After a nice 3 week break, a long weekend at ATP and then 2 weeks in New York/Boston/New Haven for New York popfest and other assorted pop shows means I have a mountain of stuff to blog about. I came back from the USA with what felt like a suitcase full of CDs/7″‘s and LPs. I aim to post up on the good and great of these over the next week or so. If that wasn’t enough another pack from the ever reliable Hozac Records arrived this morning.
But I’ll start with a video, one of the finds of Popfest for me, was Gold-Bears, from Atlanta, Georgia. I took one video of their show it was their closing song. I’ve got no clue what it’s called but I do know that it is superb. Enjoy!
In the helter skelter world of indiepop you’ve got to be paying attention or you might just miss something important. And it seems I wasn’t 100% on the ball. Why? Read on:
Last year, one of my favourite records was a 7″ called ‘Blue Genes’ on Slumberland by a band called The Champagne Socialists – I even gave the 7″ a glowing review on this here blog. So I was little surprised to hear Neverever when doing the weekend dig on My Space as they’re a band I’ve not heard of and they’re playing New York Popfest. It fast becomes apparent that Neverever are The Champagne Socialists, renamed. This is exciting news beecause I really want to see this band and now due to the magic of Popfest I will.
As I’ve stated before the band are magic blend of indiepop, classic 50s/60s pop, TVP’s and that ever so now Brooklyn sound. I like it and I want more. And soon I will get to see whether they are as exhilarating live as they’re recorded songs suggest.
And if you want a sure fire way to hear a whole host of New York Popfest bands their blog has put together a little popfest mix, featuring 17 songs by bands that will be playing the popfest.
World Atlas. A band from Brooklyn, New York. So come May they’re gonna be one of the home town bands at the Popfest. Saying all this I hear the not so distant echoes of a Scottish pop combo running deep through their souls. Belle and Sebastian anyone?
They also feature Fred Thomas. That’s the same Fred Thomas that until recently led the often wonderful Saturday Looks Good To Me. I’ve not heard a band that wanted to be Belle Sebastian circa 1997 so much in a long time. It’s not bad per se. It’s just so achingly in debt to Stuart Murdoch and his band of cohorts - pillaging 80s indiepop and 60s motown/northern soul with the same pleasure that made the first three Belle and Sebastian albums so damn vital and essential. Even down to the bits where the music dies, and the bass remains, and a aching lead vocal drifts over the top. It’s all rather fine. But as we have heard it done before and I’m not sure I am ripe for this path to be trodden again. Sometimes a sound is so associate with one band I find it hard to hear similar sounds from another band. Maybe it’s just me as the band are obviously doing something right though as the always ace Magic Marker Records have added the band to their roster.
Gold Bears are another band that are playing New York Popfest in May. I also hadn’t heard of them before scanning the line-up. Infact they are so new as to not have released anything yet. Their debut 7” single is set for release in early 2010 via Magic Marker Records, followed shortly thereafter by a 7” on Cloudberry Records. So that’s too rather fab labels that have taken a shine to the band.
Their My Space is a little shy on songs with only two rough mixes (‘Tally’ and ‘Jezzer’ for streaming). Both are catchy enough to suggest that the label interest is warranted. With big burst of fuzzy guitar that sits somewhere between indiepop and rawkus noises that made Dinosaur Jr. famous 20 odd years ago. The band describe themselves as ‘Twee Punk’. Ugh. The dread T word. But the songs are what counts here and the two rough mixes show promise. I am looking forward to catching the band at Spike Hill on May 22nd.
Well, I’ve finally taken leave of my senses and bought myself a plane ticket to New York in May (20th-23rd). I’m off to the New York Popfest. And there are a whole host of bands playing who I love: Horowitz, The Smittens, Allo Darlin’, One Happy Island, Brown Recluse and Bunnygrunt. To name just 6. But what really excites me is the fact that there are fair few bands playing that I’ve never heard of and some who I haven’t paid that much attention to – so over the next few weeks I am going to dust down My Space (or wherever) and give them a listen.
First up: Sweater Girls. A five piece from L.A. featuring a former member of The Siddeleys on Bass. That’s exciting enough. But after listening to the five songs on their My Space page. I am properly excited. They sound like that perfect blend of pop hooks, fuzzy guitars, simple drumming and achingly wonderful female vocals. Yep, I love them. They have been touted as a “full band Softies” and a “calmer Black Tambourine” by Indie Pages. And I can hear where they are coming from with those reference points. They sound like a poppier version of some of the bands that have been unearthed by Captured Tracks over the past year or so. But where a lot of Captured Tracks releases tend to lean towards a mixture of lo-fi guitar and 80s goth undertones – the Sweater Girls seem to have the same tones, but with a brighter, poppier heart. The band appear to be signed to the always wonderful Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records – but I can’t see any releases available as yet. This lot have just made my must see, must buy whatever they release list. Yay!