a massive guide to NYC Popfest 2010, lots of MP3s & a chance to win a festival badge
by Bill Pearis
DOWNLOAD: The Wake - Oh Pamela (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Neverever - Blue Jeans (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Neverever - Young and Dumb (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Tender Trap - Girls with Guns (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Allo Darlin - Dreaming (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Allo Darlin' - My Heart is a Drummer (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Veronica Falls - Found Love in a Graveyard (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Moustache of Insanity - Amazon Wishlist (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Horowitz - Winona (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Embassy - It Pays to Belong (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Leaving Mornington Crescent - Corners (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Very Truly Yours - I'd Write You a Song (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Pants Yell! - Cold Hands (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Brown Recluse - Night Train (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: BOAT - We've Been Friends Since 1989 (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Bunnygrunt - Hometown Rockstar (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Bears - Wait and See (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Gold-Bears - Tally (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Sea Lions - I Wish I Was Lou Reed (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: One Happy Island - Temporary Tattoo (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Young Friends - Make Out Point (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Apple Orchard - Half Steps to Bright Smiles (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Dream Diary - Bird in My Garden (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: World Atlas - Winter Stories (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: My Teenage Stride - Creep Academy (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Cotton Candy - Fantastic & Spectacular (MP3)
NYC Popfest 2010 starts on Thursday with four days of cheery tunes and good vibes. And with temperatures that are supposed to climb into the '80s, we may finally answer the question, "When is it too hot to wear a vintage cardigan?" In years past, Popfest has played host to the likes of Pains of Being Pure at Heart ('07 & '08), Cats on Fire ('08 & '09), The Radio Dept ('09), BMX Bandits ('07), The Drums ('09), and lots more.
This year's line-up is pop-solid and we're giving away a Festival Pass that will get one person into all four nights. Just send an email to BVCONTESTS@HOTMAIL.COM with the subject line "POPFEST" and we'll pick a winner at random and notify them Wednesday night (tonight). Please note, some of these Popfest shows are 21+.
Festival passes are otherwise sold out, but there are currently still tickets available for all four shows, though I think you might want to act quick on the Cake Shop (5/20) and Don Hills (5/21) shows as they're at small venues. Here's an overview of what's going on, complete with MP3s for almost every band playing (above).
Popfest organizers scored a coup getting Scottish indiepop legends The Wake (not the American goth band of the same name) to play the big Saturday (5/22) show at the Bell House. While they the attention their Factory Records labelmates New Order and Happy Mondays (or even A Certain Ratio) received, their catalog is well-regarded, especially 1985's Here Comes Everybody which is a bona fide indie classic. Check out "O Pamela" at the top of this post. The band's hazy, reverb-laden sound has parallels to current bands like The Radio Dept or Wild Nothing, or any of the chillwave groups out there. The Wake are working on a new album due out this year. This is their only U.S. show. Stick around after The Wake's show for a DJ set from Victoria Bergsman.
Bunnygrunt date back to the early '90s cuddlecore scene (a genre which now sounds like some kind of porn for Furries) and were contemporaries of bands like Tiger Trap and Tullycraft. Reformed since 2004, these Saint Louis indie legends are pretty much patron saints to Popfest bands.
At the all-day Sunday (5/23) show at The Littlefield show features the first and only U.S. performance by enigmatic Swedish duo The Embassy who's music is somewhere between indiepop and Balearic disco. I liked 2005's Tacking which came out on the Service label, home of Jens Lekman, Studio and The Tough Alliance. Check out "It Pays to Belong" at the top of this post. but the band have been rather quiet since. Maybe we'll find out what's going on with them at the show.
Then there's Veronica Falls play the 5/20 show at Cake Shop. Maybe you saw them this past weekend when they played Glasslands on Saturday and Bruar Falls on Sunday. Their Glasslands performance was great, and they were surprisingly rockin', given the gentle nature of some of their recordings. Singer/guitarist James Hoare is a student of the David Gedge school of manic strumming, especially on their "Found Love in a Graveyard" single that becomes almost like an extended VU jam onstage.
