When Soft Pyramids get into their laid back groove, it’s one sweet ride.
Fossils Of The Free World
My renewed love affair with the perfectly understated music of Soft Pyramids continues with a quick look at their 2014 full-length record, Fossils Of The Free World. I should probably mention what a solid album this is, from the dreamy opening of “Light By Heat” to the lush outro of “Porcelain Outlaws Break Easier.” I’d be remiss not to mention the high points of “Waning Moon” and “Tequila Sirens” that fall in between. Sure, these are things are all true. That said, there’s just one thing you truly must know: Any record with “Around This Town” on it is needs to be heard.
The physical product is a 12″ black vinyl record played at 33 1/3 RPM living in a full color sleeve. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Where to get it:
“Tweakin’ On The Weekend”
I had seen Soft Pyramids before, but the band really won me over during this year’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble. Naturally, I had to walk away with all of their vinyl, which included the laid back and hip single for “Tweakin’ On The Weekend.” Jangly guitars and a just-right tempo provide an easy groove below the drifting vocals. Soft Pyramids are swimming in the sweet spot. The B-side, “Don’t You Tell Me,” picks up the pace and provides a nice counterpoint to the first number. The digital download, included with the vinyl, tacks on a couple of high quality bonus tunes in “Bellwether Lullaby” and “White Deadnettle.” Nice.
The vinyl itself is a basic black 7″ that plays at 45RPM. The record, download code and accompanying lyric sheet are wrapped in a craft board sleeve with black printing. Simple and cool.
Where to get it:
So long, 2015 Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble. You were something else. Nine nights of Rock ‘N’ Roll that solidified your reputation for helping local music fans find their new favorite bands. Anngelle Wood put together your wonderfully diverse lineup, but you took on a life of your own. You always do. We’re lucky you’re still around and you’ve got people like Anngelle looking after you.
Congratulations to Zip-Tie Handcuffs! You’re the 2015 Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble Champs! You played every night like you were fending off a swarm of bullet ants, armed only with tortured guitars, thrashing drums and tight harmonies. You are the stuff of legends.
I guess that’s it. Another Rumble come and gone. All I have left now are these photos. Hopefully they bring back good memories…
Band Without Hands
Dirty Bangs (Prelim Night #4 Winner)
The Dirty Looks
Duck & Cover (Wildcard)
Eternals (Prelim Night #2 Winner)
Le Roxy Pro
Nate Leavitt Band
Mercury On Mars
Nemes (Prelim Night #1 Winner)
New City Ghost
The Rare Occasions
Soft Pyramids (Prelim Night #6 Winner)
The Static Dynamic (Prelim Night #3 Winner)
The Warning Shots
Dan Webb And The Spiders
Zip-Tie Handcuffs (Prelim Night #5 Winner)
There’s never a dull moment with the Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble. The 2015 edition has been a wild one. Zip-Tie Handcuffs and Nemes won their Semifinal nights to move on. The Static Dynamic snagged the wildcard. The Finals will go down Friday night at TT’s. Before you head on over, here are a few things buzzing through my head regarding the Semifinal Round…
Rock ‘N’ Roll Variety Show
It has become pretty common to reference the wackiness of individual Rumble night lineups. Can you remember a non-Rumble show with bands as varied as Zip-Tie Handcuffs, Soft Pyramids, Dirty Bangs and Duck & Cover? Diverse bills occasionally happen in the wild. They’re commonplace in The Rumble. Thursday night’s Semifinal was a goodie.
The NFL’s Got Nothin’ On The Rumble
In sports, you always hear about league parity. Any given Sunday and all that jazz. The big leagues could take a few pointers from The Rumble. Trying to get inside the judges’ minds during the Friday night Semifinal showdown between Nemes, The Static Dynamic, Eternals and Murcielago was an exercise in futility. Hunches? Sure. Confident predictions? Unlikely. That’s parity.
