Entries tagged with: NYC Popfest

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by Bill Pearis

Close Lobsters / The School
close lobsters

We already knew that The Monochrome Set would be performing at this year's NYC Popfest (May 30 - June 2) but now the rest of the line-up has been announced and it's pretty great with appearances from New Zealand Flying Nun legends The Bats, two bands who featured on NME's legendary C-86 cassette (Scotland's Close Lobsters [!] and London's The Wolfhounds), and long-running California band The Orange Peels; plus newer bands like Wales' The School, UK group Flowers, Hobbes Fanclub and Tigercats, Sweden's Alpaca Sport and Azur Blue, Norway's Making Marks, and Spain's Zipper; and American groups Ringo Deathstarr, Math & Physics Club, Literature, Ski Lodge and more.

I'm particularly excited for Close Lobsters whose debut album Foxheads Stalk This Land is a big favorite of mine. (You can stream it below.) I don't think they've played here in 25 years. Also exciting is the return of The Bats who haven't played NYC since 2006. The band, which features The Clean's Robert Scott, have an amazing cannon of work, including classic albums like Daddy's Highway, 1989's The Law of Things and, most recently, 2011's Free All Monsters.

Alpaca Sports, Azure Blue, Flowers, French Films, Hobbes Fanclub, Tigercats, and Zipper are all making their first U.S. visits for Popfest. NYC Popfest has created a Spotify playlist with all the bands playing this year and made a downloadable mix which you can grab at the top of this post.

Festival passes are on sale now and tickets to individual shows will be on sale later this week. Venues and individual line-ups stil to come, but full band list, flyer and a few videos are below.

Continue reading "The Bats, Close Lobsters, The Wolfhounds, The School, Flowers and more playing 2013 NYC Popfest (line-up, tix on sale)"

by Bill Pearis

The Monochrome Set back in the day

In the late '70s and early '80s, British post punk legends The Monochrome Set made a kind of effete, tongue-in-cheek pop that skewered social mores with a twangy, jangly sound which would influence The Smiths, Belle & Sebastian, Franz Ferdinand and others. And despite singer Bid's flip witicisms, they were exceedingly good at instrumentals too. No one else was quite like them and you can stream some classic tracks below.

The band called it quits in the '90s but reformed here and there for the occasional gig. In 2011, Bid, guitarist Lester Square and bassist Andy Warren got The Monochrome Set back together for real and last year released Platinum Coils, their 10th album and first in 17 years. You can stream that below too.

Bid played Knitting Factory in the mid-'00s with a pick-up band (including members of My Teenage Stride) but The Monochrome Set are coming over for real this spring, playing the 2013 NYC Popfest, which happens May 30 - June 2 at various venues around the city. (Sometimes wishes do come true.) Before Popfest, The Monochrome Set will play Bowery Electric on May 27 and Maxwell's in Hoboken on May 29 and tickets for the latter are on sale now.

The entire NYC Popfest line-up will be announced the first week of March, so stay tuned. Looks like The Monochrome will be playing some non-NYC shows while they're here (no firm dates as of this posting) but there are European dates which are listed below.

Continue reading "The Monochrome Set reformed, released 'Platinum Coils,' playing NYC Popfest and other NYC shows"

photos by Amanda Hatfield; words by Bill Pearis

Allo Darlin' at NYC Popfest 2012
Allo Darlin'

Save the dates, May 30 -- June 2, 2013. That's the weekend for the seventh annual NYC Popfest which will happen across multiple venues in NYC. No other details have been announced but expect a mix of old and new, American and foriegn, and a few "la la las" and "bah bah bahs." Personally, I'd love for them to get This Many Boyfriends (check out a video below) and The Monochrome Set. (Go Kart Mozart too, though that seems like a real longshot.) What about you?

The 2012 Popfest happened May 17 - 20, concluding with a big, all-day show at Littlefield with Allo Darlin', The Ladybug Transistor, The Wave Pictures and more. In this post is a set of pictures from that Sunday show we never posted. There's more below, along with the This Many Boyfriends video, an old Monochrome Set clip and UK dates for The Wave Pictures.

Continue reading "NYC Popfest announces 2013 dates +++ belated pics of Allo Darlin', Ladybug Transistor & Wave Pictures from 2012"

by Bill Pearis

Atlanta's Tunabunny will release their third album, Genius Fatigue, on October 23 via Happy Happy Birthday to Me. Like last year's Minima Moralia (when they also played CMJ), the new LP is loaded with shambolic, angsty pop goodness. You can stream the album's opening cut, "Duchess for Nothing," at the bottom of this post.

The band will be in NYC this week for CMJ, playing the HHBTM/NYC Popfest showcase on Saturday (10/20) at Public Assembly that also features fellow Athens band Eureka California, Seattle's great Orca Team, winsome Brooklynites Chalk and Numbers, Florida's Beach Day, and Bay area duo Bam!Bam!. Tunabunny will also play a record release show in their hometown on October 25 at New Earth Music Hall that also has Bam!Bam!, Eureka California, Orca Team on the bill plus Muuy Biien. Not much else on Tunabunny's tour horizon as grad school and other life things are keeping them in Athens till next spring.

