Long live rock, I need it every night

Thursday, July 29, 2010

After yesterday

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti @ The RnRH 7/28/10 - $14

Honorary RC member, Tedwin, was all about seeing
Ariel Marcus Rosenberg perform his odd brand of indie rock, and organized our outing last night.

Just as insightful as a full review, here's the back and forth between sacklunch and Tedwin sent around this morning via email:

Well...that show actually exceeded my low expectations. I thought the band was pretty tight and some of the songs kind of catchy. I left after the 1st song of the encore, so I don't know if things rapidly deteriorated afterwards. For some reason Ariel Pink reminded me of [Tedwin] (had he gone down the wrong path). Once again the H St. crowd was fairly douchey and I felt like an old sack.

I dug the show too -- and why wouldn't I? It was practically like looking into a mirror, as [sacklunch] noted. It was like the nearly full gamut of 60s/70s AM radio (Boz Scaggs, War, the Strawberry Alarm Clock) filtered through an '80s-vintage hipster's dreams. It made me feel like I was somewhere else. Someplace with a disgusting bathroom, Graffiti, sweat-melted mascara, big hollow cars with bench seats, sunshine, and The Rockford Files. I'm still a little drunk, so excuse the poetry.

Methinks Mr. Pink's read the reviews and has decided to tighten it up, to good effect. Now if we could just see that in a decent club.

I think Tedwin was hoping to see the video that opened the Toronto show (alas there is no room for a video screen at the RnRH).

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

sacklunch found alive and...well

Wondering what happened to DCRC's sacklunch? I found him...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dispute settled, David Lynch still weird

As I filled my shopping buggy at the Harris Teeter tonight, I listened to NPR's First Listen of Dark Night of the Soul (the Danger Mouse, Sparklehorse, David Lynch collaboration). I recommend you check it out too, dear reader, regardless of what you're doing while you listen. It's future uncertain due to wranglings between Danger Mouse and EMI records, the album will finally be released on July 13th.

It features a variety of other artists (including James Mercer, Frank Black, Suzanne Vega, Iggy Pop) making the album play a bit like a soundtrack. No official videos have been produced, but this one features "Little Girl," with help from The Strokes' Julian Casablancas. Not really a video, but it includes lyrics, which is nice.

Monday, June 28, 2010

America Hearts Fort Reno

That's right DC, it's Fort Reno time again. You lucky bastards. Tonight's show features America Hearts and Tiny Bombs. The Public Good was supposed to perform but had to bow out at the last minute. Who will be the special surprise act to take their place? Let the Fugazi rumors begin!

Here's hoping that Potsy and Jimbromski make the show and file another video review. The site could use more "gratuitous underage cleavage shots" and rants advocating the "fascist-style culling of the youth of America".

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Canada, you are forgiven

The New Pornographers with The Dodos, and The Dutchess & the Duke - June 23 - 930 club - $37

Senior Youth Correspondent, Andrew, fills us in on night number 2 from this week's back to back New Pornographers shows at the 930 club.

Quite unlike the esteemed Potsy, I enjoyed The Dodos quite a bit. I had heard much banter about them recently but had yet to check the tunes. I enjoy their name especially and went into Wednesday’s set looking out for themes of extinction—the fate that their plump, shrewd namesakes were doomed to eons ago.

The Dodos brought together everything that is great about today’s punk-tinged indie acts like Wavves and Japandroids—driving rhythms, melodic hooks, interesting sonic textures—without replicating the annoying aspects of those bands—inability to handle their drugs, endless droning feeback, repetitive or whiny lyrics. Whereas those two bands are drenched in distortion, The Dodos were more light in their approach, substituting glistening acoustic tones for the punishing overdriven sound of Wavves and Japandroids.

About halfway through their set, the band played two new songs that were both top notch. Drums reminiscent of Animal Collective were paired with country-infused strumming and a bowed vibraphone. I thought singer Meric Long did a good job leading his outfit and only sometimes were there hints that the band lacked self confidence. I would definitely listen to The Dodos in my free time, and would likely attend one of their concerts in the future. Solid Opener.

Never miss seeing the New Pornographers, period. Especially when all nine of them show up. NP gigs featuring both Neko Case and Dan Bejar present the listener with a veritable shmorgishborg of musical expertise and pop genius. Case and Bejar are solo artists who approach NP’s level of recognition in their own right, and when you combine their powers with A.C. Newman (who will never, ever be out catchy-ed), just watch out. Potsy was correct indeed—Bejar is a game changer. I love the fact that nothing about him has changed since I saw him with NP in 07: skulking on and off the stage, slinging a bottle of Stella, and looking like he hates the band’s guts. What a dude.

A big fear with a band that is beloved by so many (both nights sold out. I scalped for $38 day of) is that the set list will feature new stuff at the expense of what everyone wants to hear, the oldies. I like the new tunes a lot, they are great, but I love older NP stuff. Thankfully, it seemed that the band had received and decided to play a set list from a savvy fan, one Amad. Dude knew his business, and NP played a slew of classics, some of which hadn’t been played for years according to Newman. These included The End of Medicine, To Wild Homes, Mass Romantic, and The Electric Version, songs that I hadn’t heard since 2006-ish but that instantly brought back a flood of memories (memories of wishing I was as cool as the dudes and girls in the band).

They are impeccable in the live setting. I simply cannot overstate this. If you didn’t enjoy their set, I’d talk to the doctor about it today. I would say they were so good last night that I release all feelings of hatred toward their native country for what happened during the Winter Olympic hockey final. That’s real big.

In addition to their indie-pop dominance, the band’s banter was genuinely hilarious. One ongoing joke on Wednesday about Pitchfork involved Case telling the crowd that their first interviewer from the then unknown website (hard to believe right) was so young that she had to breast feed him. According to her bandmates, this caused the nubile taste-maker/faker to grow a few inches. “My milk is powerful shit,” replied the beautiful chanteuse nonchalantly.

