Album Review: Moss of Aura – March (Unsigned)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

MP3: Moss of Aura – Cowboy

For the sound achieved by Future Islands, the importance of William Cashion’s rolling bass and Sam Herring’s impassioned vocals cannot be overstated. Both are incredibly important elements that have made the group one of Baltimore’s best and were critical in producing the band’s best album to date, this year’s In Evening Air.  But, with all due respect to them, the synthesizers and programming of J. Gerritt Welmers are the New Wave straw that stirs their “post-wave” drink.

His notes and backing beats can make a song like “Old Friend” a bubbly dance floor anthem in one moment, then intone as much emotion and despair as Herring’s tortured singing on “In The Fall” in the next.

Performing solo under the moniker Moss of Aura, Welmers has taken his cache of synthesized wizardry and filled out the arrangements a little more, while also giving them room to breathe. March takes us on a mellowed out journey through warm tones and tropical sounds that make for a highly enjoyable listen, the perfect summer album. Basically, if you’re not bumping this while grilling Esskay Oriole Franks and sipping Natty Bohs in the backyard, then you’re missing out.

Read the rest…

Interview: The Oranges Band (w/ Roman Kuebler) [Part 2]

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

MP3: The Oranges Band – Art Star from The Oranges Band Are Invisible (2008)

If you haven’t read part one, check it out. And celebrate The Oranges Band tonight at Comet Ping Pong or the Ottobar on Satuday.

Here’s part 2 of my interview with The Oranges Band’s lead singer, Roman Kuebler. A couple things of note: for our DC readers, the band will be bringing its anniversary celebration to Comet Ping Pong tonight. On the sadder side of things, City Paper recently reported that drummer Dave Voyles, who had been with the band since the start, has left for personal reasons. Lee Ashlin is taking his place behind the kit on tour.

This portion focuses more on the band’s three long players, the anniversary show (which I accidentally slipped up and called a reunion show, not my finest moment) and what lies ahead for the band.

AS: How do you look back on All Around, your first LP?

Read the rest…

Interview: The Oranges Band (w/ Roman Kuebler) [Part 1]

Photo credits: Natasha Tylea (1-3), Greg Szeto (4-5)

The Oranges Band were the first group that got me to start poking around the music scene here in Charm City. The World and Everything In It still ranks among my favorite albums from a Baltimore band; to this day, I can throw it on and get taken in by songs like “Drug City” and “Open Air.”

Needless to say, I was pretty excited when I checked the Ottobar calendar some weeks back and saw the guys were doing a 10 Year Anniversary show on April 24. To mark the occasion, I sat down for an expansive, career-spanning interview in the band room at the Ottobar with lead singer Roman Kuebler. We covered everything from the life of a band on the road, to each of the three albums the band has released, to Roman’s thoughts on the current Baltimore scene, and lots in between.

For me, it was both a history lesson (sometimes that is painfully clear) and a chance to really pick the brain of one of the founders of a band that opened my eyes and ears to wonderful music around me.

Aural States: So your first show was here 1o years ago. Describe that experience. How did that go?

Read the rest…

One Track Mind: MGMT – “Flash Delirium”

Editor’s Note: To the right is one of the most hideously obnoxious album covers ever, for MGMT’s upcoming release Congratulations.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

MP3: MGMT – Flash Delirium from upcoming LP Congratulations

I never really liked MGMT’s first album, Oracular Spectacular, but I’d be lying if I said its three singles (“Time to Pretend,” “Kids,” and “Electric Feel”) didn’t approach guilty-pleasure status. What surprised me more was how the band’s Idiot’s Guide to Psych Pop approach managed to reel in a lot of my friends who wouldn’t ordinarily get into music this, well, weird.

I still can’t figure out why this happened. Having a very danceable beat certainly helps, and in that age-old pursuit of getting the opposite sex on the dance floor, MGMT seemed to work as effectively as “Party in the USA” or the latest Lady GaGa track. Despite the lack of any surface-level similarities,  it wasn’t unusual to hear such a pairing when I was out with said friends in Federal Hill (don’t crucify me). And sure enough, people danced. But I don’t think that entirely explains why this band was so universally appealing. To me, it’s still a mystery.

