[NHM] New Haven Music


This Weekend: Everything!
Photo by Melanie Stengel

Photo by Melanie Stengel

Maybe its the giant rainbow currently beaming across downtown New Haven, last night’s full moon briefly threatening to crush the horizon, or the city celebrating its 375th birthday but there seems to be all whole lot of ‘something’ going on in New Haven right now. That ‘something’ seems to also be manifesting itself in a whole mess of ass-kicking shows this weekend. It would be damn near impossible to cover everything so here’s a rundown of some of the events we’re most excited about….

FRIDAY APRIL 26
Javelin, Jamaican Queens, If Jesus Had Machine Guns (DJ) @ The Outer Space
8pm / 21+ / $10 / Manic Productions presents /
https://www.facebook.com/events/574304069246404/

Garbage Barge, Tester, Nasty Disaster, Javier/Los DishDogs @ Cherry St. Station
8pm / 21+ / $5 / https://www.facebook.com/events/481308508582324/

The Proud Flesh (Record Release), Hanging Hills, Johnny Mainstream @ Cafe 9
8:30pm / 21+ / $5 / https://www.facebook.com/events/419543721462500/

SATURDAY APRIL 27
Meriden Daffodil Festival, Day 1 @ Hubbard Park including Hostage Calm, The Manchurians, The Alternate Routes, Mark Mulcahy, Goodnight Blue Moon, The Guru, 1974, Daphne Lee Martin, Elison Jackson, The Furors and many more.
10am-9pm / All Ages / FREE / http://www.daffodilfest.org

New Haven 375 @ New Haven Green
1-4pm / All Ages / FREE / http://www.infonewhaven.com/NHV375

Lord Fowl, Backwoods Payback, Sun Gods in Exile, Super Machine @ The Space
9pm / All-Ages / $8 / https://www.facebook.com/events/146902925490185/

Howly Dogs, Hubbell Mountain, Orkestar BAM! @ Elm Bar
9pm / 21+ / $3 / https://www.facebook.com/events/536929343024131/

M.T. Bearington, Cold Fur, Life Eaters, Sperm Donor @ Anna Liffey’s
9pm / 21+ / $7 / Safety Meeting Records presents /
https://www.facebook.com/events/536929343024131/

Reverberation (DJ) @ Rudy’s
9pm / 21+ / $ / https://www.facebook.com/events/158509630978557/

SUNDAY APRIL 28
Meriden Daffodil Festival, Day 2 @ Hubbard Park including Little Ugly, Paper Hill Casket Company, The Peacock Flounders, Breakthrough Frequencies, Rob Messore, Christopher Bousquet, The Mold Monkies and more.
10am-5pm / All Ages / FREE / http://www.daffodilfest.org

Titus Andronicus, The So So Glos, Chris Cappello (Full Band) @ The Space
7pm / All Ages / $15 / Presented by Manic Productions /
https://www.facebook.com/events/141319089379559/

The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Faceless, Royal Thunder, Xenosis @ Toad’s Place
7pm / All Ages / $18/$20 / http://www.toadsplace.com/

Best get yourself out of the house this weekend!



July 2011 NHM Artists of the Month – Farewood, Ovlov

I know, I bet you thought we forgot about our Artists of the Month series. What’s that? There’s only 10 days left in July you say? Well at least we remembered before August. Ohh? You think we’re nothing but lazy sacks of s***..Hey now! Lay off the expletives will ya? There’s kids here! So we we’re a little late…sorry!

Anyway, this month’s Artists feature a band formed in the 90’s and another band which sound like they could have been formed in the 90’s. Yup, we’re talking about none other than Farewood and Ovlov, the July 2011 NHM Artists of the Month.

Farewood is husband and wife songwriters Lou Lorenzo and Leah Booker. Formed in the mid-90’s, Lorenzo and Booker’s brand of indie rock retains a timeless quality that comes across as both heartfelt and genuine, never contrived or schticky or old. Featuring influences like the Afghan Whigs and the Cocteau Twins, Farewood’s songs are driving yet weather-worn, almost as if they are absorbing the world wholesale into their compositions. The band’s biography attributes much of this old-soul influence to their hometown of Meriden, CT (aka ‘The Silver City’). There the real-life scenes of post-industrial urban blight would work well as a music video to any one of their songs. Rather than sounding grimey or abrasive though, Lorenzo and Booker seem to find beauty in such surroundings and, as such, write beautiful songs filled with warm vocals, yearning guitars and burning melodies. For anyone looking for great indie-rock with a soul, Farewood is what you want.

