Living on Chinese Indie Rock: Hedgehog | Bruar Falls | 9.4.2011

It was the well-deserved encore and the Bruar Falls crowd — heavily Asian, how often do you get bands from Beijing? — were bouncing around like crazy. A guy who’d been dancing the whole show jumped on stage and immediately didn’t seem to remember why he’d done it. He then tumbled into the drumkit and the amps, bringing Hedgehog‘s set to a crashing end. Turns out that dude was the band’s U.S. tour manager. Don’t let him drive the van guys!

This was the first night of Hedgehog’s stateside jaunt and the band took the stage invasion in stride. The trio may hail from halfway around the world but play a very American brand of indie rock, noisy and melodic, that would sound right at home on college radio. Not revolutionary, but enthusiams makes up for it. The band’s pint-sized drummer, Atom, looks like she is 11 but is no joke: she can whallop with the best of them, and is quite lithe on the band’s more textured songs.

MP3: Hedgehog – Wet Wild Dream

Hedgehog play Cake Shop tonight and leave NYC tomorrow to hook up with Xiu Xiu and New Orleans’ synthpop act Kindest Lines for a East Coast/Midwest tour. Provided their manager survives tonight’s show and gets them on the road, you can check out Hedgehog at a rock venue near you:

Hedgehog – 2011 Tour Dates
4-Sep at Bruar Falls, New York,NY
5-Sep Cake Shop, NYC
9-Sep Grey Eagle Tavern Asheville, NC
10-Sep Southern Charlottesville, VA
11-Sep Metro Gallery Baltimore, MD
12-Sep Altar Pittsburgh, PA 15222
13-Sep Redwood Art Space Plains, PA
14-Sep The Wadsworth Atheneum Hartford, CT 6
15-Sep The Haunt Ithaca, NY
16-Sep Mohawk Place Buffalo, NY
17-Sep Dubland Underground Rochester, NY
18-Sep Happy Dog Cleveland, OH
20-Sep Crofoot Ballroom – Pike Room Pontiac, MI
21-Sep Pyramid Scheme Grand Rapids, MI
22-Sep Zanzabar Louisville, KY
23-Sep Midpoint Music Festival in Cincinnati, OH
24-Sep Pygmalion Music Festival Champaign-Urbana, IL
6-9 Oct Culture Collide Festival , Los Angles , CA


I’m Down With Prince


I know that when most who think about me actually think of me, three words pop into their heads: Prince Rogers Nelson. Which is why I'm DJing this "Prince Themed" party at Bruar Falls this afternoon from 5 – 8PM. The party goes all night, with bands doing Prince covers and then drunken midi karaoke. I will be playing a mix of actual Prince songs, bands from the Paisley Park stable, cover versions and stuff I deem Prince-esque. Plus, general '80s music probably. Three hours is a long time. If you're artistically inclined, there's a drawing party for the next issue of in-house 'zine TOOT. More info here. Free BBQ. It's all free, actually. Except the booze.

MP3Hot Chip – Down With Prince

Bruar Falls
245 Grand St. (between Driggs and Roebling)
Brooklyn, NY


CMJ ’09: Dum Dum Girls | Mercury Lounge | 10.24.2009


This was the first day of Dum Dum Girls existence as a live band, but clearly they spent a lot of time working out the details, from the look — bangs, gorgeous Silvertone guitars and bass, extremely short black dresses and stockings — to the sound, which is somewhere between the Velvet Underground and '60s girl groups. It was an impressive debut, hot and cool at the same time. I kept thinking, "this is what the Velvet Underground might sound like if all the members were Nico."

Now technically Dum Dum Girls played before Saturday, at the Woodsist / Captured Festival, and some West Coast dates, each with different line-ups. Which could happen again. But this felt like the first real version. The Woodsist fest Dum Dum Girls featured Crocodiles' Brandon Welchez on guitar, Blank Dogs' Mike Sniper on Bass and Dee Dee (who is Dum Dum Girls on record and is married to Welchez) not donning a guitar. That version, which you can see video of, was much more a post punk / goth sort of sound; here the songs felt like a dream, an ethereal haze of reverbed guitars and pristine harmonies. An impressive debut.

Apart from Dee Dee, the only constant between the two line-ups is drummer Frankie Rose who brought some new beats to the mix, along with her signature driving motorik style she perfected in Vivian Girls and Crystal Stilts. She'll play some East Coast dates where Dum Dum Girls will open for King Kahn and the Shrines. She's old pals with Dee Dee, but Frankie's got her own band now so don't expect her to be a regular member.

Also, if you missed Dum Dum Girls on Saturday, they're playing tonight at Bruar Falls with Girls at Dawn (not bad when the opened for Fresh & Onlys recently) and Reading Rainbow. Now the BF website tries to be sly about it — "EXTRA SPECIAL SMART SMART GUEST BAND" — but both Girls at Dawn and Dum Dum Girls' have it on their MySpace pages, so the cat's officially out of the bag.

MP3: Dum Dum Girls – Jail La La

Jail La La

Look for DDG's Sub Pop Debut sometime early 2010. Also at the show: Music Snobbery, Amrit of Stereogum, and the NY Times. A lot of people kept saying this would be hard to get into, but I think there were so many things going on Saturday night it kept attendance down.

