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Interview: Office of Future Plans & the Jawbox Reunion (w/ J Robbins)


Photo credit: Greg Szeto

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MP3: Report Suspicious Activity – The Night of 1000 Lies from Report Suspicious Activity (2005)

Office of Future Plans plays Oct 27th at the Sidebar with The Bomb, and a Halloween show on Oct 30th at Rock and Roll Hotel with Caverns and Imperial China.

On an anonymous street, nestled tightly amidst random warehouse facades in the neighborhood known as Better Waverly (funnily enough, south of Waverly proper), sits the Magpie Cage. From the outside, it appears to be no more than a steel-gated, two-car-width garage. But when you walk through the doors, it’s like entering a different world. A veritable oasis for anyone music-oriented, lined with warm wood tones, and contrasts of deep red while absolutely bursting with vintage and high-tech recording gear that strikes any artist like Pavlov’s Bell. Unlike many studios, this one is remarkably free of clutter, and blessed streamlined interior design (perhaps a bit of insight into the mind of its proprietor).

This is the studio of one J Robbins, one of the bonafide icons of local music, earning his stripes as final bassist in DC hardcore band Government Issue, vocalist and guitarist in post-hardcore follow-up Jawbox, and more recently with duties in Report Suspicious Activity, Channels, and Burning Airlines. He also happens to be one of the most earnest, hard-working, and genuine people you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting.

I got the chance to gab with J in the studio before a day of mixing locals …soihadto…, who counts the infamous Duff from Ace of Cakes among its members. Our conversation veered all over: from the forging fires of his new project Office of Future Plans, to the driving forces behind the bizarre Jawbox reunion set on Jimmy Fallon, and tons more in Robbins’ very busy life.

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In 1 week…

June 5: DDot Films and Aural States presents the Caverns Video Release Party w/ A Place To Bury Strangers, True Womanhood @ Rock from Greg Szeto on Vimeo.

Prepare yourself…


Live Review: Asobi Seksu @ Rock and Roll Hotel (2009.03.28)

asobi-seksu-1Photo credit: Fiz

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MP3: Asobi Seksu – Familiar Light from Hush (2009)

A few weeks ago, I loaded Hush into my media player and the delicate voice of Japanese Yuki Chicudate began to fill my bedroom with dreamy trailing synth and modest ruptures of rhythmic drum. Her lyrics were intricate and poetic—uttered in angelic speech, dominant but not overbearing. Tracks fluctuated between sedated, down-tempo melodies to avant-garde like that of Chairlift’s indie pop.

I pictured delicate rendition with composed deliverance, anticipating a show that could, quite possibly, trigger tears. Finally, I’m standing face to face with the foursome in a packed Rock and Roll Hotel in DC, but what’s to come in the live performance I am not prepared for in the least.

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Evangelicals, Parenthetical Girls @ Rock and Roll Hotel

The Evangelicals

Photos: Evangelicals, Greensboro NC (right); Parenthetical Girls, Portland OR (below)

Coming all the way from Oklahoma, Evangelicals finally made a trip back to DC. Fog machines and neon spotlights in tow- maybe the fact that we’re in the month of October isn’t the only reason it feels like Halloween. I noticed a Jack-O-Lantern resting on a stand behind the white-wife-beat-ed bassist. Spooky trans overlapping hard-rock guitar, echoing into each other to bring you out of your element: the vocals of Josh Jones are distinct, but fade out and bleed into synth-y trails. (Think the bastard child of MGMT and Panda Bear).

The entire week before the show, I had ”Skeleton Man” on repeat, digging the catchy intro tapering off into a more psychedelic conclusion. Live, they do it justice, but unfortunately, it follows the recorded version almost to a T. Towards the end of their set, the energy really picked up. ”Another Day” was played with a lot of instrumental breaks (props to Todd Jackson on his performance here), progressing in an unexpected way. The set resolutely ended with a bang. Their latest album, The Evening Descends is definitely one I enjoy and recommend. Although they didn’t surprise me, they surely did not disappoint. Fulfilling my expectations is just fine. Evangelicals stick to what works.

What I found in their opening band, however, was something innovative and staggering. Read the rest…

Vivian Girls are all over this town…

We’ve extolled the virtues of Vivian Girls here before.  In case you were hesitant to take advantage of their show at the Nerve Center, you are gonna get a boatload of new chances to experience them in the coming month, starting this Wednesday at the Ottobar with locals Baby Venom.

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MP3: Vivian Girls – Blind Spot (Daisy Chain cover) from the I Can’t Stay 7″

Tour dates & video for “Tell the World”:

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