At the time, I thought their crossover success could be a good thing, like it would serve as some sort of gateway to enlightenment and much better music. Surely people could find bands with similar sonic elements to MGMT but much more complex arrangements and the light bulb would go off. In my own little circle, that didn’t really happen.

Now I can only imagine how my friends will react to the train wreck that is “Flash Delirium,” the first single off the band’s sophomore album, Congratulations. Essentially, the band took any redeeming qualities they once had (however few), and any good will they had earned from a living organism with a working pair of ears, stabbed them with a dull butter knife and then pissed all over what was left. We better hope some higher-up at the Pentagon doesn’t get a hold of this and ship it off to Guantanamo, because it will easily become the most effective torture device ever. [/snarky hyperbole]

But really, one can only imagine what the band was thinking when they sat down to write this, somehow thought it was worth recording and then, defying all sense of reason, released it into the world. There should have been red flags all throughout the process signaling the time to torpedo the track once and for all.

Oh wait, there were. MGMT’s Ben Goldwasser told Spinner recently: “When we first wrote that song, we were laughing so hard. Andrew [VanWyngarden] just reminded me of that — that we thought it was the funniest thing we’d ever heard.”

Okay, Ben, glad to know your ear drums are still intact. So why make the rest of us suffer?

“And then we got used to it, it started to sound more normal.”

It did? Really? How many opiates did you have to consume to reach that conclusion?

“It’s not a single, but we thought it was a good way to entice people to listen to the whole record.”

Seriously?! This?!

“I’m sure there are plenty of people who think it’s completely weird and not what they were expecting. I’m sorry.”

As well you should be. Too late now. Only time to analyze.

Basically, what they tried to do was take all sorts of genres and reference points– from a brief visit to their own electric origins to post-acid Beatles to punk –and cram them all into one 4-minute song. Some of the homages are only 30 seconds or so long. It’s like they tried to create the musical equivalent of that YouTube video about the evolution of dance, only they didn’t bother using any semblance of a chronological order… or transitions that make sense… or good judgment.

You won’t find any of the beats or hooks that endeared them to so many. The end result, if it isn’t already painfully clear, is an incoherent disaster the likes of which hasn’t been seen in a very long time. Everything they tried for, or at least what I think were trying for, didn’t work in any conceivable way.

So why?

Goldwasser said in the interview that the record was a response to the band’s rapid ascent to fame.

“We’re trying to come to grips with that world,” he said. “It’s not our world. We don’t feel comfortable in it. But we didn’t want to make that typical second album either, about fame. So we’re definitely observing it, as opposed to revelling in it.”

Their cure for that uncomfortable feeling, it seems, is to take that world and destroy it– to push everything away that brought it into existence. If the rest of Congratulations is half as bad as “Flash Delirium,” then they will truly get their wish, because the people who loved them before most certainly will not be back.

Album Review: Vampire Weekend – Contra (XL Recordings)

Okay, well we’re a little late with this one. Chances are you’ve already heard and formed an opinion about Vampire Weekend’s second album, Contra. Fortunately for us lollygaggers, that has given us the opportunity to try and put this album into context.

Some of the facts:

- Contra debuted as the number one album in the country, selling 124,000 copies in its first week. It was only the 12th independently-released album to do so. According to Billboard, their previous best sales week was when their debut self-titled album netted 28,000 sales in the opening week.

- Almost every U.S. show in support of this album has sold out. Locally, the band has progressed from the Rock and Roll Hotel (capacity 400 people) in early 2008, to two nights  at the 9:30 Club (1,200) later that year, to DAR Constitution Hall (3,720) this coming April. All  sell outs.

- In their second video in support of this album, for single “Giving Up the Gun,” we get a futuristic tennis match featuring Joe Jonas and Jake Gyllenhaal as players, Lil Jon as a French-speaking instructor and RZA as a Neo-from-The-Matrix-like referee (no joke). This is almost as random/absurd a group as another video starring Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx’s “Blame It (On the Alcohol),” which also features Forest Whitaker, Ron Howard and Foxx himself rolling up to the club in a Rolls Royce to party with Samuel L. Jackson, T-Pain and many more. Seriously.

- On March 6, the group made its second appearance on “Saturday Night Live.”

All of the above accomplishments, including the ability to cobble together such a large swath of the cultural zeitgeist for one music video, demonstrate that Contra has launched Vampire Weekend from the flavor of the month to one of the biggest bands in alternative music. They have managed to do this by writing catchy tunes that can hook in somebody oblivious to the hype while incorporating technical elements that appeal to portions of the indie set.

