The Stepkids, Cuckoo Chaos, Radical Dads, Backwords & more in This Week in Indie
by Bill Pearis
Is it too late to say Happy New Year to all of you out there? Probably. Okay, nevermind. It is a New Year though, and the rock machine is already in full swing. If you haven’t spent all your money on tickets to the chickfactor fest (I can’t tell you how psyched I am to see Small Factory) there’s some good options.
Top of my list this weekend is the previously mentioned Stepkids show at Knitting Factory on Saturday (1/14). Their self-titled debut made my Favorite Albums of 2011 list (#36) and don’t feel it got enough attention. I wrote:
Like The Bees, The Stepkids recreate a specific era of sound — early ’70s psychedelic soul — with such skill you might think it was some obscure Fifth Dimension album or outtakes from Psychedelic Shack. That it works beyond an exercise is mimicry shows how talented these three are.
And they are crazy talented. All three members write and sing and spent time playing with the likes of Alicia Keys, Lauren Hill and 50 Cent before deciding to take a stranger path in music. I do wish they’d make a 15-piece Stepkids Love Unlimited Orchestra so they could really do the complexities of the album justice in a live setting, but what they accomplish as a trio is still pretty damn impressive. (A killer light show helps in that department.) They were great when they played our day party at Public Assembly during CMJ week during which we taped them doing an acoustic cover of Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box” which you can watch at the bottom of this post. Also down there is the Tom Sharpling-directed video for “Legend in My Own Mind” which is pretty funny.
Opening for The Stepkids are San Diego band Cuckoo Chaos who also play Friday (1/13) at Mercury Lounge with Country Mice. The band have toured with Anna Calvi and were last in town during CMJ. The band play an appealing take on afrobeat-y indie rock with nice harmonies. I do really like their song “Just Ride It” which is downloadable at the top of this post. If you like that one, check out their album Woman (listen on Spotify, buy at eMusic) and consider going to one of their shows this weekend.
Radical Dads at Brooklyn Night Bazaar, December 2011
A few spots above the Stepkids on my Albums of 2011 list (#29) is Radical Dads‘ debut, Mega Rama, which is nine tasty chunks of shouty/catchy indie rock wrapped up in one of my favorite sleeves of the year. They’re also a total blast live, as evidenced by anyone who showed up early to the BV-presented show at Brooklyn Night Bazaar last month.
You’ve got your first chance to catch Radical Dads in 2012, as previously mentioned, Friday night (1/13) where they play Cameo Gallery. The whole evening’s card is pretty stacked with local talent. Also playing are mellow folk pop band Backwords (stream their new album below), the sloppy pop of Moonmen on the Moon, Man and the electro-tinged stylings of Yanqui.
King Krule, last night at Mercury Lounge
I would mention the King Krule shows happening this weekend but as they’re all sold out, you’re either going or you’re not. I thought he was good when I saw him at Glasslands during CMJ. He looks even younger in person, but that voice seems to be from someone 30 years older. Anyway, a few more weekend picks are below, day-by-day….
THURSDAY, JANUARY 12
Chain And The Gang, 5 Dollar Priest, Eleanor Friedberger, Nicole Atkins and many more play a Jonathan Toubin benefit at Music Hall of Williamsburg tonight.
Next door at Public Assembly, the Juan Maclean and Com Truise are playing a party celebrating new MTV show I Just Want My Pants Back. Tickets were free with RSVP but list is at capacity.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 13
Air Waves, Soft Healer and Beets frontman Juan Wauters are performing at a Esme Barrera tribute/benefit at Death By Audio.
Overlooked brooklyn trio I’m Turning Into play Pianos, with Swimclub and Aviation Orange.
Fergus & Geronimo preview new tracks from their second album (due on Hardly Art this Spring) at 285 Kent, with Dinowalrus, Total Slacker, and Weird Rivers.
Dive at 285 Kent, January 1, 2012
SATURDAY, JANUARY 14
I’m a little curious about Dive‘s “weirdo set” they’ll be doing at 285 Kent, but I’ll be celebrating my birthday at Stepkids at Knitting Factory. You’ll have to tell me just how weird it was. Also playing: Burning Star Core, Thee Source ov Fawnation, and Them, There.
It’s a fun night of bands at Big Snow, with garage rocker Bosco Delray, the Rentals-esque Gross Relations, shouty Japanese band Hard Nips, Lost Boy, and OJ of XRay Eyeballs on the decks.
And that’s it for this week. Videos and albums streams are below.
The Stepkids – Heart Shaped Box (BV + Sony Bloggie Present: Green Room Sessions)
The Stepkids – Legend in My Own Mind
Cuckoo Chaos – Just Ride It