Babehoven and adjacent folk artists graced the stage at Union Pool Saturday to celebrate the release of the band’s newest LP, Light Moving Time. The album is a sweet opera of the heart, offering songs of healing in a time of great loss and change for us all. This LP would move anyone from start to finish with its reflective lyrics, intentional melodies, and intensely genuine performance by Maya Bon and partner Ryan Albert.
The night openned with a set by Dan English Band, a large group of artists playing keys, percussion, and all kinds of strings.The dynamic of their sound is one I almost couldn’t put my finger on; it was folk yet virtually genre-less like all the best music is. Their sound was layered with warmth, class, and a sprinkle of emotionally-mature angst. Beautiful and well-executed to say the least.
Karl Blau played next with a much simpler lineup of three. Their music was comfortable, kind of like that feeling you get while cozying up with nostalgic fall sitcoms at night. It reminded me of 90s music that held so much space for sleepy drives home as a kid. In short, Blau and his band were a lovely choice for this evening of folk clearly revered by the headlining band.
Last was the band we’d all come to celebrate, the incredibly talented Babehoven. Their performance was nothing short of incredible and emotionally rich. Bon was beaming with gratitude from the front of the stage and everyone in the room could feel it. And not just her joy and thankfulness, but the passion she has for every word she writes and sings. It’s almost like each song is performed for the first time, even if it’s the hundredth. You could sense how much the performance meant to everyone in the band, too. Bon, Albert, and their bassist and drummer, that is.
They played a handful of songs off the new LP including some of my favorites like “Break the Ice,” “June Phoenix,” and “I’m on Your Team.” I’d heard “I’m on Your Team” several times before but the live presentation was so much more powerful—something that can only be felt in the amplified presence of fellow fans maybe. Or while laying down with their vinyl record turning.
If you haven’t yet, I’d highly recommend listening to Light Moving Time and checking out Babehoven live when you can. Their music is cathartic in a way that is both striking and supportive of the listener’s healing process.
Last week’s show at Saint Vitus was absolutely insane. Bands Chat Pile, Scarcity, and Psychic Graveyard all tore down the house with the kind of ground-shaking energy that makes the venue great.
Earlier this year I saw Chat Pile would be touring near me for the first time and I was psyched. A friend introduced me to their Remove Your Skin Please EP in 2019 and I remember thinking, “what is this witchcraft and where can I find more?” Lucky for me, the answer was Saint Vitus.
Psychic Graveyard opened up the show, playing to a New York crowd for the first time since the pandemic. Coming from Rhode Island, they brought in the noise rock sound that Providence is known for. Their set was brash, unorthodox, and borderline hallucinogenic. At one point they played a song that sounded like a fun house collapsing in on itself in the best way. It was unexpected on my end and lovely in some twisted kind of way.
Following the first opener was Scarcity, an experimental black metal band from NYC. Their music was much darker, slower, and more serious. They brought sheet music to stage for what they said would be “one 45-minute song”—in other words, their entire new album, Aveilut. The Spotify algorithm would probably turn in its grave at that duration, but if Sleep can put out a 63-minute song, why not go for a quick 45? The crowd was there for it and the group delivered a dynamic performance from start to finish.
According to the band, the album is about the members’ experience with death amid the COVID-19 pandemic – living in such close proximity to it in New York, seeing the number of deaths climb every day, and feeling a depth of pain like no other. You can feel their dedication to expressing this shared experience through their music. If you want to see their Saint Vitus set in its entirety, you can watch below.
After the energetic highs and grief-stricken lows from the opening bands, the audience was excited to see Chat Pile. People packed into every crevice of Saint Vitus to see them for their second sold out show in the city. I asked the band before the show how it felt to sell out such a legendary venue twice in a row and they said it was surreal. They’ve only been together since 2019 and have risen in popularity throughout the pandemic. As a fan, it’s really rewarding to see them gain traction in an increasingly tough industry.
Chat Pile’s set was everything I had hoped for—aggressively catchy riffs, an ambling portrayal of madness, and a truly dedicated fan base to share the moment with. Singer Raygun Busch stomped around stage barefoot with the stupor of an unhinged Frankenstein and yelled like a disgruntled man begging for his life. At one point Busch laid face-down on the stage, the perfect pose to end a Chat Pile song. Then he got up and talked to the crowd about movies made in New York. Their guitarist wore a Gummo hat, too. The band is full of cinephiles and I love how they share that with their fans.
If it were up to me, I’d see Chat Pile again the next night, but they had to head home to the great state of Oklahoma. They left New York with amazing experiences and I can’t wait to see them back in the city one day.
If you haven’t yet, make sure you check out their newest album, God’s Country. Spoiler alert: don’t play it at church.
A powerful lineup of heavy bands hit the stage at TV Eye last Friday to deliver a gritty, nostalgic sound to a sold out house. All three bands, Narrow Head, Temple of Angels, and Bleed, brought me back to 2004 with tones that blend alt metal distortion with the inherent darkness of post-grunge.
Bleed gave a hell of a start with rupturing bass lines and a solid technical performance. You could hear every note for what it was meant to be while they projected a wall of noise from the stage. The crowd was pretty packed for an opening act and some even came just to see Bleed. To me that’s really special to hear because you know the entire lineup is going to be amazing when people attend from the beginning.
Next was Temple of Angels, a shoegaze band from Texas. They were a little more goth and post-punk than the rest of the bands. At times their music reminded me of The Cure with ringing post-punk chords and whole-hearted vocals.