Listen to the Wednesday show online via NPR's All Songs Considered.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Come Together

The New Pornographers with The Dodos, and The Dutchess & the Duke - June 22 - 930 club - $37

This week, we reunite with Senior Youth Correspondent, Andrew, for a look at the back to back New Pornographers shows at the 930 club.

Granted, the New Pornographers don't need any more coverage on this world wide web, and Weds night show was broadcast on NPR for all to enjoy, but we like to read ourselves write. So let's consider Tuesday night's show first.

I only caught the last song from three-piece the Dutchess & the Duke, which was too bad, because there are definitely worth your time. Apparently, my time is more valuable than yours, or I would have gotten to the show on time. Little did I know the 930 would be so punctual. The website said 8pm start for the D&TD and they meant it. Sorry D&TD, your last tune was great.

The Dodos followed, and I was looking forward to this set, having enjoyed a number of tunes off of their Visiter album. But the Dodos are pushing their more recent album, Time to Die, at this point bringing out less familiar tracks to start. I don't know any other way around this, so I'm just gonna tell you like I saw it. The Dodos were disappointing. I don't think their abilities match with their ambitions so much. Not live, anyway.

The Dodos in action - don't let the banner fool you.

They like to do some intricate music making. Lots of finger picking that probably worked out better in the studio than it did on stage Tuesday night. Meric Long struggled to pluck out every note - lagging behind a bit as some songs ran away from him. Keaton Snyder is a recent addition to the band, and he plays the vibraphone and uses a bow. That was kinda cool. Never saw that before, so there's points for that. But there was too much muddling through long songs that never seemed to go anywhere.

By the time headlining The New Pornographers hit the stage, I was starting to question the effort it took to get out to this show. I bought my ticket on my iPhone while driving on the Whitehurst freeway heading back to work from a doctor's appointment months ago. That was actually kinda dangerous. And then there was the bus ride down U Street with the nutty fat lady who wanted to sing gospel music for all us passengers. Not as dangerous, but it looked like it was going to get weirder.

But that all changed once the NP took the stage. Jimbromski and I were relieved to hear hits right off the bat. And not only was Neko Case present for the show, but seemingly-disinterested Dan Bejar is on board for this tour too. I've seen the acoustic Destroyer show before, but hadn't seen the NP with Bejar ever. What a difference that cranky bastard makes.

A.C. Newman made his remark about how he told Pitchfork that DC was his favorite city to play. I know he said it again for the Weds show (cuz I'm listening to it online right now). So that was nice. There's a good bit of banter from the New Pornographers, and Neko Case is always throwing her wit into the mix. I know people are hot for Neko, but that Kathryn Calder is quite fetching, if you don't mind me saying. Oh, and I just learned that A.C. Newman is Kathryn Calder's uncle. That is bizarre to me.

Okay, okay. Survey says, good solid show, the NP. Worth every penny. The New Pornographers have a new album out, Together.

SYC Andrew will fill us in on the Wednesday night show tomorrow. No doubt his account will be more informative than this one.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hooray for Blood

Hooray for Earth & Surfer Blood @ the Black Cat - Weds. June 16th

We caught the last night of Hooray for Earth's tour with Surfer Blood and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart at the Black Cat on Wednesday. It was a sold out show, and the audience gathered early enough to check out opening act, HFE who is supporting their Momo EP album. The Cambridge, MA/NYC 4-piece delivers the 80s synth sound that can get a bit ethereal with echo-y vocals but is brought back to terra firma by the occasional squawking guitar. This is a sound that doesn't hold my attention for too long, especially if I'm unfamiliar with the tracks. I have to say this was the case on Wednesday night. Most songs drifting into the next, until the last song brought out members from the other bands on the bill, making it a bit of a We Are the World moment.

What followed, was more to my interest, as I had heard a number of Surfer Blood tracks, and was curious how they'd perform live.

Never having researched Surfer Blood, I was surprised to see how young there were. I guess I shouldn't have been, but I blame it on the similarity of their sound to bands closer to my age like Weezer, and Pavement. Their track "Harmonix" reminded me of The Arcade Fire's Neighborhood #2, and while they suggested that Entourage was going to use the song, lead singer John Paul Pitts said a number of things that weren't necessarily true during their set. So who knows.

I was relieved to feel less old when Bob Boilen stood next to me at one point. I also walked into a conversation he was having with Malitz outside about Weird Al playing a tiny desk concert at NPR later in the week. I do a great Bob Boilen impression that I wish I could amuse you with right now. I love when he hurries to announce the bands taking the stage when NPR occasionally records shows at the 930 and other DC venues.

Any way, the highlight of the show was Surfer Blood's own "We are the world" moment, when they closed the set with a cover of Weezer's "Undone - The Sweater Song." Not played particularly well, but it's a great song to begin with, and this is a band you'd like to hear play it.

If you'd like to see a poor quality iPhone video from the show, here ya go.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Days of Future Passed

The Futureheads
Black Cat

June 4, 2010

I heard an interview with the Futureheads on KEXP back when their first album was released in 2004, where they said that they figured the way they could make the most noise as a band was to have each band member sing each song at the same time. I’m not sure many groups outside of the a capella ghetto try that approach but it certainly lends itself to a big sound. While not a sell-out, the Futureheads drew a pretty good crowd to the Black Cat and were able to keep people interested in the new shit, although it seemed pretty clear, given the enthusiastic reception of the crowd to 2004’s “False Conversation” (from the self-titled album of the same year) that most of the audience was, like me, attending because they wanted to hear the old stuff. The band seemed to enjoy one another’s company, which is a rarity given that two of them are brothers. Also lead singer David Hyde has a early 1980s alternative British guy look about him that you don’t see too much anymore, like he could be one of the extras in the video for “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” and could bore the living shit out of you by complaining about Margaret Thatcher for a few hours straight if you had the misfortune to be stuck in a corner with him at a party. And more than likely the food at the party would suck balls because the hosts would be vegan, and consequently you would be like, Jesus, I need new friends, because look at this lame-assed party I ended up at.

