Entries tagged with: The Ladybug Transistor

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by Bill Pearis

Comet Gain
Comet Gain

Here's the second part of the NYC Popfest 2012 preview. For info on tonight's show at Knitting Factory can read part one here.

SATURDAY, MAY 19

Outerhope
Outerhope

There's a free show at Spike Hill with Sweden's rough-and-tumble Lisa Bouvier, the gentle sounds of  Philippine band Outerhope (who also play The Rock Shop on Monday [5/21]) plus Pale Lights (featuring Comet Gain's Phil Sutcliffe and Andy from Crystal Stilts) and Brooklyn up-and-comers Habibi.

For those going to Spike Hill, you might want to head to Williamsburg early to check out the Brooklyn Flea Record Fair that is happening at food hipster mecca Smorgasburg from 11AM-6PM. Indiepop-friendly labels like Angular, Kanine, and What's Your Rupture? will be there, with some exclusive product as well. Plus lots of amazing food. Get there before noon to beat the insane lines.

It's an all-Williamsburg day for Popfest as the Saturday night show happens at Public Assembly with two legendary UK bands headlining; Comet Gain and The Pooh Sticks. The former, celebrating their 20th year in existence, are playing their first Popfest and first shows in NYC since 2009. Last year's Howl of the Lonely Crowd was another fine addition to their canon of footstompers and floorshakers.

The Pooh Sticks

The Pooh Sticks haven't played NYC since 1992 back when they were supporting the American release of their stone-cold classic Great White Wonder which cemented their rep as masters of tongue-in-cheek, arched brow indie. Actually it was already established with shambly 1988 singles "I Know Someone Who Knows Someone Who Knows Alan McGee Quite Well" and "On Tape" which is the "Losing My Edge" of its day. Arch, tuneful and not afraid to steal, The Pooh Sticks are indiepop royalty and, if recent live video on YouTube is correct, they still got it.

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

Pushy Parents
Pushy Parents

But the best group of the night -- or at least the best one you've never heard of before (probably) -- are on first. A quick listen to Pushy Parents are you can guess they're from Sweden (Stockholm to be specific) with a sound somewhere between early Cardigans and the Concretes. Their new Secret Secret EP is terrific: equal parts effortless melody, skill and just-right production. You can stream the whole thing and watch the video for its title track at the bottom of this post.

SUNDAY, MAY 20 (LITTLEFIELD)

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

Popfest ends with an all-day affair at Littlefield, featuring tourmates Allo Darlin' and The Wave Pictures who have been written about before and you can see pictures from both band's visit to Mercury Lounge a few weeks back. They are both great and reason enough to go on Sunday.

But not the only reason. The Littlefield show will also feature the first-ever American show from White Town (aka Jyoti Mishra) who made many excellent albums before and after his fluke hit "Your Woman" in 1997. That song, as good as it it (and it is!) also isn't especially representative of White Town's body of work which tends to mix wispy melodies, delicate guitars and budget drum machines. Mishra has stayed active, continuing to release albums over the years, including last year's Monopole.

Also playing: Brooklyn indiepop mainstays The Ladybug Transistor whose frontman Gary Olson usually lends his trumpeting skills to at least one other Popfest band who needs it. (He'll probably also sing the male vocal parts on Allo Darlin's "Dreaming" as he's done before.)

The Holiday Crowd
Holiday Crowd

And come early to Littlefield to catch local power pop combo Swearin' (which shares a couple members with Dear Marje who also play Popfest this year); Washington DC's Dot Dash, which features members of Julie Ocean and wordy '90s indiepoppers Tree Fort Angst.

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

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

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

by Bill Pearis

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

The sixth-annual NYC Pop Fest is happening May 17 - 20 and the organizers have just announced the 27 band line-up, which includes UK acts Allo Darlin' and The Wave Pictures who will wrap up their US tour together with their Popfest show, plus Comet Gain, Seattle's Seapony, Finland's Burning Hearts, Sweden's Speedmarket Avenue and The Electric Pop Group, and longrunning American indiepop group Saturday Looks Good to Me.

This year's line-up also included Wales' legendary Pooh Sticks (!) who haven't played in America since CMJ 1992, and the first ever American show from White Town (aka Jyoti Mishra) who made many excelent albums before and after his fluke (and unrepresentative) hit "Your Woman" in 1997. NYC is represented too, with The Ladybug Transistor, Habibi, Heaven's Gate, Pale Lights, The Marshmallows, Swearin' and Dear Marje.