Read the rest…

Album Review: Beach House – Teen Dream (Sub Pop)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

MP3: Beach House – Norway

Sometime around 2006 or 2007, during my first of two senior years in college, I decided to make a long-overdue effort to actually engage in my hometown music scene. All that really means is I jumped on MySpace and did a search for “Baltimore” under the music section. Not particularly effective or engaging, I realize now. Regardless, I did eventually find my way to Beach House, and they were one of the acts that resonated almost immediately, and one of the few that remained with me.

Read the rest…

Aural States Fest II: Spotlights – Noble Lake, Vincent Black Shadow, Height With Friends

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

MP3: Noble Lake – Morgantown from Heyday (2008)

As the saying says, when one door closes, another one opens. In 2009, Baltimore folk outfit Noble Lake saw the departure of Andy Stack and Jenn Wasner, whose own band Wye Oak reached new levels of success that swallowed most of their free time. James Sarsgaard, the band’s leader and singer who lived in Brooklyn for a period, managed to keep writing and performing, sometimes soldiering on as a solo act. But he’s back in Baltimore now, with a new album in tow and a pretty solid cast of Baltimore musicians backing him when available. Where some of the city’s other folk acts tend to deliver fuller, more power-packed compositions, Noble Lake’s music treads in a more time-lost and timeless arena, feeling more delicate and sticking to some strict narrative forms.

We talked with Sarsgaard about the project’s transitional period and plans for the future:

AS: You’ve mentioned that 2009 was a bit of a chaotic year with regard to the ever-shifting lineup, and a new album. Is it a bit of a relief to just get up on stage and play?

James Sarsgaard: Yes. I wish we could play more often. I’m still working on getting a more permanent lineup in place, and just getting things rolling again has been a bit tough. I’m not very computer savvy and as a result I don’t go after shows and promotion and such quite as aggressively as I should.

AS: You’ve also remarked that you tried “to get a handle on this whole band thing once and for all.” Was there ever a point where you thought the band wouldn’t go on, or that you and Justin would have to soldier on as a duet?

JS: I don’t know. I mean, I’ll always be writing songs and playing them in some fashion. When I was living in Brooklyn last year, I was basically playing as a solo act. It’s been kind of tough, and a bit discouraging for me lately, the whole nuts and bolts of playing music. I’m 32, and I work full time as a carpenter which makes it hard to devote a lot of time to the band. But it’s an ebb and flow thing for me, and I have a feeling this year might find me back on the horse again, to use a silly metaphor, with Noble Lake.

AS: How did that situation change the writing for the new album?

JS: The new album was mostly written between ’07 an ’09, so it captured a lot of the transitions that were going on over that time for me and everyone involved. I certainly wrote most of the songs, at least the music, with a vision of them being played by Andy, Jenn and Justin, and we went into the studio with that in mind. The songs I’m writing for the next record are more adaptable to new ideas, and I think when I start recording it will be a much different process.

AS: Were Steve Strohmeir and Walker Teret part of the recording/writing, or did you and Justin write parts for them, and other possible fill-ins, to play?

JS: They weren’t involved at all in the recording or writing of the last one. They both are down to play with us when they can, and I hope to play more with them in the near future. They’re both great players with a lot to offer, I don’t feel the need to write anything for them!

AS: You also mentioned that the band was looking for a label to release said album. What’s the latest?

JS: Nothing yet. Seems like a tough time for that. We’re still looking though, and one way or another I hope to have something by spring or summer.

AS: Can we expect a tour to start 2010 right?

JS: I’m hoping to do a southeast tour this spring. Then maybe Europe solo in the summer

AS: Who are you looking forward to seeing at the festival?

JS: I’m glad to be sharing the stage with Leprechaun Catering. They can play the shit out of a rubber band. Also totally psyched to see Pontiak, of course. There are alot of bands I don’t know of particulary so I hope to be pleasantly surprised. Of course, of course VBS, Caleb Stine, Height and all my Baltimore love children. Can’t Wait!


Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

MP3: Vincent Black Shadow – Sheer Heart Attack (Queen cover) from Nazi Gold b/w Sheer Heart Attack (2009)

Raucous rabble rousers Vincent Black Shadow make one hell of a racket. They deliver one of the most visceral and party-heavy sets around, and were one of the first must-have artists that sprang into my mind when I started coordinating the lineup. If you haven’t experienced them, you are in for a treat. Their latest release last year Nazi Gold b/w Sheer Heart Attack shows them doing what they do best: kicking out the jams (including an inspired Queen cover) with sweaty, shit-eating grins on their faces.

Guitarist Dan O sends along this dispatch so you know what to expect for 2010:

The Shadow boys have been taking a break from playing out (cept the occasional rager here and there like this festival) cause they’re writing a record. It’s called BALTAMONT. It’s the be-all end-all Baltimore fuck off scum rock record. Rob Girardi at Lord Baltimore Recording is going to capture the tracks, Forcefield Records out of Richmond is gonna put it on the street, and the boys are going to take it on the road this fall. After 2009 put the zap on our heads and our asses in the gutter (and friends and family in the god damn grave), you better believe we’ve got 2010 by the balls good and early.


Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

MP3: Height With Friends – Travel Rap (Nasty Millionaire Remix)

Height With Friends is one Dan Keech (Height), backed by an ever-evolving, always interesting collective of producers, beat-makers, rhyme-sayers, and verse-speakers. This project is arguably the frontline of a burgeoning group of young hip-hop acts in Baltimore, which is appropriate given how much their sound and style just feel spiritually aligned with the city.

A weighty, reflective, complex melange with no small amount of poetics. Height took some time to let us know about current affairs in the HWF world:

AS: You’ve got a new LP ready to drop later this year. Fill us in on what it is (Height solo, Height With Friends or something new).

Dan Keech: The new record is called Bed Of Seeds. Almost all of the songs were crafted by the five people that currently perform live as Height With Friends. (Mickey Free, Gavin Riley, Emily Slaughter, Travis Allen and myself).

AS: How does it differ from Highlands?

DK: It’s totally different. With a few notable exceptions, most of the music was composed by me, and brought to life by Mickey as a producer and Travis as a musician. I wrote the words, but Emily and Gavin put extreme work into making vocal arrangements that work well live and on record.

Unlike all our other releases, the songs have chord changes and bridges and other elements of traditional music. I was influenced by rappers who use non-rap song structures, (like Whodini), and non-rappers that kind of rap, (like Andre Williams).

AS: What do you have planned for your summer tour? What towns are you hitting up that you are looking forward to?

DK: We are touring the whole country in April and May. The album won’t be officially out by then, but the whole idea is to spread the word that it’s about to drop. We’ll be touring again soon after that. Charleston, South Carolina is my favorite tour stop. We’ve played there four or five times and its always seemed like a crazy uptopia where people like music and don’t act the fool.

AS: Who are you looking forward to at the fest?

DK: I can’t front. All parts of it are going to be fire, so I can’t really single one act out. I will say that Pontiak closing the night is a great look. I played at an Independence Day show that they put on in Virginia called Friendstival. They ended the night with a long, epic set. I was really into it.

Aural States Fest II: Spotlights – Thrushes, Death Domain

Today, Brandon takes a moment with Thrushes for a few questions and another track premiere off their new full-length Night Falls, while I preach the gospel of Death Domain.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

MP3: Thrushes – Skywave from the forthcoming LP Night Falls

The Baltimore music scene has gotten loads of press over the past couple of years, but there are still plenty of bands that we love dearly that never get the recognition they deserve. Thrushes, your friendly neighborhood shoegaze/noise pop outfit, has managed to avoid the limelight in spite of the beautifully fuzzy “Wall of Sound” they produce. Fortunately, they have a new album, Night Falls, coming out in March.

We chatted with guitarist Casey Harvey about the upcoming release, and lead singer/guitarist Anna Conner chimed in to inform us about the themes on the group’s sophomore effort.

AS: I read that Casey and Rachel recruited Anna during a pick-up baseball game in 2005. Does anybody still play? I’m glad to hear people still play. It’s usually hard to get the right amount of people together.

CH: Unfortunately, it looks like that group of pick-up baseballers drifted apart over the last couple of years. It was a sunday friendly game that was pretty active for a few years and a lot of fun.

AS: Yay or nay on Andy MacPhail?

CH: Nay

AS: You guys have got a new album coming out in March! What can we expect?