Although never truly going away, Farewood has found more time lately amongst family obligations to play some higher profile shows. Most recently they landed an opening slot at one of Manic Productions’ Wednesday night BAR shows opening for ExitMusic. In addition they have begun work on a new album that they hope to have out sometime in 2012 (despite their longevity, this will only be their fourth long player).

Better yet, Farewood will be performing tonight at Cafe Nine opening for German singer/songwriter Maren Parusel. You can also catch them Friday, July 29th in their natural environment of Meriden, CT. at Chas’ Place along with Treebeard and Old Man Lady Luck. These both look like killer shows so make it a point to check them out if you can!

Ovlov (yup, that’s Volvo backwards) are an indie rock quartet based out of Newtown and New Haven, CT. Pretty much any description of the band’s sound (including their own) mentions influences like The Lemonheads and Dinosaur Jr. In addition, I would like to throw in a little Blue album era Weezer as well as a whole lot of World of Noise era Everclear. Heck, even hints of Built To Spill and Ash pop up from time to time. Notice a trend here? Ovlov’s brand of super-catchy indie-rock (dare I say grunge?) could have easily fit into 1993 without anyone thinking different. As with Farewood, Ovlov do not sound dated in anyway though. If anything its exciting to hear classic indie rock being reinvigorated so well, and with such authenticity. Overall the band’s attack is relentless and their songs, heavily melodic.

The band’s latest EP (released July 11th) What’s So Great About the City? sees Ovlov turning up the guitar fuzz a bit but also aiming for the pop fences a bit more, especially in the songwriting department. Having just completed a series of shows leading up to their dual record release shows this past weekend, Ovlov’s next scheduled live show as of press time is not until August 20th at Brooklyn’s Legion along with fellow locals Eula. You can listen to the What’s So Great About the City? in its entirety on the band’s Bandcamp page and, if you wish, download it for a price left for you to decide.



June 2011 NHM Artists of the Month – Snake Oil, Old Man Lady Luck

So, eleven days into June and we’ve finally selected our Artists of the Month (yeah, we know, about time!). Without further delay, the NHM Artists of the Month are….(drum roll, please)…Snake Oil and Old Man Lady Luck!

‘Snake’ who? ‘Old Man’ what?

Snake Oil is a new instrumental collective spearheaded by drummer extraordinaire Jason Labbe. Comprised of current and former members of Weigh Down, Titles, The Mountain Movers, Atrina, Charles Burst, Latitude/Longitude and Meridians (among others), Snake Oil was initially conceived as a recording-only side project to Labbe’s former main band, Weigh Down. After Weigh Down ran its course, Labbe began dedicating more and more time to working on Snake Oil, in the process bringing in a dozen or so musicians to assist on the project. After a few months of production, the collective had finished a cache of recordings which ultimately formed the running order of Snake Oil’s fantastic self-titled debut album.

Self-released by the band this past Tuesday (June 7th) in vinyl and digital formats, Snake Oil is nothing short of a revelation for those unfamiliar with Labbe’s never-ending well of creativity. Beats (both acoustic and electronic) collide off bass grooves, guitars, keys, synths and percussion with utmost ease as if the instrumentation itself were always meant to be combined in this way. Equal parts funky and spacey, Snake Oil is the rare instrumental album that keeps your attention throughout and doesn’t let go until the final drum hit. Its as if your mind and ears have no other choice but to submit to the aural sermon that is Snake Oil, blindly following each snare roll and bass lick ad nauseam. No other God or stimulation required. Of course, this is not to suggest that Snake Oil overstays its welcome at all. At 9 tracks and just over 30 minutes, Snake Oil avoids the common instrumental album mis-step of overwhelming length, instead focusing on quality not quantity. And with a production this adept at sonic placement and attention to detail, each subsequent listen yields more rewards. Be sure to pick up a copy via the band’s website snakeoilsounds.com or at Redscroll Records. In addition, you can catch Snake Oil live next Friday, June 17th at Cafe Nine as they celebrate the album’s release with fellow locals Atrina and DJ Shaki.


Photo by Miss Angie Chambers

Old Man Lady Luck fit the definition of ‘power trio’ to the T. Featuring members of gonzo-riffsters like the Vultures, Bloarzeyd, Humanoid, Murdervan, The Black Noise Scam and Atrina, Old Man Lady Luck knows how to bring the rock (and also the roll). With this said, don’t expect to hear some kind of boogie-woogie old-time music or an endless barrage of guitar pyro-technics, these guys are HEAVY (with all caps). Inter-changing between funeral pace doom and mid-tempo evilness, Old Man Lady Luck succeeds well at keeping things interesting. Their willingness to experiment with and evolve their riffs especially helps to break up any monotony created by tempo and tone. Although all three members are locked in throughout, bassist Warren Brelsford and guitarist Phil Law seem particularly well paired, playing off each other with ease. In addition drummer Andre Roman’s propulsive percussive work never lets the band’s songs become too sedentary.

