Hey guys, my name is Jake Sanders. This summer, I’ll be writing some show and album reviews on WPRB’s blog, and keeping you updated on the local venues around Philly and New York. Mostly I’ll be writing about new indie pop and rock releases, but I’m really hoping to get word out on some local bands from the area as well. For the first of these entries, I thought I would let you know about an awesome show happening this weekend.
This July 4th weekend, indie-rock champions and local WPRB favorites the Feelies are playing three shows at Maxwell’s in Hoboken. Born out of Haledon, New Jersey in 1977 by Glenn Mercer and Bill Million, The Feelies have been mainstays of indie-rock ever since they began playing shows in their hometown and New York in the late 70s. When I was in high school, I looked desperately for bands that had the same meticulous and precise energy as Talking Heads, and The Feelies were one that I very happily found.
Their classic 1980 album Crazy Rhythms is a mixture of a twangy, interweaving, and bright guitar work with drums that ascend, descend, and drop off completely, making the album sound haunting and clear (like it might’ve been created in a laboratory somewhere in North Jersey). The band was weirdly dissimilar from both the sound of punk and new wave popular in New York at the time, but retained some qualities of both genres in their sound, and created a unique style that really lasted in my memory. They stayed popular in the underground music scene early on, and they recorded three other equally great albums through 1991, each having a huge impact on indie music at large.
It was only three years ago that the band officially reunited after a 17-year hiatus, playing a few shows at Maxwell’s before playing a much-anticipated opening for Sonic Youth at the River to River festival in Battery Park, and then playing the entirety of Crazy Rhythms at the All Tomorrow’s Party music fest a year later. Since then, they began writing new songs and recorded Here Before, again showing what they can do with their minimalist approach and all that pretty guitar work. This weekend they play Maxwell’s for the 4th year in a row on the Fourth of July, as the band has consistently played shows on national holidays since it began (yet another interesting and folk-lorish detail you might want to know). What a better way to celebrate our nation’s history than with these American pioneers of indie-rock… The first two shows are sold out, but tickets are still available for Sunday’s show. Check them out! I’ll be going to Sunday’s show and will be writing about it next week.