Music Park: Young Empires @ U Street Music Hall — 11/25/15

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Matthew Vlahovich of Young Empires at Royal Athletic Park during Rifflandia/BreakOut West on Sept. 19, 2015 (Photo by Tyson Elder/Used with permission/See more of Tyson’s photos)

Vocalist Matthew Vlahovich has some charisma to spare, and he was ready to share it as he danced to his own music at U Street Music Hall on Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Matthew and his band Young Empires performed as openers for Canadian trio Dragonette, providing a smooth, soulful counterpoint to the sparkling house compositions of their countrymen. Technically a trio themselves, Matthew, bassist Jacob Palahnuk, and drummer Taylor Hill toured as a quintet with the support of a touring guitarist and keyboardist.

The total group produced waves of deep sound that benefited the numbers on the debut album by Young Empires, The Gates (released in September) — numbers that generally were uplifting electropop punctuated by worldbeat rhythms and carried by Matthew’s pleasing voice.

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Don’t Miss: Young Empires (Opening for Dragonette) @ U Street Music Hall, 11/25/15

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Young Empires (Photo courtesy Young Empires)

Canadian trio Young Empires have a fondness for soaring world music and themes of redemption and elevation. They are a band in search of better things, and you have an opportunity to join their soulful exploration Wednesday night at U Street Music Hall.

Young Empires released their debut album, The Gates, on Sept. 4, and they are touring in support of it as openers for another Canadian trio, Dragonette.

On The Gates, Young Empires treat us to “Mercy,” a song calling for forgiveness; “So Cruel,” about the tortures of love; and “The Gates,” about the search for a higher place spiritually.

Watch the official music video for “The Gates” on YouTube:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpHnwNUr1UQ]

Note the doors open at 6pm for this early show, and so be sure to get there early to allow vocalist and keyboardist Matthew Vlahovich, bassist Jacob Palahnuk, and drummer Taylor Hill elevate your spirit.

Tickets are available online and at the door.

Young Empires
(Opening for Dragonette)
U Street Music Hall
Wednesday, Nov. 25
Doors @6pm
$20
All ages

Don’t Miss: Dragonette @ U Street Music Hall, 11/25/15

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Dragonette (Photo by Mackenzie Duncan)

If you only know the collaborations between Martin Solveig and Dragonette, like “Hello” or “Big In Japan”, you’re in for a treat when Dragonette descends on DC at the U Street Music Hall on Wednesday, November 25th.

The night before Thanksgiving, it will be “Easy” to have a good time dancing to this Canadian synthpop band (from Toronto). Dragonette is Martina Sorbara (lead singer), Dan Kurtz (bass) and Joel Stouffer (drums).

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/16720586″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”150″ iframe=”true” /]
They recently released a video for the new song “Let The Night Fall”, an anthem of almost Katy Perry proportions about having fun and letting loose.

I think you should join them at U Street Music Hall.

Check out more of Dragonette’s music here.

Dragonette
w/ Avan Lava, Young Empires
U Street Music Hall
Wednesday, November 25
Doors @ 7:00pm
$20
All ages

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

Music Park: YACHT @ U Street Music Hall — 11/7/15

YACHT / El Korah Shrine
YACHT perform at Treefort Music Fest in Boise, Idaho, on March 28, 2015. (Photo courtesy Treefort Music Fest)

Claire Evans trailed off singing the catchy new song “Hologram” from the new album by YACHT and peered over the audience in mock concern.

“Whose phone is ringing?” she queried.

Turning to her right, she found that her own phone was apparently ringing at U Street Music Hall on Saturday night. She picked up the phone receiver, seated next to a synthesizer of course, and began to explain to the “caller” that she was at a show, so it wasn’t the best time to talk.

“What show? YACHT,” Claire said.

“No, not a boat,” she continued after a pause. “It’s an acronym. [beat] Yes, I’m sure they regret that too.”

Claire and her YACHT bandmates then launched into “Ringtone,” another catchy new album from I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler, released last month via Downtown Records.

As Claire intimated, YACHT was conceived as Young Americans Challenging High Technology by Jona Bechtolt some years ago. Jona, who plays synth and guitar, eventually would recruit Claire as full-time vocalist, and most recently Rob Kieswetter on synth and bass. The trio stopped in DC for a show in support of the new album, easily their most accessible and appealing effort yet.

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Music Park: GEMS @ U Street Music Hall — 10/23/15

GEMSGEMS (Photo Credit: Kristen Wrzesniewski)

Just one week before the release of their first full-length album, Kill the One You Love (out October 30th), GEMS captivated the U Street Music Hall crowd with a bountiful selection of their dream pop infused new songs.

GEMS, or Lindsay Pitts, on lead vocals and a few instruments, and Clifford John Usher, on everything else, were almost too excited to start. The music began to grow and pulse two minutes early, before the lights flashed on precisely at 8:00pm. Then they unleashed the first song of the night, “Scars”.

At least five of the songs they performed were from the new album. After “Scars”, they played “Heartbreaker”, which is a gradually building, aerial song.

The duo is originally from DC, but moved to LA after they released their first EP, Medusa. When Lindsay told the crowd they were from DC, the venue lights lit up for a heartbeat. Welcome back. If only briefly.

Two previously released songs from Kill the One You Love, “W/O U” and “Living as a Ghost”, were highlights of their brief 7-song set (they opened for Autre Ne Veut). Both are ethereal, entreating laments to lost love.
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There was a respectable crowd at UHall, that grew to not quite capacity by the time they were ready for the last song.

They ended the enjoyable set with “Sinking Stone”.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIZtHVu5VbE]

They have a few New York dates this week, before wrapping up their tour in Atlanta and Austin.

