Music Park: Tess Roby @ Moogfest — 5/18/18

Tess Roby performs at Motorco Music Hall during Moogfest on May 18, 2018. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

In her first concert in the United States, Canadian Tess Roby played expressive yet crystalline synthpop at Motorco Music Hall for Moogfest 2018 in Durham, North Carolina.

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Ticket Giveaway: Stars @ 9:30 Club, 4/23/18

Stars (Photo by Shervin Lainez)

Stars, the irrepressible Canadian chamber pop band, returned to the slipstream with There Is No Love in Fluorescent Light, their ninth studio album, in October via Last Gang Records. The band return to 9:30 Club on Monday, April 23, and you can win tickets to see Stars with Parklife DC!

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Don’t Miss: Tim Darcy @ Black Cat, 3/8/17

Tim Darcy (Photo by Shawn Brackbill)

Here at Parklife DC, we are big admirers of Montreal post-punk quartet Ought, who visited the Black Cat recently in support of their new album, Sun Coming Down, and its mesmerizing lead single “Beautiful Blue Sky.”

So complete seems Ought’s nervy rock music that it comes as something of a surprise to hear that lead singer Tim Darcy, an American originally hailing from Arizona, has launched a solo career. His debut album, Saturday Night, is due Feb. 17 via Jagjaguwar.

Judging from the lead single “Tall Glass of Water,” Tim is going for more straightforward jangle pop than the arty post-punk of Ought. Still, the fast-talking “tall glass of water” himself seems to have plenty of social commentary to pack into his songs! He will tour his solo album backstage at the Black Cat on Wednesday, March 8.

Watch the official music video for “Tall Glass of Water” by Tim Darcy on YouTube:


I’ve been among those to draw a line between Tim and David Byrne with his music in Ought, as the innovative sometimes disjoined melodies of the two bands seem similar. Tim undoubtedly will continue to put some distance between such comparisons, as flattering as they are meant to be, with his solo material.

When I saw Ought at the Black Cat last on May 10, I observed, “With his tall, lanky frame, vocalist and guitarist Tim strikes the figure of a melancholy academic on stage, looming large over the proceedings in a manner metaphorically similar to the way his words hang over our heads.”

All in all, Tim is a brilliant musician, and his solo effort is surely worth checking out!

Tickets are available online.

Tim Darcy
Black Cat
Wednesday, March 8
Doors @730pm
All ages

Music Park: Ought @ Black Cat — 5/10/16

Ought 15 Ought perform at the Black Cat on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

The first notes are a foreboding bassline. Drums drop in line. A guitar hums. Synths flare softly.

Sings Tim Darcy in his distinctive drawl: With the light coming down over your shoulders, saying, “What is that sensation?”

As “Beautiful Blue Sky” unfurls, it becomes more frenetic and the band scatter pieces of a life across the audience like a hyper-montage from a forgotten movie — war plane! condo! How’s the church? How’s the job?

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Music Park: Suuns @ DC9 — 4/27/16

Suuns 10 Suuns perform at DC9 on Wednesday, April 27, 2016.

The song starts with a low hum that rises, but not too high. The beat hits a skip-along gait, but the song remains ominous in tone. Vocalist Ben Shemie starts softly singing? talking? chanting? into his microphone.

As the song winds down, just when you thought it might get truly going, Ben repeats an end mantra, “Do it… Do it…” and with those words Suuns begin their show at DC9 on Wednesday, April 27.

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Don’t Miss: Ought and Priests @ Black Cat, 5/10/16

Ought (Photo by Colin Medley)

For my money, no professional music critic “gets” post-punk more than Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone (the man wrote a heart-breaking autobiographic account of his first marriage and love of music in “Love Is a Mix Tape,” after all).

And as such, it came as absolutely no surprise to me that he would love Ought, a Montreal-based quartet that draw comparisons to the Talking Heads and other bands that Rob has saluted in his various essays. Rob picked Ought’s song “Beautiful Blue Sky” as his #2 song of 2015, praising the song for its lyrical bravery.

Said Rob, “The Montreal postpunk kids lock into a staccato guitar groove and stretch it into a beautiful long marquee moon of a thing. Tim Darcey starts out sneering easy-target buzzwords (‘Warplane! Condo!’) and then the kind of phony clichés people say in cartoons (‘Fancy seeing you here! Beautiful weather today!’) then his own awkward confessions: ‘I am no longer afraid to dance tonight, because that’s all that I have left.'”

The song appears on Ought’s sophomore album, Sun Coming Down, released on Constellation Records in September 2015. Have a listen to it via Soundcloud:

[soundcloud url=”″ params=”color=ff5500&show_artwork=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Ought are touring in support of their new album, and the band stops locally at the Black Cat on Tuesday, May 10.

I first discovered Ought when I saw them perform at DC9 on Oct. 16, 2014, touring in support of their debut LP, More Than Any Other Day. At the time, I said, “Ought opened with ‘Today More Than Any Other Day,’ an amazing tribute really to living one’s life. It’s a bit like lyrics by [David] Byrne superimposed over melodies that could have come from Television. Musically, Ought could have sprung straight from 1977 via New York City.”

This show already is amazing enough, but it becomes even more amazing because DC punks Priests join Ought on the bill! In fact, Priests jump onto the Ought tour starting next week in Boston on May 4 and stick with them throughout the month.

Priests have a number of dynamic and great songs — and like Ought, they are a “must see” live band. When I last saw Priests at the Black Cat in February, the band performed a number of new songs they have been honing over the past year or so — songs that sit well with the Priests’ published catalog even if they aren’t always as frenetic.

This is one of my most anticipated shows of 2016. This concert will brim with vitality, intellectualism, and damn good music from both bands in a way that strikes me as if a young Talking Heads and Blondie were to have dropped by about 40 years ago (and that is the highest compliment I can think of!). Tickets are available online.

Ought and Priests
Black Cat
Tuesday, May 10
Doors @730pm
All ages

Don’t Miss: Suuns @ DC9, 4/27/16

Suuns (Photo by Nick Helderman)

Suuns means “zeroes” in Thai, and it’s also the name of neo-psychedelic quartet from Montreal that released their third album Hold/Still last Friday via Secret Canadian.

The last album sees Suuns delivering 11 tracks of cold, austere psychedelia, where words become part of the instrumental mix as singer/guitarist Ben Shemie gives voice to desire. The album thematically centers around sex, Ben said in its press notes — “perhaps not the act specifically, just [themes] of a sexual nature. But there’s also a spiritual undertone that points to another kind of searching.”

The song “Paralyzer,” for example, features pulsating rhythms that mirror the longing expressed in the lyrics. Watch the official music video for “Paralyzer” by Suuns on YouTube:


Ben and his bandmates in Suuns — including Joe Yarmush on guitar, Max Henry on synths, and Liam O’Neill on drums –- are touring in support of the new album with a stop at DC9 on Wednesday, April 27.

Interestingly, indie rocker John Congleton, who produced the new Suuns album, also produced acts like St. Vincent, The War on Drugs, and Sleater- Kinney. John is coming along to serve as opener with his own new project The Nighty Nite, which released an album on April 1. Tickets are available online.

w/ John Congleton and The Nighty Nite
Wednesday, April 27
Doors @8:30pm
All ages