Boston’s New Favorite Band
If my Facebook feed is any indication, Boston’s new favorite band is from Portland, Maine. The number of times Murcielago appears next to some form of the phrase “face-melting” is alarming. Not that I disagree. These guys have been a Rumble highlight for me, too.
Fun With Numbers
- Four for four: There were 4 quartets competing in the middle round. Eternals, Murcielago, Nemes and Duck & Cover represented.
- Two way tie: There were 2 ties in this year’s Rumble Semifinals. Evan Kenney of Dirty Bangs sported a bolo tie, while Ian Grinold of Zip-Tie Handcuffs sported more traditional neck attire.
- One for three: Zip-Tie Handcuffs were the lone 3 piece band in the Semifinals. Winning their night assured they will be the lone trio in The Finals.
Play Me Out
In the end, it’s all about the music, right? Here are the songs stuck in my head from the Semifinal Round.
The 2015 Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble Prelims are in the books. Even the wildcards have been revealed! Oh yeah, congrats to Murcielago and Duck & Cover. Now the stage is set for a pair of great Semifinal shows at TT’s this Thursday and Friday. Woo! Let’s take a look back at the second half of Prelims week.
Talk about The Rumble bringing out the best in bands. Wow. Soft Pyramids and Zip-Tie Handcuffs both won their nights in vastly different ways. The former were masters of restraint and nuance. The latter were ferocious and wildly creative. Both were great fun to watch. Murcielago earned themselves a wildcard spot by being the heaviest and riffiest band of the whole event. The Nate Leavitt Band broke my heart into a million pieces. I don’t think I ever want it put back together the way it was. Simply gorgeous.
Out of nowhere, Dirty Bangs just became one of my new favorite bands. What a set. I cannot wait to see what they do for a follow up on Thursday night. Yale, Massachusetts were fittingly rambunctious. I dig ’em. Mercury On Mars made me think of The Hellacopters. Mercury On Mars made me happy. Dan Webb And The Spiders made me think of The Replacements. Dan Webb And The Spiders made me happy. New City Ghost were dramatic. The Dirty Looks were exuberant. Protean Collective shredded. Thanks to The Rumble I got to see them all.
Hats Everywhere Redux
I acknowledge this is ridiculous. I’m doubling down on the nonsense. I apologize. I can’t stop seeing the hats. It first caught my attention earlier in the week. It continued all the way through the Prelims. There were 5 more bands sporting hats of all varieties after the Day Of Rest. With their wildcard selection, Duck & Cover brought the odds of advancing to the Semifinals up to even with the non-hat wearers for the first half of the week. Unfortunately, bands with hats didn’t fare as well in the subsequent nights. None of them advanced. Oh, well. It’s all meaningless, anyway. With any luck, that’s the last thing I’m going to say about hats in The Rumble.
Fun With Numbers
- Two For One: Rich Crimlisk played with 2 bands in this year’s event. He was on guitar for The Warning Shots and Salita.
- Three For One: There was 1 band that had a shaker that looked like a tomato (Soft Pyramids). There were at least 3 people I know of, myself included, that thought said tomato was real until it was used in a musical capacity.
- I Can’t Count That High: The number of decibels pumped out by Murcielago’s 24 speakers.
Play Me Out
Their Lindsey Buckingham cover was a thing of beauty, but “Around This Town” is the Soft Pyramids song that’s been stuck in my head since Saturday night. Here it is with the other tunes ringing in my ears from the later Prelims. Come on out the Semifinals!
Soft Pyramids are cool. Really cool. Their songs are nuanced and layered, waiting for just the right moment to unfold before you and show their true colors. Well played and well paced, the band worked like master musical manipulators. Tack on a perfect Lindsey Buckingham cover and you’ve got Soft Pyramids moving on to the semifinals.
Here are 7(ish) reasons I’m excited to attend the 6 Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble Prelimary Round nights that kick off in 5 days. Just like the title says. Night #1 is Sunday the 12th. Wednesday is the Day of Rest. It all goes down at TT’s. Let’s go…
- Opening night is always fun. There’s excitement in the air and the inevitable Rumble Plague is still a few photo booth sessions way. I trust Mister Vertigo, The Rare Occasions, Band Without Hands and Nemes will get us off on the right foot.