Casey Harvey: Night Falls ups the stakes in every department. Thrushes’ trademark wall of sound, widescreen guitars and technicolor noise-pop are brilliantly polished to sparkle. Opening single “Trees” finds Thrushes in full on “Dazzle” mode. Bells ring, drums thunder, guitars chime, hearts break. “Crystals” is a conscious nod to ‘60’s girl group’s cotton-candy coated odes to fallen love. Night Falls illuminates the dark edges of town on brooding tracks “As Much to Lose” and “Juggernaut.”

AS: “Crystals” sounds a little more poppier, a little more uptempo. Was there a conscious effort to speed things up a bit on this record?

CH: I don’t think there was neccesarily a conscious effort to up the tempo, these just happened to be the songs that came out during this time period.

AS: Have you had much of a chance to work the songs out for the live setting?

CH: Some of the material, such as “Trees” and “Night Falls” were written almost immediately after we finished Sun Come Undone. So we’ve had those for a while. “Used to You” was written about a week before we started recording this album so we’ve got a good mix of road tested and fresh new material.

AS: Back in your marathon interview with Greg in 2008, Anna mentioned that some of the newer songs were about “angry heartbreak.” Is this a theme you developed further on Night Falls? What other themes did you touch on?

Anna Conner: Some of the songs on Night Falls are about heartbreak. Songs like “Night Falls,” “Crystals,” and “Juggernaut.” They were written at a time when I was facing some personal demons, and they really were helpful in the healing process. I like playing those “angry heartbreak” songs because they show me what I was going through then, like re-reading an old journal entry.

But not all of the songs are about heartbreak. The songs written after that period are about what happens after you’ve been through the worst of it: learning more about yourself, about who your friends are, and eventually about finding love again and finding the people in your life you can rely on. Night Falls tracks a journey for me. As the band evolved musically, I was evolving emotionally.


Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

MP3: Death Domain – Programmed Cell Death from the Ethidium Bromide 7″

Death Domain is a project remarkably underground, especially for a place like Baltimore where it seems you can’t get the mail without seeing someone you know or recognize from a show or a night at the bar. A Huntley Stroupe’s one-man minimalist synth act is a great contrast to Thrushes. The music has a chilling aesthetic owed to Stroupe’s near-monotone vocals and patently artificial sounds, yet it still motivates those primal, beat sensitive regions of your brain with repetitive, uptempo and machine-like pulses. Though I tend to abhor genre portmanteaus, “coldwave” is really the perfect tag for this music. As much as Thrushes’ music really gets your emotions out, Death Domain’s sublimates those urges with jarring proficiency, making you question if they were even there in the first place.

Get into it with some of his latest releases including an 8-song tape on Jerkwave (limited to 100 on silver tape), a 3 song 7″ on Army of Bad Luck (limited to 300, silk screened glow in the dark cover), and a 2 song 7″ on Dark Entries (limited to 400, silk screened glow in the dark covers with 100 of each nucleic acid, A/100, C/100, T/100, G/100). Look for a reissued split tape with High Marks, limited to 150.

What others are saying: Still Single, Freak Scene (Fader)

Aural States Fest II: Spotlights – Lands & Peoples, Jack Chick

Ed. Note: We’ll be running spotlights on all the artists playing our second anniversary show, Aural States Fest II, over the coming weeks. First up, Brandon talks with Caleb from Lands & Peoples, and I drop some fresh, raw demos from the newest act to be playing the fest: Jack Chick.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

MP3: Lands & Peoples – Awake

There’s little sense in me trying to sum up the sound of Lands & Peoples, other than to say that whenever they try their hand at something, the results are pretty fantastic. They can veer from Grizzly Bear-esque chamber pop with “Ukulele” and then shift gears to pulsing electronics and lush harmonies on “Awake,” all the while managing to sound like no other band out there.

We talked with the trio’s frontman, Caleb Moore, a lapsed blogger for this very site, about their possible upcoming LP, their ever-changing sound, and the wonderful ligature that is the ampersand.

AS: I read on your Tumblr that you were in the studio back in December, and that the result was either going to be an EP or LP. What did you decide?

CM: We are shooting for a full length LP, which will (we hope) be released by an “actual label,” and eventually (sexual favors) make it to vinyl. Also want to mention that in addition to the full length– we’re doing a 7″ split w/ our friends THIN HYMNS. They make amazing, beautiful music and they’re from Chicago.

