Entries tagged with: Comet Gain
photos by Amanda Hatfield; words by Bill Pearis
"comet gain & pooh sticks were great last night @ public assembly in brooklyn. only took approx 15-20 years to see them live." - @dfarecords
The Pooh Sticks
It was the kind of night that could really only happen at Public Assembly. The back room rumbled from the crush of Ulcerate (who had their gear stolen later that night) and Tombs, while the front was hosting the third evening of NYC Popfest, which made for a culture clash in the mutually shared hallway. With The Pooh Sticks on the bill, it was hardest Popfest has ever come to "rocking," what with the legendary Welsh band's proclivity towards crunchy powerpop a la Slade or The Sweet. No better example of that than their 1991 single "Young People," with it's twin guitar leads and lyrics that rang of even more irony now that that song is old enough to drink. (And it was ironic when first released.) A truly fantastic set.
Despite the gray hair, frontman Hue Williams was a bundle of energy and the band was tight and, yes, rocking. In addition to "Young People," we got pretty much all The Pooh Sticks' well-known material, including early indiepop sides "I Know Someone Who Knows Someone Who Knows Alan McGee Quite Well" and "On Tape," as well as later tracks like "Who Loves You" and "The World is Turning On."
Headliners Comet Gain rocked too, albiet in a more shambolic indie kind of way, despite frontman David Feck's threats of putting the audience to sleep after the Pooh Sticks killer set. But Comet Gain fans are fervent and the crowd was pumped and loaded for the band who hadn't played NYC in four years. (A little too loaded, some friends of mine got hit by projectile vomit from someone who couldn't hold their booze.) Check out video of their set at the bottom of this post.
The evening started with Sweden's Pushy Parents who were playing their second-ever show, but they sounded pretty together to these ears. Speedmarket Avenue's Isak Klasson played drums. (His own band played earlier in the week.) It was a short set, highlighted by current single "Secret Secret."
The rest of the night: Seattle's winsome and tuneful Seapony were good but needed to be louder (the metal show next door won that round); and Sweden's Electric Pop Group were pleasant enough but with a laptop rhythm section, maybe they should've played first.
Earlier Saturday it was the Popfest day show at Spike Hill with Filipino duo Outerhope, Sweden's Lisa Bouvier and locals Pale Lights and Habibi. I didn't make that one, but our photographer did and pictures of all Saturday Popfest action are below, along with Bleary Eyed Brooklyn's videos.
by Bill Pearis
Here's the second part of the NYC Popfest 2012 preview. For info on tonight's show at Knitting Factory can read part one here.
SATURDAY, MAY 19
There's a free show at Spike Hill with Sweden's rough-and-tumble Lisa Bouvier, the gentle sounds of Philippine band Outerhope (who also play The Rock Shop on Monday [5/21]) plus Pale Lights (featuring Comet Gain's Phil Sutcliffe and Andy from Crystal Stilts) and Brooklyn up-and-comers Habibi.
For those going to Spike Hill, you might want to head to Williamsburg early to check out the Brooklyn Flea Record Fair that is happening at food hipster mecca Smorgasburg from 11AM-6PM. Indiepop-friendly labels like Angular, Kanine, and What's Your Rupture? will be there, with some exclusive product as well. Plus lots of amazing food. Get there before noon to beat the insane lines.
It's an all-Williamsburg day for Popfest as the Saturday night show happens at Public Assembly with two legendary UK bands headlining; Comet Gain and The Pooh Sticks. The former, celebrating their 20th year in existence, are playing their first Popfest and first shows in NYC since 2009. Last year's Howl of the Lonely Crowd was another fine addition to their canon of footstompers and floorshakers.
The Pooh Sticks
The Pooh Sticks haven't played NYC since 1992 back when they were supporting the American release of their stone-cold classic Great White Wonder which cemented their rep as masters of tongue-in-cheek, arched brow indie. Actually it was already established with shambly 1988 singles "I Know Someone Who Knows Someone Who Knows Alan McGee Quite Well" and "On Tape" which is the "Losing My Edge" of its day. Arch, tuneful and not afraid to steal, The Pooh Sticks are indiepop royalty and, if recent live video on YouTube is correct, they still got it.
But the best group of the night -- or at least the best one you've never heard of before (probably) -- are on first. A quick listen to Pushy Parents are you can guess they're from Sweden (Stockholm to be specific) with a sound somewhere between early Cardigans and the Concretes. Their new Secret Secret EP is terrific: equal parts effortless melody, skill and just-right production. You can stream the whole thing and watch the video for its title track at the bottom of this post.
