Don’t Miss: Radiation City @ DC9, 2/29/16

150904_Radiation+City_64_FINAL2
Radiation City (from left to right): Dasha Shleyeva, Cameron Spies, Elisabeth Ellison, Randy Bemrose, Patti King (Photo by Holly Andres)

Radiation City, the dreampop quintet from Portland, Ore., aren’t afraid to blend diverse influences into their music, ranging from bossa nova to Northern soul to doo-wop. But the band brought a new sense of urgency to its third full-length album, Synesthetica, scheduled for release on Feb. 12 via Polyvinyl Records.

The principals behind Radiation City confess the band almost broke up, and the founding couple behind the band — vocalist and guitarist Cameron Spies and vocalist and keyboardist Lizzy Ellison — almost ended their relationship.

But they found new life in changing their approach to things and enlisting producer John Vanderslice (known for his work with Spoon and Death Cab for Cutie). The resulting album sounds a bit “otherworldly.”

“We were trying to get to a place where cultural constructs didn’t mean anything,” Spies said. “We wanted to destroy the barriers between all the things we keep separate in our daily lives.”

The lead single, “Juicy,” has a sing-song cadence that occasionally lapses into neo-psychedelia. It’s extremely pleasant on the ears!

Listen to “Juicy” by Radiation City on Soundcloud:

The album takes its name from the condition “synesthesia,” which can cause a person to see colors when they hear musical notes, as Lizzy apparently does! Lizzy and Cameron are joined by their bandmates drummer Dasha Shleyeva, drummer Randy Bemrose, and bassist Patti King, and they are hitting DC9 on Monday, Feb. 29 on their tour in support of the new album.

Seattle indie rockers Deep Sea Diver open for Radiation City. Tickets are available online!

Radiation City
w/ Deep Sea Diver
DC9
Monday, Feb. 29
Doors @8:30pm
$12
All ages

Don’t Miss: A Sunny Day in Glasgow @ Comet Ping-Pong, 1/3/16

ASDIG_Planes_(Adam_Herndon)
A Sunny Day in Glasgow (Photo by Adam Herndon)

As the year 2015 winds down, we at Parklife DC are looking forward to our first recommended show of 2016!

And it’s going to be a pretty good one: Shoegazing collective A Sunny Day in Glasgow have returned with a new double EP, Planning Weed Like It’s Acid/Life Is Loss, and they are returning to DC to perform at Comet Ping-Pong on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016.

Songwriter Ben Daniels, the band’s founder, brings regular players with him in the form of drummer Adam Herndon, vocalist and cellist Anne Fredrickson, vocalist Jen Goma, vocalist and guitarist Josh Meakim, and bassist Ryan Newmyer. The six-person cooperative are in good form with their new material, their first release since their critically applauded 2014 album, Sea When Absent, which Pitchfork said “has an atmospheric, bleeding-watercolor quality that makes it sound a little bit like a My Bloody Valentine record if the moodiness and pensiveness were replaced with a feeling of almost violently explosive joy.”

The happy, hopeful attitude continues on their most recent synthy single, “Hey, You’re Mine,” which singer Jen described to Spin as an internal conversation with yourself about moving forward.

Watch the official wrestling-themed music video for “Hey, You’re Mine” on YouTube:

NYC power poppers EZTV and Baltimore folk rockers Outer Spaces open for A Sunny Day in Glasgow. Tickets are available online and at the door. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see these shoegazer innovators!

A Sunny Day in Glasgow
w/ EZTV and Outer Spaces
Comet Ping-Pong
Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016
Doors @9pm
$12
All ages

Music Park: Parklife DC Top 10 Concerts of 2015 by Mickey

11054420_10152865587661194_4521426267814902639_o
Steve Norman of Spandau Ballet was a star player at the 9:30 Club on April 28, 2015. (Photo by Joy Asico)

When I look back upon 2015, I certainly discovered my share of new favorite bands. But I have to confess, the best shows of the year were dominated by legacy bands returning to reclaim their pop thrones. And so the shows I am most excited about in 2015 were generally those shows where a genre-defining artist came back to DC and absolutely mastered their art.

But I’ll add this postscript: 2015 also was the year of the punk rock girl, as several notable bands reminded me of how much I like a woman’s voice over a bit of surf or rockabilly guitar. I’ll explain more after my official list of Parklife DC Top 10 Concerts of 2015.

Continue Reading

Music Park: The Ocean Blue @ Jammin’ Java — 11/21/15

The Ocean Blue
The Ocean Blue perform at The Tractor Tavern in Seattle on Feb. 24, 2013. (Photo by David Lee)

The Ocean Blue embarked on an all-too-brief four-city tour last week to commemorate the remastering of their first three albums.

