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The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

by Shawn Despres

Pegged by a handful of blogs as a “band to watch” after their 2007 eponymous EP, there was a small buzz circulating at the start of 2009 about New York’s The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and their pending self-titled full-length. Three days after its February release, the disc was branded with a “best new music” tag from top underground tastemaker Pitchfork.com and instantly the shoegaze-pop quartet were pushed to the forefront of indie cool.

Guitarist Kip Berman, keyboardist Peggy Wang and bassist Alex Naidus first grouped together in the spring of 2007 at Wang’s birthday party. Originally intended as a one-off thing, the trio had so much fun that they decided to try their luck at being a real band. Several months later drummer Kurt Feldman joined to round out the current incarnation of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart.

Heavily inspired by the likes of The Smiths, My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus and Mary Chain, the act’s first album proper is filled with jangly, fuzzy anthems. And while their music may not be completely original (but really, how much modern pop is?), something detractors have been quick to attack (along with the borderline pretentiousness of the band’s moniker), it is incredibly well written and undeniably catchy making this a mute point for countless infatuated scribes who included the effort on their yearend acclaimed lists.

The group will embark on their first Japanese jaunt in February. They’ll be supported by shimmery postrockers The Depreciation Guild, which includes Feldman and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s touring guitarist Christoph Hocheim.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart play Fever in Tokyo at 7 p.m. on Feb. 6 and 14 (tickets cost ¥4,500 in advance, 03-6304-7899); Unagidani Sunsui in Osaka at 7 p.m. on Feb. 7 (¥4,000 in advance, 060-6243-3641); Blueport in Kobe at 7 p.m. on Feb. 9 (¥4,000 in advance, 078-332-1105); Rooms in Fukuoka at 7 p.m. on Feb. 11 (¥4,000 in advance, 092-751-0075); K.D Japon in Nagoya at 7 p.m. on Feb. 12 (¥4,000 in advance, 052-251-0324). Tickets for all shows cost ¥500 more at the door. For more information, visit fastcut.exblog.jp