Entries tagged with: Pale Lights
Folks who revel in the notion that love-rock means never having to tune your guitar will no doubt grow weak in the knees upon first exposure to the Cannanes. The fluid Australian combo is willfully amateurish and occasionally a bit too cute for its own good, but the utterly unpretentious purity of the band's output is hard to deny. Their closest American corollary would probably be Beat Happening, but the Cannanes are slightly folkier, less prone to outbursts of rock primitivism. The band's debut EP is charmingly unsteady on virtually every level, from the cracks in Annabel Bleach's sweet warble to the audible string squeak that accompanies each acoustic guitar chord change. The informality only adds to the charm of songs like "You're So Groovy" and the quietly caustic "I Don't Want to Talk About Your Problems." - [Trouser Press]Australian DIY pop royalty The Cannanes are wrapping up a U.S. tour that finishes in Brooklyn with a show at Alphaville on Tuesday (9/1) with Pale Lights and The Hairs opening. Tickets are on sale.
The Cannanes released Howling at All Hours in 2013 which was their first album in over 10 years. (The played Chickfactor 21 then as well.) You can stream that via Spotify, along with a few other song streams, below.
photos by P Squared Photography; words by Bill Pearis
The Loft / Catenary Wires / #Poundsign# / Papa Topo
NYC Popfest happened over the weekend, bringing around 30 bands from countries all over world, united by jangly guitars and an affinity for cardigans. Friday night's show at Cameo (5/29) featured two UK cult '80s icons, most notably The Loft who were one of Creation Records' earliest signings and played their first-ever US show at Popfest. The band's ringing guitar sound, rooted in the Velvets and Television, is one that aged well, as has frontman Pete Astor, with a still-youthful face and smile. The band's set included their two best-known songs ("Why Does the Rain?" and "Up the Hill and Down the Slope") and a Richard Hell cover. "You guys know who Richard Hell is, right?" Astor asked the crowd, somewhat jokingly. Interestingly, their written setlist included a cover of Wire's "Outdoor Miner" but it was not played. Lloyd Cole, who lent The Loft one of his bandmembers for the night, watched from the back. Astor played a solo show (with an ad-hoc band) at Baby's All Right the next afternoon, also part of Popfest.
The other iconic Brits were The Catenary Wires, aka Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey who were also in such beloved indiepop bands as Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, and Marine Research. Their latest project is their most gentle yet, basically just Pursey's guitar and Fletcher's voice, but they kept the crowd entertained with stories between songs.
A lot of people were also there for San Francisco's #Poundsign# who made two albums in the late-'90s and early-'00s. This is a band that I somehow missed entirely the first time around, but they played an enjoyably shaggy set.
The night also featured two bands from Spain -- Papa Topo and Jessica & the Fletchers -- who shared members and were both a bundle of energy. Papa Topo's funky dance music was a little different than your average Popfest band, which was definitely welcome on a night of otherwise politely strummed guitars. Speaking of, local openers Pale Lights, fronted by Brit Phil Sutton of Comet Gain, did indeed strum politely (not to stereotype but half the band are librarians), but they jangle with purpose, sounding more than a little like Lloyd Cole (or Felt). They're good.
After the bands, folks stuck around for the Popfest edition of indiepop danceparty Mondo!. It was a fun weekend. More pics from Friday night at Popfest, below....
by Bill Pearis
(photo by Megan Lloyd)
Baltimore trio Expert Alterations make classic, C-86 style indiepop with scratchy, jangly guitars, lead-like basslines and a sleepy vocal style. They look the part too -- dig those Pastels-style anoraks (and haircuts) in the picture above. They bring a lot of energy to it and the band's self-titled EP, out via Slumberland on June 1, is quite good. You can stream "A Bell" from it below.
As mentioned, Expert Alternations will play NYC Popfest on May 30 at Knitting Factory with The Darling Buds, The Spook School, Veronica Lake, Brideshead, and Wallflower. Tickets are still available.
You can catch Expert Alterations in NYC before that, though, as they'll be here this weekend for three shows: Friday (4/24) at Threes Brewing in Gowanus with Tall Juan and Green Pages (featuring members of The Beets, German Measles, and Sapphire Mansions); then Saturday (4/25) at Pet Rescue with My Teenage Stride, Summer Saints and The Bad New Ones; and Sunday (4/26) at Alphaville with Pale Lights, Cheap Sneakers, and Green Pages again.
