Friday, April 27, 2007
Posted by jeffro at 8:42 AM
Thursday, April 26, 2007
MP3: Modern Love – The Last Town Chorus
And we close out with “Everybody Always Leaves,” by Matthew Ryan. He’s great at creating a mood of cold darkness with his lyrics and vocals, which are, in this case, integrated well with the electronic beats. The female vocals in the chorus provide a wonderful lift to the song, as well as a superb counterpoint to Ryan’s sandpapery voice. If you like what you hear, Matthew Ryan will be coming to IOTA Tuesday, May 1st.
MP3: Everybody Always Leaves – Matthew Ryan
Posted by jeffro at 8:51 PM
Posted by jeffro at 3:52 PM
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
While there's nothing inherently novel in reviewing a record that debuted at #1 a month after its release, I've always felt that a truly great record defies immediate categorization or appreciation. Listening to an album is another type of courtship ritual. You either become immediately infatuated and then regret all the stupid things you did and said in the days after meeting your love, or you respond in a lukewarm manner and only gradually appreciate the subtle charms of your far, far better half.That said, it's time to, in the words of Mills Lane, get it on. I'm tired of the nay-saying fanboys who decried the fact that Modest Mouse "sold out" on their 2004 release Good News for People Who Love Bad News. Not only did GNFPWLBN continue the grand tradition of ludicrously long album names like This Is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About, but it did so in an unusually disciplined manner given the band's ramshackle existence. The major difference between Good News and its predecessor, 2000's The Moon & Antarctica, lay in the production values of the newer album. No longer did Modest Mouse sound like they were recording in a burned out rail car.
I can't tell you how stoked I was to hear that Johnny Marr had signed on to record with the band, and then decided to stick around as a full-fledged member. Aside from his work in The Smiths, Marr delivered sublime guitar work as a member of Matt Johnson's The The, in the New Wave supergroup Electronic (with New Order's Bernard Sumner), and on Neil Finn's excellent concert album Live at the Saint James. He remains, in my opinion, one of rock's quintessential guitarists, the point guard who makes his whole team better through his contributions.So what are we to make of WWDBTSES? The glittery first single, "Dashboard", sounded like a metaphysical extension of the band's uncharacteristically upbeat single "Float On". Both these songs borrow sonically, if not in lyrical intent, from The Moon & Antarctica's "Tiny Cities Made of Ashes". "Florida", one of three tracks featuring backing vocals by the Shins' James Mercer, alludes to vocalist's Isaac Brock's well-publicized indulgences with lyrics like "Couldn't quite seem to escape myself". "Little Motel" is this album's "Blame It On the Tetons", a quiet reflection on relationships and forgiveness. "We've Got Everything", with its patented brand of Brockian fatalism verging on nihilism, is this album's answer to GNFPWLBN's "The View". "Spitting Venom" and "March Into the Sea" are matching middle fingers to those who would wrong you (even if you deserved it), the former a straighforward rocker with a stripped-down intro that builds to a crescendo, the latter a Pixies-ish romp reminiscent of TIALDFSWNTTA's "The Ionizes & Atomizes" on a particularly vicious stimulant-fueled bender. "Missed the Boat" is at turns hopeful and despondent, reflective of Isaac Brock's newfound maturity and the realization on how we create self-fulfilling prophecies. "Fire It Up" is the album's most Zen-like track, at turns both childlike and profound. "Even if we had been sure enough, it's true we really didn't know" gives way to "Well we always had it all".
Marr, characteristically, adds to the Modest Mouse sound largely without being an overpowering presence. The album's lyrics display what a complex and conflicted individual the band's leader is. Brock, a self-described "mine canary", slowly and cautiously seems to be winding his way to a happier state of being, while simultaneously expressing doubts that it will last. No single track emerges as the #2 punch to Dashboard's opening salvo, but "Spitting Venom" and "People As Places As People" should garner considerable college radio airplay. While not an unqualified success, this latest release from Modest Mouse is a shipwreck worth exploring.
Posted by Brian Flores at 10:23 PM
Friday, April 20, 2007
IOTA Club & Cafe
Middle Distance Runner
These United States
Black Tie Revue
Rock and Roll Hotel
The Dance Party
The Vita Ruins
Justin Jones & The Driving Rain
Wes Tucker & the Skillets
Posted by jeffro at 12:31 PM
MP3: Naturally – Middle Distance Runner
MP3: Kings & Aces – These United States
MP3: Absent Radio – Black Tie Revue
Posted by jeffro at 9:09 AM
Thursday, April 19, 2007
So what’s the deal with y’all moving from DC to Brooklyn? You just wanted taxis that charged fares that made sense, didn’t you!
