The Big Takeover, Avi Buffalo, CFCF, Amen Dunes, Grass Widow, Ducktails & more in This Week in Indie
by Bill Pearis
This weekend is The Big Takeover‘s 30th Anniversary celebration: two nights of shows at the Bell House put together by Jack Rabid who has been publishing the ‘zine since 1980. Jack’s one of the most passionate, informed music fans I’ve ever met and he’s put together a pretty stellar line-up of artists, most of which will be familiar to regular BT readers.
Friday night (7/30) is headlined by San Francisco punk legends The Avengers, and Seattle’s Visqueen, and the first performance in 16 years by Flower (Ed and James Balyut’s pre-Versus band). Plus the L.A. punks Channel 3, the Libertines U.S. (from Cincinnati) playing their first-ever Big Apple show, and Jack Rabid’s band Springhouse.
Saturday night (7/31) is even more action packed. Former Chameleons frontman Mark Burgess headlines, performing acoustic and with a full band; legendary Lincoln, NE post-punk shoegazers For Against, playing their first East Coast show in 15 years; and Springhouse performs again, this time doing their 1993 album Postcards from the Arctic in full. Also: Former Nerves/Beat singer Paul Collins, a rare U.S. appearance by ex-Mutton Birds frontman Don McGlashan, onetime Newtown Neurotics singer Steve Drewitt (first-ever U.S. show), and the Posies’ Jon Auer. Also also: The Sharp Things, The Sleepover Disaster (first-ever East Coast shows) and The Curtain Society.
You can still buy two-day passes for $40 as well. (Individual tickets are $25.) If you’ve never read The Big Takeover, well you should really recitify that. Each phone book sized issue (twice yearly) is packed with in-depth interviews, reviews and essays, the bulk of which is still written by Jack. The magazine’s slogan is “Music with Heart” and he means it, man. The 30th Anniversary issue (#66 if you’re keeping track) is just out with Spoon on the cover. Like always, it’s a great read.
Avi Buffalo play the Seaport Music Festival on Friday, their only New York appearance this go-around. Their self-titled Sub Pop debut is an impressive collection of shimmery, folky guitar pop that has stayed in constant rotation on my stereo since March. Live, Avi Buffalo put a little more muscle into the tunes. Front man Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg is a Doug Martsch in the making. (You get a sense of it on the LP’s seven-minute jam “Remember the Last Time.”) Dude uses like 15 pedals and is a pretty serious shredder. I thought they were great at South by Southwest. Yes they are barely old enough to buy cigarettes (not that they should be smoking!) but that just means Avi Buffalo haven’t even hit their stride — which is exciting.
Opening is Canadian multi-hyphenate wunderkind (and Sub Pop labelmate) Chad Van Gaalen who hasn’t made a new record of his own in two years but has probably stayed busy being an illustrator, animator, and producer of Women. Unlike last Friday, weather looks to be idyllic Friday (sunny, high of 84) — should be a lovely early evening on the pier.
Despite the preponderance of reverbed garage, twee indiepop and ’90s era slackerdom in this column, I do listen to a fair amount of dance music though I’m not really a club-goer. One of my favorite albums of 2009 was Continent, the full-length debut from CFCF, aka Vancouver beat-maker Michael Silver. It’s an ambitious disc of instrumental, yet highly melodic dance music without even a trace of chillwave. (Though there’s definitely some Balearic in there.) It’s ridiculously catchy, and you may find yourself singing overtop tracks, making up your own lyrics (Well I do anyway.) Annie, Roisin, Robyn, etc… may I present your new collaborator?
You can download CFCF’s great cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Big Love” at the top of this post — the only vocal track on Continent. Silver, who is also an in-demand remixer (on the new HEALTH album for instance), is in town this weekend for a bunch of DJ gigs. You can hear him spin Friday night (7/30) at Cameo Gallery with Jacques Renault and Lovefingers, and then the PS1 Warm Up on Saturday (8/31), where Animal Collective also DJ, plus live performances from Prince Rama and Blondes.
If you’re going to Prospect Park for Sonic Youth on Saturday, do get there early and catch Grass Widow as it’s their only NYC show for now. The San Francisco trio’s new album, Past Time, is out August 24 on Kill Rock Stars. It could use a few more choruses but gets by on the band’s very distinctive sound. You can download “Shadows” from the new album at the top of this post and watch its lovely animated video at the bottom of this post. Grass Widow are teriffic live — it will be interesting to see them on such a big stage. If you can’t make it, they’ll be back in September for two shows (Sept. 27 -28, venues still TBD). All tour dates at the bottom of this post.
