Entries tagged with: Slumberland Records
by Bill Pearis
DOWNLOAD: Lorelei - Hammer Meet Tongs (MP3)
As you may have read on this very site, '90s era DC dream poppers Lorelei will release a new album, Enterprising Sidewalks, next month on Slumberland Records, the same label that put out their 1995 debut. You can download the first single from the album, "Hammer Meet Tongs," at the top of this post. It doesn't tip it's shoegaze hat till the very end, and sounds like they never left the scene.
Lorelei play Glasslands tonight (7/19), with Brooklyn baroque noisemakers The New Lines and goth-leaning locals Mansions and Junipers, making for a solid bill of music for the etherial guitar pedal enthusiasts out there. (Hoping Lorelei pull out their cover of Pale Saints' "Sight of You," too.) Tickets for tonight's show are still available. Upcoming Lorelei tour dates are listed below.
Weekend at BVSXSW 2011 (more by Tim Griffin)
San Francisco noise merchants Weekend have just put the finishing touches on their second album for Slumberland which should be out later this year. They were at one point supposed to be here for CBGB Fest but that never materialized but will be in the NYC area next month for what appears to be a one-off show at
Cameo on August 28 and tickets for that are on sale.
UPDATE: The show is now happening on September 25 and tickets are still available.
All currently scheduled Weekend dates (all of which except NYC are in the UK) are listed below.
by Bill Pearis
Lorelei at Slumberland 20 (more by Tim Griffin)
'90s era DC shoegazers Lorelei came out of retirement a in 2006 years ago, having notably played the Slumberland 20th Anniversary at Bell House in 2009 and the Chickfactor anniversary in Arlington, VA this spring. But the band are doing more than just playing a few shows, and will release a new album, Enterprising Sidewalks, on Slumberland Records this fall. You can stream their 2003 EP, Informed by the Future, at the bottom of this post.
Lorelei has a few shows scheduled this summer including one in NYC at Glasslands on July 19 with openers The New Lines. Tickets for that show are on sale now.
A list of all dates and that EP stream below...
by Bill Pearis
Spectrals at SXSW (more)
Scotland's Spectrals -- aka 21-year old Louis Jones -- just wrapped up a tour with Cults and are in town for two shows this week: Friday (5/4) at Glasslands with Twerps and Saturday's (5/5) sold-out show at Mercury Lounge with Slumberland labelmates Frankie Rose and the newly-respelled DIIV.
Indie rock readings of Phil Spector pop are almost passé at this point, but Jones makes it work due in no small part to his English wit, articulation, and gray mood. "Get a Grip" opens with a small, fun riff, prefacing a crooned rhyme: "I need to get a grip, I always seem to let my smile slip." His delivery is slow and monotone, as he stretches each fifth syllable or so, but it's a toe-tapper, underpinned by cool bits of bongo and guitar. The bongo drum returns later on "You Don't Have to Tell Me", and whether or not the 50s jazz-club feel comes with a wink, its faux-sophistication still comes over as charming. "Luck Is There to Be Pushed" has a similar effect, but this time with the runs of jazz piano that fleck its dramatically soft guitar strums and subtle, gliding synths.In addition to streaming the album, you can watch the video for Spectrals single "Get a Grip" at the bottom of this post.
Friday's show at Glasslands is with Australia's Twerps, who have been visiting America since SXSW and have added this one last show. If you haven't heard their 2011 self-titled album (one of my favorites of last year) you can stream a few tracks at the bottom of this post. They're good live too. Also also playing are Family Portrait. This is an early show as Glasslands hosts Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (sold out) later Friday night.
by Bill Pearis
DOWNLOAD: Terry Malts - Nauseous (MP3)
Terry Malts's debut album, Killing Time, is one of 2012's more enjoyable slabs of wax: 14 tracks of buzzy pop in 33 minutes, loaded with "whoah ohs," party anthems, sing-a-long choruses and feedback. You can download "Nauseous" at the top of this post, watch the video for "I Do" below or stream the entire album at Spotify.
Terry Malts begin a US tour next month that will bring them to New York for a April 21 show at Glasslands with The Suzan and Mainland. Click through for all Terry Malts tour dates.
by Bill Pearis
As mentioned before, Young Prisms play tonight (3/5) at Glasslands with Austin's Boy Friend. The San Francisco band's second album, In Between, is out at the end of the month and we've got the premiere of Violens' remix of the album's lead track, "Floating in Blue." Violens took the very shoegazy original and kind of turned it into a late-80s New Order track. You can compare and contrast -- both versions are downloadable above.
Speaking of Violens, they just signed to Slumberland who will release their new album True on May 15. If you followed their monthly digital single releases last year, you may recognize a few of the songs on True. One of the new ones on the album, "Unfolding Black Wings," is downloadable at the top of this post.
