Long live rock, I need it every night

Monday, November 30, 2009

Concert Preview: Metric at La Zona Rosa

Earlier this year Jimbromski saw Metric at the 9:30 Club and he graced us with a review that was lost on everyone under 30. I'll try to decipher the review for all the young people out there. His basic message was Metric is going to be huge. And you should play them while having sex with your rat-tailed lover. Oh, and getting a haircut like a hedgehog isn't very attractive. All valid points.

Since that June show, Metric's profile has indeed continued to grow. Which is why I'm surprised tickets to the La Zona Rosa show on Tuesday, Dec. 1st are still available. Get yours before the shows sells out.

UPDATE: the show is now sold out.

Final note: the band recently released an EP with acoustic versions of songs from FANTASIES. Use the widget below to preview some of the songs from Plug In Plug Out. I recommend the video for "Help, I'm Alive".

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

RIP Ben Olsen

Retire-in-Peace, sweet Ben. I was always pleased that you made the 2006 World Cup team, even though you and yours shat the bed in Germany. Abe Pollin overshadowed you, which is totally rude, but there is one small corner of the District that will always be Ben Olsen's ankle.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


One of my brother's favorite tv shows is CBS's How I Met Your Mother. I've rarely watched it, but I can see its appeal. First, as anyone who has seen Harold & Kumar know, Neil Patrick Harris is excellent. I never thought he would surpass his role as D. Howser, medicine boy. Second, Cobie Smulders is super hot.

Then there is Jason Segel, star of films like Forgetting the Sarah Marshall Silvermans and I Love You, Man, in addition to HIMYM. I didn't much care for the puppeteering he did on Forgetting... but he's pretty damn funny otherwise. And despite what The Journal Gazette's Steve Penhollow says, there is plenty of nudity on the big screen. Maybe too much nudity thanks to Jason Segel.

In this week's YouTube clip, Jason Segel collaborates with the Swell Season to perform an original song in LA last week. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pretty Late

Pretty Lights 11/18/09 at 9:30 Club

Dear DC Rock Club reader,

Here's what you should know about Pretty Lights. If you are between 15 and 23 years old, aren't in a wheel chair, and like to party, you are an idiot for not being at the 9:30 Club last night. But if you are in your mid 30s like us, wheel chair or not, you do not belong at a Pretty Lights show, no matter how much you like to party. Unless of course you are one of those dudes that likes to slip shit in young girls drinks, or some sort of cougar-in-training looking for a boy toy.

See the photo above? That's what I walked into at 11:15pm last night. Pretty Lights was a late show, which normally means doors at 10pm. But not last night, and when I arrived, there were lines wrapped around both sides of the entrance. Will-call was nuts and I opted out of standing in line with generation Y2K to get mine. Instead, I stood on the street and just watched the scene as the 930 club strongmen managed the crowd. It was a lot like standing in the street watching firemen battle a blaze. A bit fascinating just to stare at. The staff were also doing some minor policing, sniffing the contents of the apple cider container, confiscating bottles of wine and vodka. Ah, the memories. I was particularly impressed with the black shuttle van that showed up and deposited a group of glow-sticked party-goers that would make Jimmy Buffett proud.

I hung out for 25 minutes - reliving the experience of being desperate to booze and yearning to bust a move. Make that yawning. With no movement into the club, I eventually looked at my watch and calculated the minutes before Pretty Lights would go on stage, and the number of years I've been on this planet, and left the 24 hour party people to their craft.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Concert Preview: Pretty Lights

We love indie rock but every so often you need to mix things up a bit. That may mean a heavy metal show at Jaxx or a pleasant adult contemporary band at Iota. For this week's show we're opting for some dance/electronica in the form of Pretty Lights at the 9:30 Club on Wednesday night.

