Since 2008, Bleecker Street music venue and multimedia art cabaret Le Poisson Rouge has seen innumerable bands come through its doors. Some are big and some are small, some dabble in pop, classical, or experimental, but with its latest concert series, the mission is simple. “The ultimate goal here is to showcase new talent. LPR’s calendar is varied not because we want to book a wide range of artists and genres, but truly because we want to expose people to new things and take them out of their comfort zone,” says Brianne Sperber, marketing director for the venue. That’s why she and her team created “On the Rise,” which showcases emerging bands, most of which will be based in New York City. “We also realize how difficult it can be to gain traction as a band in New York and believe this will satisfy listeners as much as it will help these bands. LPR has always nurtured young talent in various genres. This series is an extension of that.”
For the series launch, which kicks off August 11, the venue booked Parrot Dream, Braeves, and New Myths, three bands that made lasting impressions with LPR staffers who had seen them around town at other shows. The roots of each act mingle in shimmering indie-pop soil, but branch out just enough to keep showgoers interested; the likelihood that folks there for any one band might find their tastes aligning perfectly with the others is what makes the show such a great opportunity for exposure.
“This is actually our first time playing LPR, which is one of my favorite venues in New York. The room is incredible for various kinds of music, and they consistently get great talent to play there, so we’re really excited to now become part of that,” says Nick LaFalce, who plays guitar in Braeves. Influenced by the National and Fleet Foxes, Braeves’ expansive, feel-good jams hinge on folksy melodies; their latest single, “Silver Streets,” is a perfect example of that.
Founding members Ryan Colt Levy and Derek Tramont have been playing together for nearly a decade in various projects, with Braeves taking shape over the last three years, so they’ve seen their fair share of changes. “It’s certainly difficult to break through the mold and stand out in this giant city where venues are constantly coming and going,” Tramont says. “Who thought Glasslands would close? That was one of the best venues in the New York area. Now there are rumors about Cameo Gallery shutting down, which is one of our favorite places to play.”
The solution, Tramont believes, is for bands to stick together. “When Ryan and I started playing shows, back when we were kids playing hardcore in Long Island, there was always this sense of camaraderie. We take care of bands and they take care of us; venues were the same way. Outside of our guys in Terrible Terrible, we rarely play with the same band twice.” But Levy hopes showcases like “On the Rise” will help change that. “We are firm believers in hard work and art standing as much on its own as possible, and the beauty of showcases like ‘On the Rise’ is not only giving new artists a unique platform to present themselves honestly to a larger audience, but also to create new friendships with truly special people,” he says.
Parrot Dream couldn’t agree more. Cristina Appel and Gonzalo Guerrero relocated to New York about a year ago, after forming in Santiago, Chile. Meeting like-minded talent has been a blessing for them. “One of our last shows we played with a band called Balancer, and now we’re sharing a rehearsal space with them,” says Appel, whose wistful vocals and airy synths give Parrot Dream their — well, dreaminess. “They’re [also] from Latin America — that’s something that we’ve been interested in, trying to connect with and talk to other bands, set up more shows with emerging artists that do have some connection to Latin America, to support each other mutually.”
Their debut EP, Set Sail Someday, is as hopeful as its title suggests, with Guerrero’s sprightly guitar keeping the songs moving along at a brisk clip. According to Appel, having creative friends in Santiago helped Parrot Dream produce their EP quickly, but ultimately New York held a greater allure. “We love Santiago and the music scene is definitely alive there, but it’s on a much smaller scale. So it’s just been really exciting to be able to become a part of the community here,” she says.
Relocating meant finding new bandmates to fill out Parrot Dream’s sound, but they’re always eager to try new things; their “On the Rise” show, for instance, will feature a second vocalist (but no bassist). They’re hoping to record a full-length in the fall and release it early next year, and Appel says perseverance is key. “You really have to work hard and be really focused and show that you’re passionate about it in order to make good work, and then be patient as well.”
Perhaps, if all goes swimmingly at “On the Rise,” New Myths would agree to put the results out on Taming Ghosts, the label they founded to share their debut record, Give Me Noise, with the world. Drummer Rosie Slater, guitarist Brit Boras, and bassist Marina Ross weave strong vocal harmonies into moody, new-wave-tinged riffs. They see the challenges of making it in New York in a positive light. “There are so many great bands and so many venues opening and closing constantly, and everyone is competing for the same audience — but that’s also a great motivator.” Like Parrot Dream and Braeves, it will be New Myths’ first time on LPR’s stage, and they’re looking forward to it. “It’s a venue we’ve always wanted to play! It’s a cool space with a nice stage and a great sound system. They put on interesting and different events that appeal to a really broad audience.”
“As a music venue, we’re interested in seeing live music. As people, we want to support local talent and watch it grow,” says Sperber, so it’s no wonder that local bands respect Le Poisson Rouge and are thrilled to play it. For each of these bands, it seems, having LPR in their corner is its own reward; reaching new fans, hopefully, will come along with the territory.
Le Poisson Rouge’s “On the Rise” series kicks off August 11.