Click through for the video to Young Prisms' "Floating in Blue," plus tour dates for the band.
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...
by Bill Pearis
Interstellar is a big, second-album leap of faith into deeper waters, a sparkling synth-pop record that wants very badly to mean something to dreamy, hyper-emotional twentysomethings. For her model, she's taken the impression of some of the dreamiest, most hyper-emotional records of her youth. The production on Interstellar is gorgeous, and clearly modeled on the Cure's big, panoramic pop records, like Disintegration: booming-canyon drums, acres of spannable horizon. The drum beat that opens up "Know Me" is virtually identical to that of "Close to Me", and the silvery guitar leads on "Gospel/Grace" are pretty much mimeographed from "Plainsong". But although Rose indulges pretty heavily in the Cure's primary colors, she paints something distinctly her own with them. The world of Interstellar is a vision of paradise as lifted from the front of a Trapper Keeper: air-brushed, pastel-hued, and gloriously vivid. [Pitchfork]Frankie Rose's second album, Interstellar, is out today and just got a well-deserved Best New Music tag from Pitchfork. You can stream it via Spotify or the SPIN link we posted last week. You can pick it up at tonights record release show at Knitting Factory to which there are still tickets available. (Though maybe not for long.) Tonight is the debut of Frankie's new band and it will be interesting to hear how they translate Interstellar's widescreen pop to the live stage. Openers are DIVE and Night Manager.
Frankie's sitting out SXSW this year but will bring DIVE along for an April tour of the US, and all dates, (Chicago & Austin included) are below, along with the video for "Gospel/Grace" (directed by Grass Widow's Hannah Lew)...
photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Bill Pearis
Veronica Falls @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
The last time Veronica Falls were in town, singer Roxanne Clifford was under-the-weather, making for somewhat subdued performances. Thursday (2/9), though, the band were in fine health and form, the best I've seen since Popfest 2010. (Best-sounding too.) Clifford and James Hoare attacked their guitars in a furious jangle -- The Wedding Present by way of New Zealand -- when not producing minor key harmonies, while the rhythm section of drummer Patrick Doyle and bassist Marion Herbain kept the pedal to the medal. There's nothing twee about this sound, loud and fierce, assured and pretty. In addition to most of their debut album -- plus their awesome cover of Roky Erickson's "Starry Eyes" -- we got four new songs, including the Primitives-esque "My Heart Beats" which was the real standout.
Veronica Falls' tour and labelmates Brilliant Colors also played, bashing out scratchy C-86 style indiepop and were fun despite equipment problems. I missed local openers Grooms, as I was seeing Cate Le Bon at Mercury Lounge (sorry guys) but photographer Amanda Hatfield was there for the whole night and you can click through for lots of pics from all three bands.
Veronica Falls tour with Brilliant Colors continues, with Bleached joining as well starting in Minneapolis on 2/17. All tour dates at the bottom of the pictures...
by Bill Pearis
chickfactor #1 with cover stars Small Factory
chickfactor will celebrate its 20-year anniversary with five blissful nights of sparkling indie pop on the Northeast Corridor of the USA (three in NY; two in DC) including the first shows in years by Black Tambourine, Small Factory, Pipas, The Aislers Set, A Girl Called Eddy, The Softies, The Lois Plus, The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group and Fan Modine and rare performances from such pop luminaries asStevie Jackson (Belle & Sebastian), Frankie Rose, Lilys, Lorelei, Dot Dash, Versus, Bridget St John and Honey Bunch.Those who followed indiepop in the '90s most certainly read (and probably still have their copies of) fabled 'zine chickfactor, which was written all in lower-case and was read sideways like a calendar. Stephin Merritt was among the regular contributors and it was fun, funny and turned a lot of folks on to cool new sounds like Black Tambourine, Lois Maffeo, Small Factory, The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group, Tiger Trap and many more. Stevie Jackson wrote a song about it for the second Belle & Sebastian album, maybe you heard it.
chickfactor started in 1992 in D.C. and New York by pop-loving maniacs Pam Berry and Gail O'Hara, who used to travel up and down the East Coast seeing Small Factory, Honey Bunch, the Wedding Present and any other fine indie-pop bands of the era. We are spoiled silly and lucky as all get-out to be able to present this super-stellar line-up. Get your ticket fast, do not dilly-dally!
For chickfactor's 20th anniversary, founders Gail O'Hara and Pam Berry have put together a five-day, two-city festival that gathers many of the zine's most loved bands, many of whom haven't performed in 15 or more years. It happens April 6 and 7 at the Artisphere in Arlington, Virginia and then in NYC April 10 -12 at The Bell House (Maybe some of you went to the 10th anniversary show at Fez?).
