Music Park: Ed Schrader’s Music Beat @ 9:30 Club — 12/10/15

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Ed Schrader and Devlin Rice of Ed Schrader’s Music Beat (Photo courtesy Infinity Cat Recordings)

Ed Schrader was switched on.

“I wanna give it up for Stoli,” he proclaimed at the 9:30 Club Thursday night, raising his glass. He pauses for a beat. “Oh, I mean Crystal Geyser.”

As he continued to have fun with things he’s “not supposed to do,” he flipped off his shirt, noting he was stopped from doing so in Texas, and introduced “a song about joining the military.”

Ed Schrader and his partner in crime Devlin Rice form Ed Schrader’s Music Beat, and the band were in DC to open for hometown heroes Ex Hex. With the lively pace of a human metronome, Ed dove into his songs with gusto, playing 90 second bursts of punk songs that were distinguished by their surprisingly engaging rhythms.

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Tonight! Ex Hex @ 9:30 Club – Go!

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Laura Harris, Betsy Wright, and Mary Timony of Ex Hex. (Photo courtesy Merge Records)

Somehow in mid-’90s, friends of mine were clued into some good female-fronted indie rock bands — quite a few of them from Boston (including the likes of the Blake Babies and Belly).

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Music Park: Gun Outfit @ Café Saint-Ex — 12/7/15

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Gun Outfit at the Northside Fest Pitchfork Showcase (Photo by Samantha Marble)

Dylan Sharp sings with a kind of twang that takes you down empty, open roads.

His band Gun Outfit, which he formed with fellow vocalist and guitarist Carrie Keith, covers some distinct territory as its music rolls down those roads. Gun Outfit play folk music to be sure — but the band’s fourth full-length album, Dream All Over, released in October via Paradise of Bachelors, wanders into the unhurried haziness of psychedelia with an air of Americana.

When Dylan sings on “Matters to a Head,” one of the more rollicking and best tracks on the new album, he sings as a bit of a rambler who has witnessed it all. The song’s bright and lively guitar backs up the concept of a man on the move as he assesses expectations and confrontations.

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Don’t Miss: Ed Schrader’s Music Beat (Opening for Ex Hex) @ 9:30 Club, 12/10/15

Skoal Kodiak, Ed Schrader's Music Beat, Aminal Lover
Ed Schrader’s Music Beat perform at Cause in Minneapolis, Minn., on April 8, 2013. (Photo by Sharyn Morrow)

If you’ve heard DC power pop trio Ex Hex, a favorite band of us here at Parklife DC, you know the ladies occasionally capture an early punk vibe from the mid-’70s a la Blondie. While not a punk band per se, Ex Hex are certainly “punk friendly.”

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Don’t Miss: Gun Outfit @ Cafe Saint Ex, 12/7/15

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Dylan Sharp and Carrie Keith of the Gun Outfit (Photo courtesy Pitch Perfect PR)

Los Angeles-based “cowboy” psych band Gun Outfit is coming to town.

The duo quartet, originally from Olympia, Wash., released an extremely listenable new album, Dream All Over, via Paradise of Bachelors, on Oct. 16, and they have launched their very first headlining tour of U.S. East Coast cities in support of it. The Gun Outfit stop in DC on Monday, Dec. 7, to play a show at Cafe Saint-Ex (1847 14th St. NW, DC), an unusual but welcome location for a rock show to be sure.

The Gun Outfit recently published a video for the single “In Orbit,” directed by the band’s Dylan Sharp. In the video, various “alien life forms disintegrate into washes of colors,” according to the band. The music is a wistfully hazy psych-folk march.

Watch the psychedelic official video for the Gun Outfit’s “In Orbit” on YouTube:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qJbT45BR3w]

Apparently, Dylan and fellow vocalist Carrie Keith bring a punk aesthetic to their psych guitars, and I’m eager to hear some more from them. Says The New York Times: “This band has a punk aesthetic deep at the center and, especially now, slow and drifting, double-guitar desert-rock psychedelia at the surface. Dream All Over is the latest installment in the output of a band that’s remained open-ended, slow and steady.”

DC bands Flashers and Broken Grids open for the Gun Outfit. Tickets are available at the door on the night of the show.

Gun Outfit
w/ Flashers and Broken Grids
Cafe Saint-Ex
Monday, Dec. 7
Show @9pm
$8
All ages

Music Park: Glen Hansard @ DAR Constitution Hall — 11/28/15

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Glen Hansard sings with a young lad live at Vicar Street in Dublin on Nov. 25, 2013. (Photo by Silvia Pititto)

Glen Hansard was determined.

“I have a friend who always ruins the moment,” Glen told an audience at DAR Constitution Hall on Saturday night. “He’s the kind of person that finds the fault in everything even when everything is going well. He’ll find that one thing that will ruin it for everybody.”

So to brighten his friend’s spirits, Glen said, he brought him along on tour. Glen also wrote a song dedicated his American friend, Thomas Bartlett, called “My Little Ruin,” which captures the spirit of being able to find that fault in everything.

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Don’t Miss: Shopping @ Black Cat, 11/17/15

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Shopping (Photo by Jenna Foxton)

Hey, everyone, at this very moment, I’m in New York City. That’s great because I love visiting New York.

But it’s also bad because I’m missing likely one of the best shows in DC all year! London trio Shopping are holding down a double-bill with our very own Priests! Wow, I wish I could be there. But you can still go because the show is tonight, Tuesday, Nov. 17, at the Black Cat.

