Tonight in Seattle:  

Popfests

NYC Popfest 2011 :: recap!

photo by Steve Louie

The fifth anniversary of NYC Popfest kicked off with a sold-out show at the Cake Shop with headliners the Pains of Being Pure at
Heart
, who were announced to the opening night bill only a week before the start of the festival. (Talk about a pleasant surprise!) Pet Milk {hailing from Philadelphia} started the night in strong fashion, belting out amiable noisey-garage pop tracks. The impending rumour that May 21st would be the end of the world didn’t stop Pet Milk from playing an upbeat catchy pop number called “Christian Solicitors,” which managed to making us feel like it wouldn’t be a bad thing if they were one of the last bands we ever saw.

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It's Popfest time: NYC Popfest 2011

PopFest season is soon upon us!

The first of many PopFests happening this year is the NYC Popfest, taking place from May 19th to 22nd. Now it's in 5th year, the lineup looks incredible with fantastic pop bands from the US along with bands from the UK, Sweden, Australia, Canada and Japan. And it's not too late to find a last minute sale train or plane ticket and join me there! Full Festival passes and show tickets are still available.

There's too many to name but really stoked to see the likes of Betty & the Werewolves (UK), Soda Shop (NYC), Dream Diary (NYC), the Felt Tips (UK), Silver Swans (SF) and Procedure Club (CT) and always a crowd favourite, Go Sailor (US). Also, just announced is the FREE all ages daytime show on Friday, May 20th at the Paul Smith Sale Shop in Brooklyn with Ian & Emma of Pocketbooks (UK) and Rose Melberg.

The NYC Popfest will take place all over the city (and isn't it beautiful this time of year?) at various venues throughout the city including the Cameo Gallery, Spike Hill, Santos, the Rock Shop and the legendary Cake Shop. Oh man, the Cake Shop. Is this for real? You can have your cake and pop music too?!

I'll be there with camera and notepad in hand, so if you can't make it (are you sure?), check back at tig and I'll recap all the amazingness.





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Athens Popfest roundup: 5 days of awesome

biggest fuckin stage

{a rare Popfest sight - an empty 40 Watt, by Rich Guiterrez}

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Athens Popfest is always the best week of the year for indie pop nerds, and this year was no exception. Think five days straight of raging shows, surrounded by so many old and new favorite bands and your "camp buddies" you only see once a year + 100 (or more) degree heat and southern humidity + cheap booze + insane nerdery. All I can really say is that it was epic, for so many reasons. Here are a few highlights.

Top five favorite bands:
1. Go Sailor
There was kind of no way that this wasn't going to be my favorite, as I'm a die hard Go Sailor fan, but their set was amplified by me and about 20 other die hard Go Sailor fans screaming along every word to every song. You just can't buy that kind of camaraderie and sense of community. At that moment, Go Sailor were our Beatles. We spent the whole set singing specific favorite lyrics to each other and jumping up and down and dancing our asses off. I consequently spent the rest of popfest without a voice. It was totally worth it. Their whole set was recorded and is on youtube, but here's my favorite song of the set "A Fine Day For Sailing". (That's us in the background.)

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Latest comment by: Candice - Team Clermont: "I didn't know you guys were in town! I work at the 40 Watt too! Thanks for posting about the club and PopFest! It was super fun."

Athens Popfest countdown: Apples In Stereo

photo from the popfest websiteIn all this hubub of getting ready to leave for popfest, I keep forgetting that one of my all time favorite bands, The Apples In Stereo, are playing! I've been so focused on learning about all of the bands that I didn't previously know about, just so I wouldn't miss something by accident, that it's hardly registered that Friday night will close out with the wonderful stylings of Elephant 6 legends. When everyone gushes about their undying love of Neutral Milk Hotel and Olivia Tremor Control and all related projects of those bands, all I can think about is how much I love the Apples (OK, I've probably just lost friends for admitting that on the internet).

I'm pretty much a sucker for anything that rips off the Beatles and 60's psych-pop well, and Robert Schneider of the Apples in Stereo does it better than anyone. While his love songs are often about space (and sometimes time travel), it still feels incredibly heartfealt. While the new Apples stuff delves way more into an ELO territory, it's still completely amazing and his pop genius still shines through all the vocoder. I'll have to stretch beforehand to make sure I can dance my ass off all night.

There are too many Apples favorites to pick just one, but this clip of perrenial live favorite "Ruby", which generally features guest vocals by whatever friends are there (in this case, TIG favorites Poison Control Center and Fishboy), completely embodies the true spirit of Athens Popfest (though it was not recorded there): playing music with and for your friends and other like-minded folks. It envariably ends up in a crazy dance party.

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Latest comment by: Aaron Wheeler: "I love these guys as well! Have you listened to their opener, Fol Chen? Great stuff. See you there!"

Athens Popfest countdown: Witches would be right at home in the NW

photo by Mike White/Deadly DesignsUp next in the bands I'm chomping at the bit to see at Athens Popfest are Athens locals Witches, another band I hadn't heard until I saw them on the Popfest lineup. While they have the unfortunate slot of last on Wednesday night (an all day 2pm-2am run at the smaller venue, Little Kings), I know I'll be pounding the widely available vats of iced unsweet tea and pacing myself on the Little Kings drink special ($4 Makers Mark and Blendheim's ginger ale!) to be able to make it to 1am not too worn out and tipsy to properly enjoy Witches.

