Tag Archives: Grooms

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Via Tania

Moon Sweet Moon

Via Tania is the project of Australian born singer and instrumentalist Tania Bowers. At a young age, she played in  a vowel-free, noise pop outfit with her sister called SPDFGH, and opened for bands like The Breeders and Bikini Kill. She eventually worked on a solo effort and self-released an EP under the moniker Sunday.

Fast forward a few years to Chicago, Illinois where she began to piece together songs for her debut as Via Tania. The first album, Under A Different Sky, was released in 2004. Bowers’ sophomore release, Moon Sweet Moon, began to take shape in Australia. While still in Australia, Tania randomly met Craig Ross, a music producer from Texas. Ross  had worked with artists such as Emmylou Harris and Daniel Johnston. The two hit it off and began to work with each other. She traveled between the United States, Europe and Australia to complete the album.

The eleven song set starts out with “The Beginning,” a song that focuses on Bowers’ vocals. Her voice is light and airy, and it has a very enchanting feel. The second song “Wonder Stranger” opens up with bells and light percussion. It sounds like the intro to a horror film. You can picture a baby carriage rocking in a dark bedroom while a cold wind blows the curtains about the window. Continuing on through the album, “How Come” is another track that stands out. With its minimal guitar parts, it is Via Tania’s own ballad track. She sings a love song, “How come you love me like you are holding on to something, to someone?”

The album may be a bit hard to swallow at first; the songs don’t flow like typical pop songs. They aren’t easy for the listener to ingest right away. In other words, none of the tunes will leave you humming the melody after one listen. The tracks have many subtleties, and that is the true beauty of Moon Sweet Moon. Bowers’ voice is the most dynamic part of many of the songs. The minimal instrumental parts are light to the ear. The arrangements are brilliantly proportioned throughout the album. As with any good record, I always wonder what the artist can do live. So, if you can, check out Via Tania! I’m sure these recordings will make for a beautiful show.


Nov 10 2009 at Bordello Bar in Los Angeles, CA
Nov 11 2009 at Bootleg in Los Angeles, CA



Sometimes a remix (or a remix album) can be more fun than the actual songs/album itself. At other times, remixes can ruin the beauty of the original song. Headlights latest album, Remixes, defies both of these stereotypes. I actually think of it as a bonus disc! The tracks are from three of their albums; Kill Them With Kindness, Some Racing Some Stopping and their latest effort, Wildlife.

Headlights hail from Champaign, Illinois and formed in 2004. The group consists of Erin Fein, Seth Fein, Brett Sanderson and Tristan Wraight. The Fein’s and Sanderson had been playing music together since 1996, in bands such as Absinthe Blind and Orphans.

The album boasts remixes from The Album Leaf, Cale Parks and Son Lux, to name a few. After giving the album a few listens, I immediately fell in love with the Casiotone For The Painfully Alone’s remix of “So Much For The Afternoon.” Uzi & Ari remix “Towers,” which recalls sounds of “The Postal Service.” Jason Caddell of The Disemberment Plan fame produced “On April 2.” I wasn’t sure what to expect from this song, but it pleases with its abundance of electro-pop goodness. Headlights’ own Brett Sanderson remixes “Tokyo,” giving the tune a more mystical/spiritual feel.

Although it would be a dream to see Remixes performed live, I don’t think that will be happening any time soon. Still, their original songs make for a great show as well, so go see them!


Oct 28 2009 at Will’s Pub in Orlando, FL
Oct 29 2009 at Bottletree in Birmingham, AL
Oct 30 2009 at Hi Tone in Memphis, TN
Oct 31 2009 at The Iron Post in Urbana, IL



We here at BTR have been fans of “Grooms” since they were known as the Muggabears. Personally, I never thought Muggabears was a bad band name. It always reminded me of gummy bears, which is is odd, but definitely an enjoyable treat, much like the group itself. My favorite Muggabears tune was “Dead Kid Kicks.” I could hum that in my head for days.

But on Tuesday, April 14, 2009 the band issued a statement via their Myspace blog:

Hello Everybody,

We were Muggabears, now we’re Grooms. Is it a verb? Is it a noun? Not telling.

We’ve also put up a new song off our new album. The album is called Rejoicer. And the song is called Dreamsucker. We hope you like it.