All dates are listed, along with the new song stream, below.
Don't forget the L Train is not running between 8th Ave and Bedford Ave this weekend, so plan accordingly. You can browse our full NYC show calendar for all of tonight's shows, but here are some highlights...
Record Store Day
It's maybe gotten a little out of hand (a lot out of hand) with all the exclusive releases but any day that encourage people to go buy records in actual record stores is okay by us. Expect lines and for the hot-ticket items to go quick, so get there early. Or you can just go and see some live in-store performances, or drink some free beer. Check out our guide to events for more info.
Dresden Dolls, Buzzcocks (signing), Kim Gordon (book signing), Lord Raja, Special Guests, Saun & Starr, Howlin' Rain, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires @ Rough Trade
Rough Trade has the most going on Saturday. Having either Record Store Day or Dresden Dolls perform for free would be enough to pack the place. Today you get both, plus Kim Gordon and Buzzcocks stopping by to sign stuff, and more performances. All free. The records, you gotta pay for.
Doldrums, Moon King, Malory @ Baby's All Right
Airick Woodhead's new album as Doldrums is both poppier and dancier than anything he's done before, while remaining resolutely of odd. Moon King, which is fronted by Airick's brother Daniel, both open the show and play as a part of Doldrums live band. They're both exciting live bands, recommended. Midnight show.
The Juan Maclean (live), Matt Cash (DJ set), Learning Center (live), Gavin Russom (live), Beto Cravioto (DJ set), The Juan Maclean (DJ Set) @ Cameo Gallery
While they're mainstays on the DJ circuit, it's been a long time since The Juan Maclean actually played live. To get back into the swing, they're doing a six-night Brooklyn residency, starting tonight with three shows at Cameo then next week at Union Pool. Tonight's show is sold out, but tickets will be available at the door for the afterparty featuring Juan & Nancy and others on DJ duty.
Kingdom, Bok Bok, Na, Rizzla, Prince Will w/ Kelela @ 88 Palace
Fade to Mind throws a stacked Dark Disco dance party at 88 Palace tonight with a handful of the label's artists and friends.
Prurient, Andy Stott, Sannhet @ The Wick
Tonight's installment of Pitchfork and Blackened Music's ongoing 'Tinnitus' series is a very diverse and especially great one. There's noisemaker Prurient, lush IDM wiz Andy Stott, and sensory-overload post-metal trio Sannhet.
The Album Leaf, Drop Electric, The Tablets, Han Demo @ Brooklyn Night Bazaar
Jimmy LaValle's long-running post-rock project The Album Leaf has been at it since the '90s, though they haven't put out a new album since 2012. Jimmy did do the soundtrack to the movie Spring this year though. Maybe we'll hear some of that.
Cosmonaut, Turnip King, Baby Acid, Acid Dad @ Alphaville
Chill out in Alphaville's new performance room and check out a nice bill of local indie rock, including the Strokes-y pop of Cosmonaut and the '90s-ish sounds of Sea Cliff, LI's Turnip King. Plus: two bands with "Acid" in their name. Trippy!
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, The Everymen, The Brooklyn What @ Knitting Factory
Southern sleazy riffmongers Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires, who played Rough Trade's RSD celebration earlier in the day, headline Knit tonight, playing with two solid, no-nonsense punk rock bands.
Seoul, Ballet School @ Knitting Factory
Montreal's Seoul make featherlight pop that is laid-back but engaging, owing to much to the hushed cool of '80s groups like The Dream Academy and The Blue Nile. Tonight's show is with Bella Union band Ballet School.
Ava Luna, Palehound, LVL UP, Palberta @ Silent Barn
Ava Luna's sound -- part indie rock, part R&B, part cerebral thesis -- doesn't seem like it would work on paper but actually sounds pretty natural. Their brand new album (tonight's the band's second release show this weekend), Infinite House, is the best thing they've done yet.
The New Lines, Pale Lights, Ghost Gum, DJ Keith D'Arcy @ WFMU Monty Hall
WFMU's new performance space, named after everyone's favorite Let's Make a Deal host, has been putting on some good show, and this is an fine night of indiepop, featuring the analogue synth baroque sounds of The New Lines, and C-86 style jangle of The Pale Lights.
