Friday, March 31, 2017

Video of The Day #249: Reptaliens

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.

Recent Captured Tracks signees and eccentric dreampop purveyors Reptaliens just released, on this very day, their first single for said label. Directed by drummer Tyler Verigin, the clip for the moody, muted rainbow nugget is "about the life and making of a serial killer." Not your average inspiration, then. So sweetly and addictively catchy that you might find yourself humming it all day, the song's worth many a listen and the video too is rather enjoyable. Yes, really.     





[posted 3.31.17]

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Week In Shows: 3/27/17-4/2/17

The last Sunday in March 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!

April is almost upon us, friends. It's almost time to put those coats away, which is a good thing when we're talking about going out and about. And now, without further ado, here's a look at some of the shows I happen to recommend for the coming week in the DC metro.

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, 3/27/17

-Allah-Las + The Babe Rainbow + Roya (9:30 Club)
-Patrick Watson + Trevor Sensor (U Street Music Hall)
-NE-Hi + Makeup Girl (DC9)
-Laura Stevenson + Adult Mom + Alice Bag (Black Cat)
-Pretenders (Fillmore Silver Spring)

WEDNESDAY, 3/29/17

-King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard + ORB + Stonefield (9:30 Club - win tix!)
-Acid Dad + Honduras (DC9)
-Antiphons + Miss Mountain Laurel (Cinema Hearts) + Weston Smith (Comet Ping Pong)
-Hippo Campus + Magic City Hippies (Black Cat)

THURSDAY, 3/30/17

-Middle Kids + Queue (DC9 - SOLD OUT)

FRIDAY, 3/31/17

-Mac Sabbath + Metalachi + Okilly Dokilly (Black Cat)

SATURDAY, 4/1/17

-Lambchop + Sloppy Heads (U Street Music Hall)
-Jay Som + The Courtneys + Little Junior (DC9 - SOLD OUT)
-Bombadil + Near Northeast (Songbyrd Music House)

SUNDAY, 4/2/17

-Thao + Yowlers (Rock & Roll Hotel)
-High Waisted + The Rememberables + Greenland (DC9)


[posted 3.26.17]

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Video of The Day #248: Pete and The Pirates

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 miss Pete and The Pirates, I really do. It's been nearly 5 years since those lovable little scamps split up. They've been dancing around in my head for the past few days, so I thought it was a great time to revisit the video for one of my favorite songs of theirs, "Knots." It's silly, in a good way, just a bunch of lads driving around goofing off. Adorable.  






[posted 3.25.17]

Friday, March 24, 2017

Sounds of Treefort 2017 #12: Ora Cogan

Without a doubt, Treefort is at the top of my festival bucket list. This downtown Boise, ID festival once again features a lineup that is well and truly stacked from top to bottom, with the emphasis being on showcasing bands from the very, very fertile Western lands. After poring over this year's lineup, these are the bands I'm swooning over the hardest.

Sure, Ora Cogan's voice is haunting. But that's pretty much like saying an incredible sunset is merely pretty. Part Hope Sandoval-esque psych enchantress, part dusty road-weary troubadour, and part spotlight chanteuse, Cogan's voice burns slow, true, and at times, spectral.    




[posted 3.24.17]

Sounds of Treefort 2017 #11: OKO TYGRA

Without a doubt, Treefort is at the top of my festival bucket list. This downtown Boise, ID festival once again features a lineup that is well and truly stacked from top to bottom, with the emphasis being on showcasing bands from the very, very fertile Western lands. After poring over this year's lineup, these are the bands I'm swooning over the hardest.

I hear a lot of old favorites Violens in Denver's dark, brooding dream pop outfit OKO TYGRA. Not surprising, given that they've been working with Jorge Elbrecht. That same smoke-filled, sensuous synth noise finds new life in the Rockies, making for perfect starry night on the mountain music. 




