Entries tagged with: Rose Melberg
by Bill Pearis
we had *so much fun* at chickfactor 20 at the bell house in brooklyn, the idea of waiting another ten years seemed too painful too endure. so we made another festival for you! showtime is prompty at 8pm. you may miss a special guest if you get there at 8:10!Indie pop zine chickfactor is putting on another festival at The Bell House on June 11, 12 and 13 with a line-up that includes The Pastels, Future Bible Heroes, The Cannanes, Aluminum Group, The Jim Ruiz Set and more.
This will be the first Pastels show (6/13) in NYC since 1997 (if memory serves, the last one was at Angel Orensanz Center opening for Belle & Sebastian). The Pastels' new album, Slow Summits, will be out a couple weeks prior (June 11) and you can stream new single "Check Your Heart" below.
As for Future Bible Heroes (Stephin Merrit and Christopher Ewen) who play on 6/12, their new album is out June 8 on Merge. Before you get too excited, do note that Stephin Merrit may or may not appear with them. But it will definitely be Christopher Ewen and singer Claudia Gonson.
Additionally, there will be a retrospective of filmmaker Paul Kelly's work on June 15 at NYU's Michelson Theater, including his Felt/Denim documentary Lawrence of Belgravia, the Dolly Mixture documentary, and his three collaborations with Saint Etienne, Finisterre, What Have You Done Today, Mervyn Day? and This is Tomorrow. This will be free and more info is here.
Chickfactor 21 happens less than two weeks after NYC Popfest, making it a very busy time for lovers of indiepop.
Full Chickfactor 21 line-up below...
photos by Dominick Mastrangelo; words by Bill Pearis
"I feel like we're some weird meat stuck between two pieces of amazing bread." Small Factory drummer Phoebe Summerquash was referring to her band's placement on the bill between Versus and reformed indiepop legends Black Tambourine at Night One of CF*2012: for the love of pop! The three night event at The Bell House celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the '90s-era zine and co-founder Gail O'Hara has gotten a lot of bands to reform/come out of hiding just for the occasion. "Someone said I am like the mafia," she joked. "No one can say no to me!"
Small Factory haven't played in 17 years but, despite Pheobe's protests, the trio sounded like no time had passed whatsoever and were the clear highlight of night one for this reviewer, a justification of the entire three-day shindig. Songs like "Hopefully," "What to Want" and "Suggestions" haven't aged a bit and the band was together and rockin'. (They also played Cake Shop on Friday.) Small Factory are also in some ways the quintessential chickfactor band. The have a song called "Versus Tape" and their cover of Lois Maffeo's "Valentine" had the entire audience singing. If there was a snapshot of the whole night, that was it.
Lois Maffeo, whose 1993 album Strumpet is a Clinton-era indie rock classic, did her own set earlier in the night, playing a few songs solo before bringing out "The Lois Plus": original drummer Molly Neuman and Heavenly's Peter Momtchiloff on electric guitar. She was a real charmer and the Strumpet-era songs really hold up. Lois is also a very funny person. "I'm so glad I made music in the '90s," she said. "'Magazine' is easy to rhyme. I have trouble working 'Tumblr' into my lyrics."
Versus, who are still a highly functioning band with a recent album on Merge, gave, unsurprisingly the tightest set of the evening but I'll admit to not paying that close attention, as I've seen them probably eight times in the last four years. Richard Balyut looked very Easter Sunday dapper in suit and bowtie.
Black Tambourine @ the Bell House
Headliners Black Tambourine were fun but felt more like you were watching some friends' pick-up band at a party. Which was essentially what happened. The instrument switching between Archie Moore, Brian Nelson and Mike Schulman every few songs felt arbitrary, like the all wanted their turn on drums, bass and guitar.
Which isn't to say it was bad at all. It was fun, and clearly they were having a blast. Schulman, in particular, tore into what ever instrument he was playing. And when Moore was on drums -- usually the more gothy, tribal songs (okay maybe it wasn't totally arbitrary) -- they sounded pretty great. Singer Pam Berry seemed nervous, but her voice was clear and as pretty as ever. And, as chickfactor founder Gail O'Hara said in her introduction, you could actually hear the vocals this time around. I never saw them back in the day, so I'll take her word on that.
