Don’t Miss: Jack Ladder and The Dreamlanders @ DC9, 12/3/15

21013-Jack_20Ladder_20High_20Res_201_Kylie_20Coutts
Jack Ladder (Photo courtesy Girlie Action)

The press surrounding Australian musician Jack Ladder is quite fascinating.

Is Jack Ladder himself a cross between Nick Cave and Bryan Ferry?

Could you describe his band Jack Ladder and The Dreamlanders as the Temptations stepping in for Sparks as the #1 band in heaven?

These questions seem valid given the release of Jack’s fourth album, Playmates, and his first in the United States, published last month via Fat Possum. Jack Ladder and The Dreamlanders are touring in support of that album with a stop at DC9 tonight, Thursday, Dec. 3.

“On his fourth album and second outing with backing band the Dreamlanders, Australian singer/songwriter Jack Ladder transforms himself once again, this time from shadowy goth crooner to lush synth pop romantic,” said Timonthy Monger of AllMusicGuide.

The sparse pacing of the song along with Jack’s baritone vocals belie the sparkling sythesizers around the corner of his recent single, “To Keep and to Be Kept,” which features backing vocals from Sharon Van Etten.

Watch the official video for “To Keep and to Be Kept,” which was shot on vintage video equipment:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIsYk3-sP0A]

Jack Ladder and The Dreamlanders seem like they belong to another era -– which in this case is a good thing. It is as if they stepped out of a hazy period between 1970 and 1985, but you cannot quite pin them down.

So of course such a band would mix the familiar with the unfamiliar, such as with their cover of “So Far Away” by Dire Straits.

Listen to Jack’s cover of “So Far Away” by Dire Straits on Soundcloud:

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/233276184″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

DC soul and reggae artist Caz and DC post-punk quartet Shooting Down Asteroids open for Jack Ladder and The Dreamlanders. Tickets are available online and at the door.

Jack Ladder and The Dreamlanders
w/ Caz and Shooting Down Asteroids
DC9
Thursday, Dec. 3
Doors @8pm
$12
All ages

Don’t Miss: Mariachi Flor De Toloache (Opening for The Arcs) @ 9:30 Club, 12/14-12/15/15

mfdt_group_2-1024x652
Flor de Toloache (Photo by Andrei Averbuch)

The Arcs are the new band helmed by Dan Auerbach, guitarist and vocalist of The Black Keys. They are a bit unusual in several aspects, being a kind of large garage chamber pop band.

One of the unusual aspects of the band is that they are backed by members of Mariachi Flor De Toloache in concert. The all-female mariachi band from New York City provides vocals, horns, and strings to the bluesy ensemble.

The Arcs are touring in support of their debut album, and they are bringing Flor De Toloache along with them as the opening act with two nights at the 9:30 Club on Monday, Dec. 14, and Tuesday, Dec. 15.

Founded by Mireya Ramos, Mariachi Flor de Toloache themselves released a self-titled debut album in April. The band today includes up to 13 rotating members who play traditional mariachi instruments: violin, trumpet, guitarrón (bass), and vihuela (five-string guitar). Mireya and co-leader Shae Fiol provide vocals, and Shae also designs the band’s outfits.

Watch Mariachi Flor De Toloache play Blue Note’s Subrosa in New York City for their record release party on April 4, 2015:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHy_NPd-1lI]

Taking its name from a poisonous night flower used as a love potion in Central America in the past, Flor De Toloache infuse various musical genres into their mariachi mix, including salsa, bachata, cumbia, gypsy music, and Latin jazz as well as pop, hip-hop, and soul, according to a profile of the band in the Wall Street Journal published earlier this year.

The first show on Monday, Dec. 14, sold out, but tickets are still available online for a second show on Tuesday, Dec. 15!

Mariachi Flor De Toloache
(Opening for The Arcs)
9:30 Club
Monday, Dec. 14
Tuesday, Dec. 15
Doors @7pm
$40
All ages

Don’t Miss: Gun Outfit @ Cafe Saint Ex, 12/7/15

Gun-Outfit-3-Dylan-Carrie-web
Dylan Sharp and Carrie Keith of the Gun Outfit (Photo courtesy Pitch Perfect PR)

Los Angeles-based “cowboy” psych band Gun Outfit is coming to town.