The shows shows break down like this:
April 6 (Artispace, Arlington, VA): Stevie Jackson, Frankie Rose, Honey Bunch, The Dot Dash
April 7 (Artispace, Arlington, VA): Black Tambourine, Lilys, Fan Modine, Lorelei
April 10 (The Bell House, Brooklyn): Black Tambourine, Small Factory, Versus, The Lois Plus + Special Guests.
April 11 (The Bell House, Brooklyn): The Aislers Set, Pipas, Bridget St. John, The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group
April 12 (The Bell House, Brooklyn): Stevie Jackson, Honey Bunch, A Girl Called Eddy, The Softies
Black Tambourine (first East Coast shows in 20 years) and The Aislers Set (first in almost 10 years) are the big draws here, but this writer is especially excited about folk pop trio Small Factory who haven't played together in 15 years and Minneapolis' The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group whose 1995 album O Brother Where Art Thou? is a lost '90s classic (they're promising a new album this year too).
This comes a mere month before the sixth annual NYC Popfest (happening May 17 - 20) which means this spring is likely to be a very good year for indiepop fans. NYC Popfest hasn't divulged any of its line-up, but I hear it may be their most ambitious yet.
Click though for a detailed rundown of the chickfactor fest line-up, plus some vintage videos from the groups involved.
by Bill Pearis
An exciting double bill for indiepop fans in coming this spring: UK groups Allo Darlin' and The Wave Pictures are going on a US tour which kicks off at Mercury Lounge on April 24. Tickets for the NYC show go on sale this Friday (1/6) at noon. The tour which winds across North America and back through May (currently ending at Cafe Nine in New Haven, CT). All dates are at the bottom of this post.
Both Allo Darlin and The Wave Pictures will have new albums out in time for these shows. Allo Darlin's second LP, Europe, will be out on April 17 via Slumberland Records (or via Fortuna POP! if you're in Europe), as will the album's first single, "Capricornia" which is premiering in this post. Listen to the stream at the bottom of this post. Look for the single on March 6.
Says singer-songwriter Elizabeth Morris about "Capricornia":
Capricornia is the area in Queensland that I'm from. It has imaginary state lines, roughly around the Tropic of Capricorn, which runs directly through my hometown. There's a nice 70s monument that marks the spot where the line passes, out on a lonely dirt road where all the kids learn how to drive. My family have lived in this area for over 6 generations but none of my generation remain. It's a beautiful place.As to the rest of Europe:
Musically, when we first discussed the album with our producer, I suggested that the feel of Europe should be somewhere between "A New England" by Kirsty Macoll and "Cattle and Cane" by The Go-Betweens. I think this song is the closest to that.
I wanted to make beautiful songs and end up with a beautiful album, not necessarily an album of three minute pop songs... I suppose the songs have an awareness of a darker place but end up coming out the other side. We wanted to make the best album we possibly could and I think we've ended up with that.Scroll further down this post for a teaser video for the album, which includes new song "Tallulah." You can also stream Allo Darlin's 2011 single "Darren" which is a tribute to onetime Hefner frontman Darren Hayman.
As for The Wave Pictures, their new album, Long Black Cars, will be out via Moshi Moshi in March. The band's last album, A Beer in the Breakers, came out last May.
In other news, Allo Darlin' have posted a letter on their website regarding the tragic death of Esme Barrera, including a link to the benefit show in Brooklyn and another to donate to Esme's funeral fund.
Click below for the stream of "Capricornia," plus that Allo Darlin' album teaser, "Capricornia" cover art and the "Darren" single stream, as well a couple recent live Wave Pictures videos (including the new album's title track), and all dates...
by Bill Pearis
DOWNLOAD: Frankie Rose - Know Me (MP3)
As mentioned a couple times before, Frankie Rose's new album Interstellar is due out February 21 on Slumberland Records, the same night as the album's record release show at Knitting Factory with Dive and Night Manager. The album's first single, "Know Me," is out January 17 and you can download the a-side at the top of this post and stream it below.
About ten seconds into "Know Me" it's apparent that Frankie has left the garage. Insterstellar was produced by Le Chev who remixed Rose's "Candy" from her first album, and is one half of Avan Lava (and onetime bassist for Fischerspooner) and embraces synthesizers, jangly guitars, dancier elements, and even contains a few slow jams. Fans of The Wake and Craft Spells, take notice.
By Bill Pearis
DOWNLOAD: Devon Williams - Your Sympathy (mp3)
West Coast singer-songwriter Devon Williams is currently touring his new album on Slumberland, Euphoria, and will be in NYC this weekend. He plays Cake Shop on Friday (12/2) and Glasslands on Saturday (12/3).
