The world is full of societal dividing lines, few of which are more strongly fortified than those that exist between New York City and Boston. The jockeying for position is natural for two major cities angling for regional dominance, and it’s unlikely that will ever change. But on the musical front, Dan Goldin doesn’t see why both cities can’t get along and play nice.
“This isn’t sports,” says Goldin, who along with Dave Spak runs Exploding in Sound Records. “It’s not like the Red Sox versus the Yankees. There’s no reason why there can’t be some East Coast unity going on.”
The concept of scene unity is a particularly important one for Goldin, who has slowly but steadily grown the label across both cities since he started Exploding in Sound — then a blog — in 2011. Boston mainstays such as Grass Is Green, Pile, Krill, and Palehound first brought the label some well-deserved recognition, while Goldin and Spak (who now works with the label remotely from Pennsylvania) have brought in bands from New York, Nashville, Los Angeles, Chicago, and even Switzerland since moving the label’s base of operations to Brooklyn. As a result, Exploding in Sound has fostered two growing scenes, each one dedicated to the preservation of scrappy, old-school indie rock and postpunk.
Exploding in Sound’s effort to cross-pollinate scenes continues this week with an extended weekend of shows in both New York and Boston. Dubbed “Thank You for Being a Friend,” the run kicks off with shows at Baby’s All Right on August 20, featuring Porches, Pile, Grass Is Green, Two Inch Astronaut, and Washer, and Palisades on August 21, with Krill, Big Ups, LVL UP, Stove, and Palm. Three shows will follow in Boston, with stops at the Sinclair on August 22 and both O’Brien’s Pub and Great Scott on August 23. The celebration will wrap up back in Brooklyn at Silent Barn on August 24 with Baked, Zula, Flagland, Gnarwhal, and Fond Han.
“The idea originally was to have every band that we released something for play at least one of the nights,” Goldin says. “Some of the bands weren’t available in the end, but we got a lot of them.”
“Thank You for Being a Friend” began as an attempt to book some of Goldin’s Boston bands into a bigger room (“There’s only so many times you can sell out Great Scott,” he explains), which eventually led to shows coming together in both cities. By Goldin’s logic, the shows allow some of Exploding in Sound’s more provincial bands to branch out into their neighboring scenes, with the Boston shows featuring their share of New York acts and vice versa. The extended weekend is more than a celebration of the strides the label has made in the last four years. As its name implies, “Thank You for Being a Friend” is a show of gratitude to Exploding in Sound loyalists, many of whom have stuck with the label from its infancy.
“It’s awesome that there’s so many loyal fans at this point that we have built some trust with listeners,” Goldin says. “As much as they’re down for the bigger acts like Pile and Krill and Palehound, they’re also interested in the smaller things that maybe they haven’t heard of. That’s all I can ever really ask for.”
Exploding in Sound’s traveling “Thank You for Being a Friend” showcase kicks off at Baby’s All Right on August 20. The show has sold out, but check secondary markets for tickets. For additional “Thank You for Being a Friend” dates, click here.