Ticket and venue info is still TBA but sure to be announced soon. Click through for the full NYC Pop Fest 2012 line-up.

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

DUMP playing Hot Tub @ Littlefield this past Monday (by DoneWaiting)
DUMP

Tickets go on sale at noon for the eight Yo La Tengo Hanukkah shows:

*12/20 Night One Buy Tickets Here!
*12/21 Night Two Buy Tickets Here!
*12/22 Night Three Buy Tickets Here!
*12/23 Night Four Buy Tickets Here!
*12/24 Night Five Buy Tickets Here!
*12/25 Night Six Buy Tickets Here!
*12/26 Night Seven Buy Tickets Here!
*12/27 Night Eight Buy Tickets Here!
Tickets are also still on sale to see Yo La Tengo as the Condo Fucks at Mercury Lounge.

Tickets for the four Phish shows at MSG go on sale Saturday at noon.

Mavis Staples, The Head and the Heart & Dawes have a show coming up at Beacon Theater. Tickets on sale at noon.

Speaking of holiday shows at the Beacon, Cyndi Lauper and friends are playing one too. On sale now.

By noon tickets will also be on sale for Yelle, Nada Surf, Devo and BOBBY.

One of those Devo shows is at the Paramount in Long Island where Cheap Trick also have a show coming up at. It went on sale today.

Ill Fits recently played some shows at CMJ. They play Mercury Lounge on December 7th with Ladybug Transistor and The Echo-Friendly. Tickets on sale at noon.

The Left Banke

Legendary NYC baroque pop band The Left Banke reformed earlier this year, but only with original members Tom Finn and George Cameron. Unfortunately Michael Brown and Steve Martin (not that one) -- who did the songwriting and singing, aren't actually involved. Regardless, two shows happened at Joe's Pub in March. .

The show reunited original band members Tom Finn and George Cameron for the first time since 1970 and presented a powerhouse of "Baroque pop" to an audience palpably loving every nostalgic note and nuance of the songs that first came out of our transistor radios so many years ago.

Joining forces with Tom, George and [lead singer] Mike [Fontale] were Paul Alves on lead guitar, Mickey Finn and Joe McGinty on keyboards / synths and on drums, Rick Reil who is the drummer for the Grip Weeds. Anyone who knows the work of The Left Banke knows that strings were a part of their studio sound and that was not forgotten at Joe's Pub. Susan Aquila on violin and Eleanor Norton on cello provided the subtle elegance of the Baroque pop sound and completed the formula for total aural pleasure!

The crowd was respectful, perfectly quiet at all times and riveted to the stage from beginning to end. Every song was musical perfection and the audience clearly recognized and appreciated that. At times, the performers actually seemed somewhat surprised that the audience's reaction was so warm. Maybe Tom and George never truly realized the legacy of The Left Banke but I think after that night, they might finally understand. [Rob Pollack]

Check out some videos from the Joe's Pub shows below.

The Left Banke, as described above, have two more shows scheduled this summer including one on July 20 at Littlefield with The Ladybug Transistor and another on August 20 at Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, NY. Tickets are on sale for the Littlefield show and the Bearsville show.

Tom Finn recently spoke to Rock Edition about future plans for the band:

Will you continue to mainly play in New York, or do you think you'll make it out to other places?

Well, I just contacted Andrew Sandoval, who produced our CD release 'There's Gonna Be A Storm' back in 1992. I asked him if he'd be interested in getting involved and he said, "Absolutely." I told him that we're looking for a great double-bill. Left Banke/Zombies or Left Banke/Hollies or something like that.

Great idea.

Or even a new group. What's the name of that great new group, Sebastian somebody?

Belle and Sebastian?

Yeah. They supposedly idolize The Left Banke, so maybe we can get on a show with them.

That would be a great fit. It makes a lot of sense.

There's another guy who really loves us from Oasis. Noel, I think. He's come out and said that he thinks The Left Banke is the greatest band ever, and that he would like to do some of our songs. So, we'll see. Maybe we can do something with them.

Sundazed reissued The Left Banke's first two LPs, Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina and The Left Banke Too, earlier this year. Order the reissues on CD/LP and stream the albums at Sundazed's website or pick them up at Other Music in NYC where they are currently on prominent display.

The Littlefield show happens three days after The Ladybug Transistor finish their tour which hit Knitting Factory earlier this month. The band will go on a West Coast tour in September which includes MusicfestNW.