You may remember Williams from his early '00s band Osker or his stints with Lavender Diamond and Neverever. Euphoria, coproduced by Violens Jorge Elbrecht and Destroyer knob-twiddler Dave Carswell, is eubuliant pop colored with baroque strings and arpeggiated guitars. You can download "Your Sympathy" at the top of this post, and stream a few more tracks at the bottom, including a radical Violens remix of Tower of "Thought."
by Bill Pearis
Two of San Francisco's newer, noisier pop bands, Wax Idols and Terry Malts, will be hitting the road together next month for a cross-country tour that has two stops in NYC: November 1 at Cake Shop and November 2 and Shea Stadium. All tour dates are listed at the bottom of this post.
Wax Idols are the new group from Hether Fortune, who has spent time in Hunx & His Punx and Bare Wires. Fuzz pedals crash into jangly guitars, vocals are high sneer but also full of harmony, and there's room for both girl group balladry and a tough cover of Wire's "Sand in My Joints." The band's debut, No Future, is out next month on HoZac and is quite good. You can check out "Dead Like You" from it at the top of this post.
As for the Terry Malts, their debut 7" on Slumberland from earlier this year is three quick blasts of sunny pop covered in a thick blanket of white noise. (Somewhere between '80s West Coast punk and C-'86 lies their sound.) Slumberland's press release talks of them being a "mysterious presence on the local scene for a while now. Popping up with great regularity on gigs around town, they come, they slay, then they disappear into the dark night." But turns out Terry Malts are the new project from most of the guys in Magic Bullets, a band that has been put in cold storage -- they played their final show August 24. They've got a new 7" out in about a month, and you can download "Distracted" from the first one at the top of this post.
Tours of the whole country can be expensive, and if you'd like to help the Wax Idols/Terry Malts cross-country sojourn, there's a Kickstarter for it. All tour dates, plus some videos, are below.
by Andrew Sacher
DOWNLOAD: Big Troubles - "Misery" (MP3)
Big Troubles at Webster Hall in May (more by Winnie Cheung)
Lo-fi indie poppers Big Troubles recently signed to Slumberland, who will release their sophomore LP Romantic Comedy on September 27. With the help of Mitch Easter, who worked on the first two R.E.M. albums and Pavement's Brighten the Corners, the band remarkably cleaned up their sound from their scratchy debut. Mitch's style suits the band well, whose new single "Misery" is the perfect soundtrack to a '90s backyard keg party. Don't let the somber track title fool you either. "Misery" is a lighthearted alt-rocker with frontman Alex Craig repeatedly insisting "I just wanna have some fun." Grab the MP3 above and check out the artwork and tracklist below.
Big Troubles will go on a tour in support of the album this fall with their Slumberland label-mates The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. The tour kicks off with a record release show in NYC on September 22 at Glasslands. Pains aren't on the bill for that show though, but The Ice Choir are. The Ice Choir is led by Kurt Feldman who is a member of Pains and was in the now-gone Depreciation Guild. Tickets for the Glasslands show are on sale now.
New Yorkers can catch Pains the month prior, when they play two shows at Terminal 5 with The Kills and A Place to Bury Strangers. Tickets are still on sale for both shows. Pains will not play TakLiberty Fest on September 18 at PNC Banks Arts Center, which is now cancelled.
All tour dates, album art and tracklist below...
DOWNLOAD: Kids on a Crime Spree - Sweet Tooth (MP3)
"[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." - BillLike 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.
More about NYC Popfest, HERE. More about the new Slumberland album and all dates, 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: 14 Iced Bears - Inside (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: 14 Iced Bears - Like a Dolphin (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: 14 Iced Bears - Hay Fever (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The 1900s - Babies (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Tuung - Don't Look Down or Back (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Blank Dogs - Northern Islands (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Dead Gaze - This Big World (MP3)
14 Iced Bears
I did a double take when I saw that UK indiepop cult heros 14 Iced Bears were playing The Rock Shop on Thursday (11/11). I didn't even know they had reformed. They're associated with the jangly C86 scene (though not actually on that famed cassette) and released singles on seminal indiepop labels Sarah and Slumberland. You can download three songs at the top of this post, all of which are on the Slumberland-released singles comp In The Beginning. A little more on the band from Slumberland:
Formed in 1985 by Rob Sekula, 14 Iced Bears ably blended shambolic pop with a psychedelic punk edge that set them apart from their C86 contemporaries. Inspired by bands like the Stooges, Velvet Underground, 13th Floor Elevators and Echo & the Bunnymen, Sekula injected the then-nascent indie-pop sound with a twisted dose of noise and experimental menace. While still owing plenty to the Byrds/Ramones influences evident in the output of labels like Creation and Pink, it was this dark 60s flavor that always set the 'Bears apart. [Slumberland]If you can find 14 Iced Bears 1988 debut album, it's an underheard classic of the era. I also really like their fuzzed-out cover of "Summer Nights" from Grease, which was my introduction to the band. If you like Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Dream Diary and Crystal Stilts, here's some OG indiepoppers making a rare, totally unexpected appearance on American shores. The band broke up in 1992 and these are their first shows since then. Highly Recommended. The band are over, ostensibly, for Popfest New England which happens this weekend, but are making a short Northeast tour out of the visit. All 14 Iced Bears tour dates are at the bottom of this post.