Singer Roxanne Clifford and drummer Patrick Doyle were both in Glasgow's The Royal We, whose singer Jihae is now in Neverever who will play the Littlefield show on Sunday. The band also features her n0w-husband Wallace Meek who was in fellow Glaswegian band Bricolage but they now call Los Angeles their home. The band's debut, Angelic Swells, is out next week on Slumberland and is fairly indebted to '60s girl groups. Check out "Blue Genes" at the top of this post. I'll admit that part of me hopes we'll get a Veronica Falls/Neverever supergroup to play Royal We's awesome single "All the Rage" (the band never played America) but I'm not holding my breath.
Tender Trap play the Friday (5/21) show at Don Hill's which is also the bi-weekly Mondo! party. Not to be confused with anthemic Australian band The Temper Trap, The Tender Trap features Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey who were both in iconic indiepop bands Tallulah Gosh, Heavenly and Marine Research. I was a big fan of their last album, 2006's 6 Billion People, Their new album, Dansette Dansette, is out June 22 on Slumberland Records and you can download "Girls with Guns" from it at the top of this post.
Recently added to Tender Trap's lineup is Elizabeth Darling of Allo Darlin who also play the Don Hills/Mondo! show. Their debut album is out June 7 (in the UK at least, not sure if anyone's grabbed it up stateside) and is full of bouncy and charming guitar pop not too far removed from Belle & Sebastian. Their single "The Polaroid Song" is one of my favorite tracks of 2009 and you can watch the Breakfast Club homage video for it at the bottom of this post. And you can download a couple tracks from the album at the top of this post. Allo Darlin are also making the most of their trip, playing a short East Coast tour. Dates are at the bottom of this post.
Moustache of Insanity
Allo Darlin's Will Harrison also plays in Moustache of Insanity who are playing the free daytime show on Saturday at Spike Hill. Sometimes compared to Moldy Peaches, the band should provide some levity (and cheap keyboards) to the proceedings. Check out "Amazon Wishlist" at the top of this post for an idea of what you're in for, and if you want to hear more, you can download a zip of their new EP here and there are loads of downloads via their website.
Leaving Mornington Crescent
And it wouldn't be a Popfest without some Swedish bands. In addition to The Embassy, there's Leaving Mornington Crescent who play Cake Shop on Thursday, and A Smile and a Whisper at Littlefield on Sunday.
The Don Hill's show on Friday will be the last-ever NYC show for Boston's Pants Yell! who are splitting up after playing a farewell show in their hometown next week.
One of the many highlights of The Bell House show is Seattle's BOAT who will play some non-popfest shows too.
One Happy Island
This will be the second year in a row at Popfest for Chicago's Very Truly Yours, who are playing the e debut LP was just released this spring. You can download at track from it at the top of this post. Recommended if you like winsome, Camera Obscura style. pop. Also back from last year are Vermont's Smittens (5/21 Don Hill's), and it will be the second Popfest for Boston's One Happy Island who last played it in 2008 and play this year at the Saturday afternoon free show at Spike Hill. Check out "Temporary Tattoo" at the top of this post.
There's a few animal bands (in addition to Bunnygrunt): Cleveland, OH's Bears, who play the Bell House show (5/22), are lush and lovely with gorgeous harmonies. Check out "Wait and See" at the top of this post, whereas Gold Bears (Spike Hill, free day show 5/22) from Atlanta, are more in the shambly tradition of The Shop Assistants and Boyracer. Then there's local duo Elephant Parade (Cake Shop on 5/20) who play laptoppy folk, and the Sea Lions (Oxnard, CA playing the Sunday show at Littlefield) evoke comparisons to the Pastels and The Clean.
More out-of-town American bands: Sweater Girls are from Los Angeles and feature Allan Kingdom of C-86-era UK group The Siddelys; and Santa Monica Swim & Dive Club are actually from Michigan and play super-twee acoustic pop; The Young Friends are from Arizona but sound like Scotland 1980; and Apple Orchard hail from Richmond, California and make dreamy, Field Mice-ish pop (lots of free MP3s on their website).