I have always wanted to move to New York City. I grew up in NJ admiring the NYC skyline for years. After my family left the D.C. area for Los Angeles in 2002, I started planning my move. It took a while, but I finally did it. I still loved Hello Tokyo and my bandmates, so for 2 years I took the Chinatown bus EVERY weekend for practice and gigs. I think eventually the rest of the guys missed me so they decided to move too.
So what do you miss the most (if anything) about DC?
I miss my friends a lot! I miss how quiet it is and all the Cherry Blossom trees, the museums and how easy it is to shop for groceries. I order my food online because I don’t have enough muscles to carry everything to my apartment.
Can you give us four words that hint at what you’ve got planned for your show this Saturday night?
Nakedness – Sam, our drummer, LOVES taking off his clothes for the ladies.
Any final nuggets of wisdom to pass on?
Do you mean to other musicians??....ummmm, I guess I would say..BE NICE and respectful of your fellow musicians, and don’t close yourselves off in your world of coolness.
*Download their Newell Street Re-Mixes here for free!
Rock the Net is a nationwide campaign organized by the Future of Music Coalition to recruit thousands of musicians to support the fight for net neutrality. The campaign kicked off in late March 2007 with the support of dozens of high-profile musicians including R.E.M., Pearl Jam, Boots Riley of The Coup, Ted Leo, Death Cab for Cutie, OK Go, the Kronos Quartet, Sarah McLachlan, Barenaked Ladies, Calexico, The Donnas, Kathleen Hanna and many others.
Three years ago, 4,000 musicians signed an FMC letter opposing radio consolidation. With Rock the Net, FMC intends to get thousands of musicians, independent labels and music services to become part of the effort to keep a 'payola' system from being established on the Internet.
At the Rock the Net website, bands can sign on to the campaign, then add their upcoming shows to the Rock the Net database, which will display on an interactive map cataloging events around the country. Users can also invite other bands to join, sign a petition and send a letter to Congress. Help us demonstrate the music community’s support for the principle of net neutrality.
Posted by mdepaulis at 8:20 AM
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
She was soon joined by a top-notch 4-piece band that accompanied her on a wide range of song styles from bluesy, to folky, to foot-stomping barn-burners. The instrumentation varied constantly, as the band members switched in and out all night, so the audience almost never heard the same combination of the light drums/percussion, guitars, upright bass, cello, bass, and piano twice.
Griffin focused more on her recent material, though I’ll admit that I would have liked to have seen her wail on some rockers from Flaming Red. A lot of her songs were more on the atmospheric side, as opposed to being overly structured and hook-driven. But the band was willing to sit back and create space to give Griffin’s voice room to roam, and the devoted crowd loved it.
The cello added a certain sense of majesty to her songs - especially on the beautiful “Burgundy Shoes,” from her new CD, Children Running Through. I’m a sucker for some well-arranged cello. Patty Griffin even stripped things down, doing a solo acoustic set of more somber material, including a tender version of one of my favorites, “Mary.”
“It’s tough for me to write love songs,” Patty told the audience last night. But she was able to pull it together and write one for her dog on the new album, Griffin revealed, smiling, as the band launched into a soaring version of the new track (“Heavenly Day”).
I also particularly enjoyed that evening’s version of “Up to the Mountains,” another new song from Children Running Through. Griffin initially explained how the song was inspired by a Martin Luther King, Jr. speech. Then longtime guitarist Doug Lancio accompanied her with some drippy, bluesy guitar lines on the Little Wing-esque track while Patty sung the heartfelt lyrics.
Their closing encore included a couple of my favorite songs – “Nobody’s Crying” (with some nice atmospheric guitar by Lancio) and a lush, orchestral-sounding “Rain,” so I got to close out the evening on a high note.
Posted by jeffro at 12:17 PM
The Jaguar Club is a 3-piece indie rock band from Brooklyn. They are heavily influenced by the college radio music of the 80's and Brit Pop. Mixing the sounds of bands like Echo and the Bunnymen, New Order, Joy Division, Pulp, Talking Heads, R.E.M. and The Smiths, they make highly danceable music that takes a little from all of those bands. Since I am one of the few people in the region who is familiar with them and they are playing DC9 for Six Points Music Festival on Thursday night, I caught up with them and asked them to introduce themselves to the music fans of the area. Will and Jeremiah were nice enough to talk to me and our conversation follows.
