Entries tagged with: Cats on Fire

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words & photos by Dominick Mastrangelo

DOWNLOAD: The Radio Dept - Freddie and the Trojan Horse (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Radio Dept - The Worst Taste in Music (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Radio Dept - A Window (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Radio Dept - Pulling Our Weight (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Radio Dept - Why Won’t You Talk About It? (MP3)

The Radio Dept.
The Radio Dept.

"The Friday night show at Don Hill's was advertised as a "warm-up show" but it was hardly a dry run. [The Radio Dept.'s] eight-song set ran over half an hour - a full showcase at some festivals - and even though they had no drummer, no bassist and played over a significant amount of pre-recorded backing tracks - usually things that'd put me right off - they still grabbed the heartstrings. It's the songs. It didn't matter how they did it, but they came off with all the beautiful melancholy the records carried without sounding like a karaoke act. Favouring the cleaner sonic aesthetic of their more recent works, both Martin Carlberg and Johan Duncanson reproduced their surprisingly intricate guitar parts flawlessly, Carlberg's vocals were resonant with yearning and resignation and the feeling of being wrapped in a fuzzy blanket of sound very much in effect. True, their onstage charisma was nearly non-existent - they seemed awkward and uncertain how to respond to the enthusiasm of the audience - but even that fit perfectly with their persona." [Chromewaves]
Day Two of NYC Popfest (Friday, May 15, 2009) moved from local and stateside bands to The Scandavian countries. Sweden's The Radio Dept. (in a warm-up to their headlining show the next day) and Lichtenstein both performed ahead of the excellent Cats On Fire. Cats' lead-singer, Mattias Björkas, looks like David Bowie, sounds eerily like Morrissey and coyingly moves and postures like Rhett Miller. Their set at Don Hill's put everyone in a proper mood for the Mondo indie dance party that followed. Early on, local-boy Don Lennon and L.A.'s The Tartans also performed.

Cats on Fire and Lichtenstein shared a bill again, last night (5/19) at Bruar Falls in Brooklyn. More pictures and videos from the Don Hill's show below...

Continue reading "NYC Popfest - night 2 pics & video (The Radio Dept, Cats on Fire, Lichtenstein & more...) "

by Bill Pearis

DOWNLOAD: Springfactory - On the Back of Your Bike (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Springfactory - Get Out of Bed (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Tartans - The Cats of Camerford (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Cats on Fire - Horoscope (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Cats on Fire - Letter from a Voyage to Sweden (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Liechtenstein - Roses in the Park (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Vaselines - Son of a Gurn (MP3)

Pop Fest

Firstly, an update on NYC Popfest which starts tonight (5/14) and runs through Sunday (5/17). Advance tickets are sold out for the Saturday (5/16) show with The Radio Dept., Pants Yell! and The Secret History at The Bell House, as has the all-day Sunday show at Cake Shop, though the latter should have tickets at the door. The good news is The Radio Dept. have been added to the Friday night (5/15) show at the Don Hill's which already includes Sweden's Liechtenstein, the spiffy pop of Finland's Cats on Fire, L.A. band The Tartans and local boy Don Lennon. If you ask me, this is the unmissable show of the weekend. Tickets are still available through the Popfest website. Also, if you can't make the show Friday, both Leichtenstien and Cats on Fire play Bruar Falls on Tuesday, May 19.

In other Popfest news, another Swedish band, Stockholm's Springfactory, have been added to the free day show on Saturday at Cake Shop. There's a couple MP3s of theirs to check out at the top of this post. The fest kicks off tonight with an all-locals show at Cake Shop featuring Knight School, Soft City, Dream Bitches, The Metric Mile, My Teenage Stride and the Ballet. Full Popfest lineup is at the bottom of this post and there are loads more MP3s from just about all the bands HERE.

