Naked on the Vague, Trust, The Fresh & Onlys, Cuffs, Karkwa, Personal & the Pizzas & more in This Week in Indie
by Bill Pearis
Naked on the Vague
It's spring, it's Passover/Easter, flowers are blooming...let's talk goth. Sydney, Australia's Naked on the Vague are here this weekend for two shows: tonight (4/22) at Coco66 with Sacred Bones labelmates Trust and Silk Flowers, and then Saturday (4/23) at Bowery, kicking off their tour with Zola Jesus and Cult of Youth.
Naked on the Vague's new platter, Twelve Dark Noons, which is also the name of a new film that made its U.S. debut last night (yes I'm a little behind) at 92 Y Tribeca, and the band played an "experimental music" set beforehand. Tonight's show is a little more normal for the band -- it's the record release party -- though may not be normal to you depending on what you listen to.
Core duo Lucy Cliche and Matthew Hopkins have recently expanded the band to a four-piece, making for a fuller-sounding dark and doomy racket. Hopkins describes the new album as "Dracula fronting the B-52s." I'm not sure that's how I;d describe it, but this is certainly a more accessible record than last year's Heaps of Nothing which came out on Siltbreeze. If you like the '80s goth touchstones, you'll be into this. Check out "Clock of 12's" at the top of this post and the video is below.
Opening tonight are Toronto duo Trust who played earlier in the week at the Wierd party at Home Sweet Home. You may recognize Maya Postepski if you've seen Austra play live (she's their drummer). Along with singer Robert Alfons the duo "combine dark synth arpeggios, live and programmed drum beats with haunting, effected vocals." Hear all those things in Trust's debut single, "Candy Walls," which is downloadable above. (And watch the well-photographed, vaguely creepy video below.) Similarities to Postepski's other group are evident, which is to say if you like Austra but wish the songs were sung by a guy who kind of sounds like the Crash Test Dummies dude...Trust is pretty close to that. And not a bad thing. Locals Silk Flowers open tonight's show.
the Fresh & Onlys
Keeping thing within the Sacred Bones realm, San Francisco's Fresh & Onlys are here tomorrow (4/23) at Music Hall of Williamsburg as they're on tour with Crocodiles. The band have been on a prolific tear for the last two years but have kind of slacked off in 2011. It's April and they've only just released their first record on the year. But it's a good one, Secret Walls (on aforementioned label), continues the band's differentiation from the SF garage scene they were lumped in with. There's not one rocker amongst its six tracks. Which is not a bad thing at all. Tim Cohen's songwriting just keeps getting better and the EP's expansive sound here is a great showcase for the superior musicianship found in all corners of the band. Lovely stuff.
Shifting gears, tonight at Pianos are Karkwa from Montreal who you might remember won the Polaris Music Prize in 2010 for Les Chemins de Verres, the first-ever Francophone album to receive the award. Yes, that means they sing in French though that really shouldn't stop you from digging them. I've described them before as the French-Canadian Radiohead, which is reductive but gets you there. So if you can listen to Sigur Ros and not worry about what they're saying, you can do the same for Karkwa. Check out their video for single "Le Pyromane" at the bottom of this post. They play giant rooms in Canada so to be in a room as tiny as Pianos should be interesting.
As previously mentioned, former Swell Maps and Television Personalities guy Jowe Head is here, playing tonight at Bruar Falls and tomorrow (5/23) at Cake Shop. Tomorrow's show is especially enticing, as it's the NYC debut of Cuffs which is the new band from Andrew Churchman who fronted much-loved Boston band Pants Yell! (That's their exclamation point, not mine.) Cuffs also has Pants Yell! drummer Casey Keenan, as well as "a member of Reports and the blonde kid from Big Troubles."