[posted 3.24.17]

Sounds of Treefort 2017 #10: The Ocean Party

Without a doubt, Treefort is at the top of my festival bucket list. This downtown Boise, ID festival once again features a lineup that is well and truly stacked from top to bottom, with the emphasis being on showcasing bands from the very, very fertile Western lands. After poring over this year's lineup, these are the bands I'm swooning over the hardest.

There's something sweetly endearing about Aussie six-piece The Ocean Party. Perhaps it's the way every song seems to have a different personality, though a charming, quirky pop vibe is the common thread for this outfit. At their best, their slightly sheepish, punchy pop is quite addictive. And this is a band that is frequently at its best.  





[posted 3.24.17]

Video of The Day #247: LVL UP

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.

Sometimes I wonder what it must be like to have grown up in a small town in the middle of nowhere, and to have been one of the ones who didn't totally fit in. LVL UP's fantastic new video for "Blur," directed by Ryan Schnackenburg, captures the isolation perfectly, with our protagonist amusing himself against snowy skies as the band's jubilant, fuzzed-out riffs crash all around, ending far too soon.    





[posted 3.24.17]

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Live Review: Los Campesinos! @ 9:30 Club, 3/9/17

Intrepid mysterious Special Guest Star The Paper went in search of good live sounds, and the following is what transpired when he took in Los Campesinos! at the 9:30 Club.

Los Campesinos! is fun. 

Gareth recounted to the crowd that it's been five years since the band played most US cities, with a few exceptions at three years. DC fell into the latter but he instructed us to behave as though it had been five and the crowd happily obliged. Many sang the chorus together for every song and the bass player was not immune. In fact, Matt would sing along to entire songs in a manner befitting someone holding the mic.

Crying played beforehand, and their 8-bit/chiptune-infused emo pop was just as catchy as the Welsh seven piece. Gareth mentioned them because they jokingly jeered at his accent in saying "thank you" and he wanted to inform the crowd that if he appeared rude, that was why. And in the spirit befitting the aethesthetic of peasants, he closed that song with "cheers."

After an hour of play, Gareth started to reach for his throat at times but the band carried on for a few more songs which I found endearing. Shortly after, sitting on the drum kit platform, Gareth graciously took time to give a thank you speech. Among everyone he thanked, he lauded Infinity Crush, the opening band, for releasing one of the best records of last year. At the conclusion, upon asking if he missed anything, someone shouted out "fuck Trump" to which he replied with a quick, neutral "sure, that's fine."

Getting the crowd to pretend it was Saturday* night with him, Gareth announced that they would play three songs for the encore. "One for you. One for us. And one for you to choose to prove that democracy still works!" All the peasants rejoiced. One lucky peasant in the front row, Casey, was invited onto the stage where he was given a tambourine and drumstick to play with the band. Gareth, not to be left out, grabbed a stick himself and joined the drummer in crashing cymbals. Los Campesinos! is all about fun!

*it was Thursday



[words and photo of Los Campesinos! by The Paper]

[posted 3.23.17]

Video of The Day #246: Shrinking Minds

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.

Every now and again, a band releases a video that utterly and totally encompasses the spirit of the song for which it was made. For Liverpool's Shrinking Minds, the audacious rebel yell of "Something Better" could only ever have this video. Clips of the band goofing off and random retro-inspired visuals embody the brash audacity of the band's unapologetically flippant (and incredibly catchy) sonic shenanigans.   





[posted 3.23.17]

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Good Cover Version: Lea Porcelain Does Bruce Springsteen

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.

Sorry, Bruce, but I prefer this Lea Porcelain interpretation of 1993's "Philadelphia." The London-via-Berlin duo's otherworldly synth-driven lo-fi pop is so heartbreakingly lovely here, turning the original's Americana despair into something completely and incandescently beautiful.  




[posted 3.21.17]

Monday, March 20, 2017

Sounds of Treefort 2017 #9: New Shack

Without a doubt, Treefort is at the top of my festival bucket list. This downtown Boise, ID festival once again features a lineup that is well and truly stacked from top to bottom, with the emphasis being on showcasing bands from the very, very fertile Western lands. After poring over this year's lineup, these are the bands I'm swooning over the hardest.