Idiot Son, White Pisces, Bodega Bay, Royal Garde, The Regrets @ Bohemian Grove
White Pisces feature members of Slow Warm Death and Street Smart Cyclist, and if you dig those bands' style of raw unrestrained rock, you'll probably dig White Pisces too. Their new album came out this week on Square of Opposition.
Jeff Beck, Tyler Bryant @ Capitol Theatre
Guitar legend Jeff Beck (of The Yardbirds, The Jeff Beck Group and more) is in the midst of a multi-night NYC-area run with Jimmy Hall, who fronted the '70s southern rock band Wet Willie, on vocals.
Daddy Long Legs, Muck & The Mires, The Lonely Teardrops @ Bowery Electric
Daddy Long Legs are one of the newer bands on trusty garage rock label Daddy Long Legs, but they owe a lot of their sound to the label's veterans. If you lose those bands, you may dig DDL too.
Brooklyn Folk Festival
The annual Brooklyn Folk Festival continues tonight and runs through Sunday. This year it takes place at its largest venue yet, St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Church. Today's performers include Frank Fairfield, Naomi Shelton, Bruce Molsky and more.
Viking, Possessor, Attacker, Iron Force @ Saint Vitus
LA thrash metal vets Viking put out two full lengths on Metal Blade in the '80s, but then broke up by the end of the decade. But they've been back for a few years now, and this past March they put out their first new album in over 25 years.
NEW YORK'S ALRIGHT
NYC multi-venue punk/hardcore festival New York's Alright continues today through Sunday. There's a lot of great shows tonight, including '80s UK deathrock rock Part 1 (second NYC show ever) at Vitus with a genre-appropriate lineup of newer bands Anasazi, Pleasure Leftists and Institute; Philly's rising rockers Sheer Mag at Acheron; the stacked LPR show and more. Here's tonight's shows...
Part 1, Anasazi, Pleasure Leftists, Institute @ Saint Vitus
Sheer Mag, Vanity, Bad Noids, Tapehead, Gowanus Mutant Commandos @ The Acheron
Warhead, Warthog, La Misma, Blood Pressure, Contingent, 2x4 @ Le Poisson Rouge
Condominium, Mystic Inane, Freak Vibe, Nandas @ Palisades
Tonight's Earl Sweatshirt / Vince Staples show is cancelled.
For all of tonight's shows, and tomorrow's, check out our NYC concert calendar.
For laughs, check out the NYC Comedy calendar too.
Follow BrooklynVegan on instagram.
by Bill Pearis
photo: Ultimate Painting @ Elvis Guesthouse 3/12/2015 (via @panachebooking)
UK group Ultimate Painting and Australia's Twerps are in NYC currently and are playing two shows this weekend:March 13 at Rough Trade and March 14 at Mercury Lounge. Tickets to both are still available but if you'd like to go to tonight's Rough Trade show for free, we're giving away a pair. Details below.
Last night (3/12) Ultimate Painting played a surprise, late night show at Elvis Guesthouse which is quickly becoming the place for secret squirrel activity. Their 40-minute set included a lot of last year's self-titled debut, plus two songs from their next album which is currently being mastered by Total Control's Mikey Young for release on Trouble in Mind later this year. (Stay tuned for details on that.) James Haore and Jack Cooper's VU/Dead-style guitar interplay comes off even better live than on record, and their rhythm section (Jack's Mazes bandmate Neil Robinson and CoCoComa's Anthony Cozzi on bass) is tight.
Next week, Ultimate Painting and Twerps will be in Austin for SXSW. Updated dates, including all announced SXSW shows, are listed, along with Rdio streams of their albums and contest details, below.
by Bill Pearis
NYC Popfest has just announced the lineup for its 2015 edition which happens May 28 - 311 in venues across Manhattan and Brooklyn. Shows will happen at Cake Shop, Knitting Factory, Cameo, The Bell House, Littlefield and Baby's All Right. Schedule is still TBA but four-day festival passes are on sale now.
