The Bowery Presents
Cap'n Jazz

Cap'n Jazz

The Van Pelt

Sat, September 23, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Brooklyn Steel

Brooklyn, NY

$26.50 advance / $27 day of show

This event is 16 and over

Cap'n Jazz
Cap'n Jazz
Short-lived but highly influential, Cap’n Jazz helped transform genres from a deeply underground punk subgenre into a more widely accepted subset of indie rock. Cap’n Jazz’s main contribution was stylistic — they helped shift emo’s always-elusive musical focus from post-hardcore prog-punk to an arty but more accessible punk-pop. Their discography was as scant as it was rare, but that very obscurity helped build their underground legend through word of mouth, until a double-CD retrospective was finally issued several years after their breakup. By that time, most of the members had moved on to other, better-known bands, most notably Joan of Arc, American Football Owen and the Promise Ring, which helped spread Cap’n Jazz’s influence far beyond their original audience.
The first incarnation of Cap’n Jazz was formed in Chicago circa 1989, when brothers Tim (guitar, vocals) and Mike Kinsella (drums) teamed up with bassist Sam Zurick and guitarist Victor Villareal; all were still in school at the time. The band went through several name changes and added guitarist Davey von Bohlen, but took a few years to get serious about pursuing music. Eventually, they earned a cult following around Chicago and the Midwest, honing a sound that was at once complicated and sloppily enthusiastic. Frontman Tim Kinsella’s cryptic wordplay and naïve vocals became the group’s focal points; although some found those traits polarizing, they gave Cap’n Jazz a distinct personality.

Analphabetapolothology During the early ’90s, the band recorded several singles for tiny independent labels, and also contributed tracks to several indie and punk compilations. In 1995, they issued their first and only album, Shmap’n Shmazz, on the tiny, poorly distributed Man With Gun label; the album also had an incredibly lengthy alternate title, which most fans ignored. It quickly became a collector’s item. Not long after its release, Cap’n Jazz disbanded to pursue other projects. In 1998, three years after the band’s breakup, Jade Tree Records assembled a double-disc Cap’n Jazz retrospective titled Analphabetapolothology. It contained the band’s complete recorded works — the entirety of Shmap’n Shmazz, material from their early singles and split releases, compilation tracks, unreleased demos and outtakes, and several songs from their farewell concert in Chicago.

Post Cap’n Jazz, Davey von Bohlen founding the Promise Ring, which became one of the most popular emo bands of the ’90s. Tim Kinsella founded Joan of Arc, which fused indie rock and avant-garde art rock in adventurous ways, and also included Mike Kinsella, Victor Villarreal and Sam Zurick at various times. As well as Owls and Make Believe with Sam Zurick. In between drumming gigs behind his brother, Mike Kinsella went on to front his own projects, American Football and, later, the mostly solo Owen. Victor Villarreal resurfacing in the mostly instrumental Ghosts and Vodka, which also featured Zurick.
The Van Pelt
The Van Pelt
The Van Pelt, led by songwriter Chris Leo (The Lapse), with drummer Neil O'Brien (Butterflies of Love), and a rotating cast, including bassist Toko Yasuda (Blonde Redhead/Enon), released their debut full-length, Stealing From Our Favorite Thieves, in 1996, followed by Sultans Of Sentiment, the following year, on the Gern Blandsten (Ted Leo, Liars, Rye Coalition, Weston, Chisel, Canyon, etc.) label, before parking the van in the garage, and calling it a day, moving on to other projects. But a funny thing has happened over the past two decades, with those two albums finding new ears with a new generation.

Post-Punk? Indie Rock? Post-Hardcore? The Van Pelt walked between all these worlds. Spoken/sung vocals, anthemic pop hooks, fiery guitars and a tightly wound rhythm section made them stand outs of the DIY basement scene they emerged from. The 1990's indie heroes have had a lasting power far greater than so many of the other once bigger bands of that era. The sort of interest that has neither waxed nor waned over the decades since they disbanded, yet just mysteriously continues on despite their discography being out of print since the end of the last millennium.

So what is it that sets them apart? Too soft to have ran with the AmRep or Touch & Go crowds, not hip enough to have made sense on Matador or Merge, earnest yet not histrionic enough to make it onto the "best emo bands" lists, not weird enough to be on bills with Arto Lindsay and Thurston Moore - in a sense, their outsider status comes not from the wings, but from the dead center eye of the storm. The '90s were happening all around them, they were witnesses thereof, yet they emerged transcendent of it all.

The Van Pelt re-emerged in 2014, with the release of Imaginary Third, a collection of singles and unreleased Van Pelt tracks, which were originally intended to have been the components of their third album, including the alt-famous "Speeding Train". They returned to the stage in the UK and Europe for select festival dates, including the failed ATP Jabberwocky Festival, the cancellation of which, led to two powerful London performances - first at the ACE Hotel with support from Ought, and additionally at the Shacklewell Arms, with Metz and Iceage
Venue Information:
Brooklyn Steel
319 Frost Street
Brooklyn, NY, 11222