Dreamy darkwave synth pop. If that's your flavor, spend a little time with Provo duo New Shack. Their supple, sinuous synth-centric pop is both breathlessly sweet and grounded with inescapable realism. 




[posted 3.20.17]

Sounds of Treefort 2017 #8: GABI

Without a doubt, Treefort is at the top of my festival bucket list. This downtown Boise, ID festival once again features a lineup that is well and truly stacked from top to bottom, with the emphasis being on showcasing bands from the very, very fertile Western lands. After poring over this year's lineup, these are the bands I'm swooning over the hardest.

Hazy, lo-fi, and sensitive. That's how new Arizona-ites GABI describe themselves. It's all true, of course, though they leave out a lot with that brief string of descriptors. What's most delightful about GABI is the timid, almost hesitant fragility in certain songs, the appealing way the music almost reulctantly moves along. Lines like "I don't wanna be just an afterthought," from "Trapdream," express hopeful desires so very tenderly and a little desperately. The more I hear of GABI, the harder I find it to resist them.   




[posted 3.20.17]

Sounds of Treefort 2017 #7: ECSTATIC VISION

Without a doubt, Treefort is at the top of my festival bucket list. This downtown Boise, ID festival once again features a lineup that is well and truly stacked from top to bottom, with the emphasis being on showcasing bands from the very, very fertile Western lands. After poring over this year's lineup, these are the bands I'm swooning over the hardest.

They don't make 'em like this anymore, y'all. Except...when it comes to ECSTATIC VISION, they do. This Philadelphia outfit firmly believes in creating feral, acid chaos psych bursting with primal energy, and they do it so very well. There's no escaping from noise like this. But really, why would you want to?   






[posted 3.20.17]

Sounds of Treefort 2017 #6: Den-Mate

Without a doubt, Treefort is at the top of my festival bucket list. This downtown Boise, ID festival once again features a lineup that is well and truly stacked from top to bottom, with the emphasis being on showcasing bands from the very, very fertile Western lands. After poring over this year's lineup, these are the bands I'm swooning over the hardest.

It's great to see a little DC on the Treefort lineup, and it's great that the captivating outfit Den-Mate will be part of that little DC conglomerate. At times playful, at others brooding and intense, the smoldering electro-infused slink can purr or scratch. Either way, it makes for rather daydreamy listening.  




[posted 3.20.17]

Sunday, March 19, 2017

On The Road Again: The Coathangers

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

We all know that sirens are trouble, especially if you happen to be a seafarer, and on the cover of their forthcoming EP Parasite the members of The Coathangers are drawn as just those very same mythical badass babes. Luckily, on their current tour, they'll less likely to lure you to a watery grave than they are to totally melt your face with awesome sounds. 

THE COATHANGERS TOUR DATES

03.21.17 – Spokane, WA @ The Observatory
03.23.17 – Boise, ID @ Treefort Music Fest
03.24.17 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Diabolical Records
03.25.17 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Bunkhouse Saloon
04.15.17 – Durham, NC @ Pinhook
04.16.17 – Richmond, VA @ The Camel
04.18.17 – Washington, DC @ DC9
04.19.17 – Philadelphia, PA @ Ortliebs
04.20.17 – Brooklyn, NY @ Sunnyvale
04.21.17 – Brooklyn, NY @ Baby's All Right
04.22.17 – Boston, MA @ Do617 Pop-Up Record Shop @ Brighton Music Hall
04.24.17 – Montreal, QC @ L’ Esco
04.25.17 – Toronto, ON @ Silver Dollar
04.26.17 – Buffalo, NY @ Tralf Music Hall
04.27.17 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Roboto
04.28.17 – Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery
04.29.17 – Charlotte, NC @ Reverb Fest 5





[posted 3.19.17]

Singles Club: Hollow Everdaze + Monograms + Saint Pé

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.