Florida's For Ex-Lovers Only named themselves after a Black Tamborine song and kind of sound like that too. They play Littlefield on Saturday.
Opening the Don Hills show on Friday are Cotton Candy, which is Mark Robinson's current band that also features his wife. There's more a capella covers of old commercial jingles than you might expect from the former frontman of Unrest (who are reforming briefly).
And of course NYC is well represented. In addition to previously mentioned Elephant Parade, indiepop stalwarts My Teenage Stride, who are the only band to have played all for NYC Popfests, will play the big Bell House show on Saturday, as do World Atlas (NYC's answer to Belle & Sebastian); Dream Diary (NYC's answer to The Pastels/Field Mice) play Cake Shop on Thursday, and the shoegazy Corita play the free Saturday afternoon show at Spike Hill. And The Secret History make their third appearance at the Fest at Littlefield on Sunday.
Ok, I think I got everybody in there. Day-by-day Popfest schedule, plus some other tour dates and videos after the jump.
Thursday May 20th
Venue - Cake Shop
Sweater Girls (CA)
Elephant Parade (NYC)
Dream Diary (NYC)
Leaving Mornington Crescent (Sweden)
Veronica Falls (UK)
* * * * *
Friday May 21st
Venue - Don Hill's
Cotton Candy (MA)
The Smittens (VT)
Allo Darlin (UK)
Pants Yell! (MA)
Tender Trap (UK)
* * * * *
Saturday May 22nd
Venue - Spike Hill (free matinee show!)
Moustache of Insanity (UK)
One Happy Island (MA)
* * * * *
Saturday May 22nd
Venue - The Bell House
Very Truly Yours (IL)
World Atlas (NYC)
My Teenage Stride (NYC)
The Wake (UK)
* * * * *
Sunday May 23rd
Venue - Littlefield
Santa Monica Swim & Dive Club (MI)
For Ex-Lovers Only (FL)
The Young Friends (AZ)
Apple Orchard (CA)
Brown Recluse (PA)
Sea Lions (CA)
The Secret History (NYC)
The Embassy (Sweden)
The Embassy - Stage Persona
The Tender Trap - Girls with Guns
Allo Darlin - The Polaroid Song
Allo Darlin - 2010 Tour Dates
May 21 NYC Popfest New York City, New York
May 23 The Elevens Northampton, Massachuse
May 25 Toad Cambridge, Massachuse
May 26 Cafe Nine New Haven, Connecticu
May 27 Venue TBA New Jersey, New Jersey
May 29 Monkey House Winooski, Vermont
May 30 Le Divan Orange Montreal, Quebec, CANADA
Jun 7 Album Released - Instore at Rough Trade East London, London and, UNITED KINGDOM
Jun 15 ALBUM LAUNCH AT THE LEXINGTON WITH VERY SPECIAL GUESTS STANDARD FARE!! London, London and, UNITED KINGDOM
Jun 17 Brick Lane Takeover London, London
Jun 19 The Chameleon Nottingham, Midlands, UNITED KINGDOM
Jul 21 The Luminaire London, UNITED KINGDOM
Jul 23 Indietracks Festival Ripley Railway, Midlands, UNITED KINGDOM
Jul 27 L'internationale Paris, Paris, FRANCE
Jul 30 Venue TBA Dresden, TBA, GERMANY
Jul 31 Venue TBA Copenhagen, Copenhagen, DENMARK
Aug 2 House of Win-Win Gothenburg, Gotheburg, SWEDEN
Aug 3 Maja's Varberg, Varberg, SWEDEN
Aug 4 Venue TBC Jonkoping, Jonkoping, SWEDEN
Aug 5 Cosy Den Festival Stockholm, SE
Horowitz - I Need a Blanket
Pants Yell! - Somebody Loves You