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Noisy Stories About Home, Pt. II

Posted by Ben Collins, Today's Soundtrack  September 28, 2010 12:47 PM

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Noisy Stories About Home is a project for Today’s Soundtrack where we’re collecting little vignettes or unbelievable stories or scenes or love letters to parts of the Greater Boston Area that people who are good with words think are unique to living here. We’ve assembled Boston’s best and most acclaimed music bloggers to tell you some of these stories.

The very loose thread here is setting -- we inevitably tie places or events that a lot of folks around Boston might visit everyday to a very specific song or album or band. In that way, we make it our own. Contributors were told that they could take any form they wanted with that. Here are their attempts to try to stretch and max that out, while telling you about some catchy songs in the process.

Today's theme, apparently, is Great Scott.

Part I, featuring Kate of Pilgrims of Sound and a baby cat talking about cereal, is located here.
Part III, the final installment featuring Ryan of Ryan's Smashing Life and Tumblr-famous Megan McCormick, will be published Wednesday afternoon.

dysonsound is a Boston-based music blog run by Matt Dyson. Covering a wide variety of local, national, and even worldwide artists, producers, and sounds. Ranging from unknown, to the most hyped bands, dysonsound covers only the best (or so he thinks).

PLACE :: The bike lane, Boston SONG :: Jukebox the Ghost - I Love You Always Forever (Live Donna Lewis Cover)

Take the bus or hop on the bike? Take the bus or hop on the bike? As I drove home from work in the South End to my apartment in JP, this was all that tossed through my mind. I knew I had a full night of music ahead of me and wasn’t sure of my preferred mode of transportation.

It was a gorgeous early fall night and the weather was perfect for riding. Bike it is then. Why’d I even debate this?

The show lined up for the evening was one I had been looking forward to for a long while. Jukebox the Ghost was in town to play with old friends Via Audio from my Berklee years and Golden Bloom. It was also a night to hang out with fellow music bloggers I only get to see at shows (which is quickly becoming more and more frequent).

The venue was Great Scott. Years and years back, these two bands would not be gracing the stage at this club, it was never considered much of the “cool club”. But over the course of a few years, it has turned into one of the best venues in Boston to catch up and coming local acts or ones touring the country.

Back to what brought me here, my bike riding decision. If you’re expecting a story of me riding through the sky like Mary Poppins or Elliot and E.T., I hate to disappoint you. This is a simple reliving of (please insert movie trailer mans voice here) one man, his bike, vinyls purchased from the merch table and oh, most importantly, a tote bag.

You’re confused, I know.

This one gig completely opened my eyes to the beauty of tote bags. My bike riding decision? Definitely the right one until it came time to check out the merch table and realize all 3 bands were selling either 12” or 7” records I needed to have. But I didn’t ride with a bag tonight. I don’t have anything to strap these to my bike with? What’s a biking man supposed to do?

Enter Jukebox the Ghost to save the day with their tote bags for sale. Absolutely brilliant.

I happily snatched up my vinyls, purchased my lovely tote, strapped it around me, and hopped on my bike. The ride home at 1:00 a.m. was peaceful, quiet, yet rushed. My tote and I road home as quickly as we could. Filled with a bag full of goodies, we both wondered which of the gems inside we’d throw on the table first.

***

Erik Ziedses des Plantes may have accidentally lived the most Allston-y life in existence for a while. He was in a very good electro-metalish-rock band and an indie-punk band, someone actually fell off his roof during a party at some point while he was living there, and he has been to Harper’s Ferry on purpose. Erik is an Arts And Entertainment contributor at Boston’s Weekly Dig, a writer for Prefixmag.com, and runs the Twitter album review account PerpetualRiffs. He still needs a day job.

PLACE :: Great Scott, Allston SONG :: Pissed Jeans - False Jessii Pt. 2

I couldn’t believe it was happening. I didn’t want it to be happening, but sure enough, it was happening. I had just turned 22 years old and I quickly felt like I was becoming jaded with everything around me. When I was younger, I was perhaps a little blindly optimistic, claiming that the punk scene and the bands that made it up would always be the things that carried me through. Yet, there I was, slowly gravitating towards the mass of people out there who go to shows and stand there with their arms crossed and maybe bob their heads.

This was, of course, if I could even muster up the will to even go to a show anymore. It wasn’t even a financial problem, an issue I had with the Boston scene, or a matter of bands that I like not coming to Boston. (So if you were expecting an essay on what is wrong with Boston punk in the year 2010, look elsewhere.) The lack of an empirical reason is what bothered me so much.

Then, a bunch of day-jobbing sludge punks from Allentown, PA showed up at Great Scott in Allston and blasted me right back into purity in a very physical way.

Pissed Jeans aren’t really doing that much new as a band. They’re another worthy entry into the kind of noise punk that bands like Flipper and Black Flag pioneered, with perhaps a tinge of Nirvana’s crunch thrown in for good measure. Lyrically, they take completely mundane subjects and turn them into the most important things ever.

For example, “I’ve Got You (Ice Cream),” off of their 2007 explosion disguised as an album Hope For Men is about exactly what the title says, but their delivery completely sells it. It makes you believe that ice cream is the saving grace that singer Matt Korvette is making it out to be. Whether it was the blunt truth in advertising or their downright relatability that drove me back to musical optimism, I’m not sure. But it happened.

If a band that I liked was playing at Great Scott, I generally found it inexcusable not to go, as I lived on Glenville Ave. at the time. Since the smallish venue is literally right around the corner from there, I sauntered over. After a couple of opening bands played, Korvette, guitarist Bradley Fry, bassist Randy Huth, and drummer Sean McGuinness took the stage and morphed right in front of everyone’s eyes. Spit flew threw the air, Fry beat his guitar as if it had killed his mother, and Korvette stalked the stage, looking like a combination of Iggy Pop, The Jesus Lizard’s David Yow, and somebody who looked as if he was on the verge of vomiting at all times.

When they launched into “False Jessii Pt. 2,” the opening track from their 2009 pinnacle King Of Jeans, the crowd got rowdier than ever, and somehow in the crush, I got tossed on top of the monitors. Strangely, I was fine with this, despite my avoidance of almost all things “mosh pit.”

I stayed there, bellowing the wordless chorus at the top of my lungs. I felt like a baby having the most ecstatic tantrum of all time in front of a moderately sized crowd. I realize that this may be an absolutely cliché metaphor, but I truly felt reborn in that moment, as if somebody had dropped a book on my lap titled This Is Why You Got Into Punk Rock In The First Place.

When the song ended, I was in a daze. Somebody asked if I was all right. I think I said yes.

After the show, I ended up at some Allston house party, but I couldn’t be convinced to care about it. I was too busy drifting away in the blissful ringing that was flying around in my head. Everything else paled in comparison to what had just occurred less than a mile away.

What’s funny about this whole situation is how negative of a song “False Jessii Pt. 2” actually is, its lyrics acting as a laundry list of societal norms Korvette wants to have no part in. I can say with confidence that the band’s elevation-of-nonsense attitude, combined with the sweltering intimacy that a venue only like Great Scott can provide, renewed my perspective on music and live performances, and I will never stop being thankful for it.

***
This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.
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About the author

Ben Collins can't help but search beyond Feist for the zeitgeist of Today's Soundtrack, his pick of a song or songs capturing the mood or events of the moment. His musical tastes vary from Strawberry Fields to The Magnetic Fields, from Low to Skee-Lo. A North Shore native, Ben has worked at The Boston Globe and Spin and is an Emerson grad. Make your own nominations to him at ben.t.collins@comcast.net or on Twitter @globesoundtrack. More »

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