Uninhabitable Mansions + Spacecamp | Union Hall | 2.27.2009


Spicy Times is a monthly party at Union Hall put on by the blog of the same name that's a joint production of a couple other bloggers: Jinners and Nora of I Rock I Roll. This was the second edition and featured a couple hot new-ish bands, too much free Colt 45, which led to some silly dancing to '80s hits.

This was my second time seeing Uninhabitable Mansions, a band that features Robbie and Tyler of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Annie from Au Revoir Simone. Whether it's that they've been practicing a lot or just that I'm now familiar with some of their songs via MySpace, but I thought they were decidedly better than their Cake Shop show back in January. UH also more my kind of thing than CYHSY, poppier, warmer friendlier to these ears, with a strong '80s Flying Nun kind of vibe. I'm also a sucker for male/female vocals. This show was a release party for their debut 7", pressed on lovely white vinyl. I especially like "Do You Have a Strategy?"

MP3: Uninhabitable Mansions – Do You Have a Strategy?

You can pick it up at your favorite NYC-area independent record store or via their website. I also shot video of an as-yet-unnamed song, which you can watch further down this post.

Also on the Spicy Times bill were Spacecamp who, full disclosure, are friends of mine and I've written about before. As all three members are Professional Musicians and back other artists collectively and separately, they are tight and have their act together. While a bunch pros forming their own band might inspire visions of Toto for some (ok, maybe just me), Jon, Chris and Steven are good songwriters too and, most importantly, seem to be doing this 'cause it's fun. Somewhere between The Kinks and The Police, they are party rocker in the best possible way, with totally catchy songs like "Girls on Bikes" and "Puppy":

MP3: Spacecamp – Puppy

The guys just finished up work on Lightspeed Champion's second album, and Dev was in the house. While hopes that he might take the mike to debut a new song with the band didn't happen, he did join them onstage to play some pretty smokin' guitar on a brand new song which I think is called "Teen Idol." (Video of which is also below.) Rumors also abounded that night that Spacecamp's next paid gig might be backing Joaquin Phoenix on his new career as a hip hop artist but maybe that was just the free Colt 45 talking.

The night started with Staten Island's all-girl Vessels who play lovely chamber pop, complete with a string section. Lovely stuff, but maybe a bit too delicate for a Friday Night party that also featured the aforementioned free malt liquor and subsequent dancing to "Ghostbusters." 

Those videos after the jump…

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Space is the Place (for Flying Spoons)

John Travolta's wife is not in SpaceKamp the rock band, but maybe the gay guy from Revenge of the Nerds is. See them live to find out!In an era of high concept rock, the idea of a band based entirely around the 1986 big-budget family adventure SpaceCamp seems like a hard sell — harder than the sell the movie was, which came a mere six months after the Challenger disaster. 

Luckily for us, and now that I've bummed everybody out with my opening sentence, SpaceKamp has nothing to do with that film that starred Jon Travolta's wife, Spielberg's wife, the gay guy from Revenge of the Nerds, and a chubby, pre-pubescent Joaquin Phoenix. Even though it would be really awesome if all those people, plus Lea Thompson and Tate Donovan, had formed a band due to boredome from lack of acting work.

No, this SpaceKamp is a trio from Brooklyn who play extremely catchy '60s-ish pop with occasionally forays into slightly Spanish and Jamaican influenced '60s pop. (Do not believe their MySpace page which categorizes them as "Bossa Nova/Afro-Beat/Reggaeton.") Jon, Chris, and Steven met as hired guns in Adam Green's backing band, hit it off and decided to keep the camaraderie going with their own joint. 

It's at this point where I should admit some "full disclosure" type of thing and tell everyone I know these guys. We have mutual friends, I live in the same neighborhood as them, we've shared some beers, and they are genuinely nice guys. And great musicians. But I don't write about music I don't like. (Sorry, friends and acquaintances with bands I've never written about.) SpaceKamp are quality. You can listen to six songs on their MySpace, including the very Nuggets-esque "Girls on Bikes" and "Patagonia" which I called "Guantanalamba" before I knew the actual title. 

My favorite song, though, is "High" which sort of reminds me a little of The Church's "Under the Milky Way" minus the bagpipe solo:

MP3SpaceKamp – High

If you like that, SpaceKamp are playing tonight (11.18) at Black Betty in Williamsburg. It's drummer Chris Egan's birthday so I have a feeling things might be a little loose. And a good time. Also on the bill are Joe and the Flying Spoons, which is Joe Jurewicz of Dirty on Purpose's new thing where he's backed by a bevy of talented and cute girls, some of whom were in Au Revoir Simone and the much-missed (by me) Tralala. There are also a couple of other dudes in the band too, so it's not like some sort of Robert Palmer video fantasy that Joe is playing out or anything.