The other super-exciting this weekend is the return of Chicago's The 1900s who haven't played NYC in almost two years. They play an early show at Mercury Lounge on Thursday (11/11) and then The Rock Shop on Saturday (11/13). Their new album, Return of the Century, is pretty fantastic, somewhere between Velvet Underground and Fleetwood Mac, brimming with perfectly crafted pop. Says Chicagoist:
The 1900s have many musical precursors, but it seems unfair to name check any of them since the group has obviously labored so hard to create something of their own. And in that they've succeeded. Return of the Century is surrounded by a golden warmth, coursing through every harmony and bittersweet guitar chord. The band has mastered the art of creating a genuine atmosphere, as opposed to taking musical shortcuts to convey sentimentality, and it's impossibly not to lay back and luxuriate in the sound washing over you. Previously The 1900s excelled in mirroring sounds from the past, and the sonic dressings haven't changed, but now there's a genuine and unique beating heart giving their tunes life. It's like watching the difference between four-color print and HD TV, only through gauzy pastels.You can listen for yourself -- the whole of Return of the Century is streaming via a widget at the bottom of this post. And if you haven't already, you can download an MP3 of single "Babies" at the top of this post. And I do urge you to go see them. The 1900s are just as skilled live, and a lot of fun too.
If you don't mind paying again 'cause it's a separate show, you can stick around after The 1900s play at Mercury Lounge on Thursday (11/11) and catch folky UK act Tunng. They also play Bruar Falls on Saturday (11/13). The band have gone through some line-up changes since their last album, most notably the departure of singer Sam Genders (he of the Robert Wyatt-esque voice).
Losing their singer/songwriter could prove disastrous (see: The Concretes new LP review in P4K) but Tunng's fourth album, And Then We Saw Land, is pretty good, if a little more straight-up folk pop than their previous albums which mixed acoustics with glitchy electronics. Laptops still make appearances here and there, but the new LP is breezy pastoral stuff. You can download "Don't Look Down or Back" at the top of this post, and watch the video for single "Hustle" at the bottom. The Mercury Lounge show is the first of a short North American tour, and all dates are at the bottom of this post.
There's so much good music coming out on Captured Tracks lately much of it in single form. If you haven't heard Craft Spells' "Party Talk" or Soft Moon's "Breath the Fire," you should definitely seek them out. Don't forget about Blank Dogs, the musical alter ego of C/T major domo Mike Sniper. Blank Dogs new album, Land and Fixed, has come a long way from the murky, effects-overload of their early EPs into new sonic clarity. There's still a lot of delay and chorus effects but it no longer sounds like it was recorded in a bog. If you like the weirder side of early Mute Records (Fad Gadget seem a big influence), or the dark pop of Ohio cult legends My Dad is Dead, give BD's new album a listen. It's pretty good.
Really more of a studio thing, the Blank Dogs Live Experience has been a bit more of a mess, but Sniper has formed a new power trio version of the band and given the strength of the last few records it may be time to revisit. They play Friday night at Glasslands as part of a really good bill. Also on the bill: Mississippi's Dead Gaze (super-catchy bedroom recorded pop, check out an MP3 above); Swimsuit (new band from Fred Thomas of City Center/Saturday Looks Good to Me); and the jangly psych-pop of Minneapolis Velvet Davenport (who also play Shea Stadium on Saturday [11/13]).
That's the main stuff this week. A few more picks, night-by-night, of things not covered above.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 10
I'd kind of forgotten about Favourite Sons who haven't released an album since 2006's underrated Down Beside Your Beauty. But after a dormant period they're about to release it's follow-up, The Great Deal of Love, and play Union Pool tonight. (Watch a video of the title track at the bottom of this post.) Singer Ken Griffin, who sounds a little like Ian McCulloch, fronted the excellent but mostly forgotten '90s band Rollerskate Skinny (seek out 1996's Horsedrawn Wishes, it's a lost classic).
Tonight at Bruar Falls is what is likely Pursesnatchers' last show for what will likely be a while, as Doug Marvin and Annie Hart are expecting a bundle of joy any second. They're on at 8PM and it's FREE.
