Music Park: Den-Mate @ Songbyrd Music House — 12/14/16

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Jules Hale of Den-Mate sings at Songbyrd Music House on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016.

Jules Hale seems to sing of a sort of spiritual liberation in her song “For Free” by Den-Mate. Delivering a hazy vocal over a steady beat, she weathers emotional attacks as if they were physical missiles in the song with a metaphorical shrug.

In concert on Wednesday at Songbyrd Music House, Jules opened for Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds, delivering seven mesmerizing songs in a deliberate state of dreampop. (Read our Parklife DC review of Laura Burhenn’s concert.) Affixed to the center of stage, Jules played a keyboard while beating a drum and singing, an impressive display of efficiency that may have discouraged some impulses to dance during the show (as she has expressively done in the past).

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Don’t Miss: Den-Mate @ Black Cat, 2/25/16 (Album Release Party!)

Jules Hale of Den-Mate (Photo courtesy Babe City Records)

Young musicians Mourn from Spain were set to play DC9 last summer but their opening act dropped off the bill.

DC9 put out the call for any band ready to fill the spot that day, and Den-Mate, the local dreampop quartet fronted by Jules Hale, jumped into the mix. The band impressed in their no-notice performance (on July 13, 2015)! Jules sings with a bluesy sometimes otherworldly voice, and she has a ton of energy, which she works off by jumping around during a show. The band bring an occasionally bright/occasionally foreboding vibe to rich lyrics.

Watch Den-Mate perform “DC Junkie” live at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Luce Foundation Center on Nov. 5, 2015:

Den-Mate released a self-titled demo album in 2013, and Babe City Records is publishing a remixed version of that album this week. To mark the occasion, Den-Mate are playing an album release show on Thursday, Feb. 25, at the Black Cat.

You can listen to the demo version of that first album on Soundcloud (below) or better yet purchase the new version of the album from Babe City online.

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DC punk trio Witch Coast and Baltimore experimental pop musician Sitcom (aka Jake Lazovick) open for Den-Mate. Tickets are available online.

w/ Sitcom and Witch Coast
Black Cat
Thursday, Feb. 25
Doors @7:30pm
All ages

Don’t Miss: jennylee (of Warpaint) @ Black Cat, 2/25/16


Feb. 8 Update: We have been told by Beggars Group that jennylee has canceled her US tour. We hope she reschedules soon, because I am loving this album!

jennylee aka Jenny Lee Lindberg, bassist of dreampop quartet Warpaint, kicked off a solo career last year, dropping her debut album right on! in December via Rough Trade Records.

On the album, the Los Angeles artist demonstrates a lovely, lush voice that pairs well with the agreeably droning ambient pop running through the record’s 10 tracks. Lead singer “Never” is one of the jauntier tracks on the album, smacking of middle period Siouxsie Sioux singing an Echo and the Bunnymen song. Song and video certainly emanate an appealing old school new wave vibe.

Watch the official music video for “Never” on YouTube:


More typical of the album’s tracks is the droning “Boom Boom,” which moves at a slightly slower yet still engaging pace.

Watch jennylee dance with a chap named Micky Adams in the official music video for “Boom Boom” on YouTube:


It appears jennylee’s solo stuff is an excellent complement to the music of Warpaint without being derivative. jennylee takes off in a direction all her own here, and it’s one that should be very satisfying to fans of her band and newcomers to her music.

“It’s a good record for the winter, reflecting long nights, and the search for comfort and safety, the desire to wrap ourselves in layers,” said Pitchfork, which also hailed her voice as “uncluttered and distinct.”

jennylee only first hit the road with her new band in October, and she’s back by a guitarist, bassist and drummer. (Indeed, we are told that Warpaint drummer Stella Mozgawa is along for the ride!) This is a fantastic opportunity to see them in early days.

Denver experimental rock band Facial and DC post-punkers Den-Mate open for jennylee.

Tickets are available online.

w/ Facial and Den-Mate
Black Cat
Thursday, Feb. 25
Doors @7:30pm
All ages