Music Park: Ultimate Painting @ Comet Ping Pong — 9/21/15

Ultimate Painting at Rough Trade
Ultimate Painting perform at Rough Trade East in London on Oct. 31, 2014. (Photo by Paul Hudson)

Ultimate Painting take their name from a piece of artwork created by Drop Artists of the Drop City commune of Colorado in 1966. Around the same time in New York City, Lou Reed and John Cale formed the Velvet Underground.

Just a few years back, James Hoare of Veronica Falls and Jack Cooper of Mazes formed a third band, drawing its name from the colorful piece of art and its sound from guitarwork by Reed, Cale and Sterling Morrison. The result is a jangly, occasionally bluesy, sort of psychedelic rock that pays tribute to the ’60s quite masterfully while sounding fresh.

The duo played a show at Comet Ping Pong on Tuesday as a stop on their tour in support of their new album, Green Lanes, released in August by Trouble in Mind. They kicked off their set with some songs from their debut, a self-titled album released in 2014.

Continue Reading

Don’t Miss: FIDLAR @ Black Cat, 9/28/15

FIDLAR_Alice-Baxley
FIDLAR (Photo by Alice Baxley)

California skate punk quartet FIDLAR have released a second album, Too, and they are touring to support it with a stop at the Black Cat on Monday, Sept. 28.

The band released Too on Sept. 4 via Mom+Pop, and the first single from the album was the raucous “40 oz. on Repeat” — the video for which pays tribute to famous videos like the Beastie Boys’ “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party),” Weezer’s “Undone,” Eminem’s “The Real Slim Shady,” and Oasis’ “Wonderwall,” among others. Aaaaand it does so with cardboard sets.

Watch the video for “40 oz. on Repeat” on YouTube:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJy8VgB83OQ]

FIDLAR have been well-regarded as a live act since their formation in 2009 due to their energetic performances. The Los Angeles Times called the band “bratty, amphetamine punk rock made to soundtrack the noise of crushing cans on ones forehead.”

Australian indie rock trio Dune Rats open for FIDLAR. Tickets are available online.

FIDLAR
w/ Dune Rats
Black Cat
Monday, Sept. 28
Doors @730pm
$17
All ages

Music Park: Ride @ 9:30 Club — 9/17/15

Ride
Mark Gardener of Ride performs at WFUV in New York City on Sept. 21, 2015. (Photo by Sabrina Sitton)

The past 25 years have been quite good to the band Ride.

Although the shoegazer quartet disappeared in 1996 after four full-length albums, they returned more powerful than ever with the launch of a new leg of their US reunion tour on Thursday with a very nearly sold-out show at the 9:30 Club.

Now, I’m a latecomer to shoegaze in general and Ride specifically so I can’t claim to know how good the band were in the past. I can tell you now that they are remarkably talented guitarsmiths today, however, and their earliest stuff in particular holds up incredibly well.

Classics like “Vapour Trail” from their first album Nowhere catch the band at their most pensive — four chords awash over the ears of the audience in gentle waves as lead guitarist Andy Bell sings reflectively of the memory of a love “like a vapour trail in a deep blue sky.”

Continue Reading

Don’t Miss: Farao (Opening for The Cribs) @ U Street Music Hall, 9/23/15

Farao_Mathew Parri Thomas
Farao (Photo by Matthew Parri Thomas)

Surf disco? It is perhaps a genre whose time has come? Why not combine resplendent acoustic instruments with vibrant synths into one cohesive hypnotic dance performance?

Multi-instrumentalist Kari Jahnsen, known as Farao, seems to have done just that, as she adds delicate electronics to her crystalline voice on songs on her debut album, Till It’s All Forgotten. And in addition to synthesizers, she apparently also plays guitar, organ, glockenspiel, and sitar. (Farao is making an additional statement as to what to expect when you listen to her by sporting a David Lynch t-shirt, above, certainly?)

Stream the entire album, Till It’s All Forgotten, starting with the title track, on Soundcloud:

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/85284978″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

Farao released her debut on Sept. 11 via Arts & Crafts. She’s touring with UK punk trio The Cribs, opening for them at U Street Music Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 23. The two bands together will likely offer an evening of different shades of pop songcraft that should hang very well together.

Tickets are available online.

