Music Park: Gang of Four’s New Single (Appearing @ 9:30 Club, 3/3/15)

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Hailing from Leeds, England, Gang of Four pracitically created the blueprint for dynamic post-punk music, and the latest lineup of the band is set to perform at the 9:30 Club on Tuesday, March 3.

Shortly before they visit DC, however, Gang of Four will release its eight studio album, What Happens Next, on Feb. 24 on Metropolis Records. On the upcoming album, the band employs a number of guest vocalists: The Big Pink’s Robbie Furze, German singer/actor Herbert Grönemeyer, and The Kills and The Dead Weather’s Alison Mosshart.

Today, Consequence of Sound debuted the two tracks featuring Ms. Mosshart, including the lead single “Broken Talk.”

The full tracklist for What Happens Next:
01. Where The Nightingale Sings
02. Broken Talk (feat. Alison Mosshart)
03. Isle of Dogs
04. England’s In My Bones (feat. Alison Mosshart)
05. Dying Rays (feat. Herbert Grönemeyer) [English version]
06. Obey The Ghost Of The Colony
07. First World Citizen
08. Stranded
09. Graven Image (feat. Robbie Furze)
10. Dead Souls (feat. Hotei)
11. Dying Rays (feat. Herbert Grönemeyer) [German version]

Lead vocals for Gang of Four are now handled by new member John Sterry, formerly of Gaoler’s Daughter, who replaced Jon King, the band’s founding vocalist (who departed after 2011’s Content). The Gang of Four lineup now includes founder and guitarist Andy Gill, bassist Thomas McNeice and singer Sterry.

Gang of Four
w/ Public Access T.V.
9:30 Club
Tuesday, March 3
Doors @7pm
$30
All ages

Music Park: U.S. Royalty Release “More to This” Video

DC indie rock stalwarts U.S. Royalty debuted a new video today for their song “More to This.” The video follows the band as they drive languidly along California highways, exploring Malibu, Venice and Mulholland Drive.

The song “More to This” takes the quartet down for a turn into hazy psychedelic rock, and the result is definitely quite easy on the ears. The song is about wanting out of a relationship where nothing more apparently is going to happen.

Vocalist John Thornley, guitarist Paul Thornley, bassist Jacob Michael and drummer Luke Adams report they have been writing new material. They have a few dates planning, including a stop at the 9:30 Club on Thursday, Jan. 22 with Dr. Dog, and another show in New York City’s Webster hall on Friday, Jan. 23.

Meanwhile, the band is planning to release a limited edition vinyl version of its first album, Mirrors, which is nearly four years old now. (Hard to believe!). Preorders of the vinyl include a digital download of the album and previously unreleased bonus tracks.

I last saw U.S. Royalty perform a little under a year ago after the release of their second album, Blue Sunshine. They were in good form then, and it will be interesting to see where a third self-released album and lingering major label ambitions take them this year.

Wear an Ugly Sweater and Don’t Miss: Scythian @ 9:30 Club, 12/13/14

Group Shot

Unpack and brush off the moth balls from your ugliest Christmas sweater, it’s time for the annual Scythian show at the 9:30 Club.

This Saturday, Dec. 13, the local boys of Scythian will descend on DC once again and play their unique brand of Celtic rock.

If you’re not familiar yet with Scythian, they started playing weekly shows in DC over a decade ago in local Irish bars, like Finn MacCool’s (now Molly Malone’s in Barracks Row) and Fado (Chinatown).

They will be playing new music from their latest album released this past summer, Jump at the Sun, and many of their old classics.

Whomever wears the ugliest sweater to the show, will win VIP tickets to DC’s Shamrockfest held in March at RFK Stadium.

Vintage 80s Mountain Range Tacky Acrylic Ugly Christmas Sweater

Tickets are available here.

Scythian, with Driftwood (opener)
9:30 Club
Saturday, December 13
8pm doors
$17

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

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When a band has gone through some big lineup changes, and releases a fifth album, you don’t necessarily expect the songs from that album to be the most exciting ones played on the next tour.

But then this is Interpol, the post-punk standard-bearers that have been defying expectations since they formed in New York City roughly 17 years ago. And so it seems the band can do little wrong as long as the wall of guitars that make up Interpol’s signature sound includes bandmates Paul Banks and Daniel Kessler behind it.

The band released El Pintor, its latest album, in September and embarked on a tour to support it. In a sold-out show at the 9:30 Club on Sunday night, the opened with “Say Hello to the Angels” from their first album, Turn On the Bright Lights — and the first and second albums continued to get quite a bit of love throughout the show.

But the second song, “My Blue Supreme,” is from the new album, and as the band continue with the set, you can see that the new songs symbolize the continued spirit of their collaboration. Interpol could have hit a speed bump without founding bassist Carlos Dengler, who departed after the last album, but instead they embarked on a remarkable distilling of their sound and thematic messages to produce an album as wholly fresh and exciting as their debut.

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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: Smallpools @ 9:30 Club — 10/31/14

11035-SMALLPOOLSSmallpools (Photo by Dan Monick)

Smallpools would have you know that their name has nothing to do with killer whales.

Soon after their founding, the indie pop quartet uncovered protests from Internet activists who disapproved of the treatment of killer whales in captivity, decrying their hold in small pools as described in the documentary Blackfish.

In tribute to the concept, they named a new song “Killer Whales,” released in July, eluding to miscommunication with a love, who apparently was out saving killer whales.

The song gave the band a setting through which to demonstrate their high-energy performance at the 9:30 Club on Friday, Oct. 31, particularly as they tossed several prop “killer whales” into the audience — one of which had a saddle intended to carry a passenger through crowdsurfing waves.

Smallpools aren’t afraid to have a little fun with a concept.

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