July 26, 2013

Krill and Kal Marks

Take a quick peruse through AwkwardSound's BUZZSounds over the past year and note the obvious signs of a new peak relevance in the Massachusetts underground music scene, as it's bubbled under the basements, house shows and into bigger platforms of tastemaking sites with acclaim and big brand press to bat. AS shouldn't have to run through its proud cast of characters (it will anyway: Speedy Ortiz, Potty Mouth, California X, PILE, Psychic Blood, Fat History Month, Grass Is Green, Bunny's A Swine just to name a few) but more ears on both sides of the Baystate provides an opportunity for their overlooked peers who now stand a chance at having their work transcend state lines as well. The 413 has been -- by default of home base -- the main focus here on AS lately, but the capital city of Boston isn't to be overshadowed. Meet two hairy chested indie rock outfits who are keeping the scene weird and grizzled around its edges, patting each other on the back along the way...


Step onto the sidewalk of the Boston streets and you can literally fall into the lap of the country's higher education elite. That's where the three-piece who call themselves Krill got their start back in 2010, as Tufts University friends in guitarist Aaron Ratoff and drummer Luke Pyenson turned their Somerville apartment into a homegrown recording studio once frontman and bassist Jonah Furman moved in with them. The sound of Krill is almost as anomalistic as their namesake (they told Stereogum's Liz Pelly that it's the "most diminutive form of a sea monster,") being a hashed out clanker of stop-and-go guitar shards and burly drums fielded in long division form of shifty time signatures. Furman's voice is lazily twisted and ugly, often carelessly tripping its footing around the speed at which the three-piece play. To date, the band has two lofty examples of material under its belt in 2012's self-produced full-length debut Alam No Hris, but it's on their recently released sophomore effort Lucky Leaves -- which saw Krill leave the home tapes behind and set up shop in a more professional sense with Ava Luna's Carlos Hernandez and Julian Fader at BK DIY studio space the Silent Barn -- where every tinker and ache in their sound hits the soundboard like a pin drop. Their upcoming show schedule is something of an in-flux operation best left by keeping track of their facebook updates, but if you're in the pay-it-forward mood to help these dudes out, it looks like they're in need of some assistance fleshing out an ambitious U.S. and Canadian tour this September.

Kal Marks

Behind Carl Shane's crooked-jawed vocals, there's some dark heart-on-his sleeve sarcasm beating out of the man's chest. Kal Marks originally began as the solo project of the songwriter inside his sisters' bathroom in New Hampshire before he moved out to Boston, but in 2009, those songs took on a bigger life of their own within the city's basement scene. Evolving Kal Marks into a full band meant Shane was now able to weigh his music's heavy emotions off the stage and into rooms where warm-spaced anti-folk undertones and shambling guitar rock drudge reverberated into the walls. These days, he calls Mike Geacone and Nick Egersheim his bassist and drummer respectively, but the songs he pens still remain deeply personal anecdotes to what's going on in his head, as evidenced by Kal Marks' forthcoming sophomore LP Life Is Murder, due out September 17th on a trifecta of labels including Exploding In Sound, Midnight Werewolf and Sophomore Lounge. Shane says the collection of songs are “roughly about dealing with depression and the struggle of keeping a band and my life together." He isn't in it alone, however, as Krill's Jonah Furman joins him and his bandmates on lead single "Life Is Murder," turning an already anxious tune into one where those weary voices in your head begin to overtake all thought process. Kal Marks will be heading out on the road for a mini tour of the northeast during the first week of August, with a full tour to follow this autumn (possibly the same one Krill will be undertaking by reason of "Boston bro-dom.")

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