The Rich Girls Are Weeping

30 November 2006

I'm chilling (literally -- love that 50 degree temperature drop last night -- yay massive cold front!) at home this morning before heading to some doctor's appointments. I found two nice eye candy items in my mailbox and wanted to share them with you to enjoy over morning coffee. You're welcome, naturally.

First of all, our pals Calla are shortlisted for the best video of 2006 that aired on MTV2's Subterranean for "It Dawned On Me." Go vote for 'em (the site's a bit flash heavy, click on vote from this landing page) and your other favorites -- there's a ton of other worthy candidates as well. Heck, the list reads like a hip blogger's best of 2006 list. No kidding. Relatedly, our pal and burgeoning superstar rock show photographer Kathryn Yu has some great pics from the band's October show at the Bowery Ballroom. Also -- look for Calla's new album in February 2007. (That was quick, actually -- last time we talked to lovely frontman Aurelio Valle earlier this summer, the band was heading out for the Euro festival circuit and recording was in the planning stages...)

Remember when we posted about I Was A Cub Scout the other day? Well, looks like the band is getting a worldwide digital release for their first single "Pink Squares" under the wing of the Beggars Group (or at least I assume so, as the press release came from XL). And, yeah, the Conor Obrest comparisons are totally going to overwhelm this band, but try not to think about that -- it's a pretty weak analogy in my opinion. Honestly, this is the kind of thing I wish I'd been able to listen to in like, 1998 or something. Sometimes genre mutations take longer than you'd expect.


Blogger Pat said...

Are Calla a Starflyer 59 tribute band? If so, they're awesome!

Thursday, November 30, 2006 7:39:00 PM  
Blogger Pinkie von Bloom said...

Really, darling Pat, you can't be serious. "Tribute bands" do cover songs.

A history lesson: Once upon a time in Englad, there was a label called 4AD and a sort of label/consortium called Beggar's Banquet. There in the houses of Ivo Watts-Russel and Martin Mills (among others), a sound began to coalesce. The Cocteau Twins and Lush are the most noticeable of the 4AD bands. Meanwhile, also in the UK, another label called Creation began to develop. You may remember their piece-de-resistance--a band called Oasis. Previous to the media circus that were the Gallaghers, Creation had a stable of beautiful bands: Jesus & Mary Chain, Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Swervedriver, and Ride. And see also: Stone Roses, Charlatans, even though they're a little trippier. And maybe the Leeds bands. Together, all of this was described by journalists as "shoegaze," though "dream-pop" (an absolutely idiotic turn of phrase) was also applied, particularly to any projects with female vocals.

But to make a long story short, there was an indistinct American response to shoegazery. Aside from "ethereal goth" which developed shortly after 4AD's rise, American "college rock" bands never really warmed to this sound, even though they, like the rest of us during the late 80s/early 90s ate it up...while our peers were listening to something called grunge. Out of Denton, Texas came a band called Factory Press. They were largely instrumental with a sound somewhere between the foundations of shoegaze and, well, Ennio Morricone and other cimeatic geniuses, and altogether darker in a Bad Seeds sort of way. This band relocated to Brooklyn, NY in the mid-90s and became Calla, as well as guys we know and love and think are swell. Conveniently, their last record was released by Beggars.

Meanwhile, during a similar time period to the rise of Factory Press / Calla, only in Southern California, a guy called Jason Martin started a solo project called Starflyer 59 that was largely derivative of My Bloody Valentine and other "shoegazer" bands. This project was signed to Tooth and Nail records, an indie acquired by EMI Christian which is a purveyor of everyone's favorite Christian screamo.

Are Calla an Starflyer 59 tribute band? Not so much. I'd be willing to bet that no one in Calla has even heard of Starflyer 59. You could make an argument that Snowden are descendents of Starflyer 59, being that they're on the equally Christian JadeTree label, but if you called them a "tribute band," Corinne might kick yr ass with her big, black Carlos D-esque boots and badassitude. But in the cases of minor crossover successes, Christian music remains Christian music, and Beggars bands and Starflyer 59 are apples and oranges.

Friday, December 01, 2006 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Derek said...

When is the big move to New York? I'll be visiting nyc December 17-23 and was wondering if you all would be in town at that point. I think it might be cool to meet up with some fellow Austinite's and talk music and/or the greatness of this blog.

Saturday, December 02, 2006 11:09:00 PM  
Blogger alt124 said...

I love the I was a cub scout song...i start my last mix with it...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006 11:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Factory Press was not an instrumental band. I saw them once at Continental on St. Mark's some years back. They sounded sort of like Calla does, but a bit rawer with faster tempos. And, both the records I have of theirs are heavy on the vocals.

Sunday, January 14, 2007 10:26:00 PM  

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