Afternoon Naps Apples in Stereo BOAT Cars Can Be Blue Casper and the Cookies Go Sailor Gold-Bears Imaginary Scoop Mission of Burma Nana Grizol Sourpatch The Wedding Present

Athens Popfest 2010 lineup announced

Today is like Christmas morning for indie pop nerds. Today, I am giddy as hell because THE ATHENS POPFEST LINEUP HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED! I’ve compared Athens Popfest before to indie pop summer camp, but basically, it’s the best week out of the year for anyone who loves indie pop. And this year {August 10-14, 2010}, I think they’ve really done it with the lineup:

The Wedding Present, Mission of Burma, Apples In Stereo, Go Sailor, Circulatory System, Oh-OK (early Athens greatness), Joe Jack Talcum (Dead Milkmen), Nana Grizol, BOAT, Cars Can Be Blue, Poison Control Center, Gold-Bears, Dream Diary, Eux Autres, Afternoon Naps, World Atlas, Your Heart Breaks and more. Complete lineup after the jump. Commence freaking out and immediately buying plane tickets now. Check out complete band bios here.

Keith John Adams/Afternoon Naps/The Antivillians/Apples In Stereo/Bastards of Fate/Big Fresh/BOAT/Boy Genius/Bunnygrunt/Cars Can Be Blue/Casper & the Cookies/Circulatory System/Dead Dog/Defiance Ohio/Dream Diary/Elekibass/Le Darts/Eux Autres/Flash to Bang Time/Go Sailor/Gold-Bears/The Humms/Laminated Cat/ Los Meesfits/Madeline/Marshmallow Coast/Rose Melberg/Misfortune 500/Mission of Burma/Nana Grizol/Oh-OK/Onward Chariots/Open Letters/Pipes You See Pipes You Don’t/Poison Control Center/PS Eliot/Quiet Hooves/Quintion and Miss Pussycat/Raymilland/Singing Bridges/Sourpatch/Standard Fare/Sweater Girls/Terrapin Pond/Thee American Revolution/Titans of Flith/Tunabunny/The Wedding Present/Werewolves/
Witches/World Atlas/ Your Heart Breaks

This is going to be the best one yet.

Casper and the Cookies Imaginary Scoop On The Road The Comet

Your Weekend Plans: Casper & the Cookies come to Seattle

OK, so it’s Wednesday and I’m already dreaming of the weekend, which is normal. But, this time it’s because I’ve been counting down to this weekend for months! One of my favorite bands, Casper & the Cookies (from Athens, GA) is coming back to Seattle! They haven’t been here since the opened for the Apples In Stereo in 2007! Needless to say, I’m stoked for their show at the Comet this Sunday, May 2nd. Do some stretching before so you can properly shake your groove thing.

The show has a little something for everyone. Their tourmates Aquaserge feature ex-members of Stereolab and sound a bit like the soundtrack to an excellent French new wave movie. To keep with the French vibe, Olympia’s Angelo Spencer & Les Hautes Sommes will bust out garagey and groovy jams (sometimes in French). Also playing are locals Midday Veil, who remind me of an even more psychadelic and droney Sky Cries Mary.

And, to top it all off, it’s right around the corner from my birthday, so it’s become my unofficial birthday show.

See you at the Comet on Sunday! I promise it’s very much worth being a little sleepy at work on Monday. If you still need a bit more convincing, here’s a recent video of Casper & the Cookies performing one of my favorite songs “Little King”.



Casper and the Cookies Happy Happy Birthday to Me Imaginary Scoop On The Road

Brand new video from Casper & the Cookies!

It is my pleasure to present a brand new video from Athens, GA’s Casper & the Cookies for the song “Sharp!” from 2009’s Modern Silence (one of my favorite albums of last year).  I just love this 70’s glam influenced song that’s really funkier than it has any right to be. Shake it!


(And for you hi-fi folks, check out the vimeo.)

And, if that wasn’t enough, they have a bunch of tour dates coming up (including a lot of SXSW awesomeness and a TBA Seattle date)!