Acrylics
Acrylics

There's lots of other non-Popfest stuff going on this weekend, much of it making me wish I could be in two places at once. Cameo Gallery tonight (5/14) plays host to two Dirty on Purpose offshoots: Joe and the Flying Spoons which is guitarist Joe Jurewicz country-tinged outfit that features a chorus of girl backup singers; and Pursesnatchers which is drummer Doug Marvin's solo project that is the closest in sound of any of the DoP splinter groups to the original. Also on the bill: awesome duo Sisters who I've written about recently and were runners up in this year's L Magazine thing; and Acrylics who make lovely synthy pop not dissimilar to The Rosebuds. The three songs on Acrylics' MySpace are all quite good, definitely worth checking out whether you plan on hitting this show or not.

Cake Shop

Cake Shop is celebrating its four-year anniversary this month with a series of special-event Saturdays. This Saturday's (5/16) seems especially special: an ADD-friendly marathon of 16 bands playing four songs each (natch), with different drink specials in between each band. And it's only $4 to get in. The party kicks off with Knight School at 8PM and finishes with Moonmen on the Moon, Man (supposedly from San Diego but who look suspiciously like Cake Shop owners and staff) around 1AM if they stay on schedule. In between, My Teenage Stride, The Beets, Boy Genius, Air Waves and more will get their 15 minutes. Check out the flyer below for the full list of bands and set times. This sounds like a blast.

Spiral Beach
Spiral Beach

I should also mention that Toronto's Spiral Beach are in town this weekend playing three shows: Tonight (5/14) at Death by Audio, and two shows on Friday (5/15): an early one at Fontana's, and then a house show at 265 Mikibbin St in Bushwick. Spiral Beach opened for Sloan at Bowery Ballroom a couple years ago and I wrote at the time: "I don't even know how to describe them. They're a bit like the Coral or the Zutons, by way of Oingo Boingo (minus the horns). Psychotic circus music?" They were a lot of fun. The band's 2007 album, Ball, just getting released in the U.S.

The Vaselines
Vaselines

And last but not least... The Vaselines! They play Sunday (5/17) at Bowery Ballroom (with Woods) and tickets are still available; Monday's (5/18) show at at Music Hall of Williamsburg with Adam Green is sold out. The band played Seattle on Tuesday and The Finest Kiss had this to say:

Seeing the Vaselines last night was like sex on the second date. The first date was last summer at Sub Pop 20 festival. Their set at Marymoor Park last July was just about perfect with Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee's sexually tinged funny stage banter and even better harmonies, they were easily the highlight of that perfect summer afternoon. After a first date that goes so well, you always kind of prepare yourself for a letdown on date number two. You start to see the imperfections, maybe a few wrinkles or a bald spot. The Vaselines may have their imperfections, but I'm still blinded by lust to really notice any of them. Francis joked saying that you may think you're at the wrong gig if you're looking for the people on the poster, referring to the much younger looking Vaselines that adorned the advertising for the show. They also tried to explain their long absence with wild stories of Eugene becoming a Hare Krishna, explaining his lack of hair, and Frances's time in prison for allegedly getting facials with underage boys...

The better sounding Vaselines is probably due to the band being better musicians than they were 20 years ago. Even though they sounded less ragged, they still have the attitude and humor that made them so special in the first place. There is no way that anyone at this gig went home disappointed from this gig, besides sounding great, they played every single one of their songs and even graced us with two brand new ones.

The band's classic compilation, The Way of the Vaselines, just got reissued on Sub Pop as a two-CD/3-platter-vinyl deluxe edition, now retitled Enter the Vaselines and it's just essential. And go see them if you can.

Flyers, videos, tour dates and the full popfest schedule after the jump...

Continue reading "NYC Pop Fest, Acrylics, Vaselines, Springfactory, Cake Shop, Spiral Beach & more in This Week in Indie"

by Bill Pearis

DOWNLOAD: Liechtenstein - Roses in the Park (MP3)

Liechtenstein

As mentioned before, Swedish trio Liechtenstein will make the U.S. debut next Friday (5/15) at Don Hill's as part of this year's NYC Popfest. (Tickets are on-sale.)