- Prelim Night #2 provides some good reasons to head out on a Monday night. Drab mine ’90s indie rock nuggets. Eternals just released this fantastic track. Raw Blow have the best name in the Rumble/city/world and sound ready take on all comers. Duck & Cover have a punk rock lineage that has made me anxious to see them. Thanks to The Rumble I finally will.
- The Tuesday night of Rumble Prelim week can be tough. Fatigue is setting in and the Day of Rest is just out of reach. Thankfully, Night #3 is cooking up a chill-surf-heavy-progressive-post-hardcore-punk-rock-n-roll stew to get you through. Le Roxy Pro, Salita, The Static Dynamic and Psychic Dog are on the bill.
- Adventure time! I always look forward to Rumble nights where I haven’t seen any of the bands before. Thursday’s Prelim Night #4 provides the action this year. Adding to the excitement is that this night could prove to be one of the most diverse, with Mercury On Mars, Dan Webb And The Spiders, Dirty Bangs and Protean Collective taking the stage.
- Nate Leavitt’s “Taking the Long Way Home” is one of the most underrated, understated songs to ever come out of the city. He opens Prelim Night #5 on Friday before The Dirty Looks, Murcielago and Zip-Tie Handcuffs blow the roof off the joint. That’s gonna be fun.
- The Rumble Prelims will draw to a close with another one of the event’s signature eclectic line-ups. New City Ghost, Yale, Massachusetts, Soft Pyramids and The Warning Shots will put a bow on the whole shebang with a wonderfully varied bill on Saturday the 18th.
- “Favorite” was a huge local radio hit during my formative years in the Boston rock community. Now, The Gravel Pit are back with a new album and Special Guest status in The Finals. Yes, there’s a lot of rock to roll before then, but I’ll take any opportunity to watch Ed Valauskas play the four string Fender bass. The guy’s a one man wrecking crew.
Last week we met the Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble Class of 2015. Last night we learned what the Preliminary Round lineups look like. Now it’s time to present The Rumble with this year’s Look How Awesomely Diverse These Bills Are Award. You can hear this perennial winner’s acceptance speech at TT’s the week of April 12th.
2015 ROCK ‘N’ ROLL RUMBLE PRELIMINARY SCHEDULE
Sunday April 12th, 2015 (FB Event)
9:00 – Mister Vertigo (Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp)
9:45 – The Rare Occasions (Web | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp)
10:30 – Band Without Hands (Web | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp)
11:15 – Nemes (Web | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp)
Monday April 13th, 2015 (FB Event)
9:00 – Drab (Web | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp)
9:45 – Eternals (Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp)
10:30 – Raw Blow (Web | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp)
11:15 – Duck & Cover (Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp)
Tuesday April 14th, 2015 (FB Event)
9:00 – Le Roxy Pro (Web | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp)
9:45 – Salita (Web | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp)
10:30 – The Static Dynamic (Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp)
11:15 – Psychic Dog (Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp)
Thursday April 16th, 2015 (FB Event)
9:30 – Mercury On Mars (Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp)
10:15 – Dan Webb And The Spiders (Web | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp)
11:00 – Dirty Bangs (Web | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp)
11:45 – Protean Collective (Web | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp)
Friday April 17th, 2015 (FB Event)
9:30 – Nate Leavitt (Web | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp)
10:15 – The Dirty Looks (Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp)
11:00 – Murcielago (Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp)
11:45 – Zip-Tie Handcuffs (Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp)
Saturday April 18th, 2015 (FB Event)
9:30 – New City Ghost (Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp)
10:15 – Yale, Massachusetts (Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp)
11:00 – Soft Pyramids (Web | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp)
11:45 – The Warning Shots (Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp)
More info: Rock ‘N’ Roll Rumble Website