Episode 130: Marian McLaughlin and Ethan Foote

Episode 130: Marian McLaughlin and Ethan Foote

This week on the podcast singer/guitarist/composer Marian McLaughlin returns and is bringing her collaborator Ethan Foote with her to talk about their upcoming album, Spirit House. Equal parts folk, chamber music, and magic, Spirit House is the evolution of the work Marian began on 2014’s Derive taken in directions she only hinted at previously. In this return to the basement, Kevin sits down with the duo to discover more about the albums inspirations, its many collaborators and how it changed the people who made it.

PLUS! Check out new track from The Low Lows Monk Parker off of his debut solo album, How The Spark Loves The Tinder, on Episode 130 of ChunkyGlasses: The Podcast!


Kamasi Washington @ The Howard Theatre - 8/26/15

Kamasi Washington @ The Howard Theatre - 8/26/15

On Wednesday morning at approximately 6:45 AM Bryce Williams (Vester Flanagan) murdered Alison Parker and Adam Ward during a live television broadcast. He filmed the shootings and shared the video with the world before taking his own life.

On Wednesday evening at approximately 9:30 PM Kamasi Washington and his band began their set in front of a packed house at the Howard Theater.

These events were not connected. They were separated by 190 miles and 15 hours. That is a world of distance; an ocean of time. Yet these events were inextricably linked.

When tragedies play out on camera and are spread in real time through the media, we all become witnesses. Our national and local psyches are indelibly wounded by these all too common eruptions of violence. Charleston. Sandy Hook.  Virginia Tech. Minneapolis.  By some counts, more than one mass shooting a day in 2015. More incidents than we can remember, more victims than we can effectively process. Every person in that audience that watched the news, followed the events on social media, or (god forbid) saw the actual video was affected as part of the larger, extended community.

By the time Kamasi Washington took the stage, the familiar pattern of action and reaction had taken hold. The same debates about mental health and gun control, the same longform reaction pieces, the same accusations of “politicization” from all sides, the same feeling that this event, like the ones that came before, would change nothing. That our crippling national inertia would continue.


Episode 129: Titus Andronicus - The Most Lamentable Tragedy / La Luz - Weirdo Shrine

Episode 129: Titus Andronicus - The Most Lamentable Tragedy / La Luz - Weirdo Shrine

This week on the podcast, vacation is OVER and we're back to review new albums from indie-punks Titus Andronicus, who may be suffering a tragedy most lamentable, and Seattle surf-gaze quartet, La Luz's latest, Weirdo Shrine. But first: N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton is dominating the box office, but seems to have forgot some very important facts – specifically Dr. Dre’s vicious 1991 assault of journalist Dee Barnes. Is this just par for the course for bio-pics and entertainment “icons” or should we expect more from our “heroes” and maybe even ourselves?

All this PLUS a new track from Iceland artist Prins Póló on Episode 129 of ChunkyGlasses: The Podcast!


Howard Jones @ The Hamilton Live - 8/18/15

Howard Jones @ The Hamilton Live - 8/18/15

Howard Jones may not be the musician that most people think of first when they think of the 80s, but as a performer who had ten songs hit the Billboard Hot 100 (eight of which went into the top 40) over the course of the decade he was certainly successful, and several of his songs have remained dance floor staples. Like many artists from the era, he has continued to make music over the years, touring and releasing albums on his own label Dtox to a dedicated following of fans. On Tuesday night he came to The Hamilton.


Brazilian Girls @ The Ottobar - 8/8/2015

Brazilian Girls @ The Ottobar - 8/8/2015

Though more international than many other bands (singer Sabina Sciubba is Italian, while keyboardist Didi Gutman is Argentinian), no one in Brazilian Girls is actually Brazilian, and only one of them is female.  But regardless of any questions raised by their name, one thing is certain – they’re a band that knows how to have a good time.  Last Saturday night, the New York-based quartet brought their world music-influenced electronic dance-punk to the Ottobar in Baltimore for a show that kept everyone in the venue moving for the entire show. 


Steely Dan W/Elvis Costello and the Imposters at Jiffy Lube Live - 8/5/2015

Steely Dan W/Elvis Costello and the Imposters at Jiffy Lube Live - 8/5/2015

Steely Dan’s Donald Fagan and Walter Becker have been making music together for nearly half a century now, a fact that was not lost on Becker as he introduced their backing band at Jiffy Lube Live last Wednesday.  The duo is known for their almost-too-slick 70s FM radio production (“no static at all”) that belies a dark underworld of shady characters, seedy locales, and questionable goings-on.  Blending soft rock tropes with complex jazz scales and time signatures is no easy feat, but Fagan and Becker are the masters at it.  With a 12-person band backing them, it takes a lot of work to sound so smooth.


