Don’t Miss: The Charlatans (UK) @ Howard Theatre, 11/12/15

The Charlatans - Modern Nature - LARGE
The Charlatans (Photo courtesy Motormouth Media)

We tend to think of the Britpop era of the ’90s as largely defined by bands that made big tunes, got big heads and then imploded.

But a lot of talented folks continued right on working, even if we in the United States weren’t paying particularly close attention at the time. Enter The Charlatans, the talented quartet led by Englishman Tim Burgess, which continued to release new albums every several years since 1990 — taking their biggest break only recently.

After five years, The Charaltans returned with new album Modern Nature, released in January via BMG, and they began a US tour in support of the album last Saturday with an appearance at Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, Texas. And they bring their tour to DC this Thursday to perform at the Howard Theatre!

New songs like “Let the Good Times Be Never Ending” have a psychedelic vibe and make for a soothing, pleasing listening experience.

Watch The Charlatans perform “Let the Good Times Be Never Ending” live on the Late Late Show with James Corden on Nov. 6, 2015:


Hailing from Portland, Ore., indie rock quintet Eyelids open for The Charlatans. Tickets are available online.

The Charlatans
w/ Eyelids
The Howard Theatre
Thursday, Nov. 12
Show @8pm
All ages

Music Park: YACHT @ U Street Music Hall — 11/7/15

YACHT / El Korah Shrine
YACHT perform at Treefort Music Fest in Boise, Idaho, on March 28, 2015. (Photo courtesy Treefort Music Fest)

Claire Evans trailed off singing the catchy new song “Hologram” from the new album by YACHT and peered over the audience in mock concern.

“Whose phone is ringing?” she queried.

Turning to her right, she found that her own phone was apparently ringing at U Street Music Hall on Saturday night. She picked up the phone receiver, seated next to a synthesizer of course, and began to explain to the “caller” that she was at a show, so it wasn’t the best time to talk.

“What show? YACHT,” Claire said.

“No, not a boat,” she continued after a pause. “It’s an acronym. [beat] Yes, I’m sure they regret that too.”

Claire and her YACHT bandmates then launched into “Ringtone,” another catchy new album from I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler, released last month via Downtown Records.

As Claire intimated, YACHT was conceived as Young Americans Challenging High Technology by Jona Bechtolt some years ago. Jona, who plays synth and guitar, eventually would recruit Claire as full-time vocalist, and most recently Rob Kieswetter on synth and bass. The trio stopped in DC for a show in support of the new album, easily their most accessible and appealing effort yet.

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Music Park: Parov Stelar @ 9:30 Club — 11/4/15

Parov Stelar (Photo by Stefan Sappert)

Once the exotic and kinetic Cleo Panther stepped on stage to add vocal to the jazz meets electroswing meets house beats of Parov Stelar, the audience knew full well they were in for a sophisticated if unusual show for our city.

From the first song, the Parov Stelar Band brought some remarkably fresh energy — and I daresay ideas — to the 9:30 Club in their debut US performance as a full band. And the nearly sold-out crowd welcomed them with open arms. The audience clearly was full of people who knew their modern swing superband but rarely got the opportunity to see them perform live, as they are a European phenomenon not as well known in the United States.

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Don’t Miss: Rachael Yamagata @ 9:30 Club, 11/12/15

Rachel Yamagata (Photo by Laura Crosta)

Rachael Yamagata, born in Arlington, Virginia, comes to the 9:30 Club next Thursday, November 12th. Another successful local artist coming back to DC to woe you with her musical talents.

NPR has touted her as the “The Heir to Bonnie Raitt.”

As a prolific singer/songwriter since 2004, she is now working on her fourth album, due in early 2016. Her most recent album from 2011, Chesapeake, is more sultry and laid-back than previous efforts. “Even If I Don’t” is about the pain of a break-up, and wondering what could have been. The melodies are vivid and the orchestration sweeps you up in the moment.


In addition to the albums, she has also recorded a bevy of EPs, including Heavyweight, released in 2012.

And like “Even If I Don’t”, many of her lyrics are about break-ups and heartbreak, yet are often sultry, piano-driven odes to optimism and taking risks. She has collaborated with too many artists to list in full, including Ryan Adams and Jason Mraz, and contributed songs to dozens of TV shows and movies, like Alias, ER and Grey’s Anatomy.

All that to say, she writes and records a lot of music. She also performs on talk shows and cameos on TV shows.

And now, she’s taking the time to perform for you specifically. Join in, it will┬ábe a good show.


Rachael Yamagata
w/ Tony Lucca
9:30 Club
Thursday, November 12
Doors @ 7:00pm
All ages

Music Park: Born Ruffians @ Rock and Roll Hotel — 11/3/15

Born Ruffians
Luke Lalonde sings at NXNE 2015 in Toronto on June 19, 2015. (Photo by Deborah Helena)

Canadian quartet Born Ruffians are really in a damn good moment.

Led by vocalist Luke Lalonde, the band has honed its post-punk melodies to the point where I would argue that they are superior to many other offerings in their genre, even if their music occasionally echoes the sounds of those others — ranging from Vampire Weekend to Interpol.

Yes, I am daring to suggest that Born Ruffians right now, at this moment, are better than Vampire Weekend or Interpol.

But first things first, Luke and his compatriots are touring on a strong new album — their fourth — RUFF, released earlier this year on Yep Rock Records. In support of that tour, they made a stop at the Rock and Roll Hotel Tuesday for a show that was close to being sold out.

