So, here's the thing about Northside: Much as we'd like to take credit for the whole damn thing, we really only booked a small percentage of the 350-odd bands that are playing. The rest of the work is done by our wonderful showcase presenters. And it just goes to show you how wonderful and on top of their shit they truly are that some of them booked bands we'd never heard of. Turns out, to the surprise of no one at all, a lot of those bands are really, really good. Here's a sampling of some we're looking forward to checking out for the first time.
Electro-pop duo Bermuda Bonnie picked up and left their native Philadelphia earlier this year, choosing instead to set up shop here in Brooklyn. Their peculiar, super-catchy brand of lighthearted electronic pop music should do just fine here: while their sense of style is impeccable, their sense of melody is even better. Chief songwriter Rebecca Houston posted a call for new bandmates on their MySpace blog a few months back. Here's hoping they got a good response. If they didn't, well, they should now.
Bermuda Bonnie plays the Brooklyn Based showcase at Bar Matchless on Friday night, and the Se�ƒ±ors Music showcase at Cameo Gallery on Sunday night.
The druggy haze that has taken over so much of Brooklyn's indie rock scene has largely been a total drag-not because there's anything inherently bad about drugged-out haziness or noise, but because there hasn't been nearly enough in terms of melody—or, for that matter, smart arrangements—for it to seem like much of anything. Cut to Slow Animal, a New Jersey-based duo that does blaring, psych-tinged noise-rock that's dreamy and hard-hitting.
Slow Animal play the We Listen For You showcase at Glasslands on Saturday night.
Boy Without God
Boy Without God is the solo recording project of Boston native, Queens-based Gabriel Birnbaum, a folk-minded singer-songwriter with apparent allegiances to Nick Drake and the vastly underrated Hayden-his songs are loose, floppy almost, but grounded by deep, commanding vocals. Acoustic guitar is ever-present, of course, but it's joined on record by saxophone, clarinet, trombone, and sporadic percussion, all to excellent effect. Don't let the singer-songwriter thing scare (bore) you away: Birnbaum will more than hold your attention.
Boy Without God plays the Ampeater Music and QRO Magazine showcae at Bar Matchless on Sunday night.
Oakland-based duo Woom are releasing their debut full-length via Ba Da Bing Records next week, and we're hoping the world won't sleep on it. Because the world, you see, can always use more smart, pleasantly disjointed pop music. The record is called Muu's Way, and it will appeal to fans of Micachu and the Shapes and High Places-it's playful, strange, and completely refreshing, the kind of record you'll want to play over and over again, all summer.
Woom play the Chocolate Bobka showcase at Shea Stadium on Saturday night.
Considering the likelihood that you will get very, very drunk multiple times (per day) during Northside, it's perfectly appropriate, convenient even, that Brooklyn's Family Trees make what is some of the most effective hangover music you've ever heard-it's sort of foggy and a little bit messed up, with traces of last night's carefree fun still popping up from time to time, forcing a reluctant smile and maybe, just maybe, another swig of whatever's closest.
Family Trees play the We Listen for You showcase at Glasslands on Saturday night.
Ok, so we did actually book this one, but we seriously just found out about them: Young Mammals is a four-piece from Houston that plays tightly wound, almost 90s-style indie rock that's never exactly straightforward, with squiggly keyboard and "mmm-bop-boo" backing vocals that keep things interesting. The hooks are abundant, and if you're inclined to dance at rock shows, you could do much worse than this.
Young Mammals play Public Assembly on Sunday night.
We are vibing on these guys something awful right now and it feels great. Beloved Rogue is a three-piece from Brooklyn, and they do this dark, meandering indie rock thing that is strangely, happily reminiscent of the mighty Seam. The vocals, though, are surprisingly airy and reverb-heavy, giving the whole thing a nice contrast in tones. One imagines their live show will be very loud. Or one hopes, anyway.
Beloved Rogue play the I Rock I Roll showcase at Bar Matchless on Saturday night.