The duo quartet, originally from Olympia, Wash., released an extremely listenable new album, Dream All Over, via Paradise of Bachelors, on Oct. 16, and they have launched their very first headlining tour of U.S. East Coast cities in support of it. The Gun Outfit stop in DC on Monday, Dec. 7, to play a show at Cafe Saint-Ex (1847 14th St. NW, DC), an unusual but welcome location for a rock show to be sure.

The Gun Outfit recently published a video for the single “In Orbit,” directed by the band’s Dylan Sharp. In the video, various “alien life forms disintegrate into washes of colors,” according to the band. The music is a wistfully hazy psych-folk march.

Watch the psychedelic official video for the Gun Outfit’s “In Orbit” on YouTube:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qJbT45BR3w]

Apparently, Dylan and fellow vocalist Carrie Keith bring a punk aesthetic to their psych guitars, and I’m eager to hear some more from them. Says The New York Times: “This band has a punk aesthetic deep at the center and, especially now, slow and drifting, double-guitar desert-rock psychedelia at the surface. Dream All Over is the latest installment in the output of a band that’s remained open-ended, slow and steady.”

DC bands Flashers and Broken Grids open for the Gun Outfit. Tickets are available at the door on the night of the show.

Gun Outfit
w/ Flashers and Broken Grids
Cafe Saint-Ex
Monday, Dec. 7
Show @9pm
$8
All ages

Music Park: Dragonette @ U Street Music Hall — 11/25/15

Dragonette-2015-by-Mackenzie-Duncan-lores
Dragonette (Photo by Mackenzie Duncan)

If your goal was to let loose and enjoy a night on the town before Thanksgiving since you were still in DC anyway, you could have done no better than to start famously at the U Street Music Hall. 

Martina Sorbara and Dan Kurtz, of Dragonette, were on hand to make you dance, in every way possible. With Dan’s keyboards and Martina’s golden voice, they electrified the crowd with a frenzy of their songs played to match the DJ-inspired venue, as house and club beats. 

Dragonette hails from Toronto originally, and also includes Joel Stouffer on the drums.

Let’s call much of the crowd’s response to their infectious songs, the ‘super dance’, bouncing up and down in unison.

The crowd grew to a respectable size (almost full), given that you might expect many potential revelers to be out of town for the holiday.

Continue Reading

Music Park: Glen Hansard @ DAR Constitution Hall — 11/28/15

Star star
Glen Hansard sings with a young lad live at Vicar Street in Dublin on Nov. 25, 2013. (Photo by Silvia Pititto)

Glen Hansard was determined.

“I have a friend who always ruins the moment,” Glen told an audience at DAR Constitution Hall on Saturday night. “He’s the kind of person that finds the fault in everything even when everything is going well. He’ll find that one thing that will ruin it for everybody.”

So to brighten his friend’s spirits, Glen said, he brought him along on tour. Glen also wrote a song dedicated his American friend, Thomas Bartlett, called “My Little Ruin,” which captures the spirit of being able to find that fault in everything.

Continue Reading

Ticket Giveaway: Darwin Deez @ Black Cat, 12/9/15

Darwin Deez - Krista Schlueter - General 1 - HIGH RES
Darwin Smith (Photo by Krista Schlueter)

Brooklyn-based quartet Darwin Deez released a third studio album, Double Down, in September via Lucky Number — and the band, led by Darwin Smith, has been touring in support of it. They hit DC with a stop at the Black Cat on Wednesday, Dec. 9.

Last month, Darwin Deez produced a clever video for the single “The Mess She Made,” which features Darwin singing as various international currency is superimposed over his head.

Watch the official video for “The Mess She Made” on YouTube:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r40tpNUQMC8]

Joined by Charly Bliss on the current tour, Darwin Deez promises smart choreography and high energy to accompany their blend of soulful and bluesy pop.

And you have a chance to see it for yourself, as Parklife DC is giving away a pair of tickets for this show. To win, follow us on Twitter, or retweet or like the tweet announcing this ticket giveaway. (You can follow us at http://www.twitter.com/ParklifeDC!)