Episode 128: YESCAST

Episode 128: YESCAST

The week on the podcast we’re headed down the deepest, darkest, music-nerd hole yet. Born in the late 60’s, the band Yes isn’t just one of the greatest prog-rock bands that ever was, they may have been one of the greatest bands period. Joining Kevin on a musical journey through space and time are his old friend Brian, and The Beanstalk Library’s very own Yes super-fan, Brian Pagels.  Yes has traveled through many incarnations, sounds, and seismic shifts over the years, and we’re here to expose you to them all. A deep exploration of a band and three fans that love them, it’s Episode 128 of ChunkyGlasses: The Podcast!


Sam Lee @ Jammin' Java - 8/2/2015

Sam Lee @ Jammin' Java - 8/2/2015

Jammin’ Java on Sunday that he and his band had been invited to peruse the Lomax Collection at the Library of Congress the next day.  While many might find it a surprise that, in this digital age where seemingly everyone is connected and pop culture has taken over, there are even still folk songs to collect, Lee has been at it for several years now, primarily among the Gypsy and traveller communities of the British isles.  Earlier this year, Lee released his second album of traditional material, The Fade In Time.


Veruca Salt @ 9:30 Club - 8/1/15

Veruca Salt @ 9:30 Club - 8/1/15

Veruca Salt may not be the biggest band of the 90s doing the reunion circuit right now, but one look at the enthusiastic crowd that gathered at the 9:30 Club last Saturday showed that they are still loved by a large and diverse following. It no doubt helps that the alt rock band came out swinging last month with a new album, Ghost Notes, which easily rivals the best of their earlier material. When the band first got back together in 2013, they made the announcement that they had returned “hatchets buried, axes exhumed,” and through the 20-song set of material old and new they made good on that promise.

Opening the set with new track “Prince of Wales” was a bold choice – not only was there the risk that many in the audience hadn’t heard it yet, but at over five and a half minutes long, it’s one of the longer songs in the band’s repertoire. A slow burning song that starts with a churning bass line and builds to an energetic burst in the chorus, it felt like the band reintroducing themselves. And the audience ate it right up. Following it with “I’m Taking Europe With Me” from the 1996 EP Blow It Out Your Ass It’s Veruca Salt, the band proved that the new material and the old could mix seamlessly.


Laura Marling @ 9:30 Club - 7/31/15

Laura Marling @ 9:30 Club - 7/31/15

If it surprises you to hear that British folk music can sell out the 9:30 Club, you probably weren’t there on Friday night. That night the room was transformed into an English folk club – or at least as close as the design of the venue would allow – as three singers took to the stage to perform for a packed crowd of fans.

Opening the show was Marika Hackman, playing songs from her debut album, We Slept at Last. She was followed by actor-turned-musician Johnny Flynn, performing a solo set of songs from his three albums. Though he has recently appeared to be concentrating more on his acting (since releasing his most recent album Country Mile in 2013, he has appeared in the British sitcom Scrotal Recall and the movie Song One, amongst other roles), he played one new, as-of-yet untitled song mid-set. To round out his set, he was joined by Laura Marling for their duet on his song “The Water” (easily one of the highlights of the night), and then the pair were joined by Hackman and by Marling’s band to perform a raucous sing-along of “Tickle Me Pink” from Flynn’s debut album A Larum.


Episode 127: Rainbow Rock

Episode 127: Rainbow Rock

This week on the podcast Kevin sits down with the Rainbow Lady and Guitarmony Gus (aka Kate Moran and Derek Evry) to talk about the Rainbow Rock Band! Grown up rockers in their own right, Kate, Derek and a whole host of other familiar names in the “IOTA scene” are giving back to the community in the best way they know how: PLAYING MUSIC! “Rocking the rainbow” at libraries, children’s hospitals, schools – pretty much EVERYWHERE – Kate and her crew are bringing joy and knowledge to kids throughout the DMV area and beyond with their smart, fun, and educational original songs. With their debut CD, Meet The Rainbow, released earlier this year they are poised to take over the world, Kate and Derek tell all about the group’s beginnings, deeper ambitions, importance of their mission and more. It’s a kid friendly, rated G for GREAT time in the basement on Episode 127 of ChunkyGlasses: The Podcast 


Django Django w/Beat Connection at 9:30 Club - 7/29/15

Django Django w/Beat Connection at 9:30 Club - 7/29/15

Scottish art rockers Django Django released their second album, Born Under Saturn, earlier this year, and though it didn’t signal a large departure from their debut, it showed exactly the kind of organic growth in songwriting and musicianship that might be hoped for in a sophomore release. Still present are their up-to-four part vocal harmonies, their psychedelic flourishes, and their complex rhythms, all of which result in the distinctive sound for which the band is known.