Stay vigilante and catch them the next time they come to DC! And come early.

 

You can still pre-order the album before it is officially released, via iTunes and Carpark Records. It’s good.

Music Park: Autre Ne Veut @ U Street Music Hall — 10/23/15

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Arthur Ashin, aka Autre Ne Veut, throws himself into song at U Street Music Hall on Friday, Oct. 23, 2015. (Photo by Peter Hutchins)

Arthur Ashin is a man of unusual aesthetics. As a singer, he sounds a bit like a Sam Smith. As an artist, he looks a bit like an Eminem. As an American, he adopted a stage name from an inscription in French found on an ornament in The Cloisters — Autre Ne Veut (“I want no other”).

Let’s add another layer to this puzzle of a man: As a performer, he throws his whole body into his stage act, belting out his bluesy voice while fervently enunciating his words into the microphone.

Autre Ne Veut released his third full-length album, Age of Transparency, on Oct. 2 via Downtown Records, and the alternative R&B artist made a tour stop in support of it at U Street Music Hall on Friday, Oct. 23.

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Don’t Miss: Autre Ne Veut @ U Street Music Hall, 10/23/15

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Autre Ne Veut (Photo courtesy Downtown Records)

Hey, tonight is a busy night at U Street Music Hall. In the early show, alt-R&B artist Autre Ne Veut is headlining with support from former DC-based dreampop duo GEMS. Earlier this week, we told you a little bit about GEMS.

Well, we are overdue to tell you a little bit about Autre Ne Veut — French for “I want no other!” He’s actually American Arthur Ashin, hailing from Raleigh, NC, and he released his most recent full-length LP, Age of Transparency, via Downtown Records on Oct. 2. He performs tonight, Friday, Oct. 23, at U Street Music Hall in support of the album.

Listening to Age of Transparency is like watching a movie gone awry. It starts out traditionally enough with first track “On and On (Reprise)” but then the music warps and Arthur starts repeating himself as if a record is skipping. His voice slides up next to you like a smooth modern rhythm singer but the melodies tap you on the shoulder and say, “Uh, excuse me, but there might be something wrong here.”

In September, Autre Ne Veut released “Panic Room,” a smooth ditty that compares locking up love to being in a secure panic room.

The clever video places Arthur in front of a panel of judges who listen to him sing a capella. But they judges are more like psychological counselors than American Idol rockers. Is he seeking acceptance or parole? This really kinda sets the stage for listening to Autre Ne Veut in more ways than one.

Watch the official video for “Panic Room” by Autre Ne Veut on YouTube:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_7-zOBqrDo]

In his videos, Arthur is typically clad in dress more akin to a hipster hip hop artist rather than an R&B crooner, occasionally appearing as a sort of super-villain, whose motives cannot be trusted.

He’s an intriguing fellow, and he’s sure to be a captivating singer tonight at U Street Music Hall.

Tickets are available online and at the door.

Autre Ne Veut
w/ GEMS and Mazed
U Street Music Hall
Friday, Oct. 23, 2015
Doors @7pm
$15
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: Lane 8 @ U Street Music Hall — 10/15/15

Spring Awakening Music Festival, Chicago 6/13/2015
Lane 8 performs at the Spring Awakening Music Festival in Chicago on June 13, 2015 (Photo by Mary)

Deep house musician Lane 8 captivated a sold-out show at U Street Music Hall on Thursday night with his own house compositions and mixes of similar earworms from artists delivering complementary stately beats.

Lane 8 (born Daniel Goldstein) is an American ex-pat living in Germany with an affection for unhurried rhythms. He kicked off a DJ set shortly after midnight with his own “Undercover” featuring Matthew Dear. The sparkling synths of the song couples well with the hushed bluesy voice of Matthew Dear, who serves as vocalist for the number. The number drifts above the crowd in soothing, pleasing pulses.

The audience at U Street Music Hall fell into formation, facing Lane 8 from the DJ booth to the stage behind them, and several young dancers took the stage to express their approval with mannered, if occasionally frenetic, dancing.

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Don’t Miss: GEMS (Opening for Autre Ne Veut) @ U Street Music Hall, 10/23/15

GEMSGEMS

GEMS brings their ethereal, dream-pop sound to the U Street Music Hall on Friday, October 23rd. They open for Autre Ne Veut.

Lindsay Pitts and Clifford John Usher comprise GEMS. Currently based in LA, they are originally from DC.

Now they return to DC with their first full-length album, Kill the One You Love, set to be released on October 30th via Carpark Records. They previously released an EP, Medusa, in 2013.

Having had a chance to preview the album before its release date, it is easy to predict their upcoming show will be one to remember.

Their first single, “Living as a Ghost”, premiered via NPR, who said, “GEMS is that special group for me, a former hometown band about to be discovered by everyone else.”

“Living as a Ghost”
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Other songs currently available, “Soak” and “w/o u”, show off the dramatic, hopeful lyrics and melodies that define GEMS.

“Soak”
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/223829831″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”125″ iframe=”true” /]

GEMS has been compared to other bands like Beach House, the xx, Sleigh Bells and Purity Ring, but Stereogum says, they have planted “a flag in distinct territory of their own, a winsome mishmash of ‘90s pop/alt-rock/R&B sounds.”

Tickets are available here.

Pre-order the album, Kill the Ones You Love, via iTunes and Carpark Records.

 

GEMS (Opening for Autre Ne Veut)
w/ Mazed
U Street Music Hall
Friday, October 23
Doors @ 7:00pm
$15
All ages

“w/o u”
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