If you don’t know about Grooms, they are a Brooklyn trio that have been around for about five years now. They just released their latest album, Rejoicer, on Death By Audio Records. Rejoicer is filled with lots of reverb. Lots and lots of reverb… In between all of the fuzzy goodness, I couldn’t help but recall the influence of Dinosaur Jr. It’s almost as if the DJ boys had some hipster kids and they made this new album. The first three track are the real standouts for me, but with each listen, the tunes grow on you. I am very fond of singer Travis Johnson’s voice. It has a slight uneasiness to me that is very attractive. He sounds as if he is experiencing both pain and pleasure when he sings, something that is quite difficult to pull off. Rejoicer boasts ten moody tracks that will be a surefire hit with all their Brooklyn peers.


Nov 5 2009 at Larry’s in Danbury, CT
Nov 8 2009 at AS 220 in Providence, RI
Nov 15 2009 at Contemporary Space 13 in Cincinnati, OH
Nov 16 2009 at Bishop Bar in Bloomington, OH

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– Lottie Leymarie


Review: Titus Andronicus, So So Glos, and Grooms at Knitting Factory Brooklyn

The new Knitting Factory Brooklyn does what it does well. There is a separate area for those over 21 with long, polished communal wooden tables and a big glass divider so you can watch the bands from the comfort of a warm bar. The performance space is medium-sized (bigger than Mercury Lounge, smaller than Southpaw) with just enough lights and equipment so that it’s still the kind of established production that the original Knitting Factory was. And it has a same-sex bathroom option (along with separate men’s and women’s rooms)! Also, there are no extra decorations or anything too “industrial,” so the place doesn’t feel like it’s trying too hard. It’s just like the old Knitting Factory, but much much smaller. And in Williamsburg. Except maybe the fact that it’s in Williamsburg means that it’s shooting itself in the foot on the “trying too hard front.”

It’s not exactly like Williamsburg is some secret factory of edginess. The cat’s pretty much out of the bag on that one, and I doubt the rents are much lower than the previous Tribeca location (it’s just quite a bit smaller). Knitting Factory Brooklyn means yet another company-run, big money venue that’s capitalizing on Williamsburg’s slightly out of the way (at least for all those teenagers from New Jersey) charm. The So So Glos summed it up quite nicely by saying, “Welcome to the $14 party!” The band was still playing at the venue, though. That’s the kind of disconnect that I’m afraid may ultimately hurt the venue, despite my mostly positive feelings about the new place. At least they didn’t open something up in Bushwick.

It was an odd choice for the last stop on Titus Andronicus’ and So So Glos’ nationwide tour together. These two bands make a perfect pairing. Both play high-energy rock and roll that borrow a lot from New York 70s punk bands like the Voidoids and the Heartbreakers, without letting it sound like a rehash of decades past. To me, both of these bands really represent local scenes. So So Glos essentially grew up in Market Hotel, living and rehearsing there as they were coming up in the Brooklyn world. Titus Andronicus formed in their New Jersey basements and seem to have a hold on the NJ garage rock renaissance. For two very DIY bands, what an odd choice for them to come home to a brand new corporate venue. It didn’t matter, though. They put on a great a show. With the amount of energy these guys were giving off, you’d never know it was the last stop on a six week tour.

In a room packed with family and friends, So So Glos absolutely killed it. I love this band. Every time they get up on stage they put their all into what they are doing, and they clearly love rock and roll. You know someone really loves what they’re doing when, after six weeks of the same thing every night, the guys in this band are still moshing and mouthing all the words to Titus after their own set. What a genuine bunch of dudes. When they take the stage, they make it seem like the guitars are their weapons, and they’re using rock and roll to energetically fight for everything good in the world. I did once see them almost start a fight at Death By Audio, but tonight was just good vibes all around, with an energetic under-aged crowd moshing along up front and us older folk enjoying ourselves, merely absorbing the So So Glos from the back.

Titus Andronicus was about the same as well. Patrick Stickles is an amazing front man. He’s totally bizarre, with an enormous black beard and eccentric stage banter. You can tell he’s obviously the force behind both the literary and smart punk songs the band churns out. I’d seen Titus in the past with a bigger lineup and more instruments, including a keyboard. This time around they were just guitar, guitar, bass and drums. While I do think that they lost some of their grandeur with the departure of the keyboards, Titus didn’t just power through their angst-ridden teenage tunes. Stickles mastered his guitar feedback to dramatic effect, with exciting builds and pauses. When this band releases their next album in 2010 (around March, Stickles promised), their career will certainly be unstoppable.

Speaking of good guitar feedback, Brooklyn’s Grooms started the night with a good set of noisy rock. It was probably more interesting than it was fun to watch, but this is a young band with some really cool songwriting innovations. It was a great night all around, and I was happy to see that some really genuine New York (Jersey) bands were doing their best to break in the new Knitting Factory.

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– Madalyn Baldanzi