we will publish a new paper issue this fall, our first printed one in a decade. now would be the time to send us some records (vinyl 7″s especially) to review. email me for ad rates.

my Portland, OR, photo show chickfactor nw is on display at Reading Frenzy thru July 1, please go! There is a small # of photo books for sale there, and soon I will be posting where to order more.

London shows will be Nov 17 & 18. Still sorting out the line-ups!

we made a book.


I am very excited about this — my first monograph! Designed by graphic design master LD Beghtol, with liner  notes by renowned critic / NYU professor / indie nerd Sukhdev Sandhu, it is shaped like a 7″ single. There will be a few copies for sale at my Reading Frenzy photo opening on June 7, and then we will do a larger press run if funding permits. cover girl: Lisa Levy. Inside are black-and-white photographs from 1985 to 2010 of musicians, writers, artists, actors, etc. Many that you are familiar with!

CF2012 East Coast Tour Diary…


(This set list was appropriated from Robin Banks, the lucky owner!)

So we did it. We had six nights of rock (or pop) in seven nights. two in D.C., one at Maxwell’s, and three at the Bell House in Brooklyn, NY. it was total euphoria and ecstasy and emotional and all just completely great in every way. Mike from Black Tambourine tore off a finger in D.C., a few other BTs had stomach flu, many had terrible allergies, Pam had an ankle injury, and nearly everyone who attended all six shows lost their voices and had “retail feet” at some point! By Wednesday, April 11, I was nearly laryngitic. When I flew back home on Friday, April 13, I was so cloggy and allergic I lost hearing in one ear and I still have not regained it all! If it weren’t for all the dopamine we were hopped up on, we would not have survived.

Friday, April 6: Tonight was Stevie Jackson, Frankie Rose, Honey Bunch, Dot Dash, and special guest The Pines (featuring Black Tambourine singer / CF cofounder Pam Berry & the Foxgloves’ Joe Brooker). Watching the Pines with Pam’s daughters Ava and Lulu was a highlight in both D.C. and New York. They already have a hunch that they totally lucked out in the mom department, and now they got to see mom (er, mum) up there singing like an angel along with Joe.  The Pines did a quickie special guest set in D.C. but it was just delightful. Dot Dash, featuring Terry Banks of Tree Fort Angst and glo-worm, was super great and sold a million T-shirts. Stevie ended up joining forces with Honey Bunch on their set and vice versa (he said it was like playing with the Velvets don’tcha know), and how great was that? Worlds collide. I don’t think I’d heard the chickfactor song live since 1998 at the Supper Club in NY! The only issue with the venue was that it never quite seemed loud enough, except during soundcheck. Frankie Rose did all the hits and closed out the night with her cool pop combo. Dan Searing (of glo-worm, Big Jesus Trash Can, Saturday People) was the charmingly loquacious MC and booze coordinator for both nights. I only wish I’d been in town earlier to attend a party at the Pines, where parties are legendary. The age group tonight ranged from age 5 to 78 btw. chickfactor attracts a diverse clientele. (food diary: lunch veggie mezza at Lebanese Taverna Market, dinner a big salad)