The ladies will make the most of their trip with a short East Coast tour, including a second NYC-area show at Bruar Falls in Brooklyn on May 19 with Finland's Cats on Fire (who also play this year's Popfest). If you dig '80s indiepop like The Mo-dettes, Talulah Gosh, the Would-Be-Goods or, more recently, Vivian Girls you're definitely going to want to catch one of these shows. Check out their track "Roses in the Park" above, which comes from their debut, Survival Strategies in a Modern World, out June 2 on Slumberland Records. Video and tour dates are below...

Continue reading "Liechtenstein - US tour dates, new Slumberland album (MP3)"

by Bill Pearis

DOWNLOAD: The Radio Dept - Freddie and the Trojan Horse (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Radio Dept - Why Won't You Talk About It? (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Radio Dept - The Worst Taste in Music (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Liechtenstein - Stalking Skills (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Cats on Fire - Letters from a Voyage to Sweden (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Burning Hearts - I Lost My Color Vision (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Computer Perfection - The Fool is Hurt (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Hidden Ghost Balloon Ship - Hidden Ghost Balloon Ship (Zip)
DOWNLOAD: The Icicles - La Ti Da (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Pants Yell - Magenta and Green (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Smittens - Stop the Bombs! (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Eux Autres - When I'm Up (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Knight School - Pregnant Again (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: My Teenage Stride - Ears Like Golden Bats (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Metric Mile - How to Beat the SAT (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Secret History - It's Not the End of the World Jonah (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Ballet - In My Head (MP3)

The Radio Dept
The Radio Dept

Enigmatic Swedish band The Radio Dept. are to play their first U.S. show since 2003 (which was in San Francisco), as part of the third-annual NYC Popfest which happens this year from May 14 - 17. Whether or not the band will have finished their delayed follow-up to 2005's Pet Grief remains to be seen, but there are lots of folks who've been waiting years for Radio Dept to play here and, so far, the Popfest date is the only one they're doing.

LiechtensteinWhile the Radio Dept will no-doubt be the biggest draw, NYC Popfest has put together a pretty great lineup including a few other notable acts, more Swedes: all-girl trio Liechtenstein, who've put out a bunch of great 7-inches and will have a new EP out on Slumberland in May. We'll also get two bands from Finland: Cats on Fire, who made their U.S. debut at last year's fest; and the lovely synth-acoustic pop of Burning Hearts whose debut album, Aboa Sleeping, was released last month.

North America is well represented as you might expect. Detroit gives us Computer Perfection (who are not synth pop despite the name), and offshoot band Hidden Ghost Ship, whose very good debut album you can download for free. (The link is at the top of this post.) There's also Grand Rapids' The Icicles whose song "La Ti Da" you might know from a Target commercial; Boston's awesome Pants Yell! who were one of my favorites from last year's event; Ohio's The 1959 Hat Company and Afternoon Naps; California brings us L.A.'s The Tartans (12-strings and glockenspeil pop) and San Francisco's Eux Autres (janglepop); Vermont's Smittens (who remind me of '90s indie pop band Small Factory); Athens, GA's great power popppers Casper & the Cookies; Chicago's Very Truly Yours (classic twee pop) and Canada's Rose Melberg.

The bulk of the bands are from NYC, and include: My Teenage Stride whose new Emusic single "Creep Academy" is one of my favorite songs they've ever done; Knight School (who I've written about before); Boy Genius (ditto) and The Secret History (double ditto); plus the newly-quintet-ed The Metric Mile, Soft City, Dream Bitches, The Ballet, Strega, and Don Lennon.

Most of the Popfest shows will happen at Cake Shop, with a Friday night show at Don Hill's in conjunction with Mondo! and the Radio Dept. show at The Bell House. Unlike the two previous years, there's no BBQ/day show at Union Pool. Pricing and that sort of thing hasn't been ironed out yet, but the individual night's lineups are below:

Continue reading "NYC Popfest - 2009 lineup, The Radio Dept. included "

by Bill Pearis

editor's note: Metal, comedy and 'dance' all have their own semi-regular BV feature writers. Those topics are getting a level of focus that I wished I could give to "indie rock" (that somewhat meaningless term, but it helps sometimes to categorize). That's why I contacted Bill...

