Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Popfest! New England

I'm guest blogging over at extrawack! this week and just wrote a post over there urging the New Yorkers to drive up to Northampton for the weekend to enjoy Popfest! New England. So, I thought I'd cross-post it over here to urge all the Vermonters to go down to Northampton for the festival. A lot of this post is retreaded territory for regular F45 readers but I don't feel like rewriting the whole thing. You can just pull the info you need for the festival out of the post.


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.


lucas said...

where can i get that smittens / tullycraft split 7"?

Anonymous said...

that split will be part of the happy happy birthday to me singles club. I think you can sign up to get the whole set mailed to you as they come out (here: www.hhbtm.com). I think the smittens/tullycraft one will be out in january or so and you should also be able to get a copy directly from either band at any show they play after that. I hope that helps.

Also, thanks for posting about the popfest! I am excited to go - I saw the toothaches and one happy island on tuesday night in boston and it was a real treat!

rock on and best,
Colin Clary

ps- really, thanks for covering so much so well!

Flatlander said...


Thanks for the tip-in. Have a good weekend at the festival.