Weird Vibes, Memory Tapes, Winter Gloves, Ume, Erika Spring, Jeane, Wild Flag & more in This Week in Indie
by Bill Pearis
Before we get into this weekend’s many show options, I’d like to write about the current state of the Music Video Program, of which there have been a couple of recent developments. I don’t know how many of you watched the return of MTV’s classic alt-rock video show 120 Minutes to the airwaves (or your digital cable provider) the other week. (I DVR’d it.) In college, used to fight with folks in the dorm lounge who were more interested in SportsCenter for rights to watch the same Mighty Lemon Drops, Nine Inch Nails and Morrissey videos they showed the week before and the week before. But in those pre-internet days, it was one of the few places you could see videos by bands/artists like that and you took what you could get.
I guess it was nice seeing Matt Pinfield‘s familiar face again, at that epicenter of NYC alt rock Arlene Grocery, but… the show felt safe, and stuck in ’90s. (I know that’s when Pinfield hosted it, but my favorite host was smartass Kevin Seal. Worst host: Lewis Largent). Pinfield talked a lot about “music discovery” which is fine until you play a Mumford & Sons video and then interview Kings of Leon. The only edge to the show was when Das Racist were on and hit line drives back at Pinfield’s softballed questions.
A much better option, in my opinion, is Weird Vibes — the new web-only indie rock video show that launches today on MTV’s Hive site. The show is from Shirley Braha who was also behind the much-missed NY Noise which aired on NYCTV for much of the ’00s. Apart from the Saved by the Bell opening credits, this is a show that could only exist in 2011.
There are videos of course — Grimes, Wu Lyf, Vivian Girls, and Shabazz Palaces and more in the first episode — but you can watch those anywhere. Weird Vibes’ reason to watch is the host segments. Not that there is a host. (There is no host.) If it’s anything like NY Noise, expect the format and theme to change week to week… but the debut episode is titled “It’s Not Easy Being a Buzz Band.” Frankie Rose, Beach Fossils, Tanlines, Best Coast and other discuss such topics as “Bad Credit/No Credit,” “Predjudice and Stereotyping” and “Cyberbullying” (hmm) all set to some hilariously tense/dramatic music right out of a Dateline NBC story.
This may all be a little too Hipster Runoff (a clear influence here, check the captions during the interview segments) for the casual music fan, but to anyone who reads this site or Pitchfork regularly (aka you) will get it and should find it very entertaining. And in this segmented world we live in, there’s no reason this couldn’t actually air on MTV2 at 3:41 AM on Friday nights. Until then it’s online, you can watch the whole thing at the bottom of this post.
Erika Spring and her biggest fan
One of talking heads (not Talking Heads) on this week’s Weird Vibes is Erika Forster of Au Revoir Simone who has just released her first solo single on Friendly Fire Recordings under the guise of Erika Spring. (ARS have not broken up, they’re just doing their own thing for a bit.) It’s a split 7″ with Violens and Jorge of that band produced Erika’s track, “Six More Weeks.” While the melody could be an Au Revoir Simone song, the arrangement — lush and rhythmic — is pretty different. You can stream it at the bottom of this post.
Erika plays Mercury Lounge tonight (8/10), a late show (doors at 9PM) opening for San Francisco’s oOoOO and Water Borders. Both oOoOO and Water Borders reside in San Francisco and record for TriAngle Records which is also home to How to Dress Well, Balam Acab, Clams Casino and other like-minded practitioners of dark, screwed beats. (Can you feel the authority with which I wrote that sentence?)
oOoOO and Water Borders, plus Clams Casino and Ashay will be DJing this Saturday’s PS1 Warmup, along with His Name is Alive, and a live performance from Black Dice.
Main Memory man Dayve Hawk has crafted a lovely thing with his second album Player Piano which comes out next week. Using mostly live drums this time out gives it a real human beating heart, I think, and bodes well for the live shows this time around. (I was a little underwhelmed when I saw them at the Pool Parties last summer but that wasn’t an ideal venue for what MT do.) I dig the record’s songwriting and production, both of which are pretty terrific.