3/10/2010 Athens, GA, Caledonia Lounge w/ Timmy Tumble, Lesbian Afternoon, $5 (21+) $7 (18-20)
3/11/2010 Augusta, GA, Sky City w/ The Cubists, $5
3/12/2010 Jacksonville, FL, Club TSI, 333 East Bay Street, 21+
3/13/2010 Lake Worth, FL, Propaganda w/ Sweet Bronco, The Jameses & Love Handles
3/14/2010 Ybor City, FL, New World Brewery w/ Rec Center (7pm), Red Room Cinema (8pm), CATC (9om), $7, 21+
3/15/2010 Gainesville, FL, Spin Cycle, 424 West University Avenue, w/ members of Morningbell, Oh Fortuna
3/18/2010 Austin, TX, Standard Records Party @ The Dirty Dog Bar, 505 E 6th Street, 12:00 – Bald Eagle Refugees, 12:45 – Amo Joy, 1:30 – Casper and the Cookies, 2:15 – Thunderhawk, 3:00 – Harley Poe, 3:45 – Dr Manhattan, 4:30 – Dead Beats, 5:20 – Jookabox, Free *must RSVP*
3/20/2010 Austin, TX, Moose Lodge, 2103 EM Franklin Rd, CATC 2pm outside stage
3/20/2010 Austin, TX, Team Clermont / New Granada Party @ The Ghost Room, 304 W 4th St, 12:00 – Packway Handle Band (Athens) 01:00 – Capybara (Kansas City), 02:00 – Red Room Cinema (Tampa), 03:00 – King of Spain (Tampa), 04:00 – Yukon Blonde (Canada), 05:00 – Casper & the Cookies (Athens)
3/22/2010 Dallas, TX, Lakewood Bar, 9pm CATC, w/ 10pm Hardin Sweaty & the Ready To Go, 11pm Cold Forty Three, $3
3/23/2010 Jackson, MS, Sneaky Beans, all ages
3/24/2010 Tuscaloosa, AL, Egan’s, free
3/26/2010 Decatur, GA, Kavarna w/ The Shut-Ups
5/02/2010 Seattle, WA TBA

Afternoon Naps BOAT Bunnygrunt Cars Can Be Blue Casper and the Cookies Elekibass Fishboy Gold-Bears Imaginary Scoop Nana Grizol Rose Melberg Sourpatch Your Heart Breaks

Athens Popfest 2010 first lineup announcement!

{Robert Schneider from the Apples In Stereo from Athens Popfest 2008}

We here at TIG have been crushing out over Athens Popfest for years. I’ve been every year since 2006 and Liz went in 2005 and 2007. It’s pretty much always the best week of the year, fusing together amazing indie pop, delicious food (seriously, Athens has the best!), and wonderful community. I look forward to the lineup announcement all year long, and the wonderful popfest folks have given us just a taste of what’s to come, featuring some of my current favorite bands and lots of TIG favorites (and as always, some newbies I’m so excited to hear)!

August 10th-14th, Athens, GA

Afternoon Naps



Cars Can Be Blue

Casper & the Cookies




Rose Melberg

Nana Grizol


Sweater Girls


World Atlas

Your Heart Breaks

If I were you, I’d start looking for your plane ticket now!

Afternoon Naps BOAT Bunnygrunt Casper and the Cookies Connecticut Four Imaginary Scoop Pains of Being Pure at Heart Telekinesis! The Besties The Thermals Visqueen

keenan's favorite albums of 2009

After quite a bit of hmm-ing and hah-ing, I’ve finally come up with my favorite albums of 2009, listed in sort of numerical order, or at least that’s how I feel today, including local favorites BOAT, Visqueen, and indie pop hearthrobs The Pains of Being Pure at Heart!

{photo by hot avocados photography}

10. Telekinesis!S/T – “Coast of Carolina” – TIG favorites on the rise! This album has done insanely well, and we couldn’t be more proud that they played our Imaginary Holiday Spectacular last year.

9. BunnygruntMatt Harnish and Other Delights – “The Limits of Southern Hospitality” – Oh how do I love Bunnygrunt? Let me count the ways. My favorite St. Louis pop punkers put out this great collection of thrash around the bar, scream til you lose your voice, dance your pants off hits. Pray to the gods of punk rock that they grace Seattle with their presence in 2010.

8. Connecticut FourTiger Shark – This band was by far my favorite local band of 2009, featuring members of Racetrack and Visqueen, but they played their final show in November. This EP is a great memento of the short lived band, featuring five crunchy, noisy power pop songs with beautiful all girl harmonies. (Sadly, no MP3, but you can hear their song “Fiscal Year” on our latest Imaginary Podcast.)

7. Casper and the CookiesModern Silence“Little King” – I have waxed poetic about this band quite a bit, and the truth is, this album is way better than any album with an 18 minute noise track played only by musicians not in the band has any right to be. The slow songs have deep grooves, and the fast pop numbers are instantly catchy.

