Music Park: Barenaked Ladies @ Wolf Trap — 6/15/16

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Ed Robertson and Jim Creeggan of Barenaked Ladies perform at Wolf Trap on Wednesday, June 15, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Canadian rockers Barenaked Ladies hit the stage at Wolf Trap on Wednesday with an appropriate speculation:

“Maybe it would be cool/If I rocked it old school/Try to break a gold rule/And a sweat,” sang vocalist Ed Robertson in opening number “Testing 1, 2, 3” from the band’s 2003 album, Everything to Everyone. The refrain goes: “Testing 1, 2, 3, Can anybody hear me?” And the answer at the very full pavilion at Wolf Trap is a resounding yes!

Warmed up by openers Howard Jones and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, the roughly 7,000 people in Wolf Trap’s Filene Center were ready to party down with their favorite jangle-rock icons, who are sweeping the United States through July 24 on the strength of a new live album, BNL Rocks Red Rocks, released in February via Concord Records, in a show titled “Last Summer on Earth.”

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Music Park: Ultimate Painting @ Comet Ping Pong — 9/21/15

Ultimate Painting at Rough Trade
Ultimate Painting perform at Rough Trade East in London on Oct. 31, 2014. (Photo by Paul Hudson)

Ultimate Painting take their name from a piece of artwork created by Drop Artists of the Drop City commune of Colorado in 1966. Around the same time in New York City, Lou Reed and John Cale formed the Velvet Underground.

Just a few years back, James Hoare of Veronica Falls and Jack Cooper of Mazes formed a third band, drawing its name from the colorful piece of art and its sound from guitarwork by Reed, Cale and Sterling Morrison. The result is a jangly, occasionally bluesy, sort of psychedelic rock that pays tribute to the ’60s quite masterfully while sounding fresh.

The duo played a show at Comet Ping Pong on Tuesday as a stop on their tour in support of their new album, Green Lanes, released in August by Trouble in Mind. They kicked off their set with some songs from their debut, a self-titled album released in 2014.

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Don’t Miss: Ultimate Painting @ Comet Ping Pong, 9/21/15

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Ultimate Painting (Photo by Juan Jose Ortiz)

I’ve never seen Mazes, but I caught Veronica Falls a few years ago at the Black Cat, and I found their sunny, jangly guitar pop to be quite lush.

Well, when I wasn’t looking, UK indie poppers Jack Cooper of Mazes and James Hoare of Veronica Falls formed another band called Ultimate Painting. Indeed, Ultimate Painting released its second album, Green Lanes, this summer (via Trouble in Mind). The songs pleasantly have the same sort of summery, jangly sound found in Veronica Falls.

The duo have been touring in support of the album, expanding the band to a quintent with AJ Cozzi, Neil Robinson and Will Young — and they are visiting Comet Ping Pong on Monday, Sept 21.

With songs like “(I’ve Got the) Sanctioned Blues,” Ultimate Painting bring together some twee guitar with pleasant vocals as they go in search of better times somewhere.

Listen to “(I’ve Got the) Sanctioned Blues” on Soundcloud:

You can preview and order the Ultimate Painting album online from Trouble in Mind Records.

Tickets are available at the door.

Ultimate Painting
w/ Ruby Fray and The Beginner’s Mynd
Comet Ping Pong
Monday, Sept. 21
Doors @9pm
$12
All ages

Don’t Miss: NE-HI @ DC9, 8/16/15

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NE-HI (Photo by Xavier Juarez)

Chicago quartet NE-HI have planned a tour of more than a dozen dates throughout August, bringing their jangle pop to DC9 on Sunday, August 16.

The band consists of guitarist/lead singers Alex Otake and Jason Balla, bassist James Weir, and drummer Mikey Wells, and they recently released a new single, “Drag.”

Listen to “Drag” by NE-HI on Soundcloud:

The new single follows a self-titled album from March 2014 released by Chicago’s Manic Static. Of that record, the Chicago Tribune said, “The quartet’s guitar-driven indie rock hits that magic spot — evoking nostalgia and familiarity while sounding excited and young, melding disparate eras (surf licks, ’80’s college rock) into something whole.”

Listen to the self-titled album NE-Hi on Bandcamp:

Initially, the four musicians pooled their talents to score a film for a friend but then stuck together, citing college rock such as R.E.M. as an influence. But now they are flying free and rolling across the country to DC9.

Tickets are available online and at the door. Local indie rockers StereoRiots open for NE-HI.

NE-HI
w/ StereoRiots
DC9
Sunday, August 16
Doors @8:30pm
$10
All ages

Music Park: Destroy. Rebuild. by The Jet Age — 8/28/15

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The Jet Age (Photo courtesy Big Hassle)

With today’s focus on happy dance music or sweeping reflective ballads, it’s sometimes hard to find an accessible indie rock band with a wider message.

Enter The Jet Age, flying into your ears with a fleet of guitars built on styles from the ‘90s and ponderous lyrics reacting to the events of today in their sixth LP, Destroy. Rebuild., scheduled for release on August 28 from Sonic Boomerang Records.

In 2014, the death of Eric Garner in custody of the New York Police Department, and his last words “I can’t breathe,” sparked national protests and serve as the inspiration for a song on the album titled after the famous quote. And first single “Don’t Make A Sound” romanticizes the notion that “things can change if we want them to” because “Times like this I think we can do anything.”

Listen to tracks from Destroy. Rebuild. by The Jet Age, and preorder the album on Bandcamp:

Although The Jet Age are a DC trio led by singer-songwriter Eric Tischler, the band will debut the album at a release party on August 29-30 in Brighton, England, as part of the At the Edge of the Sea Festival, hosted by The Wedding Present. It’s rather appropriate that The Jet Age team up with the UK jangle-pop icons, as the two bands have toured extensively together in the past and The Wedding Present often are cited as a major influence on The Jet Age.

Eric and bandmates bassist Greg Bennett and drummer Pete Nuwayser recorded the new album in closed sessions in Eric’s DC home studio, and the album reflects that intimacy.

“We recorded all the basic tracks live in the same room,” Eric said in a press release. “It was awesome, because everyone could maintain eye contact, no one needed headphones and there was just enough bleed to glue it all together.”

Regarding the themes of the album, Eric added, “The flip side of all this depressing crap—including watching some other couples around me go down in flames—is that it’s really renewed my appreciation for the ways in which my wife and kids provide a port in the storm so, yeah, it’s about relationships, it’s about the country, it’s about the band.”

The Jet Age haven’t announced any upcoming local shows yet, but keep your eyes open on their Facebook page.

Meanwhile, give the new album a listen, and see if you too are inspired to Destroy. Rebuild.

Music Park: Meredith Sheldon (Opening for Johnny Marr) @ 9:30 Club — 11/9/14

The winsome Meredith Sheldon opened for Johnny Marr at the 9:30 Club once again earlier this week.

Ms. Sheldon came through with Marr also in April 2013, but then she was performing in a loose band called Alamar with Johnny’s son Nile Marr. A friend compared the sound of the two together to The Sundays.

This time, Sheldon performed alone with her guitar, and she was as dreamy as that comparison would suggest, but her sound definitely smacked of a jangle pop found in other Massachussetts singer-songwriters like Tanya Donnelly and Juliana Hatfield.

Sheldon opened with “Metal Hand,” a song about the strength required to heal. From the start of her set, she had a good rapport with the audience, and it reflected in her easy, comfortable playing. In one segment of her first song, she thumps lightly on the guitar instead of strumming it, creating a unique bridge and providing ample room for her airy voice to fill the space.

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