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Headlining, Saturday, October 1

Trembling Blue Stars, London, UK

For eight years now, Bobby Wratten, front man of the London-based Trembling Blue Stars, has been composing startlingly intimate, deeply emotional love songs that deal with infatuation and obsession, longing and lust, rapture and regret. In spirit, his work recalls the youthful candor of seventies singer-songwriters like Jackson Browne and Joni Mitchell as well as the melancholic romanticism of Nick Drake. In sound, however, his material is far more up to the minute, artfully incorporating elements of electronic dance music and computer-generated ambient touches.

Trembling Blue Stars began in the winter of '95 as a solo project of Bob Wratten in the aftermath of his short-lived band Northern Picture Library. Until then, he'd been better known as the lead singer and songwriter of English cult faves the Field Mice, flagship group of the much-loved and very idiosyncratic indie label Sarah Records. What started out as a solo project received so much attention from U.K. critics and indie rock fans that Wratten was persuaded to assemble a band to perform TBS songs live. Early shows, which included an acoustic session for BBC Radio 1, were infrequent enough to be regarded as rare and special occasions; an out-of-the-way gig in Brighton during summer '97 attracted fans who flew in from the U.S., France and Switzerland.

Bar / None Records Elefant Records
Listen to The Sea is So Quiet
Listen to Helen Reddy

The rest of the bands follow in alphabetical order. Please check the schedule to find out when each band is playing.

Asobi Seksu, NYC

Asobi Seksu, like Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine before them, are evolving and redefining what noise means within the model of pop songwriting. The band melds lush yet wonderfully crushing waves of white noise in variation with synth-driven pop delicacies and tight lounge progressions ala Stereolab. The quartet's melting-pot aesthetics also include narratives sung in combinations of English and Japanese.

Characterized by her clever lyrical sensibilities, Yuki's energetic lamentations on the song "I'm Happy But You Don't Like Me", define Asobi Seksu's persona in the self-titled LP. James orchestrates the often sonically furious multi-dimensional rhythm section and provides beautiful supporting vocal harmonies.

Listen to I'm Happy That You Don't Like Me (Live)

The AV Club, New Haven, CT

...combines an appreciation of punk rock with a love of great country singer/songwriters to create solid, harmony-rich, rock music. Think Elvis Costello and the Attractions (but less British) meets Cheap Trick (but less Midwestern).

Beauty Sleep, Brooklyn, NY

Beauty Sleep's catchy melodies pull together a semi-sweet, playful sound and a unique intensity to create
a kind of frantic beauty.  

The Besties, Brooklyn, NY

The Besties are Marisa, Kelly and Rikky. They live in an old knitting
factory in Brooklyn where they write songs and make each other
pancakes on saturday mornings. Though some would (erroneously)
catagorize them as "indie pop", The Besties insist that they are a
punk band. 

Cars Can Be Blue, Northampton, MA

Bubble gum pop complete with crass lyrics, energetic music, and an unforgettable spirit at their live shows.

The Cavemen Go, New Haven, CT

"smart, rueful garage pop with a tiny bit of twang (Splendid)"
Listen to 364 Days

Colin Clary & The Magogs, Burlington, VT

Local pop guru Colin Clary has released upwards of a gazillion albums a year for about a decade, and they just keep getting sweeter … Clary's songs can make even the most jaded hipster crack a smile. Her Life of Crime, his new record with backing band the Magogs, is a summery slice of sing-alongs. Crime presents some of Clary's strongest tracks to date … "The Shape of this Town" rides a delicious 60s guitar riff and a wall of handclaps. The '60s vibe kicks in again on "Pet Sound," and "Moped Rally" is also giddily catchy, with the childlike lyrics accompanied by ringing guitars and beeping horns. For anyone unfamiliar with Clary's brand of sunny pop, Her Life of Crime is a great place to begin. For all the die-hard fans out there, this record is a must. Seven Days
Watch The Shape of The Town (Requires Quicktime)

Dýrðin, Reykjavik, Iceland

Doddi, Einar and Maggi were all well versed in indie and alternative rock and found out that with a Dr. Rhythm drum machine and an analog Tascam 4-track Portastudio could do wonders. Einar's sister, Hafdís, surprised them all by suddenly displaying singing talent, and was hired immediately. Now with a keyboardist and drummer, Dýrðin are poised to please pop fans with their humor and charm in such songs as “The Frog Prince” and ";17 júní," celebrating the Icelandic national holiday.
Listen to Prins i Alogum