SXSW Day Three started over at the free Dickies Sounds Day Party. Free silk-screened posters with all the bands playing that day (including She & Him and Surfer Blood at the official showcase that night) were printed up and handed out on the spot. People played ping pong next to the house while around the corner Greg Laswell played a few new songs, several old ones, as well as his incredibly depressing take on Cyndi Lauper's "Girl's Just Wanna Have Fun". After a quick dash over to the convention center it was back to Dickies, where there was suddenly a long line, to catch the all-girl quartet, Warpaint, who were fantastic. Then Rogue Wave closed out the day portion. I still can't get excited about their new record, but live Zach Rogue and his newly configured lineup have it down and the crowd we're into it from the start. The highlight being "Lake Michigan" and a slow-building, two-minute intro.
For the evening I set up camp at the Mohawk for the Slumberland/Cake Shop Showcase. Sheffield's indiepop trio Standard Fare opened inside and their performance was great. A better batch of indie pop songs you'll be hard-pressed to find this year. Philadelphia drum-guitar duo Reading Rainbow were next and another indie pop band, the excellent Summer Cats (from Australia), followed. Frankie Rose and the Outs were up next with their hazy, lo-fi rock. I skipped out after that to nip over to the Galaxy Backyard to catch The Antlers (completely forgetting I would see them the following afternoon at another Party.) Their third show of the festival and they just nailed it. People around me who had not heard of them were won over after just one song (the increasingly uptempo "Sylvia".) By the end, one girl put her hands up in the shape of a heart right in front of Peter Silberman, eliciting a smile from the frontman mid-verse. From there it was a quick dash back up Red River to the Mohawk where both inside and outside were at capacity with Miike Snow about to go on outside (followed by Mayer Hawthorne, neither of who I caught) and Pains of Being Pure at Heart inside. "Welcome to the Cake Shop," said Kip Berman at the start of the New York indie pop band's set, pointing at the Cake Shop banner on the wall behind them.
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...
by Bill Pearis
DOWNLOAD: Standard Fare - Dancing (MP3)
From Sheffield, England come trio Standard Fare, who'll be in New York (and Philly and Boston) before heading to SXSW: They'll play Cake Shop on March 11 (w/ Diehard) and March 14 at Death By Audio. Singer Emma Kupa has a way with a tune as well as clever, lovelorn lyrics and Standard Fare's debut, The Noyelle Beat, is pretty sweet. It comes out March 16 on Bar None Records. Download their single "Dancing" at the top of this post. If you like the likes of Sky Larkin, The Lodger, Los Campesinos! or The Blake Babies, you should definitely check them out. If you're going to SXSW they'll be playing the Cake Shop/Slumberland party on Friday, March 19 at Mohawk with Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Grass Widow, Frankie & the Outs, Summer Cats and Reading Rainbow, plus a few day parties during the week.
All tour dates, plus a video for "Dancing" are after the jump.
by Bill Pearis
The '80s-era indie power-pop band The Primitives have reformed and will be playing The Bell House on May 8. Tickets are on sale now. The band, fronted by platinum blonde Tracy Tracy, was best known for their hit "Crash" which was inescapable on modern rock radio in 1988 and has since been covered by nearly every pop punk band in existence. They went on to make three albums, and called it quits shortly after 1991's Galore. The Primitives reformed late last year, playing their first reunion show in their hometown of Coventry on October 2. The Bell House show will be the first American show since their split.
Opening the show are Frankie & the Outs who are currently recording their debut album for Slumberland, and also just posted a bunch of new dates, including February 13 with So Cow at Market Hotel, and February 19 with Kurt Vile and Fucked up at Europa.
Frankie & The Outs @ Cameo on New Years Eve (Abby Braden/PunkPhoto)
Dum Dum Girls' debut LP, I Will Be, comes out via Sub Pop on March 30. Both of Frankie's bands will be hit SXSW in Austin this year too.
Video from the NYE show at Cameo, a couple Primitives videos, all Frankie & the Outs tour dates, plus video of Dum Dum Girls playing Boston back in October, below...
Influential indie label Slumberland Records turned 20 in 2009 and celebrated this landmark with two big birthday shows -- one in Washington DC (where it got its start) and one in Brooklyn (where much of Slumberland's current roster reside). The Bell House show was a cardigan-clad indie marathon, with a nice mix of Slumberland bands (and fans) old and new. It really did feel like a party. There were favors for the guests (a Slumberland rarities compilation CD) and even a few surprises. Slumberland head honcho Mike Schulman joined Philadelphia's Brown Recluse on stage for some well-played tambourine, and Amy Linton, conspicuously absent from the listed proceedings, turned up for an unannounced, too-brief (and crazy loud) set of Henry's Dress and Aislers Set songs with help from Crystal Stilts. There might've even been a cake. With the label going strong, another 20 years doesn't seem entirely out of the question.