This past May, Old Man Lady Luck celebrated the release of their debut self-titled album with a now rare Sunday performance at New Haven’s BAR. Recorded in Chicago with legendary producer (sorry, ‘engineer’) Steve Albini (and mastered by Bob Weston), the album is comprised of six tracks, all untitled. The production and performance is warm, full and crisp, showcasing the band’s unique interplay and dirgy sound in a way that only Mr. Albini could capture well. Be sure to pick up a copy on vinyl via the band’s Bandcamp page or, if you need your fix quicker, download a digital copy free. Old Man Lady Luck will be performing tonight as part of a four band riff-fest at New Haven’s Cafe 9 along with Skeletons In The Piano, VRSA and Treebeard. Bring earplugs and a neck-brace.



Ideat Village Fundraiser and Rock Lottery Drawing @ Cafe 9, June 4th

So what is a ‘Rock Lottery’ anyway? A lottery with the winning prizes awarded in precious gems? A geologists idea of a crazy time? Or one of the most novel and popular events at last year’s Ideat Village festival which allowed New Haven musicians to form a new band, learn new songs, meet new people, play a show and break up all in two weeks time? If you answered the latter, you’re absolutely right.

Ideat Village’s Annual Fundraiser and Rock Lottery drawing takes over Cafe Nine this Saturday, June 4th. Featuring performances by Mayhem Circus Electric, The Wee Bees, The Suicide Dolls, Death Prayers, Doctor Dark and Fake Babies (most, if not all, of whom performed at last year’s festival), the annual event serves as a warning shot of sorts to the full-on festival which begins on Saturday, June 11th and ends on Sunday, June 26th. Now in its tenth year(!), Ideat Village was originally developed by co-organizers Bill Saunders and Nancy Shea as a local-centric alternative festival to the big money International Festival of Arts and Ideas, a mission which remains intact to this day. In contrast to the Arts and Ideas fest, Ideat Village focuses exclusively on local artists, musicians and filmmakers through a vast array of events, openings, exhibitions and concerts across New Haven, all funded through grassroots support and donations. As in year’s past, the duration of this year’s Ideat Village directly corresponds to the Arts & Ideas Fest, further underscoring its mission and focus.


Last year’s Rock Lottery winners, Lunch Ladies

This Saturday’s fundraiser also serves as drawing for the now annual Rock Lottery event. As previously stated, last year’s debut of the Rock Lottery proved wildly popular, drawing a large crowd to Yale’s GPSCY ballroom. Aside from its popularity, Rock Lottery also allowed local musicians, some of whom probably would have never performed together otherwise, to meet, create music and ultimately perform together on stage. Although this year’s Rock Lottery concert will instead be occurring at the newly renovated Rudy’s Bar (on Saturday, June 18th), you can bet the same spirit of musical spontaneity and community will be present. To those musicians too nervous participate in last year’s installment….don’t worry! Ultimately this event is all in the name of fun and building a sense of community in New Haven (a.k.a., no pressure!), two things we here at NHM agree with wholeheartedly (and you should too). Want to try it out? You can still sign up by e-mailing ideatvillage@snet.net. Please make sure to include what instrument you’d like to perform in your new Rock Lottery band. Further details can be found at the official Ideat Village website.

If When you go:

Ideat Village Fundraiser and Rock Lottery Drawing
w/Mayhem Circus Electric
The Wee Bees
The Suicide Dolls
Death Prayers
Doctor Dark
Fake Babies

Saturday, June 4th
@ Cafe Nine
250 State Street (at Crown Street), New Haven

8pm / 21+ / $6
All proceeds go to Ideat Village!



EULA (Record Release), M.T. BEARINGTON @ Cafe 9, April 29th

This Friday, April 29th Eula will be celebrating the release of their new record Maurice Narcisse with a show at New Haven’s “musician’s living room,” Cafe Nine.