Pretty Lights are Derek Vincent Smith on the turntable and Cory Eberhard manning the drum kit. I won't pretend to be an expert on DJ culture but I'd say that if you're a fan of DJ Shadow, you'll find a lot to like in Pretty Lights. You can test my theory by downloading the latest album, Passing By Behind Your Eyes, for free at www.prettylightsmusic.com. Below is a great video of Pretty Lights live at Red Rocks. If you like what you see and hear (or are hoping to meet the girl in the green bikini), get your tickets for Wednesday's show before it sells out.

Monday, November 16, 2009

White Light/White Heat

White Denim
Rock and Roll Hotel
November 14, 2009

What the fuck is happening to the Rock and Roll Hotel? You can no longer stand to the right of the stage. You also cannot partake of the lovely men's room with the trough down the hall from the stage. No admission, plebs. I enjoy the trough because it requires no lateral aim. If someone speaks to me, I can turn a full 30-40 degrees to either side to respond to them and still be hitting the target. Not that I do that, but I could.

Now that the trough is off-limits, if you want to go to the bathroom, you have to fight your way upstairs through whatever Goriuchi/Maharishi/Ignatowski disco or drunken jenga is going on , and use that bathroom. When you're on the plane this Thanksgiving, traveling back to whatever shit-ass place you came from before you moved here, when you get up to go to the bathroom, make sure you invite three other dudes to join you in there, and you'll have successfully re-created the Rock and Roll Hotel second floor men's room experience. Excuse me sir, your sack is resting on my wrist. Would you please move it? Thanks.

None of this, of course, is the fault of White Denim. Jumbo Slice loves this band and none of us can figure out why. Not that White Denim suck. They don't. It's just that they play music that I believe used to be called "Acid Rock", and Jumbo Slice is the world's leading pussy, and I guess we all assumed that listening to White Denim would cause him to tremble and break into tears. I guess we don't know Jumbo as well as we thought. I only knew one White Denim song coming into this (the excellent "Let's Talk About It") and I only knew one White Denim song coming out of this (the excellent "Let's Talk About It"). But who cares? No one remembers anything by Blue Cheer. There were no breaks between songs and I think they played two slow numbers to break things up. Otherwise it was GO-GO-GO for 90 minutes. They also kind of sounded like one of those pilled-up English rock bands like the Yardbirds, or Cream when Clapton had that cool afro. Good music to put a sweaty sheen on your face and cause your eyeballs to roll back into your head. So high marks to White Denim.

I couldn't decide who the bass player looked like more, Brandon Teena, or the gay kid from Glee:

On the cab ride to the show we were trying to remember who co-starred with Bill Murray in Stripes and someone said "Kurt Rambis" and we all laughed. It was, of course, Harold Ramis, but Ramis was the Rambis of SCTV, in that he was surrounded by superior talent (John Candy, Eugene Levy, Rick Moranis, Martin Short, etc.) and he fucking sucked and wasn't funny/skilled at basketball.

Reminder: The Jet Age comes to Austin

Just a quick reminder that The Jet Age (see our review of their new album) is playing tonight at Trophy's on South Congress. It's an early show (9 PM) so there's no excuse to stay at home. Come out, enjoy some great live music, and still get home at a reasonable hour. What's not to love? Plus, if you see me and mention this post I'll buy you a beer - for reals.

Another reminder for those in DC: The Jet Age is playing a FREE show on Saturday night at Comet Ping-Pong to celebrate their new CD. Don't miss it!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hocus Focus

Two Man Gentlemen Band - Focus Music @ Church of the Resurrection, Alexandria, Virginia 11/8/09

A good friend of mine went to elementary school in New Hampshire with 1/2 of the Two Man Gentlemen Band. When he learned that his long time friend would be playing in the DC area, he called me up to invite me along. I asked him where in Alexandria the show was. "Some place called 'Focus?'," he said. Turns out Focus Music is all about folk and acoustic performances. According to their website:

In addition to supporting the local folk music performing community, Focus presents concerts at two area locations that feature top-quality local and nationally touring performers of acoustic American, International, traditional and contemporary folk music.