Saturday, April 7: Tonight was Black Tambourine, Lilys, Fan Modine, Lorelei and special guest LD Beghtol (backed by some guys from Black Tambourine / Lorelei). LD is the bearish gent out of Flare, who also was a guest singer on 69 Love Songs and chickfactor’s art director in the later years (when the photos started looking amazing). I had asked him to do some covers of songs by Crash, an amazing late-80s, early-90s pop group featuring singer Mark Dumais (who died 20 years ago) and guitarist Kurt Ralske (of Ultra Vivid Scene). I learned about Crash from Pam and Mike and the Black Tambourine/Slumberland crew 21 years ago and LD has a great voice for singing those songs. He did a few Crash tunes, a Flare song and a Jesus and Mary Chain tune, and oh my god “Everything Under the Sun” was one of the most compelling live music moments in years. Really was so great and so happy to see LD backed with a bunch of Crash fans. D.C.’s Lorelei made everyone swoon by covering the Pale Saints and being generally foxy, and while they were plenty loud during soundcheck in an empty room, I would have liked to hear them even louder (this was one of our main concerns with the venue all weekend). The Fan Modine came up from NC to play some hits and sounded super-rad, though I prefer hearing them when things quiet down more. Lilys mainstay Kurt Heasley played solo, which sounded pretty ace, even if I have to admit it would have been great to have him backed up with a band on a few of those classic tunes from his rich, rich back pages (why are these not all reissued? what is wrong with the world?). The first moments of the Black Tambourine show were just dead exciting. It just moved me to near-tears seeing them up there! I was one of the lucky few back in the day (1991 ish) to see them live, but tonight! you could hear the vocals! the venue was, well, basically an art gallery and wasn’t always ideal (too bright, not always loud enough) but I was more than chuffed to finally be seeing these guys play live again (set list above, natch). “Aggi” was a highlight for sure! (food diary: again! Lebanese Taverna with the family; dinner: salad and a giant iced coffee)

Sunday, April 8: Day off from rocking. I had not enough sleep, took Amtrak north and guess who randomly sat next to me? Stephen Lorelei’s mom! Crazy. She was telling other people on the train about the CF20 show! Along with my mom, she made it to the event, which was great. I got off the train in Newark, Gaylord Fields picked me up, we stopped and chowed on a few giant vegan sandwiches, and then we did his radio show together, with me getting to play all the records! What a dream come true! He seemed to enjoy what I played, which isn’t surprising as we have similar (um, perfect!) taste in music. (food diary: we went to Angelica Kitchen! Where I would have many meals this week and where Lupe Pipas met us and hung out too)

Monday, April 9: Tonight was Black Tambourine, Fan Modine, Rose Melberg and special guest Musical Chairs. Downtime became a rare and valuable commodity this week, we realized after not having nearly enough. Today we were out at Maxwell’s in Hoboken by 5pm or something, and the classic venue lived up to its reputation as being one of the finest venues in the nation in every way (apart from the food maybe). Once I had some superpowerfulmagic spanish ibuprofen powder (thanks to Lupe), I overcame my giant allergy migraine and had a spectacular night. We all sat down and had dinner together, which was really fun. We hadn’t seen Ian from Musical Chairs in ages, and he played a short set of jangly kinda pop! Rose melted my heart by doing Kirsty MacColl’s classic “They Don’t Know” which many people know from Tracey Ullman, along with doing a handful of Tiger Trap songs! Fan Modine and Black Tambourine fared better in this environment — this is the kind of venue made for this music! I was woo-ing like a crazy Beatles fangirl and just completely losing my voice, it was so fun to watch them with Lupe and Gaylord and all our pals. Really super fun. MC Gaylord Fields was just as funny and entertaining as he is on the radio! (food diary: lunch with Loops at Candle Cafe on the Upper East Side; dinner at Maxwell’s, I think I had a veggie burger, it was not terrifically memorable)

