Music Park: Jack Ladder and The Dreamlanders @ DC9 — 12/3/15

Jack Ladder | TEDxSydney 2015
Jack Ladder performs at TEDxSydney 2015 on May 21, 2015. (Photo by Vicky Benko)

Jack Ladder’s new album is the most amazing thing I’ve heard from a newly discovered artist all year. It’s his fourth studio album overall, but his first release in the United States.

The Aussie crooner and his band, The Dreamlanders, stopped by DC9 on Thursday to perform the album for DC, but we largely didn’t get the memo. So only a small crowd turned out for some big glam, keeping Jack Ladder and The Dreamlanders a secret gem in our city for now.

But that did not deter the band from playing a wonderfully full set, full of great songwriting and powerful guitar hooks. Drawing largely from the new album Playmates, Jack Ladder and The Dreamlanders preceded to deliver the audience back to an earlier time when skillful rock musicians sang of love while wearing smart suits from the very first song.

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

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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: Ruby Rose @ Echostage, 9/4/15

Ruby Rose to Perform at Echostage on September 4

Australian actress and musician Ruby Rose is best known for her role in the Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black,” but she’ll bring her musical chops to Echostage on Friday, Sept. 4.

In a live performance, Ruby Rose will perform a few singles, including “Guilty Pleasure” and “Break Free.” Then she’ll hit the decks as a DJ.

Ruby Rose first recorded “Guilty Pleasure,” an EDM-inspired dance marathon, with well-regarded U.K. collaborator Gary Go in 2013. It’s

Watch the video for “Guilty Pleasure” on YouTube:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mM9J1BZai_k]

Her more recent solo number “Break Free,” a ballad that concerns itself with gender roles. Over the course of the video, Ruby Rose changes from overtly feminine garb into something quite more androgynous.

Watch the video for “Break Free” on YouTube:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFjsSSDLl8w]

Joining Ruby Rose is English producer and DJ Michael Woods. Tickets are available online.

Ruby Rose
w/ DJ Michael Woods
Echostage
Friday, Sept. 4
Doors $
$25 and up
Ages 18+

Music Park: The Church @ 9:30 Club — 3/9/15

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The Church (Photo courtesy the band)

Somewhere in the midst of “Toy Head,” a new song by The Church from their latest album, I am struck how lead singer and bassist Steve Kilbey has really gotten into his zone.

It’s kind of a song about finding yourself, which is interesting given that the man in the center of it seems to be the most together man ever to step on stage at the 9:30 Club, where The Church performed for a very nearly sold-out audience Monday night.

Kilbey is calm, gracious and sharply self-aware. As he goes into the final few minutes of “Toy Head,” his bass reverberates with a distinctive psychedelic vibe that belies his own clipped, professional demeanor. He stands still, hypnotized into the zone of the music as he winds the song down.

But when Kilbey walks across the stage, he strides with swagger — like a rock god from distant shores who may be slumming in the States. The Australian quartet, which Kilbey cofounded with guitarist Peter Koppes, falls into a groove around him, along with a fifth touring member, as they come together for the next song, “Vanishing Man,” a single also from the new album, Further/Deeper, released in October of last year.

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Don’t Miss: The Church @ 9:30 Club, 3/9/15

Steve Kilbey of The Church
Steve Kilbey of The Church performs at the Aladdin Theater on Feb. 25, 2015. (Photo by Eric Evans)

Australian psych rockers The Church released their 25th (!) album in October 2014. The album, Further/Deeper, was produced and engineered by longtime member Tim Powles, who joined the band in 1994.

In support of the album, founders Steve Kilbey (vocalist and bass) and Peter Koppes (guitarist) bring their latest quartet, which includes new guitarist Ian Haug (also of Powderfinger), to the 9:30 Club tonight as a stop on their U.S. tour.

The addition of Haug apparently has reignited the band, which garnered quite positive reviews for the latest album. Listen to “Vanishing Man,” a track from the new album Further/Deeper from The Church:
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/171277628″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

Still, here in the United States, The Church are forever best known for the banner single from their fifth album Starfish: Under the Milky Way.

Here are The Church playing the song live in Sydney in 2013:
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8sTa95rJmQ]

Given that The Church may have been on the verge of breaking up a few years ago, before finding new life, new energy and a new guitarist, this is an excellent opportunity to see them in a rare DC appearance.

New York City-based chamber pop collective The Sharp Things open for The Church. Tickets are available online and at the door.

The Church
w/ The Sharp Things
9:30 Club
Monday, March 9
7pm
$35
All ages