Trails of eager pedestrians flock from the side streets of Lower East Manhattan and spill into the warm and intimate spaces of bars and its basements that nest some of the most brilliant sounds of NYC’s underground music scene.
A place where friendship, community and artistic expression all web together and intersect to create unspeakable human experience, Cake Shop is a space for those loyal to the DIY music scene to enjoy and watch artists grow and flourish, as well as witness the emergence of extraordinary talent in and around the area. Similar to the college basements of New Brunswick and its historic underground music scene in New Jersey that has bred the industry’s most renowned talent from Bon Jovi to The Bouncing Souls, the atmosphere of Cake Shop held a sort of intimacy only those familiar to the DIY music scene could fully appreciate.
Little Racer and Honduras, two groups that have proved to be unique from their traditional indie counterparts with unconventional aesthetics and sounds, have had endless watching eyes burn into their backs since their signings with up-and-coming record label Papercup Music and Black Bell Records. These are musicians dedicated to what makes them feel whole and good rather than succumbing to the expectations of payola radio and corporate industry persons to become successful. And as a result, the public has responded with a sincerity that helps crystallize the vision of artists who believe that to remain authentic to one’s craft is a site of virtue.
In Cake Shop’s dark, cool basement, patrons huddled together in anticipation of rocking out to the care-free surf-punk Little Racer and nu-wave Honduras.
From the “sugary, mellow, and easy-going harmonies and sounds” of Little Racer to the “excited, electric, asymmetric melodies” of Honduras, each had a unique line up of songs that gave balance to the diverse and dynamic crowd. Honduras played a nice favorite, “Sons”, and Litter Racer “Punk Life” and “Fire Island”, bringing on moments of great excitement where both band mates and fans jump into the bridge, and zone out to the dreamy instrumentals toward the end. Litter Racer has undergone great changes since we’ve last seen them. Elliot and Ish have been playing together for almost 5 years, though, they had initially started the band together in 2010. In addition, part of the line up early on ended up joining forces again in 2012, then once more in 2013. They have incredible chemistry and their bonds are truly sincere.
Little Racer spoke of how their experience as independent artists working with other DIY artists in an underground music scene such as Cake Shop has influenced their work:
“That’s the fun of playing smaller venues – you get to know the smaller booker, the group of people here feel more familiar, the sound guy knows how your equipment works and treats you like a full person. Andy [the booker] here likes us, and he’ll give us a weekend when we ask him for it. And it’s nice that you can cultivate your own scene within the DIY scene. In the past, we’ve played with Journalism and Honduras, so it was easy becoming intimate with the crowd tonight because we’ve already shared this creative space with them before.”
The interpersonal relationships shared between each band member and the complexity of human connection they have with their fans is incredible and so unique, it spills over in each melody, crescendo, and surf board melodic breakdown they produce.
Little Racer will be releasing an EP on April 8th of this year, of which will be available in stores everywhere. In addition, they are also premiering a single of their EP this afternoon, Friday, January 31st for viewers to enjoy. Keep a look out for these guys as well as Papercup Music’s up-and-coming artists. We should expect notable milestones from their camp in the next coming months. Honduras will be releasing an EP on cassette on February 28th of this year.
For more pictures, check out my review on CMJ.com
ALSO: Here’s Little Racer’s new single off their EP, “Dancing“.