Bam!Bam! are on the East Coast touring with Eureka California, the latter of whom released their debut, Big Cats Can Swim, last month on HHBTM. It's a rager, bashing out 11 garage pop blasts in less than half an hour. If you liked Nude Beach or Paws recent output, give these folks a shot. You can stream "Bite By the Sand" below.

Orca Team, meanwhile, will also play Muchmore's on Thursday (10/18) with Joywave, Brainstorm, Mean Lady, Osekre n The Lucky Bastards, Honduras, Life Size Maps, and The Dearloves. Advance tickets are available.

As for Chalk and Numbers, the duo have been busy crossing the I's and dotting the T's on a new EP. They don't play live very often, so don't miss this chance.

Tour dates for Tunabunny and Eureka California are listed below, along with those streams.

Continue reading "Tunabunny and Eureka California have new albums, touring, playing CMJ (dates, streams)"

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
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.

Continue reading "NYC Popfest 2012 Day 3: Pooh Sticks, Comet Gain, Seapony, Pushy Parents, Habibi, Pale Lights and more (pics video)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield; words by Andrew Frisicano

Saturday Looks Good to Me
Saturday Looks Good to Me

Saturday Looks Good to Me played their first New York City show in four years at the Knitting Factory on Friday, as part of NYC Popfest. Since disbanding the group in 2008, Thomas has been focusing on various projects: mainly his dream-pop duo City Center but also touring with upbeat outfit Swimsuit, which shares some members with the new Saturday Looks Good to Me iteration. The six piece band backed Fred and singer Carol Catherine Gray (who also plays fiddle) with synth, guitar, bass and drums. The group's Jonathan Richman-like simplicity and soulful beat carried old favorites ("Empty Room" "Alcohol," "The Girl's Distracted," and encores "Dialtone" and "Money in the Afterlife") as well as promising new songs. Thankfully the band has plans beyond this reunion tour: from the stage, Fred said to expect a new record in the fall.

The rest of Friday night's Popfest line-up included Barcelona's fizzy Cola Jet Set, energetic, wild haired Texans Wild Moccasins, fantastic Seattle trio Orca Team (whose performance we already wrote about), and openers Catnaps who did a glockenspeil-assisted cover of Joy Division's "Disorder," not the type of thing you associate with an indiepop festival.

More Popfest pictures are below, along with video courtesy of Bleary Eyed Brooklyn.

Continue reading "NYC Popfest 2012 Night 2: Saturday Looks Good to Me, Cola Jetset, Wild Moccasins, Orca Team and Catnaps (review, pics, video)"

photos by Chris La Putt; words by Bill Pearis

Speedmarket Avenue
Speedmarket Avenue

Like years past, NYC Popfest 2012 kicked off with a show at Cake Shop. Finland's Burning Hearts, who played Popfest in 2009 as well, headlined the night with a set of shimmering guitars and warm synthesizers. Also from that general part of the world were Sweden's Speedmarket Avenue who debuted a bunch of strident, emotive new material (and a new line-up) at Cake Shop.

The rest of the Thursday's opening gala was all local: Dear Marje came out of hibernation for a set of charmingly shambolic tunes; Heaven's Gate treaded the line between shoegazy pop and bluesier material; and openers The Marshmallows recalled the '90s heyday of indiepop.

More Popfest coverage is on its way. Check out more pictures and some videos from Thursday's show below...

Continue reading "NYC Popfest Night 1: Burning Hearts, Speedmarket Avenue, Dear Marje, Heaven's Gate, The Marshmallows (pics, video)"

photos by Amanda Hatfield; words by Bill Pearis

Orca Team

Looking more than a little like Joy Division, black-clad Seattlites Orca Team played Knitting Factory on Friday night (5/18) as part of NYC Popfest and were one of the highlights of the weekend for me. Though his resemblance to Ian Curtis was unmistakable, singer/bassist Leif Anders laid down a serious groove with his instrument (played high Beatles style) and never stopped dancing the whole set. Orca Team were crazy tight and a lot of fun. Pictures from their set are in this post, and more Popfest coverage is on the way.

If you missed Orca Team on Friday, they play Rock Shop tonight (5/21) which is being billed as Popfest Hangover. Orca Team are on last and before them it's Vancouver's Sleuth, Finland's Burning Hearts (who were one of the highlights of Thursday's show at Cake Shop), White Town, and openers (7PM) Outerhope from the Philippines. Tickets are available.

More Orca Team pics below...

Continue reading "Orca Team played NYC Popfest (pics), playing Rock Shop tonight with Burning Hearts, White Town and more"

by Bill Pearis

Comet Gain
Comet Gain

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.



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.

The rest of the Public Assembly line-up:  Seattle's charming Seapony (who play Friday night [5/18] at Littlefield); the gentle jangle of Gothenburg, Sweden's Electric Pop Group.

