Craft Spells, Sebadoh, Surf City, BOAT, Bardo Pond, Bare Wires & more in This Week in Indie
by Bill Pearis
DOWNLOAD: Craft Spells - After The Moment (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Craft Spells - Party Talk (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Surf City - Crazy Rulers of the World (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Bare Wires - Ready to Go (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Bare Wires - Seeking Love (MP3)
First up is Craft Spells who make their NYC debut tonight (4/8) at Music Hall of Williamsburg, opening for fellow Captured Tracks band Beach Fossils, plus Crinkles and an "Unannounced Special Guest" that might drum up some excitement if anyone could figure out who that might actually be. Craft Spells also play Saturday (4/9) at Glasslands with Cloud Nothings and the Sundelles, which is also a pretty solid lineup.
On record at least, Craft Spells is basically Justin Paul Vallesteros who made his debut album Idle Labor in his home. Vallesteros is making a go of it, having recently moved from Stockton, California to Seattle where he's turned Craft Spells into a quartet. Idle Labor is very much a bedroom pop album (and a very good one), clearly created by one guy who loves a lot of '80s music (OMD, Pale Fountains come to mind, as does New Order though mainly through the album art).
You can download two tracks from Idle Labor at the top of this post. But the Craft Spells live experience eschews the keyboards for a straight-up guitar pop sound that I'm told is a little more akin to Orange Juice. Which sounds pretty good too. We shall see.
As you're reading this column, you're probably well aware that the '90s are totally back. Which means bands from that era are totally back too. Bands like Sebadoh whose classic albums Sebadoh III, Bubble and Scrape and Bakesale helped define the sound of "indie rock." (I tried in vein to find a clip of Lou [wearing a Joy Division t-shirt] talking at length about breakups on MTV's Sex in the '90s. Somebody get on this please.] And they're totally back -- in NYC -- this weekend, playing Bowery Ballroom on April 9th and 10th. It looks like the Sunday show still has tickets at the moment.
To be fair, Lou Barlow, Jason Lowenstein and Eric Gaffney started playing together again in 2007 but it seems a lot more interesting now, what with Yuck slyly cribbing their moves and all. Oupa -- Yuck singer Daniel Bloomberg's side project -- are supposed to open for Sebadoh Saturday, though it's not listed on the Bowery website now. For sure you'll get Richard Buckner, who's opening both nights.
Keeping with the '90s indie rock vibe, don't forget Seattle's BOAT are playing Mercury Lounge tomorrow (4/9). It's a relatively early show -- BOAT are on at 9PM -- so you can go do something else after. They are super fun live, even when massive equipment failure threatens to derail them. BOAT persevere with good humor.
One of the things you could do after BOAT is just stay at Mercury Lounge for the late show, featuring post-rockers Bardo Pond and New Zealand's Surf City. While they've never really broken up, Bardo Pond are best known for their late-'90s canon on Matador, full of lengthy spaced-out jams full of crashing waves of guitar noise and throbbing bass. The band's hazy groove sounds intact on last year's self-titled new album.
Surf City, meanwhile, are indebted to the classic Flying Nun sound, meaning a whole lot of the Clean, a good dose of The Jean Paul Sartre Experience, and maybe a little Bats for good measure. Their new-ish album is called Kudos and is loaded with catchy, noisy guitar pop, like "Crazy Rulers of the World," downloadable above. Coincidentally, Crazy Rulers of the World is also the title of my forthcoming coffee table book about novelty measuring sticks. Go figure.
Surf City also play Glasslands on Tuesday (4/12) with Darlings, Lingering Doubt, and Little Racer.
That's it for this week's This Week in Indie. A few more daily picks follow.
FRIDAY, APRIL 8
Boston power pop band Pretty & Nice play Spike Hill. These guys are solid.
The name is kind of horrible and I'm personally not crazy about the music but I'm told Gobble Gobble's live show is unforgettable which might be reason enough to go check them out at Glasslands tonight. With Headless Horsemen.
SATURDAY, APRIL 9
Dinowalrus, She Keeps Bees, Total Slacker, Gunfight, Quiet Loudly, Pet Ghost Project, Mussels, Data Dog, El Jezel, Nature Boy, Shark? and more play the Brain-Cave Festival at Shea Stadium. Starts at 2PM, $10.
SUNDAY, APRIL 10
Garagey power pop band Bare Wires are at Cake Shop on Sunday with Fergus and Geronimo. Bare Wires are great, go out and see 'em!
OK, that's it! Tour dates, video, and flyers are below.
Craft Spells - Scandinavian Crush live in Seattle
Craft Spells - 2011 Tour Dates
Apr 08 Music Hall of Williamsburg Brooklyn, NY
Apr 09 Glasslands Gallery Brooklyn, NY
Apr 14 DC9 Washington, DC
Apr 16 Johnny Brenda's Philadelphia, PA
Apr 22 Zanzabar Louisville, KY
May 02 Soda Bar San Diego, CA
Surf City - 2011 Tour Dates
04.08 Danger Danger w/ Bardo Pond and Snowblink (Philadelphia, PA)
04.09 Mercury Lounge w/ Bardo Pond and Snowblink (New York, NY)
04.10 Black Cat w/ Bardo Pond and Guests (Washington, D.C.)
04.12 Glasslands Gallery (Brooklyn, NY)
04.13 Cafe Nine (New Haven, CT)
04.14 Casa del Popolo (Montreal, QC)
04.15 Call the Office (London, ON)
04.16 Parts and Labour (Toronto, ON)
04.18 Lager House (Detroit, MI)
04.19 Schubas Tavern (Chicago, IL)
04.20 The Bishop (Bloomington, IN)
04.21 MOTR Pub (Cincinnati, OH)
04.22 The Bug Jar (Rochester, NY)
04.24 O'Brien's (Allston, MA)
Bare Wires - 2011 Tour Dates
4/7 - Public Assembly - Brooklyn, NY
4/8 - Firehouse 13 - Providence, RI
4/9 - WHRB Festival @ Democracy Center - Cambridge, MA
4/10 - Cake Shop - New York, NY
4/12 - Cafe Nine - New Haven, CT
4/13 - La Sala Rossa - Montreal, QC
4/14 - Babylon - Ottawa, ON
4/15 - Parts and Labour - Toronto, ON
4/16 - Lager House - Detroit, MI
4/17 - Schubas Tavern - Chicago, IL
4/19 - Vaudeville Mews - Des Moines, IA
4/20 - Cactus Club - Milwaukee, WI
4/21 - Turf Club - St. Paul, MN
4/22 - The Aquarium - Fargo, ND
4/23 - The Railyard - Billings, MT
4/24 - BSMT - Missoula, MT
4/27 - Funhouse - Seattle, WA
4/28 - White House - Vancouver, BC
4/29 - Northern - Olympia, WA
4/30 - East End - Portland, OR