To me, the name of the hometown of the Hollow Everdaze bandlings, Bacchus Marsh, conjures up fanciful images of ancient feasts of lustful excess. While "Catastrophe" might not be quite the right song to soundtrack epic bacchanalian overindulgence, the hazy psych pop nugget should certainly inspire some kind of revelry. Add their name to your list of ones to watch.




As with so many bands, Monograms started out as a one-man bedroom endeavor. Now, the Brooklyn band is prepping for an April EP release and taking things out of the bedroom. Intriguingly, each song of the four-song EP was recorded with different musicians. "Sharp Teeth" certainly has bite, with noisy fuzz clamoring behind the refrain "your smile my disaster." There's a pop element behind all that racket, which help make this a rather appealing listen.



After a long haul (ten years, give or take) with The Black Lips, Ian Saint Pé has started something different as Saint Pé. Much less brash than the so right wrong of the Lips, "Spun and Spurn" has spectres of his new Nashville habitat running through it. Consider it some gritty garage rock as played wearing beat to heck cowboy boots. Worthy of turning up loud and blasting to the high heavens.




[posted 3.19.17]

Sounds of Treefort 2017 #5: Cult Bride

Without a doubt, Treefort is at the top of my festival bucket list. This downtown Boise, ID festival once again features a lineup that is well and truly stacked from top to bottom, with the emphasis being on showcasing bands from the very, very fertile Western lands. After poring over this year's lineup, these are the bands I'm swooning over the hardest.

Hometown heartstring-tuggers Cult Bride represent the softer, lovelier (and lovelorn) side of the festival's lineup. With rich, folk-driven instrumentation and haunting boy-girl vocals, the threat of not leaving their set with a dry eye could be very real. Tremulous and tender, these are songs to hold close and cherish.  




[posted 3.19.17]

Sounds of Treefort 2017 #4: Conquer Monster

Without a doubt, Treefort is at the top of my festival bucket list. This downtown Boise, ID festival once again features a lineup that is well and truly stacked from top to bottom, with the emphasis being on showcasing bands from the very, very fertile Western lands. After poring over this year's lineup, these are the bands I'm swooning over the hardest.

Basically, and in their own words, Conquer Monster is "an electro Sci-Fi band from the future." These Salt Lake City knob-twiddlers bring some comic book and b-movie kitsch to their jams, but there's nothing silly happening here. Layered and full of attitude, these dynamic dance beats are well worth crushing on.  




[posted 3.19.17]

Sounds of Treefort 2017 #3: Colorworks

Without a doubt, Treefort is at the top of my festival bucket list. This downtown Boise, ID festival once again features a lineup that is well and truly stacked from top to bottom, with the emphasis being on showcasing bands from the very, very fertile Western lands. After poring over this year's lineup, these are the bands I'm swooning over the hardest.

Seattle's Colorworks professes to "flirt with the sounds of the British Invasion," and that's a claim that certainly gets my attention. This foursome ebulliently jangles through their songs, shades of early Hollies and Zombies ("She Said No" reminds me of a reply to "Tell Her No") mingling with the band's more modern approach. I've got an inkling these gents are rather entertaining in person.  




[posted 3.19.17]

Newsflash!: Win Tickets to King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard @ 9:30 Club, 3/29/17

You love going to shows. I love giving you tickets to shows. It's a match made in heaven. Read on for how you can win some tickets.

I've been going to shows at the legendary 9:30 Club since I was a teenager, and have seen some of the best of the best grace that venerable stage. It is a pleasure to be offering a pair of tickets to several upcoming 9:30/IMP shows.

I'm thrilled about this, y'all, because I have seen the mighty mess that is King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard and boy are you in for a treat. Part of the magical, mystical Aussie psych scene, these tripped-out troubadours inspire crowd-surfing, crazy dance moves, and plenty of other shenanigans with their kooky marvelousness. 

If you're lucky, you can experience the good times for yourself. You see, I have a pair of tickets to the band's 3/29 show at the 9:30 Club. To win them, spin me your best yarn about a King Gizzard and his Lizard Wizard adventure. Keep it short(ish) and make it good!

