Joaquin Pastor and Andrés Villalobos of James Supercave perform at the Black Cat on Sunday, May 1, 2016.
You could see it on the faces of the audience as you looked around: What they were hearing was really damn good.
Neo-psych band James Supercave caught lightning in a bottle with their phenomenal song “Better Strange,” and unleashed it on the very full house at the Black Cat on Sunday night.
As people were walking into the venue to see Wild Belle, they may have been greeted with an opening act unfamiliar to them. After that opening song (the title track to the band’s debut album), the crowd definitely wanted to hear more.
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.
Joaquin Pastor of James Supercave (Photo courtesy Riot Act Media)
We at Parklife DC have spent the last few days listening to the debut album by James Supercave — an album called Better Strange published via Fairfax Recordings earlier this year. It’s a great psychedelic dance record, so I was pleased to catch up with James Supercave vocalist Joaquin Pastor to ask him about the making of the record.
James Supercave are on tour in support of the album, and they are opening for funky psych duo Wild Belle at the Black Cat on Sunday, May 1. Tickets are available online!
Meanwhile, it’s worth mentioning that James Supercave have two dates coming up in New York City as well — a sold-out show with Wild Belle at Music Hall of Williamsburg and a date of their own. If you’re in Brooklyn, catch James Supercave headlining on Friday, April 29, at Our Wicked Lady (153 Morgan Ave., Brooklyn, NY). (At $5/$7, that’s a steal.)
I chatted with Joaquin about his band’s sound, the debut record, and David Bowie.
Mickey McCarter: How’s the tour going?
Joaquin Pastor: It’s going well! We just played Pittsburgh, and we are finally starting to kick. It’s our third night with Wild Belle, who are fantastic. It’s going to be a real pleasure to watch them over the next month.
James Supercave (Photo courtesy the band)
California neo-psych trio James Supercave have come zipping back with a debut full-length album, Better Strange, released in February on Fairfax Recordings.
Vocalist Joaquin Pastor, keyboardist Patrick Logothetti and guitarist Andres Villalobos have crafted a dynamic, synthy album that sneaks up on you fast and then runs frenetically around you in hypnotic loops. The band is touring in support of the new album with a stop at the Black Cat on Sunday, May 1, opening for Wild Belle.
James Supercave deal with themes of finding love and finding yourself while sounding a bit like MGMT or occasionally The Klaxons, although they definitely have their own distinct personality.
Watch the official music video for “The Right Thing” by James Supercave online at YouTube (be warned: rather NSFW due to nudity):
As we mentioned, James Supercave are opening for Wild Belle, who have a similar psychedelic vibe in their music, including a new album Dreamland. The two bands should make for a good pair!
Tickets are available online.
(Opening for Wild Belle)
Sunday, May 1
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
Grimes (Photo courtesy Purple PR)
Moogfest 2016: Grimes and Miike Snow Join the Festival
The organizers of Moogfest 2016, set for May 19-22 across 17 venues in downtown Durham, NC, announced major additions to the electronic music festival’s lineup yesterday.
Art pop musician Grimes and neo-psychedelic trio Miike Snow join the lineup of “more than 250 of the world’s most forward-thinking musicians, artists, and technologists — from GZA, Gary Numan, and Blood Orange to virtual-reality pioneer Jaron Lanier, transhumanist visionary Dr. Martine Rothblatt, and cyborg activist Neil Harbisson — for Moogfest 2016,” said Moogfest in a press release.
The Ocean Blue perform at The Tractor Tavern in Seattle on Feb. 24, 2013. (Photo by David Lee)
The Ocean Blue embarked on an all-too-brief four-city tour last week to commemorate the remastering of their first three albums.
They only played in New York City, Philadelphia, DC metro, and Lancaster, Pa., as those were “their very favorite cities” where they first got their start, explained frontman David Schelzel at their local show on Saturday.
Last week, The Ocean Blue reissued their first three albums — The Ocean Blue, Cerulean and Beneath the Rhythm and Sound — on vinyl, and they embarked on a short tour to commemorate the occasion. It was an opportunity for the band to recapture their youth and play those cities they played early and often as a quartet from Hershey, Pa.
Django Django’s music inspires one to compare and contrast it to other artists and styles. But as hard as you try, in the end, their sound cannot be easily confined to such comparisons.
You would be wont to hear a great deal of Beach Boys influence in their music. From songs such as “Hail Bop” to “Life’s a Beach” to ‘Wor”, the surf music undercurrent throughout is palpable.
You could find a healthy number of drumline dance beats, from “Waveforms” to “Reflections”, to groove to.
You could even find a bit of Irish music in their instrumental, “Slow West”, from the movie soundtrack of the same name and a bit of riding horse/rattlesnake country in “Love’s Dart”.
The point is, they don’t confine themselves to one sound, one approach or one genre. Hence, why the moniker “art rock” has been used to describe them.
Brandon Curtis, formerly of Secret Machines, is making music again with his latest band Cosmicide. As Brandon has been a touring keyboardist with Interpol, he’s coming to Echostage on July 28 to open for the New York post-punk outfit.
A few weeks ago, Cosmicide introduced a video for a new song, “A New Disaster,” on Noisey, giving us a taste of things to come. You can watch the video for “A New Disaster” on YouTube above.
Although Cosmicide has not yet released a full-length album, the band published a single, “Talos’ Corpse,” in 2014. Brandon took some time off from Cosmicide after the death of his brother Benjamin, who worked alongside him in Secret Machines, and while touring with Interpol.
Listen to “Talos’ Corpse” on Soundcloud:
Working with London’s Duly Noted Records, Cosmicide may offer more sparkling neo-psychedelic pop in the near future! Meanwhile, Cosmicide open for Interpol on Tuesday, July 28, at Echostage as Interpol wind down their tour in support of fifth album, El Pintor.
Tickets are available online.
Opening for Interpol
Tuesday, July 28
Smallpools (Photo by Dan Monick)
Smallpools would have you know that their name has nothing to do with killer whales.
Soon after their founding, the indie pop quartet uncovered protests from Internet activists who disapproved of the treatment of killer whales in captivity, decrying their hold in small pools as described in the documentary Blackfish.
In tribute to the concept, they named a new song “Killer Whales,” released in July, eluding to miscommunication with a love, who apparently was out saving killer whales.
The song gave the band a setting through which to demonstrate their high-energy performance at the 9:30 Club on Friday, Oct. 31, particularly as they tossed several prop “killer whales” into the audience — one of which had a saddle intended to carry a passenger through crowdsurfing waves.
Smallpools aren’t afraid to have a little fun with a concept.