very broad spectrum. talk about geek culture encyclopedias, joe has been feeding me some excellent sounds since the day i met him. much love here.
STYK (photo credit: yuya peco takeda)
jamie buckmaster (jjb buckmaster) is one of the gnarliest dudes you’ll ever meet. dudes drawing, writing, and inking his own quarterly comic book (psychedelic surfer), constantly recording new drum tracks (live and programmed), bass lines, guitar melodies, singing, writing songs, mass producing cd’s, tapes and tshirts, mixing and mastering recordings, playing live shows, going out on weekenders, tours etc etc etc. and he even teaches art to children!! dude’s living it. he’s played drums in gnards with me for like a year and a half now. styk is probably his most major project. lady speed, the newest album sounds amazing. it has this incredibly glam punk sensibility, but its just so catchy and listenable to a wide audience, too. it’s like t. rex, thin lizzy, queen, and gary glitter’s souls being sucked into an iridescent whirlpool that’s shooting stars and fireworks that write out “STYK.” shit’s tight. the live shows got john guida from secret lover on drums and the ever present, effervescent eric-john yankus franco on bass (ex-bovachevo, ex-institutionalized). big shout outs to all things jjb this year – gnards, dugeoneers, jacob the terrible, yep, and talchemist.
DOT GOV (photo credit: yuya peco takeda)
charles from uh-huh is on drums here with boston hassle contributor, anthony richards on guitar. omg such fun bedroom sets, head banging with james from eaten on anthony’s bunk bed. hilarious times. anthony thrashes that gnarl nonsense emo-ish jazz chord style, and charles keeps right on up with it blastasastttasting on the drummables. DOT GOV are the best boys. ali reid made this sick pin for them. funniest logo. killer duo. anthony also plays in linda and kiss concert. he’s been spotted on the best show on WFMU. a printmaking extraordinaire, indeed. i must anthony’s friendship over this past year is a privledge. definitely a ‘top shrimp’. most recently he’s been putting together the second distant castle compilation. the happiness tony is an excellent monthly list of the most excellent things, most excellently placed in crappie world.
OJ (photo credit: unknown)
oj is loveliest duo of olivia and jeff, former gay gardens residents. they are the most thoughtful, and caring folks in the scene. i’ve seen and booked these two many times, and i love it every time. jeff’s vocal style is like squeezing every last bit of air from a rubber sack with an oddly shaped orifice, while olivia’s counterpoint, and trade off, brings in the high frequencies in a super unique sonic range that reminds me, honestly, of blatz. they get into these grooves that weave noise, jazz, metal, and heavy rock in like a swirl of antipop structures. jeff’s artwork and performance art project, mulchcraft, are of the highest caliber. i respect this guy’s honesty and sincerity a lot. olivia’s been publishing this new zine that’s on its third issue. crappie world is an intelligent alternative source for underground weirdo art and writing that i’ve been enjoying quite a bit. she’s put together a google calendar for shows and promotes the non-music events really well. worcester is blessed with these two.
LEAN (photo credit: yuya peco takeda)
the noise heads in worcester are hard to come by. the micro-scene, as some call it, its tightly knit and doesn’t take kindly to bullshit and nonsense attitudes. this is totally reflected, in my opinion, with lean. they know what they want, they know how to make it. chance and circumstance are mere factors in their sonic equation. seamus williams has been super busy just becoming a dad for the second time, working at 91.3 wcuw, running his own mass of solo projects (TVE, childermass, etc), making art zines under BVE, creating his own circuits and running the label ayurvedic tapes. the latter put out a solo tape of mine earlier this year and i’m super thankful. his collage work is up there on the highest levels. mickey, on the other hand, has been keeping it solid and cool-as-fuck booking super selective when booking good shows. the new years day noise brunch is his brain child, and is on its second year. so stoked on that afternoon. i think he’s been making some of his own circuits, too. these cats never stop jamming.
SECRET LOVER (photo credit: yuya peco takeda)
the massachusetts sweethearts. they play your way often and i would be surprised if you haven’t seen them. this year i’ve seen some excellent fliers drawn by guitarist john guida. he has a great style and it’s getting better all the time. he makes deformed monstrous portraits that have so much beauty and then calm psychedelic landscapes that are so dreamy. i heard once lars did like thirty shows, thirty days in a row at his parents house. this year i’ve seen lars do rap sets, lars attacks and transmissions from planet cat, which sounds exactly like the name reads. he becomes the receptor to sound frequencies from planet cat. he’s also in talchemist, a soft prog drum machine driven psychosis of synth and guitar duo also starring jjb. certainly looking forward to seeing some more ramblin’ sal sets, maybe there be a recording in the new year?? that one night on the porch was great! she is the karaoke queen, with no dreams shared. dave’s been keeping it low key, but has a large catalog behind him, too. this crew continues to penetrate new parts of the us. glad to share a city with them.
quick shout outs to matt fox, cuban rebel girls, isa x, all things kevin oliver, all things rainy logan, tinnitus, set, cleansing wave, young newcomers yippee, the boys at the ARC, peco for being awesome and for all the photos, and thanks to so many more…
i’m super lucky to be in this community. i get to see work of all caliber come together. i get to see people of all ages come together. thanks worcester for another year.