6. The BestiesHome Free“What Would Tim Armstrong Do?” – Another sadly departed band of the year, Brooklyn’s funnest pop band (so I deemed them) stepped up their game and put out my favorite combination of indie pop and pop punk. Their show in Seattle earlier this year was one of my favorites all year long. C’mon guys, reuinion tour?

5. The ThermalsNow We Can See“Now We Can See” – Oh Thermals. I love you so much. This record for me was an instant hit. It doesn’t quite tug at my heartstrings the way some of the others do, but it’s a wonderful collection of pop sing alongs, and I can’t wait to hear the next one!

4. Afternoon Naps Parade“Beach Bums” –  This is the best album all year you haven’t heard. This Cleveland band wonderfully mixes 60’s beach fun with 80’s Orange Juice spilled on my Felt  groovy vibes. The album is beautifully orchestrated, starring ace tone organ lines front and center with gorgeous boy/girl back and forth. I wish I could see them play every day. Let’s start a petition to bring Afternoon Naps to Seattle!

3. VisqueenMessage to Garcia “Beautiful Amnesia” – This long awaited record was worth the wait. It’s such an amazing collection of catchy and sassy as hell perfect poppy rock and roll. This song in particular has such a wonderful Fastbacks-y vibe in the verses. I hope Visqueen takes over the world in 2010.

2. The Pains of Being Pure at HeartS/T“Come Saturday” – So, I pretty much spent this year not being able to shut up about how much I love this band. I spent months making up theories about how this album was a perfect love letter to C86 jangle, with each track a different memento of the era. Of course, it’s not true, but it gave me something to daydream about. If my theory were correct, this track here was the early My Bloody Valentine song, when MBV had more of an anorak meets leather jacket sound than full on aural assault.

1. BOATSetting the Paces“Lately” – Again, this was an album worth the wait. However, you might have noticed a pattern – any time BOAT puts out a record, it winds up at or near the top of my favorite releases. What can I say? I’ve loved every incarnation of this band, but I’m especially smitten with total rock out BOAT. The songs on this album are stronger than ever before, leaving behind some of the fun and silly childhood songs for perfect replications of day to day adult life. This song especially is my jam of the year.

And a few honorable mentions…

Camera Obscura My Maudlin Career – Though a bit mellower and much sadder than Let’s Get Out of This Country, I still went back to this record over and over again for it’s lush pop hooks.

FishboyNom – A deconstructed take on one of my favorite bands, with only the songs and vocals provided by Fish-lead himself Eric Michener, and the rest recorded without him in the studio. The track “Gabe Saucedo Hates My Guts” is amazing, though probably only if you know Gabe Saucedo (leader of Red Pony Clock). Side note: on tour this summer, I had the fortune of seeing Gabe himself sing all of the things he says in the song, and then shove Eric from Fishboy when he was done. Rumor has it songs are being worked on for a new Fishboy album for next year (and sadly, all the songs they played in Seattle this summer have been scrapped.) I’m sure what they come up with next will be great!

James Rabbit Perfect Waves – A wonderful hodge podge of joyous insanity. This is what happens when theater kids make pop music and they make it right. Though I don’t love this record as much as I love their live shows, it suffices well for when I can’t see them in a sweaty living room or basement. You can download the whole album online for free, and I highly recommend you do!

So CowS/T – I saw this Irish band over the summer and fell head over heels for their stop/start fast jangle. After the show they were convinced they were moving to Seattle, so we’ll be looking out for them in 2010!

What about you? What were your favorites of this year?

Casper and the Cookies Happy Happy Birthday to Me Imaginary Scoop

Free Music Friday: Casper & the Cookies exclusive!

Casper and the Cookies

Once in a while, a band comes along that transcends your typical ideas of indie rock or indie pop. One that shines ingenuity without seeming pretentious; that seemlessly blends styles, eras, and genres. Today, that band is Athens, GA's Casper & the Cookies.

You may remember them as the loveably fun band opening for the Apples in Stereo on their spring tour last year. Now, they've recorded a masterpiece called Modern Silence with the help of Bill Doss (Olivia Tremor Control, Apples in Stereo, the Sunshine Fix).

Here's what the leader of the Cookies, Jason Nesmith, has to say about Modern Silence:

Modern Silence: a phrase that evokes a number of themes. We used most of them: awkward long distance phone calls- language barriers- social anxiety- absence (or a general lack of presence)-a sudden numbing realization that one can no longer think of oneself as a good person-extraterrestrial friendship—and of course jazz-mime.”

