Hooray for America: Woodsist/Captured Tracks Fest is July 3 and 4


No need to feel like a second class NY-er for not going out of town for Independence Day this year. If you're around, might I suggest the Woodsist/Captured Tracks Festival? Two of the city's best vinyl-centric labels (with help from Todd P) are bringing together some of the best garage/lo-fi/psychedelic bands in the country, playing over the course of two days.

A combined two-day ticket is $25 and on sale now via PayPal. But if you had to choose one day ($15) I think you'd have to go with July 4, what with Ganglians, Woods, Beets, Real Estate, Thee Oh Sees, Dum Dum Girls, Brilliant Colors and the NYC debut of San Francisco's amazing Fresh & Onlys. All the fireworks you'll need are right here.

Here's how it breaks down, with MP3s for most of the bands:

Friday July 3rd @ 979 BROADWAY BACKYARD


9:45pm : CRYSTAL STILTS (MP3: Love is a Wave)
9:00pm :: Blank Dogs (MP3: Setting Fire to Your House)
8:15pm ::: Psychedelic Horseshit (MP3: New Wave Hippies)
7:30pm :::: caUSE co-MOTION! (MP3: You Lose)
6:45pm ::::: the Mayfair Set (MP3: Desert Fun)
6:15pm :::::: Gary War (MP3: Bounce Four)
5:45pm ::::::: Little Girls (MP3: What We Did)
5:15pm :::::::: Kid Romance
4:45pm ::::::::: Beachniks (MP3: Coney Island)
4:15pm :::::::::: the Gutsies (MP3: Surfer Body)

Saturday July 4th @ 979 BROADWAY BACKYARD


9:45pm : THEE OH SEES (MP3: Meat Step Lively)
9:00pm :: VIVIAN GIRLS (MP3: Lake House)
8:15pm ::: Kurt Vile (MP3: Freeway)
7:30pm :::: Woods (MP3: To Clean)
6:45pm ::::: Tyvek (MP3: Hey Una)
6:00pm :::::: Dum Dum Girls (MP3: Ship of Love)
5:15pm ::::::: the Fresh & Onlys (MP3: Love and Kindness)
4:30pm :::::::: Brilliant Colors (MP3: Should I Tell You)
3:45pm ::::::::: Ganglians (MP3: Hair)
3:15pm :::::::::: the Great Excape —— reunion, pre-Home Blitz
2:45pm ::::::::::: the Beets (MP3: Devil)
2:15pm :::::::::::: Real Estate (MP3: Fake Blues)
1:45pm ::::::::::::: German Measles (MP3: Patty Girl)
1:15pm :::::::::::::: Beach Fossils (MP3: Vacation)


979 Broadway btwn Myrtle Ave & Ditmars St | Bushwick, Brooklyn

JMZ-Myrtle, L-Jefferson, G-Myrtle-Willoughby | 


The Pains of Being Pure at Heart + caUSE co-MOTION + The Depreciation Guild | Mercury Lounge | 2.07.2009


The word "twee" gets thrown around a lot when talking about The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. They are cute, with tendencies towards la-la choruses and cardigans ("we have three extras just in case"). But what you don't hear a lot, at least not yet, is how much they rock. Not the way, say, Cheeseburger rocks, but singer Kip keeps his guitar in buzzsaw mode and the amps set to Tinitus. (Another thing you don't hear people talk about too much is how dirty the lyrics are. All innuendo, but…filthy!) I've seen TPOBPAH a bunch of times over the last year and while they've always been good, they are genuinely really good now — tight, rocking, and both Kip and Peggy have become more confident singers. This was their album release show, tour kickoff, and first performance since being bestowed (deservedly) with Pitchfork's coveted Best New Music status. The room was packed — packed! — with friends and fans, all of whom were very vocal and enthused and bobbing and swaying. The only thing that could have made it a more perfect evening would have been if it had fallen a week later on Valentine's Day.