In addition to BT classics like "Throw Aggi Off the Bridge," "For Ex-Lovers Only" and "We Can't Be Friends," the band did a number of covers including Love's "Can't Explain," The Ramones' "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," and "Dream Baby Dream" by Suicide. Rose Melberg came out to sing Strawberry Switchblade's "Since Yesterday" which had the place dancing. It was a genuine party atmosphere.
The night, which was hosted wittily by Gaylord Fields, started with two unannounced guests. The first was James McNew's Dump who played a low-key set that included a great cover of Prince's "Pop Life." And then Mark Robinson came out to excited cheers to do solo electric versions of Unrest's "Yes She is My Skinhead Girl" and "Isabel".
The chickfactor anniversary party continued on Wednesday with headliners The Aislers Set, Pipas, personal faves The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group and Bridget St. John and more, and then ended Thursday night... but more about those nights later.
Lots more photos and some videos of the first night's fun are after the jump....
by Bill Pearis
DOWNLOAD: Black Tambourine - What's Your Game? (MP3)
Black Tambourine back in the day...
The first night of chickfactor 2012: for the love of pop, which features sets from reunited Black Tambourine and Small Factory, sold out pretty quick, so Black Tambourine have added another show at Maxwells on Monday April 9 for those who didn't get tickets. It's with Fan Modine and Rose Melberg (Tiger Trap/Softies/Go Sailor) and tickets are still on sale and still available.
To commemorate chickfactor's 20th birthday, Black Tambourine have also recorded an EP of Ramones covers which will be released as a double 7" on Slumberland on May 15. Says the Slumberland press release:
It took a pretty special occasion to bring Black Tambourine out of retirement, even temporarily, and the 20th birthday of BT singer Pam Berry's Chickfactor magazine is definitely such an occasion. When the band were discussing the rather complicated logistics (members scattered across two continents) for the reunion shows, the thought of maybe doing some new recordings came to mind. The band quickly agreed that a tribute to one their favorite bands would be a fun project, and of course the Ramones jumped to the top of the list.You can download Black Tambourine's cover of "What's Your Game" (from the Ramones' 1977's LP Leave Home) which features backing vocals from the Rinettes (aka Linda Smith, Rose Melberg, Dee Dee from Dum Dum Girls and Jenny Robbins from Honeymoon Diary). You can also stream it below.
After choosing which songs to work on, the band recorded using the same methodology as they did for the bonus tracks on their self-titled 2010 compilation LP. The gentlemen in the band convened in Maryland to lay down the music, the rough mixes were sent to Pam in London so she could add her inimitable vocals, and then the resulting recordings were sent back to Maryland for Archie to mix.
The final result is OneTwoThreeFour, a double 7" and download EP featuring Black Tambourine's versions of four of their most-loved Ramones tunes.
In other chickfactor news, in addition to the Maxwell's show, the 20th anniversary party has added a show in Portland on May 30 at the Bunk Bar, with Barbara Manning, Joe Pernice, The Softies and Selector Dub Narcotic (Calvin Johnson in DJ mode).
Speaking of Joe Pernice, he'll appear in NYC at City Winery as part of John Wesley Harding's Cabinet of Wonders with Meg Baird (Espers), Bhi Bhiman, Sloane Crosley, A.M.Homes, Eugene Mirman, and Sondre Lerche on March 10th. Tickets are on sale.
Though the first night of the 3-day Bell House fest is sold out, you can still get tickets to the May 11 show (Legendary Jim Ruiz, Aislers Set, Pipas, Bridget St John) and the May 12 show (The Pines, The Softies, Stevie Jackson, Honeybunch).
There's also chickfactor shows in Arlington, VA's Artsphere on April 6 (Stevie Jackson, Frankie Rose, Honebunch, Dot Dash) and April 7 (Black Tambourine, Lilys, Fan Modine, Lorelei).
Click through for the stream of Black Tambourine's Ramones cover, plus cover art to the new EP...
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...
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)
DOWNLOAD: Fan 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)
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 CameoTo 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+.
3 pais of tickets for Saturday night at Santos
5 pairs of tickets for the all-day Sunday show at The Rock Shop.