Eula have been a mainstay in the New Haven music scene for several years now and, by sheer effort, have earned themselves the reputation as one of the hardest working bands in the state. Despite the fact that two-thirds of the band now reside in Brooklyn (guitarist/singer Alyse Lamb and drummer Nate Rose (aka DJ Booty Beats) moved there late last year), the trio (along with bassist Jeff Maleri) have long sworn their allegiance to the Elm City and continue to do so with regular area shows. Although releasing several demos and EPs throughout their 6+ years as a band (including 2009’s memorable Language of Threat EP), Maurice Narcisse is, surprisingly, Eula’s first full-length album. Clocking in a 10 tracks, Maurice Narcisse was first previewed by a 3 song demo (including the title track as well as songs ‘Dirty Hands’ and ‘Texas Stampede’) in October of last year. As the demos (and now record) indicate, Eula continues to grow musically, carving out a unique blend of jagged arrangements, spiky rhythms and hyperactive melodies that, although firmly rooted in post-punk defies easy classification. There is an almost child-like playfulness at work within their songs that distinguishes them from many of their contemporaries. What makes this playful abandon work though is the way in which it is tempered by the band’s super-tight rhythm section and by the brevity of the compositions (seldom do their songs last beyond three minutes). On top of their work ethic and drum-tight sound, Eula is also known for their kick-ass live show. Having just returned from a Midwest tour in support of the new record, the band should be in good form for Friday night.

Opening for Eula will be fellow Elm City stalwarts M.T. Bearington whose creative take on indie-pop and rock has gained them a significant reputation in their own right. Matt Thomas & co. recently released their acclaimed sophomore album Love Buttons on Safety Meeting Records (including limited edition vinyl!) so make sure to pick up a copy of that as well.

If When You Go:
EULA (Record Release)
M.T. BEARINGTON
@ Cafe 9

Friday, April 29th
9pm / 21+ / $5
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Renovation 9
January 3, 2011, 7:30 pm
Filed under: 21+, Music, News, Shows | Tags: , , , ,

Cafe 9, quite possibly the most consistent 21+ music venue in the area (both for the quality of its shows and for the sheer quantity of bands that grace its stage), will be closing its doors next week to undergo major renovations. Starting Monday, January 10th, the Nine will go dark for approximately 18 days (the venue’s show schedule reconvenes January 28th) while renovations are completed. What kind of renovations you ask? Well, according to sources in the know, changes will be made not only to the stage area (which will be enlarged) but also to the venue’s entrances (which will be reconfigured), bar (which will be moved further back from the stage) and restrooms (which will be completely redone). Rumors of the pending renovations have been circulating since this past Fall and will continue owner Paul Mayer’s gradual improvements to the venue in recent years (in addition to improvements to the stage and sound system, Mayer had previously removed the once burdensome divider wall near the bar). We hope to have pictures of Cafe 9’s new configuration up later in the month.

In the meantime, please check out the venue’s upcoming run of shows: 1/3 – Beatnik 2000 featuring Johnny Java, School Safety Patrol, Silver Bitch, 1/4 – Silver Alert Fugitive, Low Brow Boys, 1/5 – Loves It!, Jonny Rodgers, 1/6 – The Iguanas, The Bandidos, 1/7 – (5pm) Happy Hour w/Chuck Roscoe, 1/7 – (9pm) Sasquatch and the Sick-a-billys, The Egos, 1/8 – (4:30pm) Jazz Jam w/Gary Grippo, 1/8 – (9pm) Ponybird, Goodnight Blue Moon, MT Bearington (duo), 1/9 – Open Jam w/Cobalt Rhythm Kings.

Please visit the Cafe 9 website for information on any of its upcoming shows.



Benefit for Jamie Saxton w/Broken, The Vultures, Lord Fowl, Iron Hand @ Cafe 9, Sept. 25th
September 15, 2010, 8:00 am
Filed under: 21+, Benefit, CTIndie Posts, Music, Shows | Tags: , , , , , , ,


(Originally published on September 15, 2010 on CTIndie.com)

On Saturday, September 25th locals Broken, The Vultures, Lord Fowl and Iron Hand will be performing at Cafe Nine as part of a benefit show for local musician Jamie Saxton who is currently battling cancer.

From Safety Meeting Records head Carlos Wells:

“We’re doing up a benefit show for Jamie Saxton, longtime friend and area musician (of Beer Scouts of America, Five9Five, & Tijuana Hot Cocks), who is currently wrestling with cancer. Our hope is to put a lot of people in a room, get some good music going, some raffling, and some good times and hopefully our proceeds will help ease the burden on the Saxtons during an already difficult time. Please help spread the word and come down ready to drink, get rowdy, and win some prizes all for a really good cause. Show starts promptly at 9pm! So don’t show up at 10 thinking you’re not missing anything.”

There’s a $10 suggested donation for the show (or more if you can). In addition, there will be a raffle with prizes from a lot of New Haven area businesses including Firehouse 12, Haven Skate Park, Lovecraft Tattoo, and more.

Even if you don’t know Jamie, the show alone, featuring some of New Haven’s best punk and hard rock bands, should be well enough reason to get yourself to Cafe Nine on September 25th.