Tuesday, April 10: Tonight was Black Tambourine, Small Factory, Versus, The Lois Plus, Dump and Mark Robinson (last two were special guests). What a lineup, holy crap. I think I probably would have put SF & BT on different nights originally but Dave SF specifically requested this lineup, and I really wanted them to play so… Dump did a proper set of tunes including their stunning version of the Pacific Ocean’s “Last Minute,” Prince’s “Pop Life” and a few of their own classics like “Superpowerless” (or what Dawn calls “Pants on the floor” or something). Dump said if it weren’t for chickfactor they probably wouldn’t play live, which is crazy! Mark Robinson was going to be there anyway and Unrest couldn’t do a proper set but wowed the kids (and the oldies) with just two perfect tracks: “Isabel” and “Yes, She Is My Skinhead Girl” so so great, love that guy! Miss Maffeo played with The Would-Be-Goods’ Peter Momtchiloff and Bratmobile’s Molly Neuman on drums, and it was just so perfect. “Rougher” was a highlight, as was “Strumpet.” Lois, as always, delighted the audience with badinage and persliflage. One would never suspect this lady has stagefright issues! Versus gave it to you. Richard and Fontaine looked foxy in their suits and Margaret is near the bursting point; Richard joked that they were my third choice (which is true: Containe & the Pacific Ocean were asked first, and it’s pretty hard to conceal that information from Versus, it’s all the same people!) They gave us exactly what we wanted: a trip back to the early 90s! Oh god, my heart was already overflowing when Small Factory hit the stage, delivering nothing but their ultracharming pop energy, including “Suggestions,” one of the top pop songs ever. Black Tambourine played their third & final reunion show and it was mind-blowing, heart-warming, just amazing, so great. This venue was perfect for everything, especially being able to see and hear from anywhere despite your height. Just perfect! MC Gaylord Fields had nothing but witty, erudite things to say as always, I wish we’d had him properly miked up so we could go back and hear it all.(food diary: lunch at Angelica Kitchen, special no. 2; dinner: vegan panini from S’nice and I didn’t realize how walking over there would seriously cut into my duties as promoter; note to self: next time: hire more interns!)

Wednesday, April 11: Tonight was The Aislers Set, Pipas, Bridget St John, The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group, and special guests LD Beghtol backed by some Lorelei/Black T types and John Lindaman from True Love Always. John TLA just came out and did “Mediterranean” the excellent pop track his group contributed to the chickfactor mixtape comp from 2002. LD & the gang did their Crash and J&MChain covers and Flare song along with a Ben Watt-sung EBTG tune, the first of many EBTG references this evening! The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group, or the Jim Ruiz Set as they may now be known, just blew us away with their midwestern pop genius. Highlights included “Goodbye to All That” and “Valentine”, such a great set! Bridget performed beautifully and made a lot of people well up. We loved hearing “Mon Gala Papillons,” something she was inspired to write after hearing the name of our 2004 London festival of that name, which was inspired by a Jacques Lartigue photo. The Brooklyn/London duo Pipas haven’t played anywhere in years, and made the crowd so happy. They did so many hits. I really love those guys! The Aislers Set played a better set than I have ever seen them play, and I found myself wondering: Why, as a society, we ever allowed this fan-effing-tastic pop group to disband? What the hell? the Dubya era killed so many good things, and this was one of them. They did nothing but hits. Apparently they have nothing but  hits! And they were just on fire tonight, ask anyone. The video doesn’t really even capture the greatness. But wow, wow. And Peter Momtchiloff commented how this music being played this week doesn’t feel like it’s just about the past, but also about the present and the future. So true. Professor / film critic / indie nerd Sukhdev Sandhu was the MC tonight and he was irresistible as always albeit a bit quiet in his subtle Britishness. (food diary: lunch at Angelica Kitchen; dinner at S’nice)

Thursday, April 12: Tonight was Stevie “Belle and Sebastian” Jackson, HoneyBunch, The Softies, the Pines, and three! special guests Franklin Bruno, Ladybug Transistor and Fan Modine. Someone noticed that all the special guests were, uh, boys! I did try for some ladies, I’ll have it be known that Mascott, Jennifer O’Connor, The Cover Girls, Laura Cantrell, the Naysayer were among those on the list but for various reasons they could not! The manguests were super anyway — Franklin did after all play at our very first CF party with live music in 1993. Ladybug did a few fine Nordic-tinged Brooklyn tunes, and Fan Modine did a couple ace covers. Again, watching the Pines with Ava, Lulu and Bix Madell may have been one of the festival highlights for me. The paparazzi could not get enough! It felt really special to see the Pines doing a proper set in a proper venue in New York — about time! The Softies hadn’t played in 12 years and that was hard to believe because they just sound so fresh! HoneyBunch and Stevie did their collaborative thing again tonight and it was bliss. Stevie ended up with a real interactive fun set drawing the audience in and  making them love him even more. We were at a chickfactor show and we were all singing our hearts out to Stevie’s cover of “Rocket Man” by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. MC Phoebe Bluesky Summersquash was on hand to keep the audience entertained, man, she is a good one. In case you didn’t know who HoneyBunch wrote “Hey Bluesky” about, now you do. The whole week just filled me with so much love, luck, dopamine, euphoria, pop love, friend love, I know I sound dorky but who cares. All that was missing was more time so we could all have spent more quality time together. Pam and I didn’t even get to go shopping like the olden days. In fact the New York economy would have fared better had she been able to shop instead of just rehearsing! (food diary: lunch at Angelica; hummus sandwich with the kids from S’nice)