Emperor X, NYC

Listen to Right to the Rails

The Metric Mile, NYC

Recalling the kind of almost-not-there sound of early Wake, Orchestral Manoeuvres or The Field Mice when they were effectively a duo with a drum machine, the Metric Mile possibly dream of girls in polka dots and of writing songs about telephone boxes. Which means that they make the kind of sounds that make me recall afternoons sitting on hillsides below the abandoned radar station, gazing at ferries crossing the sea to Arran and dreaming of mythical kisses… A pleasurable curse to be sure. PlanB Magazine
Listen to How to Beat the SAT

Mittens, Boston, MA

Mittens are a trio from Boston who appreciate songs over playing. We aim to make nice musical music that your mom might actually like: melodic, enduring, and concise. With a nod to Squeeze, Nick Lowe, and the Violent Femmes, we like to keep it simple. The band is two parts Arizona ex-pats Tom and Andy, who write the numbers, and native Bostonian Nick, keeper of nice beats.
Listen to Morning Comes

My Teenage Stride, NYC

"Songwriter, singer, recordist, and multiinstrumentalist Jedediah Smith is a Massachusetts native who lives and Brooklyn and has recorded albums by himself under the moniker My Teenage Stride for the past three years. His releases on Banazan Records in California and Becalmed Records in the UK have garned almost unaminous praise from indiepop pundits everywhere, from Brazil to Britain to the US. Musically, MTS recalls a panoramic array of indiepop from the Chills, The Wedding Present and the Jesus & Mary Chain, to the Patridge Family and The Four Seasons, all delivered with breathtaking melodic zeal and virtuoustic musicality. This show finds Jedediah taking a break from recording for another upcoming Becalmed release to bring the live MTS home to the Commonwealth.

"More pure and wonderful pop songs..... any promises of greatness hinted at the first time around are fulfilled tenfold on this album! Highly recommended! MTQ=12/12" -Chris McFarlane, Indiepages"

The Nuclear Waste Management Club, Northampton, MA / Portland, ME

The Nuclear Waste Management Club is a long-running side project. José Ayerve began recording songs under this moniker in 1998 while living a semi-secluded musical life on Peaks Island, Maine. He recorded a bunch of songs that were later absorbed into the Spouse repertoire. In November of 2000, following a rather emotional dissolve, Ayerve wrote and recorded about 10 songs in a two-week period. Unlike most of the material he was collaborating on with Spouse, the Nuclear Waste Management Club was at once edgier and more subdued than Nozomi, the first Spouse full-length. This paticular collection of songs seems to relate directly to the disappointment and heartbreak felt by most everyone.

In 2001, Ayerve organized a core group of musicians to perform this collection of moody songs. Currently, the line-up features Anne Pinkerton (vocals, percussion), JJ O'Connell (drums, vocals), Mark Schwaber (bass, vocals), Peyton Pinkerton (guitar), Ken Maiuri (guitar, keyboards), and Scott Hall (piano, organ). Anne's vocal harmonies seemed to gel instantly with Ayerve's melodies, and the rest of the instrumentation flowed effortlessly.

Ayerve and the Nuclear Waste Management Club began performing more regularly in 2004, and they have nearly completed the long-awaited debut album. They expect it to be completed and released by the end of 2005.

While Ayerve prides himself as being a resident of Portland, Maine, the group is based out of Northampton, Massachusetts.

Listen to Army II

Pants Yell!, Boston, MA

Their sound oozes with a unique feel, reminiscent of artsy folk pop meets understated mid-nineties Seattle indie and complete with a smidgen of twee verging on cuddlecore.  In terms of comparable bands, I found myself thinking of many, including Sodastream, Belle & Sebastian, and scaled-down Joe Christmas.  Cleanly picked acoustic guitars and lively drums represent the indie pop corner, while humming keyboards and occasional boy-girl duet vocals pay tribute to the intermittent twee pop influence.
Listen to My Boyfriend Writes Plays

Ponies in the Surf, Boston, MA

A Demonstration is gently passionate music designed for those twilit months when the cold descends like a heavy blanket over barren trees. In the spirit of Cyann and Ben's wintry Spring and the Microphones' It Was Hot, So We Stayed in the Water, it focuses on spare melodies and barren vocals. Ponies in the Surf rarely create arrangements more complex than an acoustic guitar and a McGregor brother/sister vocal duet, and that taste for simplicity suits these songs just fine.
Listen to Ventricle