If When You Go:

Benefit for Jamie Saxton

BROKEN
THE VULTURES
LORD FOWL
IRON HAND

@ Cafe 9
Saturday, September 25th
9pm SHARP
$10 suggested donation



Elm City PopFest, Day One Review


(Originally published on May 25, 2010 on CTIndie.com)

On Friday, May 14th I made my way down to New Haven’s workhorse of a venue, Cafe Nine, to catch the first night of Elm City PopFest. Having attended the first Elm City PopFest this Fall I held high hopes for the evening.


(photo by Bob Rock)

After an initial difficulty finding parking nearby “the Nine” (a sure sign of solid attendance), I arrived just in time to miss the first song by openers, The Wee Bees. Although this was only their third show as a band, the quintet seemed to lock in relatively well on stage together; there were no obvious flubs or flaws that distracted the audience from the songs. While I wholeheartedly agree with some previous descriptions of the band’s music as “’80s- and ’90s-inspired shoegaze-meets-jangle pop,” I’d also argue that the Wee Bees also possessed a slight jazz influence, especially the singer/rhythm guitarist, who repeatedly changed guitar tunings throughout the set. Although the changes definitely helped vary the band’s sound, the tuning breaks themselves affected the overall flow of the set. During such interludes other Wee Bees began to tell jokes to fill in the time, which I feel initially worked well to break the ice a bit with the crowd. By the fourth tuning/joke break though it became more of a distraction than anything. Despite the interruptions, the Wee Bees even mix of mellow and upbeat indie pop was a decidedly good way to open the night and the festival.


(photo by Bob Rock)

Next up on the night’s billing was singer/songwriter Steven Deal. Deal’s brand of punky power pop has long been lauded in local press and I was excited that I finally got to catch one of his shows. In addition his backing band included some pretty accomplished local musicians in guitarist Chris Cretella (Goose Lane) and drummer Dave Parmelee (The Vultures, Atrina). From the get-go though, it seemed the crowd was not as excited as I was. Although each song and performance was solid through and through, Steven Deal & co. repeatedly failed to connect with the audience at large who at times seemed overwhelmed by the band’s volume and velocity. To me the lack of response by the crowd was unfortunate, as the band was putting a lot of energy into the performance especially Deal who, at one point, literally had to take a breather before diving into the next song. After a particularly energetic take on Deal’s “Caitlin’s Crying,” which he described as being written at the Cafe Nine bar “twenty years ago,” the band launched into a great cover of The Damned’s “New Rose,’ which also went over everyone’s head. It seems to me that on another night and another billing, Deal would have went over much better.


(photo by Bob Rock)

After a brief equipment change, the UK’s much anticipated Veronica Falls took the stage. Almost instantly, Cafe Nine was packed, with a significant crowd (for Cafe Nine) gathered near the stage to see the band’s first U.S. show. Where the Wee Bees were a bit mellow at times, and Steven Deal a bit hyper-charged, Veronica Falls relied heavily upon texture as well as a relentlessly driving beat. Somewhere in between the chords of non-stop guitar strumming and infinite floor tom, melody began to sneak out, usually led by a mix of male and female vocals from all four members.


(photo by Bob Rock)


(photo by Bob Rock)

Although they definitely weren’t hit-you-over-the-head power pop, with each chorus and melodic lift the songs slowly became hummable, working their way into your subconscious whether you liked it or not. Bands like the Jesus and Mary Chain, the Velvet Underground and My Bloody Valentine immediately sprang to mind, although the band was a bit more thrashy than all three. There was a palpable energy throughout, especially in the drums which seemed to get louder and more driving with each song. In terms of stage presence, the band seemed slightly awkward, even nervous at times (which makes sense given it was their first show stateside) although this didn’t seem to impede upon their performance. By the end of their set, the band finally seemed to lock in, even managing a few smiles. The crowd reaction to the band was strong, with several audience members even requesting an encore, although to no success. Overall, Veronica Falls impressed me, so much so that I would highly recommend them to anyone wanting to check out some great new music from the British Isles.


(photo by Bob Rock)

Last but not least on Elm City PopFest’s opening night was NYC’s Boy Genius. Somewhat of an honorary New Haven band due to their frequent appearances in the Elm City as of late, Boy Genius did not disappoint. Even from the beginning, the band was on fire, ripping through their set of catchy melodic pop tunes with abandon. The band seemed particularly happy to have guitarist Mr. Ray Neal (formerly of Miracle Legion, a.k.a., one of the band’s biggest influences) joining Boy Genius for their set, which without a doubt directly impacted the band’s stage presence and energy. Even as the crowd dwindled slightly due to the late hour (the band didn’t hit the stage until after 12:30), the quintet (including Neal) only seemed to strengthen in intensity. After a series of rockers, the band ended their set with a particularly long but particularly awesome jam (dedicated to one Jason Devin), thus sealing the first night of Elm City PopFest with a bang.