All tour dates and videos below...

Continue reading "'The Left Banke' schedule more reunion shows (1 @ Littlefield)"

Ladybug

As mentioned Merge labelmates Jonny and Apex Manor were forced to cancel their tour which would have hit Le Poisson Rouge tonight (6/9). All is not lost though. Apex Manor have scheduled a show instead tomorrow (6/10) at The Rock Shop with Chris Bathgate and The Long Eye. Tickets are on sale for what is now Apex Manner's only upcoming show

In other Merge news, The Rosebuds (as mentioned) and The Ladybug Transistor both released albums this week. "Clutching Stems" can be streamed at Merge's site (where you can also buy it).

The Ladybug Transistor's previously announced tour hits NYC on July 6 at Knitting Factory with The Beets and James Ausfahrt of Love Is All. Tickets are still on sale. Ladybug also recently announced a few west coast dates in September including MusicfestNW. Updated dates below...

Continue reading "Jonny still not coming, Apex Manor add a show, The Ladybug Transistor released an album (it's streaming)"

MFNW

Here is the initial lineup for Willamette Week's MusicfestNW, scheduled for Sept. 7-11, 2011 in Portland, Oregon, and it's pretty great. The multi-venue fest includes big outdoor performances by Band of Horses (Sunday, Sept. 11), Explosions in the Sky (Saturday, Sept. 10), and Iron & Wine (Friday, Sept. 9), in addition to shows with everyone from Archers of Loaf to Big Freedia to Butthole Surfers to Neurosis. Tickets go on sale Friday, June 3rd. Check out the full list below...

Continue reading "MusicfestNW 2011 -- dates & initial lineup"

DOWNLOAD: Ladybug Transistor - "Clutching Stems" (MP3)

Ladybug Transistor

Give a warm welcome for Clutching Stems, the new LP from The Ladybug Transistor which is due via Merge Records on June 7th. Check out the title track from the LP above and preorder the record at Merge if you wish. In late Ju ne, you can welcome the new songs a bit more personally, as the band will hit the road for a string of dates that naturally includes a stop in their hometown of NYC, at Knitting Factory on 7/6. Tickets for that one are on sale.

All tour dates and a couple of videos, below...

Continue reading "The Ladybug Transistor releasing 'Clutching Stems', touring (MP3 & dates)"

by Bill Pearis

Fake Male Voice @ Glasslands in February (more by Jacob Blickenstaff)
Fake Male Voice

Thanks to everyone who came out to our day party at Pianos yesterday. There were almost too many highlights to count. We've got four more parties still to come, three of which are today/tonight. Lots of great options all around today (10/23). I'm trying to highlight some of the ones you may not know about.

DAYTIME:

BrooklynVegan has another free day party today, this one on the harder-edged tip with Los Angeles' Nebula, Brooklyn's Naam, BV day party veterans Crystal Antlers, Goes Cube (read our interview with the band) and Austin's awesome Ume at Fontana's (105 Eldridge, NY, NY) today from 1 - 7. First band on at 2. Set times and flyer below. Free Miller beer and Vitamin water.

Over at Crash Mansion, there's a cool mid-day party (4 - 7) put on by the folks at Beyond Race with the lovely and mellow Helado Negro, Kiss Kiss, L.A. power poppers Army Navy and London's awesome Pete & the Pirates. who played a great set at the Bell House on Wednesday Night. Don't forget, Pete & the Pirates also play the Brooklyn Vegan Bowery Presents day party Saturday (10/24) at Pianos.

There's a lot going on in Brooklyn today too. The new Kemado Studios called The Co-Op (87 Guernsey St, Brooklyn) (which I hear is a pretty cool space) has Harlem, Viva L'American Death Ray Music, and Smith Westerns.

The Village Voice is putting on a day party at Knitting Factory with Javelin, Portland's Shaky Hands, Headlights and Orba Squara.

And then at Bruar Falls there's a kind of potentially amazing line-up, including Fake Male Voice (Tunde of TV on the Radio), mi-gu (Yuko of Cornelius and Plastic Ono Band) with Sean Lennon and Yuko Honda, as well as Ladybug Transistor, James Husband (Jamie of Of Montreal) and Hard Nips. This one is not free, $8 admission. Starts at noon.

Night stuff HERE. Fliers and set times below....