Farao
(Opening for The Cribs)
U Street Music Hall
Wednesday, Sept. 23
Doors @7pm
$20
All ages

Don’t Miss: Ultimate Painting @ Comet Ping Pong, 9/21/15

Ultimate-Painting-by-Juan-Jose-Ortiz-
Ultimate Painting (Photo by Juan Jose Ortiz)

I’ve never seen Mazes, but I caught Veronica Falls a few years ago at the Black Cat, and I found their sunny, jangly guitar pop to be quite lush.

Well, when I wasn’t looking, UK indie poppers Jack Cooper of Mazes and James Hoare of Veronica Falls formed another band called Ultimate Painting. Indeed, Ultimate Painting released its second album, Green Lanes, this summer (via Trouble in Mind). The songs pleasantly have the same sort of summery, jangly sound found in Veronica Falls.

The duo have been touring in support of the album, expanding the band to a quintent with AJ Cozzi, Neil Robinson and Will Young — and they are visiting Comet Ping Pong on Monday, Sept 21.

With songs like “(I’ve Got the) Sanctioned Blues,” Ultimate Painting bring together some twee guitar with pleasant vocals as they go in search of better times somewhere.

Listen to “(I’ve Got the) Sanctioned Blues” on Soundcloud:

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/210382906″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

You can preview and order the Ultimate Painting album online from Trouble in Mind Records.

Tickets are available at the door.

Ultimate Painting
w/ Ruby Fray and The Beginner’s Mynd
Comet Ping Pong
Monday, Sept. 21
Doors @9pm
$12
All ages

Don’t Miss: MS MR @ 9:30 Club, 10/1/15

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Q_pruH6aN4]“Criminals”

Do you wanna way out? Do you? When it comes to MS MR, I know I don’t.

Lizzy Plapinger (the MS) and Max Hershenow (the MR) storm the 9:30 Club on October 1, bringing their dark-themed, yet uplifting pop music that once you’ve heard it, you can’t get enough.

The single, “Criminals”, from their second album, How Does It Feel, asks the opening question, and the answer is no, because, ‘I just wanna be a criminal with you. We’re criminals’.

Another song from How Does It Feel, “Wrong Victory”, is a slow ballad that shows off Lizzy Plapinger’s vocal range, especially the acoustic version. The plaintive refrain, ‘When your skin doesn’t feel like home’, where the word ‘home’ is sung as four syllables…well, I like it.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_6srsj92R0]“Wrong Victory (Acoustic)”

I last saw MS MR at the 2014 Firefly Music Festival, and I can assure you, you will enjoy them live.

Their second album isn’t quite as good as their first, Secondhand Rapture, but it is very close. And I like it.

For some reason, tickets are still available. Rectify that situation.

MS MR
w/ Circa Waves, Crater
9:30 Club
Thursday, October 1
Doors @7:00pm
$30
All ages

MS MR

Don’t Miss: The Cairo Gang (Opening for Mikal Cronin) @ U Street Music Hall, 9/22/2015

The Cairo GangEmmett Kelly of The Cairo Gang

The Cairo Gang is coming to the U Street Music Hall this Tuesday, touring with Mikal Cronin. The band is touring in support of their most recent album, Goes Missing, released June 23rd on God? Records.

The first single off the new record, “Ice Fishing”, continues in The Cairo Gang’s tradition of jangly, Rickenbacker pop with a slightly sharp edge, as if The Byrds had a run-in with The Velvet Underground’s softer side.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/205302808″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”150″ iframe=”true” /]

This new album follows on the heels of 2013’s Tiny Rebels, which itself was a long time coming after their self-titled debut in 2006. During those intervening years, Emmett Kelly and the rest of The Cairo Gang have regularly been contributing their sounds to the recorded works and live performances of Bonnie “Prince” Billy.

The Cairo Gang traffics in the type of songs that on the surface, sound like catchy pop tunes that might have drifted out of car windows a half-century ago. But linger just a moment on the voice, on the lyrics, and you’ll find a bit more. More depth, more shades of darkness, more meaning.

In my experience, The Cairo Gang is the type of band that rewards repeat listens and that only improves with time. The U Street Music Hall is thus an ideal venue for new listeners getting acquainted and old friends remembering what this sound is all about.