(Originally published on May 25, 2010 on CTIndie.com)


(photo by Bob Rock)

Despite some initial ups and downs, Elm City PopFest’s first night ended strongly and, overall, was a resounding success.

Be sure and catch the Elm City PopFest follow up show tomorrow night (May 26th) at Cafe Nine!



Elm City Popfest


(Originally published on May 11, 2010 on CTIndie.com)

Elm City Popfest returns this weekend for three days and 17 bands of indie-pop revelry. Following the success of the first Elm City Popfest this past November, festival organizer and Tweefort/February Records founder Danny Goodwin had to dig deeper this time around in order to top the original. Effectively doubling in size, this installment of Elm City Popfest offers a range of local, regional, national and even international talent. Also, in addition to Artspace (the original home of ECPF), there will be shows held at New Haven’s Cafe Nine. And as with the last ECPF, a portion of the proceeds generated by the festival will go to the aforementioned Artspace, a non-profit downtown gallery, venue and exhibition space. So what’s all the fuss about you ask? Well, here’s the breakdown…

Day One, Friday, May 14th @ Cafe Nine
Kicking off the festival will be a free, four band blowout at New Haven’s Cafe Nine featuring locals The Wee Bees and Steven Deal augmented by the UK’s Veronica Falls and NYC’s Boy Genius.

New Haven’s own The Wee Bees, featuring former members of Manchester By The Sea, The Caligulists and The Inclined Plane, start the evening with their brand of ’80s- and ’90s-inspired shoegaze-meets-jangle pop sound. Although its only been two months since their live debut at March’s Artspace Underground, The Wee Bees have quickly established themselves as one of the better ‘new’ bands in New Haven.

Following the Wee Bees will be one of New Haven’s more established singer/songwriters, Steven Deal. Having toured the country fronting bands like Bleached Black, Chopper, The Absolute Zeros and The Naomi Star, Deal recently returned from a 10+ year songwriting hiatus to deliver his debut solo album ‘Radio Twelve’ this past January. Backed by a band featuring members of The Vultures, Goose Lane, The Naomi Star and Requiem In White, among others, you can bet Deal & co. are going to rip it up well.

Next up on the billing is UK’s Veronica Falls. Making their stateside debut at this show, Veronica Falls has received a relatively heavy amount of press for their recent Captured Tracks 7″ ‘Found Love In A Graveyard.’ Described as ‘a bit of goth, ..some surf..and a heavy dose of shoegaze with pop vocal harmonies,’ Veronica Falls should fit in quite well with the evening’s lineup. Be sure to check these guys (and gals) out.

Last but not least will be NYC’s Boy Genius. Now a veteran of several Tweefort/February Records shows, Boy Genius have shown that they can write a good tune and play it well. Joining Boy Genius will be none other than Mr. Ray Neal, best known for his work with seminal Elm City jangle-pop band Miracle Legion. Ray most recently joined the band for a song at their April performance at Rudy’s. For this show, Mr. Neal will be performing with Boy Genius for their entire set, surely something that does not happen everyday.

For fans of jangle-pop, shoegaze or just plain good music, Elm City Popfest’s first night should do the trick, starting off the festival well on a fittingly upbeat and memorable note.

Day Two, ‘DAY’, Friday, May 15th @ Artspace
Day Two sees the festival moving up Crown Street to Artspace, a great downtown gallery/space that has been at its current location since 2002. Here the Popfest truly begins to ‘pop,’ as nine bands perform throughout the day. Separated into distinct ‘Day’ and ‘Night’ billings, both offer up some great bands no matter how you cut it.

Starting off the ‘Day’ portion of the festivities will New London’s Roadside Attractions. One of several New London supergroups now prowling Connecticut clubs, Roadside Attractions combine a unique blend of jazz, americana, pop and even folk into a sound that must be heard. Currently promoting the release of their new EP ‘Whispers’ on New London’s Cosmodemonic Telegraph label, Roadside Attractions start off the day strong.

Next up on the schedule is New Haven’s The Fictional West. Riding the release of their ‘Giant Clouds’ single earlier this year on Tweefort Records, the Fictional West count as influences artists like U2, The Smiths and The Magnetic Fields. With a mix of serious and satirical lyrical themes, the quartet has, however unwittingly, done well in re-creating late 80’s indie-pop. As the Sugar Sours blog accurately pointed out, ‘No lie, the Giant Clouds single sounds like it could have been sent in to NME and gotten lost in the post for 20 years.’