Will: We're from Brooklyn, New York, though none of us are natives. We are a three-piece comprised of Yoi on bass, Jeremiah on drums/backing vocals and myself on guitar and lead vocals. We pride ourselves on our live shows, which hopefully isn't setting us up to have pie on our faces Thursday night. Personally, I think that performing is just about the best thing in the world. Recording is something that I find incredibly painful. Basically, we do what we want to do on stage and we’re fortunate that other people think we're onto something good.
How would you describe your sound?
Will: If I had my way, we'd sound like Bob Dylan fronting Blondie.
Jeremiah: That's pretty good.
W: But somehow we end up sounding like New Order and The Smiths.
J: Well, that's what I'm going for. So…
W: Cool. Fine, you win. I hate you.
You've actually played DC quit a lot lately. I believe that this will be the third time since early March. How did you get involved with Six Points and is this a trend that we should expect to continue?
J: A friend of ours is from DC and thought that we'd be a good fit at Six Points and we're trying hard to…
W: Let me field this one. There's something about the DC music scene that's really appealing to us. All the bands seem to know one another, and go to shows, and they just seem to be supportive of each other, which is a nice change to what we're used to in New York. Obviously there are a lot of pluses to being a band in New York, but a real "scene" isn't one of them. So, yes… we will be back as often as DC will have us. We really feel comfortable playing there.
You were in DC a couple of weeks ago to release your new EP. Considering that you haven't formally been a band for a year yet and you already have 2 CDs out, how do you feel that you have grown in that time?
W: Well at least half that year was spent trying to figure out how to be a three piece and not a quartet. We've actually been playing together for more like a year and a half and I used to only sing, but then our guitar player quit - about this time last year actually. So there were a lot of depressing times and a lot of uncertainty, but we toughed it out and now it's starting to feel like we've really come into our own as a live band.
J: I agree, I think that the songs were basically always there. The first EP we recorded on our own with nothing really, just a four track in our practice space. So with this new release, I think we wanted to show what we could do with a little more polished production.
Given the pace that you have been going at, when should we expect another release, July?
W: We're going to be releasing a 7"single with "World Gone By" and a slightly different version of "The Sirens" on it, but we aren't really planning on releasing anything new for the time being. We need to work this one for a while, I think. Part of the reason that we put out a 2nd EP so quickly, was that we kept hearing "your CD doesn't do your live sound justice." Which makes sense, since that one was recorded before we ever played a show.
J: We've definitely got the material for a full length; it's just that so few people have heard what's out already. So, we're going to try and get this release out to more people and in the meantime, we're always writing new songs and debuting them live.
Do you have anything else that you would like to share with the fine citizens of the district?
W: I love that the crowds in DC dance. You don't get that everywhere and it makes a huge difference for us and our energy on stage. We're not just a band for dancing, but that's certainly a big part of the equation. So continue dancing DC. We love it and we'll see you at DC9 on Thursday night.
Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. It is always a pleasure.
W: Anytime, sir. Thank you.
I'll leave you with a couple of songs. If you are intrigued, check out the show on Thursday and pick up a copy of their wonderful EP.
World Gone By
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
1. So what songs of yours do you hope will get the crowd’s feet stomping?
We've got some songs that are going on our new album that seem to be pretty good foot-stompers. We've got a new funk song called "Let Me Know" and one we've been ending with lately called "Good to Go." We just let Arch [bassist/guitarist] go nuts on that one.
2. Is Arch going to bust out the beer bottle-slide for the show?
Haha! Usually between the three guitar players we have a slide, but that one show he had to improvise. He could probably play in mittens and still sound great.
3. Any particular Six Points shows you’re looking forward to?
There's a bunch of great shows this year. I think the booking folks have done a really good job. The show at DC9 Thursday the 19th oughta be good with Lejeune, and I've been meaning to check out The Glory and The Majesty for a while now. Also really looking forward to seeing the other bands on our show, Justin Jones, Sean McArdle and Junior League. Six Points is cool because the organizers place a bunch of bands on a show that might never get to play together normally. When we're all playing gigs on the same nights most of the time, its really tough to get out and see other local acts. I think it's really good for the community of musicians in the area.
Posted by jeffro at 5:22 PM
Are you looking to get away this weekend? Several local bands invade Dewey Beach, DE for PopFest. Join Army of Me (Sat), Middle Distance Runner (Sat), Telograph (Fri), Crash Boom Bang (Sat), Cobbler (Sat), Everyone But Pete (Fri), Honor By August (Fri), Mike Shupp (Sat) and The Vicious Martinis (Fri) at the beach. 45 bands will play over 2 days. The event takes place on Friday and Saturday night and admission to all shows is free.
