Interview: Greta Morgan of Springtime Carnivore (@Songbyrd Music House, 10/20/16)

Greta Morgan by Julia Brokaw
Greta Morgan (Photo by Julia Brokaw)

Greta Morgan released her second album as Springtime Carnivore on Friday, Oct. 7 – and that same day she set upon a US tour with La Sera, hitting more than 20 cities.

The material for the new album, Midnight Room, sprang from a break-up but the songs didn’t take the shape of melancholy heartbreak. Instead, songs like “Face in the Moon” are full of jaunty reflections and wry observations on life and love that feel far more empowering than depressing.

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Music Park: Tortoise @ Black Cat — 3/19/16

Tortoise @ Iron Horse Music Hall - Northampton, MA 3.14.16
John McEntire of Tortoise plays the drums at Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Mass., on March 14, 2016. (Photo by Greg Scranton)

Tortoise held sway over the attention of a very crowded room at the Black Cat Saturday night, engrossing the audience in waves of progressive jazz and post-rock melodies.

Seriously, for a show that wasn’t technically “sold out,” the Tortoise concert was among the most full I’ve experienced on the mainstage of the Black Cat, which has been proud to be the DC home to Tortoise since the Chicago-based quintet started coming around in the days of the Cat’s original location.

Promoting their new album The Catastrophist, Tortoise delivered a long and winding set that drew heavily from the latest record, technically their seventh studio full-length although the band has released other recordings of live performances and special projects since its formation in 1990.

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Don’t Miss: Tortoise @ Black Cat, 3/19/16

Tortoise by Andrew Paynter
Tortoise (Photo by Andrew Paynter)

Post-rock quintet Tortoise released a new album, “The Catastrophist,” in January via Thrill Jockey Records, and they are returning to the Black Cat while on tour to support it this Saturday, March 19.

Tortoise have played the Black Cat a few times over the years since their formation in 1990. The band largely has specialized in instrumental numbers, and the new album is no different. However, on “The Catastrophist,” they recruited Georgia Hubley from Yo La Tengo on vocals for a soulful, dreamy single “Yonder Blue.”

Watch the official music video for “Yonder Blue” by Tortoise on YouTube:

“The Catastrophist,” the seventh studio album from Tortoise, garnered generally favorable reviews, according to Metacritic. Heather Phares of AllMusic distilled the essence of the album: “Fittingly, the title track has some of the closest ties to the album’s beginnings, holding together shifts between knotty, busy electro-funk and the kind of brooding post-rock Tortoise helped define in the ’90s with nimble drumming indebted to jazz.” John McEntire, also known for his drumming with The Sea and Cake, again engineers the album. It seems like a good time to catch the gents in action!

Mind Over Mirrors, a meditative music project by Chicago musician Jaime Fennelly, opens for Tortoise. Tickets are available online.

Tortoise
w/ Mind Over Mirrors
Black Cat
Saturday, March 19
Doors @9pm
$15
All ages

Music Park: Watch Ex Hex @ Pitchfork Music Festival — 7/18/15

Ex Hex
Mary Timony and Betsy Wright jam at NOS Primavera Sound on June 6, 2015. (Photo by Ana Viotti)

Ex Hex, DC’s top power pop trio, performed at the Pitchfork Music Festival at Union Park in Chicago on Saturday, July 18. They next perform in DC at the Landmark Music Festival on Saturday, Sept. 26.

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Don’t Miss: NE-HI @ DC9, 8/16/15

NE-HI
NE-HI (Photo by Xavier Juarez)

Chicago quartet NE-HI have planned a tour of more than a dozen dates throughout August, bringing their jangle pop to DC9 on Sunday, August 16.

The band consists of guitarist/lead singers Alex Otake and Jason Balla, bassist James Weir, and drummer Mikey Wells, and they recently released a new single, “Drag.”

Listen to “Drag” by NE-HI on Soundcloud:

The new single follows a self-titled album from March 2014 released by Chicago’s Manic Static. Of that record, the Chicago Tribune said, “The quartet’s guitar-driven indie rock hits that magic spot — evoking nostalgia and familiarity while sounding excited and young, melding disparate eras (surf licks, ’80’s college rock) into something whole.”

Listen to the self-titled album NE-Hi on Bandcamp:

Initially, the four musicians pooled their talents to score a film for a friend but then stuck together, citing college rock such as R.E.M. as an influence. But now they are flying free and rolling across the country to DC9.

Tickets are available online and at the door. Local indie rockers StereoRiots open for NE-HI.

NE-HI
w/ StereoRiots
DC9
Sunday, August 16
Doors @8:30pm
$10
All ages

Music Park: Marrow @ Black Cat — 4/23/15


“She Chose You” and “Mother of Maladies” from Marrow’s Two EP

Marrow, hailing from Chicago, played an inspired show in the Black Cat’s Backstage to a small, but enthused crowd.

Lane Beckstrom, on bass and vocals, chatted with the crowd on whether Bill Cosby’s mural was still displayed at Ben’s Chili Bowl, claiming that he was still going after the show either way. Someone said ‘there will be tears’, to which he quipped ‘Delicious tears’.

That fit the mood of the show as well. An entertaining set, but not nearly enough people to fill out the venue.

They performed a good cover of Mott the Hoople’s, “All the Young Dudes”, noting that they loved David Bowie (who wrote the song) too much not to play it. And they were right.

Marrow’s first full length album, The Gold Standard, will be out soon. The mellow two-song EP they previously released, Two, will be remastered and included in the album. These songs and “Paulson”, the first single from the new album, give the focus to the sultry voice of Macie Stewart, on keyboard and vocals. The pattern of the video for “Paulson” flows like a weird work-out tape, but the song itself is about loss and how relationships don’t always last. Maybe?

All and all, a fine show and worth your time to check out the band when you have the chance.

The Black Cat marked the end of their multi-city East Coast tour, but be on the look out for when they visit DC again. Or if you’re in Chicago.

Phantomweight, a local DC band, started off the night with an infectious bit of funk, showcasing their two-piece horn section with a trombone and a saxophone. They’ve played recent shows at DC9 and Galaxy Hut.