The highlight of this weekend’s two-night indie-pop explosion at Artisphere is certainly the reunion of Black Tambourine , the legendary-after-the-fact locals who will be playing their first show in 20 years. But these shows, celebrating the 20th anniversary of cult-favorite fanzine Chickfactor, are overflowing with standout tunesmiths. Black Tambourine was featured in today’s Weekend section, but here’s a quick rundown/playlist of the rest of the roster performing in Arlington on Friday and Saturday.
Jackson is a guitarist and “secondary” songwriter for Belle & Sebastian, one of indie pop’s true crossover acts. Among his best compositions for the group is “Chickfactor,” from 1998 album “The Boy With the Arab Strap,” a song written in tribute to the fanzine.
A (relative) newcomer carrying on the traditions of the classic sound championed by Chickfactor. She used to play in Vivian Girls, Dum Dum Girls and Crystal Stilts, but new album “Interstellar” (out on Slumberland Records, run by Black Tambourine’s Mike Schulman) is the best album from that entire axis of acts.
Terry Banks — whose former bands list reads like a roll call of D.C.’s finest indie-pop acts — leads this new group that continues his long winning streak. In a November review of the band’s debut album, “Spark>flame>ember>ash,” Mark Jenkins says that Banks is “still an exuberant melodist with a thing for ’80s British indie-pop” and “there's not a clunker among these 14 songs.”
Despite releasing only 10 songs and playing only roughly that many shows during its brief existence, the local group became a key reference point for a host of bands looking to find the perfect noise-pop formula.
Ranking just below Black Tambourine’s reunion in terms of noteworthiness is this rare performance by the group led by psych-pop standout Kurt Heasley. He’s amassed an impressive and deep catalogue of songs that are dreamy, driving and raucous.
Maybe the most random of the weekend’s eight acts. Gordon Zacharias has released just three albums over 15 years while helming this band, and it feels like each long absence is due to his studying every deep corner of elegant pop songcraft.