Don’t Miss: New Build @ U Street Music Hall, 12/2/14

NEW BUILD PHOTO 2014

Guitarist Al Doyle, bassist Felix Martin (both of Hot Chip) and composer Tom Hopkins make up ambient synthpop band New Build, which is headlining at U Street Music Hall on Tuesday, Dec. 2. New Build are joined by Museum of Love, which features Pat Mahoney (of LCD Soundsystem) and Dennis McNany.

New Band recently released a second full-length album, Pour It On. Doyle, who also was in LCD Soundsystem, took time to talk to publicists about his past in LCD and his future with New Build

Q: What was your favorite LCD gig?

Al Doyle: Probably the one which I thought was my last ever gig, at the end of the Sound of Silver tour when James said he wasn’t making another record. We played “New York, I Love You” and I was totally in tears, just broken down and sobbing, and to add to it James started singing “Al Doyle, I Love You” and that was just too much. Never been so mushed up on stage before or since — actually, talking about it now it probably wasn’t my “favorite” gig, but it was a singular experience. Very grainy footage here:

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Music Park: Furniteur @ DC9 — 11/26/14

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I gotta say that it seems Prince George Records is doing something right.

I knew of the DC label as the backer for dance duo Pleasure Curses, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Prince George has more artists in its roster, and one in particular which could prove a breakout act in the next year.

Enter Furniteur, who opened for Frenchman David Grellier performing under his bandname College at DC9 last Wednesday. With the recent electronic release of a four-track EP, Furniteur have been playing several small shows around DC in places like The Dunes and Comet Ping-Pong. They are well worth catching at your earliest opportunity.

Furniteur’s frontwoman is local chanteuse Brittany Sims, who studied art in New York City and decided to form a band back home in DC after graduating. She’s recruited Kevin Bayly and Mike Toohey of Brett (formerly the Dance Party) and presented Furniteur as a smoldering synth-driven trio.

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Don’t Miss: College w/ Furniteur @ DC9, 11/26/14

Frenchman David Grellier’s electronica project College leapt into full view of U.S. audiences in 2011 when its song “A Real Hero” was used on the soundtrack of the Ryan Gosling film Drive, which smartly and sleekly weaved smooth italo disco sounds into a pulsing yet atmospheric mix that served the elevate the mood and action of the movie.

Grellier has his hands in a number of projects, but College recently released a new EP and an accompanying video for “Save the Day.” The collective is touring with a first stop among some 14 dates at DC9 (1940 9th St. NW, DC) on Wednesday, Nov. 26.

I’m not 100 percent certain if Grellier is touring by himself or if he’s bringing an accompanying vocalist, but he is accompanied by opening act Furniteur, D.C. visual artist and electronic musician Brittany Sims. Furniteur is wonderful accompaniment to College’s sound–synthy, lush, melancholy classic pop. And Sims is a local, so we are super-excited to check out this lineup.

Tickets are available online or at the door.

College
w/ Furniteur
DC9
Wednesday, Nov. 26
Doors @8:30pm
$15
All ages

Music Park: Stars @ 9:30 Club — 11/14/14

_images_uploads_gallery_STARS_1_Photocredit_SHERVIN_LAINEZStars (Photo courtesy Shore Fire Media)

Torquil Campbell is a man with something to say.

And the Canadian singer often does so surrounded by the five other members of his chamber-pop band Stars, which recently released a marvelous new disco album, No One Is Lost, last month.

I confess that I was pleasantly surprised by the band’s performance at the 9:30 Club on Thursday, Nov. 13, when I learned why they have amassed a large following over a seven-album tenure. But the standout performer among the band that night was Campbell, who put passion, grit and catharsis to a powerful set of songs, the best of which hailed from the latest album, in my opinion.

First let me say that I caught a performance of Stars only once previously at the Coachella Music Festival in 2013. In that performance, I was thrown a bit by the clear new wave influences in the band’s music, as I tend to anticipate our chamber pop bands to foray more into folk pop.

But Campbell and company weren’t interested in conforming to my preconceived notions. He and co-lead singer Amy Millan poured themselves into a 22-song set that began with the lovely “From the Night” from the new album and closed (before the encore) with the same album’s title track, a musically and lyrically mighty confrontation of loss, grappling with the concepts of loneliness and death — while remaining a stunning dance track.

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Music Park: Meredith Sheldon (Opening for Johnny Marr) @ 9:30 Club — 11/9/14

The winsome Meredith Sheldon opened for Johnny Marr at the 9:30 Club once again earlier this week.

Ms. Sheldon came through with Marr also in April 2013, but then she was performing in a loose band called Alamar with Johnny’s son Nile Marr. A friend compared the sound of the two together to The Sundays.

This time, Sheldon performed alone with her guitar, and she was as dreamy as that comparison would suggest, but her sound definitely smacked of a jangle pop found in other Massachussetts singer-songwriters like Tanya Donnelly and Juliana Hatfield.

Sheldon opened with “Metal Hand,” a song about the strength required to heal. From the start of her set, she had a good rapport with the audience, and it reflected in her easy, comfortable playing. In one segment of her first song, she thumps lightly on the guitar instead of strumming it, creating a unique bridge and providing ample room for her airy voice to fill the space.

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Music Park: The Concert for Valor takes over the National Mall — 11/11/14

141111-D-DB155-027Bruce Springsteen and Dave Grohl

Hundreds of thousands of people came out to the National Mall on Veteran’s Day to experience The Concert for Valor.

From my vantage point (next to the Hirshhorn Museum), far fewer people than expected braved the perfect weather to witness some of the biggest artists and celebrities honor our veterans.

My guess is the pre-concert buzz of hordes of 800,000 to a million concert goers crashing the Mall scared off most people. The reality was…still a lot of people, but the whole affair turned out orderly, civilized and the city of DC proved to be well prepared. My favorite feature was the ‘family reunification’ station.

The Concert kicked off with Jennifer Hudson singing the National Anthem. Underwhelming start, but a number of performances stand out.

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