SUNDAY, MAY 20 (LITTLEFIELD)
Allo Darlin' with Gary Olson at Mercury Lounge (more)
Popfest ends with an all-day affair at Littlefield, featuring tourmates Allo Darlin' and The Wave Pictures who have been written about before and you can see pictures from both band's visit to Mercury Lounge a few weeks back. They are both great and reason enough to go on Sunday.
But not the only reason. The Littlefield show will also feature the first-ever American show from White Town (aka Jyoti Mishra) who made many excellent albums before and after his fluke hit "Your Woman" in 1997. That song, as good as it it (and it is!) also isn't especially representative of White Town's body of work which tends to mix wispy melodies, delicate guitars and budget drum machines. Mishra has stayed active, continuing to release albums over the years, including last year's Monopole.
Also playing: Brooklyn indiepop mainstays The Ladybug Transistor whose frontman Gary Olson usually lends his trumpeting skills to at least one other Popfest band who needs it. (He'll probably also sing the male vocal parts on Allo Darlin's "Dreaming" as he's done before.)
The Holiday Crowd
And come early to Littlefield to catch local power pop combo Swearin' (which shares a couple members with Dear Marje who also play Popfest this year); Washington DC's Dot Dash, which features members of Julie Ocean and wordy '90s indiepoppers Tree Fort Angst.
The full Popfest Saturday - Sunday schedule is below, along with that Pushy Parents stream and video.
by Bill Pearis
Seattle's Seapony are one of the many bands in town for this weekend's NYC Popfest, playing as part of the Saturday night (5/19) show at Public Assembly with Comet Gain and the Pooh Sticks. Tickets for that show are available. In addition to the Popfest show, Seapony are also playing Friday night (5/18) at Littlefield with local shoegazey pop band Field Mouse. Next weekend Seapony play the San Francisco Popfest (May 25 - 27). All upcoming Seapony tour dates are listed at the bottom of this post.
Seapony's shimmery, exceedingly hummable debut album, Come Away with Me, was released about a year ago via Sub Pop kid sister label Hardly Art. You can download two tracks ("Dreaming" is especially catchy) from the album at the top of this post or stream the whole thing below.
Most recently the band contributed a new track to a Hardly Art 5th Anniversary compilation that could only be procured at the label's anniversary shows, but you can stream it below.
Those streams and a list of all dates below...
by Bill Pearis
The Pooh Sticks in the early '90s
The sixth-annual NYC Pop Fest is happening May 17 - 20 and the organizers have just announced the 27 band line-up, which includes UK acts Allo Darlin' and The Wave Pictures who will wrap up their US tour together with their Popfest show, plus Comet Gain, Seattle's Seapony, Finland's Burning Hearts, Sweden's Speedmarket Avenue and The Electric Pop Group, and longrunning American indiepop group Saturday Looks Good to Me.
This year's line-up also included Wales' legendary Pooh Sticks (!) who haven't played in America since CMJ 1992, and the first ever American show from White Town (aka Jyoti Mishra) who made many excelent albums before and after his fluke (and unrepresentative) hit "Your Woman" in 1997. NYC is represented too, with The Ladybug Transistor, Habibi, Heaven's Gate, Pale Lights, The Marshmallows, Swearin' and Dear Marje.
Ticket and venue info is still TBA but sure to be announced soon. Click through for the full NYC Pop Fest 2012 line-up.
DOWNLOAD: Cinema Red & Blue - "Same Mistakes" (MP3)
Ripley Johnson of Wooden Shjips/Moon Duo (more by Abby Braden)
Wooden Shjips will be at ATP NY this weekend (hand-picked by Jim Jarmusch). That's followed by a show at MHOW on 9/6 (tickets) and then more dates north and west as far as Chicago, but then Ripley Johnson of the psychedelic left coast crew will start heading back east for a different string of dates with his other project, Moon Duo. The band will team up with Crystal Stilts and Messages (mems of Psychic Ills) for a show on 9/17 at Knitting Factory. Tickets are on sale.
Crystal Stilts recently played Bowery with Dean Wareham but have otherwise laid relatively low. Members of the band recently completed a new collaborative LP with David Feck of the UK's Comet Gain under the moniker Cinema Red & Blue. You may remember they played here back in September...
