If you know Cake Shop owner Andy Bodor, you know that Cake Shop is perhaps Manhattan's least-likely music institution. In 2005, Andy opened the venue to house all kinds of fun, scrappy, lo-fi rock and roll in his combination bar/coffee and pastry shop/record store. When more and more of those fledgling bands started making it big, Andy found himself in the position of unlikely tastemaker, to the point that — now, ten years later — Cake Shop is typically known as the last great venue in the Lower East Side, and to be a musician in New York City is to have the address 152 Ludlow Street (between Stanton and Rivington) ingrained on the softest tissue in your brain. Cake Shop supports NYC musicians by carrying their records and hosts bands from across the globe. What starts in the ears and mouths of the underground rarely makes it into the tour books, but Cake Shop has done it without compromise, and we're particularly pleased to kick off the festival at one of our favorite venues.
For our first act on the first night of our spring festival, we invited The Planes (Stephen Perry, SZ #2 and Brian LaRue, SZ #30). Steve, who also runs the blog Hearts Bleed Radio, was literally the second guest we ever had on the show, and a guy without whom our humble project wouldn't exist. Brian also hosts shows at Pet Rescue, where we will absolutely be bothering him about a festival in the summer. More on that to come.
I said it when they graciously rocked us at ZeroFest in October, and I'll no doubt say it again when laziness prevents me from writing something new: "The Planes are freewheeling, clever, and hooky as hell, with a style that nods to the great American alt-rock bands of the 80s and 90s without ever sounding stale. Music lovers making music for music lovers." It still applies, and it will for a long time.
Atlanta's Concord America are newcomers to the Square Zeros stable, linking up with us on their way to the admittedly lesser festival South By Southwest, of which practically no one has ever heard, and those who have are non-plussed. They play a style of real gritty garage rock, with some surf, sun, and shake.
We're gonna put these guys under the interrogation light soon, make 'em answer some real difficult questions. You gotta know who you're working with, here. Stay tuned.
I get an itch sometimes. An itch that only razor-sharp, skin-tight angular post-punk can scratch. Bands like that are totalizing: when you're listening to them, all you can think is, why doesn't every band sound exactly like this? Listening to The Black Black (Jon Daily, SZ #26) pinpoints that itch and eliminates it.
|The Black Black|
At the end of last year, The Black Black put out a record, Boogie Nights. Batting cleanup on that album was the track "What the World Needs Now" (is one more band). If we're listening to The Black Black, we're calling bullshit.
In the four spot, The Teen Age (Nick Brooks, SZ #17) will be there to sweeten things right back up for you. For their latest release Ways to Adapt, they grabbed up some '50s doo-wop and '90s indie and took it straight back to their garage for a punch-up.
|The Teen Age|
Don't let Nick's track from the podcast ("Firewalker," by The Chuck Norris Address) fool you — The Teen Age are the straightforward rockers to get you moving. But, you know, go listen to "Firewalker" again, because it's the most singularly weird song you've maybe ever heard. Thanks, Nick.
Closing out our initial night of the festival, we've got the people's champs, iVAMANOS! Simply put, Alex and Tyler are your two-man MC5 for 2015.
To paraphrase Ice Cube: Get them on the stage, and they're trouble. March 5, they'll fuck around and turn your shit to rubble.
ZeroFest 2: Infernal Equinox OPENING NIGHT!
Thursday, March 5th at Cake Shop, 152 Ludlow Street
The Planes — Concord America — The Black Black — The Teen Age — iVAMANOS!
8pm–12:30am, 21+, $8
And stay tuned next Thursday, when we'll profile the second night of our festival at Manhattan's best new addition, Chelsea's Nola, Darling. Thanks, guys.
— DJH, BW, + JM