Interestingly, the band chose to focus most of their sixteen-song set on their first, self-titled album, playing only four tracks (“Shake and Tremble,” “First Light,” “Reflections,” and “4000 Years”) from the more recent release. One new song – an instrumental track recorded for a film made by drummer David MacLean’s brother John titled Slow West – made an appearance mid-set but felt a bit out of place; a four-and-a-half minute slow-building guitar strum, it probably makes more sense in the context of the film than it does in the middle of a rock show. Beyond that minor indulgence, though, the audience got to hear all of their favorites, including tracks such as “Hail Bop,” “Wave Forms,” and “Firewater,” in many cases in pumped-up versions designed to inspire dancing.


Patrick and Dave Go to Solid Sound 2015 - An Oral History Transcribed from Imaginary Basement Tapes… [Part 3 of 3]

Patrick and Dave Go to Solid Sound 2015 - An Oral History Transcribed from Imaginary Basement Tapes… [Part 3 of 3]

Two longtime Wilco fans and conscientious hedonists journeyed to Solid Sound 2015. One is a free-lance writer by trade and the other is a regular contributor to ChunkyGlasses. With a shared history of two previous Solid Sound Festivals, countless Wilco shows attended together, and a friendship built around their shared experience of love for the band, Dave and Patrick plan to describe all that is great about Solid Sound in a personal and experiential way. Think Chuck Klosterman at a Kiss festival. They will explore not only what they love about Wilco, but also why the band is important to them as they age, how their perspective has changed over time, and what it all means -- the Festival, the band, and life.

This is how their journey ends...


My Morning Jacket w/Jason Isbell @ Merriweather Post Pavilion - 7/26/15

My Morning Jacket w/Jason Isbell @ Merriweather Post Pavilion - 7/26/15

A swelteringly hot summer evening couldn’t stop the rock on Sunday night at Merriweather Post Pavilion, where My Morning Jacket and Jason Isbell came to share material from their recent albums and more.

A lauded guitarist and songwriter, Isbell released his fifth record,  Something More Than Free, just over a week ago. The album has already broken expectations by reaching number one on not just the country Billboard charts, but on the rock, indie, and folk charts as well. At the core of his 11-song opening set were five tracks from that album, along with several each from the previous two releases, Southeastern and Here We Rest. Longtime fans even got some service in “Decoration Day,” the title track of one the Drive-By Truckers – a band Isbell famously did some time in – most memorable albums.

Isbell’s songs are narratives; each one feeling like it has a story to tell, something which could easily be lost to an opening act in a venue the size of Merriweather where thousands of people are there only to see the main act (especially a quiet country artist opening for a rock band known for their much louder performances). But Isbell and his band the 400 Unit managed to draw the attention of that crowd surprisingly well, and by the end of his set he’d surely made more than a few new fans.


Patrick and Dave Go to Solid Sound 2015 - An Oral History Transcribed from Imaginary Basement Tapes… [Part 2 of 3]

Patrick and Dave Go to Solid Sound 2015 - An Oral History Transcribed from Imaginary Basement Tapes… [Part 2 of 3]

Two longtime Wilco fans and conscientious hedonists journeyed to Solid Sound 2015. One is a free-lance writer by trade and the other is a regular contributor to ChunkyGlasses. With a shared history of two previous Solid Sound Festivals, countless Wilco shows attended together, and a friendship built around their shared experience of love for the band, Dave and Patrick plan to describe all that is great about Solid Sound in a personal and experiential way. Think Chuck Klosterman at a Kiss festival. They will explore not only what they love about Wilco, but also why the band is important to them as they age, how their perspective has changed over time, and what it all means -- the Festival, the band, and life.

Their journey continues...


Lilly Hiatt at Gypsy Sally's - 7/22/15

Lilly Hiatt at Gypsy Sally's - 7/22/15

Though she’s the daughter of renowned singer-songwriter John Hiatt – arguably one of the biggest names in modern Americana – Lilly Hiatt is not content to rest on her father’s reputation. Earlier this year she released her powerful sophomore album, Royal Blue, and already the Nashville-based musician is developing a sound which, though it draws heavily on the traditions she grew up in, she’s making her own.