"Cinema Red and Blue is a Comet Gain side project featuring frontman David Feck, as well as that band's Anne Laure and Hoffner Burns. They're actually in town to record their album at Gary Olson's Marlborough Studios in Brooklyn and decided to play a show while here. I ran into Feck at a show on Monday and he told me that the album is about half covers and to expect the same from the live show. He rattled off a bunch of the songs they're covering but the only one I remember now is a Julian Cope song from his 1989 album Skellington. The band will be augmented live by former Comet Gain / current Soft City member Phil Sutton, plus JB, Andy and Kyle from Crystal Stilts. I have to imagine Gary Olson will contribute trumpet to at least one song. This should be fun." [Bill]That self-titled LP is due 9/28 via What's Your Rupture, and features the Vic Godard cover "Same Mistakes" which can download above. Finest Kiss adds that, "the makeshift band also employs the services of Amy Linton, Hamish Kilgour and [as Bill predicted] Gary Olson."
Wooden Shjips released Vol 2 earlier this year, a compilation of rare singles available via Holy Mountain. Moon Duo was recently featured on the Woodist comp Welcome Home / Diggin' The Universe.
Messages (the band featuring members of Psychic Ills) also have another show in the near future, supporting Excepter and Up Died Sound on 10/27 at Coco66.
All tour dates and some video is below....
by Bill Pearis
After what seems like an entire summer's worth of epic weekends, this one is looking pretty quiet, music-wise. No surprise, as it's
Memorial Labor Day which is usually a dead time for shows. But that's not to say there's nothing going on. Chicago's glam-rocking teenagers The Smith Westerns are back in town after touring with Los Campesinos and Girls. While a good chunk of their self-titled debut is so Marc Bolan it seems like an exercise in style appropriation, they do it really well. It's not new, but it's new to them and that makes it work I think. They play tonight (9/2) at Monster Island Basement with Titus Andronicus and the So So Glos; Vassar College tomorrow (9/3); and a late show at Bruar Falls on Friday (9/4) (tentative replacement for the show they had scheduled at Swat Bar). They also list a show on Saturday (9/5) as "under the High Line" but what that means, exactly, well your guess is as good as mine.
Comet Gain @ MHOW in April (more by Tim Griffin)
The most exciting show of the weekend, in my opinion, is happening at Cake Shop on Saturday (9/5). Cinema Red and Blue is a Comet Gain side project featuring frontman David Feck, as well as that band's Anne Laure and Hoffner Burns. They're actually in town to record their album at Gary Olson's Marlborough Studios in Brooklyn and decided to play a show while here. I ran into Feck at a show on Monday and he told me that the album is about half covers and to expect the same from the live show. He rattled off a bunch of the songs they're covering but the only one I remember now is a Julian Cope song from his 1989 album Skellington. The band will be augmented live by former Comet Gain / current Soft City member Phil Sutton, plus JB, Andy and Kyle from Crystal Stilts. I have to imagine Gary Olson will contribute trumpet to at least one song. This should be fun.
The whole Cake Shop bill is pretty good, with Kyle Forrester pulling triple duty: keyboards in Ladybug Transistor, and saxophone in German Measles. Ladybug Transistor are one of the NYC indie world's elder statesmen and their lush sound is cool and easy like a late summer breeze. On the other end of the scale, German Measles are usually a jokey mess onstage, I saw them on Monday at Bruar Falls and they actually approached something you could might call competence. Maybe they're getting serious? Opening the night at Cake Shop are the budget baroque sounds of Jacques Detergent.
Sondre Lerche @ Bowery Ballroom in 2008 (more by Faith Ann-Young)
And looking forward to the early part of next week, Sondre Lerche is playing Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday (9/8), which is the same day as the release of his sixth album, Heartbeat Radio. (He plays Music Hall of Williamsburg the next night.) The 27-year-old Norwegian, now Williamsburg resident, has the charms to hold the attention of a Bowery or MHoW-sized crowd by himself, which is how he usually plays in NYC, but I do wish he'd bring his ace band, The Faces Down, to America at some point, as we deserve to hear his songs get the full-on treatment live. Heartbeat Radio is another winner, I think, maybe his best yet -- with Sondre displaying more confidence in his songwriting and ease in his arrangements. (He's also been listening to a lot of Prefab Sprout, I think, with the album's "I Cannot Let You Go" clearly being a tip-of-the-hat to Paddy McAloon.) You can sample album-opener "Good Luck" at the top of this post. And whether he's with band or solo, he is always entertaining.
