Catching up with The L's 8 Bands from 2008
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
It wasn't until Pitchfork declared their full-length debut "Best New Music" that all hell broke loose for the Pains, helping them to become "one of the most talked-about pop bands in years" (says their publicist). They've been covered by everyone from Newsweek to your cousin's girlfriend's blog, played 14 in-demand shows at SXSW, and are headed on an exhaustive European tour in May. Rolling Stone
even took a break from covering Paul McCartney to give their album 3.5 stars; we're pretty sure our Moms have heard of them by now, and yet they continue to sign emails with "<3 <3 <3" and remain adorable.
Because the world was lacking a musical about a Civil War soldier aspiring to be a science-fiction writer who befriends a famed mathematician, the Lisps forged their vaudevillian indie-pop into a stage show. Futurity premiered at the Zipper Factory
in January with two sold-out performances. It returns to the stage this May with a four-show residency at Joe's Pub
, allowing just enough in-between time for the band to record songs from the musical and start prepping a new Lisps album.
While they may have had a head start going into last year's Need to Hear issue with a hefty amount of buzz, there was no telling what was in store once High Places signed to Thrill Jockey last summer. Their early singles were released in July as 03/07-09/07; and a self-titled full-length followed in September, cracking the 'Fork's "Best 50 Albums of 2008" list. They've toured the globe pretty much constantly, heading to Europe with Deerhunter, playing the Pitchfork Music Festival, wrapping up another European spree recently, and heading to South America in May. Somewhere in there they relocated to L.A., but we forgive them.
A few months ago La Strada started writing and recording a half a dozen French songs. "There's no rhyme or reason to it, really," they said. The project was recently put on hiatus though, in order for them to start work on their full-length debut. Smart move, if the press they received for their six-song EP is any indication. With loads of local support -- everyone from FREEwilliamsburg to the NY Press
got on board -- the band has been playing a continuous run of shows around the area. Currently, they're traversing the U.S. supporting Bowerbirds.
People across the board pretty much flipped their shit after hearing Violens' single "Violent Sensation Descends." Not only did SPIN
's Charles Aaron rank it among the "20 Best Songs of 2008," but it helped land their name in NME, Time Out, Interview and Stereogum, to name a few. The band's been hunkered down in the studio recording their debut LP for Cantora Records, but only after playing a bout of sold-out shows opening for MGMT overseas, touring with Grizzly Bear, and releasing a self-titled EP in March.
Thanks largely to their balls-to-the-wall approach to touring, Team Robespierre has stayed visible all year. From sweaty Bushwick basements to the 6,000-capacity McCarren Park Pool
, they kicked and screamed and drank their way through one head-spinning show after another for the annual F Yeah Fest and played 28 shows in 27 days.
Other projects have kept Famous Amos busy, but their talent is not going unnoticed. Following last year's issue, Earwax Records, Sound Fix and Other Music stocked the band's self-released Maelstrom of Love
EP. From there, lead singer/guitarist Jason Amos played some solo shows and has been keeping busy running the Death by Audio effects pedal company/show space/record label alongside fellow Famous Amosian Matt Conboy, who started a band called Sisters. They're awesome. You must listen to them. Meanwhile, bassist Liane Moccia has been providing her talents to the absurdly underrated folk-inflected band, Joe & the Flying Spoons.
This Is Ivy League
The time commitment Ryland Blackinton and Alex Suarez have to their bread-and-butter band, the Pete Wentz-approved/L Magazine-mocked Cobra Starship, is pretty intense. All year long, they've been selling out venues with "arena" and "pavilion" in their name. Nonetheless, the duo managed to squeeze in some time for their pet project with an April '08 show at the Knitting Factory
. After their video for "London Bridges" was singled out by the 'Fork, This Is Ivy League's year ended with a shout-out in the Village Voice
's revered Pazz & Jop poll, and their name was right next to Vampire Weekend's, which we guess is something.