Fine print: Contest is for two (2) tickets to this show. Contest closes at noon Eastern on Monday, 3/27/17. 

Wishing you luck, my little kaleidoscopic kittens.

      




[posted 3.19.17]

Sounds of Treefort 2017 #2: Carpenter Brut

Without a doubt, Treefort is at the top of my festival bucket list. This downtown Boise, ID festival once again features a lineup that is well and truly stacked from top to bottom, with the emphasis being on showcasing bands from the very, very fertile Western lands. After poring over this year's lineup, these are the bands I'm swooning over the hardest.

If you're in the hunt for some decadent, 80s-esque dancefloor debauchery, look no further than Carpenter Brut. From France with love, these sounds take inspiration from vintage horror flicks and are more than likely deadly to dance to (in a good way, obviously). 





[posted 3.19.17]

Video of The Day #245: Snowball ii

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.

What do doughnuts and Honda CR-Vs have in common? Probably not much, other than the fact that both feature prominently in Snowball ii's clip for "CR-VUC."  Crash test footage, doughnut-eating footage, and live footage of the band intermingle whilst the band's heavy fuzz pop cavorts in the background. Bonus points for Kurt from Lilys doing backing vocals.  






[posted 3.19.17]

Sounds of Treefort 2017 #1: Arc Flash

Without a doubt, Treefort is at the top of my festival bucket list. This downtown Boise, ID festival once again features a lineup that is well and truly stacked from top to bottom, with the emphasis being on showcasing bands from the very, very fertile Western lands. After poring over this year's lineup, these are the bands I'm swooning over the hardest. 

"Space punk?" "Mutant pop"? When it comes to Lawrence, KS dudes Arc Flash both shoes fit pretty dang well. Their feisty frenzy is instantly irresistible, and I have every confidence that these two really rip things up from here to high heaven when they're on a stage.   




[posted 3.19.17]

Newsflash!: Win Tickets to Allah-Las @ 9:30 Club, 3/27/17

You love going to shows. I love giving you tickets to shows. It's a match made in heaven. Read on for how you can win some tickets.

I've been going to shows at the legendary 9:30 Club since I was a teenager, and have seen some of the best of the best grace that venerable stage. It is a pleasure to be offering a pair of tickets to several upcoming 9:30/IMP shows.

I think we can all agree that LA's Allah-Las are making some of the very best, Sunshine State psych that you're likely to come across. It's no doubt the kind of noise that will make for a heck of a good time live and up close. If you've got a hankering to see the lads tear things up here, yours truly can help. 

I have a pair of tickets to their 3/27 show at the 9:30 that very well could have your name on them. To win this pair of tickets, just send me an email telling me why you'd like to win said pair of tickets. Be as verbose or as concise as you wish. Just make it good! 

Fine print: Contest is for two (2) tickets to this show. Contest closes at noon Eastern on Saturday, 3/25/17. 

Good luck, dudes and dudettes!   




[posted 3.19.17]

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Video of The Day #244: Girls In Synthesis

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.

Only together for a short while, London's Girls In Synthesis has certainly gotten things off on the right foot. The truculent, terse thrash of "The Mound" unleashes a defiant fury from the start, the trio adhering to a take-no-prisoners approach. Recalcitrant riffs are backed by demon beat drums and vocals that reside in a tempestuous middle ground somewhere between a scoff and a snarl. The video splices together close shots of the band at work and a cherubic-faced fellow running shirtless through London. So good that once won't be nearly enough.   






[posted 3.18.17]

The Week In Shows: 3/20/17-3/26/17

A Saturday morning after the (hopefully) last snow of winter 2017 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!

I'm sick of snow, and I'm sick of being cold. I'm sure y'all are on the same page. But the weather is warming, festival season is heating up, and that means bands galore will be rolling through town. And now, without further ado, here's a look at some of the shows I happen to recommend for the coming week in the DC metro.