Potsy and I noted that the area around the Black Cat continues to change rapidly and we’re starting to see the sort of people on 14th that you previously would only see south of Dupont, or in Georgetown maybe. I don’t get as up in arms about gentrification as others do—it’s a free country and people can live and hang out wherever they like—but you definitely get the sense that some essential shittiness that made the area interesting has been lost forever and that the Black Cat is probably on its way to becoming some sort of museum piece, like CBGB or something. Potsy even thought he saw a bro get iced while we were in there, which was fucking demoralizing to hear. Nevertheless, I was impressed that the Futureheads were able to energize the audience the way they did, because not only did it include the aforementioned 2004 nostalgiacs, but also a good amount of pikers and summer intern types who likely had no idea who the band was. Well done, Futureheads.

Going back to 2004, does anyone else agree with me that 2004-2005 was a golden age of music? I think we’ve gotten a little distance so I can make a grand, ridiculous statement like that. Look at the albums that came out in that period and tell me they weren’t awesome:

Sufjan Stevens, Illinois
The Futureheads, The Futureheads
Spoon, Gimme Fiction
Arcade Fire, Funeral
Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand
Air, Talkie Walkie
Mark Lanegan, Bubblegum
The Libertines, The Libertines
The Black Keys, Rubber Factory
Wolfmother, Wolfmother EP (am I a jackass for liking this? Someone tell me)
Neko Case, The Tigers Have Spoken
Fiery Furnaces, EP
New Pornographers, Twin Cinema

Maybe this is a symptom of my advancing age, but every time I hear new releases from the bands above, I find myself hankering for that 04-05 sound, and I keep not getting it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Put on your helmet

We're going to see Hooray for Earth tomorrow night (and Surfer Blood too).

Here's a taste of the former:

Friday, June 04, 2010

Lake Effect

The Besnard Lakes
Black Cat Backstage

May 27, 2010

Who’s got the best falsetto in rock? Jeff Buckley? He’s dead. Morrissey? He never broke it out after “Miserable Lie,” and let’s all admit that he can’t really sing, anyway. Brian Wilson? Yes, probably, but he’s fat and insane like your mom, and I’d rather not discuss him.

So that leaves us with latter day castrato Jace Lasek of Montreal’s Besnard Lakes. I last saw Besnard Lakes during SXSW with Jumbo Slice and Baby Stew Steve at WOXY, which was fun, although WOXY vomited blood and died like two days later. Note to media outlets—do not allow any members of DC Rock Club up in your shit because you will regret it, as WOXY and Sunday Source can attest.

This time around, I saw the band with Potsy at the much-less-glamorous-than-the-WOXY-studio-during-SXSW back room of the Black Cat, but the band still laid down the wood and gave a great show. All Montreal bands seem to look like they sell mushrooms to undergrads on the side and the Besnard Lakes are no exception. Lasek has a shaggy haircut with bangs and what looked like one of those pairs of glasses of the type that darken when you step outside into the sun, presumably after being inside all day laying down tracks on your prog rock masterpiece with your friends Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. I would make further catty comments about the other band members’ appearance but I couldn’t really see them, as they broke out a smoke machine, which is a lot like letting your Chevy run in the garage with the garage door closed, given the size of the back room at the Black Cat.

Despite looking like smelly vagrants, or maybe because of it, the band sounded great as they tore through “Like the Ocean,” “Albatross” and “This Is What We Call Progress” (from the new The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night). When I saw them at WOXY they freely admitted that they plagiarized the last from the great Philip Bailey/Phil Collins hit “Easy Lover,” and Potsy and I noted that the Black Cat ticket taker looked like he could be Phil Collins’s son, and that maybe there would be an attempt on Lasek’s life during the show Pantera-style, but nothing went down. They also did “Devastation” from The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse, which was epic. I bought a band shirt—it’s a horse made of fire and it’s fucking bad ass and I am too when I wear it.

Before the show Potsy made a good joke that if he owned a freight company that specialized in moving oats from one place to another, he would call it “Haulin’ Oats.” I’ll end this review on that note.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Show Preview: The Futureheads

The Futureheads
with The Like and Static Jocks
Black Cat
Friday, June 4th

In 2004 The Futureheads garnered much acclaimed for their excellent self-titled debut. It was a blistering rock album which featured quick hitting songs like "Le Garage", "Hounds of Love", "Decent Days and Nights". Fans of punk/pop bands like The Jam and Gang of Four couldn't help but heap praise on The Futureheads.

However, after that initial release attention on the band waned. I never quite understood why. Admittedly, the next two albums (News & Tributes and This Is Not The World) weren't quite as brilliant as their debut but they weren't too shabby either.

Now the band has released their fourth album The Chaos. Many are calling it a return to form since it has the same manic energy and the distinct vocal harmonies as their debut. Even an unapologetic fan as myself has to admit this effort is superior to the past two releases. The Chaos is sharp, aggressive, and shows that just because you return to an earlier sound it doesn't mean you can't incorporate some tricks you've learned along the way.

"Struck Dumb" by The Futureheads

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Timing is everything if you've got nothing but time

If Rock Club wasn't already on the hook for The Besnard Lakes this Thursday night, I'd be at DC9 for another look at Tim Fite. I like what he does.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Formed (another) band

Everybody was in the French Resistance...Now! May 15, 2010 @ DC9

Eddie Argos - of Art Brut fame - has teamed up with the very appealing Dyan Valdes (of the Blood Arm) for the exasperatingly named EWITFR...N! After watching the impotent DC United lose to the mediocre Colorado Rapids Saturday night, Rock Club and 38 others had a look at Eddie and Dyan perform tracks off their concept album "Fixin' the Charts, Volume One."

The album is made up of "songs" inspired by a number of other (actual) songs.