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...
by Bill Pearis
DOWNLOAD: Summer Cats - Hey You (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Summer Cats - Super (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Summer Cats - Let's Go (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Summer Cats - TV Guide (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Black Tambourine - For Ex-Lovers Only (MP3)
As previously reported, Australia is invading America (and NYC) this month -- musically speaking -- and another battalion has been added to their ranks: Melbourne's Summer Cats. The band are making the most of their trip with a quick East Coast / Midwest tour -- including Mondo! at Don Hill's on Friday (3/5) and then Bruar Falls in Brooklyn on Sunday (3/7) -- then down to Austin for SXSW, then to California for the West Coast editions of Slumberland's 20th Anniversary concerts.
Summer Cats are an almost quintessentially Slumberland-sounding band: sunny male/female vocals, jangly guitars that sometimes get very very noisy, and vintage organ. The band kind of is vintage Slumberland too -- singer Scott Stevens spent a good portion of the '90s fronting shoegazers The Earthmen, whose "Cool Chick #59" was one of the label's early singles. After a string of 7"s on labels like Popboomerang and Cloudberry, Summer Cats became labelmates of Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Crystal Stilts and released their debut album, Songs for Tuesdays, last year.
There's a brand new single out from the band, "Your Timetable," that definitely dips into the band's distortion-loving side. You can download it's poppier flipside, "TV Guide," at the top of this post. There are three other Summer Cats tunes to download too, do check them out -- good stuff.
As for the West Coast Slumberland 20 shows are happening March 27 in San Francisco (sold out) at the Rickshaw Stop, and then the next night (3/28) at the Echo in Los Angeles. As much as I enjoyed the SL20 show at Bell House back in November, I'm more than a little jealous of the California line-ups, especially the San Francisco one. Both shows are headlined by UK indiepop stalwarts Boyracer who are currently claiming these will be their last-ever shows, plus Henry's Dress (original lineup!!!), Go Sailor (Rose Melberg of Tiger Trap/Softies and Amy Linton of Henry's Dress/Aisler's Set, their first show in 14 years!), and more recent Slumberland acts Brown Recluse, Devon Williams, Neverever (ex Royal We and Bricolage), and third-ever (and fourth-ever) live performances of Sic Alps side project, The How. The Rickshaw Stop show also has local Slumberland act Brilliant Colors. And Summer Cats, of course. Holy crap!
Summer Cats also play the Cake Shop/Slumberland showcase at SXSW (3/19 at the Mohawk) that also features The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Frankie & the Outs, Grass Widow, Reading Rainbow and Standard Fare (who we just posted about).
While on the subject of Slumberland Records, and to make this post as tangential (and Brooklyn Vegan-esque) as possible, as part of the label's 20th anniversary they're putting out a new compilation of one of their earliest bands: the short-lived but highly influential Black Tambourine. The group was made up of Pam Berry (also of Glo-Worm and co-founder of zine chickfactor), Velocity Girl's Archie Moore, Brian Nelson and Mike Schulman who runs Slumberland to this day. This replaces the label's previous Black Tambourine comp, offering up six previously unheard tracks. Two of those tracks are demos and the other four are brand new -- two originals, plus covers of Buddy Holly and Suicide. Out March 30, Black Tambourine will be available on CD and a gatefold double LP. Despite the new recordings, the band aren't getting back together or touring... so don't get too excited (editor's note: though I heard there is a chance of a UK show). There is a new video for their song "For Ex-Lovers Only," which you can watch below (and download an MP3 above).
After the jump there are Summer Cats videos and tour dates, and that Black Tambourine music video, album art and tracklist...
photos by Dominick Mastrangelo
Suburban Kids with Biblical Names
NYC Popfest ended last Sunday with a marathon of a show in the basement of Cake Shop on the Lower East Side. We already posted the pictures of The Drums (with a short summary of that day), and you can browse pics from the first three nights of NYC Popfest HERE. Now check out the rest from day four (5/17), with a bunch of videos, below...