Did anyone catch Memory Tapes at Mecury Lounge last month? Openers: CSLSX are from Philadelphia and sound summery and ’80s-ish (fill in your own buzzword descriptors); Bell’s album Diamonite came out back in May and is well worth giving a listen to, which you can do over at her website.
Austin power trio Ume are visiting us again, playing a midnight set at Pianos tonight (8/10) and then will be at Brooklyn Bowl on Saturday (8/13) opening for jam band supergroup Stockholm Syndrome. Ume are giving away the first single from their new album, Phantoms, which you can download here. The album is out August 30. As previously noted, pretty much everybody here at BV are Ume fans. They write great songs and, yes, they are a bundle of energy on stage with some serious guitar heroics provided by singer Lauren Langer Larsen. Some people love the Joy Formidable, but I’ll take Ume, thanks.
Montreal dance rock quartet Winter Gloves have been tagging along with The Naked & the Famous and you can catch both bands (if you bought tickets, sold out) at Music Hall of Williamsburg this Friday (8/12). Later that same night, they’ll be shlepping their gear across N. 6th St. to play at Cameo Gallery. I’ve been a Winter Gloves fan since seeing them at M for Montreal three years ago where they were one of the highlights of the fest. I haven’t seen them since, but have enjoyed all their records, including last year’s underrated All Red. Check out the album track “Plastic Slides” at the top of this post.
The band have a new EP out, Heart Out, and the lead track is part of a free Paper Bag Records Summer Sampler that you can download here. You can watch the Heart Out video at the bottom of this post. The Cameo show is with Bikini (ecstacy-fueled party jams) and Papertwin (danceable in a New Order/Cure kind of way).
A while back I wrote about Vacation who released one of my favorite songs on the summer, the shimmering, danceable “Jeane.” The band’s name has caused some confusion with similarly named other groups (or groups with the exact same name) so the Vacation have changed their name to their best known song.
The newly-christened Jeane (who will now probably be accused of naming themselves after a Smiths song) play a free show at Bruar Falls this Friday with another band I like a lot, Family Trees, who are back in force after an extended winter, spring and summer hibernation. Also playing: Strange Shapes who I don’t know much about but songs on their Bandcamp sound pretty good. As I said, it’s a free show…
Ok, that’ll do for this week. A few more picks day-by-day are below.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 11
Long-running (and awesome) Brooklyn band Palomar play an acoustic show at Brooklyn Fireproof with Staring at Clouds.
Summer’s days are getting shorter, so might as well spend them dancing. Cut Copy, Foster the People and Midnight Magic play the Prospect Park Bandshell as part of Celebrate Brooklyn. If you bought tickets, that is. Sold out.
The lovely, melodic and occasionally anthemic Snowmine play the Rocks Off Concert Cruise with Dinosaur Feathers. Worse places to be than on a boat and Snowmine’s worth-hearing album, Laminate Pet Animal, is a name-your-price download at BandCamp.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 12
Sonic Youth play the Williamsburg Waterfront tonight, but the real reason to go is to see supergroup Wild Flag whose debut is one of the fall’s most anticipated (and yet-to-leak) releases.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 13
Former Ultramagnetic MC (and owner of a thousand pseudonyms) Kool Keith is at 285 Kent. Half the time he sounds like he’s rapping a VCR instruction manual from 1992, but in a sea of copycats, Kool Keith is a true original. (And Dr. Octagonecologyst is a classic.)
And that’s really it. Watch Weird Vibes #1 in its entirety below, plus tour dates videos and flyers.