Pushy Parents
Pushy Parents

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.


Allo Darlin' with Gary Olson at Mercury Lounge (more)
Allo Darlin

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
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.

There's also two Canadian bands on Sunday's bill: Sleuth from Vancouver, and Toronto's The Holiday Crowd who have clearly listened to their share of The Smiths.

The full Popfest Saturday - Sunday schedule is below, along with that Pushy Parents stream and video.

Continue reading "NYC Popfest 2012 preview (Pt. 2): Comet Gain, The Pooh Sticks, White Town, The Ladybug Transistor, The Wave Pictures, Allo Darlin', Pushy Parents, and more"

by Bill Pearis

DOWNLOAD: Seapony - Blue Star (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Seapony - Dreaming (MP3)


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...

Continue reading "Seapony are here, playing Popfest and Littlefield"

by Bill Pearis

DOWNLOAD: Popfest Mix (ZIP)

Burning Hearts @ NYC Popfest 2009 (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
Burning Hearts

It's NYC Popfest time again. Popfest happens Thursday - Sunday (May 17 - 20) at various venues around Manhattan and Brooklyn. You can still get 4-day Festival Passes ($50) that will get you into all the weekend's shows, or you can buy tickets to individual shows.

There's a couple quick ways to check out all that's going on: Popfest has put together a free downloadable mix (linked above) with all the bands playing this year; and I put together a Spotify playlist with a couple songs from all the Popfest bands that have songs available on the service. If that's not enough, here's a little more about what's ahead, and this post covers Thursday and Friday night's shows. Saturday and Sunday preview will be later this week.


Like usual, Popfest kicks off Thursday (5/17) at Cake Shop. Headliners are Finland's Burning Hearts who were last here for Popfest 2009. The band's new album, Extinctions, mixes shimmery synths, jangly guitars and cooing guitars. You can stream the whole album at the bottom of this post. Burning Hearts also play a free show at LES store Ivana Helsinki (251 Elizabeth St.) and the Rock Shop on Monday (5/21) as part of a post-Popfest hangover show with Vancouver's Sleuth, the Philippines' Outerhearts and Orca Team (more on them below),

Staying in the same part of the world, Swedish powerpop band Speedmarket Avenue are also playing Thursday night. It's been four years since the band released their last album but, but a recently posted new song on their website gives hope for new musical activity. Hopefully we'll get a preview of their new album this week.

The rest of the Thursday Cake Shop lineup is from New York: Dear Marje and The Marshmallows are in the classic Tiger Trap style cute indiepop vein; Heaven's Gate (ex-Sweet Bulbs) veer more shoegaze.

Orca Team
Orca Team


Friday night is at Knitting Factory with headliners Michigan's Saturday Looks Good to Me who haven't played NYC since the band dissolved in 2008. Main man Fred Thomas is promising a new album, so good to hear this will be more than just remember when.

For me the band I'm most excited to see Friday is Pacific Northwesterners Orca Team whose music is like a '50s dance party on a submarine with Tim Gane piloting. Their new album, Restraint, is out June 14 on the Happy Happy Birthday to Me label and is a little less specifically retro (and all the better for it). If you can't make it Friday night, Orca Team play two non-Popfest shows while here: a free show at XPO 929 (aka Party Expo) on Saturday (5/19) and they're also playing that 5/21 show at the Rock Shop with Burning Hearts and others.

Also playing Friday night are organ-fueled partiers Cola Jet Set from Barcelona, who sing in Spanish and maintain an impeccable wardrobe. The band also play a FREE show at Cake Shop tonight [5/15]).

Plus at Knit: Houston, TX's danceable and swooning Wild Moccasins; and the fuzzed-out sugarpop of Philadelphia's Catnaps.

As I said above, look for a preview of Saturday and Sunday's Popfest events later in the week. Meanwhile, the full NYC Popfest schedule (bands, set times, etc) is below.

Continue reading "NYC Popfest 2012 in preview (part 1): Burning Hearts, Orca Team, Speedmarket Avenue, Saturday Looks Good to Me & more"

by Bill Pearis

Cola Jet Set being tourists this week
Cola Jet Set

Organ-fueled partiers Cola Jet Set from Barcelona, who sing in Spanish and maintain an impeccable wardrobe, are visiting NYC for NYC Popfest this week and play a FREE show at Cake Shop tonight [5/15]. Their Popfest show, and their only other show at the moment, is Friday at Knitting Factory where they'll be opening for Saturday Looks Good to Me. More on that later.

The Perennials open the Cake Shop show which starts at 9pm after the weekly free comedy. Check out a Cola Jet Set video below...

Continue reading "Spain's Cola Jet Set in for Popfest, playing free show tonight"

photos by Dominick Mastrangelo

Allo Darlin @ Mercury Lounge
Allo Darlin

Effortlessly charming indiepop band Allo Darlin' played Mercury Loungelast week with tourmates The Wave Pictures -- the kickoff of a North American tour that will wind its way back to New York for NYC Popfest. All tour dates are below. Both bands have new albums, and you can stream Allo Darlin's Europe at the bottom of this post and The Wave Pictures' Long Black Cars at Spotify.

