NYC Popfest 2012 preview (Pt. 2): Comet Gain, The Pooh Sticks, White Town, The Ladybug Transistor, The Wave Pictures, Allo Darlin’, Pushy Parents, and more
by Bill Pearis
Here's the second part of the NYC Popfest 2012 preview. For info on tonight's show at Knitting Factory can read part one here.
SATURDAY, MAY 19
There's a free show at Spike Hill with Sweden's rough-and-tumble Lisa Bouvier, the gentle sounds of Philippine band Outerhope (who also play The Rock Shop on Monday [5/21]) plus Pale Lights (featuring Comet Gain's Phil Sutcliffe and Andy from Crystal Stilts) and Brooklyn up-and-comers Habibi.
For those going to Spike Hill, you might want to head to Williamsburg early to check out the Brooklyn Flea Record Fair that is happening at food hipster mecca Smorgasburg from 11AM-6PM. Indiepop-friendly labels like Angular, Kanine, and What's Your Rupture? will be there, with some exclusive product as well. Plus lots of amazing food. Get there before noon to beat the insane lines.
It's an all-Williamsburg day for Popfest as the Saturday night show happens at Public Assembly with two legendary UK bands headlining; Comet Gain and The Pooh Sticks. The former, celebrating their 20th year in existence, are playing their first Popfest and first shows in NYC since 2009. Last year's Howl of the Lonely Crowd was another fine addition to their canon of footstompers and floorshakers.
The Pooh Sticks
The Pooh Sticks haven't played NYC since 1992 back when they were supporting the American release of their stone-cold classic Great White Wonder which cemented their rep as masters of tongue-in-cheek, arched brow indie. Actually it was already established with shambly 1988 singles "I Know Someone Who Knows Someone Who Knows Alan McGee Quite Well" and "On Tape" which is the "Losing My Edge" of its day. Arch, tuneful and not afraid to steal, The Pooh Sticks are indiepop royalty and, if recent live video on YouTube is correct, they still got it.
But the best group of the night -- or at least the best one you've never heard of before (probably) -- are on first. A quick listen to Pushy Parents are you can guess they're from Sweden (Stockholm to be specific) with a sound somewhere between early Cardigans and the Concretes. Their new Secret Secret EP is terrific: equal parts effortless melody, skill and just-right production. You can stream the whole thing and watch the video for its title track at the bottom of this post.
SUNDAY, MAY 20 (LITTLEFIELD)
Allo Darlin' with Gary Olson at Mercury Lounge (more)
Popfest ends with an all-day affair at Littlefield, featuring tourmates Allo Darlin' and The Wave Pictures who have been written about before and you can see pictures from both band's visit to Mercury Lounge a few weeks back. They are both great and reason enough to go on Sunday.
But not the only reason. The Littlefield show will also feature the first-ever American show from White Town (aka Jyoti Mishra) who made many excellent albums before and after his fluke hit "Your Woman" in 1997. That song, as good as it it (and it is!) also isn't especially representative of White Town's body of work which tends to mix wispy melodies, delicate guitars and budget drum machines. Mishra has stayed active, continuing to release albums over the years, including last year's Monopole.
Also playing: Brooklyn indiepop mainstays The Ladybug Transistor whose frontman Gary Olson usually lends his trumpeting skills to at least one other Popfest band who needs it. (He'll probably also sing the male vocal parts on Allo Darlin's "Dreaming" as he's done before.)
The Holiday Crowd
And come early to Littlefield to catch local power pop combo Swearin' (which shares a couple members with Dear Marje who also play Popfest this year); Washington DC's Dot Dash, which features members of Julie Ocean and wordy '90s indiepoppers Tree Fort Angst.
The full Popfest Saturday - Sunday schedule is below, along with that Pushy Parents stream and video.
SATURDAY, MAY 19TH @ SPIKE HILL (DAY TIME)
03:00 Lisa Bouvier (SWEDEN)
03:45 Outerhope (PHILIPPINES)
04:30 Pale Lights (NYC)
05:15 Habibi (NYC)
Pushy Parents - "Secret Secret"
SATURDAY, MAY 19TH @ PUBLIC ASSEMBLY
TICKETS: $15 ADV / $18 DOS
08:00 Pushy Parents (SWEDEN)
08:45 The Electric Pop Group (SWEDEN)
09:30 Seapony (WA)
10:15 The Pooh Sticks (UK)
11:15 Comet Gain (UK)
INDIEPOP DANCE PARTY featuring DJ: Roque (Cloudberry Records)
SUNDAY MAY 20TH @ LITTLEFIELD
TICKETS: $15 ADV / $18 DOS
04:00 Swearin' (NYC)
04:45 Sleuth (CANADA)
05:30 Dot Dash (DC)
06:15 The Holiday Crowd (CANADA)
07:00 White Town (UK)
07:45 The Wave Pictures (UK)
08:45 The Ladybug Transistor (NYC)
10:00 Allo' Darlin (UK)
DJ: Sean Price (Fortuna Pop! - UK)