I got thanked an awful lot and CF did and I did work hard but it took a village to pull this thing off. Next stop: Portland, Oregon! May 30 at Bunk Bar featuring The Softies, Joe Pernice, Lois, and Selector Dub Narcotic. Later this year: San Francisco, Los Angeles and London, and maybe Chicago! (Sorry, kids, Black Tambourine not likely to play those dates)

• Here is a piece about chickfactor in the Washington City Paper, where Pam and I met. WCP also had some post-show commentary and photos.

• And an interview with Black Tambourine in the Washington Post, Mark Jenkins’ review of the BT night, and another article here

• And an interview with Pam on Refinery 29 & an interview with Gail in Capital New York and one with NBC’s Nonstop Sound

• This is a photographic document of our D.C. shows in Paste

• The DCist writes up the Black Tambourine Artisphere night and they interviewed Dot Dash as well

Brooklyn Vegan reviewed some bands and missed others, nice photos here (Bell House April 10, Bell House April 11 and Bell House April 12)

• Maura’s nice writeup in the Voice and her post-show technology commentary related to my attempt at getting people to put their cell phones away during the shows

• Vinyl District did some nice coverage here

• Brightest Young Things’ kooky Stevie Jackson interview and some nice post-show coverage

• Here are some items from Killer FemmeThe L Magazine, Exclaim, Pitchfork, Reverb City, NPR Intern Edition, TBD, TimeOut NY, New York Times, Yale Daily News, Express Night Out, South County Music, Eardrum NYC and Orange Juice in Bishops Garden

• Photographs from Verbicide, Brad Searles, Shantel Mitchell, Erica Bruce, Andrew Bulhak, Kyle Gustafson, Frances Chung, Sean, and Caren Parmalee.

• Videos from Bleary Eyed Brooklyn, Rawkblog, Vimeo and Youtube here.

CF*2012: for the love of pop!


chickfactor beermats: designed, typeset and printed by hand on a letterpress by Tim Hopkins at the Half Pint Press

The magic starts in just a few weeks and we can hardly wait. Just look at these lineups! And the audience will be pretty special too.

Fri April 6 at Artisphere, Arlington, VA: The Pines + Dot Dash + Honey Bunch + Stevie Jackson + Frankie Rose! Tickets

Sat April 7 at Artisphere, Arlington, VA: Black Tambourine + Lilys + Fan Modine + Lorelei + Special Guest Tickets

Sun April 8: CF editor will be on WFMU with the awesome Gaylord Fields from 5-7pm EST, ticket giveaways may occur!

Mon April 9 at Maxwells, Hoboken, NJ: Black Tambourine + Fan Modine + Rose Melberg + Special Guest Tickets here, also at Other Music & Tunes Hoboken

Tues April 10 at Bell House, Brooklyn, NY: Black Tambourine + Small Factory + Versus + The Lois Plus + Some special guests (Sold out but keep an eye here for people selling)

Wed April 11 at Bell House, Brooklyn, NY: The Aislers Set + Pipas + The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group + Bridget St John + Special guests (Sold out online but Other Music had 17 left as of yesterday)

Thurs April 12 at Bell House, Brooklyn, NY: Stevie Jackson (Belle & Sebastian) + Honey Bunch+ The Softies + The Pines + Special guests Tickets here & Other Music

Wed May 30 at Bunk Bar, Portland, OR: Joe Pernice + The Softies + Lois + Selector Dub Narcotic Tickets here

We are planning to have a party like it’s 1992: we challenge you to put your cell phones away for the entire night!

chickfactor 2012: for the love of pop update!