The Two Man Gentlemen Band is like the best parts of the Smothers Brothers, Prairie Home Companion, and other seemingly innocuous (and maligned) musical acts/programs. Before you roll your eyes, I said "best parts." Seeing their video clips doesn't do them justice. These guys are clever and solid musicians, albeit slightly hokey. They especially appeal to the math/history/science dork, which is 89% of DC. And they manage to sell out shows in their home town of NYC on a regular basis. Trouble is, they were booked for Focus, which in Alexandria, is a lowly community room with folding chairs in a church off of I-395. Refreshments for this gig were courtesy of a church bake sale, everything for a dollar (choice of can of soda, two-cookie platter, or tiny brownie). Thankfully we made it on the guest list, otherwise the tickets were $18. Eighteen dollars. Wow. Ballz.

The TMGB shtick consists of lots of double entendre, drug use, and boozing, which made the whole scene all the more uncomfortable with blue-haired old ladies and breast-feeding moms in attendance. Here's a peek into what we saw:

The tune above isn't all that flattering for the band, but you get an idea of the place they found themselves. Better luck next time.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Thaoer of power

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down @ the Black Cat - 11/6/09 - $15

I know that Jumbo Slice is going to write up something for Thao when he sees her later this week, probably letting us know how he whored himself out as indie-rock innkeeper and invited the nomadic minstrels to crash with him and his ever-so-patient wife and unsuspecting child, Tiny Slice in their Austin abode. So I'll just let our reader know a little about Thao's performance on Friday night.

I made sure to get to the club at 8 to buy my tickets. It was a Friday night and little else going on, and the DCist among others was pushing the show. The box office didn't open on time, so there was a bit of standing around waiting. Also standing around waiting was an attractive woman of Asian decent, and we kept making eye contact periodically. It started getting a little weird and then it got in my head. Even though I didn't know this woman, I knew who she wasn't. But still, I started thinking, "maybe she thinks that I think that she's Thao." Anyhow, I left with my tickets and came back later with Emma Peel in time for the Portland Cello Project.

My advice to the Portland Cello Project: less cello. I liked the idea of busting out some familiar tunes played on the cello, but choosing Britney Spears and Outkast covers did not do much for me. Pantera was a good call, but something a little more accessible would be better. Maybe some Elton John, Bad Company, Metallica, that sort.

Emma asked me to describe Thao before the show, and eventually I described her music as something you'd hear on an iPod/iPhone commercial. Oh oh oh, oh oh oh. Cheery and pop-rocking. I like it, so that's not meant to be a criticism, but I can see how it could be taken that way.

The show was a sell out, a nice homecoming for the VA native / W&M alumna. Glad I got my tickets early. More than mid way through, two young hipsters appeared on stage, and the chap asked the lass to make it legal. You'll see the tail end of that happening on the video below, complete with Thao's apology for having so many songs about relationships breaking down. Then you got the bag o hammer's song.

Good show, and thanks to Lil and Lauren for their Black Catspitality.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Jet Age in "Love"

One of our favorite DC Bands, The Jet Age, is back with a new album called in "Love". It's a concept album* like their 2008 critically acclaimed album What Did You Do During The War, Daddy? As you guessed, it's about falling in love, falling out of love, and everything that happens in between.

in "Love" is an impressive shift of gears and shows an emotional range I didn't know the band possessed. For every guy (or girl) that's had a serious significant other, you'll relate to the main characters (not sure if that's the right word to use) on this album. The songs do a beautiful job of detailing the relationship arc and the feelings at each stage of that journey. Plus, it rocks every step of the way, which doesn't hurt. The album is a shift not only lyrically but musically. I was struck by the new sounds (ex. swirling guitars) that depart from their trademark power rock. Don't get me wrong, this is still a power trio but they change tones, tempos, and keep you guessing. And they do this while maintaining the things I love most about the band. For example, I'm an album guy. I listen to albums from start to finish. I appreciate bands that produce full lengths that work as a whole, not just a series of individual songs. If you're an album person as well, The Jet Age is the band for you.

