Dear Daria (Photo art courtesy of the band)
DC indie music fans may well be familiar with the music of Maryjo Mattea, the effervescent local musician known for her love of The Beatles and wry lyrical observations on life and love. Over the pandemic, her solo act has grown into a band called Dear Daria, a power pop quartet that offers a catchy sonic mix of elements.
Parklife DC recently interviewed the band via Zoom about their origins and their pending debut album.
Myles Kennedy performs at the Baltimore Soundstage on May 16, 2018. (Photo by Chris Smyth)
As the United States continues its process of opening back up and getting back to normal, the world of music is working to do much of the same. Records are being released and tours are starting back up. What had grinded to a halt is moving once again.
But in the downtime without live music, many musicians used that time to write and record new music. That includes Alter Bridge — and Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators — frontman Myles Kennedy, who will release his second solo record, The Ides of March, on May 14. In a conversation with Parklife DC’s Chris Smyth, Myles discusses the process of creating his new record, what a return to the stage will look like for him, plus what lies ahead for both of his bands.
After garnering national acclaim off of their 2019 EP, hard rock band Dirty Honey are finally set to release their first full-length album on April 23. Originally scheduled to record the album in Australia in the spring of 2020, Dirty Honey were forced to put their plans on hold after the travel restrictions were implemented due to Covid-19.
In a conversation with Parklife DC’s Chris Smyth, Dirty Honey guitarist John Notto and bassist Justin Smolian explained how the forced downtime actually helped them become a better band, and in turn allowed them to create a better record. The pair spoke about the entire preproduction and recording process, which famous musician was recording in the studio beside them, and their plans for potential upcoming tours.
One Way Out (Photo by Carter Louthian)
One Way Out recently released “Black Lungs (and a Broken Heart),” the latest single from their upcoming album, and the gents took the time to chat with Parklife DC’s Mickey McCarter about their new music, their methods, and their 2021 Wammie nominations!
Jed Elliott (left) with The Struts (Photo by Beth Saravo)
On Oct. 16, The Struts released the band’s third album, Strange Days. Managing to record a new album in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic proved difficult. But after a round of tests to ensure everyone’s health and safety, the band moved in together and recorded the entire album from a home-studio over the course of just 10 days. Recording in a way they hadn’t before, during a time unlike any other, The Struts managed to capture the emotions of this moment in history, while balancing it with the fun escapism that many seek through their music.
With the addition of multiple major artists featured throughout the album, and even a cover of a Kiss deep-cut, The Struts pulled off an album that is true to their style, while simultaneously advancing their sound to levels not heard before.
Soon after the album’s release, The Struts bassist Jed Elliott spoke with Parklife DC’s Chris Smyth about all things Strange Days and how the band has been keeping busy during the pandemic.
Foreign Air (Photo by Elizabeth Miranda)
A little over a week ago, Foreign Air released debut album Good Morning Stranger, a smooth collection of 15 songs that will keep you dancing along whether in the club or more likely today in your home.
Based in Los Angeles and DC respectively, Jesse Clasen and Jacob Michael formed the band more than five years ago, and they started working on the full-length debut album three years ago. The result was clearly worth the effort, as the new music swells with dynamic melodies and towering electronics.
Both gents formed Foreign Air fresh from other acts, and their natural chemistry kept them together while working across the country. Jesse and Jacob still collaborate from across the country, perhaps making them the perfect band for the pandemic times in which we live. Parklife DC’s Mickey McCarter caught up with the duo to explore their working arrangements, the achievement of the new album, and living up to expectations.
Midge Ure (Photo courtesy Erika Tooker)
The brilliantly talented Midge Ure inaugurated his Backstage Lockdown Club — a series of live performances, presentations, and chat — via his Patreon site over the last few months. The gregarious singer-songwriter takes requests, performs acoustically, shares tales, greets guests, and more several times a month for a very reasonable subscription fee! In a time of very few concerts due to the pandemic, Midge has thrown us a live music lifeline, and it’s an absolute pleasure to be greeted in song or story by his distinctive Scottish vocal.
During the concert series, Midge performs songs from his solo back catalogue as well as covers and selections from his other bands, including of course Ultravox, the influential New Romantic band he fronted from 1979-1988 (and again circa 2008-2013). Parklife DC’s Mickey McCarter caught up with Midge via Skype to chat about Backstage Lockdown Club, the 40th anniversary of Ultravox’s breakthrough album Vienna, and more.
Luke Lalonde (left) and Born Ruffians (Photo courtesy Yep Roc Records)
Canadian post-punks Born Ruffians are known for their high-energy shows, full of bright guitars and biting lyrics. Frontman Luke Lalonde formed the band with his collaborators in 2004, and they have released seven full-length albums and at least another three EPs. In 2020, Born Ruffians released two albums — Juice and Squeeze via Yep Roc Records — after crafting a bunch of songs prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Usually, Born Ruffians are often on the road, including regular stops in DC, where they appear at venues like Black Cat and Rock and Roll Hotel. Indeed, Parklife DC considered Born Ruffian’s 2015 show at the Rock and Roll Hotel to be one of our Top 10 Concerts of the Year. While the pandemic has sidelined touring bands, Luke has been passing the time at home, and he chatted with Parklife DC about the lifeline of touring, creative writing, and the two new Born Ruffians albums.
Broke Royals (Photo courtesy the band)
DC heartland rockers Broke Royals release a new single, “U + Me + WWIII,” on Friday, Sept. 4. The song focuses on anxiety-related insomnia largely stemming from the political and social unrest facing the world today.
This track sprang from Broke Royals’ Alone, Together series where the band creates a new song every week. Season 1 of Alone, Together, a livestream chat and music series, wrapped on July 31 after 10 episodes and 10 accompanying new songs. Broke Royals launches Season 2 of Alone, Together on Sept. 18.
Parklife DC’s Mickey McCarter chatted with Philip Basnight and Colin Cross of Broke Royals in advance of the new single and upcoming livestream series for an inside look at the band’s creative process. And of course, Parklife DC readers named Broke Royals as the Best DC Band of 2018 in our inaugural Thrushie Awards, so you know the gents started out strong, and they are only getting better.
Karen Jonas (Photo courtesy Big Hassle)
The voice of country music in the DMV is a big, bright voice that belongs to Virginia native Karen Jonas. A regular sight on DC concert stages, Karen releases her fifth album, The Southwest Sky and Other Dreams, on Friday, Aug. 28 via Yellow Brick Records.
On past tours, Karen has visited Texas, New Mexico, California, and their neighbors, scribbling notes while on the road. She drew upon those memories to animate the characters of The Southwest Sky and Other Dreams. The results are a little bit peppy and a little bit sad but always full of life.
Prior to the new album’s release, Parklife DC’s Mickey McCarter chatted with Karen about the record, her band, and her desire to get back on the road. And Karen plays a free outdoor album release show with her full band at Jammin’ Java on Thursday, Sept. 10.