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There's No Place Like Drone 

click to enlarge My Bloody Valentine: Debbie Googe, Colm O'Ciosoig, Belinda Butcher, and Kevin Shields.
  • My Bloody Valentine: Debbie Googe, Colm O'Ciosoig, Belinda Butcher, and Kevin Shields.

Fans of shoegaze and hazy dream pop, listen up: What would you give for three days with My Bloody Valentine and 30 other droners, right in our backyard, at Kutshers, the old Borscht Belt resort? Here’s your dream festival—All Tomorrow’s Parties in Monticello, September 19 to 21.

Appropriately, the festival’s name was borrowed from the masters of distortion and euphoria, the Velvet Underground. “It’s taken from the first Velvets LP, which is a perfect record for me in both sound and attitude,” says festival promoter Barry Hogan in London. “I like the name because it describes the festival surviving into the future. I think the key to that has been the festival’s personal and bespoke nature. Lots of events suffer because they look for how much cash they can make, rather than focusing on longevity.”

ATP New York was born from the ashes of an event Hogan promoted in the UK in 1999, hosted by Belle and Sebastian. Hogan wanted to continue the project, endorsing quality over quantity, with better lineups than corporate festivals. What makes Hogan’s events special is that he chooses a band as curator to select the lineup. “Kinda like a mixed tape for the stage,” he explains.

This year’s headliner and co-curator is My Bloody Valentine. The alt-rockers formed in Dublin in 1984, using pitch bending, digital reverb, and multilayered guitars to place them as a leader in the shoegaze genre. After taking a break for over a decade, the group reunited in 2007. Some of the other featured bands are as follows: Mogwai, which has created five albums of introverted music on guitar, piano, drums, and computers with very little vocals; Robin Guthrie, co-founder of the Cocteau Twins and a musical visionary whose unique guitar style and deft production and programming skills have birthed some of the most beautiful music of the past 25 years; Low, which began producing slowcore, minimalist soundscapes and gorgeous harmonies when grunge was all the rage, releasing several critically acclaimed albums; Kingston-based Mercury Rev, whose first efforts combine chaotic noise with shiny pop, orchestration, and poetic lyrics; Bob Mould, who was once a punk pioneer with Hüsker Dü and an indie rocker with Sugar and now brings his quarter-century legacy to the ATP stage; and Fuck Buttons, which, though formed just four years ago, joins its fellow noisemakers by merging electronic, psychedelic dronescapes with tribal rhythms and distorted vocals. And if those are not enough, several dozen other bands will also perform, including Dinosaur Jr., Yo La Tengo, Thurston Moore, and the Meat Puppets.

The event will take place at Kutshers Country Club in Monticello and will be indoors, just like Hogan’s other festivals. “The idea of camping was removed so people could be treated well, rather than herded around like cattle in fields,” he says. “We’re really looking forward to Kutshers. The people who run the resort are so supportive of our event, and it’s a family-run business in operation for over 100 years. It’s like a cross between The Shining and Cocoon. We look forward to this ATP being the first of many there, and our philosophy is to create an environment of like-minded individuals. A place to treat everyone like we would like to be treated, with respect.”

All Tomorrow’s Parties runs September 19 through 21.

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  • Sharon Nichols previews the All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival in Monticello on September 19 to 21.


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