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Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Beatings Triumph on new record: 'Late Season Kids'

THE RETURN OF ROYALTY: Known far beyond the borders of Boston, highly-acclaimed for their ability to work post-punk angst and dark soul into their songs (tales about lost love, the role of the individual in society, and the oft-mundane nature of city life.) The Beatings are performing some of their best music to date in 2009.

On Sept. 15th, they release their sixth Studio album titled, Late Season Kids on Midriff Records (an East Coast record label that is itself celebrating a tremendous year - bucking the recession trend and making big marks with new listeners.)

BEST OF 2009 - With songs a bit more hopeful and a measure more poppy, The Beatings return to the stage armed with some outstanding new material. I very enthusiastically share with you - one of the best records of the year!


One of the Best Records of 2009

Late Season Kids starts off in a melancholy late 80s mood with "Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained." The Beatings’ Eldridge Rodriguez’s (The Beatings & solo) deep voice stands perfectly apart from the rest of the players. He is the narrator, the extra instrument in the room. “We were looking for trouble,” he begins… And you believe, immediately, that they found it. Eldridge lunges forward though out, marking the season and setting place…

The Sun's staying out all Night / September’s Kind of Like A Time Bomb.” Long days, short on time - Beautiful. Economical in its use of words, stirring with its ample use of angst and emotion, the Beatings have propped us up only to knock us over – snapping us out of some long detachment. “Let’s, go! C’mon!

"Bury You" is a slow, ranging song using drums and guitar to move through heartache. The protagonist part here, sang by Tony Skalicky (Beatings & Get Help), wants to come to terms with a lost relationship. He sings from a point of power, vowing, offering, to remember her as long as he can. Did she abandon the man behind the voice? Did she perish as the title might suggest? Or is the title a metaphor for what he is trying (unsuccessfully) to accomplish – to move on and be free? A story with ample room for our artistic interpretation.


It is worthwhile to mention that The Beatings are their own Darwinian experiment. Comfortable in their musical identity - they are completely insular. Protected from "creative contamination" from most of their contemporaries, the result is the Beatings are one of a kind these days.

I used to think it all made sense automatically,” says Skalicky on 'The Sleeper is No Fool.' He seems to be holding mass, advising the young and the inexperienced. There are no wasted tracks or unnecessary lines it seems on “Late Season Kids.” Something odd happens on this album however, the Beatings have grown wiser while avoiding the cliché of getting softer.


The Beatings - Ryan Scafuro photo

The Beatings are (from left in front) Eldridge Rodriguez (Guitar, vocals), Erin Dalbec (Bass, vocals) and Dennis Grabowski (Drums), (in back from left) Greg Lyon (Guitar, keyboard) and Tony Skalicky (Guitar, vocals).

There is measure of hope communicated through this record. It's somewhat unexpected, to be honest - but this twist of tone works well for the band as they tackle things with a bit more experience under their belt... “Lighten Up Kid, Don’t slit your wrists/ with the way things have been going, there’s bound to be some give.”

Those golden words underscore the message on “Youth Crimes”. It’s a song that shows a level of understanding we didn’t anticipate from the band. Rodriguez goes on to lament what society demands of its youth. Here he tackles the right and wrongs, seemingly telling the kids to just be kids. Fighting the, “Mindless Accusations from a Book We Never Read.”

Skalicky takes over the vocals on 'Worth the Wait.' It’s a fast-paced number, asking the audience to take a look at their intentions/their goals – their very existence. “Do You know what you’re looking for? / Is it worth waiting for? ” (As with so many of The Beatings songs, more questions are asked than are ever answered.)

Another fine track:The Scapegoats” begins; “When I was young I thought I would be dead by Twenty Five.” – Despite this bleak opening, the song is full of light, serendipitous memory and child-like curiosity...

LISTEN FOR IT: As a kid my parents took me to the monuments, and I’m the warrior that stares into the basement. And there’s a window at the far side of the gift store. I swear I saw a minotaur. I didn’t want to say, I couldn’t look away.Beautiful!

In some ways this song is an intense example of ramshackle songwriting – but what the Beatings have done here is to manifest, in song, the exactly way that people recall their own thoughts and memories. They don’t come on you clean or as you want to hear them, they just come. This one’s a little outside of the slam dunk, easy-zone for The Beatings and I am happy that it proves to be one of the best songs on the magnificent “Late Season Kids.”


CD Release Party
Sat. September 12th 2009
w/ Hands and Knees + The Hush Now
9pm - $9 - 18+
TT the Bears in Cambridge

Album on Midriff Records
The Beatings: Web / Myspace

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