Videos (including the entire Henry's Dress/Aislers Set set), plus pictures of all the bands from the whole long, fun night are after the jump....
tonight in NYC
* ATP Movie
* Walter Schreifels @ Court Tavern
* BOAT, miniboone @ Bruar Falls
* Alela Diane @ Sound Fix Records
* French Horn Rebellion @ The Cameo
* John Zorn Improv Night @ The Stone
* Textual, Soft Circle @ Monkey Town
* Apex Fest III @ Chashama Arts Center
* Skeletonwitch, Black Anvil @ Union Pool
* Laura Cantrell, Amy Allison @ 92YTribeca
* Alela Diane, Marissa Nadler @ Union Hall
* Peaches, Amanda Blank, Jessica 6 @ Terminal 5
* Metallica, Lamb of God @ Madison Square Garden
* Fixed w/ 20/20 Soundsystem @ Santos Party House
* The Asteroids Galaxy Tour @ Tribeca Grand Hotel
* Kap Bambino, Sleigh Bells @ Studio at Webster Hall
* Care Bears On Fire, Calamity @ Studio at Webster Hall
* Longwave, The Grates, A Million Years @ Bowery Ballroom
* Shonen Knife, Jeff: The Brotherhood, Girls At Dawn @ Maxwell's
* Amanda Palmer, The Nervous Cabaret @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
* Moderat Likvidation, Detonate, Brain Killer, Perdition @ ABC No Rio
* Gordon Gano & the Ryans, .357 Lover, Mimicking Birds @ Knitting Factory Brooklyn
* Soft Power, Shondes, Royal Pink, Low & The Lonesome, Franz Nicolay @ Southpaw
* The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Crystal Stilts, Brown Recluse, Pants Yell!, Frankie Rose, The Ropers, Nord Express, Lorelei @ The Bell House
Slumberland Fest tonight at The Bell House!
Mary Timony's band Soft Power is on the bill at Southpaw tonight.
by Bill Pearis
DOWNLOAD: The Cribs - We Were Aborted (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: BOAT - Prince of Tacoma (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: BOAT - We've Been Friends Since 1989 (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: BOAT - Lately (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: BOAT - I'm a Donkey for Your Love (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: BOAT - Last Cans of Paint (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Pants Yell! - Cold Hands (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Frankie Rose - Thee Only One (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Brown Recluse - Night Train (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Brown Recluse - Contour and Context (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Ropers - Revolver (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Nord Express - The Natural (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Lorelei - Stale Houses (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Max Tundra - Which Song (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Deastro - Reaction To Substance M (MP3)
Tonight (11/11) and tomorrow are the last two shows of The Answering Machine's extended NYC visit, playing Bruar Falls tonight (with Dinnosaur Feathers and Zambri) and Cake Shop tomorrow (11/12, with Sholi). As I've said before, this Manchester band make superior Brit Indie and like their debut album, Another City, Another Sorry, quite a bit. You can get the whole thing at their bandcamp.com page.
Speaking of superior Brit Indie, The Cribs fourth album, Ignore the Ignorant, was released this week, just in time for their shows at Bowery Ballroom on Thursday (11/12, still tickets available) and Friday (11/13, sold out). As you may know, The Cribs are now a four-piece, having added Johnny Marr to their otherwise all-Jarman lineup for the writing and recording of the new album which actually does sound like what you might expect it to. You've still got the big choruses and raw energy The Cribs are known for, but now with the flourishes and panache the onetime Smith is known for. I'd even say Ignore the Ignorant finds Johnny Marr sounding like Johhny Marr for the first time since his days in The The. It's a really strong record. But The Cribs are almost always better live than on record. I will be curious to see how Marr will affect the usual antics of Gary, Ryan, Ross. Will brothers still act like brothers when there's a legend nearly twice their age on stage?
The shows I'm most looking forward to this weekend are from Seattle's BOAT, a truly fun live band whose new album, Setting the Paces, is just terrific, loaded with irresistible indie pop, as much as you can fit on tangerine-colored vinyl. We're talking giant hooks, lyrics that are funny without being novelty (and have just enough of the crying-on-the-inside clown thing going on too), and production that is neither slick nor low fi. This is how it's done, and I've no doubt this will find its way into my Best of 2009 list.