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Don’t Miss: No Joy (Opening for DIIV) @ Black Cat, 11/7/15

No Joy (Photo by Allison Staton)

Canadian shoegazers No Joy have released a new album, More Faithful, and the quartet are on tour to promote it, opening for DIIV this Saturday, Nov. 7, at the Black Cat.

Singer and guitarist Jasamine White-Gluz and guitarist Laura Lloyd bring a rush of lush guitars to the album, augmented by the rhythm section of drummer Garland Hastings and bassist Michael Farsky. Jasamine and Laura also are fond of sadly sweet lyrics that set the mood for the ambling guitars. Overall, everything about No Joy could have fallen into our laps from the United Kingdom in 1989 and bands like Lush.

The song “Judith,” for example, combines sadly sweet music with lyrics about aging, and the video, which cleverly depicts a bedroom drama, examines moments in a “joyless” marriage (… they are “No Joy” after all, eh?).

Watch the official video for “Judith” on YouTube:


Overall, No Joy are perfect openers for fellow shoegazers DIIV, who I caught in DC not long ago appropriately opening for RIDE at the 9:30 Club on Sept. 17. This is the perfect show for you if you’re in the mood for an evening of shoegaze, presented with various flavors from female- and male-fronted bands.

Tickets are available online.

By the by, we also have been recommending amazing synthpoppers YACHT that same night at U Street Music Hall. With their doors at 7pm, you easily could roam between the two venues for a very full evening of music, indeed!

No Joy
(Opening for DIIV)
Black Cat
Saturday, Nov. 7
Doors @9pm
All ages

Sports Park: DC United Playoff Road Trip @ Red Bull Arena, 11/8/15


Well, DC United lost their home game last Sunday, 1-0. But they are not out yet. No. They play at Red Bull Arena (in Harrison, New Jersey) this Sunday, November 8th. Winner of the home-away series advances to the Eastern Conference Finals.

A 1-0 victory by the United ties the series and sends it to a 30 minute overtime, and then penalty kicks if still tied. A 2-0 or 2-1 victory, and your United advances! Needless to say, a loss is not acceptable.

Since the New York Red Bulls aren’t too far away, consider a road trip this weekend and support your team.

Go United!

Tickets can be purchased through the Screaming Eagles here or through La Barra Brava here.


MLS Cup Eastern Conference Semifinals Leg 2: DC United @ New York Red Bulls
Red Bull Arena (Harrison, New Jersey)
Sunday, November 8

Music Park: Lady Lamb @ 9:30 Club — 11/2/15

Aly Spaltro aka Lady Lamb (Photo by Shervin Lainez)

Lady Lamb, born Aly Spaltro, plays pleasant folk pop with an occasional feisty kick.

She brought her growing catalog to the 9:30 Club Monday night to open for Philadelphia psych quartet The Districts in a crowded show, where a great deal of the audience was there specifically to see her.

Lady Lamb introduced the audience to songs from her new album, After, released much earlier this year via Mom + Pop Records. Near the beginning of her set, she plays “Billions of Eyes” from the new record — a jaunty pop song that captures her solid work on the guitar, ever affixed to her hips. The song is about finding peace when you are out of synch, and perhaps that peace comes from returning home after some time away? All the same, Lady Lamb’s chirpy voice and the jangly guitar complement each other well, and the sound sets the stage for a wholly pleasant listening experience.

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Music Park: The Drums @ Baby’s All Right (NYC) — 10/28/15

The Drums - 23.11.2014, Razzmatazz 2 (Barcelona)
Jonny Pierce of The Drums sings at Razzmatazz 2 in Barcelona on Nov. 23, 2014. (Photo by ScannerFM)

Revitalized new wavers The Drums wrapped up a successful tour last week with three sold-out shows in their hometown at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn, showing the assembled crowds they still dazzle on stage.

The shows closed out extensive performances in support of the band’s third album, Encyclopedia, released in September 2014. The album finds The Drums as only a duo — founding creative forces in vocalist Jonny Pierce and keyboardist Jacob Graham — but as exciting and fresh as ever.

After a three-year break, Jonny and Jacob demonstrated their continued appeal with singles like “I Can’t Pretend,” a popular selection during their recent shows, which also included a stop at DC9 on Monday, Oct. 26.

The song is a terrific combination of elements that make The Drums so great — Jonny’s soothing voice, a synth backbone set down by Jacob, and resonant surf guitars added by the touring band. Interestingly, that surf rock sound often tends to be one of the most distinctive trademarks of a song by The Drums. To my ears, The Drums otherwise owe tremendous debts to two of their influences: The Smiths and New Order.

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Music Park: TORRES @ 9:30 Club — 10/28/15

TORRES (Photo courtesy Pitch Perfect PR)

TORRES (aka Mackenzie Scott) started off the concert evening, opening for Garbage at the 9:30 Club on October 28, 2015. (And again on October 29, I only went to the first show.)

The waves of sound and riffs and beats vibrated through the 9:30 Club, tingling and priming the sold out crowd for what was to come. They had come to see the Shirley Manson fronted Garbage, but so many came an hour early, it must have been by design. They were also here to witness TORRES.

Whether she was crooning softly, belting all out with a howl or sharing lyrics of faith and loss and love, she didn’t hold back on her emotions.

Every song by TORRES was a baring of the soul.

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