Monday, April 16, 2007
Ghostland Observatory will be taking over the Rock and Roll Hotel this evening. This band has become somewhat of a local legend in Austin, TX. Now, they're finally bring their show to the District. If you want to learn a little more about them, head over to my other site. One of our writers recently relocated from Austin. He shares some mp3s and tells us why we need to attend this show.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Saturday, April 14, 2007
1. So who wears the pants in this duo?
Well, we kind of each wear one leg...Just like our marriage relationship, there's a division of labor wherein the sum is greater than its parts. Curly contributes the drums, voice, lyrics and melody. The Rocket brings the guitars and the musical ideas...Our live act is kind of like Penn and Teller - Curly is the ringleader, but The Rocket is silently maneuvering a lot of the magic.
2. How do you create that big, big sound with just the two of you?
It's something we really worked towards- we're constantly tooling with dynamics, space, rhythm and sonics so that our sound is much larger than the two of us. It's like riding a bull- it takes a lot of energy, and some cajones. Being on the wild edge like that makes it a total thrill. We love that!
3. Y’all ready to rock the Strathmore for Six Points?
We're totally psyched to get sweaty in the Strathmore Mansion. We were excited that Six Points chose us for this venue because it's so gorgeous. It really gives the performers and the audience the feeling of sharing a special night…Context is such an important piece of how an audience perceives an artist, particularly if they are unfamiliar. So the Strathmore is sweet, and it's a real honor to play a show with Tom Principato.
4. Anything else you’d like to say?
We appreciate that the Six Points organizers are taking the lead on exposing folks to the all the great music that's right in front of them. People in Washington work really hard, and there's a lot of darkness and fear in our world right now. But music is good for the body and the soul. The positive energy we feel from making music is what we want to inspire in our listeners, loudly and passionately, with everything we've got. It's a feeling of fearlessness, and that is freedom. So we plan to rock this town!
Posted by jeffro at 8:54 AM
Friday, April 13, 2007
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Alex Maiolo: HINT Project Consultant, Future of Music Coalition
Alex Maiolo has worked with The Future of Music Coalition for almost seven years, primarily focusing on the health insurance crisis as it relates to the working musician. In 2005, with the aid of a Cummings Grant, the Health Insurance Navigation Tool (HINT) was developed. Musicians in need of health insurance advice can access HINT for free consultations. There's nothing for sale, just free, unbiased advice on how to sift through the complex world of health insurance.
Tom Carrico: Manager, Studio One Artists
Frank Marchand: Mixer/Producer/Engineer, Waterford Digital
Posted by mdepaulis at 9:05 PM
MP3: Shipwrecked – The Perfects
And we close out things this week with Amy Winehouse’s “Back To Black.” Everybody else has posted something of hers, so why not me. I’m really digging her smoky, neo-soul vocal stylings of this track and the way that she treats the dark lyrics.
MP3: Back To Black – Amy Winehouse
Posted by jeffro at 6:02 PM
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Monday, April 09, 2007
Posted by jeffro at 7:27 PM
Friday, April 06, 2007
MP3: Don’t Let Them Take You Down (Beautiful Day) – Jessie Malin
And we close out this traffic and weather-filled week with Shwa’s “So Cry. Essentially a beefed-up version of an acoustic emo-ballad, it maintains its heartfelt core and melodic hook while incorporating some cool layered electric guitars and background vocals (among other elements). As a result, he and the band are able to rock out a bit more heartily. If you like what you hear, he’ll be at IOTA tonight, Friday, April 6th.
MP3: So Cry - Shwa
Posted by jeffro at 9:24 AM
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Posted by jeffro at 3:21 PM
Posted by jeffro at 9:34 AM
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Tereu Tereu (tuh-ROO, tuh-ROO) was a pleasant surprise to start things off. I liked the quality of the lead singer’s vocals – higher range, Chris Martin-y, and the band had a nice active groove going between the bassist and drummer, which prevented them trying to fix you. And there was a trumpet involved.
Now onto The Sammies. Once these North Carolina boys got cooking, their instrumental rock intensity was almost Marah-like, which I was really digging. Frankly, their vocals needed to be better. But you know what – I’ll overlook it for this evening, since they rocked my second set.
Now, I couldn’t stay for the whole Birdmonster set. It’s that whole “get enough sleep in order to go to work the next day” thing. But I did get to hear them rip through my two favorites, “Cause You Can” and “Balcony,” which were a blast. I must say that those boys play with some kind of punk frenzy up there on stage. Vocals could have been better on target, but it was damn entertaining to watch them play.
Posted by jeffro at 10:05 AM