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Fort Reno in jeopardy?

ft. reno sunset 2Oh man, so that’s why I was feeling so off-balance at Ft Reno last summer.  Apparently, it’s due to ARSENIC IN THE SOIL.

BYT reports here.

NBC4 reports here.

WaPo blog reports here.

I hope this shit gets cleared up.  Soon.

Venue Drama: Lo-Fi and the Talking Head

Editorial Note: Aural States takes no side in the Lo-Fi Social Club dispute and fully supports local venues as long as they continue to book high quality shows and provide a positive environment for the live experience of music.  We wish the new management the best of luck in filling the great space with some talented musicians.

So this week has not been a stand-out week for venue logistics and management in Bmore. The Talking Head finds itself rooming with Sonar in their lounge space as they, like so many others, leave behind the venerated but perpetually troubled/turned-over Davis St space. In the coming weeks and months there are plans to establish the venue as a separate entity, including moving the Head’s entire PA system and staff. In addition, there will be an entrance exclusively for the Talking Head in the small alley next to Sonar. Only time will tell how this space sounds and feels relative to the old, reliable Davis St.

The Talking Head isn’t the only venue having issues. Locals know that the venue Lo-Fi Social Club has had some major logistical problems in the past few months including an anemic schedule, little to no promotion for the shows that successfully went off and a number of shows where bands were double-booked or left in the dark, outside a dark and locked Lo-Fi. Now, some light is being shed and heated drama is emerging surrounding the Lo-Fi Social Club owner Neil Freebairn and former employee Peter Goode. Read up: an apology and vague explanation from Neil on Myspace here while Peter goes more on the offensive with a horrific story of bad business practice below (originally posted on Beatbots/Myspace): Read the rest…

Sound Off!: Mr. Gnome

So we here at Aural States get dozens upon dozens of new artists dropped into our inbox every day. We try to spare you the worst of it and only post those things each of us deem particularly interesting, or potentially appealing.

In this vein, I present to you music from mr. Gnome, a band that manage to claw its way from the PR-tagged dregs of Gmail and enchant me, almost instantly. The airy, quirky vocals of front-woman Nicole Barille anchored in these haunting, dystopic fantasy soundscapes instantly channeled an image of a vocal student of Bjork and Joanna Newsom fronting a band obsessed with the more expansive aspects of prog metal, punk and generally just rock at large. But arrestingly enough, mr. Gnome are actually another in the long line of indie duos that pack a big wallop, forgoing the bass and just delivering guitar+drum musical goodies.

They are heading on a limited engagement US tour, consisting mostly of mid-west or west coast dates (click the full post link to find out if it hits your neck of the woods).

But fear not regional AS readers, you can score their debut LP, Deliver This Creature, when it drops tomorrow. Here’s three tracks off the album to dip your toes into before taking the plunge. We’ll be sure to let you know when mr. Gnome comes through the 495/695 area.

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mr. Gnome – Pirates

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mr. Gnome – Rabbit

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mr. Gnome – Night of the Crickets

Read the rest…

Beatbots shutting its e-doors…April Fools!

I found out today that one of Baltimore’s finest online assets to the arts and music, webzine and forum Beatbots, is shutting its doors in May.

Read more for the full news posting:


Three and a half years ago I started Beatbots in my basement appartment in Hyattsville, MD. What started as a simple excerise in creating my own Content Management System, evolved into me trying to run an online magazine with no funds, no writers and no audience. Since that time (and my moving to Baltimore) Beatbots as a creative endeavor has really blossomed. We’ve had a lot of great writers grace the pages of the webzine. We’ve seen the incorporation of Audio/Video recordings on the site and the only public authored events calendar in Baltimore that doesn’t suck. We’ve made a lot of great connections with the people involved in the Baltimore arts/music scene, and for that I’ll be forever thankful.

But after much soul searching, I’ve decided that Beatbots as this thing that I do with all my spare time will never be sustainable. It will forever be an uphill battle for me to bring people together to create something wonderful that isn’t about hype, money or fame. So it saddens me to say that in May, when the next Beatbots hosting plan is due for renewal, that I’m not going to renew it. While I would like more than anything to see Beatbots live on for 5 or even 10 years, it’s just not in the cards. It’s just become such a heavy weight on my shoulders that I think it’s for the best.