You likely know hometown punk quartet Priests. They are a pretty exciting band that makes some good music. We reviewed them when they were at Black Cat previously.

You may not know UK post-punkers Shopping, who awesomely capture a lot of great things about punk and post-punk music in short ditties of powerful melodic virtue.

Shopping released their second album, Why Choose, via FatCat, in October, and they are touring the United States in support of that release.

Coming together in 2012, guitarist Rachel Aggs, bassist Billy Easter, and drummer Andrew Milk do an amazing job of capturing the spirit of The Slits, X-Ray Spex, and a great deal of DEVO (as well as the lighter side of The Gang of Four).

Be blown away by the sardonic vocals and brilliant guitar riffs of single “Straight Lines” from the new album (and try to ignore the naked women) via YouTube:
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8kkAl64I9s]

Shopping are proving prolific with the release of their debut album, Consumer Complaints, only last year! They and Priests are going to make quite a team tonight. Puff Pieces open for the bands.

Tickets are available online and at the door.

Shopping and Priests
w/ Puff Pieces
Black Cat
Tuesday, Nov. 17
Doors @730pm
$15
All ages

Don’t Miss: The English Beat @ 9:30 Club, 11/25/15

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Dave Wakeling (Photo by Bryan Kremkau)

The English Beat are perennial favorites in the DC metro area. They turned up at the State Theatre not long ago, and now they have a show slated for the 9:30 Club.

But wait! Not only are the [English] Beat hitting our premiere concert destination on Wednesday, Nov. 25, they also are preparing to release a new album, tentatively titled Here We Go Love! The ska/reggae collective famously published three albums in the early ‘80s, and they haven’t released a new studio album since Special Beat Service in 1982.

Special Beat Service, of course, spawned some of the English Beat’s greatest hits, such as “I Confess” and “Mirror in the Bathroom,” fueling the capability of Dave Wakeling and company to continuously tour the world for years.

Watch the official video for “Mirror in the Bathroom” on YouTube:
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cbUW2EY4KE]

If you haven’t seen the English Beat in a while, or somehow you have never done so (you saved it for later?), this is a perfect opportunity to see them. After all, they are playing the night before a holiday, so you have all of the time in the world to beat to the Beat.

Tickets are available online!

The English Beat
9:30 Club
Wednesday, Nov. 25
Doors @7pm
$25
All ages

Music Park: New Video from YACHT (Appearing @ U Street Music Hall, 11/7/15)

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Jona Bechtolt and Claire Evans of YACHT (Photo courtesy Downtown Records)

YACHT will perform at U Street Music Hall on Saturday, Nov. 7, after releasing their new album, I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler, last Friday. We’ve been recommending that you go!

Today, the L.A.-based art pop collective debuted the video for the album’s title track — clearly in hopes that the future would have turned out cooler than it did. It’s really quite clever in pointing out the silliness of some things of NOW — including selfie sticks, Segways, vaping and Tinder.

Watch the official video for “I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler” by YACHT on YouTube:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8cavxA10Gc]

Claire Evans and Jona Bechtolt of YACHT say, “This is a science fiction video that uses only existing technologies—VR, drones, self-balancing scooters (“hoverboards”), telepresence robots, selfie sticks, Soylent, and vape pens. All of these things have variably been presented as symbols of our futuristic world, but up close, they just feel straight-up comical. Our director, Eugene Kotlyarenko, has a unique perspective on this material, as a filmmaker. His feature film, Zeros and Ones, takes place entirely in computer interfaces. He was a perfect partner. He totally understood what we wanted to do and how to do it—from faux FaceTime to faking scrubbing ahead on YouTube.”

It’s a shame in a way that YACHT are no longer with DFA, as the label that made famous LCD Soundsystem is surely ground zero for a literal peek at now as the future from the reference point of a late ’70s/early ’80s synth-driven idealistic outlook formulated by the new wave sensibilities favored by both LCD and YACHT.

All the same, YACHT clearly are in good form, and you should see them when they are here in a few short weeks.

Tickets are available online.

YACHT
w/ Larry Gus
U Street Music Hall
Saturday, Nov. 7
Doors @7pm
$20
All ages

Music Park: Electric Six @ Black Cat — 10/11/15

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Electric Six with Dick Valentine (left) (Photo by Frank Nash)

Much of the appeal of the Electric Six comes from the band’s desire to have fun and to make you dance by any music necessary.

And that sense of fun was on full display Sunday night at the Black Cat, where frontman Dick Valentine (born Tyler Spencer) and company absolutely packed the backstage beyond capacity. To be fair, the band originally were slated to play on the larger mainstage, but were moved backstage for some reason as the DC federal holiday weekend approached.

“The Electric Six were demoted!” Dick proclaimed early in the set. “Write to the Speaker of the House, whoever that may be, and have us remoted!”

I personally have never been in a more crowded show backstage, so I fully embrace Dick’s sentiment. At the end of the day, however, the Electric Six brought everything it had to bear in a genre-bending stampede of music that went from funk to punk to metal and even to country. It was a double-barrel shotgun blast of raucous dance music.

At a midpoint in the concert, Dick declared that it was time to break out the dance music, although 99 percent of the show consisted of dance music, as evidenced by an audience that was actively bopping and hopping. The declaration came as an intro to a medley of the band’s songs “Improper Dancing” and “(Who the Hell Just) Call My Phone,” one song from the band’s popular debut album Fire and another from their 2014 album Human Zoo.

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