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, 3/20/17

-At The Drive-In + Le Butcherettes (9:30 Club - SOLD OUT)

TUESDAY, 3/21/17

-Aaron Lee Tasjan + Luke Mitchem (DC9)

WEDNESDAY, 3/22/17

-Downtown Boys + Sneaks (Rock & Roll Hotel)
-Foxygen + Gabriella Cohen (9:30 Club)
-Alex Lahey + Calm & Crisis + Plastic Nancy (DC9)
-The Regrettes + Active Bird Community (Black Cat)

THURSDAY, 3/23/17

-The Zombies (9:30 Club - Win tix!)
-Dude York + Paws (Songbyrd Music House)
-Cosmonauts + The Molochs (DC9)

FRIDAY, 3/24/17

-Inter Arma + Holy Mountain Top Removers (DC9)
-Minus The Bear + Beach Slang + Bayonne (Black Cat)
-The Japanese House + Blaise Moore (Rock & Roll Hotel - SOLD OUT)

SATURDAY, 3/25/17

-Big Thief + Palehound + Snail Mail (Songbyrd Music House - SOLD OUT)
-Mousetrap Dance Party (Black Cat)
-Chicano Batman + 79.5 + Sadgirl (Rock & Roll Hotel - SOLD OUT)

SUNDAY, 3/26/17

-Calvin Love + HEAT (DC9)
-Nana Grizol + Bad Moves + David Dondero + Bacchae (Comet Ping Pong)


[posted 3.18.17]

Friday, March 17, 2017

Video of The Day #243: Celeste

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.

With a song as sultry and come hither as Celeste's "Chocolate," you don't really need much to sell it from a visual standpoint. The slow motion scenes bathed in red light really heighten the electricity, and the song's layers of tension and expectancy find voice in Celeste's smolderingly impeccable vocals. Seduction for both the eyes and ears.     






[posted 3.17.17]

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Video of The Day #242: Deadwall

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.

To match the enigmatic, tangled intensity of grunge pop single "Heartlands," Leeds outfit Deadwall has unleashed an equally engaging video. The earthy kaleidoscope of images both natural and technical adds a perfect visual tie-in to an already sophisticated aural experience. I'm already looking forward to hearing more from Deadwall.   





[posted 3.16.17]

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Video of The Day #241: Beach Slang

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.

With all this snow and cold nonsense, Beach Slang's video for "Spin The Dial" is exactly what I needed to see today. Scenes of sunny Southern California provide the backdrop for the band's fuzzed up muscle, and the frolicking trio of rollerskating babes personify the song's defiant, good time vibes.  






[posted 3.15.17]

Monday, March 13, 2017

Newsflash!: Win Tickets to The Zombies @ 9:30 Club, 3/23/17

You love going to shows. I love giving you tickets to shows. It's a match made in heaven. Read on for how you can win some tickets.

I've been going to shows at the legendary 9:30 Club since I was a teenager, and have seen some of the best of the best grace that venerable stage. It is a pleasure to be offering a pair of tickets to several upcoming 9:30/IMP shows.

If you're not in love with The Zombies and their seminal record Oddessey and Oracle, we need to have a serious talk. I would hope, however, that you're already a big fan. Which means this particular piece of news will make your eyes light up with delight. As they should. Having seen The Zombies a few years back, they are a must-see. The lovable British mainstays are doing one last run of O & O in its entirety on US shores, and their DC stop sees them take over the 9:30 Club on 3/23. 

You could win a pair of tickets to said show. 

To win, get your creative juices flowing and write me your best, brief zombie story. It could be about The Zombies, zombies in general, The Zombies AND zombies...my parameters are flexible. Keep it to just a few hundred words, if you please. The story that most grabs me will be the winner. 

Fine print: Contest is for two (2) tickets to this show. Contest closes at noon Eastern on Tuesday, 3/21/17.

Best of luck to one and all!



[posted 3.13.17]

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Live Review: Agnes Obel @ 9:30 Club, 3/7/17

Intrepid mysterious Special Guest Star The Paper went in search of good live sounds, and the following is what transpired when he took in Agnes Obel at the 9:30 Club.

