It’s been two weeks now since the last blog post. Yes there’s been a couple of interviews but no obscure band, story, rant, or anything else that’s not an interview. Right. Well, I had guests, and then there was Popfest. New York Popfest. And then I needed a week to recover. Fair enough I think. It was a pretty exhausting one, perhaps the one that sucked the most of my energy ever. Is it because I’m getting older? Or why?
Well it started early for me. If Popfest was going to start Thursday I was already out watching bands on Wednesday. Wednesday was the release party for the new LP by New York’s best indiepop band Pale Lights. I’ve already recommended the album on the blog some time ago. Getting the chance to listen the newer songs live was fabulous. A bit strange though that they didn’t headline their own gig. But who cares, more time to catch up with friends that were already arriving for Popfest like Mr Scott Stevens from the Summer Cats who I met for the first time that night, after so many years of correspondence!
The band who opened the night was Franny & Zooey. With a new lineup and a bunch of new songs that now recall Talulah Gosh and The Fat Tulips I feel the Dominican band has stepped up to another level. Fast and fun, the band is finding itself. Looking forward very much to their next recorded effort. I hear there are a couple of releases in the works. And then a terrible idea. Late night White Castle. Because well, it was open, and it’s been so many years that I was that “adventurous”, and Elin should try it. She and her Norwegianness were my other guests that week.
It was imperative for me to see Franny & Zooey that Wednesday. On Thursday they were opening NYC Popfest at 8:15pm. I would still be at work, I was going to miss them. And so I did. I only arrived at the Cake Shop at around 9:00pm. In the meantime my friend Silke, one of my guests had forgotten to bring an ID to show that she wasn’t underage. Guess what, the Cake Shop people wouldn’t let her in. She went home. Terrible. Kind of a bad start for her. Elin did stay. Je Suis Animal chanteuse. At the Cake Shop I admit not being that much into the gigs. I saw half of Tape Waves and sounded nice. Martha was definitely not for me. Too rock. The Besties I liked them on record (I like very much their first album) until I saw them live once and the singer was all over the place, rockstar style, jumping up and down, shouting, and well, I’m skeptical to see them again. And Dressy Bessy was a bit of a hit and miss. Their classic songs of course I love. The newer a bit more rock too. Mature sound some call it. Not into it.
Instead I spent my time catching up with friends that were arriving. Astrid and John came even straight from the airport with their luggage. Saw my dear Christin. Wow! First time in New York Christin! What a star! Maria, Einar, Ingrid, the Garlands gang. A beautiful gang. I got to meet Colin from Gingerlys. They were lending so many instruments to a handful of bands that were coming from abroad. So I introduced him around too especially to the swedes. It was a calm night, a good start. We went to a 24 hour diner afterwards and call it a night.
Let me stop here. Can I say that Maz is the best indiepop organizer out there? This year I learned a bit the hard way. I release records and support the scene and all. But I’ve never had to take care of bands, organize things for them, or more importantly deal with their egos and needs. It’s tough. And demanding. I had some issues this year myself with a band, and it was just one band and I ran out of patience. Maz deals with 30 or so bands and keeps his cool. And everything seems to run so smooth. That’s amazing. On top of course he has a hell of a lineup every year.
I do hear sometimes silly people complaining that is bad that he books the festival in different venues, in bad venues, stuff like that. Silly people that once played at Popfest and never attend or just only when their friends play or they are invited to play one instrument on stage. Well, as it was that easy. The competition here for gigs and events is tough. And which venues are going to risk having a whole weekend entirely to have a bunch of indiepopkids that most of them are broke and won’t spend much on drinks. I don’t know. Some people are unrealistic sometimes. I’m thankful to Maz, he doesn’t compromise, he books the best of the newest crop of bands as well as classics. And he keeps it indiepop friendly. No ukuleles, no hippies, no nonsense. And barely repeats bands (Cats on Fire, Secret History and Gold-Bears being the exception). Quality.
Anyways, Friday. I had a long day. I started taking the tram to Roosevelt island and then walking south all Fifth Avenue stopping at Grand Central, the NY Public Library, the Empire Estate, ending at Battery Park. Kind of a New York in a day. Tour guide. I’m becoming good at that. We had a beautiful Brazilian lunch and then a nice Peruvian dinner. Then we headed to The Knitting Factory. Last year I had a fantastic time there. Will this year be the same? Well, with the Friday lineup it was looking like that. Bart and Friends was lovely, Scott always so cheeky, joking around with Bart and Pam. I never thought he was so talkative. I assumed he was so shy! But no, he is truly a frontman. Actually Elin thought he was Bart! Can you imagine?! It was a sweet show, pure class. Then The Haywains. FANTASTIC. They were one member short this time, Rachel couldn’t get here. So Johnny, the drummer, did the backing vocals. Of course it sounded different to the show I saw in Madrid, but for those who had never seen The Haywains before this would have been heaven! They have so much energy on stage that can only be contagious. People were singing along and going nuts! Even with songs that I didn’t know people would know by heart. The energy was high then. And we were just waiting for the best gig of the festival now.