Here's the list:
Creeque Allies - Response to “Creeque Alley” by the Mamas and the Papas
G.I.R.L.F.R.E.N (You Know I've Got A) - Response to “Girlfriend” by Avril Lavigne
(I'm So) Waldo P. Emerson Jones - Response to “Waldo P. Emerson Jones” by the Archies
The Scarborough Affaire - Response to “Scarborough Fair,” traditional/Simon & Garfunkel
Billy's Genes - If you can't figure this one out, eat a dick.
Think Twice (It's Not Alright) - Response to “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” by Bob Dylan
Hey! It's Jimmy Mack - Just read the info here
He's a "Rebel"
Coal Digger - Kayne...
My Way (Is Not Always the Best Way) - Old Blue Eyes
Walk Alone

DCRC club has seen Art Brut a few times, and I think it's safe to say, once is all you really need. Entertaining? absolutely. But once you know how The Usual Suspects unfolds, there's no reason to see it again. Such is the fate of Eddie Argos. It's the same ol' thing. He talks. People play music behind him (in this case it's half pre-recorded). He wears a hat. He takes off the hat. He's talks to the crowd. People generously laugh at whatever he says, almost uncomfortably. I think he'll make a great game show host some day.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Are you ready for some futbol?

Paul Hewson, aka Bono, turned 50 years old yesterday. If you ever have the privilege of playing golf with sacklunch, you might see the best Bono impression of all time. sacklunch only knows one joke (the one about your mother), and once he discovers a bit that works, he performs encores - unsolicited.

So imagine you're on the 4th hole staring down a 6 foot putt, you read the green, take a deep breath, and draw back the club. Now imagine a stocky bearded fellow off in the periphery, he's got the flag stick in his hands, starts singing "Sunday Bloody Sunday," and waves the flag as he runs around you. That's sacklunch.

If you've been watching ESPN at all this last week+, you might think that the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa is possible because U2 stopped apartheid and elected Nelson Mandela. In the time that it has taken me to write the above, ESPN has shown two of their U2 themed adverts. Now, I grew up mad about U2. I like hearing "Out of Control" as the narrator reminds us that the soccer player wearing number 10 is like today's basketball player wearing 23. So I'm not complaining. Just sharing. Speaking of narrator, here's sir Bono.

Oh, make it three FIFA ads now.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Local de Mayo

Local Natives @ RnRH - May 5, 2010 - $10

I found a nice surprise from Facebook on Wednesday. Instead of the normal PR notice from the Rock and Roll Hotel via their fan page, I received something worthy of a fan page. No, it wasn't a notice about the next Drunken Jenga night or Gugurachi (or whatever it is that they do upstairs on slow nights). This time I received a message inviting me to purchase a ticket to the sold out Local Natives show. Which I did. There were 5 tickets available, and I got one.

Emma Peel is a fan of Local Natives. She talked them up quite a bit, and that was enough for me to pay attention. It was too bad I couldn't get two tix. This show was originally scheduled for DC9 and moved to the RnRH, so I can't be too greedy.

I did make a mistake in my pre-concert planning. I decided to go for a run before making my way to H Street. I got cleaned up and everything, don't worry. But sometimes the RnRH can resemble a well attended fraternity party. Too many dudes in close quarters with not enough ventilation. I should have stopped in the local Giant before I got there and stood in the frozen food section for 20 minutes. Instead I arrived with an elevated core temp and it only got hotter.

I like shows at the RnRH. It's just big enough, and H street is what 14th street used to feel like, slightly sketchy and under populated. One thing I don't like about the RnRH is the stage lighting. It's really poor, and with such low ceilings, it's difficult to see the band at times. This was true on Wednesday night.

Local Natives put out a strong debut album (Gorilla Manor) that I am just getting to know. But some of their slower tunes can drag on a bit live. At least that's how it felt Wednesday. There's also a lot of ah ahhhhhhh aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh whoaaaaaaaaaaaa oooooooooo. I'm getting a little bored with this sound coming from a good number of bands today (Fleet Foxes, Frightened Rabbits, Animal Collective...), but Local Natives enticed a sizable crowd into singing along with them throughout the show. Often that's a sign I'm at the wrong show, but in this case, it was good to see and hear. We don't often get a lot of that in DC. Here's a clip from Weds:

The up tempo tunes were great and if the hot chick behind me hadn't eaten a 6 pack of garlic, I might have enjoyed my neighbors more as they crowded in to get involved. I noticed one Asian American (or maybe Asian Canadian) who was running-in-place/dancing to the music. I saw another Asian North American do the same thing at the Phoenix show. Is this a trend?

Bottom line, if Local Natives are playing Constitution Hall in a year and a half, I won't go. The Black Cat seems like a good venue for them next time around. The Black cat has better AC too.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

King James the Lawbringer

Eustace Tilley--eat a dick this long, man

Thank God LCD Soundsystem is back. I'm sick of all these weenie bands and their Hostess Twinkie bullshit, man. There's an article about the band and their new album in this week's New Yorker, a magazine that I read. Did I mention I read the New Yorker? Because I do. Even the terrible "humor" articles, which I read to myself using a nebbish Woody Allen-type inner voice, because I think that somehow that will make the "jokes" funnier.

I also love "Life In These United States" and "Humor in Uniform," as well as "Stars--They're Just Like Us!" Wait, that's Reader's Digest. And Us.

I do want to submit "My wife is a slut" to the Cartoon Caption Contest, however.

Anyway, back on topic--LCD Soundsystem. Here's a quote from the man-genius James Murphy that I think encapsulates everything that's right about his band:

LCD live was set up to be an argument about what's wrong with bands and why bands should be better...I always thought we were so obviously not a great band. I was not a great front man. There's a lot of ramshackle mismatched people, and we didn't dress like each other or particularly well. Our rules help us.
Nobody onstage can hear anything the audience doesn't hear. No click tracks, no guides, nothing can be heard onstage that isn't going to the front of the house. If it's a synthesizer, you have to make that sound happen onstage with a synth. If it's an organic sound, it absolutely cannot be put on a sampler. No 'feeling it.' No sunglasses. No rocking out. No improvising. No noodling. No psyching up the crowd. No pretending you're cool. I understand that if someone's going to make me his idea of cool I can't control that. But no wearing the rock-and-roll hat. Volume. Volume. Volume. Volume onstage. We like it to sound uniform, even, and loud as fuck. I want someone to come out of the audience and onto the stage and hear the same shit.
Article excerpts here.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Self employed cetaceans

Freelance Whales @ 9:30 Club Sunday, May 2, 2010 - $15 -
oh, and Shout Out Louds (headliners)

DCRC went to see the saccharine Freelance Whales at the 930 on Sunday night. This is a band that is easy to listen to, and for me that's good and bad.

