Volume 18 • Issue 48 | April 14 - 20, 2006

Cloud Cult, one of the bands playing in the Movable Hype concert series at Knitting Factory this Monday, April 17.

Behind the hype: concert series returns to Knitting Factory

By Jen Carlson

Jen Carlson writes the Scene and Heard music column for The Village, sister publication of Downtown Expressr. She also edits the Arts & Entertainment section of the New York blog Gothamist.com, runs her own artist management company, 5th Floor (www.5thFloor.org), and produces a music series called Moveable Hype at the Knitting Factory. We asked the Lower East Sider to explain the hype behind her recurring music fest, and report on the shows she’s seen recently.

This month marks another Movable Hype show, a concert series I put on through Gothamist.com every couple of months at the Knitting Factory. Since Gothamist is a blog, run by the blogging software Movable Type, a friend came up with that clever play on the series’ name.

I produced the first show in November of 2004. Since then, I’ve booked bands such as Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (David Bowie made an appearance at that show!), Ghostland Observatory (an Austin band who receives daily play on my iPod), Bravo Silva and Slowlands (who I ended up managing after falling in love with their sound), and many, many more.

Since I’m constantly going to shows and hearing new bands, I start off with a wide selection of who I want at the next show — a wish list, which slowly gets narrowed down. This month, on April 17th, I have an incredible lineup for the seventh show in the series.

Kicking off Movable Hype 7.0 is Stars of Track & Field. (www.starsoftrackandfield.com), the offspring of anthemic guitar rock and digitized pop and a favorite of New York music bloggers. Next is Land of Talk (www.myspace.com/landoftalk), a Montreal band that gained instant buzz after they sold out their last shows in the city. (Lead singer Elizabeth Powell will draw you in with her gorgeous voice.) Cloud Cult (www.cloudcult.com), the headliner, has a strong underground following in this city and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them at Bowery Ballroom or a bigger venue their next time around. (The Minnesota band’s recipe for melodic, emo pop is spot on.) As a special bonus, The Slack Republic (www.myspace.com/theslackrepublic) will be closing out the night with their first New York show, but good luck sleeping after this band’s set. Their unique sound combines grunge with hip-hop with indie rock. I’ve never heard anything like it before.

When I wasn’t working on Movable Hype, I was making the rounds at various clubs Downtown, including Bowery Ballroom, where I checked out Stellastarr* (www.stellastarr.com). This band was the soundtrack to my New York move two years ago (to this day, hearing their song “Somewhere Across Forever” gives me goosebumps). They may be a New York staple, but don’t disregard these guys — their live show is as compelling today as the first time I saw them. They get better and better, sticking close to their trademark, atmospheric pop but always expanding upon it.

After that I checked out Destroyer at Avalon (which, you may have heard, was shut down last Friday in a drug raid). Destroyer is Dan Bejar, who is also in the New Pornographers. His sound is perfectly flawed — smooth with hard edges, subtle in its perfection — and he has delivered possibly the most beautiful album I have heard in the past year. Live, he gripped the audience with his self-deprecating brand of lo-fi rock and amazing lyrics.

Movable Hype 7.0 should be just as impressive. Be sure to bring your dancing shoes, too — the girls of Essexy will be deejaying between sets.

Movable Hype starts at 8 PM, April 17th at the Knitting Factory (74 Leonard Street).Tickets are $8 adv/ $10 day of show, available at the box office (212.219.3132) and on Ticketweb.com.


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