Like he did at Popfest two years ago, Gary Olson of the Ladybug Transistor joined Allo Darlin' for "Dreaming".

Dominick Mastrangelo was on the scene and got pictures of both bands (and setlist for Allo Darlin'), as well as openers Ski Lodge and the Field Recordings. All of that, below....

Continue reading "Allo Darlin' and The Wave Pictures touring, played Mercury Lounge (pics, setlist)"

by Bill Pearis

Allo Darlin'
Allo Darlin

Hope you all survived Record Store Day. I didn't find most of what I was looking for (most of which was UK only) but I did get that great Lee Hazlewood comp on Light in the Attic. Hope you found what you wanted the most. Lots of good stuff this week, so let's get into it.

The most TWII show of the week happens tonight (4/24) at Mercury Lounge: Allo Darlin' and The Wave Pictures. It's the start of the two bands' tour together that will wrap up on Sunday, May 20 for the last day of the NYC Popfest which is happening at Littlefield (w/ Ladybug Transistor, White Town and about six more that day). All Allo Darlin'/Wave Pictures tour dates at the bottom of this post.

Allo Darlin's second LP, Europe, came out last week to pretty much across-the-board acclaim. It's a little more melancholy than the band's debut, with a lot less ukulele this time out. Maybe that seems like a good thing, but I must say I miss the exuberance of Allo Darlin's debut. The more subdued nature of the songs and production make it sound like a Camera Obscura album much of the time, a comparison I would've never made before. But Elizabeth Morris' songwriting and voice are still in fine form, it's all just a little more "mature."

You can stream Allo Darlin's Europe at the bottom of this post. I'm sure one thing that hasn't changed is Allo Darlin's ability to charm in the live setting.

The Wave Pictures
Wave Pictures

The same goes for The Wave Pictures who I will always go see live even if I'm not so crazy about the album they're touring to support. Not that they change so much from record to record. Their new album, Long Black Cars, is pretty good (listen at Spotify) I think but much like the rest: Dave Tattersall spins fascinating, funny stories with a singsong delivery. Most of their albums sound like they were recorded live, but it always comes off a million times more compelling when you actually see them play. Tattersall is also one of the funniest between-song banterers of our age. Also funny: the Darren Hayman-directed video for their song "Spaghetti" which you can watch below.

Here We Go Magic
Here We Go Magic

Here We Go Magic will release their third album, A Different Ship, in a couple weeks (May 8 specifically) and soon head out on a short UK tour before covering most of North America with Hospitality. (All dates are below.) Before that, HWGM play this Friday (4/26) at Knitting Factory with Glass Ghost.

The new album has an interesting birth. Stuck playing a pre-noon set at Glastonbury 2010, the groggy band were playing to a groggy crowd, none of whom seemed to be having any fun. Except for two guys dancing right up front, who turned out to be Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich. The band met Yorke and Godrich after their set and Godrich turned up at more European shows... and ended up producing Different Ships. This is the bands first album that didn't start with Luke Temple doing demos on his own, and with the band incorporated from the beginning (and working in Godrich's studio). While still boyant and dreamy, Different Ships feels a little bigger, a little more fully formed than the previous two. You can stream "Make Up Your Mind" at the bottom of this post as well stream new single "How Do I Know?" at Secretly Canadian's SoundCloud page.

The Feelies at Prospect Park in 2011 (more by Tamara Porras)
The Feelies

And finally, while Feelies shows have become less rare since the band actually made a new album, but any chance to see one of the most influential NYC-area bands of the last 30 years is one you shouldn't pass up. And you have that chance on Friday (4/27) at the Bell House. While bands from Luna (who had the Feelies' Stanley Demeski on drums at the beginnning) to The Strokes have taken from them, there's no substitute for that Bill Million/Glen Mercer guitar interplay that still sounds like magic.

You can listen to the Feelies' terrific album from last year, Here Before, as well as some of their classic ones, at Spotify. The Feelies also play Saturday (4/28) at Club Helsinki in Hudson, NY if you're up that way and a few more scheduled dates throughout the summer which are further down this post.

That's the big stuff this week. Day-by-day picks of things not covered above, are below.



Diehard are at Union Hall tonight with Everest, Benjamin Cartel (of Kaiser Cartel) and Resistor. Diehard just released a video for their theme songwhich you can watch below. It's from last year's The Times We Didn't Have Fun which you can download for free from Bandcamp. Diehard also play Saturday (4/28) at the Rock Bar in the west, West Village.

Colorado's Gauntlet Hair are in town at GLasslands tonight with dream poppers Field Mouse and Baby Alpaca.

Catch new Captured Tracks artist Mac Demarco tonight at Bowery Ballroom opening for Nite Jewel.