BOAT play Union Hall on Friday (11/13) and Bruar Falls on Saturday (11/14) and you really should do yourself a favor and go see one of these shows. They don't make it East very often. Their live shows are fairly interactive -- they pass out bags of confetti and homemade shakers, and often work with signs and props -- but it never feels forced. They just want you to have a good time. The Union Hall show on Friday is with How I Became the Bomb; Saturday's Bruar Falls show is with Miniboone and Shark?
I feel a little bad that BOAT's show on Saturday is competing with the Slumberland 20th Anniversary show at The Bell House for the indie pop consumer's dollar. As someone who spent his college years going on road trips to Washington DC to see shows and go record shopping, Slumberland is intertwined with my musical upbringing, be it thumbing through Velocity Girl, Henry's Dress and Aislers Set 7"s at Arlington's Go Records, or hearing Stereolab's Switched On for the first time at Smash on M Street.
It's kind of amazing that, after a few years of dormancy, Slumberland has come back stronger than ever in the last year with records that have achieved a national level of attention that seemed impossible in the '90s. I'm still stunned at how popular Pains of Being Pure at Heart have gotten. It's a label that continues to be a labor of love for owner Mike Schulman. Maybe the listening public (now with the wide-reaching abilities of the internet) has come around to his way of thinking.
Anyway, Saturday's eight-band spectacular is a hard-t0-pass-up bill for any indie fan, featuring label heavy hitters The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (previously unannounced) and Crystal Stilts. There's also Boston's Pants Yell!, whose new album Received Pronunciation was just released and is what I'd call a textbook "grower," one whose many pleasures don't reveal themselves till maybe the third listen. The band are also swearing it's their last, and plan to break up next year (Check out an MP3 of "Cold Hands" above). Additionally, the show has Philadelphia's baroque-ish Brown Recluse from the label's current roster, and what is likely to be most people's first time seeing Frankie & the Outs, who were really good opening for Grass Widow at the Woodser a week ago.
There's also sets from three bands from Slumberland's dreamy '90s era: Lorelei, who have been back together since 2003, and The Ropers, and Nord Express who I'm pretty sure are playing their first shows since disbanding. While I know some Slumberland fanatics were hoping, wishing, crossing their fingers Schulman and Bell House booker Skippy might pull a rabbit out of their hat with more classic Slumberland bands (The Aislers Set, Black Tambourine, Velocity Girl or Rocketship), it's hard to argue with this lineup. It's gonna be a great night.
While on the subject of '90s indie rock, Versus are playing at Knitting Factory on Friday (11/13). Now augmented with a violinist (at least at their fantastic Seaport set this summer), they're sounding as good as they did in the '90s. Maybe even better. I'm told there's a new Versus album in the can and they're just trying to work out the whens and wheres of its release. The whole line-up at the Knit is TeenBeat related actually, with label head (and former Unrest frontman) Mark Robinson's new band Cotton Candy; Plus Minus which features Versus' James Balyut and ex-member Patrick Ramos and who are equally popular in their own right; The Solitary Cyclist which includes John Lindaman of True Love Always, Plus Minus drummer Chris Deaner, and food blogger (and friend of mine) Ganda Suthivarakom who has also performed with Miho Hatori, as well as in David Byrne's Imelda Marcos opera, Here Lies Love. Which leads us to the other band on the bill: Filipino indiepop band Ciudad. They've been playing shows here for the last month or so but this looks to be the final one before they head back to the Philippines.
A couple other quick shows of interest. If you ever wondered what became of Einar, the other vocalist in the Sugarcubes (the one who shouted things like "I really don't like lobster!"), his current gig is GhostDigital which matches weird electronics to his particular style of vocals. They play tonight (11/11) at Monkeytown with fellow homemade diode musician Caspar Electronics.
An evening-length concert of original scores and newly commissioned compositions for the intonarumori, or "noise-intoners" As part of its celebration of the 100th anniversary of Italian Futurism, the Performa 09 biennial, in collaboration with the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) and SFMOMA, has invited Luciano Chessa to direct a reconstruction project to produce accurate replicas the legendary instruments (8 noise families of 1-3 instruments each, in various registers) that Russolo built in Milan in the summer of 1913. As the first instruments capable of creating and manipulating noises through entirely mechanical processes, the intonarumori can be considered to be the original analog synthesizer, and the ancestors to the latest electronic synthesizers used today.The night also features Blixa Bargeld, John Butcher, Luciano Chessa, Joan La Barbara, Nick Hallett, Pauline Oliveros, Mike Patton, Anat Pick, Elliott Sharp, Ulrich Krieger, Jennifer Walshe with Tony Conrad, Ghostigital with Skuli Sverrison, Finboggi Petursson, and Casper Electronics.
Sounds pretty cool. Aside: I used to fantasize that Einar formed a band with Fred Schneider. The most annoying band ever created.
OK that's it for this week. Videos and tour dates follow....