75orLess-endorsed recording studio Plan of a Boy is located in the Smill Hill section of Providence, RI. Kraig Jordan (The Masons, Junior Varsity Arson, Lloyd’s Llamas, Stanatron) owns and operates the studio. They have rebuilt the retaining wall, so you no longer have to worry about being crushed to death while taking a smoke break.
The following 75orLess bands have recorded at Plan of a Boy: Baby Oil, Coma Coma, I am Tom Cummins, Lloyd’s Llamas, Bill Keough, Galvanize, Six Star General, Matt Fraza, Junior Varsity Arson, Jodie Treloar, Karma Rocket, 15er, and others.
Deadlands – Faceless Angels
Deadlands play dangerously close to a line that would put them into the schmaltzy bar-band blues category. What saves them from that awful fate is a skill for invoking the ghost of early ZZ Top in order to bring some character to their tracks. As often as the generic “Before You Were Born” and the “Mustang Sally”-baiting “Discotex” make me want to scream, tracks like “Bottom Feeders,” “Libby Prison Blues,” and “Fink” prove that there’s much more at hand with Deadlands than Thursday-night-dive-bar status. There are glimpses of real blues-rock genius on Faceless Angels. If you queue up those stellar moments and skip past the cheese you are certain to find something to enjoy on this record.
Junior Varsity Arson – Self Titled EP
Junior Varsity Arson is the musical project of four long-time New England rock stalwarts, Guy Benoit (Thee Hydrogen Terrors), Kraig Jordan (The Masons), Dave Narcizo (Throwing Muses), and Don Sanders (Medicine Ball, The Masons). What do you get when you throw these four guys in a room together? Not exactly what you would expect. Instead of heavy art punk, you’ll find something more akin to Devo or They Might Be Giants, as spoken/ sung by an odd combination of the guy from Cake and William S. Burroughs. If you have any taste at all you will agree that this is an oddly appealing recipe. The five songs that comprise JVA’s self-titled, debut EP roll by like some strange beat poet’s LSD-induced hallucination. “Her Parents Love Me” starts off quirkily with, “Her parents love me/ I’m such a big improvement/ over the white supremacist. Her parents hated him/ He ruined every holiday,” and continues on with a strange, American gothic love story. “Brown Jacket and Purple Keds” is a song about… actually, I have no idea what this song is about. There are references to shopping at Target, a museum, a Volvo, and shit-stains on the floor. I have to admit that I lost the story line pretty quickly. And so it goes for another three tracks of stream-of-consciousness lyrics spoken and sung over kitschy keyboards, guitars, and drums. Junior Varsity Arson’s debut sounds spontaneous—like a gang of accomplished musicians getting together on a Saturday night, simply enjoying playing together, all wondering what will come out on the other side. Thankfully, what came out the other side is utterly entertaining.
Matt Fraza – Let Trouble Go
As I’m driving down Storrow Drive one fall morning, I slide Matt Fraza’s new album into my player. The opening track is mellow folk melody that puts me in mind of a quiet house concert with a cup of coffee in hand, resting on a couch and surrounded by friends. It’s familiar, relaxing, like a stroll down the quiet roads I grew up on. Much of the lyrics lack a regular format, and have a more stream of consciousness feel to them, reinforcing the casual feeling I get when listening to songs like “Forever.” At first I was a little put off by this, but on the second third runs through the album, I think I get it—Matt, Kraig Jordan (bass, lead guitar), and Tom Chace (drums, keyboards, vocals, bass) have some stories they want to share, and it’s about the telling of the tale, not making sure it fits into a certain mold.
Sick Pills – Sickening
Classic-era punk, particularly of the UK variety, presented us with a lively alternative to bloated arena rock, and the best of its purveyors, particularly the Buzzcocks and The Jam, also offered up some pretty snappy tunes to go with the attitude. This propensity carried forth into the so-called college rock of the ’80s (aka indie rock), and we find plenty of that attitude and tunefulness here, particularly on the opening track, “Wormfood.” But the same opening gambit tropes which seemed so refreshing and new a generation ago have now become cliches: telepathic guitar lines; anti-love songs; stop and start dynamics; brawly Pistols-like chaos; sludgy intros; machine-gun staccato; cinematic whangdoodle; abrasive textures; pounding clamor; grudging grindoramas; feedback-laden echoplex tunings, and so forth. No bad, all in all—just lacking in anything genuinely novel.
