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Saturday, October 1
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.
/ None Records Elefant
The rest of the bands follow in alphabetical
order. Please check the schedule
to find out when each band is playing.
Listen to The
Sea is So Quiet
Listen to Helen
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
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
Beauty Sleep, Brooklyn, NY
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
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
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
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
Listen to Prins
Emperor X, NYC
Emperor X Says:
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
My Teenage Stride, NYC
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 /
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
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. Cdreviews.com
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Listen to Ice
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.
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