MP3: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – The Tenure Itch (buy it)

The whole night's line-up was kind of Friends and Family Night at Mercury Lounge. TPOBPAH's Slumberland Records label-mates caUSE co-MOTION played beforehand, with what I'm pretty sure was their first ever gig at the venue. (The band favors house-parties and Cake Shop.) Spazzy, scratchy, nasally, in an endearing way, they are the Eddie Deezen of indie with a bassist who literally bounces off the walls. Peggy was right up front in the crowd bouncing around too. They play again on Thursday at Cake Shop with Kansas band Rooftop Vigilantes, and Beachniks (which features JB of Crystal Stilts).

MP3: caUSE co-MOTION – I Lie Awake (buy it)
The other two bands both featured Pains drummer Kurt Feldman. He fronts The Depreciation Guild, who meld early-'80s electronics with classic shoegaze and the do it very well. Somehow, that combination of two quote-unquote dated sounds actually makes them contemporary. They did remind me a little bit of OG shoegazers Revolver but it may have just been Kurt's vocals. A lot of American bands tried to do the dreampop thing in the '90s but almost none of them pulled it off as well as the Depreciation Guild do now. Nice light show too. They open for TPOBPAH on all dates over the next month, so do show up early if you're going to see them. The Depreciation Guild's album is a free download.

Kurt also plays drums in Zaza, who are also in the dreampop realm but a little more on the arty, 4AD side, from what I could tell from the one song I showed up in time to catch. Will have to check them out again next time.

Please do check out Pains and the Depreciation Guild on tour if you can. Videos and tour dates after the jump.

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Slumberland Goes to Glasgow for Sexy Kids and Bricolage

Slumberland Records knows how to make a comeback. One of the most influential indie labels of the '90s, they went dormant, for the most part, in 2001. But then last year, like the Wonka factory, things began to stir in Slumberland land, with the label being fully revitalized this year. We've gotten great full-lengths from The Lodger and Crystal Stilts, a swell caUSE co-MOTION compilation, the awesome Searching for the Now series of split 7" singles and the promise of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart's excellent debut album due in February 2009.

Now add to that absolutely fantastic singles from two of Glasgow's best new bands.

First is Sexy Kids' debut single "Sisters are Forever," which features half of the short-lived, dearly-missed The Royal We. Like that band, it still owes a lot to that city's '80s new wave scene, though this really sounds more like Altered Images than anything on Postcard. (More specifically, it sounds like The Wedding Present's cover of "Think That it Might.") It's pretty great:

MP3Sexy Kids – Sisters are Forever (buy it from Slumberland)

MP3The Wedding Present – Think That it Might

Slumberland has also signed Bricolage who definitely evoke the Postcard sound. The band have been together for two years and have toured with Franz Ferdinand and punk legend Vic Godard (who Orange Juice covered). "Turn U Over," their fourth single, reeks of Orange Juice but yet it tastes fresh, not from concentrate, and the chorus is insanely infectious and bonkers good. I love it. 

MP3Bricolage – Turn U Over (buy from Slumberland; earlier releases on Emusic)

MP3Orange Juice – Satellite City

Bricolage's debut album, which "Turn U Over" is from, is due out in February on Slumberland.

Franz Ferdiand | Music Hall of Williamsburg | 10.08.2008



The last time Franz Ferdinand played Brooklyn (not counting last night's Obama rally) was in January 2004 at NorthSix, a month before their debut would be released in the UK. It was single-digits freezing outside but the place was packed and people were going nuts and singing along to every single song.(The album had leaked about a week before.) You could see in their pasty Scottish faces that they were surprised by the crowd's reaction — and absolutely thrilled. It was a star-making show, and they deserved it.

Alex Kapranos and co. had the same giant smiles on their faces last night as they returned to the same address, now refashioned as the fancier Music Hall of Williamsburg. In town, I'm guessing, to show off their just-finished third album, Tonight, for Sony/BMG suits, it's clear they know they've got a winneron their hands, given the utter confidence and joy with which they played last night. Kapranos must have let loose five flying kicks and a couple leaps from the drum riser, and Nick McCarthy literally didn't stop smiling. Franz Ferdinand were great during their short four-song set at Tuesday's Obama rally, but here they really tore the lid off the joint. 