Bill says: BV approached me about writing an indie rock column because I "repeatedly go to see The Young Knives and are excited about Versus reuniting." Which is to say I like unpopular bands and am, like, James Murphy old. This will likely take on more shape as the weeks go on, but for now here's a bunch of notable shows happening over the next five days.

editor's note part two: Bill forgot to mention the part where I said he is just as excited about the old (knowledgeable) as he is about the new (not jaded). OK, here we go....

Amazing Baby (tour dates at the end)
Amazing Baby

Firstly are the two Swervedriver reunion shows - tonight at Bowery Ballroom and tomorrow at Music Hall of Williamsburg. The '90s shoegaze scene has had a bit of a resurgence, with a slew of new bands inspired by its hazy, voluminous sound, including Dirty on Purpose (who open for them tonight), Deerhunter, Silversun Pickups, and every other band from Sweden. Obviously the big story this year are the upcoming My Bloody Valentine shows, but Swervedriver's shows are no less relevant or justified.

SwervedriverThey may never have released anything as universally-praised and influential as Loveless, or as catchy as Ride's Going Blank Again, but Swervedriver rocked the hardest of any of the shoegaze bands and probably had the most consistent body of work. Unfortunately, of their four great albums, only 1995's Ejector Seat Reservation remains in print - though the good, if expensive, import Juggernaut Rides is a good introduction to the band. I've also got a few mp3's over at Sound Bites if you're interested, and Swervedriver's site has live MP3s for every song from every album, free to download.

Swervedriver were never the type to jump around the stage or make rock star poses (the shoegaze scene, after all, got its name because the bands tended to pay more attention to their many effects pedals than to "putting on a show") and frontman Adam Franklin isn't much for stage banter, but they were always a seriously good live band and reports from earlier dates on this tour (The Finest Kiss has a nice writeup and photos from the Seattle stop) show this, thankfully, hasn't changed.

Tickets for tonights' Bowery show are still available (June 11, 2008).

Local support for both nights are well chosen. Dirty on Purpose are obviously big fans - their newish EP for RCRD LBL is really good. Longwave open at Music Hall of Williamsburg. After getting the heave-ho from RCA, the band are currently working on a new album, and a few of the tracks are up on their MySpace and sound promising. Opening both shows are Glasgow's Terra Diablo who are actually managed by Swervedriver drummer, Jez.

---

The OrchidsThe other big event this week is the NYC Popfest, now in its second year. The four-day event, at a handful of clubs in Manhattan and Brooklyn, is a must for lovers of chickfactor magazine, Sarah records, twee, jangle, and the generally lighter side of indie. (Also known as indiepop.) They've brought in bands from all over, including Massachusetts (Pants Yell!, Hands and Knees), the UK (The Hermit Crabs, The Foxgloves), two from Sweden (Love is All, Oh! Custer), plenty from here in NYC (Pains of Being Pure of Heart, My Teenage Stride, Ladybug Transistor, The Besties) and elsewhere.

The lineup also includes three legends of the indiepop scene. Glasgow's The Orchids (pictured), whose single "I've Got a Habit" was the second-ever release on the legendary Sarah records; Australia's The Cannanes (aka "the world's most 'indie' band) who've been making music since 1984; and Seattle's Tullycraft who were part of the US scene in the '90s.

The two bands I'm most excited to see are Scotland's The Hermit Crabs, who bear more than a passing resemblance to fellow Glaswegians Camera Obscura; and Finland's Cats on Fire whose album, The Province Complains, is one of the better indiepop albums of the last couple years. Plus, they're from Finland - a country that doesn't send a lot of bands our way.

Of course, the hot ticket for Popfest is Love is All's appearance Thursday night at Cake Shop. I'm not sure why the organizers put the weekend's biggest draw in a place the size of a closet, but I'm sure for those 20 people in the first three rows will really enjoy it. For everyone else, you'll be able to say "they sounded great!" The show is sold out... if you've got tickets get there early and enjoy the other bands (including fellow Swedes Oh! Custer and NYC's The Secret History).

continued.....

Continue reading "Swervedriver to Pop Fest, The Muslims, Amazing Baby & Vivian Girls too - A NEW FEATURE ABOUT INDIE ROCK"