Smile Politely

Pygmalion Pre-Party at Urban Outfitters

(Ed. Note — Full Disclosure: A founding member of Smile Politely also produces Pygmalion Music Festival.)

As the golden autumn months set in, there is no better time for Champaign-Urbana indie rockers and music lovers to unanimously come together to celebrate some of the finest musicians C-U has to offer. The host: Pygmalion Music Festival. While the official music dates are set from September 17–20, four bands hand picked by Nicodemus Agency will set launch to the festival with pre-shows each Friday until the initial show hits on Wednesday, September 17, which includes a striking lineup leading to Elsinore’s set at the Canopy. Though the pre-gaming will have to be done on your own time and on your own vicinity, this year’s pre-partying will be hosted by Urban Outfitters with special guests, Headlights, tomorrow at 6 p.m.

The four bands (Elsinore, Headlights, Tall Tale and World’s First Flying Machine) are some of our most promising acts. They show an example to bands like Yo La Tengo, High Places, Hood Internet and Black Mountain that C-U is an up and coming music hot spot; we have not only one, but a collection of them to prove it, too.

While Elsinore kick-started the pre-party last Sunday in between shoes and bedspreads at the back of the store, Headlights are still up and able to fit in your music-seeing schedule tonight. Headlights have appeared across the country in venues and in magazines, alike, such as Paste who wrote in their February 2008 issue: “From end to end, and without a weak moment, Headlights’ second full-length inspires awe at how deftly the band employs bells, organ swells, orchestral flourishes and stacked, co-ed “oohs” and “aahs” for instant indie-pop bliss”; and in Spin who state that their song, “Hi-Ya” from album, Kill Them With Kindess, is a rival to any of 2006’s summer’s “most upbeat songs.”

Here in their hometown, I haven’t heard a word raised against them, and I have seen the praise given to them simply by attending a show where their music ranges from indie pop to a more cultured pop of a softer and smoother quality found on their latest album, Some Racing, Some Stopping.

The decision to hold this year’s pre-parties at a retail store is rather interesting, indeed. As the hipster scene pushes music and fashion into one collective collision of “The Hipster,” it’s easy enough to see how human resources at Urban Outfitter’s national office has hired a music representative to line up in-store performances with local acts. While Urban Outfitters Inc. has a collection of retail brands including Free People and Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters is the only one to tap into the trends of its customers outside of their clothing and furniture. Urban has an entire blog with entries from all over the world covering music and fashion, while Anthropologie’s website claims in their About Us link that their line of clothing is meant to ”[make] things that inspire the imagination.” Not the ears, eyes, and physical enjoyment of music, way of life and the accompanying trends alone — just the inspiration of collecting expensive clothing, I suppose.

In regards to quality of sound in a make shift venue like a retail store, I spoke to a manager at Urban who said they leave it up to the festival and the band to come in and set it up. So in you, music builders, we trust.

Headlights will also be playing at the Canopy Club during the festival as apart of a Polyvinyl showcase accompanied by The M’s and Asobi Seksu on Saturday, September 20 at 11:45 p.m. (The M’s begin at 10:45 p.m.) Tall Tale and The World’s First Flying Machine will also be playing during the festival on Friday, September 19. You can check the online schedule for times and venues.

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