We got seven songs from Tonight, including show opener "Bite Hard" which starts like a Nilsson piano number but then kicks into a more Ferdinand-ish groove. Some of the new ones have been around for a while, and were heard last year when they played Bowery Ballroom, and it's interesting to see how they've developed since. "Your Favorite Lie" has now been retitled "What She Came For," which still begins kind of like The Scissor Sisters' "Laura" but now trades the Haddaway-style dance jam ending for a wild rocking-out jam ending. (I may be the only person disappointed by this turn of events.) You can compare and contrast for yourself: here's a recording of "Your Favorite Lie" from a year ago and then "What She Came For" from last night's show here. And here's a recording of the version from a year ago.

Of the other six new ones, "Turn it On," with its glam-electro thump and analog synth bassline, is still the obvious single of all the new songs and the crowd treated it like it was already a hit. "Ulysses" was another synth-heavy, strut-worthy, four-on-the-floor stomper with a "la la la" chorus that everyone was singing along to by halfway through the song. The rest: "Kathryn Kiss Me" has a nice Madchester piano riff; "A New Thrill" is a rocker in the "Michael" school; and "Send Him Away" is a '60s-ish sounding number with a guitar lead that sounds curiously like Yeasayer's "2080."

As for the hits…you know what? "Take Me Out" doesn't get old. Neither does "Dark of the Matinee" or "Michael" or "Tell Her Tonight" or "40 Ft." That first album is genuine modern classic and still sounds great nearly four years on, even after being entirely unavoidable in 2004. It's follow-up, You Could Have it So Much Better With… could've been better, but it actually sounds pretty good given some distance, especially the two they played last night. "Outsiders," actually, kind of brough the house down during the encore… until "This Fire" burned it down. It's been three years and Franz Ferdinand have honed the new stuff already into crowd pleasers and if the MHoW show is any indication, we are primed for it. Clearly, Tonight cannot cannot come soon enough.

MP3Franz Ferdinand – Outsiders

MP3Franz Ferdinand – This Fire

SETLIST: Bite Hard* | Michael | Tell Her Tonight | Turn it On* | Dark of the Matinee | Send Him Away* | The Fallen | Kathryn Kiss Me* | Take Me Out | ULysses* | 40 Ft. | What She Came For* | ENCORE: A New Thrill* | Outsiders | This Fire
(*New songs)

A few more photos on my Flickr.

Brooklyn's caUSE co-MOTION opened the show and I'm going to go out on a limb and say this was the best they've ever sounded. They seemed a little weirded out to be playing somewhere this fancy, with a kick-ass sound system, and not some musty, semi-legal space like Death by Audio or Silent Barn. Their scratchy post-punk pop (which owes a lot to Glaswegians Joseph K and the Pastels) was a good appetizer for Franz Ferdinand, though the bands' material is a bit samey and when singer Arno announced "We've got four more songs," I think he might've meant that literally. Four years and four 7" singles (with no song reaching the two-minute mark) doesn't make for the most prolific band, especially one that plays as much as they do, but you get the sense they don't really worry about it. caUSE co-MOTION certainly have fun, and are fun, and with 20-minute sets they never wear out their welcome.

MP3: caUSE co-MOTION – Which Way is Up?

Crystal Stilts + caUSE co-MOTION | Death by Audio | 10.04.2008

Saturday night I saw two bands with standup female drummers. Before heading to Mercury Lounge see Glasvegas (standup drummer Caroline McKay), I went to Death by Audio to catch Crystals Stilts (standup drummer Frankie Rose) who were playing with their Slumberland label-mates caUSE co-MOTION. I really wasn't sure I was going to be able to see either of them. Death by Audio's set times would be loose if they actually posted them anywhere, and when I asked the two door persons what band was on next, they looked at each other before looking back at me and shrugging their shoulders. I had to leave DBA by 11:30 to catch Glasvegas… who knows when Crystal Stilts would go on.

To my surprise, Crystal Stilts went on before caUSE co-MOTION, taking the stage around 10:15. The room was packed (it's not that big, but everybody seemed to be there to see them) and almost pitch-black. The band seems to like to play in the dark. I've actually seen singer Brad Hargett unscrew lights before performances. I guess it suits their moody sound but they could learn a little from Glasvegas in this department, some strategically placed lights would do them a world of good.) 

