The new podcast is now on MixCloud. This is the March episode and the theme was “the movies”. In this episode I interviewed the great Baltimore band Expert Alterations. We had to leave Soundcloud because they have very odd copyright rules that they wouldn’t let me upload the Watoo Watoo song even though it was the band itself who chose and gave me the song. I know MixCloud is not as user friendly but we needed to find other options as we wanted to post right away the podcast as we were a bit late about it. Oh! And the clip has already being guessed, so you can dismiss that. Anyways, I really hope you like the songs I chose this month! Let me know what you thought!
This week I promised to go through the remaining bands that will play NYC Popfest. There are some news this week though that are important to notice. That is that the schedule has been announced as well as the DJs. When it comes to DJs we will have the NYC indie party, Mondo, on Friday and So Tough So Cute, the Malmö indie party, on Saturday. When it comes to Mondo I wish their set is much more indiepop than their usual fare (Maz always delivers, but the other teammates usually pick one or two indiepop songs in their hour-long sets) and from Daniel, the indie giant from Malmö, well, it’s been a long time since I attended to his party, but I tell you that by far he has been the best DJ I ever danced to in London Popfest years ago. At the Buffalo Bar that time he set the dancefloor on fire. If he does that again in NYC it will be more than memorable!
So now instead of going alphabetically, I’ll go through the days and venues and will review only the bands that I haven’t done yet. Sounds good?
The NYC (? I thought they were from Jersey) band will be opening Popfest. At 8:00pm at the Cake Shop they will show everyone their 60s tinged indiepop that has remained a bit of a secret. I haven’t been able to catch them live, even though in the past few months they’ve played some gigs, but I’ve liked their songs, even including one of them on the 8th Cloudberry fanzine. Seems though that I will miss them this time again as I usually work till 9pm. Which is a shame. I’m very curious. I’ve only seen Stephanie Cupo (the band’s leader and brain and a big Beach Boys fan it seems) perform as a saxophonist in the new My Favorite lineup. Never with her band. So I hope that they play some of the pre or post Popfest shows that will happen as I’d like to hear their new tunes.
Roman a Clef:
A round of applause to Maz for finding this NYC band. I had no idea of their existence. They are VERY good. Who are they? Where do they play? Do they play often? Why haven’t I head nothing about them? Do I live under a rock or do they live under a rock? I hope I can catch some of their set. As I said I leave around 9pm. Maybe I can escape a bit earlier. They are on at 8:45pm at the Cake Shop. I read some reviews saying they are the second coming of Prefab Sprout. Maybe they are right. This sounds very timeless, like it could become a classic. That song “PSBTV”, is just genius. The band was formed by Ryan Newmyer of A Sunny Day in Glasgow (who I was never a big fan, go figure) and Jen Goma. Kurt Feldman (the only Pains I was never keen of to be honest, go figure) produced them. This band is a winner. I suspect though that they will sign to a hipster record label and become a hipster band in the future. That scares me a bit, but I will enjoy them in the meantime. Terribly good this!
I missed them some years ago at Indietracks. My friend Jennifer insisted that I was going to like them. I didn’t pay much attention!!! I don’t know why. I’m very bad when people recommend me bands, but I’m usually good when Jennifer does. She really likes them. Could have been the band’s name perhaps? Or the idea that the are just a duo who I believe are married or are a couple? I get an itch with bands like that with the exception of the beloved Tiny Fireflies. I feel bands get a bit too softy by working with someone who they love, like they can’t really get into strong arguments, like they will always agree on things. It’s just an idea. I’m getting carried away. Young Romance is quite nice. It’s not really my style of indiepop, but the girl definitely has very different vocals and there is a lot of strength in that. I can’t say if I like or not, though I’m close to the latter. I think I will wait until I see them live. From the two songs on their bandcamp, I like one, and the other one doesn’t tell me much. Guess which?
Friday at 10pm at Cameo the Barcelona band will play their first show in this continent. I’ve been terribly lucky and I’ve seen them twice. Once with the original lineup, with the very missed Paulita on vocals, at Indietracks, and later with the current lineup in Madrid Popfest. Papa Topo’s sound has changed during these years, becoming a bit more sophisticated and produced you could say. My heart is closer definitely to their early, rawer, sound, but I also really like what they do now. A lot! They still have the sense of humour that always have characterized them, and Adrià has his pop sensibility still intact when it comes to crafting perfect melodies. Papa Topo has already had their songs in Mexican soap operas, but can they conquer, like their city-mates Cola Jet Set, the English speaking indiepop fans of NYC? I really hope so! Can’t be missed this show! Papa Topo’s “Oso Panda” will be a crazy singalong I’m sure!
This one comes from Rhode Island. And it’s on Shelflife. I guess I haven’t heard of an indiepop band from Rhode Island since Small Factory. Which other ones come from that tiny state? I was in Providence two years ago I think. That was a nice road trip. It seems they write their name all in caps. So WORKING. What difference does that make? I don’t know. The cool thing about WORKING is that Catherine, the vocalist, used to be in the GREAT GREAT band The Best Wishes in the 90s. That makes me giddy and happy. Do you think they will have copies of their old 7″s at NYC Popfest? I would love that too. And will they have any physical releases for WORKING too? I’d be interested. I see on their bandcamp that some magazine recommends them to people that like Joanna Gruesome or Black Tambourine or Velocity Girl. I think none of those bands sound like WORKING. The tempo of WORKING is much slower, their songs are more introspective and perhaps at points have a rockier edge than a poppier edge. They remind me instead of some Aussie early 90s bands. I like this nonetheless, it works for them. What I also love is the drawing Jen Corace did for them as their cover artwork. They’ll be on at 2:30pm at the free show, it’s lunch time. But I think I won’t be missing them.