Patrick and Dave Go to Solid Sound 2015 - An Oral History Transcribed from Imaginary Basement Tapes… [Part 1 of 3]

Patrick and Dave Go to Solid Sound 2015 - An Oral History Transcribed from Imaginary Basement Tapes… [Part 1 of 3]

Two longtime Wilco fans and conscientious hedonists journeyed to Solid Sound 2015. One is a free-lance writer by trade and the other is a regular contributor to ChunkyGlasses. With a shared history of two previous Solid Sound Festivals, countless Wilco shows attended together, and a friendship built around their shared experience of love for the band, Dave and Patrick plan to describe all that is great about Solid Sound in a personal and experiential way. Think Chuck Klosterman at a Kiss festival. They will explore not only what they love about Wilco, but also why the band is important to them as they age, how their perspective has changed over time, and what it all means -- the Festival, the band, and life.

This is how it begins...


Episode 126: Wilco - Star Wars / Tame Impala - Currents

Episode 126: Wilco - Star Wars / Tame Impala - Currents

This week on the podcast, we’re talking BIG releases from two of the biggest indie bands around.

First up: Wilco got their start out of the ashes of alt-country legends Uncle Tupelo, and while their sound might not have fallen far from the tree at the beginning, over their twenty-plus year career they’ve consistently reshaped their sound, lineup, and even the musical landscape around them to become known as one of the most adventerous bands in rock history. For their latest “trick” the band released Star Wars, their ninth album proper, unannounced and for free last week on their website. Kevin, Patrick and Carrie dig into the history of the band, why this album matters, and most importantly: is it any good?

Next: Kevin Parker and his band Tame Impala are your guides through a headtrip worthy of the roller-rink most hip, but is their new album Currents a sonic step forward for the band, or a cold, harsh reminder of how cruel a Bee Gee’s B-Side could really be? We buy the ticket and take the ride to get to the bottom of this critically acclaimed sonic adventure.

PLUS! You want a hot new track from North Carolina’s See Gulls? We got you covered! Deep thoughts on the sad double standards of entertainment journalism? CHECK! It’s a smack-talking, mega-fanboying, super-catified hour of fun, and it’s all for you on Episode 136 of ChunkyGlasses: The Podcast!


Steeleye Span at The Birchmere - 7/17/15

Steeleye Span at The Birchmere - 7/17/15

As one of the founding bands of the British folk-rock movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, Steeleye Span has long been recognized as musical pioneers. Mixing traditional folk music with electric instruments might not seem all that unusual today, but when the band’s first album, Hark! the Village Wait, came out in 1970, it was nearly unheard of. The band has gone through numerous line-up changes over the years – husband and wife duo Gay and Terry Woods left after that first album (performing as a duo for several years; after that, Terry was a founding member of Irish folk-rockers The Pogues, and Gay returned to the Steeleye fold briefly for a pair of albums in the late 90s), then after their third album, Ten Man Mop, Ashley Hutchings left to form another seminal folk-rock band, Fairport Convention. 

In fact, the band that came to The Birchmere on Tuesday night has not (yet) recorded an album together, with only singer Maddy Prior continuing to represent the original group and drummer (and sometimes guitarist) Liam Genockey, who originally joined the band in 1986 rounding up the old guard. New members Julian Littman (guitar and vocals) and Jessie-May Smart (violin) have managed to integrate themselves into the band’s sound, though, and last-minute fill-in bassist Nils Petersen handled the pressure of having to play a whole concert of songs he’d just learned with ease (Prior’s son Alex Kemp, who was supposed to be with the band on bass for this tour, had visa issues and was unable to join them for their US shows).


The Weather Station at DC9 - 7/17/15

The Weather Station at DC9 - 7/17/15

On Friday evening, DC9 hosted an early show featuring two up-and-coming Canadian folk artists, singer songwriters Tamara Lindeman – who performs as The Weather Station – and Andy Shauf. Both touring to support recent releases – The Weather Station’s third album, Loyalty (her first to get a US release, on Paradise of Bachelors), and Shauf’s first full-length, The Bearer of Bad News – the two artists shared a stage and a backing band (Ben Whiteley on bass, Adrian Cook on keyboards and guitar, and Ian Kehoe on drums).

Andy Shauf has been compared to singers like Elliott Smith and Josh Rouse, and hearing him live, it’s easy to understand why. His breathy, often falsetto vocals are reminiscent of both singers, as is his penchant for minor keys. But despite his clear place in a tradition, he’s developing a style of his own, as can be heard in songs like “Hometown Hero” and “You’re Out Wasting.” Live the songs are a bit more sparse and direct, without the layered vocals and additional instrumentation.