Music Park: CRX @ U Street Music Hall — 11/16/16

CRX at U Street Music Hall, Washington, D.C. 11/16/16
Nick Valensi and CRX perform at U Street Music Hall on November 16, 2016. (Photo by Theresa C. Sanchez)

If your live performance is under 35 minutes, you better bring it. Nick Valensi and his new band CRX made every single second count — and then some. They managed to accomplish a similar feat in less time with their debut album, “New Skin,” released October 28 via Columbia Records. Their U Street Music Hall appearance Wednesday, November 16, was part of a several-month tour promoting the record.

Under the cloak of darkness, the 6’4” guitarist stepped onstage with his four bandmates and together they erupted into the power-packed track “On Edge.” All the anticipation and hype suddenly made sense. Like the venerated ’90s Honda model everyone “in your neighborhood tried to steal,” this group of guys named after that sought-after vehicle was absolutely awesome. Their rapid-fire delivery was reminiscent of the Ramones in their heyday and the basement setting couldn’t be more fittingly “alternative.”

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Don’t Miss: CRX (Nick Valensi of The Strokes) @ U Street Music Hall, 11/16/16

CRX-main-color-photo-2-credit-Amanda-de-Cadenet
CRX (Photo by Amanda de Cadenet)

Nick Valensi of The Strokes has a new band CRX, and they dropped their debut album only a few short weeks ago. New Skin, released by Columbia, was produced by Josh Homme of Queens of The Stone Age (who also did some great work with Iggy Pop recently).

CRX are touring in support of the album, and they visit U Street Music Hall on Wednesday, Nov. 16. (That’s tomorrow!) Their sound definitely has echoes of garage rock of The Strokes, but it takes a life of its own as a sort of hard power pop.

Check it out for yourself, and watch the official music video for “Ways to Fake It” by CRX on YouTube:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8Wq2mO5XyM]

With the band based in Los Angeles, Nick on vocals and guitar is joined by Ralph Alexander (drums), Richie Follin (guitar, keyboard, backing vocals), Jon Safley (bass), and Darian Zahedi (guitar, backing vocals). The gents cite The Cars, Cheap Trick, and Elvis Costello as influences, according to Wikipedia. (I think you can certainly hear that!)

Streets of Laredo and The Gloomies open for CRX. Tickets are available online.

CRX
w/ Streets of Laredo and The Gloomies
U Street Music Hall
Wednesday, Nov. 16
Doors @7pm
$15
All ages

Don’t Miss: Dragonette @ U Street Music Hall, 12/9/16

Dragonette
Dragonette (Photo by Gabe Ayala)

Synthpoppers Dragonette are about to release their fourth album “Royal Blues” this Friday, Nov. 11, via their own Dragonette Inc. label. And the Toronto trio have launched a tour in support of it.

Dragonette are no strangers to DC, where they have performed frequently since the release of their 2007 debut album, Galore. They visited U Street Music Hall in November of last year, and they are set to return there on this tour with a show on Friday, Dec. 9.

After two albums of fantastic new wave music, Dragonette started to lean more into house, inspired (I’ve long said) by their collaborations with well-regarded DJs — most notably Martin Solveig, who guided them into the 2010 hit “Hello.” Their third album, 2012’s Bodyparts, certainly favored electronic beats over guitar, a trend that continues on new songs like “Darth Vader.”

Listen to “Darth Vader” by Dragonette on Soundcloud:

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/290414930″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

All the same, vocalist Martina Sorbara, bassist Dan Kurtz, and drummer Joel Stouffer always deliver a terrific, high-energy show. Martina’s fantastic voice and frenetic dancing make for a great performance, but Dan’s extraordinary turns on the synthesizer truly take Dragonette to the next level.

This is certainly a show worth seeing! Tickets are available online.

Dragonette
w/ Gibbz
U Street Music Hall
Friday, Dec. 9
Doors @7pm
$20
All ages

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.

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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:

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=1991516250 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small]

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

Don’t Miss: Aurora @ 9:30 Club, 10/31/16

Aurora Aksnes 05
Aurora Aksnes performs at U Street Music Hall on April 21, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Earlier this year, petite Aurora Aksnes gathered a large crowd into booming U Street Music Hall for a show packed with big ideas.

This time around, Aurora, the sensational Norwegian singer-songwriter, is performing at an appropriately larger venue, where the stage at the 9:30 Club is sure to provide a better platform for her artistic expression and the accompanying concert hall a better space for large crowds.

So come out on Monday, Oct. 31, to see Aurora as she sings, bounces, dances, and pantomimes along to the darkly glorious songs of her debut album, All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend, released in March by Decca Records and Glassnote.

