Couchtouring became more of a thing in 2013.
What a year.
Some incredible, superstar acts came through Connecticut in 2013 — Justin Timberlake, Phish, Drake, Pearl Jam, Elton John, Rosanne Cash, Chris Cornell, Black Sabbath, tons and tons of awesome indie-rock bands, avant-garde jazzers and hip-hop artists (and later this week, we get to see Prince, Janelle Monae, Esperanza, Robert Randolph and a few others). It was so much fun covering them for the Advocates and CTNow.
But I also got to write about a few local acts — not as many as I would have hoped for, but a decent cross-section — who did some amazing things. When I talked to them, they were hilariously funny, nervous, smart and insightful. Best of all: they made killer music, all of them.
So, here’s a quick rundown of my year covering the Connecticut music scene. And here’s to an even better 2014. Cheers, and thanks for reading.
New London band Ferocious (Expletive) Teeth releases a self-titled debut LP this week. (Courtesy of Safety Meeting Records)
With interests in music, painting, literature and poetry, the members of New London band Ferocious [Expletive] Teeth are essentially a self-contained arts collective.
Their primary focus right now, however, is music: the band this week releases a powerful self-titled debut LP on Safety Meeting Records, and plays an album-release show Saturday at Café Nine in New Haven. The album is a visceral collection, full of noisy, experimental songs the band describes as “heavy stony jams.”
They recorded in Chicago in November 2010 during a three-day session with Steve Albini, the legendary punk-rock audio engineer responsible for the sound of “Surfer Rosa” by the Pixies, “In Utero” by Nirvana, “Rid of Me” by PJ Harvey and albums by a host of lesser-known, yet influential bands including the Jesus Lizard, Superchunk and Albini’s own groups, Big Black and Shellac.
Those records, and that sound — aggressive guitars; huge, tough drums; murky vocals — provided weighty incentive for Ferocious [Expletive] Teeth to be well-prepared when the band arrived at Albini’s Electrical Audio studio.
The Suicide Dolls balance catchy songs with noise on
A lot of bands work on their live performance before recording an album, but few are as deliberate about it as the Suicide Dolls.
The New London trio last month released “Prayers in Parking Lots,” its full-length debut — just in time for the group’s 10th anniversary this year.
“We’ve been chipping away for a long time, and I think we’re at a point now where we’ve never sounded this good,” bassist and singer Michelle Montavon says over coffee at Mohegan Sun.
Ten years doesn’t fully tell the story. Montavon and guitarist and singer Brian James Albano, both 38 and a couple since they were 15, started playing music together in 1994. They played in a succession of improvisational noise bands on the East Coast and in the Midwest, before a longing for musical structure prompted the pair to overhaul their approach.
“In the ’90s, we wanted to play this noise that when you listened to it, it was hard for your mind to conceptualize and focus on what was going on,” Albano says. “But then I wanted catchy, because I love catchy songs, too.”
John Fries & the Heat is one of 15 bands on a new compilation of New London-area artists by Good Sponge Records.
Last week we learned about all the Connecticut acts with new albums on the way, and while you should listen to and/or purchase as many of them as you can, there’s no denying that would represent a significant investment of time and money.
So why not start with a new Americana-heavy sampler of 15 New London-area acts, compiled by Good Sponge Records? Hear new tracks by the Rivergods, John Fries & the Heat, Lauren Agnelli, the Sue Menhart Band, the Franklin Brothers, Dave Rave and Amalgamated Muck, which may well be the second-best band name in Connecticut.
“The Good Sponge Sampler, Vol. 1″ is available now in digital form, with a physical release on CD, and a CD-release party, coming March 31 at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Rose Barn in Waterford.
You can also hear the album in its entirety tonight at 7 p.m. on the Deranged Radio Show on WCNI-FM, 90.9. Host Anne Castellano, who is among the artists on the comp, will be joined in the studio by other artists from the album.