by Samuel Hernandez
New York City music has thrived by creating supportive enclaves. In the 1970s musicians moved into lofts in broken and burning parts of the city and turned them into performance spaces. Whether it was the Happenings that brought in visual artists to shock and awe, or the classical artists who were attempting to minimalize their product and expand their sound at the same time. Music and art was assaultive, supported by friends and like-minded creatives who enabled the scene to expand from nothing.
Captured Tracks is a Brooklyn label that promotes local bands. In addition to a supportive label that works with musicians to finish the product the way they want to, the label has opened up a record store to push their bands and their obsessions, and started an annual showcase. In a conversation with John Pena of Heavenly Beat last year, we talked about the aesthetic behind his vinyl records and how closely he worked with the label artist to achieve his personal vision. When major artists are creating their own labels and complaining about the majors that they do have to sign on with, the music industry needs the feeling you get in a small town where everyone knows your name and where people care.
On June 13th as part of Northside Festival, Captured Tracks is bringing up five of their bands at Warsaw (261 Driggs Avenue) in Williamsburg. Your best way of approaching this show is by arriving early to Williamsburg and just wandering around, getting lost, until you find Driggs Avenue and stumble upon the haven that will be the CT showcase.
Beach Fossils will bring you back to DIY punk with a touch of lo-fi shoegaze in the vocals. Their summer melodies wrap pleasantly through relaxing nights and contemplating failed relationships in a post-acceptance glow. The band will soothe and glide you to a satisfaction of your place. Their lo-fi charm removes distance and helps form that supportive enclave. The music is all enveloping and comforting.
The showcase continues the shoegaze vocal trend, a minor quirk that can be seen running through other Brooklyn identifying bands such as Small Black and Little Daylight. This shoegaze showcase continues with Craft Spells’ melancholic dancing rhythms, as if in appreciation for the somber reality of twenty-something existence but the acknowledgement that entertainment and outlet need to exist.
Queens based musician Juan Wauters mixes English prog-pop rock from the early ’70s with American melody driven surf. His songs are nostalgic numbers with psychedelic vocals. If Beach Fossils and Craft Spells often defer to the contemplative dancing mood, Wauters finds himself borrowing from the truth-telling punk tradition, spouting lyrics of impact. Self described as garage folk, Wauters is a front man waxing philosophic.
The night rounds out with the bands Axxa/Abraxas and Donovan Blanc. A year after holding their fifth anniversary festival, this Northside showcase highlights Captured Track’s commitment to presentation and remaining a part of the community. There is a special music scene around the label, and it can be a music scene that includes you.