Today, I bring you the very first sneak peek! This is a Three Imaginary Girls exclusive! Here's the song "Little King" from their upcoming TBD release Modern Silence.

American Revolution Baby Calendar Bunnygrunt Cars Can Be Blue Casper and the Cookies Cinemechanica Circulatory System Daniel Johnston Dark Meat Darren Hanlon Elikibass Fishboy Happy Happy Birthday to Me Hat Company High Water Marks Ideal Free Distribution Imaginary Scoop Jerk Alert M. Coast New Sound of Numbers Patience Please Poison Control Center Red Pony Clock Ryan Anderson The Smittens Velcro Stars Venice Is Sinking We Versus the Shark Yellow Fever

Athens Popfest 2007 details announced!

Athens Popfest 2007Thanks to Pitchfork for the deets on the Athens Popfest 2007! I can't seem to find a schedule anywhere, but here's the info that's gone public so far:

The Popfest will fill up two Athens venues (40 Watt Club and Little Kings Shuffle Club) from August 8-11, 2007 and will, as always, be brought to us by the fine Happy Happy Birthday to Me folks.

So far, the folks confirmed include:

Ted Leo and his Pharmacists
Daniel Johnston
Circulatory System
American Revolution (featuring Robert Schneider of the Apples in Stereo)
Ideal Free Distribution
Dark Meat
Casper & the Cookies
Poison Control Center
High Water Marks (Apples offshoot band)
Red Pony Clock
Cars Can Be Blue
Baby Calendar
The Smittens
Venice Is Sinking
New Sound of Numbers
Yellow Fever
M Coast
Darren Hanlon
We Versus the Shark
How I Became the Bomb
Velcro Stars
Kite Flying Society
Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Ryan Anderson
Birds of Avalon
Violet Vector & the Lovely Lovelies
Titans of Filth
Patience Please
Hat Company
Christopher's Liver
Black Kids
Jerk Alert

The full schedules (yes, there's rumored to be even more people added to the line-up!) will be announced on the fest's website soon!

Feeling nostalgic?

Big Digits Casper and the Cookies Chip Smith Project Crystal Understanding Electric Laser People Live Show Review Math the Band Nicole Atkins and the Sea Rose Polenzani Sleeping in the Aviary The Andwutz The Diamond Mines The Ego and the Oracle Three Day Threshold Tiny Whales Township Willowz

Betsy Boston's live show recap for 5/4/07

It's been a busy week here in the east! Let's recap.

Last Thursday night I made it over to new (and awesome!) Boston venue Hennessy's for a show featuring Tiny Whales, Big Digits, and Math the Band (sadly, I missed the first set by Crystal Understanding, but heard it was great). Three-piece Tiny Whales wore striped jumpsuits and played synth-driven pop songs with heavy beats. They were followed by the outstanding Big Digits, two guys who rhyme and dance up a storm over luscious laptop-supplied beats and melodies. Sample lyric: "So you think that you can model for American Apparel / But you get your fashion sense from Perry Farrell…" They're hitting the road soon, so go see them! Check their MySpace for dates. I will no doubt remind the shit out of you.

After that, Math the Band — who turned out to be one guy with a laptop — came on and did a set of what I dubbed "Psycho Karaoke," in which he scream-sang over reworked versions of such classic hits as "Semi-Charmed Life," "The Sign," and "You Shook Me All Night Long." Funny, yes; noisy, yes; perplexing, definitely yes.

Ego and the Oracle. Photo by Betsy Boston. Friday night, I headed over to Jimmy Tingle's Off Broadway Theatre for The Ego and The Oracle, a stage show featuring Jim's Big Ego and Andras Jones. Based on Jones' Olympia, Washington radio show Radio8Ball, The Ego and The Oracle is an audience-interactive revue in which audience questions are answered through Jim's Big Ego songs, interpreted by Jones and the band. For instance, audience member Elizabeth Lay was called up to ask her question: "Will I ever be famous?" She spun the wheel and it landed on the song "In A Bar," which the band immediately launched into. Afterwards, it was revealed that Lay indeed works in a bar, and Jones honed in on how her name may suggest a calling in the porn industry. Hilarity ensued. Other questions were more serious — at one point, audience member Ann asked "Will my oldest niece be ok?" and the wheel very nearly landed on "She's Dead" before clicking over to the next song. For the finale, Jim collected the questions that hadn't been chosen and ran through them all in song, repeating certain ones as a chorus ("Will I get a pet monkey?"). It was at times hysterical, inspiring, casual, and lots of fun, and I recommend it — the show runs every Sunday through June 17 and tickets are $15 (plus you get discounts to area restaurants like Redbones and Diva by bringing along your program. And if cheap ribs and Indian food isn't incentive enough, girls, Jones is pretty foxy.) Note to imaginary boy e: the Harry Potter question wasn't picked, but in Jim's finale number, it got quite a laugh.