Like always it's a mix of bands from around the world, both new and veteran acts. Some of this year's highlights include: The Loft, fronted by Pete Astor and one of the first bands signed to Creation Records; Sweden's Club 8, one of the many bands featuring Labrador Records owner Johan Angergård; C-86 era band The Darling Buds who scored a few college radio hits in the late '80s and early '90s (and who many couldn't tell apart from The Primitives); shortlived Ann Arbor, MI band Veronica Lake who put out records on Spin Art, Simple Machines and Bus Stop and haven't played a show since 1994; The Catenary Wires, the duo featuring Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey of Heavenly and The Tender Trap; and Germany's Brideshead who have been making music since the '90s.
More on the international front: The Spook School, who charmed last year's Popfest crowd, and other UK acts like Young Romance, and The Just Joans; Papa Topo and Jessica & The Fletchers from Spain; plus Wallflower from Japan, and Popfest's first band from Russia, Palms On Fire.
From North America, there's Eternal Summers (who have a new album out around the time of Popfest), terrific shoegazers Wildhoney and their fellow Baltimoreans Expert Alterations, three bands from California (Lunchbox, #poundsign# and Starry Eyed Cadet), and Rhode Island's Working. And NYC is well-represented with Beverly, Roman a Clef, The Chandler Estate, Pale Lights, and Souvenir Stand.
The Popfest folks have put together a Spotify playlist featuring most all the band's playing this year and you can stream that, and check out a few related videos and streams, below. More bands may be added, but check out the 2015 NYC Popfest lineup as it stands now, below.
by Bill Pearis
Brooklyn-based indiepop band Pale Lights, which features sometimes Comet Gain member Phil Sutton and Crystal Stilts' Andy Adler, released a new 7" titled "Fourteen Stories Tall" at the tail-end of 2014 which is another fine example of the band's jangly sound (think Lloyd Cole, Felt, Camera Obscura). You can stream it (and its b-sides) in full, along with last year's Before There Were Pictures album, below.
Pale Lights have a couple NYC shows coming up. This Saturday (1/24), they'll play a free show at Friends and Lovers with Ladybug Transistor offshoot Olson, Rydholm, and Forester and Great Lakes. That's an early show from 7 - 10 PM.
Then on February 7 at Cake Shop, Pale Lights are part of a celebration for The Big Takeover's 35th anniversary. Also on the bill are fellow Brooklyn band The New Lines, plus Quebec's Jet Black (who roar like Swervedriver), and Sacramento, CA's Soft Science (also shoegazey but but more on the dreamy side). You can stream recent releases from Jet Black and Soft Science below as well. That show is $8 at the door.
Both Jet Black and Soft Science are coming to NYC just for The Big Takeover show. (Let's hope there are more Big Takeover 35th anniversary events on the way.) Song streams below...
Ariel Pink at Mexican Summer 5 (more by PSquared)
Real Estate at FYF 2014 (more by Adela Loconte)
You can browse our full NYC show calendar for all of tonight's shows, but here are some highlights...
Ariel Pink, Puro Instinct @ Baby's All Right
Ariel Pink's new double album, pom pom, is eccentric even by his own out-there standards ("Dinosaur Carebears" will test the skip-button desires of many) but it also contains some wonderful pop. Hear it all (or most of it) live tonight at the late-start show with Puro Instinct as DJs.
Real Estate, Peaking Lights, Regal Degal, Tom Scharpling (DJ set) @ Terminal 5
NJ janglers Real Estate play their biggest NYC show yet, with strong support from LA dance-dub duo Peaking Lights, and Brooklyn artrockers Regal Degal. WFMU-DJ-turned-indie-rock-video-director Tom Scharpling spins tunes in between set (or something).
Hercules and Love Affair (live) @ Verboten
Hercules & Love Affair released their new album, The Feast of the Broken Heart, back in May. Guests on this one include John Grant who provides vocals on two tracks, including single "I Try To Talk To You." Tonight's an actual live set from the band, not a DJ gig.
Ausmuteants, Deaf Wish, Pampers, Degreaser @ Death By Audio
If you like your punk on the arty side and aren't against some keyboards, tonight's a killer lineup at DbA. Australian band Ausmuteans and Deaf Wish headline and Brooklyn bashers Pampers and Degreasers open.
Odesza, Hayden James, Ambassadeurs @ Bowery Ballroom
Electronic duo Odesza keep moving up in the world and this week they return to NYC for their two biggest headlining shows here so far, both of which are sold out. This is the first, MHOW tomorrow.
