Don’t Miss: Lane 8 @ U Street Music Hall, 10/15/15

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Lane 8 (Photo courtesy Pitch Perfect PR)

Deep house composer Lane 8 released his debut album Rise in July, and he’s launched a supporting tour including a stop at U Street Music Hall on Thursday, Oct. 15.

Lane 8, born Daniel Goldstein, hails from San Francisco, but he’s been living in Leipzig, Germany, and he’s signed to Anjunadeep, the house label established by English progressive trance trio Above & Beyond.

As you can hear in his lead single “Ghost,” which features vocals by Patrick Baker, Lane 8 favors dreamy melodies and soothing vocals.

Watch the official music video for “Ghost” by Lane 8:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NG5huIYWuoY]

Lane 8’s 10-track debut album offers a journey across melodic instruments and dreamy electronics, and it inspired remixes by ODESZA, Eric Prydz and Above & Beyond.

New York-based DJ duo whiteowljaguar open for Lane 8. Tickets are available online.

Lane 8
w/ whiteowljaguar
U Street Music Hall
Thursday, Oct. 15
Doors @10pm
$12
18+

Music Park: The Mynabirds @ U Street Music Hall — 9/26/15

The Mynabirds
Laura Burhenn plays keyboards as The Mynabirds in a performance for WFUV on July 16, 2015. (Photo courtesy WFUV)

Laura Burhenn was positively giddy to be playing a show in DC, once her hometown and still home to much of her family and friends.

Addressing the attentive crowd at U Street Music Hall on Saturday, the lead singer of The Mynabirds recalled marching in protests during her time in our city, and how such experiences shaped some of her music like the terrifically upbeat “Generals” from the second Mynabirds album of the same name.

With a laugh, Laura acknowledged she sometimes has differences of political opinion with members of her own family, and she expressed an interest in building up what they have in common rather than dwelling on what separates them.

And Laura came equipped with songs to bridge that divide, such as “All My Heart” from a new album Lovers Know, which she’s been touring to support after its release this summer. The song, the first one on the tracklisting of the new album, is a smoldering folk pop number with a R&B backbeat.

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Music Park: The Cairo Gang @ U Street Music Hall – 9/22/15

Cairo Gang
Emmett Kelly of The Cairo Gang

The Cairo Gang takes it name from a group of British intelligence officers sent to Dublin in the 1920s to conduct operations against the IRA. The name evokes a certain romantic exoticism, mystery, intrigue, and danger. An appropriate choice then for a band whose sound calls to mind a certain period in the past – the mid ’60s – with a sometimes moody atmosphere and forceful drive, while maintaining a pop sensibility that lightens the load.

The first act in a lineup that would include Calvin Love and Mikal Cronin, the 4-piece mingled with fans in the small crowd before taking the stage around 8pm. In a set that ran just over 40 minutes, they burned through 11 songs in efficient, workman style that gave the audience as much as we could ask for. Emmett Kelly, clad in black, ran the band from the corner of the stage.

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Music Park: Farao @ U Street Music Hall — 9/23/15

Farao
Farao (Photo by Kristin Slotterøy)

On her debut album Till It’s All Forgotten, Farao sings the song “Bodies” in a haunting manner over layered instrumentation that sometimes sounds like a train gaining speed. Lyrically, the song about trust, or the lack thereof, in a relationship, and the churning music adds some punch to the words.

In live performance, the native Norwegian herself gravitates toward acoustic instruments, leaving her synths to a touring bandmate. The result is much less urgent, giving the lyrics more room to breathe. In so doing, Farao, born Kari Jahnsen, emphasizes the mesmerizing quality of her voice.

Farao treated a half-full room to such a delivery at U Street Music Hall on Wednesday night, touring in support of Till It’s All Forgotten, which was released earlier this month, as the opening act for UK punk trio The Cribs.

Watch Farao perform “Bodies” for Le Bruit des Graviers on Sept. 4, 2015:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpRS9sdkaKM]

On the album, another song — “Fragments” — starts out almost like a chiptune but then blossoms into layers of instruments and voice as Farao paces herself alongside the music. Singing in almost a hushed nursery rhyme style, she uses repetition of words to mirror what is happening instrumentally to pleasing effect. The song is about not being able to see the full picture with its refrain “If you don’t believe me, no one will.”

