Live Review: Lankum @ Jammin’ Java — 3/12/20

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Lankum (Photo courtesy Rough Trade Records)

The droning guitars and eerie pipes of the Irish folk band Lankum have led some to describe their music as apocalyptic. On the evening before the declaration of the coronavirus pandemic as a US national emergency, the band darkly joked, “Thanks a million for taking your lives into your own hands.”

Frontman Ian Lynch added, “We kind of feel like the band on The Titanic.”

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Live Review: Luna Honey @ Union Stage — 3/10/19

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Luna Honey performs at Union Stage on March 10, 2019. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

After weeks (months, really) of promising myself I’d see Luna Honey perform live — and missing several opportunities — the stars aligned and I finally got the chance to see this local DC band at Union Stage recently.

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Snapshots: Boy Harsher @ DC9 — 10/29/17

Boy Harsher @ DC9, Washington DC, 10/29/2017
Boy Harsher performs at DC9 on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017. (Photo by Paivi)

Electronic duo Boy Harsher performed at DC9 on Sunday on the heels of releasing Country Girl, their latest EP, on Oct. 13 via Ascetic House. Augustus Miller and Jae Matthews played some of their latest dark electronic music in a very satisfying show on a brief US tour that takes them to Kingston, New York, tonight.

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Don’t Miss: Boy Harsher w/ Technophobia @ DC9, 10/29/17

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Boy Harsher (Photo by Adriana Iris Boatwright)

Hailing from Northampton, Massachusetts, dark electronic duo Boy Harsher released Country Girl, a new EP, on Oct. 13. Augustus Miller and Jae Matthews then picked up some tour dates, and they perform at DC9 on Sunday, Oct. 29 with DC’s own dark electronic duo Technophobia.

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Snapshots: Noveller @ Rock and Roll Hotel — 6/6/17

Noveller 10 Sarah Lipstate, aka Noveller, performs at Rock and Roll Hotel on June 6, 2017.

Los Angeles guitarist Sarah Lipstate, better known as Noveller, visited DC’s Rock and Roll Hotel to open for Mary Timony touring the songs of her former band Helium on June 6. (Read our Parklife DC review of Mary Timony!) During the sold-out show, Noveller deftly looped guitar loops through an impressive array of pedals, producing a languid noise rock that proved a great counterpart to Helium’s music.

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Music Park: Angus Tarnawsky @ 9:30 Club — 3/27/16

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Angus Tarnawsky performs at the 9:30 Club on Sunday, March 27, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Angus Tarnawsky is a drummer, but in performance he’s not a traditional percussionist.

The Australian-born New Yorker takes to the stage with an electronic dashboard, bursting with knobs and wires, as well as a deconstructed drum set — cymbals to his left and a drumhead to his right. As he moves his way from song to song, Angus creates deliberate, focused sound on his drum set, samples it, and then loops it into an electronic selection that can dissolve into ambience or hopscotch into tribal rhythms.

Performing as the opener for UK quartet Savages at the 9:30 Club on Sunday night, Angus held the attention of a very full room. The gathering crowd waited politely when the lights dimmed to signal the beginning of his set, not fully knowing what to expect. But soon, concert-goers were pleased to travel along Angus’ experimental sonic landscapes. Angus was a perfect opener for Savages, who handpicked him as the first act for the first three weeks of their US tour, which began Sunday night. (He’ll jump off the bill during the time the band perform at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in mid-April.)

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Music Park: Blanck Mass @ DC9 — 3/8/16

Music Park: Blanck Mass @ DC9 — 3/8/16
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Blanck Mass performs at the festival Best Kept Secret in The Netherlands on Friday, June 19, 2015. (Photo by Jostijn Ligtvoet)

The opening track, “Loam,” on the latest full-length album from Blanck Mass begins as a confused muffle of sounds that resembles someone speaking underwater. The song then mellows out midway and becomes the sonic equivalent of a soft strobe light, electronic beats skipping gently toward a languid conclusion.

Blanck Mass, born Benjamin John Power, performed “Loam” also as an opener for his show at DC9 on Tuesday night as a stop on his tour to support the album and an ensuing EP, the Great Confuso, both released last year. He drew a dedicated crowd excited to dance to Blanck Mass’ very accessible cut on music that occasionally borders both neo-psychedelia and dark ambient pop.

Loam means soil, and it’s clear that Blanck Mass envisions this to mean “clay” as in material for sculpting a human form. The album, Dumb Flesh, thematically explores how human beings are victims of their biology, responsive to the biological stimuli of all mammals despite our intellectual yearning to strive for something more.

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