They ended their set with a beautiful cover of “If I Could Only Fly” by Blaze Foley. It was the most unexpectedly quiet moment of the night and the most sweet. While I went to this show for loud, brain-erasing shoegaze, this performance was the part that really stuck with me.
Headlining band Narrow Head played last to an eager crowd. And the band did not disappoint. They all delivered a passion felt in every riff, jump, and breakdown. The crowd was clearly locked in, too. People thrashed about, sang along, and took in everything the band had to give – which was a whole lot of energy.
Narrow Head at TV Eye
It was the perfect level of chaos from start to finish.
You can follow all of these bands on Instagram (links above) to learn more about upcoming tour dates and new music. And keep an eye out for Bleed’s first full-length album coming out in 2023.
Last week, bands Living Hour, Sour Widows, and Kolezanka played a show at Trans-Pecos. With Living Hour being here all the way from Winnipeg, I knew I couldn’t miss this show – especially after listening to their new LP Someday is Today.
Kolezanka opened the night with semi-psychadelic tracks reminiscent of Black Moth Super Rainbow (if they were a folk band). Their performance was steady, flowing, and full of melodic synth moments. Their sound actually fit the stage lighting at Trans-Pecos, feeling a bit like a calm disco for a laid-back night in Ridgewood.
Next was Sour Widows, an dynamic indie folk band from LA. They shared songs of grief, sorrow, and acceptance of the things we cannot change. With two vocalists, both doubling as guitar players, they delivered a layered sound of harmonies and emotional depth. I really appreciated their vulnerability as performers and musicians willing to share their art with the world.
Living Hour topped off the night with a range of songs from their catalogue, some soft and sweet and others more hard-hitting. I recognized a number of tracks from their new record, Someday is Today, songs like “Miss Miss Miss” and “Middle Name,” all synchronistically played to an attentive crowd. Between the number of people in Living Hour and how many times they handed off instruments, I was impressed by how in sync they were as a band.
My favorite song of the night by far was “Feelings Meeting,” their collaboration with Jay Som, which is a particularly airy track full of patient build-ups and dopamine-packed releases, I’d highly recommend checking out that song along with the new record.
Recently I’ve been on a big shoegaze kick and adding more and more gazey goodness to my music library. To be honest it’s been a bit of a blur since I put them all on a big playlist and aimlessly shuffle it from time to time. But I have to say that one band really stood out in the past month, They Are Gutting a Body of Water, also known as TAGABOW. Their album Destiny XL is so damn good that when I saw that they were coming to Brooklyn, I had to get a ticket. And I’m glad I did ahead of time since the show sold out.
The lineup was stacked with slow, dissonant bands starting off with a group called Bedridden. Their songs were a bit faster than most bands in a similar lane and had solid bass lines to carry the genre’s quintessential baggage. Bands like Bedridden make it cool to see how shoegaze is being both revived and reinvented in a way. The Slowdive-like sound is there and Bedridden clearly has their own take on it. And they back it up on stage—their performance was tight which was impressive given the new bass player in their lineup.
After Bedridden was Sun Organ, a band with three guitar players layering hazey goodness into the atmosphere. Their notes weaved in and out of each other slowly but surely, like the mice and birds in Cinderella making her dress—flowing, methodical, and sweet. The band played each song like they were sinking into it, the way it should be with heavily internal music. And I’ll be honest, I haven’t always been big on bands with more than two guitarists in the past, but this one may have changed my mind. I can’t see them creating this experience for the crowd without so many strings and a plethora of pedals.
I also have to mention that Sun Organ’s drummer was doing the most. I usually don’t notice bands’ drummers as much as the people playing in front of them, but their energy took up a lot of space in a good way. The whole band reached beyond the stage in an ephemeral sense.
Next was Full Body 2, a band I hadn’t heard before the show. They, like many others on the ticket, are from Philly and I feel like a ton of great bands come out of that city, so it was no surprise that they were amazing. The band’s music clearly has a big video game influence paired with the shoegaze sound I love— and the unique blend is unreal. I don’t know a ton about video games, but I do know their sound is crazy.
I actually had to put down my camera and notes to surrender to the energy. The deeply heady soup they brewed up in the space, like a cosmic whirlwind bigger than all of us standing in a small room in Brooklyn. Beyond the graveyard out back of the venue and all. They blew my mind in a really really good way. I haven’t felt completely stopped in my tracks like that at a show in a while so as you might guess, I’m a fan now. A big one.
Full Body 2
Last was the band I’d been waiting for, They Are Gutting a Body of Water. The band set up in a circle as they always do, facing one another with several members off stage so they can focus on the sound. It makes a lot of sense with how layered and intense their music is. It also makes it really cool to watch them play with the crowd behind singer Douglas Dulgarian.
As expected their performance hit hard. The crowd flowed with them and all the waves making up their wall of sound. Everyone in the room almost created a unified body, bobbing and moshing around the circle. Like quicksand sucking everything in for a moment in time. In simpler terms, it was dope.
They Are Gutting a Body of Water
Unfortunately TAGABOW’s set got cut short after their sample machine stopped working. That said, the songs they did play couldn’t have been better and the long night was worth every minute.
I would highly recommend catching TAGABOW on tour in October if you can. And listening to their music either way, it’s truly some of the best shoegaze I’ve heard in a while and their cyberpunk interludes are otherworldly.
If you’re looking to go to shows like this one in Brookyln, I’d suggest checking out the Ringing show on 9/28 at Rubulad and the High show at Purgatory on 9/30. Both tickets are full of local shoegaze bands you won’t want to miss.