Entries tagged with: Bridget St John

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by Bill Pearis

Bill Wells

Scottish musician Bill Wells has played in a number of groups over the years, most notably his own improvisational jazz combo, the Bill Wells Octet, and The National Jazz Trio Of Scotland. He's also worked with a host of indie rock bands, such as The Pastels, Future Pilot AKA, Isobel Campbell, Jad Fair, Arab Strap man Aidan Moffat and more.

His new album, Nursery Rhymes, finds him taking on kids song standards -- "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," "Hickory Dickory Dock," "Ring Around The Rosie" -- as collaborations with a host of cool people, including Yo La Tengo, Isobel Campbell, Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake, Deerhoof's Satomi Matsuzaki, Hospitality's Amber Papini, and more. That's the artwork above and the full tracklist is below.

This isn't a kids album, however, as Wells applies his sparse, melodic style to the familiar songs. He elaborates:

They should be quite disturbing. Because ultimately part of the remit of a nursery rhyme was to give your child some of the harsh realties of life, while sugar-coating them with a catchy little melody. But I'm losing that coating and going straight to the nub of the thing.
We've got the premiere of "Three Blind Mice," which is a collaboration with Yo La Tengo and NY jazz musician Karen Mantler. You can stream it below.

Bill Wells & Friends' Nursury Rhymes is out November 20 via Karaoke Kalk.

Continue reading "Teenage Fanclub, Deerhoof & more collaborate w/ Bill Wells on 'Nursery Rhymes' (listen to "3 Blind Mice" w/ Yo La Tengo)"

by Bill Pearis

chickfactor #1 with cover stars Small Factory

chickfactor will celebrate its 20-year anniversary with five blissful nights of sparkling indie pop on the Northeast Corridor of the USA (three in NY; two in DC) including the first shows in years by Black Tambourine, Small Factory, Pipas, The Aislers Set, A Girl Called Eddy, The Softies, The Lois Plus, The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group and Fan Modine and rare performances from such pop luminaries asStevie Jackson (Belle & Sebastian), Frankie Rose, Lilys, Lorelei, Dot Dash, Versus, Bridget St John and Honey Bunch.

chickfactor started in 1992 in D.C. and New York by pop-loving maniacs Pam Berry and Gail O'Hara, who used to travel up and down the East Coast seeing Small Factory, Honey Bunch, the Wedding Present and any other fine indie-pop bands of the era. We are spoiled silly and lucky as all get-out to be able to present this super-stellar line-up. Get your ticket fast, do not dilly-dally!

Those who followed indiepop in the '90s most certainly read (and probably still have their copies of) fabled 'zine chickfactor, which was written all in lower-case and was read sideways like a calendar. Stephin Merritt was among the regular contributors and it was fun, funny and turned a lot of folks on to cool new sounds like Black Tambourine, Lois Maffeo, Small Factory, The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group, Tiger Trap and many more. Stevie Jackson wrote a song about it for the second Belle & Sebastian album, maybe you heard it.

For chickfactor's 20th anniversary, founders Gail O'Hara and Pam Berry have put together a five-day, two-city festival that gathers many of the zine's most loved bands, many of whom haven't performed in 15 or more years. It happens April 6 and 7 at the Artisphere in Arlington, Virginia and then in NYC April 10 -12 at The Bell House (Maybe some of you went to the 10th anniversary show at Fez?).

Tickets for the Bell House are on sale today (1/12) noon and are $25 for individual nights (4/10, 4/11, 4/12) or $70 for a three day pass.

The shows shows break down like this:

April 6 (Artispace, Arlington, VA): Stevie Jackson, Frankie Rose, Honey Bunch, The Dot Dash

April 7 (Artispace, Arlington, VA): Black Tambourine, Lilys, Fan Modine, Lorelei

April 10 (The Bell House, Brooklyn): Black Tambourine, Small Factory, Versus, The Lois Plus + Special Guests.

April 11 (The Bell House, Brooklyn): The Aislers Set, Pipas, Bridget St. John, The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group

April 12 (The Bell House, Brooklyn): Stevie Jackson, Honey Bunch, A Girl Called Eddy, The Softies


Black Tambourine (first East Coast shows in 20 years) and The Aislers Set (first in almost 10 years) are the big draws here, but this writer is especially excited about folk pop trio Small Factory who haven't played together in 15 years and Minneapolis' The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group whose 1995 album O Brother Where Art Thou? is a lost '90s classic (they're promising a new album this year too).

This comes a mere month before the sixth annual NYC Popfest (happening May 17 - 20) which means this spring is likely to be a very good year for indiepop fans. NYC Popfest hasn't divulged any of its line-up, but I hear it may be their most ambitious yet.

Click though for a detailed rundown of the chickfactor fest line-up, plus some vintage videos from the groups involved.

Continue reading "Black Tambourine, Aislers Set, Small Factory, Legendary Jim Ruiz Group & more reuniting for chickfactor festival"