Continue reading "CMJ 2009 - Bill's Friday daytime picks"

by Bill Pearis

DOWNLOAD: The Smith Westerns - Be My Girl (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Sondre Lerche - Good Luck (MP3)

The Smith WesternsAfter what seems like an entire summer's worth of epic weekends, this one is looking pretty quiet, music-wise. No surprise, as it's Memorial Labor Day which is usually a dead time for shows. But that's not to say there's nothing going on. Chicago's glam-rocking teenagers The Smith Westerns are back in town after touring with Los Campesinos and Girls. While a good chunk of their self-titled debut is so Marc Bolan it seems like an exercise in style appropriation, they do it really well. It's not new, but it's new to them and that makes it work I think. They play tonight (9/2) at Monster Island Basement with Titus Andronicus and the So So Glos; Vassar College tomorrow (9/3); and a late show at Bruar Falls on Friday (9/4) (tentative replacement for the show they had scheduled at Swat Bar). They also list a show on Saturday (9/5) as "under the High Line" but what that means, exactly, well your guess is as good as mine.

Comet Gain @ MHOW in April (more by Tim Griffin)
Comet Gain

The most exciting show of the weekend, in my opinion, is happening at Cake Shop on Saturday (9/5). Cinema Red and Blue is a Comet Gain side project featuring frontman David Feck, as well as that band's Anne Laure and Hoffner Burns. They're actually in town to record their album at Gary Olson's Marlborough Studios in Brooklyn and decided to play a show while here. I ran into Feck at a show on Monday and he told me that the album is about half covers and to expect the same from the live show. He rattled off a bunch of the songs they're covering but the only one I remember now is a Julian Cope song from his 1989 album Skellington. The band will be augmented live by former Comet Gain / current Soft City member Phil Sutton, plus JB, Andy and Kyle from Crystal Stilts. I have to imagine Gary Olson will contribute trumpet to at least one song. This should be fun.

The whole Cake Shop bill is pretty good, with Kyle Forrester pulling triple duty: keyboards in Ladybug Transistor, and saxophone in German Measles. Ladybug Transistor are one of the NYC indie world's elder statesmen and their lush sound is cool and easy like a late summer breeze. On the other end of the scale, German Measles are usually a jokey mess onstage, I saw them on Monday at Bruar Falls and they actually approached something you could might call competence. Maybe they're getting serious? Opening the night at Cake Shop are the budget baroque sounds of Jacques Detergent.

Sondre Lerche @ Bowery Ballroom in 2008 (more by Faith Ann-Young)
Sondre Lerche

And looking forward to the early part of next week, Sondre Lerche is playing Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday (9/8), which is the same day as the release of his sixth album, Heartbeat Radio. (He plays Music Hall of Williamsburg the next night.) The 27-year-old Norwegian, now Williamsburg resident, has the charms to hold the attention of a Bowery or MHoW-sized crowd by himself, which is how he usually plays in NYC, but I do wish he'd bring his ace band, The Faces Down, to America at some point, as we deserve to hear his songs get the full-on treatment live. Heartbeat Radio is another winner, I think, maybe his best yet -- with Sondre displaying more confidence in his songwriting and ease in his arrangements. (He's also been listening to a lot of Prefab Sprout, I think, with the album's "I Cannot Let You Go" clearly being a tip-of-the-hat to Paddy McAloon.) You can sample album-opener "Good Luck" at the top of this post. And whether he's with band or solo, he is always entertaining.

Urgh a Music WarAnd finally, as this is a light week, I thought I'd point out that the essential 1980 concert film URGH! A Music War has finally made its way to DVD. For those of a certain generation, this seminal document of the punk/post-punk/new wave scene was seen every other weekend on USA Network's weekend Night Flight and blew minds with footage of Gang of Four, Echo & the Bunnymen, the Cramps, Wall of Voodoo and more. Since then it's shown up on cable and film festivals in about 17 different versions, with some performances being cut for music rights reasons and other legal whatnot. These reasons have also kept it from DVD, much like the first to Decline of Western Civilization films, to the point where I thought they'd never get a legit release. I'm still not sure how legit this is either (read URGH! performer Jim Skafish's blog post about it), but you can buy it via the Warner Archive which has made available hundreds of films that the studio has deemed otherwise unworthy of proper releases. They actually burn you a DVD-R of the movie. You don't get proper menus or any extras beyond the trailer or even proper chapter breaks (they divide it up into 10 minute sections), but the picture quality is good (anamorphic widescreen), and it's almost the whole film. (Sorry, Splodgenessabounds, your footage isn't here.) And it sounds good too -- they did a great job recording the bands. And just to have the footage of Klaus Nomi, The Cramps and Gary Numan, it's worth the $19.99.