Nick Lowe
Nick Lowe


One of the coolest cats around, Nick Lowe is at at Town Hall with nearly 40 years worth of amazing songs in his arsenal. Last year's The Old Magic was another winner from the Basher and you can stream it at Spotify and watch the comedy star-studded video for "Sensitive Man" below.

Sacramento's astral trio Sister Crayon wrap up their Pianos residency tonight with support from Megafortress, New Moods and Tygerstrype. Stay late for a free show from Japanese rockers ZZZ's.

continued below...

Continue reading "Allo Darlin', The Wave Pictures, Here We Go Magic, The Feelies, Nick Lowe & more in This Week in Indie"


Michigan indie poppers Saturday Looks Good to Me, led by main songwriter Fred Thomas, are set to kick off their first tour since Fred ended the project back in 2008. The tour kicks off next month with support from Wild Moccasins. That tour includes a Brooklyn show happening on May 18 at Knitting Factory with Cola Jet Set, Orca Team, and Catnaps. Tickets are on sale now for the show which is part of NYC Popfest. All dates are listed below.

SLGTM reissued their 2003 album, All Your Summer Songs, on 180-gram white vinyl for Record Store Day via Polyvinyl. Did you pick one of those up? If not, you can try your luck bidding on one on eBay. Fred is also promising a new SLGTM album due out this fall. Meanwhile, Polyvinyl have assembled a playlist of the band's work, which you can stream below.

All dates and playlist stream below...

Continue reading "Saturday Looks Good to Me return -- tour dates announced, new record promised"

by Bill Pearis

The Pooh Sticks in the early '90s
The Pooh Sticks

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.

Continue reading "NYC Pop Fest 2012 line-up announced: Pooh Sticks, White Town, Comet Gain, Allo Darlin', Wave Pictures, Burning Hearts and many more playing"

by Bill Pearis

DOWNLOAD:Seapony - Dreaming (MP3)
DOWNLOAD:Seapony - Blue Star (MP3)
DOWNLOADEternal Summers - Prisoner (MP3)


NYC Popfest is now over. It was a fun four days (as said before, Gold-Bears were seriously amazing). Popfest is branching out this year, increasing their presence throughout the year. They'll be at this year's Northside Festival for a June 16 showcase at Bruar Falls with The Secret History, Eternal Summers and Seattle's Seapony. I'm hearing rumors of CMJ and SXSW showcases in the works too.

Seapony will be playing three shows during their NYC visit. In addition to the Northside show, they'll play June 15 at Glasslands (w/ Idiot Glee, Holiday Shores and TEEN) and June 17 at Pianos. Their debut full length "Go With Me" comes out on Hardly Art on 5/31, and has some really lovely songs on it, melodic, jangly pop not unlike the kind Creation Records used to release before they signed Oasis. You can check out two tracks at the top of this post -- "Dreaming" is especially lovely.

Eternal Summers, meanwhile, are currently on tour with The Beets.... which will have them meeting up with Seapony this week at San Francisco Popfest. Check out the title track from Eternal Summers' new EP at the top of this post.

All tour dates for Seapony and Eternal Summers are below.

Continue reading "Seapony releasing "Go With Me", touring, playing shows w/ Eternal Summers (who are on tour now) -- MP3s & dates"

DOWNLOAD: Fan Modine - Julu Road (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Fan Modine - Through the Valley (MP3)

Go Sailor

Go Sailor may be band from the past, but they have found Twitter and that's where the above message was posted last night during the NYC Popfest opening night show at Cake Shop where sets were played by PET MILK (PA), AMIDA (UK), GOLD-BEARS (GA), SEA LIONS (CA), DREAM DIARY (NYC), and THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART (NYC). Bill says it was surprisingly not that crowded, and that Gold-Bears were the stars of the night ("like Superchunk covering the Wedding Present, that kind of energy"). Pains sounded great too, though Peggy Wang joked, "I think we were better at Popfest '07." Here's a picture from their set at Popfest 2011:


Watch a video of Gold-Bears below.

Go Sailor's tweet also refers to the show they're playing for Popfest at Cameo tonight (5/20). They headline. SODA SHOP (NYC), CAUCUS (JAPAN), THE FELT TIPS (UK), and BETTY AND THE WEREWOLVES (UK) are all also on the bill which Bill discusses in much more detail in his entire fest preview. If you don't have a ticket, they say "LIMITED AMOUNT OF TICKETS WILL BE AVAILABLE AT THE DOOR (DAY OF SHOW)."

Go Sailor member Rose Melberg spoke to NY Press. Why did they reunite? "We had a great time when we got together last year for the Slumberland 20 year anniversary shows. So now when an opportunity comes up to play that works out for all of us we figure we might as well do it. It is mostly just a chance for us to hang out with each other since we all live so far apart." Who knows when they'll reunite again, so don't miss your chance tonight.

