Don’t Miss: Des Ark @ Comet Ping Pong, 12/16/15

Des-ArkAimée Collet Argote of Des Ark (Photo Credit: Marc Krause)

Listening to Des Ark’s latest album, I had to chuckle at some of the song titles.

Des Ark, coming to Comet Ping Pong on Wednesday, December 16th, is primarily singer/guitarist Aimée Collet Argote with a mix of rotating members.

It is clear Aimée likes the word ‘motherf***r’ a great deal, as two of the songs feature the word in the title. It is also clear that she has a bit of a sense of humor, with songs titles like, “French Fries are Magical” and “Don Taco & His Hot Sauce Toss”.

Everything Dies is the title of their third full length album, and is a quietly strong set of songs that are both sentimental and slightly folky in nature.

Apparently (though I have yet to experience it myself), their shows are a wide mix of music styles, from loud rock to the softer, compelling ballads.

Their video, “Snake Stuff”, is more akin to the softer side.

 

Come out to Comet Ping Pong and see what the fuss is all about.

Des Ark
w/ Pygmy Lush and The City And I
Comet Ping Pong
Wednesday, December 16
Doors @ 9:00pm
$12
All ages

Music Park: Gun Outfit @ Café Saint-Ex — 12/7/15

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Gun Outfit at the Northside Fest Pitchfork Showcase (Photo by Samantha Marble)

Dylan Sharp sings with a kind of twang that takes you down empty, open roads.

His band Gun Outfit, which he formed with fellow vocalist and guitarist Carrie Keith, covers some distinct territory as its music rolls down those roads. Gun Outfit play folk music to be sure — but the band’s fourth full-length album, Dream All Over, released in October via Paradise of Bachelors, wanders into the unhurried haziness of psychedelia with an air of Americana.

When Dylan sings on “Matters to a Head,” one of the more rollicking and best tracks on the new album, he sings as a bit of a rambler who has witnessed it all. The song’s bright and lively guitar backs up the concept of a man on the move as he assesses expectations and confrontations.

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Don’t Miss: Gun Outfit @ Cafe Saint Ex, 12/7/15

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Dylan Sharp and Carrie Keith of the Gun Outfit (Photo courtesy Pitch Perfect PR)

Los Angeles-based “cowboy” psych band Gun Outfit is coming to town.

The duo quartet, originally from Olympia, Wash., released an extremely listenable new album, Dream All Over, via Paradise of Bachelors, on Oct. 16, and they have launched their very first headlining tour of U.S. East Coast cities in support of it. The Gun Outfit stop in DC on Monday, Dec. 7, to play a show at Cafe Saint-Ex (1847 14th St. NW, DC), an unusual but welcome location for a rock show to be sure.

The Gun Outfit recently published a video for the single “In Orbit,” directed by the band’s Dylan Sharp. In the video, various “alien life forms disintegrate into washes of colors,” according to the band. The music is a wistfully hazy psych-folk march.

Watch the psychedelic official video for the Gun Outfit’s “In Orbit” on YouTube:

Apparently, Dylan and fellow vocalist Carrie Keith bring a punk aesthetic to their psych guitars, and I’m eager to hear some more from them. Says The New York Times: “This band has a punk aesthetic deep at the center and, especially now, slow and drifting, double-guitar desert-rock psychedelia at the surface. Dream All Over is the latest installment in the output of a band that’s remained open-ended, slow and steady.”

DC bands Flashers and Broken Grids open for the Gun Outfit. Tickets are available at the door on the night of the show.

Gun Outfit
w/ Flashers and Broken Grids
Cafe Saint-Ex
Monday, Dec. 7
Show @9pm
$8
All ages

Music Park: Glen Hansard @ DAR Constitution Hall — 11/28/15

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Glen Hansard sings with a young lad live at Vicar Street in Dublin on Nov. 25, 2013. (Photo by Silvia Pititto)

Glen Hansard was determined.

“I have a friend who always ruins the moment,” Glen told an audience at DAR Constitution Hall on Saturday night. “He’s the kind of person that finds the fault in everything even when everything is going well. He’ll find that one thing that will ruin it for everybody.”

So to brighten his friend’s spirits, Glen said, he brought him along on tour. Glen also wrote a song dedicated his American friend, Thomas Bartlett, called “My Little Ruin,” which captures the spirit of being able to find that fault in everything.

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Don’t Miss: Glen Hansard @ DAR Constitution Hall, 11/28/15

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Glen Hansard (Photo courtesy Sacks & Co.)

Irish folk singer Glen Hansard is well-regarded for his groundbreaking role and performance in the movie Once, and thereafter as half of The Swell Season, and he recently released his second solo album, Didn’t He Ramble, via Anti- Records.

The new album has received very good reviews, with Rolling Stone comparing Glen to another Irish great: “Didn’t He Ramble evokes a feeling similar to one of Van Morrison’s Celtic-soul fever dreams, burnishing the prevailing sense of romantic fatalism with some low-key bravado on the standout track ‘Winning Streak’ (a kissing cousin to Bob Dylan’s early-Seventies’ chestnut ‘Forever Young’).”

