Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Video of The Day #298: Eli Raybon

There’s a bunch of videos out there. Some of them are good. Some of them are a cut above. I like to think my picks for Video Of The Day are a cut (or two) above.

"I had a dream that I lost my mind," sings Eli Raybon in the synth-sational noir pop ditty "30 Cents." In the catchy as all get out song, the 19 year-old already demonstrates an assuredness well beyond his tender years, not to mention a voice made for these times. The video is quite a gem, espionage in reverse. Song and video are well worth a spin or ten.   

[posted 6.27.17]

Monday, June 26, 2017

Video of The Day #297: Cool Ghouls

There’s a bunch of videos out there. Some of them are good. Some of them are a cut above. I like to think my picks for Video Of The Day are a cut (or two) above.

You may not have started out the day thinking that a video with a slow-mo clown gang hang (with a twist) was what you needed to see, but this could very well be what was missing from your day. To go along with the perfection of the dulcet, sun-dappled tones of "(If I Can't Be) The Man," Cool Ghouls have gone comical. And I dig it.   

[posted 6.26.17]

Live Review: Chastity Belt @ Songbyrd Music House, 6/23/17

Intrepid mysterious Special Guest Star The Paper went in search of good live sounds, and the following is what transpired when he took in Chastity Belt at Songbyrd Music House.

Admittedly, I am a Chastity Belt neophyte, though I have wanted to see them for a while now. The four piece, on tour to support their third record, I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone, have built a lot of hype so I figured so many people can't be wrong. This sentiment was further confirmed Friday night when I ran into Ahmad. His taste and knowledge in bands is second to none. However, much like Animal Collective, another band that I decided to check out due to their popularity among the scene, I did not understand the appeal of forced celibacy.

There was nothing inherently bad about the sounds that pierced into the sold out crowd. In fact, the intricate manner in which all sixteen steel strings on stage intertwined with each other was a work of art. This is especially true of the guitars. Julia and Lydia strummed with astronomical precision, sending each vibration at all the right frequencies and intervals. Annie and Gretchen were not far behind, carving contagious cadence into space and time. Everything was moving in thundering tandem towards the promised land but we never arrived. I felt myself on the precipice of release but never going over.

It was very frustrating. I silently urged the band to speed up. They never did. Instead, they slowed down and one by one they dropped out until only Julia remained playing. Then she, too, trailed off like the sunset. At the conclusion, she took off her hat, tussled her hair then replaced it. The unconcerned, mundane manner of that action sparked something in me. There's no rush. There might not even be a destination. 

Simply focus on the present.

[words and photos of Chastity Belt by The Paper]

[posted 6.26.17]

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Week In Shows: 6/26/17-7/2/17

A Friday morning in late June seems as good a time as any to plot ones weekly live music schedule, I think. Let's take a look at what's happening in the greater DC metro this week, shall we? Hot diggity!

Yours truly will be off galavanting this weekend, my friends, and I hope you'll be having similar fun yourselves. In case of overdoing it this weekend, why not get your plans for the week ahead made now? It looks a little light for next week, given the 4th is around the corner, but still good sounds to be had. And now, without further ado, here's a look at some of those very shows I happen to recommend for the coming week in the greater DC metro area.

And as an aside, if you've got a show coming up you'd like me to consider including in my weekly calendar, just shoot me an email with "Calendar" somewhere in the subject line. Thanks y'all!

MONDAY, 6/26/17

-Lindsey Buckingham & Christine McVie (Wolf Trap)
-Daryl Hall & John Oates + Tears for Fears (Verizon Center)

TUESDAY, 6/27/17

-The Shandies + Don Fredrick + Menage a Garage + Ryland Wilkins (Velvet Lounge)

WEDNESDAY, 6/28/17

-Lincoln Summer Movie Series: Jaws (Lincoln Theatre)
-Goshdang + Church Girls + Curse Words (Velvet Lounge)

THURSDAY, 6/29/17

-Pronoun + Us and Us Only (Songbyrd Music House)
-Flowerbomb + Turtlenecked + Cool American (Comet Ping Pong)

FRIDAY, 6/30/17

-Des Demonas + Mr. Airplane Man (Comet Ping Pong)
-Ruse de Guerre + Cold Beaches + The Firnats + More AM Than FM (Rock & Roll Hotel)
-Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit + The Mountain Goats (Merriweather Post Pavilion) 

SATURDAY, 7/1/17

-The Pains of Being Pure at Heart + Beverly + Ablebody (Rock & Roll Hotel)
-Boogarins (Songbyrd Music House)
-Girls Rock! DC 2017 Showcase (9:30 Club)

SUNDAY, 7/2/17

-Big Business (DC9)
-Birdcloud + Abby Rasheed (Comet Ping Pong)
-Sam Kogon + Wes Charlton (Black Cat)
-Sean Barna + Ghost Lit Kingdom (Songbyrd Music House)

[posted 6.23.17]

Video of The Day #296: Chastity Belt

There’s a bunch of videos out there. Some of them are good. Some of them are a cut above. I like to think my picks for Video Of The Day are a cut (or two) above.