I want to thank first and foremost the Beatbots writers who have poured so much time and energy into the writings for the site. It’s really remarkable to think that we as a group could amass hundreds of really quality articles with no formal staff, and no pay. I’d also really like to thank our A/V people but most especially Jeff Mewbourn for his tireless dedication to documenting the Baltimore music scene. Thanks to everyone that has helped to make the message board the best place I know on the internet to kill time at work (and find out about the best shows in the city). Beatbots is made of people, and I really can’t think of any better people around.

So in closing, I feel that Beatbots was in many ways a success, even if the audience that knew about it while it was still around was small. I’m glad to think that there’s this thing that we all did together that will forever leave a mark on our lives, as they were here and now. Until the hosting runs out (May 14) I encourage everyone to make the most of the site.

All the best,
Justin Blemly

I highly recommend you check the site out before it is lost forever. There is some really great content and some really great people roaming around there.

April Fool’s from Justin! well written note.

Content coming up this week…

Crystal Castles, Pietasters, Georgie James and more…


Pitchfork Media announces online music channel, attmept to takeover indie world…even more.

Whoa whoa whoa. WHOA. Seriously? Pitchfork is launching an online TV channel. I approach this project with great anticipation and trepidation. This could either be the new sliced bread, or make it a hell of a lot harder to pass go and collect $200 without the stamp of ‘Fork approval. Or maybe both.

Check the official release here.

Snippet from P4K:

So today, we’re proud to announce the April 7 beta launch of Pitchfork.tv, the first-ever music video channel dedicated to documenting independent music as it happens. As a visual extension of the music coverage Pitchfork has provided for more than a decade, and a means of updating and advancing the music television format, the online channel will bring you closer to the artists you love, through original mini-documentaries, secret rooftop and basement sessions, full concerts, exclusive interviews, and the most carefully curated selection of music videos online.

Sweet holy jeebus.

SXSW lineup

Panda Bear hat give away on Fader

Okay, I think this is really cool.

Reppin’ Maryland, reppin’ Person Pitch.

The Shondes: politpunk with a Jewish twist

The Shondes claim to generate moody political punk fused with a variety of more traditional music forms (classical, Jewish traditional). They just released their album The Red Sea. I could buy it. I definitely agree with the Sleater-Kinney comparisons being thrown around. I also hear alot of post-hardcore influence in the vocals and guitar-work on songs like “Let’s Go”. But it’s probably best if you hear for yourself.

Stream the album here.

Three MP3s for your downloading and listening pleasure:

“Don’t Look Down”

“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”

“Let’s Go”

Sonar hints at troubles, new direction

So far Sonar’s decade celebration year has been rocky, to say the least. General Manager Dan McIntosh found it necessary to personally take over booking responsibilities. When the past booking staff left Sonar, they apparently left many of the club and lounge slots open.

“I wanted to see Sonar stay as a viable venue for the dance community
and want to bring in those that may not have played in Baltimore for
quite awhile and in many cases, have never played here” stated Ms Suit.
Engaging Mr. Moore with her ideas, the two then met with Mr. McIntosh to
discuss the possibilities. “I want dance music! I want a variety!” were
the words from Mr. McIntosh. “We still have 2 years on our lease and
lots of ideas so we don’t plan to go anywhere else anytime soon! We are
making upgrades to the venue to include a new state of the art video
system! We want to bring everything in here and when the lease is up, we
can move somewhere bigger if need be” he continued and so a new
beginning has started.

It’s just my speculation, but when people talk waiting out the lease, shit can’t be going well. But heres the bit I do like:

In addition to the February 23rd show, Sonar will have the newly formed
‘Koncrete Jungle Baltimore’ parties starting in March as well as a
weekly party in the lounge featuring drum and bass hosted by Justin
Patchett of Top Ranking Records. Ms. Suit and Mr. Moore also have plans
to bring electronic dance music into Sonar twice a month as a Saturday
show as well as any additional nights that the schedule allows.

I would really like to see dnb come back to Sonar. For awhile, there was a really strong jungle scene going in this city, until Lonnie decided to be a party-pooper. Junglists can be some angry, intimidating people, and I don’t know if they will forgive Sonar so easily.

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