Despite not being able to see them very well, you could certainly hear them and it was another good show by one of my favorite NYC bands. A band I've seen way too many times in the last six months, though to be fair, they've been hard to avoid, they play about twice a week here in NYC. Some might say it's too much gigging, but what it's really done is make Crystal Stilts really tight. There's little-to-no downtime between songs, even less stage banter (pretty much none), just good song after good song.

MP3Crystal Stilts – Shattered Shine (pre-order)

Crystal Stilts full-length debut, Alight of Night, is out October 28 and is one of the year's best albums. Great songs and production that is just high enough fidelity to do them justice. And they actually improve on the songs that were previously on their self-titled EP. That said, some of my current favorite Crystal Stilts songs have yet to be recorded.


The annoyingly capitalized caUSE co-MOTION (seriously you try typing their name more than once) are always a good match to Crystal Stilts, as they also love echo and reverb but traffic in short (under two minutes), spiky, nasally, pop songs in the Pastels or Joseph K mode. Where Crystal Stilts are fairly motionless, caUSE co-MOTION spazz out on-stage, especially the bassist is prone to high jumps. Songs can be a little samey but they whole thing is over before you realize it. They're good. Check out their compilation of 7" singles, "It's Time!", which is also out October 28.

MP3: caUSE co-MOTION – Which Way is Up? (pre-order)

caUSE co-MOTION open for Franz Ferdinand this Wednesday at Music Hall of Williamsburg, so get there early if you have tickets. If you don't, it's sold out but they'll be playing CMJ a bunch of times and then out on tour with Crystal Stilts where they'll finally make it out of the five boroughs…

Oct. 04 Brooklyn, NY Death By Audio
Oct. 23 New York, NY Pianos (Force Field PR CMJ Showcase)
Nov. 01 San Diego, CA Che Cafe
Nov. 02 Los Angeles, CA The Echo / Part Time Punks
Nov. 03 Oakland, CA House of Nostromo
Nov. 04 San Francisco, CA Bottom of the Hill
Nov. 05 Sacramento, CA Luigi's Fun Garden
Nov. 06 Eugene, OR Samurai Duck
Nov. 07 Portland, OR Holocene
Nov. 08 Olympia, WA The Big Room
Nov. 09 Seattle, WA Chop Suey

Crystal Stilts, caUSE co-MOTION Playing Saturday in Brooklyn, Touring Together Later, Putting Out Records, etc etc etc


Brooklynites Crystal Stilts and caUSE co-MOTION will be heading out on tour together in November right after the CMJ Music Marathon here in NYC. Nine dates, which, strangely, is also the number of times Crystal Stilts played in the NY area last week. I kid. But they play here a lot…and I went to most of the shows. They're also playing together this Saturday at Death by Audio for what will surely be a packed show.

Both bands have albums out on the newly-revitalized, newly hot Slumberland Records on October 28. Crystal Stilts will be releasing their much-anticipated debut album, Alight of Night, which I've listened to about 50 times, it's fantastic, and will be on my Best of 2008 list no doubt. With it's spooky, twangy, echo-out-the-wazoo vibe, it will also make the perfect acompanyment to that upcoming Halloween party. (Yet it reminds me of The Chills.) As for caUSE co-MOTION, "It's Time!", collects their five scratchy, blistering 7" singles, including the new "I Lie Awake" onto one CD. Not one of the songs on it reaches the two minute mark. Here's samples from both:

MP3: Crystal Stilts – Shattered Shine (pre-order)

MP3: caUSE co-MOTION – Which Way is Up? (pre-order)

Crystal Stilts/caUSE co-MOTION 2008 US Tour:

Oct. 04 Brooklyn, NY Death By Audio
Oct. 23 New York, NY Pianos (Force Field PR CMJ Showcase)
Nov. 01 San Diego, CA Che Cafe
Nov. 02 Los Angeles, CA The Echo / Part Time Punks
Nov. 03 Oakland, CA House of Nostromo
Nov. 04 San Francisco, CA Bottom of the Hill
Nov. 05 Sacramento, CA Luigi's Fun Garden
Nov. 06 Eugene, OR Samurai Duck
Nov. 07 Portland, OR Holocene
Nov. 08 Olympia, WA The Big Room
Nov. 09 Seattle, WA Chop Suey