There's a few choice clips from URGH below, as well as tour dates fliers and general etc...

Continue reading "Smith Westerns, Sondre Lerche, Cinema Red & Blue (Comet Gain), URGH! A Music War & more in This Week in Indie "

DOWNLOAD: Inlets - Pictures of Trees (MP3)

Ladybug Transistor opening for Of Montreal at MHOW in April (more by Tim Griffin)
Ladybug Transistor

today in NYC
* DANCE
* Surfer Blood @ Bruar Falls
* Sway, Lady Bright @ Bruar Falls
* Inlets & Glass Ghost @ Sycamore
* John Roberts & David Cross @ Comix
* The Silent League, Bear in Heaven @ Union Pool
* Geronimo, Pollution, Hex Machine @ Death By Audio
* Spindrift, The Electric Tickle Machine, Werewolves @ Cake Shop
* Effi Briest, Mahogany, Free Blood, The Tony Castles @ Glasslands
* Doug Gillard (ex-GBV), Get Help, Eastern Anchors, Dave Hill @ Maxwell's
* Cymbals Eat Guitars, These Are Powers, The Drums, Real Estate @ Brooklyn Bowl
* These United States, Motel Motel, Company of Thieves, Nick Howard @ Mercury Lounge
* Ladybug Transistor, Meeting Important People, Kevin Barker, Grand Salvo @ Union Hall

Geronimo, who in the midst of a short tour, join up with Pollution and Hex Machine at Death By Audio tonight.

Spindrift are in back on stage tonight at Cake Shop, playing a second show in NYC after supporting Hopewell last night at Union Pool. The band professes to be influenced by Carnival Music, Vampire Soundtracks, Norwegian Classical Folk Music, Swamp Blues (Lonesome Sundown), Outer Space, Henzig and ICE-T O.G. among other things, but I hear the gunslinger moments of Ennio Morricone on acid tabs. Electric Tickle Machine and Werewolves support. - Black Bubblegum

Comedian John Roberts kicks off his residency at Comix tonight alongside special guest David Cross. - Klaus Kinski

West Palm Beach, Florida's post punk beachcombers Surfer Blood play the last of their four NYC shows tonight at, appropriately enough, The Surf Bar Bruar Falls (it moved) in Williamsburg. I spaced and forgot to put them in TWII this week -- worth checking out. - Bill Pearis

Ex-Guided by Voices guitarist Doug Gillard plays an electric set at Maxwell's with Get Help and Eastern Anchors, plus comedy from Doug's sometimes-bandmate Dave Hill.

These United States just opened for Deer Tick and Dawes at the Bowery Ballroom. Tonight they headline a show at the Mercury Lounge with Motel Motel, Company of Thieves and Nick Howard.

Union Hall hosts E6 band Ladybug Transistor with Meeting Important People, Kevin Barker and Grand Salvo.

Insound's 10 year anniversary show comes to the Brooklyn Bowl, with a great lineup that includes Cymbals Eat Guitars, These Are Powers, The Drums and Real Estate. Real Estate, who go on first, at like 7:30 tonight, also played earlier this week at Vivian Girls' tour kick off at DBA. Two videos from their set are below...

New Peaches video for "Take You On" below...

What else?

Continue reading "What's going on Thursday?"

by Andrew Frisicano

Mac and Britt embrace (Triangle Music)
Mac and Britt

The much anticipated XX Merge Festival took place last week in North Carolina with a five-day (July 22-July 26), Wednesday to Sunday run of shows. Last night (Sunday)'s show with She & Him, American Music Club and Wye Oak was the only fully announced lineup. The other four nights (and one day) were a grab bag of any number of Merge bands past and present. Did you go? What were the highlights?

Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band, who recently played a pair of big NY shows, headlined the fest's first night (which also included Magnetic Fields). Superchunk, which features Merge founders Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan, topped the bill of the second night. The third night included the reformed/reunited lineups of Spent, Polvo and Pipe.

Mac McCaughan came out on stage before [Pipe] instead of the night's emcee and announced that there was a lone protester outside. He invited him up on stage and it was Jon Wurster decked out in Phillies gear as Philly Boy Roy. He was holding a sign that said "Boycot MERGE." He complained that Merge didn't have any Philly bands on their roster and Mac said that they have bands from Jersey, which is close to Philly. You never compare Jersey to Philly in front of Philly Boy Roy. It was hilarious.

