Sleigh Bells Ring, are you listening? It’s actually another Wintry Mix

I’ve been mostly cut-off from the internet this week thanks to living in a pre-War building that has cable installed in ways McGuyver never would’ve attempted. (A vision of a SOPA future, perhaps.) But we’re back on now and I managed to put this one together while unplugged. Last week we got mostly dancey songs, and this week the guitars are back. A lot of exciting new stuff here I think. And one old song. Have a swell weekend!


Here’s the tracklist:

1. Standard Fare – 05 11 07
2. Little Racer – Split for the Coast
3. Hospitality – The Right Profession
4. Exlovers – Starlight
5. Toy – Left Myself Behind
6. Terry Malts – I Do
7. A Place to Bury Strangers – So Far Away
8. The Band in Heaven – Sleazy Dreams
9. Siinai – Marathon
10. HEHFU – Come Home
11. Mind Spiders – More Than You
12. Cloud Nothings – Stay Useless
13. Prinzhorn Dance School – Your Fire Has Gone Out
14. Household – Phases
15. Liechtenstein – Ambitions
16. Frankie Rose – Know Me
17. Trailer Trash Tracys – Los Angered
18. A.C. Marias – One of Our Girls Has Gone Missing

Stay warm, don’t shuffle. Liner notes after the jump.
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I Saw the Future Yesterday: Blouse + Hospitality | Glasslands | 9.15.2011

Glasslands’ has this art instillation backdrop to the stage, a giant sea clouds made from tissue paper. With Christmas lights implanted, it looks like a snapshot of a fierce thunderstorm. It can make for striking photographs, but compliments some bands more than others. The clouds  fit with chilly UK act Still Corners so well they feature in their press photo.

Portland’s Blouse, who made their New York debut at the venue on Thursday, mine ’80s mope and ’90s shoegaze and those clouds seem like they brought them with them. (Not that you can tell from my crappy photo above.) The band — now expanded a trio to a five-piece — sounded fantastic. Guitarist Patrick Adams, armed with a Rickenbacker and a floorful of pedals, has studied the Chameleons and early U2 albums and gets that Big ’80s sound just right. And singer Charlie Hilton, dressed in a shiny black jumpsuit Charlene Tilton might’ve worn on Dynasty, complimented it with her sad/pretty vocals. Blouse are much more “rock” live than on their keyboard-heavy album due out on Captured Tracks next month, though if I’d been standing near the keyboardist and not the guitarist maybe I wouldn’t be saying that. Either way, it’s not to their detriment. More a storm than a cloudy day.

MP3: Blouse – Videotapes

Woven Bones (who now sound more like Felt than JAMC) were supposed to be on this bill but dropped out at the last minute and were subbed out by Sound Bites faves Hospitality, who were the odd band out on this bill that also included headliners Unkown Mortal Orchestra. It was a party crowd and Hospitality can be on the delicate side, but the band turned it up, taking it as a challenge. Hospitality can rock too, like on rediculously catchy “Right Profession” and the slowly building “All Day Today.” This is especially true now that Nathan Michael has switched from drums to guitar who brings a little music school skronk to the band which tempers out some of the band’s more delicate leanings.

Some of my friends told me after that they thought Hospitality played to long but I was into it. (I am also a proponent of the “all sets should be 25 minutes” philosophy though.) Mind you, I got slipped a copy of their debut album a couple weeks ago and have been listening to it pretty much nonstop. (Merge [!] is putting it out in January, it’s really really good.) So I knew all or most of the songs pretty well. They also have no bad songs, or at least don’t play them if they do, and are an extremely tight unit right now. They might’ve thrown in a P.Furs cover, though, to get this crowd’s attention a little more but I think they made a few converts. If you’re close enough to the stage to really watch them play, I don’t know how you can’t be impressed.

MP3:  Hospitality – Friends of Friends


Eh Oh! It’s Summer Fridays 4.16

This is the penultimate Summer Fridays mix for 2011. As these are a lot like The Wire, you know that a lot of stuff is going down over the next hour. Spoiler alert: your favorite character may die. Cover art was done last-minute by yours truly.


