What a busy week this was! I guess I will have to get used to going out many days in a row, during workdays, if I’m going to live in New York.
As many of you know this past week was the Chickfactor 20th anniversary, with shows in DC, New Jersey and New York. 3 nights of 90s nostalgia, bringing back to stage the likes of Black Tambourine, Small Factory, Honeybunch, The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group, The Aislers Set, Pipas, and more. Two of these NY nights were sold out, packed, with not many hipsters to my surprise. It was mostly these nostalgic people, a half generation older than me, with their own indiepop stories. Stories I was a stranger to. I wasn’t around the heyday of the Chickfactor ‘scene’, so at first I did feel a bit displaced. But eventually, things kicked in again. It’s only indiepop you know.
So on Sunday, our first international friend arrived: Vernon from Singapore. A little group of us joined him and Alex who was just passing by that day in New York from Melbourne, via DC and Chickfactor, on her way to Malta. We had some thai food, which I found a bit bland, but nonetheless it was a great evening, talking and catching up. It was almost a year since the last time I saw them. I stayed up late that night. On Monday I would stay up late again after a long day of work. Kristine and Lisle were arriving to New York and I was hosting them at my place. Their plane from Chicago was delayed, which is no surprise. And of course, we stayed up late chatting and chatting. I don’t really know where Kristine got their energy from, she had attended the DC shows already and she was craving for more in NYC. I must becoming an old man, because I can’t figure this out.
And then of course it all started. Taking the R train all the way to the Bellhouse in Brooklyn. On that dirty and old train with it’s yellow and orange seats. Never a good ride on the R. And finding a place to eat around the Bellhouse, that’s another problem to solve. Not my favourite venue at all, the Bellhouse seems to host many indiepop gigs for some reason. The lightning of the stage is terrible, so hard to get good pictures, or even shoot video. So against all odds, as I use my camera as a bona fide machine gun, I took around 10 pictures total in 3 nights. Not very me.
Hoegaarden pint in hand, I didn’t raze the merch table either. Prices were not from the 90s but from the 00s. I guess that makes sense, but I was expecting $2 7″s instead of $5. That’s what they cost back in the day, right? Maybe I’m naive, but why raise the price 15 years after? Anyhow, I already had most of these records, but the ones I didn’t have, I bought, which were a few. I did get a Softies t-shirt. Though I’m not a big fan. But I like Tiger Trap and Go Sailor a lot. So, why not support Rose Melberg?
I didn’t get to meet the 90s luminaries of American indiepop. No one new in my book. I did get to finally meet Brian and Yvonne from the Tartans and they were great. But from the older generation, no. I find that those jangly heroes of mine from UK or Europe are way more friendly, more reachable, than the American ones. I can’t grasp why yet. But one day I’ll write a whole discernation about it. This is something that puzzles me.
The festival was well organized, you could tell they took care of every detail, and having someone to ‘host’ each night, to present every band with some little background story was a great idea. My only complains of course, and I assume many would agree, was that it was hosted during weekdays, from Tuesday to Thursday. Not very inviting for people that live and work in New York. And the other complain I have is the overpriced tickets. 80-90 dollars for 3 nights is a bit too much in the indiepop world. NYC Popfest, a true New York analogy, charges 50 dollars for 4 days and more bands. And during a weekend. And bands that are as good. Can we agree on that? I think so. And my last complain the special guests. They weren’t really special. I mean, it’s great to see Franklin Bruno or the guy from Love True Always, but come on, let them play with the whole band. Just a guy and a guitar doesn’t feel like a special guest to me. That was a bit boring to be honest.
But after that first hour of special guests everything turned upside down, so many great bands that made every night worth it! I can’t thank enough having the opportunity to see The Aislers Set live. I thought it was never going to happen. Or another favourite of mine, The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group, who share my last name and wrote two of my favourite albums ever. Or seeing Pipas again after 6 years! True, as you can see, it was the Wednesday lineup the one that I enjoyed the most. That was the big night for me, for my taste. I know everyone was head over heels for Tuesday, with the mighty Black Tambourine headlining. I may say something here that won’t please many, but Black Tambourine is my least favourite Pam Berry band. I think “Throw Aggi from the Bridge” is a monumental song, but the rest of their songs are just alright. For me Pam Berry’s best are either Glo-Worm or The Pines. And hey, The Pines did play Chickfactor, on Thursday, and that was pure bliss. They even covered Aurora by The Cat’s Miaow as I requested Joe when I saw him the prior Thursday while we walked over the High Line Park.
And as soon as it all ended, I slept eleven hours straight. And I booked a plane ticket to London, to attend Indietracks. There was an empty hole to fill and I didn’t found a better way to do it. So, even though I’m not invited to DJ anywhere in the UK this time, I’m heading to Indietracks! And after Indietracks I’ll spend a week in Wales visiting castles with my favourite girl. Can’t ask for more at this point. It’s all perfect.
Let’s save the Cloudberry news and label stuff for next week. Let’s move to our obscure band of the week: The deBuchias.
I actually was in touch with Justin Salmon, one of the members of the band, not so long ago. Asked him to do an interview and he was up for it. But still haven’t heard from him. Probably life got in the way. It happens. Thing is that last week I finally managed to get a copy of the one and only 12″ The deBuchias released and that song on the A side is so so good, that I need you all to know it. It’s called “Introducing Jane” and it’s beautiful.
The band was formed by John Bramwell on vocals and guitars, Tig on bass, Steve Perry on drums and Justin Salmon on harmonizing electric guitar. You might have heard the name John Bramwell. He would later from the well known band I Am Kloot. On this 12″ the band is introduced to us as “The deBuchias featuring Johnny Dangerously”. This Johnny Dangerously is John Bramwell of course, and he had already released a 12″ on his own, the “You, Me and Alarm Clock”. I still have to manage to track a copy of that one, but having head the songs I say, if you see it, snatch it.
But the deBuchias single, on Village Records, catalog number 111, with it’s yellow jacket and mysterious black and white photographs of women putting on make up, is something else. And you can still find it for reasonable prices on Discogs especially. This record included two more songs on the B side, “Tearing it Down” and “Subway Life”. The first one was already released on the previous 12″ Johnny had released, and “Subway Life” was a track that had already appeared on the “Manchester North of England” compilation. The record was engineered by Graham Massey and Jez at Real to Rell in Macclesfield. And the photographs of the sleeve were courtesy of Michele Jones.
The only other bit of information I could find was the the band played a couple of important gigs like the Glasgow Mayfest, the Green Room and the Manchester International. They supported Tom Robinson and Billy Bragg at Nottingham Festival as well. And that was 1990. The nostalgic era I didn’t get to see.
And that’s all there is about this band. Who was this mysterious Jane they sing about? Did they ever record more songs? Why did they split? And what happened to them? If you know anything else, please share! Would love to know!