Working Order Records, home to DC’s own synthpop duo Technophobia, held its first Tiny Cat Dark Music Festival to celebrate “dark electronic music” over the weekend at Black Cat. By any measure, the first edition of Tiny Cat was a wild success, drawing 10 bands of remarkably different soundscapes together over two nights of immersive music.
Moogfest 2018, scheduled for May 17-20 in Durham, North Carolina, is the premier urban music festival dedicated to the synthesizer. This year, a slew of electronic musicians joins headlining artists Kelela, Mouse on Mars, KRS-One, Chelsea Manning, Jon Hopkins. You can win tickets to attend with Parklife DC.
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.
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.
U Street Music Hall
Friday, Oct. 28
Assemblage 23 is a Seattle-based electronic/synthwave band currently touring United States in support of their latest album Endure.
In a show produced by Spellbound Productions, Assemblage 23 drew quite a large crowd to an unusual new DC venue — Ivy City Smokehouse. As the name implies, Ivy City Smokehouse is a seafood restaurant, but it has a large, separate stage room that accommodated hundreds of concert-goers and provided Assemblage 23 with a state of the art sound system.
The Rain Within is a one-man synthwave project by Andy Deane. If his name sounds familiar, it is probably because Mr. Deane is also the lead vocalist for Charlottesville, Virginia-based gothic rock outfit Bella Morte.
The Rain Within’s new album Dark Drive was released September 23rd through Negative Gain Productions, and it is available from Bandcamp. My early favorite track is Eclipse if you want to give it a try!