My Favorite. No Andrea. Doesn’t matter. For me, who are seeing them for the first time, it doesn’t matter. I can’t really compare. Michael is stealing the show. His dance moves. His boxing gloves. His mask. Le Monster. Daniel is close to me. Biggest My Favorite fan I’ve met. He is so happy to see this. To my right Christin and Maria know the songs by heart. It’s powerful. They play Absolute Beginners Again and I feel how lucky we all are. Then is just a string of classics. Claudia Gonson from The Magnetic Fields joins to sing Homeless Club Kids. It’s a party now. The Suburbs are Killing Us. And Working Class Jacket. And the moment when the whole crowd sings to the top of their lungs Burning Hearts. It feels like they are ready to keep playing more gigs, more festivals, more and more. The LPs were ready that night, and we sold many. The official release is in July. Only yesterday I got a box at home. I will update the website soon. And you’ll be able to pre-order. This was the event of the year wasn’t it?
After The Flatmates we all headed to Trophy Bar. It was still early, around 11 something PM. It seems the Knitting Factory had another event later that night. It was a huge group of indiepopkids that walked together the 10 or so minutes that takes to get there. There was a dance party there. And I didn’t dance much. I remember dancing to Pristine Christine. A true classic when I dance with Christin. Then of course The Garlands were played but the song didn’t finish. It was stopped halfway through! Ah these Djs! Around this time I started having issues with some band nagging me. And my Popfest went a bit downhill trying to solve some problems and being a bit of a nanny. To think that on Thursday I had a conversation with a girl that had been terrible to me years and years ago and handled it alright, and now this would seem more mundane, but it wasn’t. It started getting annoying. At least my good friend Felix showed up and he always brings happiness even in bad times. That was nice. I haven’t seen him in weeks.
Saturday I was finally going to see Kristine and Lisle. So I forgot about any bad things and I was happy once again. Among the best friends I’ve made in indiepop. Including Scott and his girl, Elin and Silke, all of us went to have brunch at a Mexican place not far from the Spike Hill venue. It was great to catch up with all of them. It was funny to see Elin complain that eggs can’t go together with tortillas, that that is a weird thing to do. And Silke enjoying her sangrias. It was lovely really. I kind of enjoy these eating reunions with friends a lot, as much as going to gigs, or even more. Sharing table with so many talented people, doesn’t happen to often, right? Then we went to Rough Trade. Bought the Avocados 7″ (weird, I know). And played some table tennis with Kristine. Time to head back. We stop at a small store that sells everything 90s it seems. Comics, toys, candies, etc. Lots of “stuff”. And now what. It starts to pour. We sadly miss The Arctic Flow. We make it on time for my new favorites, the band I would like to spoil, Don’t Cry Shopgirl. Their first gig ever. And they are a bit nervous. You can tell. Astrid even drops the guitar. Bam! Pum! They are funny though, and charming. And even if they made a mistake it doesn’t matter. They have fantastic songs, and that’s enough to carry on with the gig. I can’t wait to release them. One of the most honest shows the whole festival, and so down to earth. I was charmed.
And so here I stop again. We have World Cup this week! Let’s think about that now. The second part of my NYC Popfest review will come next week!
Here’s a very obscure indiepop band from the 90s. I don’t own the record sadly and I haven’t been able to find the sleeve to see if there are any credits listed. It’s not even listed on Discogs or other music sites. It’s a shame.
The only mention I’ve found is from Roger’s old blog. Of course, who would know so much about 90s Swedish indiepop other than him? But maybe someone out there remembers them and can give me a hand? Would be great to know a bit more about them.
Théhuset released one 12″. The songs included were “Egen Varld”, “Tänk på nåt Annat” and “Vid Din Fot”. They have a nostalgic sound. It reminds me a lot about of the obscure 80s UK band Some Other Day. It has that classic combo of boy and girl backing vocals. Truly beautiful!
The cover also evokes that period of greatness of jangle, of guitar pop. A sepia tone and white. A timeless portrait of a girl. Who is she? Maybe a famous Swedish actress?
It seems that at some point the band had a Myspace. From there I know that these songs were released in 1992. It says Genre: Torch Songs. I assume that was the name of the label? Though Roger lists the label as AMBUSH.
Then there’s one last mention I found online, this time from the National Library of Sweden (this place comes back and back to me). Here, in their database, they list a name connected to the band: Johan Gille. Johan would later form Able, and I know a bit more about that band, I do have one of their albums. It seems he wrote the songs and music for Théhuset. Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to track him and ask him!
That’s all I could found online. Now why not enjoy this pretty song? And if you know anything else about them please get in touch! Would be great to know the story about this Uppsala band from the 90s.
Théhuset – Egen Varld