Glen is touring in support of the new album, and he makes a stop in DC this Saturday, Nov. 28, at DAR Constitution Hall. (Hey, St. Louis, he’s at The Pageant tonight!)

Watch the official video for “Her Mercy” from the new album on YouTube:

Don’t miss out on what is certain to be a moving show as Glen and his voice are at the top of their game. British folk artist Richard Thompson opens for Glen!

Tickets are available online.

Glen Hansard
w/ Richard Thompson
DAR Constitution Hall
Saturday, Nov. 28
Show @8pm
$38
All ages

Music Park: Lady Lamb @ 9:30 Club — 11/2/15

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Aly Spaltro aka Lady Lamb (Photo by Shervin Lainez)

Lady Lamb, born Aly Spaltro, plays pleasant folk pop with an occasional feisty kick.

She brought her growing catalog to the 9:30 Club Monday night to open for Philadelphia psych quartet The Districts in a crowded show, where a great deal of the audience was there specifically to see her.

Lady Lamb introduced the audience to songs from her new album, After, released much earlier this year via Mom + Pop Records. Near the beginning of her set, she plays “Billions of Eyes” from the new record — a jaunty pop song that captures her solid work on the guitar, ever affixed to her hips. The song is about finding peace when you are out of synch, and perhaps that peace comes from returning home after some time away? All the same, Lady Lamb’s chirpy voice and the jangly guitar complement each other well, and the sound sets the stage for a wholly pleasant listening experience.

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Music Park: Watch “Hanged Man” by The Mynabirds, Appearing @ U Street Music Hall, 9/26/15

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Laura Burhenn performs live at Capitol Studios. (Photo courtesy Girlie Action)

Hey, in case you missed it, DC native Laura Burhenn was kind enough to give us a cool interview about the third album from The Mynabirds earlier this month — and the Los Angeles-based Mynabirds are about to have a homecoming show at U Street Music Hall this Saturday, Sept. 26.

The new album, Lovers Know, builds upon and extends The Mynabirds’ catalog with some lovely folk pop as well as some sweeping ballads, like “Hanged Man,” a soaring if sad song that allows Laura to show off her skills on piano.

Watch “Hanged Man” performed live at Capitol Records Studios in Los Angeles on August 19, 2015:

Laura and company are in good form, setting a “Wildfire” across the country since launching their latest tour in California on Sept. 2. Whether you’re a new fan or a long-time admirer, you’re sure to love this show!

Tickets are available online.

The Mynabirds
w/ Stranger Cat and Bad Bad Hats
U Street Music Hall
Saturday, Sept. 26
Doors @6pm
$15
All ages

Music Park: Alberta Cross @ 9:30 Club — 9/12/15

“Ghosts of Santa Fe”

A tiny mob crammed near the 9:30 Club front stage to sway and nod to the first few songs from Petter Ericson Stakee, who leads the band, Alberta Cross.

Alberta Cross opened for the Heartless Bastards last Saturday, and as their 8-song set progressed, the crowd steadily grew to almost full capacity by the end. The newcomers, not necessarily there to see Stakee and his band of three, also stood with rapt attention as the performance unfolded. Likely winning over many new fans.

Stakee, who is from Sweden and now lives in New York, ascended the stage with his signature hat and Jesus-like hair and opened with the soaring “Ghosts of Santa Fe”. The first single off their new album, Alberta Cross, it makes good use of the single horn played by the keyboardist. In fact, for most songs the keyboardist kept double-duty, one set of fingers on the trumpet and the other on the keyboard.

The band members that make-up Alberta Cross, besides Stakee, the only currently permanent member, rotates frequently.

The third song, “Get Up High”, fully horn-infused, was reminiscent of something from Band of Horses. I almost thought Ben Bridwell (lead singer of Band of Horses) was singing, so closely matched was Stakee’s voice.

Next came “Western State”, a slow, yearning jam that continued to help the emerging crowd get into the mood.

Stakee didn’t talk much during the set, but expressed his appreciation to be back in DC, they last played in DC in 2012 at the Rock and Roll Hotel. The one time he did open up, was to “take it down a notch” and play a song I didn’t catch the name of (also listed as ‘unknown’ on the online set list).

Next came “Crate of Gold”, a rock song that I can only guess is about paranoia, but since the video features the actress, Drea de Matteo, formerly of The Sopranos, I’m not too paranoid about finding the meaning.

Alberta Cross ended their set with the contemplative “Low Man”, fittingly used on the TV show Californication, which may just be about losing a women and being ‘a million miles away’ from life.

 

Taken as a whole, the show turned out to be enjoyable, with a good mix of Americana, folk and rock songs. I was among those that crammed up to the front of the stage, and could see every nuance of the performance. Next time Alberta Cross comes to DC, hopefully sooner than three years, make a point to check them out.

Alberta Cross (9:30 Club) 9/12/15

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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