Wow, thanks for the enthusiastic response, pop kids! We, too, cannot wait for these shows to happen.

Here’s the ticket link for the D.C. shows on April 6 & 7 featuring Black Tambourine, Lilys, Stevie Jackson, Frankie Rose, Lorelei, Dot Dash, Honey Bunch and Fan Modine!

There are also still tickets for the April 11 show in Brooklyn, NY (The Aislers Set! Pipas! The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group! Bridget St John! Special guests!)

and the April 12 show in Brookyn, NY (Stevie Jackson! From Belle and Sebastian! Honey Bunch! The Softies! The Pines! Special guests! *please note A Girl Called Eddy had to cancel due to recording dates)

We are looking into setting up shows in London and the West Coast (work with me, Portland!) and there will be *one more* East Coast announcement sometime this month.

Black Tambourine (Mike! Pam! Brian! Archie!) photo by Tae Won Yu.

cf 2012: for the love of pop

chickfactor will celebrate its 20-year anniversary with five blissful nights of sparkling indie pop on the Northeast Corridor of the USA (three in NY; two in DC) including the first shows in years by Black Tambourine, Small Factory, Pipas, The Aislers Set, The Pines, The Softies, The Lois Plus, The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group and Fan Modine and rare performances from such pop luminaries as Stevie Jackson (Belle & Sebastian), Frankie Rose, Lilys, Lorelei, Dot Dash, Versus, Bridget St John and Honey Bunch.

chickfactor started in 1992 in D.C. and New York by pop-loving maniacs Pam Berry and Gail O’Hara, who used to travel up and down the East Coast seeing Small Factory, Honey Bunch, the Wedding Present and any other fine indie-pop bands of the era. We are spoiled silly and lucky as all get-out to be able to present this super-stellar line-up. Get your ticket fast, do not dilly-dally!

Black Tambourine at the Spiral in NYC, 1991, photo by Tae Won Yu

April 6 & 7 at Artisphere in Arlington, Virginia


(excellent guitarist-singer in Belle & Sebastian, the one who wrote a tune called “chickfactor,” natch. Mr Jackson has a new solo release titled “(I Can’t Get No) Stevie Jackson”; on the cover of chickfactor #12 with Janet Weiss)

(Bay Area pop wunderkind and former member of Vivian Girls / Crystal Stilts, on Slumberland’s roster)

(early Slumberland act featuring super-talented Velvet Crush fella Jeffrey Underhill; interviewed in chickfactor #11)

(awesome D.C. pop group featuring Terry Banks of Tree Fort Angst, Saturday People and glo-worm; featured in chickfactor #15)



(legendary D.C. noise-pop group starring chickfactor co-founder Pam Berry, Slumberland boss Mike Schulman, Brian Nelson and Archie Moore from Velocity Girl, among many other bands; they have not performed live since 1991!!)

(early Slumberland genius songwriter Kurt Heasley is back for this special D.C. reunion festival)

(NC via NYC ace songcrafter Gordon Zacharias)

(early Slumberland D.C. powerhouse act featuring Matt Dingee, Stephen Gardner and Davis White)

Frankie Rose…photo by Lauren Bilanko.

+   +   +   +   +   +

Small Factory photo by Lydia Vanderloo.

Jen and Rose are the Softies!

The mighty Versus. Photo by Michael Galinsky.



April 10, 11, 12 at the Bell House in Brooklyn, New York (first night sold out; tix still available for other two)

Awesome special guests on each night as well!



