Entries tagged with: The Ropers
by Bill Pearis
Teen Beat Records is celebrating its 26th year of existence and in celebration, label founder Mark Robinson is getting the old band back together -- Unrest -- for a reunion tour, their first in 15 years.* The trio, including Bridget Cross and Phil Krauth, will play six East Coast shows, including two in the NYC area: July 7 at Maxwell's (tickets), and July 9 at the Bell House (tickets).
Robinson has had a number of bands since -- Air Miami, Flin Flon, Grenadine and, most recently Cotton Candy -- but Unrest is probably the band that people hold a special affection for. Formed while Robinson was still in high school, Unrest had its foundations in the DC hardcore scene but by the time Cross joined on bass/vocals in 1990, the band seemed to draw most of its influences from Factory Records and the C-86 scene. The band's finest moment, 1992's Imperial F.F.R.R., was tuneful, smart, funny, sexy and self-aware. You can download "Cherry Cream On" from it at the top of this post. The album's getting reissued on vinyl for this 26th Anniversary. Unrest broke up in 1994 and have only played once since -- at the Teen Beat 20th Anniversary show in 2005, though both Robinson and Krauth played on Cross' 2008 solo endeavor, Maybe It's Reno.
In addition to Unrest, the Teen Beat 26th Anniversary shows all have other bands from the label's history playing. Maxwell's will get The Ropers (who played last year's Slumberland anniversary shows) and former Aden guitarist Kevin Barker who now records as Curritruck Co.
The Bell House show is kind of a Teen Beat wet dream, with Versus (whose new album is due out on Merge sometime this year) also on the bill. Additionally we get a reformed, original line-up Rondelles, the criminally underrated late '90s band who played punky new wave in their teens in Albequerque, NM before moving to DC -- they had records out on Smells Like and K as well.
There's also a rare border crossing (and rare performance in general) from Vancouver, Canada's mercurial pop whiz Bossanova, whose 2006 debut on Teen Beat is kind of a lost gem. (Check out "Calvary" at the top of this post.) Robinson will perform double duty, also playing with Cotton Candy, the duo he formed with wife, Evelyn Hurley, who are an amusing mix of indie rock, performance art and late '70s commercial jingles.
Other shows on the tour will feature other Teen Beat acts, and the July 10 show at the Black Cat in DC will feature mini-sets from two seperate early Unrest line-ups. All tour dates and line-ups for each show, plus flyers and video are after the jump.
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....
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....
by Bill Pearis
Frankie Rose is mainly known as a drummer, having played in Vivian Girls, Crystal Stilts, and Dum Dum Girls, but she's also a songwriter (she wrote VG's "Where Do You Run To?") and will be releasing her debut single, "Thee Only One," on Slumberland Records on October 27. She's also got a new band, Frankie and the Outs, who will make their live debut November 7th at The Woodser which will be the first show in a longtime for that South Williamsburg spot. Grass Widow is also on that bill.
With the new band, Frankie is sadly no longer drumming for Crystal Stilts. The split was amicable, guitarist JB plays guitar on her single. I'm told Crystal Stilts have a new drummer already, and the new Stilts lineup will even share a bill with Frankie and the Outs at two east coast Slumberland 20th Anniversary parties -- November 13th at the Black Cat and November 14 at the Bell House. (More on those further down the post.)
The Outs are a five piece, all girls, with whom Frankie will move from the drum kit to guitar (and vocals). The single's A-side is a two-and-a-half minute wall-of-sound pop that is what you might expect from someone who spent time in Vivian Girls and Crystal Stilts. (It could be the sister of CS's "Love is a Wave.") The B-side, "Hollow Life," is more unexpected -- organ-driven, harmony-laden, dreamy and drum-free, owing a lot to Spacemen 3.
Neither the A-side or the B-side of Frankie Rose's single has made it onto her MySpace page, but you can listen to her demo of "Where Do You Run To," a track the Vivian Girls only played once live. However, Frankie says it will be part of the The Outs live repertoire.
Frankie will be behind the drum kit, though, for the Dum Dum Girls upcoming CMJ shows. This will be an all-girl line-up, apparently, unlike DDG's live debut at the Woodsist/Captured Tracks Festival this summer that included Crocodiles' Brandon Welchez on guitar and Captured Tracks major domo Mike Sniper on bass. But that's only for these shows.
As mentioned above, Frankie and the Outs will play the two Slumberland Records 20th Anniversary shows at the Bell House and Black Cat. The full line-up for both shows is : Crystal Stilts, Brown Recluse, Pants Yell!, Frankie and the Outs; plus some reunions of classic Slumberland bands The Ropers, Nord Express, and Lorelei. It will be the first Ropers and Nord Express shows in ten years. Additionally, the Bell House show features a "special guest headliner." And as D.C. was the original home of the label, I wouldn't be surprised if some different special guests played that one too.
I think that is enough for one post. Tour dates and some videos below...