And finally, as this is a light week, I thought I'd point out that the essential 1980 concert film URGH! A Music War has finally made its way to DVD. For those of a certain generation, this seminal document of the punk/post-punk/new wave scene was seen every other weekend on USA Network's weekend Night Flight and blew minds with footage of Gang of Four, Echo & the Bunnymen, the Cramps, Wall of Voodoo and more. Since then it's shown up on cable and film festivals in about 17 different versions, with some performances being cut for music rights reasons and other legal whatnot. These reasons have also kept it from DVD, much like the first to Decline of Western Civilization films, to the point where I thought they'd never get a legit release. I'm still not sure how legit this is either (read URGH! performer Jim Skafish's blog post about it), but you can buy it via the Warner Archive which has made available hundreds of films that the studio has deemed otherwise unworthy of proper releases. They actually burn you a DVD-R of the movie. You don't get proper menus or any extras beyond the trailer or even proper chapter breaks (they divide it up into 10 minute sections), but the picture quality is good (anamorphic widescreen), and it's almost the whole film. (Sorry, Splodgenessabounds, your footage isn't here.) And it sounds good too -- they did a great job recording the bands. And just to have the footage of Klaus Nomi, The Cramps and Gary Numan, it's worth the $19.99.
There's a few choice clips from URGH below, as well as tour dates fliers and general etc...
photos by Tim Griffin
NY Press: This is the 17th year of Comet Gain's existence. How has the band changed in that time?Comet Gain played Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn last night, April 12th (Easter). Time Out says,
David Feck: We lost a few and the ones that have stayed got hairier. There was a moment in our history where it became clear that Comet Gain was going to be a band about carrying on. That for every joy and blunder and hard time that goes on we have our songs for it... and that keeps happening... unfortunately there are more blunders and hard times but fortunately there are tons good times
Is there anything in New York that you're excited for? When was the last time you were here?
We were here 10 years ago...and it's been about that long since we've seen a lot of friends.
The venue was not packed, but the cluster of fans were enthused--a cult defined.Bill said it was a good show with lots of witty stage banter by David Feck. One highlight was when opener Crystal Stilts joined Comet Gain on stage for a cover of Teardrop Explodes' "Sleeping Gas". Comet Gain, who concentrated mostly on their garagier/punkier material, played two other covers: Felt's "Ballad of the Band" and New Order's "Love Vigilantes." Both CG and CS shared a drumkit that read "Love is All" (another What's Your Rupture band). CC (Cold Cave) was the first of three bands on the bill.
The New York label What's Your Rupture? recently issued Broken Record Prayers, a compilation of singles that Comet Gain released over the past decade. It's an apt showcase for the sloppy band, and the ostensible reason for its presence in Brooklyn last night. Comet Gain came to town short a member--guitarist Jon Slade does not fly--appearing as a five-piece. They were fronted by singer-guitarist David Feck and Rachel Evans, who stands at center stage, singing and vigorously clapping like a cheerleader. Feck is Comet Gain's songwriter and sole original member; Evans is its secret weapon. The interplay between the two singers, along with the group's ragtag charm, was reminiscent of the Mekons. Its tiny jumpy songs, with Velvets guitars and drone from a Vox, funnels an army of the stubborn and underappreciated: the Clean (whose "Beatnik" is covered, beautifully and loudly, on Broken Record Prayers); the Pastels (namechecked onstage during a Hitler joke); and Television Personalities (whose "Part Time Punks" was requested and performed, briefly, as an audience sing-along led by Evans).
And speaking of Crystal Stilts, they were added as the lucky opener for Dead Weather at Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday.
More pictures from Sunday's show below...
DOWNLOAD: Comet Gain - Skinny Wolves (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Comet Gain - Why I Try To Look So Bad (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Comet Gain - Love Without Lies (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Crystal Stilts - Love is a Wave (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Pants Yell! - Magenta and Green (MP3)
by Bill Pearis
The big news this week is this Sunday's (4/12) Comet Gain show at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Tickets are $13 and still available. Crystal Stilts, who are opening for them on all three of their U.S. dates, wrote this about them in a MySpace post:
It is our tremendous honor to be reminding you all the we will be playing a series of shows over the next few days with Comet Gain, about whom we could string together some words that would inevitably fail to say what it is that makes them the best band in the world. We tried, failed and decided to spare you the embarrassment of that rambling. Perhaps in that failure there is something that proves the point but that isn't worth delving into. Suffice to say, the best they are and we are floored to be playing with them, so do come out, it has been far too long since they have graced these shores with their presence and it is certainly not to be missed.As you may have heard, Crystal Stilts just did a killer Daytrotter session that included two new songs, one of which, "Sycamore Tree," has been a highlight of their live shows for some time. (Their new Slumblerland single "Love is a Wave" is great too. You can download it at the top of this post. Also playing with Comet Gain and Crystal Stilts are Philadelphia darkwave synth trio Cold Cave who I'm looking forward to seeing for the first time. All three played last night in DC and tonight (4/9) in Philadelphia.