by Bill Pearis
DOWNLOAD: The Radio Dept - Freddie and the Trojan Horse (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Radio Dept - Why Won't You Talk About It? (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Radio Dept - The Worst Taste in Music (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Liechtenstein - Stalking Skills (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Cats on Fire - Letters from a Voyage to Sweden (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Burning Hearts - I Lost My Color Vision (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Computer Perfection - The Fool is Hurt (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Hidden Ghost Balloon Ship - Hidden Ghost Balloon Ship (Zip)
DOWNLOAD: The Icicles - La Ti Da (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Pants Yell - Magenta and Green (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Smittens - Stop the Bombs! (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Eux Autres - When I'm Up (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Knight School - Pregnant Again (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: My Teenage Stride - Ears Like Golden Bats (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Metric Mile - How to Beat the SAT (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Secret History - It's Not the End of the World Jonah (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Ballet - In My Head (MP3)
The Radio Dept
Enigmatic Swedish band The Radio Dept. are to play their first U.S. show since 2003 (which was in San Francisco), as part of the third-annual NYC Popfest which happens this year from May 14 - 17. Whether or not the band will have finished their delayed follow-up to 2005's Pet Grief remains to be seen, but there are lots of folks who've been waiting years for Radio Dept to play here and, so far, the Popfest date is the only one they're doing.
While the Radio Dept will no-doubt be the biggest draw, NYC Popfest has put together a pretty great lineup including a few other notable acts, more Swedes: all-girl trio Liechtenstein, who've put out a bunch of great 7-inches and will have a new EP out on Slumberland in May. We'll also get two bands from Finland: Cats on Fire, who made their U.S. debut at last year's fest; and the lovely synth-acoustic pop of Burning Hearts whose debut album, Aboa Sleeping, was released last month.
North America is well represented as you might expect. Detroit gives us Computer Perfection (who are not synth pop despite the name), and offshoot band Hidden Ghost Ship, whose very good debut album you can download for free. (The link is at the top of this post.) There's also Grand Rapids' The Icicles whose song "La Ti Da" you might know from a Target commercial; Boston's awesome Pants Yell! who were one of my favorites from last year's event; Ohio's The 1959 Hat Company and Afternoon Naps; California brings us L.A.'s The Tartans (12-strings and glockenspeil pop) and San Francisco's Eux Autres (janglepop); Vermont's Smittens (who remind me of '90s indie pop band Small Factory); Athens, GA's great power popppers Casper & the Cookies; Chicago's Very Truly Yours (classic twee pop) and Canada's Rose Melberg.
The bulk of the bands are from NYC, and include: My Teenage Stride whose new Emusic single "Creep Academy" is one of my favorite songs they've ever done; Knight School (who I've written about before); Boy Genius (ditto) and The Secret History (double ditto); plus the newly-quintet-ed The Metric Mile, Soft City, Dream Bitches, The Ballet, Strega, and Don Lennon.
Most of the Popfest shows will happen at Cake Shop, with a Friday night show at Don Hill's in conjunction with Mondo! and the Radio Dept. show at The Bell House. Unlike the two previous years, there's no BBQ/day show at Union Pool. Pricing and that sort of thing hasn't been ironed out yet, but the individual night's lineups are below:
Calvin Johnson is playing Barnard College on Wednesday. Rose Melberg is playing Cake Shop on Saturday. Calvin Johnson and Rose Melberg are playing a Todd P show together at Brooklyn's 3rd Ward next Tuesday. All dates below...
Rose Melberg played her first NYC show in YEARS last night at Cake Shop (April 25, 2006). As if that wasn't good enough, she brought in ex-My Favorite vocalist Andrea Vaughn to sing backup on a lot of songs. You couldn't even tell the two never practiced together, but Andrea learned all her parts from an advance copy of Rose's new CD.
I never saw Rose perform with Gaze, Go Sailor, The Softies, The Three Peeps, or Tiger Trap, but I'm sure she sounds as good as ever. The decent-sized crowd was full of hardcore fans who she thanked for waiting so long to get a new album. At least one person got her autograph after the show, and I'm sure they'll all be back for part two (of "the 48 hour party" as she called it) tonight at Magnetic Field in Brooklyn. I'm a newbie, and I may try to make it over there too.
"Rose Melberg had a 'hit' record in 1998. Now she's readying her followup. As a member of Tiger Trap and The Softies, Rose was a leading figure in the 90's indie pop scene. Her 1998 solo record Portola was given stunning reviews by all who heard it, if you are a fan of the softer sounds of Aztec Camera or Cowboy Junkies than this will be right up your alley." [songs:illinois]
TOUR DATES (TONIGHT INCLUDED)
Tues, April 25 New York, NY @ Cake Shop w/ Jennifer O'Connor, 8pm,
Wed, April 26 Brooklyn, NY @ Magnetic Field w/ Graham Smith, 8pm
The rest of the dates below...