I've been listening to their myspace page for a few weeks now, but have been struggling with  how to describe them without too much ridiculous (and inaccurate) hyperbole, and the best I've come up with is a touch of mid-tempo late period Sleater-Kinney mixed with Silkworm's interpretations of Neil Young. Their popfest bio just says "Think: WIPERS, NIRVANA, DEAD MOON, THE BREEDERS, NEIL YOUNG, BEYONCE" and honestly, that's pretty accurate.

Check out this video with live audio and scenes from their performance at a Mexican restaurant in Athens.

{photo by Mike White/Deadly Designs from the Athens Popfest website}

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Athens Popfest countdown: My not-so-introverted romance with P.S. Eliot

Last summer, I was on tour for 2 months, and for several weeks, we arrived in town after town (and often, to the same venue) the day after Birmingham, AL's P.S. Eliot, just missing them. I should have known better, that if my peers loved this band so much that I would too, and should have instantly gone out to pick up their record Introverted Romance In Our Troubled Minds, but for some reason, I shelved that thought and spent an unfortunate year not in love with P.S. Eliot.

Finally, when I heard they were playing Athens Popfest, I made a point of listening to their vinyl only album at Jigsaw Records, and was blown away. I must confess, female fronted pop punk is among my absolute favorite genres of music, especially when it's peppered with well-worded heartfealt lyrics about love and life, and P.S. Eliot fits that bill exactly, creating poppy/punky 90's twinged indie rock along the lines of a more Southern but just as angsty The Glass Intact-era Sarge. Here's an acoustic version of the song that's been stuck in my head all day "We'd Never Agree".

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Imaginary Mixtape {August 2010}: Lost at the festival, where could they be?

Imaginary Mixtape Podcast

Lost at the festival, where could they be?
At any ole place where the wi-fi is free.

It's true, our favorite part of the summer is the avalanche of festival possibilities. There's little better in the world than dozens of your new favorite bands playing one after the other on a sunny day in an exotic locale. This edition of the Imaginary Mixtape we share tracks from some of the cutest bands playing the Athens Popfest {August 10-14 in Athens, GA} and take a consoling look back at the amazing Indietracks festival line up {takes place each year at the end of July in the UK - fingers crossed next year we can make the trip?}. But, we start off the podcast looking at some awesome August events in Seattle. Get ready to mark up your calendars!

You can listen to a stream or download the MP3 version of the podcast on the imaginary bandcamp page. Bandcamp prohibits tracks longer than 25 minutes {I think it's some regulation against jam bands?}, so the podcast is split into three sections for those that like to listen via the bandcamp stream.

PART 1: Preview of some Seattle shows and events in August

PART 2: Athens Popfest preview

PART 3: Looking back at the UK festival, Indietracks

 

If you are the type that likes to listen to podcasts in itunes, download the .m4a file here {one single file with fancy chapters even!} and then open it in your itunes {Thanks to Jigsaw Records for hosting it!}.

Tracklisting: Imaginary Mixtape - August 2010:

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Athens Popfest countdown: Standard Fare is my new favorite band

photo from the bar/none website

{photographer of adorable photo unknown, but from the Bar/None website}

Holy moly! Athens Popfest is just over a week away! I'm spotlighting a handful of bands that I'm most excited to see. Let's kick off with my most anticipated band, Standard Fare.

From the first moment I heard the drum clicks into a perfect Johnny Marr-esque guitar jangle into the line "You're only 15/what was I thinking?" from the song “Fifteen”, I was hooked on Sheffield indie pop trio Standard Fare. Combining swooning boy/girl vocals and guitar lines ripped from 90's alt-rock bands (in a good way) with heartbreakingly sincere and simple lyrics, Standard Fare's debut album The Noyelle Beat is one of the best debuts I've heard in ages.

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Latest comment by: Anonymous: "Not bad but I wouldn't call that "Johnny Marr-esque" guitar. It's pretty standard fare (haha) indie pop. Marr was much more complex of a player. "

Imaginary Mixtape: NYC and SF Popfest edition {May 2010}

2010 Popfest

May is a magical month here in Seattle. We've got spots of sun teasing us with summer promises, Sasquatch anticipation running rampant, and the warm glows of SIFF oozing with the best international indie films. There's only one reason we'd ever want to leave our emerald city bubble during this sweet spot of the year... a good ole fashioned PopFest!

This year, the month of May brought with it two very enticing reasons to head elsewhere: The New York City Popfest {May 20-23, 2010} and the San Francisco Popfest {May 27-30, 2010}. To mark these special events, we've gathered up some of our favorite songs by folks playing these festivals which includes a couple cover songs, a not-yet-released Math & Physics Club song and some rarities to up the popfest ante.  If you were one of the lucky folks that caught any of the NYC or SF Popfest shows, let us know how it went!

***Listen to the Imaginary Popfest Podcast MP3***
{To download the podcast, right click on the link above
and save to your computer}

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Latest comment by: d-bee: "A collection of videos I found from the NYC Popfest 2010 - Tender ...

Athens Popfest 2010 lineup announced

Today is like Christmas morning for indie pop nerds. Today, I am giddy as hell because THE ATHENS POPFEST LINEUP HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED! I've compared Athens Popfest before to indie pop summer camp, but basically, it's the best week out of the year for anyone who loves indie pop. And this year, I think they've really done it with the lineup:

The Wedding Present, Mission of Burma, Apples In Stereo, Go Sailor, Circulatory System, Oh-OK (early Athens greatness), Joe Jack Talcum (Dead Milkmen), Nana Grizol, BOAT, Cars Can Be Blue, Poison Control Center, Gold-Bears, Dream Diary, Eux Autres, Afternoon Naps, World Atlas, Your Heart Breaks and more. Complete lineup after the jump. Commence freaking out and immediately buying plane tickets now. Check out complete band bios here.

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