Jungle, Beaty Heart @ Irving Plaza
Enigmatic when it comes to press shots and music videos, UK dance act Jungle are a seven-or-eight piece band live, more than capable of bringing the grooves to the stage, even if maybe all their songs sound exactly alike.
A Great Big Pile Of Leaves, Diamond Youth, Prawn, Field Mouse @ The Studio At Webster Hall
This is the NYC stop of the Topshelf Records tour, which shows how diverse that label has really became. AGBPOL make Minus the Bear-y math pop, Diamond Youth have kind of a QOTSA-meets-Weezer thing going on, Prawn do Kinsella-style emo, and Field Mouse make shiny '90s-style alt pop.
Krill, Sorority Noise, Told Slant, Pinegrove @ Shea Stadium
Cool bill at Shea tonight with quirky indie rockers Krill, emo-y indie rockers Sorority Noise, and the emotional but not emo-y Told Slant.
LVL UP, Crying, Brunch, Mitski @ Silent Barn
A similarly-styled show to the Shea show goes down at Silent Barn with '90s-style rockers LVL UP, chiptuners Crying, ex-Krill drummer's new band Brunch, and art pop songwriter turned lo-fi ace, Mitski.
Geryon, Gates (Toronto), Oneirogen, New Firmament @ Trans-Pecos
Invisible Oranges is presenting this show that includes two of the better local metal bands, Geryon and Oneirogenm plus Toronto's Gates and ex-Extra Life band New Firmament.
Danny Brown @ Sonos Studios
Danny Brown not only makes killer rap albums but he has a super excitable live show that's partially due to his love of trap/EDM beats. You had to RSVP for this show and that's now closed.
House Party ft. Danny Brown, Just Blaze, DJ Soul, Electric Punany @ Webster Hall
After the Sonos show, Danny will join Just Blaze at his weekly House Party at Webster Hall to keep the party going late. As always, House Party starts at 10 PM.
Rakim, Slick Rick @ Stage 48
Two undeniable legends of hip hop, Rakim and Slick Rick, team up at Stage 48 tonight. Expect a show chock full of the classics.
Delta Spirit, Peter Matthew Bauer @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
The folk rockin' Delta Spirit put out a new album, Into The Wide, earlier this month and tonight they're on the third of three nights in NYC in support of it. Making this one even better, The Walkmen's Peter Matthew Bauer, who's got a solid solo record out, is opening. Like the last two, tonight's is sold out.
Letherette, Girl Unit, Eli Escobar, Cry Baby @ Output
Good lineup all around for Output's always-impressive weekly INPUT party tonight. There's NInja Tune's Letherette and Night Slugs' Girl Unit, plus solid local house producer Eli Escobar and Cry Baby of NYC's House on Mute party.
Dan'l Boone, Yellow Tears, Ligature @ Saint Vitus
Dan'l Boone have members of Royal Trux, Wolf Eyes, AIDS Wolf and more, and if you're into those bands you probably have an idea of what to expect from Dan'l Boone. Their new record came out last week on Drag City and tonight they're in NYC to celebrate with the urine-soaked Yellow Tears and Christopher Hansell's Ligature project.
Cro-Mags, Ensign, Real Cops, White Collar Crime LLC, School Drugs @ Asbury Lanes
NYC crossover vets Cro-Mags play their hometown tomorrow, but if seeing them in Asbury Park is more your thing (or you've just gotta catch them twice), here's your chance.
Chalk and Numbers, Souvenir Stand, Pale Lights, The Meaning of Life @ Cake Shop
A good evening of indiepop tonight with girl group-y Chalk & Numbers, the Felt/Lloyd Cole-esque jangle of Pale Lights and more.
Woman's Hour @ Mercury Lounge
UK band Woman's Hour make ethereal, melancholic soul and their debut album is a nice listen. UPDATE: This is actually cancelled and tomorrow's Rough Trade show appears to be also.
Black Flag were supposed to play Grand Victory tonight but that show has been cancelled.
For all of tonight's shows, and tomorrow's, check out our NYC concert calendar.
For laughs, check out the NYC Comedy calendar too.