(legendary D.C. noise-pop group starring chickfactor co-founder Pam Berry, Slumberland boss Mike Schulman, Brian Nelson and Archie Moore from Velocity Girl, among many other bands; they have not performed live since 1991!!)

(first show since 1995 by the amazing Providence, RI pop group featuring Dave Auchenbach, Alex Kemp and Phoebe Summersquash, cover girl of chickfactor #1)

(smoking hot NYC trio back to the lean, clean lineup of suave brothers Edward and Richard Baluyut and the one and only Fontaine Toups, cover girl of chickfactor #6)

(erudite Olympia singer-songwriter Lois Maffeo will play with Heavenly / Talulah Gosh / Would-Be-Goods guitarist Peter Momtchiloff; this is their first show together since 1997; Lois shared the cover of chickfactor #5 with Rebecca Spinane; Momtch in chickfactor #2)



(seminal Spectorific Bay Area pop combo led by Linton, interviewed in / cover of chickfactor #13; first show since 2003)

(unmissable London-Brooklyn electropop duo Mark Powell and Lupe Nunez-Fernandez will play their first show since 2008; interviewed in chickfactor #14)

(legendary British folk-pop artist whose early recordings were released by John Peel, who basically started a label for her; interviewed in chickfactor #12)

(Minneapolis jazz-pop god will play in NY for the first time since 2002 with Emily Ruiz, Charlotte Crabtree and Alison Labonne; interviewed in chickfactor #9)



(excellent guitarist-singer in Belle & Sebastian, the one who wrote a tune called “chickfactor,” natch. Mr Jackson has a new solo release titled “(I Can’t Get No) Stevie Jackson”; interviewed in chickfactor #12)

(early Slumberland act featuring super-talented Velvet Crush fella Jeffrey Underhill; interviewed in chickfactor #11)

(SE London folk duo featuring CF co-founder/Black Tambourine singer Pam Berry and Joe Brooker)

(super-soft ultra-pop duo Rose Melberg and Jen Sbragia’s first show since 2000; Tiger Trap and All Girl Summer Fun Band featured in chickfactor #4 and #15)

BROOKLYN: Three-day pass $70. Single tickets $25 in advance, $27 at the door.


The Pines!

The Aislers Set

A not-too-recent pic of Honey Bunch!

The Legendary Jim Ruiz!

Stevie Jackson setting an example for the kids

Bridget St John…

Dot Dash!

Gordon Zacharias, aka Fan Modine!

The Lois Plus (that would be Lois Maffeo and Peter Momtchiloff!)


Thanks to Other Music, Bell House, Slumberland RecordsWFMU!

Follow us on this silly thing or that silly thing.

This event is dedicated to the memory of George GelestinoTrish KeenanKirsty MacCollMary Hansen and Spencer Gates.

Stay tuned.

We are celebrating our 20th anniversary, regardless of our long bouts of inactivity, in 2012.

Washington, D.C. April 6 & 7

Brooklyn, NY April 10, 11, 12

Trust me, if you love pop as much as we do, you will want to be in those places.

Hopefully we’ll be doing parties in London, LA, SF, Portland too.

Insanely ridiculously exciting line-ups of bands TBA soon.

News of the Gedge.

chickfactor had the pleasure of dining with David Gedge of the fantabulous Wedding Present and his family at the delectable deli Kenny & Zukes in Portland, Oregon, this week. We are more than a little excited about TWP’s spring tour in which they will be performing all of the perfect Steve Albini-produced album Seamonsters for the kids.  This album (and this song that I love) takes us way back to 1991 when we were roadtripping it north with Pam and the gang, going to Pier Platters and Maxwell’s and buying lots of records and playing this one over and over. In case you were unaware, we started chickfactor fanzine because of TWP frontman Mr. Gedge! Anyway, according to his Scopitones site, TWP will be Seamonstering in North America and Japan in March and April and playing it in Europe/The UK Sept-Nov. We look forward to attending more than one of these concerts. Also there is a new TWP fan club thingie called Club 8 — details here.