Weird Vibes – “It’s Hard Being A Buzz Band”Erika Spring – Six More Weeks
Winter Gloves – 2011 Tour Dates
Thu, Aug 11 Brighton Music Hall – Boston, MA w/ The Naked and Famous
Fri, Aug 12 Music Hall of Williamsburg – Brooklyn, NY w/ The Naked and Famous
Fri, Aug 12 Cameo Gallery – Brooklyn, NY w Bikini
Memory Tapes – 2011 Tour Dates
Aug 11- Glasslands BROOKLYN
Aug 12- Club Lambl MONTREAL
Aug 13- Wrongbar TORONTO
Aug 15- Empty Bottle CHICAGO
Ume – 2011 Tour Dates
8/11 New York, NY at Piano’s
8/12 Boston, MA at Paradise Rock Club
8/13 Brooklyn, NY at Brooklyn Bowl
8/14 Baltimore, MD at The 8 X 10
8/16 Charleston, SC at Charleston Pour House
8/17 Athens, GA at Georgia Theater
8/18 Charlotte, NC at Neighborhood Theatre
8/19 Nashville, TN at Exit/In
8/20 New Orleans, LA at Tipitina’s Uptown
8/27 New Braunfels, TX at Dia De Los Toadies Music Festival w/ The Black Angels, The Sword, Toadies
8/28 St. Louis, MO at LouFest 2011 – Forest Park w/ TVOTR, Catpower, Deerhunter
9/8 Portland, OR at MusicFestNW- Mississippi Studios
Part of MusicFestNW 2011
9/10 San Diego, CA at San Diego Music Thing @ Soda Bar
9/12 Indianapolis, IN at Vogue Theatre*
9/14 Madison, WI at The Majestic*
9/16 Minneapolis, MN at Triple Rock*
9/17 Fargo, ND at The Aquarium*
9/20 Spokane, WA at The A Club*
9/22 Reno, NV at The Alley*
9/26 Albuquerque, NM at Launchpad*
9/28 Lubbock, TX at Jake’s*
9/29 Dallas, TX at Trees*
10/1 Houston, TX at Scout Bar*
10/2 Austin, TX at Emo’s Jr*
*with Middle Class Rut and Lite Brite*
Wild Flag – 2011 Tour Dates
08.12.2011 Brooklyn, NY Williamsburg Waterfront w/ Sonic Youth
10.03.2011 Minneapolis, MN Varsity Theater
10.04.2011 Omaha, NE Waiting Room
10.05.2011 Kansas City, MO Record Bar
10.07.2011 Champaign, IL High Dive
10.09.2011 Chicago, IL Empty Bottle
10.10.2011 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop
10.11.2011 Toronto, ON Lee’s Palace
10.14.2011 Boston, MA Paradise w/ Eleanor Friedberger
10.19.2011 Philadelphia, PA Union Transfer w/ Eleanor Friedberger
10.20.2011 Washington, Black Cat w/ Eleanor Friedberger
10.21.2011 Carrboro, NC Cat’s Cradle w/ Eleanor Friedberger
10.22.2011 Athens, GA 40 Watt w/ Eleanor Friedberger
10.24.2011 Birmingham, AL The Bottletree w/ Eleanor Friedberger
10.26.2011 New Orleans, LA One Eyed Jacks w/ Eleanor Friedberger
10.28.2011 Dallas, TX The Loft
10.29.2011 Austin, TX Emo’s (Outdoors)
10.31.2011 Phoenix, AZ Rhythm Room
11.01.2011 San Diego, CA Casbah
11.02.2011 Los Angeles, CA Troubadour
11.03.2011 Los Angeles, CA Troubadour
11.04.2011 San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall
11.05.2011 San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall
11.07.2011 Arcata, CA Humboldt State University
11.09.2011 Portland, OR Doug Fir
11.10.2011 Portland, OR Doug Fir
11.11.2011 Seattle, WA Neumo’s
11.12.2011 Vancouver, BC The Biltmore Cabaret
12.09.2011 Minehead, UK Butlin’s Holiday Center – ATP’s “Nightmare Before Christmas Curated by Les Savy Fav