They appear in the last Cloudberry fanzine and they are one of my weaknesses. I know they are recording a new album as we speak and I hope and dream to be able to release a 7″ by them in the near future. It’s definitely one of my favourite Japanese contemporary bands by far. I’ve been lobbying for people to book them here in the West, Indietracks, Popfest, and I’m so happy someone has listened to me! Wallflower are definitely a band that no one should miss and they will be playing on Saturday at 8pm at the Knitting Factory! I’ll be there and in front row! Looking forward to meeting Masami-san!
A true classic of American 90s indiepop. A couple of singles that are beautiful and haven’t aged at all. I tried to interview Tim for the blog some time ago, maybe two years ago but never received his answers. Shame, would have been nice to hear from him about his band. I would think at that time he didn’t expect that it will reform for a Popfest. Will Pam Berry join them for Threnody? Probably not, but you can dream too. I think this should be a very special gig especially for all the nostalgia fans that will attend the festival.
The Spook School:
I love them and they are playing for a second year straight NYC Popfest. I’m never keen with repeats as I like same opportunities for everyone but I understand that their following is growing and growing. On top of that they are ace people so even though I have my “rules” I can understand why they are booked again.
They weren’t on the poster originally, so I guess they are a recent addition. I’ve seen them a couple of times opening for some bands here in NYC. They are definitely not my thing, the word that comes to mind when I hear them is “mess”. The keyboards give me a bit of a headache too. Oh dear, if this is indiepop then I don’t know what indiepop is.
Starry Eyed Cadet:
Perhaps the best new band to appear in the US. I played one of their songs on my podcast and I have already written about them on the blog. It was one of the first bands I passed on to Maz to check out and consider for Popfest. Glad that the band can make it. And happy that Maz booked them too! The California band, who I believe has ties with the delicious Marine Life, has a lot to offer and even though there are no physical releases as of yet, I’m sure will start making a buzz after Popfest. Lots of potential here! Loving the songs, great indiepop craftmanship!
Palms on Fire:
Definitely a great addition to Popfest is the first Russian band ever to play an indiepop festival! I would have never expected this, but it’s happening. I don’t know much about them, though last year they sent me their latest EP to check it out. And back in 2011 their first ever EP too. I was really surprised by it. Sadly I never heard from other Russian indiepop bands. Ok perhaps one or two, but it wasn’t like a true explosion of bands. Simple and cute tunes, not pretentious at all, they remind me of Red Sleeping Beauty and of course The Shermans. With Palms on Fire the keyboards do work beautifully. Looking forward to their live set on Sunday at Littlefield at 6pm!
Seabirds is a nice band from Nottingham that released one 7″ on Matinée Recordings in 2013. The band includes Ian from Horowitz and that makes me like them automatically (but I will admit I still prefer Horowitz fuzz pop much better). I saw half of their show once at Indietracks but that was some time ago too. A good refresher will come in handy.
Who would have thought. There are many 90s indiepop bands playing this year. And perhaps my favourite of them all were #Poundsign#. If you remember I have already showcased them as an interview in the blog and Cloudberry released a 3″CD of Strega, a band with very close ties with #Poundsign#. On the last podcast the clip was a song by podcast which our friend Vidar already guessed. So it’s obvious, I like #Poundsign#, and I like them a lot. Could be one of the best gigs of Popfest, this one is really special and unmissable!
And with that, even though there are two to be announced bands in the lineup for the evening show of Saturday, I conclude my very personal review of the bands for Popfest. You don’t have to agree with me obviously, you might dislike and hate many of the bands I like, and vice versa, and that’s cool. In any case, in general, I think the lineup is really fantastic and if there are two or three bands I don’t like it’s good too, we need a little break to get fresh air, chit chat, or even grab a bite. So it works perfectly!
It’s a Wednesday today, but I want to go over a band called Why Thursday?
There’s not much online about them and I believe that has to do that they came a bit too late. Their only release was in 1994! That’s tough, who was into jangly and catchy pop then, a bit Madchester and all? 1994 was more of a britpop time, right? And also, that their only release was a CD-single, well, that makes it a bit worse. If it only had been a 7″ perhaps collectors would go ga ga for it.
Self-released and three songs in it: “Strawberry Kisses”, “With You There”, and “From the Outside”.
I really like the cover artwork, a strawberry drawn with large strokes, vector friendly. It was designed by the band. All songs were written and performed by Why Thursday?
From the contact information it seems that the band was from Tunbridge Wells, in Kent.
Royal Tunbridge Wells (often shortened to Tunbridge Wells) is a large town in western Kent, England, about 40 miles (64 km) south-east of central London. The town has a population of around 56,500. The town came into being as a spa in the Restoration period and had its heyday as a tourist resort under Beau Nash when the Pantiles and its chalybeate spring attracted visitors who wished to take the waters. Though its popularity waned with the advent of sea bathing, the town remains popular and derives some 30% of its income from the tourist industry.
The only other information on the back is the lineup of the band. We know that the band was formed by:
Marc Axtell on drums
Stuart Bristow on bass
Alex Brown on lead vocals & acoustic rhythm guitar
Nick Carpenter on backing vocals & keyboards
Curtis Fray on lead & rhythm electric guitar
Aside from this I couldn’t find any other information about the band. The songs are all really good and would love to find a copy of the single too. Does anyone remember them? Did they have any other releases perhaps? Any other recordings? Anyone attended to any of their gigs? I would love to know more about them!