Follow BrooklynVegan on instagram.
by Bill Pearis
UK singer/songwriter Darren Hayman spent much of the '90s in cult indie band Hefner where his literate takes on romance (and warbly vocal style) played like a Mike Leigh movie. After a string of singles, EP and full-lengths, the band signed to Too Pure/Beggars where they released four albums, including The Fidelity Wars which is probably their defining album. Hefner broke up in the early '00s but Darren has remained prolific, making records as The French, plus collaborations with The Wave Pictures and others. In certain circles, he's kind of a big deal. His most recent release was a single with Emma Kupa (formerly of Standard Fare) which you can stream, along with some other songs from throughout his career, below.
Hayman hasn't played NYC in about 15 years (Brownies was the last show I remember) but that changes this month when he'll play Cake Shop on July 26 with The Smittens, Pale Lights, and Let's Whisper. NYC Popfest is presenting the show which is the only North American date for Hayman.
Vermont's The Smittens have a new EP coming out in August, titled Love Record Breaker, which is more of their winsome, anthemic (but understated) indiepop. You can stream the title track below. Their Burlington neighbors Let's Whisper open the night.
In between the two VT bands are Pale Lights, which features Phil Sutton of Comet Gain. They released their debut album, Before There Were Pictures, last month and it's quite good, the sort of lightly psychedelic janglepop that Postcard Records and Creation used to release. It's also not that too far off from what Comet Gain does, either. (Also, Phil sounds a little like Lloyd Cole.) You can stream the whole album below. In addition to the Cake Shop show, Pale Lights are also playing August 9 at Friends and Lovers in Crown Heights with the rest of the lineup TBA.
by Bill Pearis
With a debut 7" on the way soon, the band will be in NYC for a string of shows in July. They'll play Mercury Lounge on July 8 with Chalk & Numbers and Pale Lights; Death by Audio on July 9 with Flown and more TBA; and Cake Shop on July 10 with The Hairs and The Scarfs. There's another NYC show happening July 11, venue TBA. Tickets for the Mercury Lounge show are on AmEx presale now and go on sale to the general public on Friday (5/24) at noon.
If you live in Seattle, you can see Week of Wonders tonight (5/22) at Sunset Tavern with Hats Off and Charms. All tour dates are listed below.
RJD2 is playing a HARD NYC event at Terminal 5 on October 4 with Zeds Dead, Paper Diamond, Green Lantern and Branchez. Tickets to that show go on sale today at noon.
Iggy Azalea is playing The Bowery Ballroom on June 17. Tickets to that show go on sale today at noon.
Mike Birbiglia is playing Carnegie Hall on June 2. Tickets to that show are on sale now.
Week of Wonders, Chalk & Numbers, and Pale Lights are playing Mercury Lounge on July 8. Tickets to that show go on AmEx presale today at noon, with a general on-sale starting Friday (5/24) at noon.
by Bill Pearis
As mentioned, San Francisco quartet The Mantles are releasing Long Enough to Leave via Slumberland on June 18. If you dig '60s garage pop, keep an eye out for this one. The band have just released a second track, "Hello," which you can stream alongside the previously-released "Brown Balloon" below.
We also knew that The Mantles were playing Cake Shop on July 13 which is with Piano Movers and Comet Gain/Crystal Stilts-related band Pale Lights. Turns out that is the final night of a short East Coast tour with Juan Wauters of The Beets. They've got a second NYC show as well at Shea Stadium on July 9 with the rest of the line-up still TBA. All tour dates are listed below.
by Bill Pearis
Orca Team at NYC Popfest 2012 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Seattles's Orca Team were one of my highlights of this year's NYC Popfest and, we already told you about this, but just a heads up that the band will be back this weekend playing Cameo on Sunday (July 1). The show also features Persephone's Bees, Treasure Mammal, underrated punks The Numerators. Tickets are $8 and will be available at the door. If you can't make it to Cameo on Sunday, Orca Team will be back on Wednesday, July 18 for a show at Cake Shop with fellow Portlanders Woollen Men, plus Lame Drivers and Pale Lights. The band are playing all over and all tour dates are listed below.
Since we last wrote about them, Orca Team released their new album Restraint which melds early '60s pop and surf pop with Krautrock rhythms and basslines, and you can stream that below.
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
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.