Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Popfest! New England

Hey folks, this is Flatlander from False 45th. While Sir extrawack! is busy with other stuff, I'm going to hang a post or two on this site.

Do you remember that friend in college whose parents had a house in the Berkshires? Well, it's time to give them a ring and ask for the keys.

This weekend (Nov 9 - Nov 11) is Popfest! New England in Northampton, MA which is one of those cute New England college towns where the tiny side streets are filled with cobblestones and corduroy sports coats are still in fashion. It's also been the center of the Western Mass music scene for the last few decades with clubs such as Pearl Street, Iron Horse Music Hall and The Elevens where all the Popfest! shows will reside.

The schedule for the festival is packed with 23 of the finest twee pop bands on the circuit these days. Most are from the northeast but others hail from Sweden, Norway, England and St. Louis. You can download a zip file sampler featuring songs from the bands here.

The standouts are:

The Capstan Shafts recently pulled down reviews of 7.7, 8.2, 7.2 and 7.8 on Pitchfork for his last four releases. There aren't many artists out there that can claim such high and consistent marks from Pitchfork. The Capstan Shafts (aka Dean Wells) is actually a one-man band that until last month had only been a lo-fi home recording project. Despite releasing 17 LPs and EPs, Wells had never played live before. It's not exactly clear why not but his performance on Sunday night at Popfest! will be his third show and only second with a full band. This is like catching GBV in 1993.

The Capstan Shafts | Sleepcure Theory Advancer | Buy

The Smittens are a twee pop band out of Burlington, VT that will soon be releasing their third album, Til the Summer's End, as well as a split 7" with Tullycraft where they cover The Angels' "My Boyfriend's Back". They'll also be playing on Sunday night. Additionally, Colin Clary of The Smittens will be doing a set during the Sunday matinée show with his side project Colin Clary + a Magog.

The Smittens | Doomed, Lo-Fi and In Love | Buy

To tie this back to NYC, two bands from the city will be taking the stage on Friday night. My Teenage Stride and The Besties will be playing back to back.

The Besties | Rod n' Reel | Buy
My Teenage Stride | Reception | Buy

Northampton is an easy three hour drive from the city (take the Merritt; not I-95). So, between a fine music festival and the simple joy of getting out of the city for a weekend, give that old friend a call and borrow their weekend house in the Berkshires.

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