Howard Jones (Photo by David Conn)
“Do you feel scared? I do, but I won’t stop and falter.”
So, sang Howard Jones in his smashing 1985 hit “Things Can Only Get Better,” which in my opinion perfectly framed Howard’s ethos. The Englishman is unflappably upbeat and optimistic, and he makes fantastically irresistible music still today.
Shonen Knife (Photo by Vicente Rondon)
Shonen Knife, Osaka’s reigning pop-punk trio, released their 20th studio album, Adventure, in 2016, and they have launched the 2017 USA Ramen Adventure Tour to play some more songs for us Americans. They play locally at Black Cat on Sunday, April 30.
Dave Wakeling of The English Beat performs at 9:30 Club on Wednesday, March 1, 2017. (Photo by Ben Eisendrath /Instagram+Twitter: GrillworksBen)
Last week, The English beat performed to a very crowded house at 9:30 Club, and Parklife DC caught the show. (Read our review!) Prior to the show, I had the opportunity to sit down with David Wakeling, the brains behind the band, for a lengthy chat. Born in Birmingham, England, Dave started The Beat there (and took it to the United States where it became known as The English Beat.) Roughly 30 years ago, he migrated to the United States and now resides in Southern California.
Agnes Obel (Photo by Alex Bruel Flagstad)
Agnes Obel released her third album, Citizen of Glass, in October via PIAS, and she’s embarking on her largest North American tour to date this year, including a stop at 9:30 Club on Tuesday, March 7.
Glam Skanks (Photo by Suzanne Allison)
Adam Ant kicks of a 35th anniversary tour for his album Kings of the Wild Frontier here in DC at the Lincoln Theatre on Monday, Jan. 23. As his opening act, he’ll be bringing along Glam Skanks, an energetic new quartet from Los Angeles. Glam Skanks recently published their first album, Glitter City, via Unison Music Group, and they have a big glam rock sound that meshes very well with Adam Ant’s musical catalog.
Ted Ottaviano and Susan Ottaviano of Book of Love (Photo by Frank Ockenfels)
Book of Love released the first of four albums in 1986, and the New York City quartet continued making music through 1994. After initially disbanding, the synthpoppers have reunited occasionally to play their romantically melodic dance songs, and they reunited again last year.
However, when touring these days, vocalist Susan Ottaviano and synthesizer player Ted Ottaviano (no relation) often perform as a duo without their bandmates Lauren Roselli Johnson and Jade Lee. And as a duo, Susan and Ted will return as Book of Love to DC for the first time in many years to perform at U Street Music Hall on Saturday, Feb. 11.
Greta Morgan (Photo by Julia Brokaw)
Greta Morgan released her second album as Springtime Carnivore on Friday, Oct. 7 – and that same day she set upon a US tour with La Sera, hitting more than 20 cities.
The material for the new album, Midnight Room, sprang from a break-up but the songs didn’t take the shape of melancholy heartbreak. Instead, songs like “Face in the Moon” are full of jaunty reflections and wry observations on life and love that feel far more empowering than depressing.