And some daily picks of things not otherwise covered above:
THURSDAY, JULY 29
The Music Slut has been blogging away for five years and they’re celebrating on a boat! Specifically, the Rocks Off Concert Cruise ship and they’ve put Javelin, Keepaway and I Love Monsters aboard it. Boat leaves at 7pm, don’t be late. Happy birthday, guys.
Coco 66 has a night of bliss-out drone, noise, old synthesizers, psychedelic freakouts, and tribal chanting all in celebration of the release of Amen Dunes‘ new album, Murder Dull Mind, which is out on Sacred Bones. Also playing Gary War, recent Paw Tracks signees Prince Rama (who are at PS 1 Saturday), and Coconuts. Open vodka bar at 9PM till it runs out.
FRIDAY, JULY 30
Ducktails are having a record release party at Glasslands for their new Live at WFMU 12″ that also features the usual suspects: Julian Lynch, Campfires, Big Troubles, and La Big Vic. Hopefully Glasslands will have cooled off a bit…it was unbearable last weekend.
New-ish duo Year of the Tiger play Spike Hill. If you wish Sleigh Bells were more new wave and less chainsaw-on-chalkboard, you might want to check them out. It’s free.
SATURDAY, JULY 31
OK, that’s it for this one. More videos and tour dates below…
Grass Widow – Shadows
Grass Widow – 2010 Tour Dates
jul 28 – Providence, RI – AS220 (w/ The Avengers, Hot Box)
jul 29 – Boston, MA – TT and the Bears (w/ The Avengers, Pleasure Kills)
jul 31 – Brooklyn, NY – Prospect Park (w/ Sonic Youth, Talk Normal)
sep 01 – Los Angeles, CA – Spaceland (w/ Ty Segall, Garotas Suecas)
sep 14 – Eugene, OR – Wandering Goat (w/ STLS)
sep 15 – Portland, OR – Backspace (w/ STLS)
sep 17 – Seattle, WA – Healthy Times Fun Club (w/ Coasting, Broken Water)
sep 18 – Boise, ID – Neurolux
sep 19 – Kansas City, MO – Record Bar (w/ Shonen Knife)
sep 20 – Dubuque, IA – The Lift
sep 21 – St. Paul, MN – Turf Club
sep 22 – Kalamazoo, MI – The Strutt (w/ Shonen Knife)
sep 23 – Chicago, IL – Crown Liquors
sep 23 – Chicago, IL – The University of Chicago
sep 24 – Oberlin, OH – Oberlin College
sep 25 – Baltimore, MD – Golden West
sep 26 – Washington, DC – Rock and Roll Hotel (w/ Shonen Knife)
sep 27 – New York, NY – TBA
sep 28 – Brooklyn, NY – TBA
Avi Buffalo – What’s In It For?
Avi Buffalo – 2010 Tour Dates
Jul 30 Pier 17 / South Street Seaport New York, New York
Jul 31 Osheaga Music Festival w/ Arcade Fire, Beach House Montreal, Quebec, CANADA
Aug 3 Opera House w/ Blitzen Trapper Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
Aug 4 Majestic Theater w/ Blitzen Trapper Detroit, Michigan
Aug 5 The Vogue w/ Blitzen Trapper Indianapolis, Indiana
Aug 6 Aestival Festival New Haven, MI
Aug 7 Lincoln Hall w/ Blitzen Trapper Chicago, IL
Aug 9 HI DIVE Denver, Colorado
Aug 11 SDSU Open Air Theater w/ My Morning Jacket San Diego, CA
Aug 12 Greek Theatre w/ My Morning Jacket Los Angeles, CA
Aug 15 MASS MoCA w/ Wilco, Nels Cline Singers, Vetiver North Adams, MA
Aug 19 Pukkelpop Festival Hasselt, BELGIUM
Aug 20 Green Man Festival Brecon Beacons, Wales, UNITED KINGDOM
Aug 22 Lancaster Library Lancaster, Lancs, UNITED KINGDOM
Aug 24 Cargo London – SOLD OUT Shoreditch, London, UNITED KINGDOM
Aug 25 Islington Academy w/ The Walkmen – SOLD OUT London, UK
Aug 27 Reading Festival Reading, UNITED KINGDOM
Aug 29 Leeds Festival Leeds, UNITED KINGDOM
Aug 30 Edinburgh Capital Edinburgh, UNITED KINGDOM
Aug 31 Bodega Social Nottingham, United Kingdom
Sep 4 ATP New York w/ Sonic Youth, Iggy & The Stooges Monticello, New York , US