AS: What’s it going to be called?

CM: We have to have a band seance before any big decisions such as that are made. No freaking clue!

AS: I’ve found it’s really impossible to pin you guys down to any one genre or aesthetic. How do you keep evolving your sound?

CM: We just can’t fucking help it– it’s good and bad for us. On one hand, we all have an immense appreciation for music that stays pretty tight in one aesthetic. I think that’s one way to really make an album an album. Wavves, Beirut, Nite Jewel, Washed Out, Beach House– they’re all different from one another, but have a VERY consistent sound on each album.

But also, we think diversity within a record/live performance can be really important and have a palate-cleansing type effect. So, for now it’s happening because we can’t control it, but one day maybe we will have a very specific sound? Seems hard to imagine for me.

AS: Maybe I didn’t poke around the right corners of the internet, but I didn’t see too many interviews with you guys. What’s your backstory? What inspires you guys, musically or otherwise?

CM: That’s a big question. Back story is that i made the L&P myspace to post some weirdo audio experiments that I’d been making w/ my computer, loop pedals, and stuff. Then i started writing songs– Amanda and I played for the first time in my old apartment in Charles Village above Donna’s. She sang harmonies on “Isabella” with me at a tender lil house show that I curated w/ buds of mine.

Beau was there that day too, visiting from NYC and playing a couple of his songs. Amanda and I kept playing, and I finally convinced Beau to move down here from NYC. Mostly because NYC sucks hard– errrr it can be a challenging place to live for anyone that’s not rich as fuck .. err.. Baltimore is cheaper.. shit. I don’t know. Point is, it worked out very well for him. We’ve all 3 been playing together since he moved down about a year ago, and we’re now toying with adding a bass player!! Whooohoooo!

AS: Your first EP was called &, and you make a point of punctuating your band name with an ampersand. Do you have a particular fondness for the ampersand? Why?

CM: Yes, I have a ‘&’ tattoo on my chest, the only one so far. They are just oh-so-pretty to me. Such a satisfying line to follow, and to draw. I got it w/ my friend Kate in order to seal our bond as super-friends forever, under the eyes of God, and the hairy tattoo artist that applied da ink.

AS: Who are you looking forward to seeing?

CM: EVERYONE. But, specifically I’m super pumped to see Height w/ Friends for the first time, whom my friend Mickey raps with. Also, True Womanhood and Dustin Wong both put on really great, interesting shows, and are nice dudez. The other people I’m actually very inexperienced with– so that will be fun to see a bunch of new Bmore music for the 1st time.


Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

01. MP3: Jack Chick – Why Don’t You Do Right
02. MP3: Jack Chick – Untitled

Jack Chick are a project that has been simmering and gestating for some time now. And I would’ve been none the wiser if not for my conversations with Jack Moore, El Suprimo head honcho and member of Mopar Mountain Daredevils (whose release in 2009 I highly recommend). While Mopar Mountain are on hold, Moore (keys) is joined by fellow Daredevil Derrick Hans (drums), and boyfriend-girlfriend duo Chrissy Howland from the Degenerettes (vocals, bass, keys) and studio whiz Rob Girardi (guitar).

With such a strong pedigree, it’s no surprise that their darkly swirling, experimental vision of psych is gripping. Their ever-evolving sound is remarkably atmospheric for being so weighty (check out some of their raw practice demos above). I can’t wait to see what surprises they have in store for their debut live performance at the fest.

Live Review: Pixies @ DAR Constitution Hall (2009.12.01)

Pixies 4

Ed. note: The photos from this review are from the first of two consecutive nights, while the review is based on the second.

All photos: Shantel Mitchell

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

MP3: Pixies – Dancing the Manta Ray from Doolittle 20th Anniversary Live Sampler

The whole entire-album-in-one-concert trend has been derided as an attempt by artists to cash in or dumb down the concert experience to something as predictable as pushing play on your iPod. The Pixies had flashes of both at their show in Washington on Tuesday night, where they dusted off Doolittle and its B-sides. But then you remember, “Oh yeah, this is the f-ing Pixies,” and you count your blessings for being able to see what turned out to be an awesome show.

Read the rest…

Older Posts >