One more interesting note. On my way into the city to head in for the Brooklyn Vegan day party on Saturday, I walk right past a Dum Dum Girls photo show under the JMZ. Of course, I snapped a quick pic:


Tour dates after the jump…

Dum Dum Girls 2009 Tour Dates

Oct 26 BRUAR FALLS w/ Reading Rainbow & Girls At Dawn Brooklyn, New York
Oct 28 PEARL STREET NIGHTCLUB w/ King Khan & BBQ Show Northampton, Massachusetts
Oct 29 MIDDLE EAST DOWNSTAIRS w/ King Khan & BBQ Show Cambridge, Massachusetts
Oct 30 BOWERY BALLROOM w/ King Khan & BBQ Show Manhattan, New York
Oct 31 BELL HOUSE w/ King Khan & BBQ Show Brooklyn, New York
Nov 1 FIRST UNITARIAN CHURCH w/ King Khan & BBQ Show Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nov 12 BELLY UP TAVERN w/ The Raveonettes & Crocodiles Solana Beach, California

Surfer Blood | Bruar Falls | 8.27.2009


It's not very often you go into a show blind and leave wowed but that what my reaction to seeing West Palm Beach, Florida's Surfer Blood last night at Bruar Falls. I think I was expecting a slightly poppier take on the shambolic noise skuzz that blows through smaller Williamsburg venues these days. But, despite reverbed vocals and echo guitars effects that would sometimes seize and glitch like an episode of Tim & Eric, Surfer Blood make accomplished, hook-filled indie rock with clever arrangements and great harmonies, as performed by four guys who can actually, you know, play. You hear so little music like this anymore from new bands — Seattle's BOAT come to mind — that is this catchy, skilled but not polished. It's not going to change your life or anything (yes, they do sound a little like the Shins), but it'll have you humming and awaiting the next time they come through town. I only wish I'd known about their first NYC show so I could've seen them more than once.

MP3: Surfer Blood – Harmonix

MP3: Surfer Blood – Catholic Pagans

Big ups to Rachel for basically forcing me to go to the show. I owe you a Coke. Surfer Blood's debut, Astro Coast, is out soon the above MP3s are from it. It's real good. I also put a song on today's Summer Fridays mix so check that out. They play Philadelphia tonight before heading back to Florida, and then the Midwest in September. The band told me they'll be back in NYC for CMJ in October. All tour dates and some video from last night after the jump.

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Jack Peñate | Bruar Falls | 6.03.2009


Everything is New, indeed. Judging by Jack Peñate's show at Bruar Falls, it's not just the title of his new album, it's a promise. The singer played seven of the nine songs from his new, world-influenced sophomore LP, and not one track from his mildly-received, rockabilly-inflected debut. A step in the right direction, I think, as Everything is New is more varied, sexier, and a great showcase for Peñate's slightly-smoky pipes; a summer-in-the-city album that feels like a 100-degree day where you want to peel the humidity off your body. Peñate and his band didn't completely have the kinks worked out (new single "Be the One" hasn't quite escaped the studio), though to be fair it seemed more due to Bruar Fall's minimalist PA setup than musicianship. But he did his best to make up for it with enthusiasm and charisma, of which he has no shortage.

Jack Peñate – Today's Tonight

XL Recordings will release Everything is New in the U.S. in August. Peñate plays Pianos tonight.  Here's video of maybe my favorite song from the album, "Every Glance":

So Cow | Bruar Falls | 5.7.2009

"It's more humid in here than I was expecting," admitted a sweaty Brian Kelly three songs into So Cow's set at tiny Bruar Falls. Four days of rain and warmer than expected temperatures did have things moist for the Irish trio's first show of their American tour. Kelly and his rhythm section (head-down drummer, lumberjack bassist) burned through 12 or so super-catchy songs in about 30 minutes, a speedy jangle not unlike early Wedding Present or Orange Juice (or Wedding Present covering Orange Juice). A small room, yes, but it was full and the crowd (which included members of Crystal Stilts, Blank Dogs, the Beets, and openers German Measels) was definitely into it and sweating along too.

MP3So Cow – Casablanca

MP3So Cow – Shackleton

And you should definitely try and catch So Cow on tour, which includes three more NYC shows. (Maybe four… rumor has it So Cow will play before caUSE co-MOTION at Bruar Falls tonight again.) And buy some merch while you're at it, like his excellent self-titled American debut. Here's where he'll be:

May 8 Silent Barn Brooklyn, New York
May 9 Death by Audio Brooklyn, New York
May 10 BAR New Haven, Connecticut
May 11 O'Brien's Bar Boston, Massachusetts
May 12 TBC Providence, Rhode Island
May 13 TBC Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
May 14 Velvet Lounge Washington DC, Washington DC
May 15 TBC Baltimore, Maryland
May 16 Brillobox Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
May 18 Rancho Relaxo w/ Tyvek Toronto, Ontario
May 20 Now That's Class Cleveland, Ohio
May 21 Cafe Bourbon Street Columbus, Ohio
May 22 TBC Kalamazoo, Michigan
May 23 The Black Sparrow Lafayette, Indiana
May 24 Ronny's Chicago, Illinois
May 25 The Dipping Station Milwaukee, Wisconsin
May 26 TBC Madison, Wisconsin
May 30 Little Mountain Studios Vancouver, British Columbia
May 31 Funhouse Seattle, Washington
Jun 1 Help needed here Olympia, Washington
Jun 2 The Know Portland, Oregon
Jun 4 Live at KDVS Davis, California
Jun 5 Luigi's Fun Garden Sacramento, Colorado
Jun 6 The Hemlock San Francisco, California
Jun 8 Help needed here Santa Cruz, California
Jun 9 Boo Boo Records San Luis Obispo, California
Jun 11 5..4..3..2..Fun! @ KCSB Santa Barbara, California
Jun 12 LKEG Gallery w/ Le Face, Shark Toys, Saturn Los Angeles, California
Jun 13 Soda Bar San Diego, California