Introducing the Sound Bites Summer Series 2011

I’m pleased to announce that Sound Bites (aka me) has teamed with the Seaport Music Festival/River to River folks and the Fulton Stall Market to bring you another free series of indie rock shows this summer. In a slightly different form.

Unlike last year, which took place on Wednesdays on the big Seaport Stage, this Summer’s series will take place on Sunday afternoons so hopefully that means you won’t have to sneak out of work to attend. More changes: this year the shows will be in one of the stalls in the Fulton Stall Market, playing amongst the many farmers and purveyors. The Fulton Stall Market is now in it’s third year and is worth a visit even without jangly pop music providing a soundtrack.

We’re doing four consecutive Sundays beginning June 26. The entertainment is as follows:

One of the great Brooklyn bands of the last seven years or so, My Teenage Stride continue to crank out clever, tuneful indiepop. The band are fresh from a performance at Spain’s Primavera Sound Festival where, I’m told, the audience loved them so much that they continued to chant their name throughout Pulp’s reunion performance. (They may have also been chanting “My Legendary Girlfriend” but with thick accents who can really say?) MTS are working on a new record as we speak. Do I detect a Calatan influence here?

MP3: My Teenage Stride – Cast Your Own Shadow

You may know Kevin Alvir from his previous bands L’il Hospital and Knight School. If so you know what to expect: scratchy, scrappy, slightly snarky, super-catchy. The Hairs are pretty new so they only have one single out so far which you can get in physical form from Magic Marker records or digitally below. Check out the video too which was directed by Dean Fleischer-Camp who made internet sensation Marcel the Shell.

MP3: The Hairs – Duh x 12

JULY 10: pow wow!
A copy editor’s nightmare but the name — all lower-case with an exclamation point — suits pow wow! well. They’re the little band that could. The band caught fire back in 2008 but then checked out for a year to regroup and figure out their sound. Not that it’s a totally new direction — a little less ’60s soul and a little more C-86 — but I like it, based on the one new song that’s been circulating.

MP3: pow wow! – It’s Not That Easy

After two years of poking along (and having lives or something I guess), Brooklyn trio Hospitality have finally gotten around to making their debut album which is just about finished. So I’m told. Hospitality are winsome and charming and they can rock too, don’t let them fool you. When I found out I was doing this series again this year, they were the first band I thought of.

MP3: Hospitality – Liberal Arts

The fun begins at 2PM with yours truly DJing for an hour and then bands are at 3PM. No pool parties this year, so what else you got to do? Come out, enjoy some local indiepop, buy some vegetables, check out the tall ships. It’ll be fun. It’s free! Hope to see you there.

Violens | Seaport Music Festival | 8.22.2008

A picture-perfect evening made for what was probably the most enjoyable Friday at the Seaport of the Season for me, with Violens turning in the best performance.* Or maybe the most surprisingly great, as they've only got four songs released and my previous experience seeing them live was a good but… with a surprisingly great sound mix, the lovely weather, the band's excellent songs, tight playing and  a set of influences that so closely mirrors my own… Violens shot up my list of favorite new bands over the course of their 40-minute set.

Violens_seaport_1 As you may know, frontman Jorge Elbrecht is also part of the art collective Lansing-Dreiden (very post-punk in concept no doubt), who released two albums in the early Aughts. While L-D focus more on the art side of things, Elbrecht has Violens as a musical outlet. Less than a year old, Violens are made up of members of the L-D Section touring band (which Elbrecht wasn't part of [I don't think], despite singing lead on the records…again, very post punk) and they've become a tight little unit, capable of light, jangly pop ("Already Over" and  a Smiths-y set closer) and serious shredding. "Trance-Like Turn," which is a New Order-y techno-rocker on the Green Owl compilation where it's found, takes on more ethereal, dreamy feel… until Elbrecht rips it up. He's said in interviews of his love for The Monochrome Set and Mr. Bungle and it's clear here he's serious. I was seriously impressed.

Here's a couple songs I shot:

Trance-Like Turn:

And this rocker is called "Grey Reigning":

I'm anxious to see them somewhere like Mercury Lounge where we get a more intimate setting but good sound. And I know it's somewhat rediculous to expect a band this new to have an album out this quickly, but I am ready for another EP already.


MP3: Violens – Violent Sensation Descends
(via RCDLBL; buy the Violens EP from Insound)

They've got a new EP coming out, actually, but you gotta go to Fashion Week to get it. Violens are scoring designer's Patrik Ervell's unveiling of his Spring '09 collection, reworking their songs as marches. And they'll be giving out copies of those reworkings at the event.

Also: Violens play Philly club Johnny Brendays this Saturday (8/30) and then head off to the UK to play a bunch of shows with MGMT and Amazing Baby in November:

Nov 3 Ambassador Dublin
Nov 5 Academy Leeds
Nov 6 Rock City Nottingham
Nov 7 Academy Bristol
Nov 9 Barrowlands Glasgow
Nov 10 Academy Birmingham
Nov 11 Academy Manchester

* Best Seaport Music Festival Show that I saw… missed Dirty Projectors last week.

The Feelies | Battery Park | 7.04.2008

As nearly every article published last week surrounding The Feelies reunion, the band were somewhat infamous for, in their early days, mainly playing shows on national holidays so it seemed especially fitting to be seeing them on the 4th of July.

Reports from their warm-up shows at Maxwell’s early in the week had been fairly glowing so I figured the show would be good but I also took it with a grain of salt. Anyone going to one of those Maxwell’s shows was a superfan and that (and nostalgia) might be clouding their judgment a little. And maybe just a little nostalgia affected me as well, but after the show I can safely say still got it.

It took a few songs to get warmed up and didn’t really find their groove till four songs in — The Good Earth nugget “Let’s Go” — but once they did there was no nostalgia needed, the songs and musicianship took over. In particular, Glenn Mercer is still a shit-hot guitarist and the solos on “Away” and “Slipping Into Something” in particular really smoked. The whole band sounded great. And unlike some bands who take a more gentle approach to material from when they were a lot younger, the tempos on “Away,” “Crazy Rhythms” and “Fa Ce La” remained at their proper breakneck pace.

The Maxwell’s shows had all been nearly two hour affairs so the truncated Battery Park set was just that, though we did get an encore. I coulda done with a couple more from 1991’s Time for a Witness (we only got “Doin’ it Again”) but no real complaints. They also played two new numbers, one of which (Time is Right) was really good, and an ace rendition of Wire’s oft-covered “Outdoor Miner.” Maybe they’ll be back for Labor Day. One can hope.

SETLIST: on the roof | high road | | nobody knows (new song) | let’s go | higher ground | away | time is right (new song) | slipping into something | doin’ it again | raised eyebrows | crazy rhythms | ENCORE: outdoor miner | fa ci la

MP3: The Feelies – Slipping Into Something

NYC Taper, god bless him, has recordings of the entire Battery Park show and the second set from their July 1 Maxwell’s show (which is a board recording… or a mix of board and mid-audience, not sure I fully understand what a “Matrix” recording is but it sounds great.)

And I shot video of “Slipping Into Something” which is a little shaky as I was using a bit of my camera’s digital zoom, which is very hard to hold steady:

Actually, there’s a lot of YouTube footage of the Battery park show out there… enjoy!