D.C.’s spring concert calendar is shaping up to be impressive. The hip-hop and rap-heavy schedule of last fall has been supplanted in the coming months by a parade of indie rock shows, with larger acts scheduled to share District stages with newer buzz bands.
Arguably the strongest show of the remainder of the school year is the doubleheader of new-wave disciples Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Twin Shadow, who visit the Black Cat on April 1. Both acts are highly-acclaimed newcomers to the world of independent music, drawing accolades for faithfully purveying ‘80s nostalgia at its finest.
The charmingly sincere Brooklyn-based outfit Pains of Being Pure at Heart released their first self-titled LP in early 2009, immediately garnering masses of critical love for their refreshing contribution to indie’s miniature new-wave resurgence.
Our generation’s musical counterpart to a John Hughes movie, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart deftly reinterprets the same themes of quiet angst and yearning, and their nearly flawless indie-pop album set them apart from the pack of other ‘80s revivalists and “second-wavers.”
The quintet recorded the dazzling five-song “Higher Than the Stars” EP in late 2009, and is touring to promote “Belong,” their second full-length album set for an April 9 release. For “Belong,” the band collaborated with Flood and Alan Moulder, famous producers most notably linked with the Smashing Pumpkins and Nine Inch Nails. The album’s first singles “Heart in Your Heartbreak” and “Belong” are out now, and despite the production team’s work with alt-rock royalty, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s sound is thankfully still steeped in ‘80s sound.
Compared to the expansive two-year career of the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Twin Shadow is brand new to making music. The project of musician George Lewis, Jr., a Brooklynite by way of the Dominican Republic, Twin Shadow experienced a meteoric rise after his successful release of “Forget,” his first album heavily influenced by ‘80s-era new wave. Twin Shadow attracted the attention of Chris Taylor, the Grizzly Bear bassist/producer extraordinaire, who signed Lewis to his Terrible Records label and produced “Forget,” which was released in November 2010. “Forget” may not forge any new trails with its shimmering synth-pop, but the album’s sophisticated grooves and romantic themes have still attracted praise from critics and audiences alike.
The April 1 new-wave union of the Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Twin Shadow is sure to sell out soon, so make sure to snag tickets for this remarkable show. Lovers of the ‘80s (and anyone else who has a vested interest in good music) shouldn’t miss this night of melancholy choruses and hazy guitars, delivered by two of the strongest acts in indie pop today.