1.    Echo & the Bunnymen – Silver
2.    Hospitality – Friends of Friends
3.    Box Codax – Charade
4.    Robert Wyatt – Heaps of Sheep
5.    Summer Camp – The Last American Virgin
6.    Twin Sister – Gene Ciampi
7.    Jean-Claude Vannier – La Girafe Au Ballon
8.    Gaz Gaz – Faster
9.    Mystery Artist – Heartbeat
10.  Wax Idols – Dead Like You
11.  Babybird – Candy Girl
12.  Princeton – Clamoring for Your Heart
13.  Elephant – Actors
14.  Blouse – Videotapes
15.  The Drums – Days
16.  The Frank & Walters – Fashion Crisis Hits New York
17.  Masters of the Hemisphere – In the Volcano
18.  Shack – Dragonfly
19.  Translations – Pigeon Suit

Please refrain from listening to this whilst in shuffle mode. Liner notes after the jump.

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A Kaleidoscope of Bananas and Strawberries: Sound Bites Interviews Hospitality

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. Now a four-piece (drummer Nathan Michel now on guitar, with Kyle Olson taking over the kit) they’re a little more skronky too. When I found out I was doing this series again this year, they were the first band I thought of.

MP3: Hospitality – Liberal Arts

Hospitality play the final Sound Bites Series show of 2011: this Sunday (7/17) at the Fulton Stall Market down by the South Street Seaport. The band is on at 3PM sharp and I’ll be spinning tunes beforehand. Hospitality also feature on a free downloadable mix I curated as part of a series of Seaport Music Festival mixes that are available over at online record store Insound. Check em out and feel free to listen to it on shuffle if you like.

Hospitality answer some food-related questions below. I don’t think I’d ever argue with them about where or what to eat.

You’ll be playing in the Fulton Stall markets. What’s your favorite vegetable?
Amber Papini (vocals, guitar): Cabbage. I love it in all ways: sauteed, braised or roasted, coleslaw, kimchi and sauerkraut.
Brian Betancourt (bass, vocals): broccoli // fun to eat tiny trees as a kid. also as an adult.
Kyle Olson (drums): Corn on the cob, because it’s so tasty and reminds me of summers at the Minnesota State Fair!
Nathan Michel (guitar): celery because it’s refreshing.

What’s your least favorite?
Kyle: Raw Onions, I think my distaste for them might actually be to the point of a phobia.
Brian: cauliflower // thought they were ghosts of broccoli as a kid (totally over this now). [No way, cauliflower rules! – Ed]
Amber: I can’t think of any, sorry.
Nathan: Eggplant, weird texture.

You’re finishing up Hospitality’s debut album. Did any food in particular help fuel it’s creation?
Brian: Amber prepared us for recording days with sandwiches and individual ziploc’d bags of popcorn, our names written on them and everything.

Has food ever influenced your songwriting?
“Half an apple” from our EP

Any good food-related band anecdotes?
Hospitality loves tacos! We eat them at San Loco when we play Cake Shop, Taco Chulo when we play in Williamsburg, and some of the best are at the El Diablo Taco Truck at Union Pool. [Guys, you should check out the Tacos Morelos cart on N7/Bedford, the best. -Ed]

Who is the best cook in the band? Who is the finickiest eater?
Brian: Amber hosts (and caters) the best dinner parties.
Kyle: Amber makes a mean veggie pizza. All I can say about finicky is that whoever it is better pass me their plate.
Nathan: Amber is the best cook of all time, and I’m the worst.

Where do you eat in Brooklyn?
Brian: Taco Chulo, before most shows. Burger night at Fort Defiance, after Monday practices.
Kyle: Northeast Kingdom in Bushwick. Pies n’ Thighs in Williamsburg.
Amber: I love the cocktails and deviled eggs at Fort Defiance in Red Hook.

What’s your cheap eats go-to joint?
Amber: The pupusas and grilled corn at the Red Hook Ball Fields.
Brian: Bagel & shmear at Mile End
Kyle: I’ve completely exhausted Subway’s $5 footlong menu.

What about when you’re willing to splurge a little?
Brian: The Breslin/John Dory Oyster Bar
Kyle: Peter Luger’s Steakhouse (are they going to hate me because I LOVE meat?)
Amber: En Japanese Brasserie

What’s your go-to hangover food?
Brian: Poutine at Mile End.
Amber: Bacon, egg and cheese on a roll.
Kyle: Ham, egg and cheese on a roll with home fries from the coffee shop right across the street from me.

What food would you imagine Hospitality’s music being paired with?
Brian: A kaleidoscope of bananas and strawberries, Carmen Miranda-style.
Kyle: A Plum. It looks modest enough on the outside, but it’s so juicy and delicious and colorful when you bite into it.

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.