Popfest continues on Saturday and Sunday, and invividual day tickets are still on sale for both of those shows. Saturday is at Santos Party House. Sunday is the Rock Shop. More about both shows in our guide, but I do want to just remind you that Sunday's headliner is Fan Modine who doesn't get out much, and whose only other scheduled show at the moment is on 5/28 at Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, NC. The Rock Shop show will double as a record release show for Gratitude the Shipper, his first album in seven years. Two songs from that album are re-posted on the top of this post.

But that's not all. As previously mentioned, many of the bands playing Popfest have other stuff scheduled too, and you'll find some of those shows listed HERE, HERE, and HERE. May you have a very great tweekend.

A video of Gold-Bears performing in the Newtown Radio studios, below...

Continue reading "NYC Popfest continues, Gold-Bears played w/ TPOBPAH, Go Sailor is tonight, Fan Modine Sunday"

by Bill Pearis

DOWNLOAD: Amor de Días - Bunhill Fields (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Damon & Naomi - "Walking Backwards" (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Damon & Naomi - "Shadow Boxing" (M4A)
DOWNLOADBNLX - Burn the Boats (MP3)
DOWNLOADBNLX - Garbage Strike (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Beige - Folds (MP3)

Amor de Dias
Amor de Dias

This weekend is dominated, for me at least, by NYC Popfest but as I've already written an exhaustive (exhausting) post about that, so go read it and we'll discuss other shows here. There's lots more to cover anyway.

One thing, and this is Popfest related really, is that Amor de Días are here this weekend, playing Knitting Factory on Sunday (5/22) opening for Damon & Naomi. We've got a pair of tickets to give away to this show. Just send an email with your name to BVCONTESTS@HOTMAIL.COM with the subject line "Amor de Dias" and we'll pick a winner at random.

As you may know, the duo (Amor de Días) are Alisdair Maclean of The Clientele and Lupe Núñez-Fernández of Pipas, a group who played the first ever NYC Popfest back in 2007. I actually thought it was going to be Amor de Días in the "TBA" slot at the Thursday night Cake Shop show that turned out to be Pains of Being Pure at Heart. For this show to be happening at the same -- but not part of -- the 'Fest seems a little criminal.

MacLean and Núñez-Fernández formed Amor de Días back in 2008 and wrote and recorded whenever they had time, with help from current tourmates Damon & Naomi, indiepop legend (and master arranger) Louis Phillipe and Ladybug Transistor's Gary Olson. Their debut, The Street of the Love of Days, came out this week on Merge and is a lovely little album as you might imagine from the talent involved. Their styles and voices are a perfect match for one another and the arrangements are just perfect. Among the treats is a particularly nice version of The Clientele's "Harvest Time." You can download "Bunhill Fields" at the top of this post.

Damon & Naomi's new album, False Beats and True Hearts, is a really nice record too. And if it's still pouring out Sunday night, all the better. It's an evening of rainy day music.


A much louder duo, also in town this weekend, are Minneapolis' BNLX, who play Pianos on Friday (5/20) and The Rock Shop on Saturday (5/21). I've written about them a couple times this year already and I do really dig their mix of rockin' tunes and corporate humor. I'll quote myself again:

Volume isn't just for punishment, though in the wrong hands it most certainly is. But sometimes you just can't achieve that clarity of sound, that particular strain of feedback, that shriiiiiiinnnnng you get from flicking the strings above the headnut, that tone...without cranking the amp. Ed Ackerson, a 20-year veteran guitar slinger of such Minneapolis bands as 27 Various and Polara, knows what he's doing. BNLX didn't just blow eardrums, they kinda blew minds...

...for being just two of them and a laptop, they made quite a racket at the Rock Shop. Normally I'm one to complain about bands using canned backing instead of a real drummer, but vintage drum machine sounds -- right out of 1987, be it Jesus & Mary Chain or Age of Chance -- are kind of integral to what BNLX are doing. With a stroboscopic lightshow (what, no smoke machines?) you didn't really need anyone else.

You can download two tracks from EP#5 at the top of this post, and I have a good feeling they'll have EP#6 at the merch table for the NYC shows. Also playing The Rock Shop show is Black Onassis, which is not the ex-drummer of Urge Overkill but a new group from former member(s) of Kasabian and Daylight for the Birds. Don't know much about them.


More interesting is what's happening earlier that same evening at The Rock Shop: a tribute to Brian Eno's Here Come the Warm Jets featuring a cavalcade of indie rock talent. Here's the press release:

When Brian Eno's first solo record, Here Come the Warm Jets, came out in 1974 it turned heads. It continues to baffle great minds due to the sneaky way it overlays whimsical pop with the beginnings of Eno's whole philosophy of creativity and experimentation.

Indy music stalwart Rob Christinsen (Eggs, Grenadine, East Ghost West Ghost) and Rock Shop booker Jack McFadden team up to present this great curiosity of a recording LIVE with a melange of rockers and experimentalists.

"It sounds fantastic but one of the things that I tried to do with Warm Jets was to bring musicians together who would normally never play together and to play a music that they couldn't agree upon. The music would come from the chemistry. But of course, it was impossible to do. I couldn't expect any of the session people I worked with to go along with it. They literally fought." - Brian Eno, 1974.