It’s also a song ready-made for performance as its appealing structure translates well to the stage.

Watch Farao play “Fragments” live at Træna Festival 2014, published July 16 2014:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvwuHVewScI?list=PLnuBnM8PFlsTGfBeXRmDhTTLgp3xYY9wq]

Although Farao plays many different instruments, seeing her live is truly the best opportunity to listen to her voice, which she uses to good effect in concert.

Up until last night, Farao was touring at the opening act for The Cribs. Now, she has three more dates in the United States without them — tonight in Portsmouth, NH, and Tuesday in Los Angeles and Wednesday in San Francisco. She’s a worthy opener and well worth contemplating if she happens to perform solo.

Music Park: Watch “Hanged Man” by The Mynabirds, Appearing @ U Street Music Hall, 9/26/15

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Laura Burhenn performs live at Capitol Studios. (Photo courtesy Girlie Action)

Hey, in case you missed it, DC native Laura Burhenn was kind enough to give us a cool interview about the third album from The Mynabirds earlier this month — and the Los Angeles-based Mynabirds are about to have a homecoming show at U Street Music Hall this Saturday, Sept. 26.

The new album, Lovers Know, builds upon and extends The Mynabirds’ catalog with some lovely folk pop as well as some sweeping ballads, like “Hanged Man,” a soaring if sad song that allows Laura to show off her skills on piano.

Watch “Hanged Man” performed live at Capitol Records Studios in Los Angeles on August 19, 2015:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64O3IUDLfOI]

Laura and company are in good form, setting a “Wildfire” across the country since launching their latest tour in California on Sept. 2. Whether you’re a new fan or a long-time admirer, you’re sure to love this show!

Tickets are available online.

The Mynabirds
w/ Stranger Cat and Bad Bad Hats
U Street Music Hall
Saturday, Sept. 26
Doors @6pm
$15
All ages

Don’t Miss: Farao (Opening for The Cribs) @ U Street Music Hall, 9/23/15

Farao_Mathew Parri Thomas
Farao (Photo by Matthew Parri Thomas)

Surf disco? It is perhaps a genre whose time has come? Why not combine resplendent acoustic instruments with vibrant synths into one cohesive hypnotic dance performance?

Multi-instrumentalist Kari Jahnsen, known as Farao, seems to have done just that, as she adds delicate electronics to her crystalline voice on songs on her debut album, Till It’s All Forgotten. And in addition to synthesizers, she apparently also plays guitar, organ, glockenspiel, and sitar. (Farao is making an additional statement as to what to expect when you listen to her by sporting a David Lynch t-shirt, above, certainly?)

Stream the entire album, Till It’s All Forgotten, starting with the title track, on Soundcloud:

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/85284978″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

Farao released her debut on Sept. 11 via Arts & Crafts. She’s touring with UK punk trio The Cribs, opening for them at U Street Music Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 23. The two bands together will likely offer an evening of different shades of pop songcraft that should hang very well together.

Tickets are available online.

Farao
(Opening for The Cribs)
U Street Music Hall
Wednesday, Sept. 23
Doors @7pm
$20
All ages

Don’t Miss: The Cairo Gang (Opening for Mikal Cronin) @ U Street Music Hall, 9/22/2015

The Cairo GangEmmett Kelly of The Cairo Gang

The Cairo Gang is coming to the U Street Music Hall this Tuesday, touring with Mikal Cronin. The band is touring in support of their most recent album, Goes Missing, released June 23rd on God? Records.

The first single off the new record, “Ice Fishing”, continues in The Cairo Gang’s tradition of jangly, Rickenbacker pop with a slightly sharp edge, as if The Byrds had a run-in with The Velvet Underground’s softer side.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/205302808″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”150″ iframe=”true” /]

This new album follows on the heels of 2013’s Tiny Rebels, which itself was a long time coming after their self-titled debut in 2006. During those intervening years, Emmett Kelly and the rest of The Cairo Gang have regularly been contributing their sounds to the recorded works and live performances of Bonnie “Prince” Billy.