Cuffs are working on some real recordings as we speak but you can listen to some demos at their Bandcamp site, one of which you can download at the top of this post. For those familiar with Churchman's previous band, you already mostly know what to expect here. He's still writing delicate indiepop, though Cuffs have a little more groove. I remember him saying at Popfest (PY!'s last NYC show) that the new stuff would be more Prefab Sprout influenced and you can hear that lonely jazzy sound in "Albert Kroft."
Pants Yell! were always a louder, more rocking band live than on record, and I bet the same holds true for Cuffs. There also seems to be a little jammy-ness with them too (maybe the Big Troubles factor), so I'm really curious/excited for tomorrow's show.
That's the main stuff this weekend, but there are a few more day-by-day picks below.
FRIDAY, APRIL 22
Personal & the Pizzas, who played last night at Maxwell's, are at Cake Shop tonight laying on the cheese with Georgia's Barreracudas and Los Vigilantes. Personal & the Pizzas and the Barreracudas also play Bruar Falls on Sunday (4/24).
The Bass Drum of Death show tonight mentioned up the post is also with So So Glos, Xray Eyeballs, and Night Manager.
If you like The Drums, check out The Young Friends (who are signed to the Drums' Holiday Records) at The Gutter with Beacon and Kosovo.
SATURDAY, APRIL 23
It's a hard-to-pass-up bill at Glasslands tonight, with Hunx & His Punks, Shannon & the Clams (who played Cake Shop already this week), the wonderful Grass Widow and the K-Holes. Catch Grass Widow again on Sunday (3/24) at Death by Audio with Talk Normal.
And if you want to see that show, chances are you wish you could see Davilla 666 (who played Cake Shop earlier this week too), The Beets and Xray Eyeballs at Knitting Factory.
SUNDAY, APRIL 24
Personal & the Pizzas play Bruar Falls.
That's it for this week. Tour dates and videos are below...
Naked on the Vague - "CLOCK OF 12's"
Naked on the Vague - 2011 US Tour Dates
22/4 - New York, NY @ Coco66 w/ Silk Flowers & Trust
23/4 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
25/4 - Philedelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda's
26/4 - Washington, DC @ Red Palace
27/4 - Grantham, PA @ Messiah College
29/4 - Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon
30/4 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
04/5 - Seattle, WA @ Crocodile Lounge
05/5 - Portland, OR @ Holocene
06/5 - San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw
07/5 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Satellite
Trust - Candy Walls
Trust - 2011 Tour Dates
APR 22 CoCo 66 Brooklyn (green point), New York , US
MAY 19 Lee's Palace Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
MAY 21 Beauty Bar Chicago, IL
MAY 23 Mercury Lounge New York, New York
MAY 25 Brighton Music Hall Boston, Mass
MAY 26 Il Motore Montreal, QC, CANADA
MAY 27 Ritual Ottawa, ON, CANADA
MAY 28 Starlight Room Waterloo, ON, CANADA
Karwka - Le Pyromane
The Fresh & Onlys - 2011 Tour Dates
Fri 04/22/11 Il Motore Montreal QC Young Prisms
Sat 04/23/11 Music Hall Of Williamsburg Brooklyn NY Crocodiles, Young Prisms
Sun 04/24/11 Kung Fu Necktie Philadelphia PA Crocodiles, Young Prisms
Mon 04/25/11 Red Palace Washington DC Crocodiles, Young Prisms
Tue 04/26/11 Kings Barcade Raleigh NC Crocodiles, Young Prisms
Wed 04/27/11 The Earl Atlanta GA Crocodiles, Young Prisms
Thu 04/28/11 Bottletree Birmingham AL Crocodiles, Young Prisms
Fri 04/29/11 Republic New Orleans LA Crocodiles, Young Prisms
Sat 04/30/11 Austin Psych Fest Austin TX
Wed 07/13/11 Urban Lounge Salt Lake City UT Bad Weather California
Thu 07/14/11 Larimer Lounge Denver CO Bad Weather California, Hearts in Space
Sun 07/17/11 Pitchfork Music Festival Chicago IL
Sat 08/13/11 San Francisco's Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival San Francisco CA