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- Posted on Nov 15th 2009 1:00PM by Kenneth Partridge
Despite being known for a certain sound -- a fuzzy, jangly brand of lo-fi guitar pop -- the venerable indie imprint has released music by a surprisingly diverse bunch of bands, eight of which were on hand for the birthday bash.
"It's a label we loved growing up, and that we're honored to be a part of," said Kip Berman, lead singer of Brooklyn's own the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, one of the young groups responsible for Slumberland's recent resurgence.
Performing such songs as 'This Love is F------ Right' and 'Young Adult Friction,' the Pains represented the label's punchy, punky side. The quintet didn't start its headlining set until well after one in the morning, but its mix of New Wave synths and Smiths-like melodies was enough to reinvigorate even the sleepiest of fans.
Other groups were better suited for earlier time slots. Philadelphia sextet Brown Recluse opened the show with 30 minutes of staid and sophisticated pop, its trumpet and organ riffs recalling vintage Belle and Sebastian.
Frankie Rose, former drummer for both the Vivian Girls and Slumberland act Crystal Stilts, played third, leading an all-girl backing band through a slapdash collection of Phil Spector-style pop tunes. Rose fared best on the up-tempo likes of "Thee Only One," a tune whose distorted guitars and reverb-heavy harmonies disguised the group's lack of polish.
Proving that not every Slumberland band is required to write hummable tunes, Lorelei, a veteran trio from the label's hometown of Washington, D.C., followed Rose's set with a terse and twitchy half-hour of music. Its songs were slow to develop and quick to change shape, suggesting that progressive rock and twee pop aren't as incompatible as they may seem.
Occupying a sort of middle ground between Lorelei's fidgetiness and the Pains' tuneful exuberance, Boston trio Pants Yell! proved the quintessential Slumberland band. If ever the company finds itself in need of a mascot, it could do worse than bespectacled frontman and bona fide guitar hero Andrew Churchman.