Alt-rock band Arkells last year released Blink Once, a seventh full-length album, on Universal Music Canada, the country’s leading music company and released in partnership with Virgin Music Label & Artist Services US. The Arkells plan to release a new album, Blink Twice, later this year!
Change often comes gradually, but sometimes the idea has been there all along but needed a reason to become visible. The elements of Car Seat Headrest’s most recent album, Make A Door Less Open, have been around — electronics, rock stylings — but more up on the stage than on wax. But, released in the midst of the pandemic, MADLO was primed to be performed live.
Taking on the masked persona, Trait — which in interviews Toledo has attributed to the beginnings of a side project with drummer, Andrew Katz — Toledo created his first new material in several years (2018’s Twin Fantasy being a rerecording of 2011’s album of the same name) alongside his band: Ethan Ives on guitar, Andrew Katz on drums, and Seth Dalby on bass. And the change from, mostly, a solo endeavor to a collaborative group effort has influenced the sound of Car Seat Headrest in many ways, but most notably the forward presence of electronic and dance-influenced elements. So, it was with high anticipation that Will and company rolled into DC Saturday night to perform at The Anthem.
Last year, Indigo De Souza released Any Shape You Take, her sophomore album, via Saddle Creek receiving acclaim from outlets such as Pitchfork, New York Times, NPR, Stereogum, The FADER, Consequence, Paste and more.
That’s been the way for this group that got its start when its members were just high schoolers up in Lititz, Pennsylvania. Touring relentlessly and honing their sound, The Districts have made a name for themselves around Philly, where they’ve lived for the better part of the last decade and where they received crucial support from local media and music lovers as they strived to find their way.
Two of the finest DC area musicians performed this past Friday evening at Pearl Street Warehouse. Elizabeth II opened with a subdued but nonetheless passionate solo acoustic performance while Jonny Grave’s blues rock provided a raucous counterpoint.
Just before things started closing down, just before 2020 was the last time I saw Wilco perform at The Anthem and hot on the heels of the release of their last LP, Ode to Joy. Since the nearly two years since I’d seen them last, Jeff Tweedy and the band have kept fans engaged with things like the Instagram show (there has to be a better word for this) “The Tweedy Show,” broadcast from Jeff’s home with his family and sometimes guests like the other members of Wilco — a homemade variety show with Jeff, Sammy, and Spencer Tweedy often singing / guitar playing / drumming to Tweedy and Wilco songs along with some fantastic covers.
And just in the past month, Jeff has even started a weekly substack which is like a personal newsletter / inspirational / confessional, maybe called “Starship Casual” where the songwriter shares musings and even rough bits of new songs (or songs-to-be). Basically, the band has been keeping things fresh and us fans fed, so to speak. So, after the announcement that Wilco would be touring again this summer, I couldn’t wait to see the guys — Jeff, John, Mikael, Nels, Pat, and Glenn — back again in the DC area. This time at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland.
I have a foggy recollection of the last time I saw Modest Mouse before they took the stage Wednesday night at The Anthem. The time before the last time was back in 1996 at the now defunct Fletchers in Baltimore. Back then the band had released their debut LP, This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About — a three-piece performing on a small stage — and to see where the band started to now has been incredible!
Not to sound like a Doubting Thomas, but as recently just a few months ago, I don’t think I would have believed it. But Wednesday night, I found myself walking into the Ottobar for the first indoor club show I’ve experienced in nearly a year and a half. Definitely the longest time I’ve gone without stepping foot in the my home away from home in probably 20 years. But if there was a show that bring us all back home it was seeing Mac McCaughan and Jim Wilbur of Superchunk on that raised stage, playing to a rapt, and vaccinated, audience that night.