For the rules of this giveaway–

We will choose a winner at random from Twitter follows, retweets, and likes by 5pm on Wednesday, Dec. 2. The winner will be notified by Twitter! The winner must respond to our communication within 24 hours or they will forfeit their tickets, and we will pick another winner.

Tickets also are available online!

Darwin Deez
w/ Charly Bliss
Black Cat
Wednesday, Dec. 9
Doors @7:30pm
$15
All ages

Music Park: English Beat @ 9:30 Club — 11/25/15

The English Beat DSC_4294.jpg
Dave Wakeling of The English Beat performs at Bumbershoot 2010 in Seattle on Sept. 6, 2010. (Photo by Dave Lichterman)

Calling all rude boys and rude girls!

The venerable English Beat have been revitalized this year with a new toaster — King Schascha. For a 2-tone band, a toaster isn’t mechanical, but in King’s case, he’s certainly electric.

The reggae rhymer from San Diego effectively got the very full house at the 9:30 Club dancing right away on Wednesday, Nov. 25, paving the way for band leader Dave Wakeling and his time-tested repertoire of ska and reggae. They kicked things off with “Rough Rider” from the debut album by the English Beat, 1980’s I Just Can’t Stop It, and the entire audience was moving and grooving from the very first note.

Continue Reading

Music Park: Young Empires @ U Street Music Hall — 11/25/15

21640428419_072db0e6f9_o
Matthew Vlahovich of Young Empires at Royal Athletic Park during Rifflandia/BreakOut West on Sept. 19, 2015 (Photo by Tyson Elder/Used with permission/See more of Tyson’s photos)

Vocalist Matthew Vlahovich has some charisma to spare, and he was ready to share it as he danced to his own music at U Street Music Hall on Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Matthew and his band Young Empires performed as openers for Canadian trio Dragonette, providing a smooth, soulful counterpoint to the sparkling house compositions of their countrymen. Technically a trio themselves, Matthew, bassist Jacob Palahnuk, and drummer Taylor Hill toured as a quintet with the support of a touring guitarist and keyboardist.

The total group produced waves of deep sound that benefited the numbers on the debut album by Young Empires, The Gates (released in September) — numbers that generally were uplifting electropop punctuated by worldbeat rhythms and carried by Matthew’s pleasing voice.

Continue Reading

Don’t Miss: Young Empires (Opening for Dragonette) @ U Street Music Hall, 11/25/15

youngempirespic
Young Empires (Photo courtesy Young Empires)

Canadian trio Young Empires have a fondness for soaring world music and themes of redemption and elevation. They are a band in search of better things, and you have an opportunity to join their soulful exploration Wednesday night at U Street Music Hall.

Young Empires released their debut album, The Gates, on Sept. 4, and they are touring in support of it as openers for another Canadian trio, Dragonette.

On The Gates, Young Empires treat us to “Mercy,” a song calling for forgiveness; “So Cruel,” about the tortures of love; and “The Gates,” about the search for a higher place spiritually.

Watch the official music video for “The Gates” on YouTube:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpHnwNUr1UQ]

Note the doors open at 6pm for this early show, and so be sure to get there early to allow vocalist and keyboardist Matthew Vlahovich, bassist Jacob Palahnuk, and drummer Taylor Hill elevate your spirit.

Tickets are available online and at the door.

Young Empires
(Opening for Dragonette)
U Street Music Hall
Wednesday, Nov. 25
Doors @6pm
$20
All ages

Music Park: The Ocean Blue @ Jammin’ Java — 11/21/15

The Ocean Blue
The Ocean Blue perform at The Tractor Tavern in Seattle on Feb. 24, 2013. (Photo by David Lee)

The Ocean Blue embarked on an all-too-brief four-city tour last week to commemorate the remastering of their first three albums.

They only played in New York City, Philadelphia, DC metro, and Lancaster, Pa., as those were “their very favorite cities” where they first got their start, explained frontman David Schelzel at their local show on Saturday.

Last week, The Ocean Blue reissued their first three albums — The Ocean Blue, Cerulean and Beneath the Rhythm and Sound — on vinyl, and they embarked on a short tour to commemorate the occasion. It was an opportunity for the band to recapture their youth and play those cities they played early and often as a quartet from Hershey, Pa.

Continue Reading