Oxnard’s most out-there ensemble (now a three-piece), has launched its own label, YAY!, which their press release claims “is here to bring the fun back in pop!” Hey, any band that uses amplified vacuum cleaners as instruments and smashes cinder blocks as part of their live show definitely knows what fun is all about. The imprint’s first four releases are all seven inches — as in records — and include the debut from dreampoppy newbies Catwalk and two efforts from Maria themselves, as well as a fanzine that comes packaged with an old-school flexidisc. The full YAY! Roster — all two groups — brings fun back to Grady’s Record Refuge on May 27, in celebration of the release of Maria’s latest vinyl offering. Yay!
Oi! Throwing open the casket that was slowly closing on punk in the year 1979, South Londoners the Business restored the dying music’s working class, blue collar, bloodstained ideals as it slowly diluted into the more palatable new wave form. Harder and more gutter-level than their occasionally artsy and scholarly predecessors, the band ushered in a new era of underground rebellion with a brutal-but-anthemic sound, perfect for rioting after a soccer match. In fact, the group’s biggest hit, “England 5 – Germany 1,” became a rallying cry for British football fans across the country. Still alive and kicking (and stomping), the legendary Biz performs at Alpine on May 29.
A guitarist in the tradition of late legend John Fahey, Berkeley-based songwriter Sean Smith says he gave up playing rock’n’roll a long time ago to focus on working as a solo artist, and he couldn’t have picked a better time to do so: Indie folkies such as Devendra Banhart are currently ruling the fringes of the music universe. Smith, though admittedly just beginning (he put out his first record last year and is working on a second), has already started the early stages of carving out his own niche in that scene, having toured the coasts extensively, appeared at the South By Southwest Music Conference and shared bills with such luminaries as Six Organs of Admittance and Bonnie “Prince” Billy. And now, he’s giving a free concert at Buffalo Records on May 25.