The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

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The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart performing in 2014
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart performing in 2014
Background information
OriginNew York City
Years active2007–2019
Past members

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart were an American indie pop band from New York City, formed in 2007. The band centered around founding member and principal songwriter Kip Berman (vocals, guitar). In the band's final iteration, Berman was joined in concert by Christoph Hochheim (guitar), Jen Goma (keyboards, vocals), Jacob Sloan (bass), and Anton Hochheim (drums). Former members and contributors include Peggy Wang (keyboards, vocals),[1] Connor Hanwick, Kurt Feldman and Alex Naidus.


Formation and early years (2007–2012)[edit]

Kip Berman, lead singer, guitarist, and principal songwriter, grew up in Philadelphia, but moved to Portland, Oregon, where he lived for several years. Berman played in numerous bands during that time. After finishing his college degree at Reed College, he moved to New York City, where he met Alex Naidus. The two bonded over their adoration for music, and their similar upbringing.[2] Bands such as Smashing Pumpkins, The Field Mice, Black Tambourine, and Nirvana helped to establish the two as friends. Soon after, the trio played at the birthday party of friend and bandmate Peggy Wang.[3] According to the musicians, they played "five songs in ten minutes, and the song names were longer than the songs". Using a backing track as a drummer, half of this setlist helped formulate the debut album.

In late 2007, The Pains started a MySpace page to showcase their songs. Berman noted that at the time, the band name was all the group had.[4] The name comes from the title of an unpublished children's story by Charles Augustus Steen III (a friend of Berman's), which revolves around "realising what matters most in life – things like friendship and having a good time".[5][6] The trio began working on numerous tracks. Songs such as "Contender", "Come Saturday", and "This Love Is Fucking Right!" would stay band favorites, winding up on the 2009 album The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Other tracks, such as "Orchard of My Eye", would be released on their first EP. It was at the time of their MySpace uploads that attention was being drawn to the act. Prominent music websites, such as Pitchfork and Stereogum, kept tabs on The Pains of Being Pure at Heart.

After numerous shows around New York, the trio recruited Berman's roommate Kurt Feldman as drummer.[7] After playing more shows, both in and outside of the US the band recorded their inaugural LP. Their first self-released EP came out in 2007 on Painbow, a label created by the band.[8] Their debut self-titled full-length album was released on February 3, 2009, via Slumberland Records,[9] a favorite label of the band's. The album peaked at number nine on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.[10] In 2009, they released Higher Than the Stars, their second EP.[11]

The band's second album, entitled Belong, was released in 2011. It represented their commercial peak, reaching number 92 on the Billboard 200. It also charted worldwide, reaching the top 100 in Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, and Spain.

Later years and disbandment (2013–2019)[edit]

The group moved to New York-based label Yebo Music for the third effort, Days of Abandon, released in May 2014.[12] Their next album, The Echo of Pleasure, was released on September 1, 2017, and self-distributed by the band.[13]

The group recorded a full album cover of Tom Petty's 1989 album Full Moon Fever for subscription-based label Turntable Kitchen, released in November 2018.[14] One year later, Berman announced that he had disbanded the project. He described feeling disconnected from the music he was writing after The Echo of Pleasure. In addition, he had relocated to New Jersey and became a father, suggesting the band was a "distinct moment" in his life that had passed.[15] Berman has continued making music under the moniker The Natvral.

Band members[edit]

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart performing in Seattle in 2009
  • Kip Berman – vocals, guitar
  • Kurt Feldman – drums
  • Alex Naidus – bass
  • Peggy Wang – keyboards, vocals

Touring members[edit]

  • Christoph Hochheim – guitar
  • Anton Hochheim – drums
  • Brian Alvarez – drums
  • Chris Schackerman – drums
  • Connor Hanwick – guitar
  • Jacob Sloan – bass, vocals
  • Jess Krichelle Rojas – vocals, keyboard
  • Elspeth Vance – vocals
  • Jen Goma – vocals, keyboard
  • Jess Weiss – vocals, keyboard
  • Drew Citron – keyboard[16]



Year Album details Peak chart positions
US Heat
US Indie
2009 The Pains of Being Pure at Heart 9 37
2011 Belong
  • Released: March 29, 2011
  • Label: Slumberland
92 41 18 69 167 80 109
2014 Days of Abandon
  • Released: May 13, 2014
  • Label: Yebo Music
168 32
2017 The Echo of Pleasure
  • Released: September 1, 2017
  • Label: Painbow
"—" denotes a title that did not chart, or was not released in that territory.