The Secret Ink, New Haven, CT

The Secret Ink is a band that looks different at first glance. At what point did they decide to put a violin through a Marshall amplifier? How do they get a cello loud enough to rise above a drum kit? Does a guitar usually make that kind of sound? Do classically trained musicians get references to Galaxie 500 and the Sundays? Do Indie-popsters know what a rallentando is? The Secret ink has performed in such disparate venues as smoky rock clubs, theatres, art museums, and symphony orchestra halls.
Listen to Song Medley

Seekonk, Portland, ME

Seekonk is five players from Portland, Maine who like to try different instruments on for size, including a cello, trombone, xylophone, and bowed amplified birdcage. The band began as a result of two guys getting dumped /hard/ by their sweethearts within weeks of each other. Songs happened. Then they asked a girl who lived on an island to sing these songs for them. Makes sense somehow. Some have said Seekonk reminds them of other bands like Pink Floyd, Low, The Velvet Underground, and Neil Young.
Listen to Tiny Lustre

The Sharp Things, NYC

Foxes and Hounds is the sophomore album from indie-rock-publicist-by-day and delicate-crooner-by-night Perry Serpa and his 12-piece chamber pop ensemble.  Sounding like a cross between The Divine Comedy and Cat Stevens, Serpa and company continue their excavation of classic pop, Bacharach and David style, in 14 songs of string, piano, and horn brilliance.  "There Will Be Violins," is (surprise, surprise) a string-filled ode to throwing down guitars; "She Left With The Sun" could stand alongside The Association's "Cherish" or "Never My Love" as classic balladry; and, perhaps unsurprisingly, electric guitar doesn't really become apparent until the understated solo in the otherwise honey-smooth "The Suicide Bombers."  Kiss the guitar-bass-drums format goodbye.  Serpa and The Sharp Things already have. Tiny Mix Tapes

Shot Heard Round the World

Chapter One. We're a band from the Northwest and East. These songs were written for roads and trees. Papa John provides spiritual guidance. Ron da doo Ron is our quartermaster. Eugene S. Huckleberry our timekeeper. Ike Pain sounds the bells. And Brandywine Wayne is the chief petty officer. With occasional assistance from Brigadier General Benjamin Howell and Miss Lauren Leigh of Chicagotown (Northwest Territory).
Listen to Roads (Byrds Cover)

Shumai, Boston, MA

On song after song, Tastes Like Summer is as charming as indie-pop albums come, with infectious hooks and a fetching sound - sweet but with a touch of melancholy and a light tilt towards rock n' roll. Don't set this one aside until summer, it'll be a nice soundtrack to your days no matter the season. Erasing Clouds
Listen to The Lonely Passion of Joey Heatherton

The Smittens, Burlington, VT

The Smittens are a five-piece fi-curious indiepop band hailing from Burlington , VT. The Dangerfive label released their debut album Gentlefication Now! in winter, 2004, a DIY bubblegum pop explosion! Look for their second release, A Little Revolution, out now, mastered by Rob Christiansen (Tsunami, Sisterhood of Convoluted Thinkers).

The Specific Heats, Boston, MA

The Specific Heats are a three piece indie pop combo from Boston, Massachusetts. The music they make is influenced by 60's pop and garage bands, 80's synthpop and 80's & 90's indiepop.

Steve plays drums and occassionally viola and sings back up. He is currently enrolled in Northeastern University majoring in journalism. Mat plays guitar and sings. He is about to graduate from MassArt, as an Art Education major with a concentration in Film. Jen is the newest member of the specific heats and she plays bass and keyboards. She graduated a while ago and even went to grad school. All of The Specific Heats love to read, have fun, dance and be with their friends, which is why you should become their friend. They'll even buy you pizza because they also love pizza because pizza is the awesomest food ever.
Listen to Ice Cream Shop

superfallingstars, New Haven, CT

This is a good one; a fun indie pop record that crosses into the pop punk territory of bands like the Mr. T Experience. The songs are mostly crunchy jangle-fests, fast paced with fun lyrics about love and love lost and the production is equal part lo-fi garage and indie pop naivete. I'm immediately reminded of bands like Tallulah Gosh on the speedier numbers (only with male vocals) crossed with the Galactic Heroes (missing some of the offbeat instrumentation). They've got a great mix of influences, yet take the sound and make it their own. Shredding Radio

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