On a sunny autumn afternoon on a side street in Brooklyn, I sit outside on a rickety black staircase with Squarehead, chatting about their week. This particular Monday is a day of recovery for the Dublin garage-pop trio, after just finishing eight shows over six days at New York's annual CMJ Music Marathon — one of which was the Phoenix/WFNX-sponsored party the day before, just up the block at 285 Kent.
This is Squarehead's second time to the States this year, following a spring tour where NYC's Inflated Records spotted them playing DIY epicenter Shea Stadium. The label has previously released music by Oberhofer and Bass Drum of Death, and on November 13, will release a split LP with Squarehead and fellow Irish trio So Cow. The record, Out of Season, features five new Squarehead tracks — some retaining the ultra-hooky surf-rock that's gained them their enormous following overseas ("Hammertime," "C'mon Man"), plus some of their heaviest, noisiest to date ("More Quickly," "Harkin' On"). "I think our constant gigging led the songs in a heavier direction because that's what people respond to in a live setting," says drummer Ruan van Vliet. That enormous following, by the way, includes Morrissey, who last year showed up at a Squarehead show, identifying himself as a fan.
Being a band in Ireland has its obstacles. "It's a tiny, tiny island," says singer/songwriter Roy Duffy. "You can tour the whole place in five days." But even though they're eager to tour the US again soon, they speak highly of the underground scene in Dublin as well, name-checking acts like Patrick Kelleher, Rhino Magic, and Ginnels. Van Vliet, who helped start the DIY collective Popical Island, plays in six other indie-pop bands. "It's really vibrant at the moment," says bassist Ian McFarlane.
Liz Pelly can be reached at: @LIZPELLY
: Music Features
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