Have you ever started a new job to find one eager person who is extra nice to you, willing to give you all the insider info about where to get lunch and to tell you who is a bitch and who has a mild cocaine habit? For me, I like knowing a good place to get lunch so I'm instantly grateful. And that's how Freelance Whales strikes me. They use a banjo on stage - and I love banjos - so immediately we're BFF.

But the more this new workmate talks the less you like what you hear, and pretty soon you realize why s/he was so anxious to befriend you. It's because this person totally sucks and is fond of manipulation. I fear this will be the phenomenon of Freelance Whales.

I've always said that my favorite music is music I don't like at first. Not so in this case, but I'll enjoy them while it lasts. Here's a sample of what they do:

Nice hats.

Meanwhile, the Shout Out Louds reminded me of something I would have heard off the Breakfast Club soundtrack. They were fine, but what's with the intermittent blasts of "smoke" on stage? There is a segment of the musical spectrum where smoke machines are acceptable, and Shout Out Louds fall outside of that spectrum (which they should be happy for).

Monday, April 26, 2010

Farewell, til you know me well Girlfriend

Phoenix @ DAR Constitution Hall - Monday, April 26th ~$50

Move over Undercover Slut, Phoenix is the crème de la brûlée. First it was the kissing, then the fries, and now we have Sarkozy eating at Ben's Chili Bowl and Phoenix rocking us...? Next they'll be making enemies with the muslim world. The French. They so want to be American.

They were practically giving tickets to Phoenix away on craigslist this afternoon, so it was back to DAR tonight. DAR still sucks, but Phoenix is big enough to fill the aircraft-hanger of a music hall. They not only shrink the venue with their massive sound, but with their stage presence too.

Here's the difference between Vampire Weekend @DAR and Phoenix @DAR: everyone stands for Phoenix. I think it's deserved. They opened with Lisztomania, got everybody up and were relentless with the catchy pop rock for the duration. Thomas Mars seemed to be looking for every possible emergency exit in the place tonight. I thought he was going to commandeer a spot light and get all Bono at one point.

Great show, check out the second part of the clip where half the audience plays rock band.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Harlem Night

Harlem w/ Tennis System & Foul Swoops - April 19th @DC9 - $10

We are getting close to the one year anniversary of sacklunch's last post on this site. But that doesn't mean he's completely absent. This Monday night, Harlem performed at DC9, and it was a sacklunch pick. Nice job sacklunch. Never mind that Jumbo Slice has been talking up these guys for over a year now. He's a deserter and shall be ignored (for now).

We only caught the last couple of songs from openers Foul Swoops, but they were good, and they looked like they were sophomores in high school. Be sure to check them out if you see them on the bill somewhere. Young rockers.

The Tennis System? Not so much. I liked one out of the five songs I heard them play before retreating downstairs. But a part of me just couldn't get past their look. It was distracting. You know when little girls play dress up and wear their mom's clothes and put on make up and look rather messy and ridiculous? Enter The Tennis System. Half of their membership played dress-up, apparently trying to look like 80s rock stars. I wasn't buying it. Leather vests were bad for Danzig, they're bad for Tennis too.

Then came the very loose threesome, Harlem. Fronted by Michael Coomers, who began the set behind the largest kick drum I've ever seen, I'd say these fellas were well pickled by the time they went on. Sloppy and dealing with technical problems, it didn't matter. These guys were having fun, were self-effacing and they managed to keep it together. "Thanks for paying to see us practice," Coomers joked after his guitar cut out mid song. They took requests from the crowd which filled the club about 80% on a Monday night, and they pleased.

I haven't mentioned that Coomers looks a lot like How I Met Sarah Marshall star, Jason Segel, but I'm pretty sure they're the same guy. Judge for yourself (Coomers may need to lay off the french fries a little).

Better live than on record, despite (or maybe because of) their messy performance...here's their music video:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fillet of Soul

I keep seeing ads for Soul Train DVDs.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

From this day forward

The Wedding Present - Friday, April 9th @ the Black Cat with the Jet Age - $15

There wasn't much brewing on Friday night, so why not check out The Wedding Present?

I knew/know very little about this band, having mostly thrown them into the same basket of British bands that my neighbor in college would listen to, while I donned my flannel and set my sights on music from the Pacific Northwest. My neighbor, Jason Lee (not that Jason Lee, obv), was a huge fan of Ride, Swerve Driver, Suede, the Reading Musical Festival, and I'm pretty sure the only reason I ever heard of The Wedding Present was because it was in rotation coming from his dorm room.

Here's what I've learned since.

  • The Wedding Present is basically David Gedge. He's the only constant in the band since they formed in 1985.
  • They didn't stop making music just because Jason Lee is no longer my neighbor. Friday night's show included a handful of tracks from albums produced after 1995, actually. Some good stuff.
  • While DC area band The Jet Age opened for The Wedding Present on Friday, as they did some 5 years earlier, there is another Jet Age connection to The Wedding Present. The Jet Age's Eric Tischler "was commissioned to remix the lead track for The Wedding Present’s first ever download-only single, “The Thing I Like Best About Him Is His Girlfriend” from the band’s album El Rey" (thank you BLURT on-line).
  • Lots of bald dudes in their late 40s/early 50s love this band. They showed up in full force Friday and even had themselves a ghey-ol' dance party in the middle of the floor. Nice to see people dancing.
  • The Wedding Present can reach back and deliver some intense indie rock (as well as some softer jams), but they played a long long set. David Gedge turns 50 in twelve days, but he rocked it like a 30something Friday, playing the Bizzaro album (their 2nd in the catalog).