All of this led to the introduction of New Jersey punks Pipe. As soon as they kicked into their first song, beer cans and plastic bottles started flying. Frontman Ron Liberti ate it up and even put himself in the line of fire, headbutting some of the cans while kicking some back into the crowd. Liberti bounded around the stage, essentially taunting the crowd. The crowd loved the band's antics as did I (but that may have been different if I hadn't managed to stay dry). [triangle music]

You can see the partial setlist from Spoon, who headlined that night, below.

In addition to the Cat's Cradle shows (the venue for 4/5 of the night shows), Saturday featured a day show that included Julian Koster solo as Music Tapes and Mac McCaughan with violin accompaniment as Portastatic. A few videos from that set, below.

M. Ward, who's playing the Central Park Summerstage this Saturday (August 1st), played at the fest's Saturday night showcase. Zooey Deschanel joined him for a cover of the Beatles' "Birthday." Not too big of a surprise considering She & Him headlined the Sunday night show.

Other XX Merge artists who recently stopped in NYC include The Clientele and Richard Buckner (they played Music Hall of Williamsburg last Sunday), Versus and Superchunk (they played South Street Seaport last Friday), and Spent (they played Coco 66). Spoon didn't play a NYC show, but they were spotted in the audience of Paul McCartney's third of three shows at Citi Field in Queens. Destroyer is on his way up. He plays Bowery Ballroom on Thursday. Mark Eitzel (as American Music Club) played Le Poisson Rouge and Maxwell's before XX Merge, and now he's on his way back for a show at The Bell House.

Lineups for each night of XX Merge, with videos, and a bunch of setlists, below...

Continue reading "Merge celebrated their 20th w/ 5 days of shows in North Carolina (lineups, reviews, pics, video setlists...)"

words by Eleanor Whitney and photos by Dominick Mastrangelo

DOWNLOAD: The Secret History - It's Not the End of the World Jonah (MP3)

The Secret History
The Secret History

The New York City Popfest continued on Saturday night (5/16) with a packed line-up and packed house at Brooklyn's Bell House. Following openers Computer Perfection, California-based Eux Autres put in a super energetic set. From the persistent "bam bam bam" of the drums to the classic trade off of boy/girl vocals complete with girl group-esque harmonies, Eux Autres captured true the pop spirit of the festival. The were buoyed by trumpet playing from the Ladybug Transistor's Gary Olson, Brooklyn's go-to musician for indie trumpeting.

The Secret History, who rose from the ashes of indie new wave darlings My Favorite, followed with pop melodies from the eerie, narrative driven side of the spectrum. Lead vocalist Lisa Ronson, clad in all black, and vocalist Erin Dermondy, clad in all white, were a glamorous site, but were too frozen at times for the dramatics the songs demanded as they invoked monsters and dead rock stars. Lisa's talents as a singer were best showcased during a cover of the Smiths' "Reel Around the Fountain," which singer and keyboardist Michael Grace, Jr. explained was "the reason he started writing pop songs and will never write a hit." At one point during the set Michael wore a tambourine as a halo, which served as a fitting popfest metaphor.

Following The Secret History's densely orchestrated anthems, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Pant Yell! played an enjoyably straight-ahead, indie rock set. It was heavy on the jangly guitar and three boys in the band wore their earnest hearts on their stripped sleeves.

The lineup's crown jewel were Swedish headliners The Radio Dept. in their second US appearance since 2003 (their first was one night earlier). The band delivered shimmering, dreamy pop with plenty of laptop-based layers and effects-laden guitars to keep Shoegaze fans satisfied. Their use of electronic, as opposed to live, drums made their set musically less energetic than the other bands, but the sound was still nice and full and the energy on the stage dynamic.

While from stage The Radio Dept. delivered down tempo, atmospheric pop with song titles like "I Wanted You to Feel the Same" and "The Worst Taste in Music" the sold-out crowd acted like they were at the indie-pop equivalent of an arena rock concert. The merest "thank you" uttered by the band brought forth roaring applause and cheers. While The Radio Dept.'s danceable beats and charming crush of sounds seem best suited for mild-mannered bopping, the activity of most of the crowd during their set, they also inspired fist pumping and ecstatic hand waving. After their one-song encore legions of fans rushed towards the stage to thank the band as they exited to howling applause. It was clear Brooklynites demand their pop and have high expectations for Swedish bands to deliver it. Thought their set felt short at 40 minutes, The Radio Dept. fans were not disappointed.