They only played in New York City, Philadelphia, DC metro, and Lancaster, Pa., as those were “their very favorite cities” where they first got their start, explained frontman David Schelzel at their local show on Saturday.

Last week, The Ocean Blue reissued their first three albums — The Ocean Blue, Cerulean and Beneath the Rhythm and Sound — on vinyl, and they embarked on a short tour to commemorate the occasion. It was an opportunity for the band to recapture their youth and play those cities they played early and often as a quartet from Hershey, Pa.

Continue Reading

Don’t Miss: The Ocean Blue @ Jammin’ Java, 11/21/15

THE OCEAN BLUE 8x10 1993 Beneath the Rhythm and Sound
The Ocean Blue photographed for Beneath the Rhythm & Sound in 1993. (Photo courtesy Force Field PR)

Poised to release a new album next year, The Ocean Blue are this week publishing remastered editions of their first three albums — The Ocean Blue, Cerulean, and Beneath the Rhythm & Sound.

To mark the release of the remasters, The Ocean Blue, a dreampop quartet hailing from Hershey, Pa., has set about a tour where they play the first two albums in their entirety. That tour comes to the DC-metro area with a stop at Jammin’ Java on Saturday, Nov. 21.

And that show has sold out!

But those going will experience The Ocean Blue and Cerulean and songs like their first single “Between Something and Nothing.”

Watch the official music video for The Ocean Blue’s “Between Something and Nothing” via YouTube:

Tickets are sold out.

The Ocean Blue
Jammin’ Java
Saturday, Nov. 21
Doors @7pm
Sold out (originally $25-$35)
All ages

Don’t Miss: No Joy (Opening for DIIV) @ Black Cat, 11/7/15

No-Joy_More-Faithful_credit-Allison-Staton_2
No Joy (Photo by Allison Staton)

Canadian shoegazers No Joy have released a new album, More Faithful, and the quartet are on tour to promote it, opening for DIIV this Saturday, Nov. 7, at the Black Cat.

Singer and guitarist Jasamine White-Gluz and guitarist Laura Lloyd bring a rush of lush guitars to the album, augmented by the rhythm section of drummer Garland Hastings and bassist Michael Farsky. Jasamine and Laura also are fond of sadly sweet lyrics that set the mood for the ambling guitars. Overall, everything about No Joy could have fallen into our laps from the United Kingdom in 1989 and bands like Lush.

The song “Judith,” for example, combines sadly sweet music with lyrics about aging, and the video, which cleverly depicts a bedroom drama, examines moments in a “joyless” marriage (… they are “No Joy” after all, eh?).

Watch the official video for “Judith” on YouTube:

Overall, No Joy are perfect openers for fellow shoegazers DIIV, who I caught in DC not long ago appropriately opening for RIDE at the 9:30 Club on Sept. 17. This is the perfect show for you if you’re in the mood for an evening of shoegaze, presented with various flavors from female- and male-fronted bands.

Tickets are available online.

By the by, we also have been recommending amazing synthpoppers YACHT that same night at U Street Music Hall. With their doors at 7pm, you easily could roam between the two venues for a very full evening of music, indeed!

No Joy
(Opening for DIIV)
Black Cat
Saturday, Nov. 7
Doors @9pm
$18-$20
All ages

Music Park: GEMS @ U Street Music Hall — 10/23/15

GEMSGEMS (Photo Credit: Kristen Wrzesniewski)

Just one week before the release of their first full-length album, Kill the One You Love (out October 30th), GEMS captivated the U Street Music Hall crowd with a bountiful selection of their dream pop infused new songs.

GEMS, or Lindsay Pitts, on lead vocals and a few instruments, and Clifford John Usher, on everything else, were almost too excited to start. The music began to grow and pulse two minutes early, before the lights flashed on precisely at 8:00pm. Then they unleashed the first song of the night, “Scars”.

At least five of the songs they performed were from the new album. After “Scars”, they played “Heartbreaker”, which is a gradually building, aerial song.

The duo is originally from DC, but moved to LA after they released their first EP, Medusa. When Lindsay told the crowd they were from DC, the venue lights lit up for a heartbeat. Welcome back. If only briefly.

Two previously released songs from Kill the One You Love, “W/O U” and “Living as a Ghost”, were highlights of their brief 7-song set (they opened for Autre Ne Veut). Both are ethereal, entreating laments to lost love.

There was a respectable crowd at UHall, that grew to not quite capacity by the time they were ready for the last song.

They ended the enjoyable set with “Sinking Stone”.

They have a few New York dates this week, before wrapping up their tour in Atlanta and Austin.

Stay vigilante and catch them the next time they come to DC! And come early.

 

You can still pre-order the album before it is officially released, via iTunes and Carpark Records. It’s good.