If most of 2020 (and, let’s face it, most of 2021) was a pressure tank waiting to explode, then the packed house at The Fillmore Silver Spring was the symbolic release Wednesday night as Japanese Breakfast performed to an audience eager for live music. And they certainly got that rush of excitement when, straight off a New York Times bestseller, “Crying in H Mart,” and an acclaimed new album, Jubilee, Michelle Zauner, the creative force behind Japanese Breakfast, kicked off her US Tour with the first stop at The Fillmore.
Kevin Morby rocks the 9:30 Club on June 1, 2019. (Photo by David LaMason)
Over the past few years Kevin Morby has grown exponentially both as a performer and as a songwriter. From his time in the Babies and Woods to his critically acclaimed solo records, Kevin creates music that is at once familiar and at the same time new. He continued to do so at the 9:30 Club recently.
Better Oblivion Community Center rocks the Black Cat on April 3, 2019. (Photo by David LaMason)
Songwriting partnerships are sort of like a stew — some combinations taste great by themselves but not necessarily together, but then there are pairs that seem to take those individual flavors and create something that you couldn’t conceive of not having existed before. A sold-out crowd at Black Cat sampled such a stew in Better Oblivion Community Center recently. Continue Reading
Mitski amazes a sold-out crowd at 9:30 Club on Nov. 16, 2018. (Photo by David LaMason)
Mitski Miyawaki, who performs simply as Mitski, is that rare artist who writes songs that are both musically complex and creates an emotional sympatico between herself and her audience. That skill was on display in her show at 9:30 Club on Friday, the first of two sold-out nights.
The Tallest Man On Earth amazes at the Lincoln Theater on Nov. 9, 2018. (Photo by David LaMason)
Kristian Matsson, who goes by the stage name The Tallest Man On Earth, has been creating and performing for more than 10 years. He’s been compared at times to Bob Dylan, but beyond the folk veneer is a growing body of work that is expanding both lyrically and musically. He explored that exceptional at the Lincoln Theatre on Friday.
Kevin Morby rocks a sold-out Ottobar on April 20, 2018. (Photo by David LaMason)
Kevin Morby is troubadour who is cut from the same cloth as Lou Reed and Bob Dylan with a bit of Will Oldham or even Jason Molina (of whom Kevin and Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield covered recently). Last year, he released City Music on the Dead Oceans label. Last Friday, he performed to a sold-out Ottobar.
Japanese Breakfast plays to a sold-out Ottobar on April 2, 2018. (Photo by David LaMason)
Japanese Breakfast, the creative vehicle for artist Michelle Zauner, released their most recent LP, Soft Sounds From Another Planet on Dead Oceans last year to well-deserved critical acclaim. She played those songs and more in a sold-out show at Ottobar in Baltimore on Monday.
Slowdive brings cosmic bliss to Rams Head Live on Nov. 16, 2017. (Photo by David LaMason)
In the early ’90s, shoegaze had an underground appeal that ended up becoming an influential blueprint for many bands being formed today. And for me, personally, songs by the Catherine Wheel, My Bloody Valentine, and Slowdive were the soundtrack to relationships, careers, and those ups and downs in life — peaks and valleys like the rhythmic washes of guitar or the lilt of those harmonies buried beneath.
And I still find myself going back to those same sounds, like an old book you’re drawn to again and again, as I did with Slovedive in a live performance at Rams Head Live on Thursday.