I regularly visit my home-state of Vermont to spend time with family and friends, but I require a damn good reason to make that drive in the dead of winter. It's cold and blustery enough here in Boston in mid-February that purposefully heading to an even colder clime has little-to-no-appeal. Sorry, parents and pals... you can wait a couple more months, right?
But schedule a Pains of Being Pure at Heart show in a small VT bar on Valentine's Day, which happened to be on a Saturday night this year? Ok, well, ya got me.
And so it was that we traveled a few hours north and caught the beautifully noisy quartet at the tiny Monkey House in good ol' Winooski (just a few doors down from a now-closed bar where my first band often played many years back... lots of memories on that block), with their tourmates The Depreciation Guild (who pulled off a great set despite their ill and absent drummer) and the wonderful Let's Whisper, a duo playing a few songs as a quartet for the special occasion. The place was filled with old friends, and more importantly, my better half was able to be there thanks to my folks and their built-in-babysitter status. All the ingredients for an extra-happy V-Day were in place, and the bands provided the perfect soundtrack.
With just one fine full-lengther under their belt, PoBP@H's performance was naturally heavy on that, though they kicked off their too-short set with a track from their '07 debut EP, and threw in two brand new ones ("Falling Over" and "103"), both of which will be appear on the imminent "Higher Than The Stars" EP (out 9/22 on Slumberland). While their songs are of course the main reason I love the band, it was their signing to Slumberland that first got me to listen, and their subsequent design aesthetic hits a long-standing sweet spot with me. The fact that this aesthetic comes by way of frequent vinyl singles with those non-album b-sides, well, let's just say it appears someone has custom-created a band based on a peek inside my brain. I mean, Field Mice references and chord progressions borrowed from East River Pipe? Resistance = futile.
While VT-based fans of the Pains will have to wait who-knows-how-long for them to return (especially now that ace promoters Tick Tick have packed it in), Boston-area fans will have a chance to see the band again very soon - They'll be downstairs at the Middle East in Cambridge on Labor Day weekend with Cymbals Eat Guitars and, once again, The Depreciation Guild (no small surprise, as Pains' drummer Kurt is also the D.G.'s singer/guitarist). Can't wait to hear the band perform the "Higher Than The Stars" title track live, and to catch the D.G. with a drummer this time around. Tickets of your own can be had right here, or at the MidEast box office to avoid those pesky fees.
Here's the Pains of Being Pure at Heart's full Vermont Valentine's Day set...
Additional Audio: You can stream the flat-out fantastic title track from their upcoming EP right here, and pre-order it on vinyl or CD. Download a couple free Mp3s from the band's own site, or stream a bunch at MySpace. There's an excellent 5-song WOXY session (which includes new song "103") that the band recorded in-between playing about a dozen sets at SxSW earlier this year (that's only a slight exaggeration).
Upcoming tourdates: Their show at the Middle East on Saturday, Sept. 5th kicks off a month-long North American tour...
9/05 - Cambridge, MA - The Middle East 9/06 - Montreal, QC - La Sala Rossa 9/07 - Toronto, ONT - The Legendary Horsehoe Tavern 9/08 - Chicago, IL - Logan Square Auditorium 9/09 - Madison, WI - Orpheum Stage Door 9/10 - Omaha, NE - Slowdown 9/12 - Morrison, CO - Monolith Festival 9/13 - Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court 9/14 - Boise, ID - Neurolux 9/15 - Seattle, WA - Neumos 9/17 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir 9/18 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall 9/19 - Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour 9/21 - San Diego, CA - The Casbah 9/22 - Tucson, AZ - Club Congress 9/24 - Fort Worth, TX - Lola's 9/25 - Austin, TX - Mohawk 9/26 - New Orleans, LA - One Eyed Jacks 9/27 - Tallahassee, FL - Club Down Under/FSU 9/28 - Atlanta, GA - Earl 9/29 - Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506 9/30 - Washington, DC - Black Cat 10/01 - Baltimore, MD - The Ottobar 10/03 - New York, NY - Webster Hall 10/05 - Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church
... and they head overseas in November. More details and ticket buying links are here. Yet another reason to love the band? They push to play all ages shows, or at least 18+, whenever possible.
the obligatory fine print... If anyone has an issue with these Mp3s being made available, just let me know (my contact info in the 'nac faq). Live sets recorded with a Sony ECM-719 mic and a Sony MZ-RH10 minidisc, converted to .wav and then edited to 192kbps Mp3s. Files are made available for a limited time, and are not reposted once removed.