In that spirit, fifteen singers and ten instrumentalists from all musical worlds team up to perform this masterpiece.

The evening will be emceed by walking/talking Brian Eno encyclopedia, WNYC's John Schaefer.

Musicians performing include Travis Morrison (Dismemberment Plan), Hamish Kilgour (The Clean), Richard Baluyut (Versus), Rob Christiansen (Eggs), Amy Klein (Titus Andronicus), and Ben Trokan (Robbers On High Street).


Of course the big tribute this weekend is Sunday's Our Concert Could Be Your Life which celebrates the 10th anniversary of Michael Azzerad's chronicle of the American indie rock scene in the '80s. The talent assembled paying tribute to the bands covered in the book is pretty amazing, and it's changed/expanded a bit since first announced:

  • Nat Baldwin, David Longstreth and Brian McOmber play Black Flag
  • Delicate Steve plays the Minutemen
  • Citay plays Mission of Burma
  • Ted Leo plays Minor Threat
  • Grooms plays Husker Du
  • Titus Andronicus plays the Replacements
  • Tune-Yards plays Sonic Youth
  • Callers plays Sonic Youth
  • Dan Deacon plays the Butthole Surfers
  • St. Vincent plays Big Black
  • Wye Oak plays Dinosaur Jr
  • Buke and Gass plays Fugazi
  • White Hills plays Mudhoney
  • Yellow Ostrich plays Beat Happening
Janeane Garofalo and Eugene Mirman host the evening -- which is sold out, but I wouldn't be surprised if tickets were released day of show. Keep an eye out. UPDATE: They are back on sale as I type this.

[note: both Tune-Yards and Buke and Gass play a sold out show at MHOW one day earlier. Dan Deacon also plays more shows this week. Delicate Steve has a headlining show coming up soon at Brooklyn Bowl.]


Cymbals Eat Guitars
Cymbals Eat Guitars

And lastly, Cymbals Eat Guitars play their first show in a long time this Friday (5/20) at Glasslands. The band are finishing up their sophomore LP which is due out this fall ,so hopefully we'll get a preview of what's to come which they'll be playing in full at the show. The whole line-up is pretty good, with fellow '90s loving indie rockers Radical Dads (whose member Robbie just announced a new album for one of his other bands), Iranian transplants Yellow Dogs, and the psychedelic sounds of Mirror Mirror.

A few more picks, day by day, are below.


It should be a fun night at Union Pool with neo baggy kids McDonalds, volatile and soul-bearing Wild Yaks, and The Surprisers.

continued below...

Continue reading "Amor de Días, not Popfest, BNLX, Cymbals Eat Guitars, album & book tribute shows, Cheeseburger, Beige & more in This Week in Indie "

DOWNLOAD: Kids on a Crime Spree - Sweet Tooth (MP3)

Kids on a Crime Spree

"[NYC Popfest] also marks the NYC debut of Kids on a Crime Spree, the band from Mario Hernandez, formerly of Ciao Bella and From Bubblegum to Sky (who played Popfest in '08). Kids' debut album, We Love You So Bad, is out May 31 on Slumberland (a word I have typed more than "indiepop" in this post) and is up there with my favorite things Mario has done over the last 20 years. '60s melodies meet bubblegum vocals in a smoky haze of feedback, distortion and handclaps. It's real good. Check out "Sweet Tooth" at the top of this post." - Bill
Like Sea Lions (whose total NYC show count is up to 5), the Slumberland-signed California band Kids on a Crime Spree are coming to NYC for Popfest, but playing more than just one show.

Like Sea Lions, Kids on a Crime Spree are playing Death By Audio on Saturday, 5/21, with The Hairs who play with Kids on a Crime Spree again at the Popfest show happening Sunday, 5/22 at the Rock Shop (a show we're giving away tickets for). Kids on a Crime Spree were also supposed to play with the Hairs AGAIN on Monday at Cake Shop, but that is cancelled. There is also a possible 5/20 show at Shea Stadium, but the venue doesn't list it and the band said it's tentative.

Finally, like Sea Lions, Kids on a Crime Spree are playing San Francisco Popfest on May 28th.If you know of other shows, let me know in the comments.

More about NYC Popfest, HERE. More about the new Slumberland album and all dates, below...

Continue reading "Kids on a Crime Spree releasing album on Slumberland, playing Popfest & other shows"

DOWNLOAD: Sea Lions - All Right (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Gold-Bears - Record Store (MP3)

Sea Lions
Sea Lions

As Bill wrote in our NYC Popfest 2011 preview, "Another repeat are Oxnard California's Sea Lions who were one of my favorites last year and who I'm pretty sure will have a record out on Slumberland too."

