The Ballet, Zoos of Berlin, Fanfarlo, Savoir Adore, Phil & the Osophers, Phantogram & more in This Week in Indie
by Bill Pearis
DOWNLOAD: Zoos of Berlin - Electrical Way (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Fanfarlo - Finish Line (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Fanfarlo - I'm a Pilot (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Fanfarlo - Luna (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Ballet - The House of Fire (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Phantogram - When I'm Small (Mp3)
DOWNLOAD: Invisible Hand - There's Room in My Will (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Invisible Hand - Caught Myself in a Coy Trap (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Drunk Tigers - Outer Banks, Inner Peace (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Phil and the Osophers - We Have All Summer (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Dream Diary - Bird in My Garden (MP3)
French Horn Rebellion
As previously reported, Detroit band Zoos of Berlin are in town this weekend -- playing Matchless tonight (12/18) and Cake Shop tomorrow (12/19). Mixing elements of baroque, Krautrock and '70s shag carpet, Zoos of Berlin don't really sound like anybody else -- which is a good thing, right? They're good live too, maybe even better than on their album (which is worth seeking out).
I'm told Zoos of Berlin are on early-ish (9:45) so my personal plan for tonight is to catch ZoB at Matchless then head over to Cameo Gallery for the Cantora Late Nite Holiday Special featuring Savoir Adore and French Horn Rebellion. Doors are at 11PM and if you RSVP, admission is only five bucks. I think I've probably written enough about Savoir Adore this year (and you can read their year-end Q&A) for you to know that I'm a big fan and think you should go see them. French Horn Rebellion is David Perlick-Molinari, who plays in the live line-up of Savoir Adore, and his brother Robert -- and their brand of funky electro draws inspiration from Michael Jackson and early '80s disco. They know their way around a catchy tune too -- "Up All Night" is pretty irresistible, and will end up on my Best Singles of 2009 list...whenever I get around to putting that together. That song's video is at the bottom of this post. I've never seen them live -- Paul and Diedre of Savoir Adore play in the French Horn Rebellion touring unit -- so looking forward to seeing them.
Fanfarlo @ MHOW during CMJ (more by Tim Griffin)
Also tonight: after a successful CMJ (including their great performance at the Brooklyn Vegan showcase), Fanfarlo are back in NYC, moving up to Webster Hall where they play with Freelance Whales. Not bad for a band who have yet to get written about at all on Pitchfork. (Though they are one of the choices in their Bands to Watch in 2010 section of theirreader's poll.) I'm still listening to their debut, Reservoir, which has held up over the last 10 months or so. It's a nice pairing with Freelance Whales who were lovely the only time I saw them --at the Brooklyn Vegan day party during CMJ where they played acoustic. Fanfarlo seem like a good band to see during the holidays -- they're very Christmasy. Tickets are still available. Fanfarlo recently stopped by the NPR offices to film an acoustic performance, including a cover of Low's "It Was Just Like Christmas," and you can watch that at the bottom of this post.
The long-running indiepop party Mondo! happens tonight (12/18) at Don Hill's and tonight features a performance by The Ballet who were kind of a big deal with blogs a few years back and played on a few choice bills, opening for Voxtrot, The Hidden Cameras and others. And then they just sort of faded away. Well, The Ballet are back with their second album melodic, upbeat synthpop, Bear Life, and I like it quite a bit. You can download album track "The House on Fire" at the top to this post. Stephin Merritt comparisons are inevitable but it's definitely more Future Bible Heroes than Magnetic Fields.
Moving on to Saturday (12/19), there's a worthwhile free show at Brooklyn Bowl with Phantogram and Class Actress. I might try to hit this one as I have yet to see Phantogram live and am a fan of their debut album, Eyelid Movies, which will get an official release on Barsuk Records in February 2010. You can download "When I'm Small" from the album at the top of this post. It's a pretty good taster for the album, which is kind of trip-hoppy but in a '00s sort of way (breakbeats but no John Barry or Morricone samples). Chilled, atmospheric, but still danceable.
Class Actress I wrote about last week, but have now actually seen them play (at Mercury Lounge). I don't think they've quite figured out the live show, but they're not bad. I like the EP which will be out on Terrible Records in the new year.
If you miss the bowling alley show, Phantogram also just added a February 12th show at Mercury Lounge. Tickets are on sale at noon.
And finally, for the indie pop fans out there we've got a good show at Matchless on Saturday night, featuring Brooklyn bands Dream Diary and Phil & the Osophers, plus two bands from Charlottesville, Virginia -- The Invisible Hand and Drunk Tigers. The Invisible Hand remind me a bit of Of Montreal by way of Superchunk or the Clean. Definitely a '90s indie rock thing going on, pretty good. You can download two tracks at the top of this post. Drunk Tigers aren't bad either, a little more in the shouty Port O'Brien school of things.
As for the local acts, I'm on record as being a fan of Dream Diary whose jangly style should appeal to fans of The Pastels and other '80s-era Creation Records bands. And Phil and the Osophers have been at it for nearly five years and whose new album, Parallelo, is worth checking out -- you can download an MP3 at the top of this post.
That's gonna do it for this week. No column next week, so happy holidays folks. Videos, flyers and tour dates are below...
Fanfarlo - NPR Tiny Desk Concerts
Fanfarlo - 2009/2010 Tour Dates
Dec 18 Webster Hall New York, New York
Dec 19 WEHM Winter Holiday Concert. Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center Westhampton, New York
Jan 23 Ampere München
Jan 24 Studio 672 Köln
Jan 26 Magnet Berlin
Jan 28 Rocking Chair Vevey
Jan 29 Ziegel Oh Lac Zurich
Feb 1 Prinzenbar Hamburg
Feb 9 Thekla Bristol
Feb 10 Hare & Hounds Birmingham
Feb 11 Brudenell Centre Leeds
Feb 12 ULU London
Feb 13 Audio Brighton
Savoir Adore - 2010 Tour Dates
Jan 14 Mercury Lounge, NYC
Jan 21 Kung Fu Necktie w/ Ape School, The New Motels and Circadian Rhythms Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Jan 22 Velvet Lounge w/ Ra Ra Rasputin and Bellflur Washington DC, Washington DC
Jan 29 Wesleyan University w/Awesome New Republic and The Last Minutes Middletown, Connecticut
Jan 30 RISD - Tap Room w/ Mon Khmer and Sky Jelly Providence, Rhode Island
Mar 3 Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA, Pennsylvania
Mar 5 Howlers w/Ennui, Donora and Mon Khmer Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Mar 10 Al's Bar w/ Mon Khmer Lexington, Kentucky
Mar 17 MARCH 17 - 21 - AUSTIN, TX Austin, Texas
Mar 24 Nightlight w/ Mon Khmer Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Mar 25 Velvet Lounge w/ Deleted Scenes, Grandchildren and Mon Khmer Washington DC, Washington DC
French Horn Rebellion - Up All Night
French Horn Rebellion - 2009/2010 Tour Dates
Dec 18 Cantora Presents: Holiday Party @ Cameo Gallery w/ Savoir Adore and Special DJs Brooklyn, New York
Dec 30 Akron Musica EVE of NEW YEARS EVE BASH!! Akron, Ohio
Dec 31 Secret NYE Party!!! Akron, Ohio
Feb 22 UK TOUR 22nd FEB - 7th MARCH United Kingdom
Mar 18 SXSW March 18th-21st Austin, Texas
Phil and the Osophers - "Extra Weight"