Pictures & videos from Day One, HERE. Day Two, HERE, Day Three, below...

Continue reading "NYC Popfest - night 3 pics & video (The Secret History, Radio Dept. Pants Yell! & more...) "

photos by Tim Griffin

Ladybug Transistor

The Ladybug Transistor and Of Montreal, both members of the Elephant 6 Collective, released a split 7" in 2000. This past Friday night (4/17/2009), the Ladybug Transistor opened the third of three Of Montreal shows at Music Hall of Williamsburg in their hometown of Brooklyn. They went on before Janelle Monae. More pictures from their set below...

Continue reading "The Ladybug Transistor @ Music Hall of Williamsburg - pics"

by Bill Pearis

Quasi
Quasi

This time of year is usually pretty slow, show-wise, but this seems to be an especially-packed week for shows. Here's some of the stuff I'm considering attending while I procrastinate on holiday gift shopping and doing all my year-end lists over on my own blog.

Crystal Stilts @ Less Artists More Condos (more by Gabi Porter)
Crystal Stilts

Speaking of, while I haven't posted my Best Albums of '08 yet, I will tell you Crystal Stilts' Alight of Night did make the Top Ten. They're playing tonight (12/17) at Le Poisson Rouge and even though I've seen them more times this year than I'd like to admit (and will probably see them again later this week), I will probably be in attendance. They're opening for Bay Area neo-fokies Vetiver, whose new covers album, Thing of the Past, is rather lovely.

Vetiver
Vetiver

Hot Snakes
Hot Snakes

Also tonight (12/17), is that double-shot of ex-Hot Snakes/Drive Like Jehu/Pitchfork bands at Santos Party House: Obits, that's fronted by Rick Froberg; and headliners The Night Marchers, which features John Reis and two other members of Hot Snakes. I have to admit Obits is more of a draw for me, as the band also features Sohrab Habibion who used to front Edsel, one of my favorite bands from the '90s DC scene. Obits just released their debut 7", "One Cross Apiece," which I like a lot. Will there be a mini Hot Snakes reunion tonight? Probably not, but you can always hope for a Christmas miracle.

Plus Minus
Plus Minus

Speaking of '90s indie rock survivors, Thursday (12/18) at Music Hall of Williamsburg is +/-, which is the band/solo project James Baluyut formed when Versus called it quits in the early part of this decade. Versus are playing shows again - and maybe recording new material (so I hear) - but +/- are still very much their own thing and going strong, having released their fourth album Xs on Your Eyes, back in October. Actually the whole line-up at MHoW that night is pretty great: Philly duo Pattern is Movement (who played a BV CMJ day party this year), Brooklyn indie royalty The Ladybug Transistor, and In Interview who I caught at NYC popfest back in June and who don't play nearly enough.

Also on Thursday (12/18): That A.C. Newman Get Guilty listening party at Stanton Public, which I originally thought was last week but wasn't. You can still RSVP for it at Insound. 8-10PM, free beer n' booze.

Sic Alps
Sic Alps

And last but absolutely not least, the can't miss show of the week has to be Saturday's (12/20) three floor-event at Knitting Factory curated by indie rock's original keyboard-drum duo, Quasi. Mates of State, Matt and Kim, etc, bow down to Sam Combes and Janet Weiss. The line-up is kind of staggering: awesome San Francisco garage rock duo Sic Alps (who I've plugged before), the aforementioned Crystal Stilts (a late addition to the bill), Jeffrey Lewis, Soft Circle (ex-Black Dice), plus films by legendary animator Sally Cruikshank (one of which is where Quasi got their name) and Craig Baldwin. Oh yeah, Marnie Stern is also playing. Tickets are $20, and worth it.

Continue reading "Quasi, Vetiver, Crystal Stilts, Marnie Stern, +/-, Hot Snakes, Sic Alps & more in This Week in Indie"

photos by Kyle Dean Reinford

DOWNLOAD: The Rosebuds - Life Like (MP3)

The Rosebuds @ the Merge CMJ showcase @ Mercury Lounge
The Rosebud

The Rosebuds are coming back to NYC to headline Bowery Ballroom on January 16th. Tickets go on sale December 1st at noon. Last time they were here was exactly a month ago to play a couple of shows during CMJ including one for their record label Merge at Mercury Lounge (10/25). Their new album Life Like is out now on Merge.