Almost as exciting for me is that Boston's Pants Yell! are playing Saturday (4/11) at Dead Herring. Their most recent album, Alison Statton (named after Young Marble Giants lead singer), was one of 2007's best records you might not have heard. This is indie pop done just about perfectly, great songs, arrangements full of horns and glockenspiel yet never falling into the dreaded "twee" abyss. They were one of the best bands I saw at last year's NYC Popfest, where I wrote at the time, "On their excellent third album from late last year, Alison Statton, they sound polite, but live it's more hyper-kinetic. You could even say they rocked." They'll play this year's Popfest too (on 5/16 with Radio Dept) but, despite living as close as they do, don't play NYC all that often, so I highly recommend going. The whole bill at Dead Herring is a good one, with Brooklyn locals Knight School, Sisters, and World Atlas.
As mentioned elsewhere on this site, Eugene Chadbourne will be playing the Issue Project Room next week, but first he'll be playing an early show on Saturday (3/11) at Cake Shop. The 1991 edition of The Trouser Press Record Guide says this about him, "On his compulsive own, the guitarist/leader of the late, lamented Shockabilly has spewed forth a ceaseless stream of records and cassettes that easily represent the oddest version of country and folk music ever." From what I can tell, Chadbourne hasn't really mellowed or slowed down since. Chadbourne has collaborated with a Who's Who of improvisational/experimental musicians, including Marc Ribot, Henry Kaiser, John Zorn, and Fred Frith, as well as bands like Camper Van Beethoven and They Might Be Giants... many of whom performed at the two-week Chadfest in August 2007. I don't claim to follow Chadbourne's career closely, but he is a legend and there is a direct through-line from his work to bands like Animal Collective (who just added another Brooklyn show) and Dirty Projectors (who just released the first track off their new album). A chance to see him up close somewhere like Cake Shop should be a treat.
More shows this weekend: If you're looking for something weird and funny, San Francisco's bizarre Borts Minots is at The Studio at Webster Hall tonight (4/9) with Uni & Her Ukulele, Rachel Trachtenburg and Kiwi comedian Griffin Point.
The Wooden Birds, the new group from American Analog Set's Andrew Kenny, play Mercury Lounge on Friday (4/10). Their record is lovely and I caught them in Austin during SXSW, definitely worth seeing.
Flyer, videos and tour dates after the jump...
by Bill Pearis
UK indie legends Comet Gain are playing their first NYC show in ages at Music Hall of Williamsburg on April 12 (Easter Sunday) with Cold Cave. Mixing shambly pop, slashing Buzzcocks-style rockers and forays into Northern Soul, Comet Gain have been a big influence on loads of bands over the last 17 years, and are held in the same esteem in some circles as Beat Happening, the Pastels and Television Personalities.
Comet Gain almost never play the U.S. The last show I can confirm was one at NYU in 2000. The band scrapped a planned tour here in 2006 on the back of their last studio album, City Fallen Leaves. (The above MP3s are from their 2002 album, Réalistes, which came out on Kill Rock Stars.)
Comet Gain's most recent releases were a limited 7" single that came out last week and last year's odds-and-sods compilation Broken Record Prayers which is coming out in the U.S. via What's Your Rupture on March 24, 2009. Full tracklist for that, along with the video for one of 2008's best singles, "Love Without Lies", below.
What's Your Rupture? is proud to present Broken Record Prayers on compact disc, digital download, and double-vinyl formats, featuring six unreleased tracks (two of which, "Love Without Lies" and "Books of California," will be issued, for completists, as a limited edition seven-inch single).Tickets to the MHoW show are now on sale. The only other U.S. dates announced at this point are Black Cat in Washington DC on April 8 and at Kungfu Necktie in Philadelphia on April 9 which is also on sale. And like I said, they never play America so don't miss out.
Brooklyn opener Cold Cave are also playing No Fun Fest @ MHOW on May 17th.
Comet Gain video, tracklist and cover art below...