Music Park: Mike Peters (of The Alarm) @ The Hamilton Live — 9/8/15

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Mike Peters performs in Bristol, England, in February 2015. (Photo by the Mike Peters Organization)

The congenial Mike Peters, lead singer of The Alarm, welcomed his audience to the Hamilton Tuesday night with a round of handshakes from the stage.

The Welshman explained that he likes the personal touch of the audience, and that as a younger man, he always preferred touring before stage security barriers became a common occurrence in the mid-1980s. When security barriers started popping up regularly and creating a four-foot gap between himself and the audience, Mike began setting boards across the gap between stage and barrier so that he could at least temporarily transverse it and greet the audience at the start of the show.

Unfortunately, his ingenuity worked against him at a sold-out gig at the Hammersmith in London in 1985, when a health and safety inspector forced the removal of Mike’s temporary bridge immediately before a show began.

“Everybody knew the boards were gone except me!” Mike told the crowd at the Hamilton.

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Interview: Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds (@ U Street Music Hall, 9/26/15)

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Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds (Photo by Bliss Braoudakis)

Laura Burhenn’s project The Mynabirds released their third album Lovers Know via Saddle Creek on August 7. Laura once called DC home before she migrated to Los Angeles to start The Mynabirds, and she’s returning for a hometown show at U Street Music Hall on Saturday, Sept. 26, as part of her tour in support of the new album (which starts tonight in San Diego). Parklife DC had the sincere pleasure of chatting with Laura about her new stuff, her DC roots, and subversive pop songs.

[The transcript of this interview has been edited lightly for the sake of brevity in spots.]

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Music Park: King Raam @ Black Cat — 8/27/15

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King Raam

King Raam took the stage at the Black Cat Thursday night, and immediately recognized he had drawn a “home crowd.”

Raam addressed the audience directly in Farsi, and indeed the very crowded room presented him with a robust audience of DC Persian music enthusiasts who responded in kind.

I of course don’t speak Farsi, so my observations on Raam’s performance are limited mostly to his musical skill and capabilities. I will say however that Raam, visiting DC on a brief US tour from Tehran, was a magnetic presence to the audience, who swayed respectfully in place, hypnotized by his rhythms.

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Don’t Miss: Gin Wigmore @ Rock and Roll Hotel, 9/11/15

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Gin Wigmore (Photo courtesy Girlie Action)

Gin Wigmore seems like she was custom-tailored for a Quentin Tarantino movie.

I say that because Gin has a penchant for gritty cinematic capers where something clearly has gone awry in the story as depicted in new videos for her third album, Blood to Bone.

The striking 29-year-old New Zealander also seems like she would be at home in a modern Tarantino gangster flick with her intense eyes and bluesy voice. Indeed, Gin sings some bluesy folk tunes on her new album, due out on August 28 via Mercury Records.

But Gin gets a bit edgier than some in depicting things like the sensation of falling for someone such as in the song “New Rush,” which plays out like a mad version of “The Most Dangerous Game.”

Watch the video for “New Rush” on YouTube:

Gin is touring in support of the new album, and she visits the Rock and Roll Hotel in DC on Friday, Sept. 11.

Blood to Bone marks a change in direction for Gin, and I think she’s going to find a receptive audience next month.

“The whole idea for this album was to write songs that pushed me beyond my comfort zone. There were so many genres of music that I was not ready to appreciate prior to making this album. It’s like a whole new part of my palette and appetite for music opened up before embarking on the writing of Blood to Bone,” Gin said in a press release.

“I liken it to when you’re a kid and can’t bear the thought of Brussel sprouts and mushrooms. With maturity, you find ways to make it work in your life to often be one of the tastiest items on your plate — you just have to be ready,” she said.

Tickets are available online.

Gin Wigmore
w/ Patrick Park
Rock and Roll Hotel
Friday, Sept. 11
Doors @8pm
$15
All ages

Music Park: SOAK @ DC9 — 7/12/15

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SOAK performs at Rough Trade East in London on March 28, 2015. (Photo by Aurelien Guichard)

When Bridie Monds-Watson was 14-years old, a friend of hers was being bullied by another girl at school in Ireland.

Saddened by the experience, Bridie, now better known as SOAK, took to writing a song in a stream of consciousness manner to deal with the resulting feelings.

“I don’t understand/what her problem is/I think she’s just a fish!” SOAK wrote of her friend’s tormentor in a song that came to be called “Sea Creatures.”

That sort of quirky train of thought runs throughout all of SOAK’s songs, which she writes primarily to deal with things happening in her life. She delivers those songs in a soulful booming voice that belies her diminutive, now 19-year-old, stature. On stage, she’s friendly and warm with a touch of shyness as she strums a guitar that accompanies her haunting voice.

At DC9 on Sunday night, SOAK opened her show with “Explosions,” and the very full room immediately fell silent upon the opening notes of the sad folk pop song.

Watch SOAK perform “Explosions” for The Sunday Sessions, recorded live in The Workman’s Club, Dublin, on Oct. 19, 2014:

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Music Park: The Mynabirds @ POV Lounge — 6/1/15

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Laura Burhenn performs in Dallas in 2010.

Laura Burhenn, former DC native transplanted to Omaha, Neb., has done her share of traveling in recent days. The hypnotic chanteuse had been touring with her frequent collaborators Black English, opening for the Psychedelic Furs, when she got the call to open for The Pixies at the 9:30 Club Sunday night.

She flew back to DC Sunday morning, and several members of Black English supported her as her band in The Mynabirds, which also played an intimate show at the POV Lounge at the W Hotel in DC on Monday night.

At the W, The Mynabirds performed a lush 11-song set, half of which roughly consisted of new songs from an upcoming third album, Lovers Know, due on August 7 on well-regarded indie label Saddle Creek.

Monday was my first time catching a performance by Laura and The Mynabirds, and one thing immediately was clear: Laura sings with purpose. Generally her songs are concerned with devoting yourself to something 100 percent –- and when you have to do so, you fight.

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Music Park: The Caribbean @ Bossa Bistro & Lounge, 3/25/15

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The Caribbean, DC pop trio (or quintet, depending on when you catch them), perform tonight at Bossa Bistro & Lounge (2463 18th St. NW, DC) in support of their new album, Moon Sickness.

New song “Echopraxia” sounds like a pleasant blend of twee pop and folk music wrapped in a layer of sophistipop:

For more information, visit the Facebook event page for the show.

Local bands Time Is Fire and Insect Factory open for The Caribbean tonight.

The Caribbean
w/ Time Is Fire and Insect Factory
Bossa Bistro & Lounge
Wednesday, March 25
9pm
$5
All ages