Music Park: Free Song From Dot Dash (Touring Soon!)

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Dot Dash (Photo courtesy the band)

DC power pop quartet recently released their fourth album, Earthquakes & Tidal Waves, and they are giving away a free track to readers of Parklife DC.

Released in March, the album comes preceded some spring tour dates from vocalist and guitarist Terry Banks, guitarist Steve Hansgen, bassist Hunter Bennett, and drummer Danny Ingram. They plan to tour some more later this summer (see below for dates).

You can listen to and buy the full album, which sounds quite sunny and upbeat, from Bandcamp:


You also can directly listen to the single “Rainclouds” and download it as a free MP3:

Earthquakes & Tidal Waves was recorded in Kernersville, NC, and produced by Mitch Easter (R.E.M., Game Theory, Dinosaur Jr., Wilco). It was released by Canadian indie label The Beautiful Music.

Here’s what the Washington Post once said about the band:
“Everything we’ve ever read about Dot Dash plays up the group’s collective resume: Singer/guitarist Terry Banks was in St. Christopher and the Saturday People before teaming up with bassist Hunter Bennett in acclaimed indie-rock band Julie Ocean; guitarist Steve Hansgen played bass for hardcore legends Minor Threat and Government Issue, and then the mod group Modest Proposal; drummer Danny Ingram co-founded harDCore band Youth Brigade. Very impressive. But we’re more interested in the music, a retro cocktail that recalls the yearning indie-pop of Sarah Records; the ’80s neo-Byrds jangle of R.E.M., Orange Juice and other seminal college radio artists, and the tight, throbbing basslines and slashing guitars that evoke the Jam and the Clash.”

Catch them in concert at an upcoming show!

Dot Dash
Saturday, August 29
w/ The Fleshtones
Creative Alliance
Baltimore, Md.
Show @8pm
$12-18
All ages

Wednesday, Sept. 16
w/ Tommy Keene
Metro Gallery
Baltimore, Md.
Show @8:30pm
$12
All ages

Thursday, Sept. 17
w/ Tommy Keene
Bowery Electric
New York City
Show @8pm
$15
All ages

Friday, Sept. 18
w/ Tommy Keene
Iota
Arlington, Va.
Show @9pm
$15
All ages

Music Park: Wire @ Black Cat — 6/6/15

Colin Newman (Wire)
Colin Newman of Wire performs at Les Guess Who Festival in Utrecht on Nov. 22, 2014 (Photo by Rene Passet)

The guitars start out with a low, repetitive drone and then they break out into a trot.

A pleasant English voice begins to sing matter of factly alongside the guitars. The lyrics are conceptual not narrative. And as the song continues, the guitars hit peaks and valleys while the singer remains steadfastly laconic and sardonic.

This is Wire, and they have opened their concert Saturday night at the Black Cat with “Blogging,” the first track from their 14th album, the self-titled Wire, released in April. The band proves in this case to be much like many of their individual songs in that the more you get into it, and the more you think about it, the more it has to offer.

The London quartet, of course, practically invented post-punk upon forming in 1976, but they have not sat still, particularly since reforming after a break in the 1990s. Vocalist and guitarist Colin Newman is interested in what’s new. He likes to tinker and to move the dial forward, even if doing so within the predefined confines of the post-punk genre. I never previously saw a performer quite like him, and I immediately thought to myself that Colin is to the guitar what a Billy Currie or a Thomas Dolby is to the synthesizer.

No one in Wire plays a synthesizer, of course. But the sound they make — that beautiful sound!– nonetheless somehow encompasses the space age and the immediate. Somewhere, both contemporaries in the Buzzcocks and new kids in Prinzhorn Dance School are taking notes.

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Don’t Miss: Wire @ Black Cat, 6/6/15

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Wire (Photo by Marylene Mey Web)

Legendary U.K. quartet Wire recently released their 13th studio album, the self-titled Wire, on April 13, and they start a U.S. tour in support of it on May 26 in Portland, Ore.

They perform locally at the Black Cat on Saturday, June 6.

Formed in 1976, Wire gained a new guitarist in the form of Matt Simms, who replaced founding guitarist Bruce Gilbert in 2012. The reinvigorated band have leapt into the studio and the road, regularly releasing and performing material that reminds audiences worldwide that they practically invented post-punk.

In March, Wire released a single, “Split Your Ends,” showcasing the self-titled record’s heavier side.

“Split Your Ends” was written when singer/guitarist Colin Newman asked bassist/vocalist Graham Lewis to send over some unfinished, unformatted text so he wouldn’t be bound by what to use for the chorus. The stuff that Graham sent formed the lyrics of two songs on the new album: “Split Your Ends” and “In Manchester.”

Listen to “Split Your Ends” on YouTube:

Colin sometimes introduced tracks to the rest of the band right before they entered the studio in order to spur spontaneity. The vocalist said in a press release that he is going to continue to press Wire to release new material instead of resting on their laurels and playing the band’s best-known gems at flashback festivals.

“The point where our personal narratives meet is all about change – moving on and keeping it interesting for ourselves,” he said. “We’re in it for the long haul and this is a one-way trip.”

Critics seem to agree that the trip is worthwhile, as the album Wire has garnered “generally favorable reviews” as aggregated by Metacritic.