Sea Lions are playing Popfest, but they also have two other NYC shows coming up (that I could find) four other NYC shows coming up. On May 19th they play the sold out NYC Popfest show at Cake Shop with The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Gold-Bears (who play and more. Two days later you can catch them TWICE. They play Saturday night shows at both Glasslands and Death By Audio in Brooklyn on a bill with other Popfest bands, and then the next afternoon, Sunday, 5/22. you can find them at a party in Bushwick. On May 24th they play Brooklyn Fireproof. On May 28th they are back in their home-state for an appearance on a Slumberland showcase at San Francisco Popfest. More details on all those dates, below.

Meanwhile for a taste of NYC Popfest before it even starts, Gold-Bears (who play Cake Shop with Sea Lions) are here and play Brooklyn Fireproof tonight (5/17) with The Hairs (who play Death By Audio with Sea Lions).

The Hairs (the new group from Kevin of Knight School fame) also play Rock Shop Sunday, Cake Shop Monday, and South Street Seaport in July. All dates below...

Continue reading "Gold-Bears are here, Sea Lions are coming, Popfest & other shows too (many w/ the Hairs)"

by Bill Pearis

DOWNLOAD: NYC Popfest Mix (Zip)
DOWNLOAD: Pet Milk - Cherry Outline (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Gold-Bears - Record Store (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Sea Lions - All Right (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Go Sailor - Windy (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Soda Shop - Farewell (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Days - Simple Thing (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Days - Downhill (MP3)
DOWNLOADFan Modine - Julu Road (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Kids on a Crime Spree - Sweet Tooth (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Silver Swans - Secrets (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Silver Swans - Anyone's Ghost (the National) (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Silver Swans - Mother of Pearl (MP3)

Go Sailor
Go Sailor

This week is the fifth-annual NYC Popfest which happens Thursday - Sunday (May 19 - 22) at a variety of NYC and Brooklyn venues, playing host to around 30 bands from around the world. Previous years have seen the likes of The Radio Dept, Pelle Carlberg, The Drums, Love is All, Allo Darlin' and more.

Festival passes are sold out at this point -- as are tickets to Thursday's show at Cake Shop with Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Gold-Bears -- but you can still get tickets to any of the other individual events.

We're also giving away pairs of tickets to the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday shows. Line-ups for each night are at the bottom of this post. We've got:

1 pair of tickets for Friday night at Cameo
3 pais of tickets for Saturday night at Santos
5 pairs of tickets for the all-day Sunday show at The Rock Shop.
To enter, just send an email to BVCONTESTS@HOTMAIL.COM with the subject line "POPFEST" and the day you want tickets for, aka "POPFEST FRIDAY." We'll pick winners at random. Please note many of these shows are 21+.

This year's Popfest is a nice mix of new and old, jangly and loud. Every year at Popfest I've discovered at least two bands I'd never heard of before who've gone on to be favorites. I imagine this year will be no different. There are some MP3s above, plus a swell 24-song mix the Popfest folks made for your downloadable enjoyment. For this year's preview I'm just going to go through the events day-by-day. Keep reading below...

Continue reading "a guide to NYC Popfest 2011 (with lots of MP3s, day by day analysis & chances to win free tickets too)"

photos by Dominick Mastrangelo


In honor of our ramped up coverage of NYC Popfest 2011 (with more coming soon), here is an unposted set of pictures from NYC Popfest 2010 (day 3 & 4). More below...

Continue reading "NYC PopFest 2010, Day 3 & 4 in pics (belated pics)"

by Bill Pearis

DOWNLOAD: Gold-Bears - Record Store (MP3)


Even without Pains, Thursday, May 19th at Cake Shop is a must see. Also playing that NYC Popfest show are their Slumberland labelmates Gold-Bears who have a similar ability to mix sweet melodies with roaring guitars. Their debut album, Are You Falling in Love?, just came out this week and is excellent. If there is a midpoint between The Wedding Present and The Mountain Goats, Gold-Bears may just be that. You can download their track "Record Store" at the top of this post. Gold-Bears haven't played NYC since last year's Popfest (when they played the Saturday matinee show.) More about the Cake Shop lineup and other bands playing Popfest coming soon (stay tuned).

Gold-Bears are on tour now, and if you can't make it to Cake Shop, they also play Brooklyn Fireproof two days earlier (with w/ the Hairs, the Sanctuaries, and Inland Island). All dates and a video are below...

Continue reading "Gold-Bears released an album on Slumberland, on tour now, playing Popfest (MP3, video & dates)"

by Bill Pearis

Pains @ Webster Hall (more by Winnie Cheung)

There has been an "11PM TBA" slot on the opening night of the fifth-annual NYC Popfest for the last month, and I've been hoping it would be someone really cool, and it is. Popfest HQ has announced that The Pains of Being Pure at Heart -- who just headlined Webster Hall -- will headline the May 19th show at Cake Shop. TPOBPAH last played Popfest in 2008 before most people knew who they were.

Individual tickets for that show are sold out, but four-day passes which will get you in are still available. More about all the bands playing Popfest this year coming soon. More Pains dates below...

Continue reading "TPOBPAH playing Cake Shop for Popfest (4-day passes still on sale) , and other dates"