Following locals Roadside Attractions and the Fictional West, Elm City Popfest goes all windy city on us with the arrival of Chicago’s Midstates and Panda Riot. Currently on tour together, Midstates and Panda Riot collectively bring a psychedelic edge to the proceedings. Midstates (also known as Midstates & The Choir of Ghosts), approach their music with a more ‘space-pop’ bent whereas Panda Riot have seemingly perfected ‘swirl-pop’ a.k.a. shoegazer inspired indie-pop that at times is almost danceable. In either case, the tandem should feel right on home at ECPF.

Following the Chicago invasion, Elm City Popfest returns to its roots with an always anticipated hometown performance by EULA. Quite possibly the hardest working indie-rock band in New Haven, EULA has continually sharpened its lacerating brand of indie-pop/shoegaze/punk into an ever finer point over the past few years. Each show by the band seems to top the last, not an easy feat by a band that plays as many shows as they do. Still coming off their opening slot supporting post-punk legend Mission Of Burma last Fall, one would be ill-advised to miss this performance by EULA, and that means you.

Finishing off the ‘Day’ half Day Two’s festivities is Danbury, CT’s The Field Recordings. Garnering a substantial amount of press since their debut last year, The Field Recordings are a indie rock/pop trio that, from all accounts, seem to vary their live sound depending on the context of the billing. On record, the Field Recordings sound a bit more edgy than one would expect. Regardless, they’ve been creating some of the most interesting indie rock coming out of Connecticut lately and are well worth the price of admission alone.

Overall, the ‘Day’ portion of ECPF, Day Two covers the indie-pop bases well. Despite the fact that it starts at 2:30 in the afternoon, you’d be hard pressed to find a better lineup anywhere in the state, no matter what the start time.

Day Two, ‘NIGHT,’ Saturday, May 15th
After about an hour interlude following the conclusion of the ‘Day’ billing, part two (a.k.a. the ‘Night’ billing) of Elm City PopFest, Day Two kicks off featuring Procedure Club, The Secret History and The Butterflies of Love.

New Haven’s own Procedure Club starts off the evening’s festivities with their noisy brand of too rough to be cutesy, too cutesy to be rough, drum machine indie pop. Procedure Club have created a significant buzz lately, especially following their performance at the last Shaki Presents @ BAR show this past December. Having recently signed to Slumberland Records, you can expect their debut album to be released this June. In the meantime, check them out at ECPF before they become huge.

Next up on the ECPF evening showcase is NYC’s The Secret History. Featuring former members of My Favorite and Mick Ronson’s daughter, the Secret History have made a name for themselves writing some mighty catchy pop songs ‘about ghosts and monsters and sometimes Italy’ (at least according to the band’s MySpace page). The band’s debut album was recently released this past March on Le Grand Magistery so be sure to check it out.

Closing out Day Two of the ECPF will be New Haven’s own The Butterflies of Love. Although relatively inactive in recent years, the Butterflies reformed for the Mark Mulcahy ‘Ciao My Shining Star’ tribute shows. The quintet liked the shows so much that they decided to play more, including this headlining slot at PopFest. A favorite of the late John Peel, The Butterflies of Love have released several records on the Fortuna POP! label in the UK to much acclaim over the years. Having had the opportunity to see them during their original run some years back, I’d have to say it would be well worth the wait to check them out.

In the end, Day Two of Elm City PopFest creates one the best original pop/indie rock billings seen in New Haven in quite some time. With the mix of great local, regional, national and even international artists contributing, there’s plenty here for everyone.

Day Three, Wednesday, May 26th @ Cafe Nine
Although 11 days separate Day Two and Three, this ‘follow-up’ show (as its being advertised) certainly does not diminish the quality and/or energy of the festival. Performing will be the UK’s Allo Darlin’ and Horowitz, as well as Brooklyn/New Haven’s The Tyler Trudeau Attempt and Women’s Basketball.

Kicking off the evening will be the UK’s Allo Darlin’ and Horowitz. A late addition to the PopFest lineup, Allo Darlin’ ‘can turn a room in a famous punk venue into a joyous, jumping, sweaty, pop-mosh pit. Or bring a room of 500 to hushed silence with the few strums of a ukulele and a love song about cooking.’ Such all-encompassing command of the audience is hard to come by and, in addition tho their rock solid pop songs, a major reason to check this band out. Following Allo Darlin’ are fellow Brits Horowitz. Bringing a more fuzzy, danceable bent to the typical indie-pop model, Horowitz have received some pretty glowing press praising the band’s flare for super-sweet vocals and melodies, a sure sign that they do indeed belong on this billing.

