Music Park: Parklife DC Top 10 Concerts of 2016 by Mickey

CHVRCHES 008 Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches sings at Echostage on Oct. 17, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

I’ll confess that I’m a man whose taste in music is readily apparent. If you have new wave tunes to play, particularly from 1976-86, I’m going to show up and listen to them. That said, a number of incredible legacy new wave bands happened to travel through the DC metro area over the past year, and I took the opportunity to review them for our humble blog.

That said, a number of younger bands definitely broke through and seized my attention, most notably Canada’s Operators, who were the most exciting new band I’ve seen in some time. As with Operators, many of the best performances I witnessed in 2016 came from bands whose leaders are among the Masters of Synthpop, and so I have dedicated a postscript of really great synthpop shows that may have “missed” the top 10 but otherwise deserve a lot of applause.

Check out my top 10 list of concerts I saw for Parklife DC. (Click on the concert slugline to revisit the full review.)

Continue Reading

Music Park: S U R V I V E @ U Street Music Hall — 10/28/16

SURVIVE 10 Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon of Survive perform at U Street Music Hall on Friday, Oct. 28, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

The very full house at U Street Music Hall stood politely for more than an hour Friday as they traveled over rolling, melodic sonic landscapes.

That travel was made possible by synthpop band S U R V I V E (which we will now simply call Survive), who visited U Hall fresh off a career-making success with their summer soundtrack to the Netflix hit Stranger Things.

Continue Reading

Don’t Miss: SURVIVE @ U Street Music Hall, 10/28/16

Survive_by_Alex_Kacha
SURVIVE (Photo by Alex Kacha)

Austin-based electronic quartet Survive have been hard at work since 2009, releasing numerous EPs and two full-length albums.

But they achieved a significant level of visibility when two of its members, Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, scored the synthpop soundtrack to Stranger Things, the sci-fi/horror/suspense show on Netflix that debuted last summer.

“The composers employed similar instrumentation that they use on their work with Survive, most notably the immediately recognizable hum of vintage Arp synthesizers,” noted Randall Roberts in a profile of the band in the Los Angeles Times over the summer.

Whoa! Those of us who got hooked on music through the sound of analog synthesizers in the ‘70s and ‘80s take heed! In the wake of the success of the Stranger Things soundtrack, Survive published their second full-length album, RR7349, on Sept. 30 via Relapse Records.

Buy or listen to RR7349 by Survive on Bandcamp:

Now, Mark Donica, Kyle Dixon, Adam Jones and Michael Stein are touring in support of the new album, and they visit U Street Music Hall in DC tonight — Friday, Oct. 28.

The heady sounds of RR7349 cover a lot of ground and occasionally remind me of Vangelis as the four members of Survive explore sweeping, pulsing synthpop. “RR7349’s compositions range from grim tom-tom thunder to space-age epics, pairing tense plodding grooves with meditative ambience and driving, rhythmic beats,” said Relapse.

Renewed interest in Survive undoubtedly bolstered the band’s efforts to reissue their debut album, HD015 (or MQR026, originally released in 2012), due Nov. 18 via Holodeck Records.

And tonight experience Survive live! Tickets are available online and at the door.

SURVIVE
U Street Music Hall
Friday, Oct. 28
Doors @7pm
$15
All ages