The Cairo Gang
(Opening for Mikal Cronin)
U Street Music Hall
Tuesday, September 22
Doors @7:00pm
$15
All ages

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FXoHfufnfk]“Tiny Rebels”

Music Park: Alberta Cross @ 9:30 Club — 9/12/15

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5I3c9YoaWps]“Ghosts of Santa Fe”

A tiny mob crammed near the 9:30 Club front stage to sway and nod to the first few songs from Petter Ericson Stakee, who leads the band, Alberta Cross.

Alberta Cross opened for the Heartless Bastards last Saturday, and as their 8-song set progressed, the crowd steadily grew to almost full capacity by the end. The newcomers, not necessarily there to see Stakee and his band of three, also stood with rapt attention as the performance unfolded. Likely winning over many new fans.

Stakee, who is from Sweden and now lives in New York, ascended the stage with his signature hat and Jesus-like hair and opened with the soaring “Ghosts of Santa Fe”. The first single off their new album, Alberta Cross, it makes good use of the single horn played by the keyboardist. In fact, for most songs the keyboardist kept double-duty, one set of fingers on the trumpet and the other on the keyboard.

The band members that make-up Alberta Cross, besides Stakee, the only currently permanent member, rotates frequently.

The third song, “Get Up High”, fully horn-infused, was reminiscent of something from Band of Horses. I almost thought Ben Bridwell (lead singer of Band of Horses) was singing, so closely matched was Stakee’s voice.

Next came “Western State”, a slow, yearning jam that continued to help the emerging crowd get into the mood.

Stakee didn’t talk much during the set, but expressed his appreciation to be back in DC, they last played in DC in 2012 at the Rock and Roll Hotel. The one time he did open up, was to “take it down a notch” and play a song I didn’t catch the name of (also listed as ‘unknown’ on the online set list).

Next came “Crate of Gold”, a rock song that I can only guess is about paranoia, but since the video features the actress, Drea de Matteo, formerly of The Sopranos, I’m not too paranoid about finding the meaning.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUe20zNYDAE]

Alberta Cross ended their set with the contemplative “Low Man”, fittingly used on the TV show Californication, which may just be about losing a women and being ‘a million miles away’ from life.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/171532323″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”150″ iframe=”true” /]

 

Taken as a whole, the show turned out to be enjoyable, with a good mix of Americana, folk and rock songs. I was among those that crammed up to the front of the stage, and could see every nuance of the performance. Next time Alberta Cross comes to DC, hopefully sooner than three years, make a point to check them out.

Alberta Cross (9:30 Club) 9/12/15

Don’t Miss: DIIV (Opening for Ride) @ 9:30 Club, 9/17/15

unnamed
Zachary Cole Smith (Photo by Sandy Kim)

Brooklyn shoegazers DIIV are opening for Ride tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 17, at the 9:30 Club!

Today, the quintent, led by vocalist Zachary Cole Smith, released a new song “Dopamine” from their upcoming second album, Is the Is Are, which is scheduled for release next month.

Listen to Dopamine on Soundcloud:

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/223727290″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

DIIV open for the legendary UK shoegazers Ride, so don’t miss out on a show that is sure to showcase a lot of amazing guitar.

Oh, and by the way, DIIV go out on their own headlining tour after touring with Ride later this fall. In DC, they turn up again at the Black Cat on Saturday, Nov. 7, with No Joy and Sunflower Bean.

Ride
w/ DIIV
9:30 Club
Thursday, Sept. 17
Doors @ 7pm
$35
All ages

Music Park: Gin Wigmore @ Rock and Roll Hotel — 9/11/15

In Photos: Gin Wigmore - Black Dice, London 10/06/15
Gin Wigmore performs in London on June 10, 2015 (Photo by The 405)

You could very much appreciate Gin Wigmore as you might Amy Winehouse.

The Los Angeles singer, born in New Zealand, has a sad bluesy voice that simply grabs you. And that voice did indeed grab a sold-out room full of eager listeners at the Rock and Roll Hotel Friday night as the audience marveled at her soulful yet girlish sound and struggled to catch a glimpse of the lithe, tattooed blonde behind it.

Similar to the late, great Ms. Winehouse, Gin often sings of bad love and despair. Her powerful voice belies her small frame, and her striking blue eyes look as if they are peering through you from some otherworldy place while she sings as transfixed as you might be.

Continue Reading