The Cairo Gang traffics in the type of songs that on the surface, sound like catchy pop tunes that might have drifted out of car windows a half-century ago. But linger just a moment on the voice, on the lyrics, and you’ll find a bit more. More depth, more shades of darkness, more meaning.

In my experience, The Cairo Gang is the type of band that rewards repeat listens and that only improves with time. The U Street Music Hall is thus an ideal venue for new listeners getting acquainted and old friends remembering what this sound is all about.

The Cairo Gang
(Opening for Mikal Cronin)
U Street Music Hall
Tuesday, September 22
Doors @7:00pm
$15
All ages

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FXoHfufnfk]“Tiny Rebels”

Interview: Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds (@ U Street Music Hall, 9/26/15)

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Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds (Photo by Bliss Braoudakis)

Laura Burhenn’s project The Mynabirds released their third album Lovers Know via Saddle Creek on August 7. Laura once called DC home before she migrated to Los Angeles to start The Mynabirds, and she’s returning for a hometown show at U Street Music Hall on Saturday, Sept. 26, as part of her tour in support of the new album (which starts tonight in San Diego). Parklife DC had the sincere pleasure of chatting with Laura about her new stuff, her DC roots, and subversive pop songs.

[The transcript of this interview has been edited lightly for the sake of brevity in spots.]

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Music Park: Little Boots @ U Street Music Hall — 7/25/15

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On her way into DC Saturday, Victoria Hesketh published a humorous tweet describing her guest list for her show at U Street Music Hall that night.

Victoria is better known as Little Boots, of course, and we applauded her reference to famous DC punk bands. In her musical evolution over three albums to date, Little Boots has gone from a bit of new wave-influenced dance-pop, which took a page from punk inspirations back in the day, to full-blown nu disco. And that journey led her to previous collaborations with UK new wave artists like Gary Numan and Phil Oakey of The Human League.

The synthpop diva has always leaned into house and disco, but she does so full tilt on her new album, Working Girl, which she brought on tour to DC Saturday night. In line with the title of the album, Little Boots has adopted a strategic marketing approach that sees her rocking out in power suits and sporting rather professional if comfortable office wear.

Early in her performance, Little Boots performed her latest single, “No Pressure,” which encapsulates all of the wonderful things about the new album and the new attitude. The song is about the possibility of a change and escaping your expectations, and its accompanying video cleverly stages the message in a workplace environment.

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Don’t Miss: Little Boots @ U Street Music Hall, 7/25/15

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

I am beyond excited that U Street Music Hall will welcome Little Boots (born Victoria Hesketh) on Saturday, July 25 as she tours in support of her new album, Working Girl, which she released last week on her own label, On Repeat Records.

I first encountered Little Boots back in 2009 with her single “New in Town” from her debut album, Hands, thanks to its regular rotation at Liberation Dance Party at DC9. I continued to be impressed by that album, which featured a duet with The Human League’s Phil Oakey as a bonus to synthpop nerds like me, and its follow-up, Nocturnes.

Working Girl may be her most exciting offering to date, however, as the bright dance album offers abundantly lovely synths and a decisive theme around which to rally — the corporate work day. All of the videos released for singles from the new album have been quite clever, and feature Little Boots adorned in the best of office fashions, such as with the latest “No Pressure.”

Watch the video for “No Pressure”:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6r3bEc1S7fc]

Little Boots isn’t afraid to explore what happens after the workday either, such as with her humorous video for “Better in the Morning,” which takes her on a “walk of shame” after a night of partying too hard.

Watch the video for “Better in the Morning” (and prepare to chuckle and fall in love a little bit):

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ryPPOQHES8]

To my knowledge, this is the first performance of Little Boots ever in DC, although she is a regular visitor to Brooklyn from England, and she nearly made it here on a few previous occasions. Don’t miss what is sure to be a great performance.

Tickets are available online.

Little Boots
w/ Prinze George
U Street Music Hall
Saturday, July 25
Doors @ 7pm
$20
All ages