Afterwards, it was over to PA's Lounge to catch a bit of Casper and the Cookies' set. I know a song or two by this Athens band and have wanted to catch them live for some time. Their psychedelic screen projections and platform boots were over the top, and the music was a little chaotic so I moved on to try to catch Boston roots/bluegrass act Three Day Threshold down the street at the Sky Bar. Sadly I made it in time to hear half their last song, but I stuck around for the final band, The Andwutz, an all-female act who seemed a little too old for their Hot Topic (anyone remember Rave?) wardrobes. They played some forgettable originals, and covers of songs like "In Your Room" by The Bangles and "Fight for Your Right" by The Beastie Boys. Their musical talent was questionable but they seemed a band that gets by on showing lots of skin, and the men at the dive-y Sky Bar didn't seem to be complaining.

Township. Photo by Andy Be.Saturday night, Township struck again, this time at PA's. I've already told you how much I love them (but have no problem telling you again). Absolutely unreal. The hot room left drummer Greg Beadle soaked in sweat by the end of the set, which many people said was even better than their Rumble-winning set a week earlier. Following them were The Diamond Mines and Willowz, but I missed most of those bands' sets because I was schmoozing and boozing in the bar side of the venue. I've seen Diamond Mines before and though they're full of talent, it's just not my cup of tea.

Sunday night, I rested up for the coming week. Amazing Race, anyone?

Monday it was over to the Paradise Lounge for the final show by Nicole Atkins and The Sea. Her Boston residency sadly never got much of a crowd — chalk it up to Bostonians not being ready to rock on Mondays, and the Paradise being an off-the-rocking-path location. Nonetheless, Nic & co. (I can call her Nic now cause we're totally tight) put on another fantastic set, this time more upbeat than the past few. She played only a couple of songs from her EP, but the majority of songs were from the upcoming full-length Neptune City, which I'm having my own little igLiz-Cassadaga frenzy over.

Opening for Nic & the Sea was Rose Polenzani, a Boston folksinger whose quiet and mellow songs were lovely, and whose voice reminded me of Shawn Colvin, with a few hints of Rickie Lee Jones.

Electric Laser People photo by Betsy BostonTuesday night, I went over to TT's for Electric Laser People, formerly The Product™, who were playing their first show in six months to celebrate the release of their new CD, Straight Talk on Raising Kids (which I'll review for you soon). The band puts on a hell of a show, high on energy and singer/bassist Dan Paluska's slick dance moves. Songs include "The Makeout Song" and "TYCO" (which stands for Take Your Clothes Off), so you know you're in for a good time. From start to finish, the set was pure fun. Plus, they brought their Thingamagloops!

And last night, I started off at the Lizard Lounge for an early, free set from the Chip Smith Project, a newly formed four-piece old-timey folk band featuring Morphine's Billy Conway. They were highly entertaining, telling humorous stories between songs about their fictitious origins (read their MySpace "About Me" section for more on this). Most songs featured guitar, bass, violin and keyboards or banjo, so it was a nice and mellow start to the evening.

Sleeping in the Aviary photo by Andy BeFrom there, I biked over to the Abbey Lounge for a show I'd been waiting weeks for: Madison, Wisconsin's Sleeping in the Aviary. I loved their record, Oh, This Old Thing?. Sometimes you see a band live and they just don't live up to the expectations you have from hearing their recorded works; not so with Sleeping in the Aviary. They exceeded my expectations, delive
ring a fiercely energetic set that included most of the songs off the album plus a few others. They hardly took a breath between songs, much like on the album, and singer Elliott Kozel danced around in socks while bassist Phil Mahlstadt hopped up and down. Drummer Michael Sienkowski impressively kept the raucous beats while singing backup, and on one song lead. The whole thing was wicked awesome, as we say here in the Northeast.

Incidentally, I asked Elliott how Maureen feels now (a reference to the song "Maureen" in which he repeatedly sings "Maureen doesn't like me anymore!"), and he says that she and Phil have patched things up. Awwww…

Next week, I'll be recapping sets by Antiques, Bon Savants, her majesty Amy Winehouse, and many others, so tune in! And let me know if you know of a show in the Boston area that I should hit.

Email me at [email protected], or message me on AIM: maginarybetsy