“The album borders on monochromatic at times (possibly because there are no songs by Graham Lewis, who provided some of Red Barked Tree and Change Becomes Us’ finest tracks), yet its subtle subversions are thoroughly Wire, and thoroughly befitting the band at this stage in its career,” said All-Music Guide, rating the album four out of five stars.

Tickets are available online and at the Black Cat.

Wire
w/ Julian Lynch
Black Cat
Saturday, June 6
Doors @9pm
$20
All ages

Music Park: The Wombats @ 9:30 Club — 4/30/15

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Matthew Murphy of The Wombats performs at the 02 Academy in Oxford, England on April 15, 2015.

“We have a roadie named Grossman,” said Matthew Murphy, the lead singer of The Wombats. “He eats four chocolate muffins a day.

“He’s the only man who can eat four chocolate muffins a day and still get thinner!” Matthew declared.

The audience caught and ran with the irreverent banter about Mr. Grossman during the sold-out show at the 9:30 Club on Thursday evening. At various points throughout the evening, they would shout, “Grossman!” — both spontaneously at the beginning of a song or at the behest of the lead vocalist.

“Actually, Grossman isn’t even his real name,” Matthew said later. “We keep calling him that in hopes that it will stick — like Reek in Game of Thrones.”

Erudite and entertaining, Matthew had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand as he led his band through a merry romp of songs from the three albums by The Wombats to date, including the latest Glitterbug, released last month. The new songs were very well received, and much of the audience already knew the words to quite a few of the songs.

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Music Park: Gang of Four @ 9:30 Club — 3/3/15

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John Sterry, Andy Gill and Thomas McNeice of Gang of Four (Photo by Leo Cackett)

When Andy Gill, guitarist and cofounder of the seminal post-punk band Gang of Four, was very young, he wanted to be a drummer, he said in a chat with Annie Clark of St. Vincent recently for the Talkhouse podcast.

“I do think of things in grooves and rhythms and pulses, and I very much think in those terms. I don’t really think in terms of grandiose melodic constructions,” Gill said when discussing his approach to playing guitar.

In performance, Gill uses his guitar much like he uses his voice: He’s direct and sparing when communicating with it. At the 9:30 Club Tuesday night, Gill brought the latest incarnation of Gang of Four on tour to play the very new album What Happens Next, and in so doing demonstrated the power in his approach to songcraft.

First, it has to be said, this is a different incarnation of Gang of Four, in which Gill is the only original member remaining. Vocalist John “Gaoler” Sterry has taken over for Jon King — and as a result it’s a different show. But Gill gave the band’s songs a remarkable level of consistency, which the audience warmly embraced. The two-thirds full room approached the new lineup cautiously but applauded very enthusiastically by the end of the performance.

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Music Park: Gang of Four’s New Single (Appearing @ 9:30 Club, 3/3/15)

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Hailing from Leeds, England, Gang of Four pracitically created the blueprint for dynamic post-punk music, and the latest lineup of the band is set to perform at the 9:30 Club on Tuesday, March 3.

Shortly before they visit DC, however, Gang of Four will release its eight studio album, What Happens Next, on Feb. 24 on Metropolis Records. On the upcoming album, the band employs a number of guest vocalists: The Big Pink’s Robbie Furze, German singer/actor Herbert Grönemeyer, and The Kills and The Dead Weather’s Alison Mosshart.

Today, Consequence of Sound debuted the two tracks featuring Ms. Mosshart, including the lead single “Broken Talk.”

The full tracklist for What Happens Next:
01. Where The Nightingale Sings
02. Broken Talk (feat. Alison Mosshart)
03. Isle of Dogs
04. England’s In My Bones (feat. Alison Mosshart)
05. Dying Rays (feat. Herbert Grönemeyer) [English version]
06. Obey The Ghost Of The Colony
07. First World Citizen
08. Stranded
09. Graven Image (feat. Robbie Furze)
10. Dead Souls (feat. Hotei)
11. Dying Rays (feat. Herbert Grönemeyer) [German version]

Lead vocals for Gang of Four are now handled by new member John Sterry, formerly of Gaoler’s Daughter, who replaced Jon King, the band’s founding vocalist (who departed after 2011’s Content). The Gang of Four lineup now includes founder and guitarist Andy Gill, bassist Thomas McNeice and singer Sterry.

Gang of Four
w/ Public Access T.V.
9:30 Club
Tuesday, March 3
Doors @7pm
$30
All ages

Music Park: Interpol @ 9:30 Club — 11/30/14

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When a band has gone through some big lineup changes, and releases a fifth album, you don’t necessarily expect the songs from that album to be the most exciting ones played on the next tour.

But then this is Interpol, the post-punk standard-bearers that have been defying expectations since they formed in New York City roughly 17 years ago. And so it seems the band can do little wrong as long as the wall of guitars that make up Interpol’s signature sound includes bandmates Paul Banks and Daniel Kessler behind it.

The band released El Pintor, its latest album, in September and embarked on a tour to support it. In a sold-out show at the 9:30 Club on Sunday night, the opened with “Say Hello to the Angels” from their first album, Turn On the Bright Lights — and the first and second albums continued to get quite a bit of love throughout the show.

But the second song, “My Blue Supreme,” is from the new album, and as the band continue with the set, you can see that the new songs symbolize the continued spirit of their collaboration. Interpol could have hit a speed bump without founding bassist Carlos Dengler, who departed after the last album, but instead they embarked on a remarkable distilling of their sound and thematic messages to produce an album as wholly fresh and exciting as their debut.

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