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Show Crush: The High Seas / Horsehands / Hex Map / Bonezone Monday at Charlie’s Kitchen

October 4, 2010
If you hang around Boston bands long enough, you’re going to get exposed to heartbreak in one form or another. If you haven’t felt the deep, stinging burn of scene rejection recently, stay on your toes – because the next burn isn’t far away, I assure you. Every day bands implode, venues cease to exist, practice spaces disintegrate, and blue-blooded comrades move on to pastures of varying color. There’s plenty of jilt to go around.
Drinking Positivity is a good idea in times like these, so we’ll use this here opportunity to recognize a citizen of the community and some exciting bands that’ll keep leading me on until eventually finding some way to hurt me years down the line.

The High Seas have been making twitchy indie-art-punk for right around 2 years, and have always been a compelling live band. Dual lead guitars chop out tangled melodies alongside sharp and frantic bass riffs; vocals are shouted, chanted, or pleaded by each of the band’s four members; and a deliriously paced kick drum threatens to drive the band’s entire engine right off the tracks. Referencing instances of post-punk from DC to Manchester and back, The High Seas have been consistently hitting a sweet spot of dramatic and expressive music, performed with purposeful speed and a thoughtful lack of abandon. Maintaining the pulse of the band has made drummer Josh Allain an accomplished performer. He’s also been an authentic and unselfish advocate for Boston bands for several years, whether by bringing new booking ideas to the table, fighting for local band opportunities in venues, or just filming and writing about artists that get little attention from mainstream outlets. In other words, the kind of guy we can’t afford to loose around here; sadly (remember that bit earlier about heartbreak?), Josh is moving on to California to pursue new pursuits, and it’ll be no easy task to replace his enthusiasm for bands, live music and getting things done. We look forward to The High Seas continuing on and a full length record that should be on it’s way to the surface shortly.
Like any sad Boston band story, this chapter will close with an amazing show. On Monday night at Charlie’s, we’ll get treated to one last original-lineup High Seas set, along with three bands handpicked by Josh to close out his Boston run with the proper level of emphasis.
Horsehands recently put out the Cartesian Theatre split 7″ (with Leagues [sorta f.k.a. The Measuremen]) on Corpse Athlete Records. The HH contribution “What A Dish” has just about every key element of the band’s DNA: dense and soaring guitar leads, heavy and proggy rhythm parts, wildly inventive song structures, and elusive vocals that seem taken from both human and extraterrestrial sources. Purchase the vinyl or just the mp3s at
Hex Map is the next evolutionary step of the now-extinct species Clawjob, a band that had bravely experimented in format, song structure, genre, membership, instrumentation and DIY production. While some of the risks were successes (the compelling arc of the Space Crackers rock-opera concept album, and the comparative darkness of songs like “Diamond Hoax” off the follow up Manifest Destiny), the 2-man outfit hit the reset button and are setting out with a new rhythm section to perform music from their already complete debut album, Cryptidography. While it’s heavier and less playful than Clawjob, Hex Map still seems to recognize and value good storytelling through cohesive and mostly-earnest lyrics, alongside deliberate decisions in terms of sound textures.
Opening up is Bonezone, whose style of punk is thick with intelligent imagery and what I’d call a very palpable level of candor. Their songs are lean, preserative-free fun, littered with swerving direction changes and sudden pockets of satisfying melody. A sub-20 minute set is usually all you get, so I’d advise you not to straggle in getting there.
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