You can read the reviews here
Mark Cutler – Dreamland (75orLess Records)
After recently quitting his day job to be a full time musician, Mark Cutler hunkered down to record Dreamland, a decidedly more quiet and intimate album compared to his recent releases Sweet Pain and Red (both on 75orLess Records). Cutler tells me he recorded the album in his house and mostly by himself with cameos from his always formidable Men of Great Courage band. One doesn’t have to wait long to see the new direction: the first tune, “Doing Things That We Like To Do” has a lazy, peaceful strumming guitar around a campfire kind of feel. “Tankful of Gas” has a decidedly acoustic blues meets folk feel, with buzzing slide guitars. “Circle To a Square” reminds me of the 60’s folk of early Donovan, before he started singing about important stuff… you know, like the hurdy-gurdy man and witching season. The title track is my favorite on the record with a great melody that I can hum all day. “Too Much Fun” is a more upbeat rocker, while retaining the stripped down feel of the rest of the rest of Dreamland. “We Don’t Do That Stuff No More” has the feel of Tom Petty blues ballad. The theme of nostalgia runs through much of Dreamland, but probably never more than on the closing, “I’ll Play For You,” where Cutler weaves his tale of days past over a simple beat. It works. Dreamland may not be your typical get ready to rage on a Saturday night record, but it sure sounds great on a Sunday afternoon!
Junior Varsity Arson – Self Titled EP (75orLess Records)
Every now and again I get a new biscuit and look at it and say what the hell is this? Case in point, when something called Junior Varsity Arson came in. So I checked out their one sheet that describes the band as “Lonely Guy Rock.” They go on to describe themselves as a soundtrack for men who are banned from certain establishments, with endless theories and endless amounts of time to explain those theories. Okay, maybe I’ll actually like this.
Truth is, Junior Varsity Arson is a local super group of sorts, composed of Guy Benoit (Thee Hydrogen Terrors), Don Sanders (Medicine Ball, The Masons), Dave Narcizo (Throwing Muses), and Kraig Jordan (The Masons). Junior Varsity Arson is a little twisted in a fun indie rock way. The EP kicks off with “Her Parents Love Me,” chock full of lyrical gems like, “Her parents love me, I’m such a big improvement over the white supremacist.” Indie rock is a genre chock full of people that take themselves too seriously. That’s why it’s refreshing to come across something like Junior Varsity Arson, that’s lighthearted and still rocks. “Brown Jacket and Purple Keds” reminds me a little of the Dead Milkman as it chronicles the lonely man that Junior Varsity Arson proclaims to be the soundtrack for. “Hippy Dippy Milk Man” has an anthem, ‘60s spy feel with the keyboards. “Skull Collection” has an ‘80s alternative rock feel, while the song chronicles getting broken into and having one’s skull collection stolen. “I’m Hooked” is Junior Varsity Arson’s alternative dance number, that has a little bit of a psychedelic feel. What I like about Junior Varsity Arson most is they have personality both lyrically and musically, that makes each song memorable. – See more at: http://motifri.com/mark-cutler-dreams-junior-varsity-arson-burns-it-up/#sthash.dshz02O3.dpuf
75OL-176 Junior Varsity Arson – Self Titled CD
1. Her Parents Love Me
2. Brown Jacket and Purple Keds
3. Hippy Dippy Milk Man
4. Skull Collection
5. I’m Hooked
Junior Varsity Arson play Lonely Guy Rock. A soundtrack for men who are banned from certain establishments; men who were thrown out of record stores and video stores; men who have endless theories and endless amounts of time to explain those theories; men who are willing to tell you what you’re doing wrong; men with big crushes on the women behind the counter; men with the inside story; old men who despise what this country has become; young men who play Dungeons & Dragons with vintage pewter pieces; men who know their own IQs; men who cannot rock. Junior Varisty Arson have a lot of rock to do. They consist of Kraig Jordan, Don Sanders, Dave Narcizo and Guy Benoit. Featuring original artwork by William Schaff.