Bill’s Indie Basement (3/16): the week in classic indie, college rock, and more
Most of the BV staff is at SXSW this week and if you haven’t checked out the livestream of BrooklynVegan’s SXSW day parties yet, there have been a lot of Indie Basement approved bands that have played, including The Wedding Present, Corridor, Shopping, and IDLES — you can watch archived streams of all those — with hopefully more to come (RVG on Saturday?). If you have YouTube hooked up to your TV it’s almost like being there (not really but maybe that’s ok). And if you are in Austin this week, definitely hit our parties. Tell ’em Bill sent you, not that that will get you free drinks or anything.
Meanwhile here’s this week’s Indie Basement featuring a new video from Bonny Doon, a new Wooden Shjips record (the first in five years), the excellent Dungen/Woods collaborative record, a new single from former Selebrities singer Maria Usbeck and some basement-recorded power-pop from D.A. Stern.
Bonny Doon – “Long Wave”
“Rejoice. You are who you’re supposed to be,” reads titles etched into the frame of Bonny Doon’s video for new single “Long Wave,” which is also the (sorta) title track of their forthcoming album for Woodsist. The band have a laconic style but the words matter, and I am very into their vibe at the moment. (“I wanna be where I’m going,” is a lyric in “I Am Here,” also from new album, so there’s a theme going on.) It all fits with the band’s mellow, strummy style that spits the difference between Pavement and Dean Wareham. The video, too, which is all sun-dappled nature and good vibes. Say the band:
We filmed this one day in West Marin County in California with our friend Marlee. The song was mostly improvised so we felt the video should be too. We just wanted it to feel like sitting outside all day feeling connected and the unique joy of that.
The video premieres right here:
Longwave is out next week (3/23) via Woodsist and I highly recommend it. Bonny Doon will be on tour with Band of Horses this summer, but before that they’ll play Brooklyn’s Union Pool on April 6 with B Boys and Patio (tickets).
Dungnen/Woods – Myths 003 EP
Every year at Mexican Summer’s Marfa Myths Festival they pair up a couple of different artists for a Musicians in Residence recording session, which then ends up being released as an EP. The first two — Dev Hynes and Connan Mockasin, and Ariel Pink and Jorge Elbrecht — were interesting but slight. But at the third edition they paired some seriously talented hard workers — Dungen’s Gustav Ejstes & Reine Fiske, and Woods’ Jeremy Earl & Jarvis Taveniere –and the result is the best in the Myths series to date by a mile
It’s also more than an EP, with seven tracks at 31 minutes which is longer than some of Beatles albums. It’s a mix of genuinely lovely instrumentals and Woods-ier songs like “Turn Around.” Check it out:
Bradford Cox and Cate Le Bon are the 2018 Marfa Myths Musicians in Residence…can they top this?
Wooden Shjips – “Staring at the Sun”
West Coast psych royalty Wooden Shjips will release new album V, which is their first in five years and will be out May 25 via Thrill Jockey. It’s good to have them back, especially when you hear “Starring at the Sun,” the kind of kraut-n-drone, Spacemen-y groover that these guys do best… and is worth all seven and a half minutes. Ripley Johnson (who is also one half of Moon Duo) says he wrote the song while he watched a wildfire threaten his home outside of Portland, OR. Listen:
Wooden Shjips have West Coast dates on the not-too-distant horizon.
Maria Usbeck – “Bosque De Bambú”
Last time I saw Maria Usbeck play, which was opening for Yumi Zouma at National Sawdust in 2016, she performed most of her show from a hammock she had on stage. It fit the laid-back, deep tropics feel of her gorgeous debut solo album Amparo and still makes me smile to think of it. Two years later and she is back with a new single, “Bosque De Bambú,” which splits the difference between the lush atmosphere of Amparo and the more immediate synthpop she created with her old band, Selebrities. “Bosque De Bambú is a song that should be played anytime you feel that you are breaking the norm” says Maria. “It’s a song about no limits, a love with no boundaries. Feeling free of society’s restrictions and embracing the moment. Getting lost in it. Love who you wanna love.” Listen:
Fingers crossed for solo LP #2 from Maria later this year.
D.A. Stern – Aloha Hola
D.A. Stern recorded Aloha Hola in his NJ basement, but didn’t release it till after moving to Los Angeles in 2017. He claims to be more inspired by Albert Brooks than anything musically (Rock Minus One?) but this is a savvy power pop album, and I hear a lot of ’80s college rock in these songs, from The Replacements to the Stone Roses. (Maybe a little Felt? Perhaps I am reading into it to much.) Originally released on Twosylable Records last year, Slumberland is set to rerelease the album, and Stern fits right in alongside the roster of Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Tony Molina and Spectrals. It’s out March 30 but you can stream it in full right now: