Entries tagged with: Small Factory

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by Bill Pearis

DOWNLOAD: BLURRY BITTERS - A CAKE SHOP BEST OF 2012 MIXTAPE (MP3)

Eddy Current Suppression Ring @ Cake Shop, June 2010 (more by Diana Wong)
Eddy Current Suppression Ring

One of the biggest, most genuine music fans I know is Andy from Ludlow Street indie rock club Cake Shop. He's an indefatigable listener and always turns me onto new stuff. Here we've got his "best of 2012 and live from cakeshop and recorded" which is topped by Parquet Courts' fantastic debut album, Light Up Gold. You can check out the full list of "21 AMAZING EXPERIENCES" below.

Andy is also a great maker of mixes, and I stil put in one he made for the Cake Shop/Slumberland 2009 SXSW showcase from time to time. Over at the Cake Shop blog, he posted a 2012 mix loaded with great stuff that you can download above and see the tracklist below. Highly recommend. Cake Shop had a successful Pledge Music campaign this year, signed a new 10-year lease, survived the Great Sandy Blackout, and I can't wait to see more bands there in 2013 (like maybe Obits on January 19) and beyond.

Andy from Cake Shop's Best of 2012 list and mixtape tracklist are below...

Continue reading "Andy Bodor from Cake Shop's "21 AMAZING EXPERIENCES" of 2012, plus a year-end mixtape"

photos by Dominick Mastrangelo; words by Bill Pearis

Dump

"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.

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Black Tambourine @ the Bell House
Black Tambourine

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....

Continue reading "Chickfactor 20 @ the Bell House (night 1 pics/video/review) -- Small Factory, Black Tambourine, Dump, Versus & more"

by Bill Pearis

DOWNLOADBlack Tambourine - What's Your Game? (MP3)

Black Tambourine at Artsphere, Washington DC (via Sammich's instagram)
Black Tambourine

Between most songs in Black Tambourine's set, Mike Schulman, Archie Moore, and (Washington City Paper staffer) Brian Nelson switched off between guitar, bass, and percussion. Singer Pam Berry, lectern in tow, stayed in the center--and because it was true to the original recordings, it was OK that her voice was a little low in the mix. Everything was loud, fast, and feedback-strewn. About 5 percent of the audience was absolutely flipping out. Seventy to 80 percent was mostly flipping out, but with less flailing. "We've practiced three times in a row, which is three more times in a row than we'd ever practiced before," Moore said after the show. [Washington City Paper]
Black Tambourine are in the greater New York area, having played Maxwell's last night (with Fan Modine and Rose Melberg) and will headline tonight's first of three chickfactor 20th anniversary shows at The Bell House. Tonight (4/10 with Small Factory, Versus, the Lois Plus) and tomorrow (4/11 with The Aisler's Set, Pipas, Bridget St. John, The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group) are sold out but you can still get tickets to Thursday's closing show (4/12) with Stevie Jackson (Belle & Sebastian), Honey Bunch, The Pines, The Softies).

For those going tonight, there are two unannounced special guests opening the show, so get there at 8PM sharp! Black Tambourine's new EP of Ramones covers (download "What's Your Game?" above) isn't out till May 15 but I wouldn't be surprised if it was at the merch table tonight.

Additionally, for those Small Factory fans who couldn't get tickets tonight (or are maybe going to see Pulp), the reformed Rhode Islanders play Cake Shop on Friday (4/13) with Air Waves.

Click through to see the lovely poster for the chickfactor anniverary, done by Tae Won Yu (who did the art for Built to Spill's Perfect from Now On and Keep it Like a Secret).

Continue reading "Black Tambourine played D.C. & Maxwell's, playing 1st of 3 chickfactor anniversary shows in NYC (tonight @ Bell House)"

by Bill Pearis

DOWNLOAD: Small Factory - Merry Go Round (MP3)

Small Factory

If you didn't get tickets to the opening night (4/10) of the chickfactor 20th anniversary shows at the Bell House but would still like to see Small Factory play in New York, they're playing Cake Shop on Friday, April 13 with Air Waves.

One of the quintessential '90s indiepop bands, Small Factory formed in 1991 in Providence, RI and released two albums before breaking up in 1995. The record to seek out, however, is their 1996 singles comp The Industrial Evolution that culls the trio's many 7" from such labels as Slumberland, Bus Stop, Simple Machines and Pop Narcotic which really exemplifies the band's happy-sad folk pop style. You can download "Merry Go Round" (from one of their Slumberland singles) at the top of this post.

The first two nights of the chickfactor anniversary fest are sold out but you can still get tickets to the Thursday, April 12 night featuring Stevie Jackson, Honey Bunch, the Pines, The Softies and "special guests" not yet announced.

by Bill Pearis

DOWNLOAD: Black Tambourine - What's Your Game? (MP3)

Black Tambourine back in the day...
Black Tambourine

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.

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.

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.

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...

Continue reading "Black Tambourine add chickfactor show at Maxwell's, releasing EP of Ramones covers"

by Bill Pearis

chickfactor #1 with cover stars Small Factory
Chickfactor

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.

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!

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.

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?).

Tickets for the Bell House are on sale today (1/12) noon and are $25 for individual nights (4/10, 4/11, 4/12) or $70 for a three day pass.

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

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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.

Continue reading "Black Tambourine, Aislers Set, Small Factory, Legendary Jim Ruiz Group & more reuniting for chickfactor festival"