In honor of their show tonight at the Songbyrd Music House, let's take a moment to appreciate Chastity Belt's video for the fantastic "Used to Spend." The video, in which the satin jacket-clad babes visit the speedway, adds a lightheartedness to the song's introspection. It's a well-shot video for a song well-played, and if you're in DC tonight you should definitely go to this show.   

[posted 6.23.17]

Good Cover Version: London Grammar Does Fleetwood Mac

Pulp gave the world the song "Bad Cover Version." But seeing as I'm a sonic optimist, I'm of the belief that there's more likely than not more good cover versions floating around than bad ones. Good Cover Version celebrates the good, and leaves all that bad and ugly stuff alone.

I stumbled upon this one just by chance, and I'm quite glad I did. London Grammar's interpretation of the Fleetwood Mac classic "Dreams" is just gorgeous. The powerhouse vocals don't have that mystical spriteliness of Stevie Nicks, but still cut to the emotional quick. A wonderfully tender, bittersweet rendition that's well done indeed. Start with the cover, and stay for the band's own "Big Picture."    

[posted 6.23.17]

Singles Club: NRVS LVRS + Small Reactions + The Technicolors

Consider Singles Club your musical matchmaker. I do hope you'll give all these ready to mingle bachelors and bachelorettes your ear as you listen to some new favorite tunes. Read on in the hopes of finding your musical love connection.

Influenced by some big names (Kate Bush, Can, Massive Attack), Bay Area husband-wife duo NRVS LVRS creates some rather wonderful noise. "Castling" is some darkwave pop delirium, breathless and pretty and gliding through shadow and light.    

Having some new Small Reactions music to listen to warms the cockles of my heart, y'all. These Georgia dudes really hit it out of the park with new single "Sessions Street," a dandy of a hazy hip-shaker that's completely and utterly inescapably catchy.

A perfect song to start the weekend, "Imposter!" is a raucous piece of swaggering Phoenix noise. The Technicolors here are unapologetically brassy, offering up perfectly measured Friday night vim and vigor in a three-and-a-half minute burst of full-bodied controlled chaos that just happens to be catchy as all get out.

[posted 6.23.17]

Remix Fix: Dutch Uncles/Warm Digits

In theory I like the idea of the remix: taking someone else's song and tweaking it the way you want it done. It's a great means for completely redoing something, and for reinterpretation. Sometimes remixes go awry, and sometimes they're better than the original. Remix Fix is all about the happy medium when a remix totally nails it and makes a song that much better.

I like the Dutch Uncles song "Big Balloon" quite a bit, and have already talked about the British Sea Power/Dutch Uncles recipro-remixes. But lo and behold, here's another remix of this very song - and it's also quite good. The Warm Digits treatment takes the song far into dancefloor territory, playing up the song's demon beat and adding enough dramatic slink and good time gloss to last into the wee hours of the morning.   

[posted 6.23.17]

On The Road Again: Gracie and Rachel

Well, well, well. Look who's taking their show on the road?

The sumptuous, dignified song stylings of Brooklyn by way of California duo Gracie and Rachel are plenty engaging on record. Classic sounds turned upside down and lovely harmonies are hallmarks with these two, creating a listening experience that is both mesmerizing and uplifting. Check them out on the road to see just how absorbing they are up close and in person.


6/24: Windham, NY @ Blackdome Music Festival
7/19: Brooklyn, NY @ Union Pool, LPR Presents: Record Release Show
7/26: Woodbridge, NJ @ Parker Press Park
8/24: Montreal, QC @ Brasserie Beaubien *
8/25: Toronto, ON @ The Drake Hotel *
8/26: Chicago, IL @ Schubas Tavern *
8.29 @ World Café Live (Philadelphia, PA)*
8/30: Washington, DC @ Songbyrd Music House & Record Café *
9/8: Portland, ME @ One Longfellow Square *
9/10: Allston, MA @ Great Scott *
9/12: New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge *
9/14: Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater *
9/15: San Francisco, CA @ Café Du Nord *

* = co-headline with Henry Jamison

[posted 6.23.17]

Super Furryism #10: The Boy With The Thorn In His Side/Radiator

For those who don't know, this blog borrows its' name from the title of the debut long player record by wily Welsh cosmic psych poppers Super Furry Animals. As far as I'm concerned, that's certainly reason enough to start talking about them at random times, and for no real reason other than just because I darned well feel like it.

Somehow, it's been 20 years since the SFA record Radiator was released. I don't know where the time has gone, but I do know this record still sounds so very wonderful. To celebrate, the band is releasing all sorts of sonic goodies, including this not-all-that-often-heard "cover" of "The Boy With the Thorn in His Side." It's glitchy and jittery and silly, which makes this yet another wonderful piece of the SFA lexicon. Strangers to Super Furry Animals should definitely give this one a listen (and by this one I mean the entire record, along with the cover).   