No openers have been announced for the Bowery show yet. Maybe they'll grab The Ladybug Transistor to play with them again, like they did at Bowery before, and like they did at the show they played at the Bell House during CMJ. ABC News was at that Bell House show. Video features are posted at their site called "The Mix". One video is of Wye Oak who also played that show, and who played with The Rosebuds again at the Merge showcase.

We already talked about the Merge show a little - The Music Tapes part anyway, and I gushed a bit about Wye Oak from one of their other CMJ shows at Pianos, but the rest of the Merge pictures were unpublished, until now... All of them and all Rosebuds and Oakley Hall tour dates, below...

Continue reading "Rosebuds tour dates (Bowery), Merge CMJ showcase pics"

NYC Popfest

The annual NYC Popfest will bring indie pop bands from around the world to six NYC venues from June 12th through the 15th. Each show will have its own tickets (some only at the door) (some in advance like the Ladybug Transistor one at MHOW), or you can buy a festival pass for just $60 which will get you into everything including Love is All at Cakeshop(!). Love is all are also playing Market Hotel. The Ladybug Transistor is also playing a Brooklyn library this month. Full Popfest lineup below....

Continue reading "NYC Popfest June 12-15, 2008 (@ Cake Shop, Pianos, MHOW, Don Hill's, Galapagos & Union Pool)"

Brooklyn Public Library

The Ladybug Transistor and Antietam are playing a free 2pm show on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza on Saturday May 31st. All dates below....

Continue reading "the Ladybug Transistor - 2008 Tour Dates (Brooklyn Library)"

DOWNLOAD: The Rosebuds - Get Up Get Out (MP3)

some of the crowd got in on the action at the end
The Rosebuds @ Bowery Ballroom

Last night's show at Bowery Ballroom just kept getting better and better (May 24, 2007). Bowerbirds were pretty good. The Ladybug Transistor was mostly great (I would have left happy if they headlined), but then The Rosebuds were absolutely incredible. It was actually the first time I ever saw them live, and now I might be a little obsessed. It was exactly what I needed - something to counteract all the David Bruno-approved music that's been dominating my life lately.

The Rosebuds @ Bowery Ballroom

Bowery was PACKED too. I have to admit I wasn't expecting that - partly because it still wasn't sold out yesterday - and wasn't their last NYC show at (the much smaller) Union Hall? - I can't even imagine how awesome that must have been.

Continue reading "The Rosebuds @ Bowery Ballroom, NYC - pics"

DOWNLOAD: The Rosebuds - Blue Bird (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Rosebuds - You Better Get Ready (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Ladybug Transistor - Song for the Ending Day (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Ladybug Transistor - Three Days from Now (MP3)

Ladybug Transistor

What we already know
* The Rosebuds have a new video
* The Rosebuds are going on tour with Land of Talk
* San Fadyl of the Ladybug Transistor has passed away
* The Rosebuds & Ladybug Transistor are playing Bowery Ballroom Thursday night

What we now know
* Ladybug Transistor & others are playing a San Fadyl memorial show @ Soundfix
* Ladybug Transistor have an album ("Can't Wait Another Day") out June 5th on Merge

The album features spirited contributions from members of Aislers Set, Architecture in Helsinki, The Clientele, Jens Lekman, Kevin Barker (Currituck Co., Vetiver), Heather McIntosh (Circulatory System, Instruments), Roy Nathanson (Lounge Lizards/Jazz Passengers) and others. The first fruits of these sessions were heard on 2006's Here Comes The Rain EP.
Do you want to see the Ladybug Transistor & The Rosebuds at Bowery Ballroom Thursday night (May 24)? I have two pairs of tickets to give away. To win, e-mail BVCONTESTS@HOTMAIL.COM (subject: Rosebuds). Tell me your favorite band on Merge Records. Two winners will be picked at random, and contacted around 5pm today (May 23). Include your first and last name for the guestlist.

"I am certain that next year will be a year to remember, unlike the past 47 years, which I'd rather forget." [Sam Fadyl, December 29, 2006]

San Fadyl

"San Fadyl, drummer for the beloved Brooklyn indie-pop act the Ladybug Transistor, passed away today, April 26, in his Zurich, Switzerland home due to complications stemming from a lengthy bout with severe asthma." [Pitchfork]

"we miss you, San!" [Mac Merge Superchunk Portastatic]

The Ladybug Transistor is still playing though. In fact, they play Bowery Ballroom on May 24th with the Rosebuds.