Thursday, April 08, 2010

(Cherry) Bomb

The rockudramedy, The Runaways, opens nationwide tomorrow (April 9th). On Monday night, Rock Club caught an advanced screening of this "coming-of-age biopic."

The first thing I learned from seeing this motion picture was that Joan Jett was a minor league lesbian. I guess this isn't necessarily surprising. She has that hardware-store type of walk, and she hates herself for loving you. After watching this movie, one wonders which got more fingering, her guitar, or singer Cherie Currie. Okay, if you expect to see fingering in this movie you're going to be disappointed. I think Jett is more of a power cord kind of player.

But I say minor league because despite the constant references and outright same-sex scenes in the film, Jett has not been out and open about her sexuality in real life. I don't think you can be a major league lesbian if you're not going to be out about it. She seems to be more of a double-A athlete than a major leaguer.

Thanks to movies like Dazed and Confused, I knew the Runways' big hit, Cherry Bomb, without necessarily knowing it was the Runaways who performed it. I was 2 when this band formed and wasn't living in California. Instead, I remember being pretty psyched each time "I Love Rock and Roll" was played over the school bus radio when I was 8 years old. Joan Jett seemed pretty awesome. Little did I know that tune was a cover of The Arrows' 1975 song. Anyway, "I Hate Myself For Loving You" was pretty solid. But now I've gotten ahead of myself.

The second thing I learned from seeing this movie was that I missed hearing some of these tracks I hadn't heard in a while. It inspires you to head to iTunes for a few downloads. No doubt, a calculation when making a movie like this.

Kristen Stewart plays a great Joan Jett, and Dakota Fanning plays Cherie Currie, and I have no idea how true to life her performance of Currie is. But I do know that anytime we type Dakota Fanning on our blog, we get more traffic (welcome back to the blog creepy Fanning fans).

Here are some problems I had with this movie.
1. No sense of time. You aren't given any clue as to what year it is at any given point in the movie. By the end of the movie, it seemed like maybe 9 months had transpired, when it had been 4 years. The same can be said for setting. It wasn't until the characters were sitting in front of the Hollywood sign that I knew for sure they were in California. That was 10 minutes in.
2. Not enough Lita Ford. The movie was based on Currie's book "Neon Angel," so perhaps it's no surprise that the film seemed to be all about Currie. But I wanted to see more Lita Ford. I don't know why, I just did.
3. No nudity. It's a movie about a chick band and there's drugs and rock and roll, but not enough sex if you ask me.
4. The relationship between Jett and Currie covered the "coming-of-age" element of the movie. But their relationship wasn't portrayed as being all that complicated (or interesting) beyond the girl-on-girl element. Once you figure that out, the only thing you have left is the nostalgia from the era, and...

the best thing about this movie.
1. The character of Kim Fowley, manager and "creator" of the Runaways. Played by Michael Shannon, Kim adds the comedy to this tragedy of a movie. In one scene, Joan Jett is calling Fowley from the road, filling him in on how well things are going, and all you hear is Shannon's voice over the telephone, trying to respond, but clearly distracted as he is obviously mid-coitus. He might be worth the time investment in the movie, but not necessarily the price of admission.

When it was all said and done, I learned more about the Runaways in 45 seconds reading wikipedia than I did in watching this whole movie. I wouldn't stop you from seeing the Runaways. The first 30 minutes were actually pretty good. But maybe like the band itself, it ran out of gas pretty quickly.
I'll bet the film does great in Tokyo.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Not quite the Graver I had expected

As mentioned earlier, Jimbromski and I were indeed spellbound by all the Goths congregating outside of Recessions in downtown DC Saturday night. Some folks really know how to make a statement despite a very monochrome wardrobe. Unfortunately for us, the real scene at Recessions for their Spellbound night takes place out of plain view from the street. That and the fact that this doomcookie wasn't brave enough to wander in there, my curiosity as to what goes down at Spellbound went unsated. Mystery solved:

Yeah, it's not what I would have expected at all, but probably should've guessed.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

VW Fuss

Vampire Weekend - Saturday, April 3rd - Constitution Hall DAR - $30+

Jimbromski joined me for an intimate night with Vampire Weekend on Saturday. We both felt as vulnerable as Abe Lincoln, sitting in the box just off the stage, but I can't complain about that really. Comfortable and close. It matched the comfort in which we traveled to the venue (minivan cab ride). I've already gone on and on about how much I detest seeing concerts at DAR on this site, and I'll do a little of that again here, but being close helps a lot.

Here's some video I took from our vantage point:

Sure VW sold a lot of tickets for Saturday's show, but I don't think they did themselves any favors playing DAR as opposed to the 930. They seemed slightly disappointed with the reaction from the crowd, encouraging more dancing, clapping, singing, fawning, even fist pumping. If the crowd wants to fist pump, it probably would take some coaxing, but clapping, singing along, moving. at. all. - these are not new ideas to us, thank you. But I am less likely to do any of them at Constitution Hall. It's just too big and somewhat isolating, leaving me all the more exposed. Anyhow, the space is better suited for a high school assembly than a rock show. Spoon could sell out Constitution Hall. Easily. But for whatever reason, they don't perform there, and we are all the better for it.

VW is certainly a different animal than when we saw them in February of 2008 at the Rock n Roll Hotel. Seeing them performing to high schoolers and their parents this weekend made for a more mainstream experience; not surprising and probably inevitable. But they seemed a little more Disney and a little less rock and roll.