[posted 6.23.17]

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Video of The Day #295: Katie Von Schleicher

There’s a bunch of videos out there. Some of them are good. Some of them are a cut above. I like to think my picks for Video Of The Day are a cut (or two) above.

I love a bit of wryness in the morning. Check out "Life's A Lie" from Katie Von Schleicher and you'll start your day enjoying the wryness, too. Channeling 70s radio-friendly sounds, Katie gives voice to timeless, nostalgic personal crises and worry, her musings  down but not out. The video also goes vintage, keeping it simple but sending its own message. "Life's A Lie" comes from Katie's Shitty Hits record, out soon on Ba Da Bing.    

[posted 6.22.17]

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Video of The Day #294: Magic Shoppe

There’s a bunch of videos out there. Some of them are good. Some of them are a cut above. I like to think my picks for Video Of The Day are a cut (or two) above.

It's the first day of summer, and the noise made by Boston psychsmiths Magic Shoppe feels like the right kind of noise to celebrate the arrival of the summer heat. Their video for "High Goodbye" is just as it should be: vibrant colors, cloudscapes, and tendrils of swirling liquid. Perfect together, the otherworldly video is the best possible visible companion piece to this powerful piece of psych noise.     

[posted 6.21.17]

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Video of The Day #293: Bedouine

There’s a bunch of videos out there. Some of them are good. Some of them are a cut above. I like to think my picks for Video Of The Day are a cut (or two) above.

The vibe of Bedouine's "One of These Days" feels very much steeped in a vintage Laurel Canyon singer-songwriter aesthetic. Avniz Korkejian (AKA Bedouine) nails the idyll of California dreams, strumming and singing with pretty, determined attitude. The video is filled with plenty of dappled sunshine, along with some silly moments that bring things back down to earth. Gorgeous stuff indeed. 

[posted 6.18.17]

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Live Review: Girlpool + Vagabon @ Rock & Roll Hotel, 6/11/17

Intrepid mysterious Special Guest Star The Paper went in search of good live sounds, and the following is what transpired when he took in Girlpool and Vagabon at the Rock & Roll Hotel.

Sunday night marked a departure for Laetitia. She had been on tour with Tegan and Sara and I could sense the longing in her voice as she told us about the balloons the dynamic Canadian duo had on stage. Then she burst into a wide smile before continuing, "...but you're here."

That was a very cute way to get the sold out crowd cheering. I had seen Vagabon, Laetitia's musical moniker, twice before. She was solo both times so I was pleasantly surprised that this time she brought a band. There's an undeniable pleasure riding on a roaring bass line while soaking in shattering drum beats. It added much welcomed energy and a fuller dimension to the sound that further highlighted what we already knew. Laetitia's vocals define euphoria.

"I am just a small fish," she sang, except there's nothing small about her voice. It's not even powerful per se. It's sheer raw power. But never wild. In fact, it's actually very controlled given she would remove her ear plugs. "You're a shark that hates everything." When the beat fell off at the end, we were left with the sun. In this case, the sun was slightly bent over, head tilted up, forehead furrowed, eyes closed, sweat dripping, body trembling, throat contracting, and mouth open impossibly wide. The sun was one more fireball before going supernova. It doesn't happen.

Power, true power, is maintaing control.

And just like that it was all over. I looked at my phone and was flabbergasted. Thirty minutes of bliss that felt like the blink of an eye. I can't recall the last time I felt more wanting after a set. Not even with my favorite band. Thankfully, I had Girlpool to look forward to.

Keeping with the theme, the two piece grew to three with the addition of a drummer since I last saw them. This too was very much welcomed. They opened the set with "123," like their new record Powerplant. I was reminded of the magic that is watching the music you love brought to life before you. And there is a lot to love between Cleo and Harmony. The latter literally tried making love to the former the night before. Apparently the band found themselves in possession of a mattress that kept deflating the entire night. However that did not stop Harmony from making out with Cleo thinking it was someone else. Given their chemistry outside of bed, I don't blame her one bit.

The duet between the bass and guitar moves me every time in ways I neither understand nor want to end. Throw in the delicate, barely there vocals that are the trademark of the duo and I was transported somewhere above the clouds. Except this time it didn't stop there. The deft drums marched me higher and higher until I was knocking on heaven's door.

The crowd was knocking with me, with many waving their hands. Cleo, like an all-loving diety, graciously took time to shake hands with many in the front row and high fived a few in the second. She also decided to play three more songs shortly after announcing there were but two left. It epitomized the atmosphere of this beautiful night. Part of the magic of live music is sharing it with others.

[words and photos of Girlpool and Vagabon by The Paper]

[posted 6.17.17]