Closing out the night (and the festival), will be the two projects of singer/songwriter Tyler Trudeau. First up will be the Tyler Trudeau Attempt, an amalgam of New Haven scene veterans (including myself). Although I am not at liberty to really comment on the Attempt (y’know, since I play drums in this band), the New Haven Advocate is and has said of the band: ‘TTA looks back to the roots of punk and finds something immensely energetic, often hilarious and always political. On top of that, it’s catchy as hell.’

Trudeau’s newer project, Women’s Basketball, will be making its much anticipated live debut at ECPF. What initially started out as a one-off, purely-for-fun project has quickly gained a lot of press attention. The band’s debut album ‘An Octopus, But Like, An Octopus With Massive Wings and Junk’, released earlier this year on Tweefort Records, has in particular gained a lot of positive reviews and its easy to see why. With an omnipresent drum machine beat and often tongue n’ cheek lyrics, Trudeau breaks free from his own songwriting conventions to create a fun, catchy and often more engaging (and revealing) record than his main band’s previous EP (which I didn’t play on). It should be interesting to see how this all plays out live but, knowing Trudeau, it will probably come off well.

So that’s it folks! Surely one of the better festivals in recent memory. But enough of me telling you what to do, its time for you to check it out for yourself on Friday May 14th, Saturday May 15th and Wednesday, May 26th. Don’t miss this one!

Elm City PopFest Lineup:

Day One – Friday, May 14th
9:30 The Wee Bees (New Haven)
10:30 Steven Deal (Milford, CT)
11:30 Veronica Falls (UK)
12:30 Boy Genius (NYC) feat. Mr. Ray Neal (of Miracle Legion)
@ Cafe Nine
doors 9pm / FREE / 21+

Day Two (DAY) – Saturday, May 15th
2:30 Roadside Attractions (New London, CT)
3:15 The Fictional West (New Haven)
4:00 Midstates (Chicago)
4:45 Panda Riot (Chicago)
5:30 EULA (New Haven)
6:15 The Field Recordings (Danbury, CT)
@ Artspace
doors 2pm / $5 / ALL-AGES

Day Two (NIGHT) – Saturday, May 15th
8:30 Procedure Club (New Haven)
9:15 The Secret History (NYC)
10:00 The Butterflies of Love (New Haven)
@ Artspace
doors 8pm / $5 / ALL-AGES

Day Three – Wednesday, May 26th
9:00 Allo Darlin’ (UK)
9:45 Horowitz (UK)
10:30 The Tyler Trudeau Attempt (Brooklyn/New Haven)
11:15 Women’s Basketball (Brooklyn/New Haven)
@ Cafe Nine
doors 8:30pm / FREE / 21+

For more information on Elm City PopFest, check out the official festival blog at http://elmcitypopfest.wordpress.com.



Kimono Draggin’, Straight To VHS @ Cafe Nine – May 13th
May 5, 2010, 8:00 am
Filed under: 21+, CTIndie Posts, Music, Shows | Tags: , , , ,


(Originally published on May 5, 2010 on CTIndie.com)

The carnage continues at Cafe Nine next Thursday, May 13th with another killer billing featuring local rockers Kimono Draggin’ (New Haven) and Straight To VHS (New London).

Kimono Draggin’ have long been producing some of the most original music on the local scene. Zappa/Beefheart fans to the bone, Kimono Draggin’s brand of intricate avante-art-rock builds upon their influences and then some. On their latest discs ‘We Are The Dudes’ and ‘Space Orphans,’ the trio careens from song to song in a blur of bouncy melodies, off-the-wall musicianship, complete band freakouts and tongue and cheek arrangements. Each song is an adventure of sound and insanity, the listener never quite sure where they’ll end up once the band takes hold. Live the band translates surprisingly well given the complexity of their material, often surpassing their studio recordings with sheer energy and unpredictability. If you’ve yet to catch Kimono Draggin’, its high time you did.

Although not quite as acutely weird as Kimono Draggin’, New London’s Straight To VHS should fill out the billing well. The band’s reckless garage-rock (and really what other kind of garage-rock is there?) contains an inherent energy that is hard to describe but easy to experience. Released earlier this year, Straight To VHS’s self-titled EP is definitely worth a listen, especially lead-off tracks ‘Hey’ and ‘Self-Titled’ which rank up their with the Estrogen Highs as some of the best pure garage rock Connecticut has seen in a while. For fans of rock n’ roll at its most primal, Straight To VHS most definitely brings it home.

Overall this show should be a flippin’ mess, and you should will kick yourself if you’re not there.

Consider this a warning.

If When You Go:
Thursday, May 13th
Kimono Draggin’
Straight To VHS
@
Cafe Nine
21+ / 9:30pm / FREE