My favorite tune of the night was "Cousins," the first single released from Contra. The song itself pushes all of the right buttons for me, but Ezra Koenig's edgy guitar and Chris Tomson's drumming at the end had just the right crash to disturb and rouse. Here's a great video shot by Diarrhea Island's Marianne to illustrate (actually, Marianne has lots of great stuff to check out from the show):

Despite what I said above, the crowd was wild with appreciation, just not very demonstrative beyond the applause and cheers after each song. Not all that unusual for a DC show, but VW could have had the floor jumping if it were at a better space.

After the show, Jimbromski and I checked out the Goth scene at "Recessions" downtown. Come to find out, they have an ongoing scene offered via Spellbound. Okay, so we actually just looked on from next door as the Goths gathered outside of Recessions. One of them raced back and forth across traffic for some reason demonstrating just how on the edge these folks live (while avoiding the light of day). Vampire Freakend.

I don't imagine I'll be going to see VW again, unless they played a venue like the 930 club or a larger festival where I can lounge outside and see a bunch of other bands too. Saturday's performance was solid, and maybe it's just my middle age flaring up again, but I don't watch Nickelodeon for a reason, and it's the same reason I'll leave future VW shows to the young and the Reston.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Age Dive

We got news this week that senior citizen Iggy Pop's lust for life has meant his retirement from stage diving. Probably a good idea since most people old enough to remember stage diving are in worse shape than he is these days, and would drop him 9 times out of 10 anyway.

With that in mind, we go back to the 1990s when stage diving was annoying music fans all over the world on a regular basis.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Making up for lost time

Believe it or not, Rock Club made it out to a show this weekend. It was the third show of four this week, and it ended a long cold drought.

Last Tuesday was the first of the four nights and the second night of Spoon being in town. They put on a great show at the 930, as usual, with two short encores, great lighting, and a nice mix of tunes from their expanding catalog. I'm always curious about multiple night sets, wondering which night is the better bet. My money was on the second, hoping it worked like the Price is Right's Showcase Showdown. Thanks to our friends at the WaPo's Click Track, the breakdown of the two shows is there to compare.

Friday night was spent at the RnRH to see Baltimore's Wye Oak and headliner Shearwater. Wye Oak rocked it. That two-piece maximizes its profits. Compare that to Shearwater's weighty overhead and off-putting vocals, Wye Oak was the band to see Friday night.

Saturday night, DC's RC membership converged on the Black Cat and began the night with San Diego's Beaters. Metal with a splash of synthesizer. Aggressive and interesting for a song or two, but harsh enough to send us downstairs for a drink.

Next up, we caught a few tracks from ill-named NODZZZ (also from CA). These dork rockers had a Black Lips vibe to them without the full frontal nudity and excessive on-stage spitting. Instead, they had dude with Buddy Holly glasses and a Mr. Spock haircut. They were selling their new 7". I don't have a record player.

Headliners, The Soft Pack, the band whose name is still hanging on the playlist for the comatose WOXY.com, were the final California band of the evening, and showcased a bit of a surfer rock sound. They were excellent from start to finish, great showmanship, excellent vocals, a tight 4some. DCRC was unanimous in its praise for The Soft Pack. I'll be downloading soon.

Here's a clip:

And while we're at it, Monday night brought Vancouver's Japandroids to the RnRH and DCRC out for another show. This was a sacklunch pick, endorsed by Jumboslice, despite Senior Youth Correspondent Andrew's early skepticism about this two piece. Jimbromski and I hung back to catch this act from afar while sacklunch mixed it up closer to the stage with the dozens of young'uns tattooed with big Xs sharpied on their hands. Japandroids were enthusiastic, but we were less so. Jimbromski made the point that they seem to have hatched out of the 1990s, a sloppy loud sound lacking melody. I'm not sure what all the buzz is about.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I'm Gonna Die Before I See My Time

WOXY (1983-?)

Choose what to believe
And you don't take it from anyone else

But I think I'm gonna die
Before I see my time
But I think I'm gonna die
Try it anyway

The lyrics above are from "Answer To Yourself" by The Soft Pack. It was the final song played on WOXY before it went silent yesterday morning. According to Mike Taylor, WOXY Program Director, the song was just a random pick but it seems fitting. You can certainly read a lot into those lyrics.

By now the shock has worn off and the reality that WOXY is no longer on the air has really set in. There are four of us in DC Rock Club and we all have different musical tastes (mine is the best). However, the one thing we had in common was we all listened to WOXY each weekday. At about 10 AM this morning the "What's the fuck are we supposed to listen to" and "Jesus, KEXP really sucks" emails started to fly around. There are many other options for online music but they all pale in comparison to WOXY. For every good song automated radio sites play, you have to sit through a dozen shitty ones. WOXY sifted through all the crap out there and championed the bands that truly deserved attention. While I didn't like every song they played, WOXY had a vastly higher success rate than any station I ever listened to. The WOXY DJs - Mike, Shiv, Joe, and Paige - know their music and it was nice to have people you trusted creating your workday soundtrack.

When it was announced last year that WOXY was moving from Cincinnati to Austin, I couldn't have been more thrilled. I gloated to our friend Steve at BabyStew.com since he's the biggest WOXY fanatic you can imagine. I attended their first big party at the Scoot Inn and spent a lot of time talking with Shiv (Music Director) and Paige (Director of Marketing & Development). The WOXY crew wasted no time making their mark on the weirdest little city in Texas. They sponsored incredible shows, had tons of great bands in studio, and were always out around town (Shiv is a god damn SUPERSTAR here). Basically, they're the nicest, smartest, coolest folks you'd ever want to meet.

They were also incredibly welcoming. I had the pleasure of going to the WOXY studio for numerous Lounge Act recordings. I got to see Royal Bangs, Mission of Burma (one of my all-time favorite bands), Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, and just last week, The Besnard Lakes. Each time I was there the WOXY staff was happy to share their space with fellow music fans. WOXY and Austin seemed like the perfect fit. Which is why the announcement yesterday was such a fucking bummer.

I'm not sure if WOXY will make it back on the air or not. I certainly hope so. I've said it many times and I'll say it again: I'd HAPPILY pay a monthly fee to listen to WOXY. I seriously feel lost with my default music option.