There is no greater joy than seeing a band for the first time and proceeding to fall head over heels in love. Such was the case when I discovered my favorite band, and this was the case Tuesday night with Agnes Obel. While her music is more than enchanting enough, I was smitten for an entirely different reason.

Poised behind her keyboard, Agnes transformed the usually rowdy nightclub into a hallowed symphony hall. Not a single sound was made, staff included. She did so with almost no perceivable effort. Her majestic voice simply compelled all to listen. It helps that her band, who she provided with the most adorable introductions regarding their accents, is just as wonderous.


There's the exquisite matter of the two cellos. Opening songs with pizzicatos lasting for minutes at a time mesmerized like a lover would teasingly walk fingers over the thigh. When the horse hair finally meet the string, it took immense restraint to hold back and savor the change in texture. Each assertive stroke unleashed a deep and throbbing urgency that was as welcoming as it was breathtaking. As if one could withstand such overwhelming sensation, the other cello would join in with fresh fury or pensive passion or a combination thereof. Charlotte and Kristina had one more surprise for us. They closed a song sitting at attention but not playing. Apparently they had been looping all along! Lest I forget, Catherine was just as marvelous on percussion. Always unrelenting but never overbearing, she marched with pristine precision.


Agnes had made some pleasantries earlier about being happy playing in DC because it was minus 17 Celcius* at the last show, and also because this was the first stop for the U.S. tour. When she started to introduce a song stating that she was definitely angry when she wrote it, I was unprepared for what followed. After a brief strategic pause, in a tone of suppressed anger intentionally disguised to fail, she insinuated that it is very fitting to the times. Deafening cheers erupted in the once tranquil symphony atmosphere.


And like that, I was in love.


She didn't stop there. She introduced another song saying it's about revolution. And for "Stretch Your Eyes," the last pleasure before the encore, she specifically stated that she wrote it while angry at her c
ountry.

"I guess you know this feeling too," she concluded with an air of indignation, of empathy, and of solidarity. The crowd roared.


Looking back, the piano post pop musician arranged each song so that no sound overshadowed another. All the instruments danced in true tandem. If the keyboard dominated for a section, it would eventually give way 
to the clarinet. To achieve such graceful unity may just be genius.

*My college logistics professor once said that he would be proud if one of his students could lead the US to adopt the international standard. I am sorry, Dr. DeWitt.





[words and photo of Agnes Obel by The Paper]


[posted 3.12.17]

Newsworthy: 3/12/17

Have you heard the word? Here's a few items of interest you may want to know about.

A big news item coming out of last week was the release of a new Blonde Redhead EP - the 3 O'Clock EP. It's hard to believe they've been around for nearly 25 years, and still making their gorgeous, haunting dreamscapes. The video for "Golden Light" premiered on Consequence of Sound and is worth repeated views.
   


Also hard to believe is that Elliott Smith's Either/Or is 20 years old. To commemorate the 20th anniversary, Kill Rock Stars rereleased the record with some live and unreleased tracks for your listening pleasure. I know it's bittersweet, but definitely good to see such celebration around this gem of a record.



And finally, consider becoming a fan of X Ambassadors, as the band is doing some serious good works lately. They've played a benefit show for Planned Parenthood, and are now donating six months' worth of sales from new single "Hoping" to the ACLU. Even if it's not your bag, consider buying it just because.

[posted 3.12.17]

Remix Fix: Goldfrapp/Joe Goddard

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'm of the mind that pretty much anything anyone in Hot Chip touches will turn to gold, but aural alchemist Joe Goddard proves me right in this particular instance with his dark electro take on Goldfrapp's smoldering "Anymore." His knife-edge slink coils and tightens as the song goes along, heightening sensation. The vocal contortion he does with Allison's voice as she sings "make me a freak" is reminiscent of Aphex Twin's creepy best. Under Goddard's watchful eye, the song falls into some kind of rabbit hole. 




[posted 3.12.17]