If you want to buy in "Love" (and you should) the band is generously letting fans name their own price for the album ($1 minimum). Anyone who pays $10 or more gets both the digital download and a physical copy of the CD. Not too shabby. Especially if you're unemployed and are sucking off the government teet (like me).

The band's national tour begins this evening in Columbus. I'm looking forward to their show in Austin on 11/16 at Trophy's. For my fellow Austinites: mark this date on your calendar.

11/4: Columbus, OH (Carabar)
11/5: Chicago, IL (Beat Kitchen)
11/6: Des Moines, IA (House of Bricks)
11/7: Lawrence, KS (The Bandit Teeth House)
11/8: Denver, CO (3 Kings)
11/10: KEXP In-Studio Performance (3pm PST)
11/10: Seattle, WA (Sunset Tavern)
11/11: Portland, OR (Rotture)
11/12: San Francisco, CA (Hemlock Tavern)
11/13: Monterey, CA (Jose's Underground Lounge)
11/14: Los Angeles, CA (Echo Curio)
11/16: Austin, TX (Trophy's)
11/18: Atlanta, GA (Drunken Unicorn)
11/19: Durham, NC (The Pinhook)
12/11: Washington, DC (Rock and Roll Hotel)

UPDATE: The Jet Age has a FREE CD Release Party at Comet Ping Pong on Saturday, 11/21. Don't miss it!

*technically the last album was a "soundtrack to an imaginary musical". Some referred to it as a rock opera. I'm sticking with the standard concept album description.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Sneezer

Since I got called out for reposting a video that Jumbo slice posted back in March, I might as well go for two and post something that I heard on Marketplace this morning. Weezer has always been quirky, but I'm not sure I like this idea.

For Halloween this year, I went as a home-made Slanket. The Slanket, predates the Snuggie, but it appears to be the Betamax to the Snuggie's VHS.

MDR Playdoh

Sometimes it's just plain nice to hear local talent on the radio, er internet. Such was the case this afternoon when WOXY spun Middle Distance Runner's The Unbeliever. After which, and in doing my Monday night homework, I stumbled upon this gem of a video.

Make sure you get through the 2:30 mark. That's when things get interesting.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Le Loup! There it is...

Time for another sporadic update from Austin. Since I last checked in I've seen Bad Veins, The Dustys, Brazos, White Denim, and Future of the Left. None disappointed and a few were outstanding. A quick recap of White Denim and FOTL:

White Denim solidified their position as my favorite Austin band with a searing and breathless set featuring many songs off their new album, Fits. Halfway through, Lou Barlow and his band made their way to the very front of the stage. They must have walked over immediately after finishing their set at Stubb's. Lou looked blown away by White Denim and could be seen excitedly talking with the band after the show. While that celebrity sighting was pretty cool it didn't compare to the VIP at the Dirty Projector's show earlier this week: Ron Jeremy. I'm serious. The Hedgehog was in the house.

The Future of the Left delivered exactly what I expected. Their set was raucous, headbanging, and hysterical. By the end they had completely dismantled the drum set and were playing what instruments were left out in the crowd. There wasn't a lot of people at the show, but those there had a shitload of fun.

After those bands I decided to stay in this weekend. However, I'm heading to Mohawk tonight to see Le Loup. They're touring in support of the new album, Family and I don't want to miss a chance to see them perform their haunting and infectious music. Here's one of the singles off of Family:

"Beach Town" by Le Loup

I wasn't a fan of Le Loup right off the bat but each time I listened to their first album I found more to love. The second album is more accessible on first listen and every bit as good, if not better. If the live show comes close to the quality of the records, we're in for a treat tonight.