Following songs like “Runaway,” “Half the World Away” (an Oasis cover!), “Conqueror,” and others, Aurora released a sixth single, “I Went Too Far,” from the new album. You know an album has legs when it can support six singles!

Watch the official music video for “I Went Too Far” by Aurora on YouTube:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eT6dLJd3rYk]

Parklife DC reviewed Aurora at U Street Music Hall on April 21. (Revisit our full review and pictures here.) After seeing her, I said, “Although petite in size, the Norwegian folk popstar, who goes by only her first name, has a big voice that fits her ambitious songs of flight or fight. She also has a habit of physically moving where her music takes her. This somewhat off-kilter acting out of her own words and melodies might readily draw some comparisons to her fellow Scandinavian artist Bjork.”

I added, “Aurora’s folk pop is as spritely as she is, but it does carry dark overtones of struggling to find yourself, to be free, or to fight.”

You’ll want to be free for this show on Monday! Tickets are available online.

Aurora
w/ Dan Croll
9:30 Club
Monday, Oct. 31, 2016
Doors @7pm
$20
All ages

DJ Park: Little Boots @ U Street Music Hall — 10/5/16

LITTLE BOOTS 2015 PRESS SHOT Little Boots (Photo courtesy High Rise PR)

English chanteuse Little Boots made a rare visit to DC this week, launching a DJ tour that keeps her in the United States for the rest of the month.

Despite her proclivity for pink, Little Boots is more than a pretty face! I have come to admire her ambition and her interest in all aspects of music production. Outside of three very smart full-length albums, the lady, born Victoria Hesketh, tours regularly as a deejay, and she owns her own label, On Repeat Records. And she’s a master of the synthesizer.

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Snapshots: IAMX @ U Street Music Hall — 9/30/16

IAMX @ U St Music Hall, 30/09/2016
IAMX performs at U Street Music Hall on Sept. 30, 2016.  (Photo by Paivi)

IAMX is a solo project by Chris Corner (formerly of Sneaker Pimps), mixing industrial with synthpop/trip hop. His live shows are supported by two keyboard players and a live drummer but the drummer is barely visible behind the four screens and of course the drum set.

The audiovisuals and the band on the front keep you focused on what is on the foreground that you forget everything else (including the drummer) for a solid hour and half.

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Don’t Miss: IAMX @ U Street Music Hall, 9/30/16

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IAMX (Photo by Saryn Christina)

IAMX (born Chris Corner) followed up last year’s Metonia album with an EP, Everything Is Burning, which contains seven brooding synthpop songs. IAMX released the EP via Caroline Records on Sept. 2, then set upon a tour to promote the new songs.

That tour, already underway, hits Santa Ana, California tonight, but more importantly it stops at U Street Music Hall in DC on Friday, Sept. 30.

With IAMX, Chris Corner certainly has distinguished himself from his former trip hop band Sneaker Pimps, eventually moving to Los Angeles in 2013. (The project’s title “I AM X,” sneakily derives its name from Sneaker Pimps’ debut album, Becoming X.)

Listen to “Everything Is Burning” yourself on Spotify, and experience songs like the title track, “Triggers,” and “Scars.”

If IAMX seems dark, the darkness comes from what is now a good place.

“IAMX is basically my public therapy,” Chris said in a recent press release. “It’s my way of being able to connect with the world, to pour my heart out and dance at the same time. It’s also an excuse for me to play with who I am, to explore certain parts of my personality that I don’t get to explore in everyday life.”

IAMX is going strong since his 2004 debut album Kiss + Swallow, and continuing through The Alternative, Kingdom of Welcome Addiction, Volatile Times, The Unified Field, and Metanoia. So pour your heart out with Chris and dance along to his seductive dark cabaret with IAMX.

Surprisingly, this show hasn’t sold out yet, but it will soon. Tickets are available online. Act fast!

IAMX
w/ Cellars
U Street Music Hall
Friday, Sept. 30
Doors @7pm
$25
All ages

Music Park: Krewella @ U Street Music Hall — 9/15/16

Krewella Press 4, credit_ Chris Parsons Krewella (Photo by Chris Parsons)

Krewella brought their energy with them on this Sweatbox Tour performance last Thursday at a sold-out U Street Music Hall!

The tour name does it justice as you can see the blood, sweat, and tears they put into their music. The Chicago duo was joined by their touring drummer, Frank Zummo, who had breathtaking solos and kept up with the consistently fast-paced beats dropped by Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf — aka Krewella!

EDMit it review: 8.5/10

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