The Pains of Being Indiepop

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart & Depreciation Guild at Neumo’s, Seattle | 15 September 2009
Photo from Joshc’s flickr stream

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are currently riding a relative wave of popularity.  I say relative for a few reasons. With the exception of maybe the Vivian Girls they are by far the most popular band today that plays Sarah, C-86, and (early) Creation influenced indiepop, a genre of music that has always had cult following, but never much more than that.  The only band that I can think of that was as popular doing the same thing was Velocity Girl in the early 90’s (Archie Moore of Velocity Girl mixed the POBPAH album).  Their gig at Neumo’s last night was well attended, but by no means sold out, but just the idea of The Pains getting booked at larger venues, playing summer festivals and getting people genuinely excited about music is one that redeems my faith in pop culture. Usually fans of indiepop are relegated to the dive bars, basements and ad hoc house venues to see their favorite bands play.

The opportunity to see a band like the Pains of Being Pure at Heart headline a big-time venue is one that doesn’t happen very often, so I should enjoy it right? Well, that’s what I did, and so did everyone else at Neumo’s last night.  The kids (and old folks) danced and pogo’d to the likes of Come Saturday, Young Adult Friction, Everything With You and This Love Is Fucking Right.  Front guy Kip Berman seems like kind of a sweet, sly guy.  He looks like someone you’d want your teenage daughter to bring home, but when you started reading his lyrics you begin to have second thoughts.  He greeted everyone with a shy How’s It Goin’ and then joked about stealing Mudhoney‘s effects pedal, either superfuzz or bigmuff.  The band stopped mid-set when Kip said he couldn’t believe that they had forgotten to play their song Kurt Cobain’s Cardigan.  They remedied that immediately and then went straight into their self-titled theme song.  In my perfect world every band would a self-titled theme song, and the Pains’ theme song easily puts them in my perfect world with its anthem like refrain “we will never die, no no we will never die”. We all went crazy in our own sedated, elated and introverted indiepop ways.  It was a time.

mp3: The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Higher Than The Stars

mp3: The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Curt Cobain’s Cardigan

mp3: The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – The Pains of Being Pure At Heart

buy: some The Pains of Being Pure at Heart records

Opening the night was the Depreciation Guild (Cymbals Eat Guitars who were also on the bill were hit with a bad case of food poisoning, a burrito apparently, and had to cancel).  Depreciation Guild are two fifths of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart.  Pains’ drummer Kurt Feldman plays guitar and sings while Pains’ second guitarist Christoph Hochheim plays guitar and his twin brother  Anton Hochheim drums.  The Depreciation Guild are shoegazers true and blue, and on record their songs are blissed out fuzz fests with Feldman possessing a voice that reminds me a little of the late Keith Girdler of Blueboy.  Their set was good, but the songs came off sounding like they were the same song again and again.  I think this may be their first time playing live extensively, so I’ll chalk it up to growing pains because their 7 inch single that’s currently available from Kanine records is pretty nice.

mp3: Depreciation Guild – Dream About Me (7″ on Kanine, but sold out.  You can pre-order their album In Her Gentle Jaws though)

One comment

  1. Elyse Howdershell · August 19, 2012

    You should definitely check out The Neighbourhood…I think you’d like them…especially if you’re into The Black Keys at all, they totally have a soulful vibe that I can’t get enough of:) If you click ‘stream’ on the website you can hear the new EP!

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