Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Three shows with eight breakout bands that won't break your bank, mid-July in Northampton

Titus Andronicus, Hallelujah The Hills, and Whirl in the Pearl Street Clubroom Sunday, July 11th at 8:30
Titus Andronicus (above with ball) is an punk rock / indie rock band from Glen Rock, New Jersey formed in 2005. The group takes its name from the Shakespeare play Titus Andronicus. Their debut album, The Airing of Grievances has received widespread acclaim. The album's loud, heavily distorted guitars are influenced by the shoegaze genre, while the lyrics and song titles are references to various books and other forms of entertainment (such as the album title, from the Seinfeld episode, "The Strike", about Festivus). Titus Andronicus' second album, The Monitor, was released this March, the same month that Rolling Stone named them one of the 10 Best New Bands of 2010. At the Pearl Street show, the band expand into an eight-piece, complete with cello, keyboards, and horn players borrowed from tour openers Hallelujah the Hills. Considering that they already did a pretty amazing job conveying the heft and majesty of The Monitor onstage as a quintet, this should be pretty awesome.

Hallelujah the Hills, has quickly become one Boston’s most heralded bands on the crowded local scene. The band have garnered well-deserved high praise from such acclaimed sources as Pitchfork and The Village Voice for their recently released album, Collective Psychosis Begone. The band describes their musical influences as 'starting with the ‘Anthology of American Folk Music’ and ending up at the Talking Heads and Guided by Voices.’

Whirl featuring members of local youngbloods Who Shot Hollywood open the evening at 8:30.

Bear in Heaven, Twin Sister, and Mountain Man, at the Iron Horse Wednesday, July 14th at 8:30
Bear in Heaven (above) have trapped echos, tremors, winds, and fading light. They’ve redefined time, and folded it. They’ve unbuttoned sound, and realigned it. Within four walls in Brooklyn they mined the democracy of their collaboration, plus the endless hours of streamofconsciousness recorded documentation of rehearsals over the past years, to conceive the crystalline form of Beast Rest Forth Mouth, their second album whose title references the four main navigational directions. Bear in Heaven's greatest trick is creating music that evokes the sort of physicality and scope that could soundtrack a Hollywood film, but also works equally well at stirring up intimate bodily passion. Lush synth beds, warm electronics accenting polyrhythms, and Jon Philpot's yearning, boyish howl coalesce into a vibe that's muscular without being macho, and which strikes a rare balance between nuanced emotion and overwhelming sensation. Their song "Lovesick Teenagers" was named one of the 100 Best Tracks of 2009 by Pitchfork.

Twin Sister (black and white, above) create the kind of buzzy hypnotic pop you’ve been dreaming about since Galaxie 500 fizzled, cut with Tusk-era Fleetwood Mac thump, and a shot of David Lynchian weirdness for good measure. They’re slack yet focused, a spark in the dark distance on a desert highway where speed is relative. Formed in Long Island two years ago, the band has lately been wooing fans and critics alike, with glowing write ups in Chocolate Bobk, Pitchfork, Stereogum, Said the Gramophone, My Old Kentucky Blog, and dozens more, all on the strength of a free debut EP. Their first official release is “Color Your Life” on Infinite Best Recordings.
See the name Mountain Man and you think immediately of those burly check-shirted back-porch Americana types with beards that you read about in certain monthly magazines with a penchant for alt country. In fact, Mountain Man (above) are distinctly lacking in facial hair, but they are currently receiving rapturous acclaim in those self-same journals for their sparse, near a cappella music of haunting, hymnal beauty. Yeah, a group of three girls called Mountain Man. They sound as old as the hills and as current as some micro-genre that doesn't have a stupid name yet. With woodsy acoustic guitars and lilting, reverbed harmonies, the Bennington, Vt.-based trio of Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, and Amelia Randall Meath set up camp between the old-timey lilt of Alela Diane or Fleet Foxes and the laid-back lo-fi vibes of Underwater Peoples pals like Real Estate or Julian Lynch.

Suckers, Dom at the Iron Horse Thursday, July 15th at 10PM

Brooklyn's Suckers (above with balloons) play shows that are wild affairs featuring primal beats, future sounds, trumpet blasts, religious truths and the sheer enjoyment of three one-man bands playing together. They added a drummer and hit their stride, packing local venues and sharing bills with friends and kindred spirits in Yeasayer, MGMT, Bear In Heaven, Chairlift and Real Estate. Those same audiences and a nationwide mass of new converts found themselves fully enmeshed in Suckers’ lush tapestry of joyous pop, style and imagination on their self-titled debut EP (produced by Yeasayer’s Anand Wilder), released in April of 2009. The EP —and its hit single, “It Gets Your Body Movin’”—launched them to global acclaim via outlets such as Rolling Stone, NME, NPR, Nylon, Under The Radar, Stereogum, Interview and many more. The song is an arm-in-armer, a slow-burning summer anthem whose titular chorus demanded you sing along even if you weren't surrounded by friends. The guitars were light and clean, but you could smell the booze on every single member's breath, from the first chant to the wide-mouthed coda. Now that song sits at the halfway point of Wild Smile, Suckers' first full-length and an effort that bubbles with the same wingnut energy that debut EP did. Its homestretch is still a revelation, and it's not the only one to be found herein. Wild Smile is wild indeed, the band's aesthetic and feel summed up perfectly by the cover art (the baboon face, above).

"Twenty-two-year-old musician Dom is the leader of Worcester, Massachussets pop-rock trio Dom (above in sheets). Dom has a last name, but he will not reveal it because he owes 'a lot of money.' Which sounds sort of ridiculous. But Dom is ridiculous-- in the best way possible. He has dreams of making artful pornography and playing video games with Lil Wayne. He writes hockey stadium anthems about his cat. He does not give a shit, and it's awesome. Along with guitarist Erik and drummer Bobby K, Dom makes sunburned guitar pop with fat hooks and stargaze synths that sound triumphant, heartbreaking, and totally immediate." -Pitchfork

Tickets are $10 per show and available at the Northampton Box Office, 76 Main Street, 413-586-8686 and online at

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