James Mercer of The Shins (Photo by Marisa Kula Mercer)
The Shins are bringing their classic 2001 debut album Oh, Inverted World to life in its entirety with a 21st Birthday Tour this summer. The band has embarked on a two-month tour of North America performing the landmark album from start to finish — plus a nightly rotation of additional fan favorites and deep cuts.
For nearly 40 years, Bob Pollard has been leading Guided by Voices from the early lo-fi days to the slick production of major label offerings and then to the current powerhouse of Kevin March on drums, Doug Gilliard and Bobby Bare Jr. on guitar, and Mark Shue on bass.
For the past several years, Guided by Voices has released, on average, two records of new material every year (though now it’s really closer to three albums per year), and they are putting out some of their strongest material perhaps in that entire period. How does this band, who has released six albums just since the start of the Covid pandemic (and seven with July’s Tremblers and Goggles by Rank), keep things fresh? The answer could be seen in Guided by Voices most recent visit to the 9:30 Club.
Years ago, in another lifetime perhaps, I last had the fortune to see Chan Marshall, known by her performing name, Cat Power, in an early career performance at the Black Cat. And even though 25 years have passed since that time, the magic encased in that voice has only grown stronger — as evidenced in Cat Power’s performance at the Lincoln Theatre in DC Friday night.
Peter Sagar, more popularly known as Homeshake, first made his name as guitarist for Mac DeMarco! The Montreal-based singer-songwriter released Under the Weather, his fifth studio album as Homeshake, last year, and now he’s coming to perform at 9:30 Club on Friday, April 22.
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.
Sophia Regina Allison leads Soccer Mommy in a performance at Rams Head Live in Baltimore on March 23, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)
Growing up in one of this country’s hotbeds of music and culture with a guitar in hand would seem a natural pathway for a young artist to chart their own course and some day, maybe earlier than might be expected, advance their sounds to the right kind of listeners.
Sophia Regina Allison was just a little kid when she began playing music, having relocated to Nashville of all places after being born thousands of miles away in Switzerland. A story that almost reads as storybook but yet is so freakishly modern, Allison would go on to study guitar as a student at the Nashville School of the Arts and not long after she graduated was recording music that she’d post to Bandcamp under the artist name Soccer Mommy.
Car Seat Headrest released Making a Door Less Open, the band’s 12th studio album, in 2020 via Matador Records. Frontman Will Toledo and company have hit the road with a date at The Anthem on Saturday, April 2.
Lift gets tricky when you’re breaking curses from another life… These words from the song, “Reproductive” off the new Shamir album, Heterosexuality, being released this week, are personal but after everything leading up to its release could be speaking of something more universal. Heterosexuality is an amazing record and really showcases Shamir’s immense talent — from the opening “Gay Agenda” with its distorted drums and a voice that cuts through to exclaim, “You’re just stuck in the box that was made for me / And you’re mad I got out and I’m living free” to the closer, the aforementioned, “Reproductive,” which Shamir opened with at the 9:30 Club recently, opening for Courtney Barnett.