Cover albums[edit]


  • The Pains of Being Pure at Heart EP (Painbow, 2007)
  • Higher Than the Stars (Slumberland, 2009)
  • Acid Reflex (Play It Again Sam, 2012, Purple Vinyl)
  • Abandonment Issue (Yebo Music, 2014)
  • Hell (Painbow Records, 2015)


  • The Pains of Being Pure at Heart/The Parallelograms, split 7-inch with The Parallelograms (Atomic Beat, 2008)
  • Searching for the Now Volume 4, split 7-inch with Summer Cats (Slumberland, 2008)
  • "Everything with You / The Pains of Being Pure at Heart" (Slumberland, 2008, Blue vinyl)
  • "Young Adult Friction / Ramona" (Slumberland, 2009, Maroon/white swirl vinyl)
  • "Come Saturday / Side Ponytail" (Slumberland, 2009, Mint green clear vinyl)
  • "Say No to Love / Lost Saint" (Slumberland U.S. + Fortuna Pop UK, June 8, 2010, Seafoam green vinyl)
  • "Heart in Your Heartbreak / The One" (Slumberland, 2010, Plumb clear vinyl)
  • "Belong / I Wanna Go All The Way" (Slumberland, 2011, Pink vinyl)
  • "The Body / Tomorrow Dies Today" (Play It Again Sam / Slumberland, July 25, 2011, Yellow/orange clear vinyl)
  • "Jeremy (Magnetic Fields Cover) / My Life Is Wrong (East River Pipe Cover)" (Slumberland, 2012, Army green vinyl)
  • "Simple and Sure / Impossible" (Slumberland, 2014, Olive Green vinyl)
  • "Sometimes Always (The Jesus and Mary Chain Cover)" with Hatchie (Heavenly/Double Double Whammy, 2020, Purple vinyl)

Compilation albums[edit]

  • Acid Reflex (Yoshimoto R and C, 2012, Japan CD) This compilation combines the Acid Reflex EP with Higher Than The Stars remixes plus one additional remix only found on this compilation.


  1. ^ "Pure Energy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2011-05-11.
  2. ^ "Interview: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (w/ Kip, Peggy, Alex) - Aural States". Archived from the original on 21 April 2009. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  3. ^ "The Agit Reader • Feature: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart". Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  4. ^ "The Pains of Being Pure at Heart : Interview". Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  5. ^ "The Wikipedia Files: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart on Chicago Public Radio Blog, July 21, 2009". Archived from the original on February 24, 2012. Retrieved 2009-07-21.
  6. ^ "Teen Confusion: An Interview with the Pains of Being Pure at Heart | the Tripwire". Archived from the original on 2009-02-21. Retrieved 2009-02-26.
  7. ^ "Interview the Pains of Being Pure at Heart". Archived from the original on 2012-01-01. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
  8. ^ "Dusted Reviews: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart". Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  9. ^ "Quit Your Day Job: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart". 10 December 2008. Archived from the original on 20 February 2009. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  10. ^ Chart history,
  11. ^ "Spoonfed Interview". Archived from the original on 11 May 2009. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  12. ^ "The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart to release third album in 2014". Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  13. ^ The Pains [@thepainsofbeing] (June 11, 2017). ""The Echo of Pleasure" release date is now September 1 2017. But, new single tomorrow..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  14. ^ a b "Pains of Being Pure at Heart to Cover Tom Petty's Entire 'Full Moon Fever'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  15. ^ "The Pains of Being Pure at Heart Break Up". Pitchfork. 4 November 2019. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  16. ^ "Q&A: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart's Kip Berman on Days of Abandon, the Band's New Lineup, and the Folly of Double Vinyl". 28 February 2014.
  17. ^ a b c "Pains of Being Pure of Heart - Billboard". Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  18. ^ "Discografie The Pains of Being Pure of Heart". (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  19. ^ "The Pains of Being Pure of Heart albums" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique / Lescharts. Retrieved 2017-04-04.
  20. ^ "Discography Pains of Being Pure atHeart". Retrieved 2015-12-18.
  21. ^ Zywietz, Tobias. "Chart Log UK: 2011". Retrieved March 20, 2016.


  • Wong, Martin (2009). "Growing Pains". Giant Robot Magazine, issue 61.