The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Biography
Becoming one of 2009’s most-talked-about buzzbands on the strength of their eponymous debut long player, New York-based The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are an indie-pop band with warm center elements of dream-gaze and twee. Formed in 2007, the longtime friends of Alex Naidus (bass) and Kip Berman (guitar/vocals) worked in a cubicle together and shared an appreciation of distortion-heavy hardcore, punk music and noise pop, acts as varied as lo-fi twee outfit Black Tambourine and New Jersey punk band, Titus Andronicus. Their fuzz-and-treble sound has become a witty amalgamation of such acts—the type of band the members of POBPAH would want to listen to.
With the addition of newly met chum Peggy Wang-East (keyboards/vocals) and the eventual replacement of iPod programmed drums in favor of Kurt Feldman (also of The Depreciation Guild), the group was born of auspicious beginnings. Since putting out their first EP (eponymous) on Painbow Records in 2007, the quartet has released a second EP and the much-heralded self-titled LP, which rose to #9 on Billboard’s Heatseeker’s chart. As one of the more innovative outfits whose name spread like contagion, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have also been touring extensively throughout North America and Europe.
Wanting to throw Peggy Wang-East a birthday party in Brooklyn, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart—a name taken from an unpublished children’s book penned by a friend of Berman’s—came together quick to perform at the bash. With songs written on the fly, they performed a five-song set that night in rapid succession, three of which became staples in their catalog (“This Love is Fucking Right,” “Doing All the Things That Wouldn’t Make Your Parents Proud,” and “Contender”). Soon thereafter they recorded several songs that would appear on a self-titled, Cloudberry Records 3” CD-R.
Later that year, the band put out its first EP on its self-started Painbow Records. With day jobs and scant little notice, the band played gigs around the Eastern seaboard for handfuls of people, all the while tightening the bolts to the glowing noise pop they were harnessing. It wouldn’t be long until they became filling venues. In 2008, they began generating buzz around the New York City scene, amidst Grizzly Bear and Crystal Stilts and other such acts, for their audial semblance to Black Tambourine and Ride. They released a couple of limited-edition splits on the revered Slumberland label (who’d put out releases by POBPAH icons, Rocketship and The Aislers Set) and Atomic Beat Records (a 7” with The Parallelograms). They also toured Europe and met some of their favorite artists, such as twee-pop band Heavenly and Stephen Pastel of The Pastels.
In early 2009, the band released its first full-length album, the heavily anticipated The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (Slumberland), which launched them into indie-pop consciousness with its introspective boy/girl vocals and static backdrop, drawing favorable comparisons to early My Blood Valentine. The album scooted up to #37 on Billboard’s Top Independent Albums chart, and, after multiple showcases at SXSW that year, performed the single “Young Adult Friction” on Late Night with Carson Daly.
In 2010, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart continued to tour throughout North America and Europe. They also released a new 7” single “Say No To Love” on Slumberland. The band released their second record, Belong, in 2011, followed by the EP Acid Reflex in 2012.