Here's a video I shot last week at WOXY of The Besnard Lakes performing "Albatross". Thanks again to everyone at WOXY for having us in and to Steve for helping set it all up.

The Future of Rock and Roll is dead

This is a very sad day. Normally, I'd be 2 hours into my morning at work, catching up on New Tunes Tuesday, enjoying the best in free internet radio. But unceremoniously, the plug has been pulled on WOXY.com

I often asked, how does this station afford to do what it does (did)? It never asked for donations, and never aired commercials. I found this article back in October to help explain things, but I guess that wasn't enough. Man. This seriously blows. Especially for those folks who just moved out to Austin.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

DC Does TX 2010

Well, it's almost that time again...the most wonderful time of the year: SXSW. There are many things I love about living in Austin but SXSW is at the top of the list. Thousands of bands descend upon the city, play a fuck load of free shows (often w/ free beer), and turn all of Austin in one giant party. God I love it. This year will be extra magical-special because Jimbromski and family are coming down to partake in the activities. It'll be interesting as we balance time with the wives and kids riding the choo-choo train at Barton Springs with time drinking beers at Emo's with BabyStew Steve and Mr. Malitz. Fortunately, we have a lot of experience parenting while hungover.

As you might imagine, Sacklunch (remember him?) and Potsy are insanely jealous they won't be at SXSW. Jimbromski, being the devious and clever man that he is, surreptitiously made his trip plans w/o informing Potsy and Sacklunch, thereby ensuring free room and board at La Casa del Jumbo Slice. Once again proving that in a game of Rock Club Survivor, Jimbromski would win the million dollars.

As I mentioned there are more shows and parties than I can keep track of but one show I'm sure to attend is the DC Does TX party:

I'm especially excited to see Title Tracks for the first time (I missed their Austin show last month) and I always look forward to Deleted Scenes. Of course, it's a solid lineup from top to bottom. And if that's not reason enough to attend, there will be free beer compliments of Doghead Fish Craft Brewery. Here are the set times:

12-12:30 - Vandaveer
12:45-1:15 - Pree
1:30-2:00 - Deleted Scenes
2:15-2:45 - Title Tracks
3:00-3:30 - Le Loup
3:45-4:15 - US Royalty
4:25-4:55 - Middle Distance Runner

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Broken Bells Dropped

Brian Burton (Danger Mouse) and James Mercer's (The Shins) collaboration, Broken Bells, release their self-titled album today. If anybody's interested... They perform at SXSW on the 17th.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

"Hang in there."*

sack lunch (if you even remember who he is) is gearing up for a couple of big hikes. One up Mt. Washington as prep for a bigger go at Mt. Rainier (number 2). So on Saturday night, we ventured out to the E Street Cinema for a flick about climbing and Nazis, a winning combination. At least that was how it was advertised to us. The movie, Nordwand, is a 2008 pic about two dudes in 1936 who try to be the first to make their way up the North Face of the Eiger in Switzerland. While there were some Nazis involved, they were peripheral to the story, and none of them got shot, or anything coming close to getting shot. They got waved at, mostly. Hardly the kind of punishment we are accustomed to seeing inflicted on the Nazis.

Anyway, I figured this flick was meant to inspire sack lunch as he readies himself for cold weather and icy conditions. But having seen this motion picture, there's nothing inspirational about it. It'd be like watching a movie about those Italian families who put on all the firework displays for the major holidays, but in the end, they all burn to death in a horrific and drawn out series of disastrous mishaps. Very uplifting. Good luck, sack lunch. Bring extra long rope. Oh yeah, the movie's in German, too, so bring your reading glasses if you don't speak the Deutsch.

In light of this gloomy movie, let's go back and revisit a more positive rock climbing experience.

* a quote from the movie, believe it or not.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

You might get bored

I watched It Might Get Loud the other night. You know, this is the rockumentary that features a not so casual meeting of guitarists Jimmy Page, David Evans (The Edge), and Jack White.

The actual meeting of these three is rather awkward as they sit around and talk about guitars and try to play each others tunes. Nothing like watching professional musicians who have no real love for one another squint at each other's fretboard trying to figure out how the song goes. It's kind of annoying, actually. But the rest of the film was pretty decent. I liked the historical footage of Page when he was 15 and featured on British television. And watching White make a guitar out of coke bottle, a hunk of wood, and a wire was equally enjoyable.

Having grown up on U2, I especially appreciated the footage of "Street Mission" that was offered. I had never heard of this song, and definitely never saw this footage before. According to the movie credits, this song was written by U2 before they were U2. They were called "The Hype" back then. I just wish Larry Mullen Jr. would stop giving me the eyes at minute 1:50. He's so flirty.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Concert Preview: La Snacks at the Velvet Lounge

Austin comes to DC as my good friends La Snacks take over the Velvet Lounge on Saturday night. Opening for La Snacks are another Austin band, Transmography, along with two local bands: Typefighter and Ionosphere Club. A solid lineup for what promises to be a great night of music.

Ls Snacks have a raw, fuzzy, slacker sound that recalls the best indie rock of the '90s. Couple that with highly amusing lyrics and a great live show and you have a winning formula. Be sure to check them out. Here's my favorite song by La Snacks, "Kristen Was A Meteorologist":

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Beatles For Sale

We've been getting the Financial Times at work these past few weeks (for free). I don't really read, but I like to look at the pictures. So when I got to the Companies & Markets section, I paused when I saw a photo of a George and Ringo looking hazily toward the camera. Apparently, EMI is putting the Abbey Road studios up for sale. Times are tough. I've got $2k coming back from my tax return that I can chip in. Anyone else?

Click on the screen shot to read the online story.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Never gonna stop, give it up

The Knack's Doug Fieger died of lung cancer this weekend. He was 57.


I can't say that I was a big fan or really know any of their other tunes, but "My Sharona" is obviously a classic. This clip shows how excited everyone was in Carnegie Hall to finally hear the one song that they knew.