Library is on Fire is heating things up in Williamsburg

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All things considered, you’d think Steve Five would stay in Ohio.

The Library is on Fire singer grew up listening to bands like Guided By Voices — also from his hometown of Kent. He and bassist Mark Shue bonded over their mutual appreciation of the band, meeting at an art opening for the band’s leader Robert Pollard. The trio, filled out by drummer Pete Sustaric, also spent last winter in Ohio with Voices producer Todd Tobias recording their sophomore album, “Magic Windows, Magic Nights,” out April 6 on Fill in the Blank Records.

In the end, it’s always back to Brooklyn. First brought here by love in 2004, Five returned two years ago after a brief stint back home, this time to pursue literary talents.

“I spent a year starting the band and also applying to graduate schools, not sure what I was doing with my life,” said Five. “Now I’m trying to figure out what to do post-grad.”

Five’s managed to keep busy, tweaking albums for the bands Red Dawn II, USAISAMONSTER, and Oneida, as well as booking acts like Knyfe Hyts, Pterodactyl and Doug Guillard of Guided by Voices at the band’s Bushwick loft, “TLIOF Headquarte­rs.”

And there’s “Magic Windows,” a charged piece of unpretentious noise-pop that sees Five moving away from his lo-fi roots.

“I wanted to make something that sounded like a real record for the first time in my life,” said Five, “instead of doing cheap back alley studio work that sounds not quite pro.”

And before you think the band’s name is some homage to his Midwest upbringing or an insider reference to Guided by Voices, it’s actually taken from the title of a poem by obscure war poet René Char.

OK, so maybe they’re a little pretentious.

The Library Is On Fire plays Death By Audio [49 S. Second St. between Kent and Wythe avenues in Williamsburg, (718) 599-5103] on April 8 at 9 pm. With Doug Gillard and Landlady. For info, visit

Updated 5:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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