A new Waterboys album comes infrequently enough that when it does, it feels like something to celebrate. Despite a career going on 32 years, the band released only their 11th studio album, Modern Blues, at the beginning of this month. The album is a bit of a change of pace for the band – the only time they’ve rocked so hard previously was on 2000’s A Rock in a Weary Land, and in many ways this new album feels like a spiritual successor to that one. The driving guitar and soaring electric organ at the opening of “Destinies Entwined” sets the tone for the album, and also served to introduce the Waterboys of 2015 to a packed, standing-room-only house at The Birchmere’s flex stage last Tuesday night. The Waterboys have always had a rotating lineup – for this tour, bandleader Mike Scott and long-time violinist Steve Wickham were joined by several of the musicians behind the album, guitarist Zach Ernst, bassist David Hood, keyboardist Brother Paul (Paul Brown), and drummer Ralph Salmins.
In 1994, the Manic Street Preachers released their third album, The Holy Bible, a harrowing 13-song statement on human suffering that has often been branded as the band’s masterpiece. Following its release, just before the band was due to tour in the US, songwriter and guitarist Richey Edwards disappeared never to be seen again in what has become one of rock and roll’s more infamous mysteries (Edwards was declared legally dead in 2008). The tour was cancelled, and the album was never toured stateside.
For the 20th anniversary of the album, the band has chosen to rectify this by playing the album in its entirety on a series of US dates (their first shows on this side of the Atlantic since 2009). Monday night’s show at the 9:30 Club not only marked the first US performance of the album, but also the band’s first appearance in Washington, DC. “We’ve never played Washington before, and I’m fucking glad we came,” declared bassist Nicky Wire partway through the show. And DC was glad to see them too, as fans cheered and sang along with songs that many of them have been listening to for years but have never gotten to see live. While the band has been highly successful in Europe, selling out stadium shows, in the US they’ve retained more of a cult following. For an hour and a half in the packed club, though, they seemed like the most important band in the world, with fans who had travelled from all over to see the album make its US debut.
One of the early pioneers of the late 70s British punk movement, Buzzcocks have outlasted many of their peers. They were one of the first punk bands to bring a pop sensibility into the genre, proving that energy and melody are not necessarily the antithesis of each other. Also unlike many of those peers, the band has not been content to simply relive past glories. Although they initially split in 1981, since reuniting in the early 90s they have released a catalog that now triples their original three-album output. Touring for the recent release of their ninth album, The Way, the band – made up of original members Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle, both on guitar and vocals, along with Chris Remmington on bass and Danny Farrant on drums – came to Baltimore last Saturday for a stop at the Baltimore Soundstage.
In our latest podcast, the TIDAL wave of fail continues for Jay Z’s newborn streaming service. CEO firings and cold calls from Jack White? We dish the latest news on TIDAL, then dive into the messy realities of “poptimism” and what it means for you. PLUS!! The gang takes an Ivy Tripp with singer/songwriter Katie Crutchfield aka Waxahatchee, and Escape From Evil with one of Baltimore’s best, Lower Dens. It’s a jam/schadenfreude packed hour of deep feelings, hard truths and a bit of outlaw country on Episode 113 of ChunkyGlasses: The Podcast!
One of our favorite bands having fun; Your favorite 80's jams spaced out and given that special Roadkill "touch"; any given Sunday in our basement.
Why You Should Care:
The guys of Athens, GA's (by way of Deland, Fla) Roadkill Ghost Choir are, first and foremost, music fans. If you follow them on Facebook you can see the ever growing playlist that they listen to in the van. If you've seen them live you know the energy this band brings to their art. Put simply, they're one of the best bands to come up in the past few years, and they're story is just getting started. So what does a band who's opened for Band of Horses, received widespread critical acclaim for their debut album In Tongues and become known as practical warhorse of the touring circuit do in their spare time?
Record a handful of choice 80's covers obviously.
Montreal-based band Stars has been perfecting their own intelligent brand of indie pop for fifteen years now. 2014’s, No One Is Lost, their seventh album, took them in a more electronic direction, with disco beats permeating tracks like “From the Night” and “Trap Door,” and the roller-disco theme of the cover art reinforcing the shift in sound. Yet the album is still recognizably Stars, and sounds more like an evolution than a reinvention. The band came to the 9:30 Club late last year their tour for the album, and returned to the area to play at Rams Head Live in Baltimore last Friday night.
The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle has never been one to shy away from heavy-themed albums, with many of his recordings revolving around stories drawn from his own experiences of abuse, addiction, and mental illness. At first glance, then, an album about professional wrestling (the recently released Beat the Champ) might sound like fluff material in comparison. Yet a closer look at the album’s thirteen tracks reveals stories about murder (“Stabbed to Death Outside San Juan”), stabbing someone in the eye (“Foreign Object”), and an old wrestler deteriorating in his final years (“The Ballad of Bull Ramos”). Weighty stuff.
On this week’s podcast, Andrew Grossman and Michael Hernandez of DC’s The North Country stop by the basement the morning after a most triumphant show at Babe City to talk about their upcoming album There Is Nothing To Fear. A pastiche of early 2000’s indie rock (think Arcade Fire, Wilco, My Morning Jacket) mashed together with whip-smart observational lyrics and sublimely honest, observational, lyricism, Fear not only marks the arrival of a major musical force on the DC scene, but happens to be one of the best albums of 2015 to date.
Whether you’re already a fan, or just getting hip to The North Country, this is one conversation you’re not gonna want to miss on Episode 112 of ChunkyGlasses: The Podcast!
It’s been nearly eight years since José González has put out a solo album, during which time he has been busy with his band Junip, but that changed in February with the release of Vestiges & Claws, his third full-length release under his own name. His solo recordings distinguish themselves from the band by being quieter, more acoustic, and more directly focused on González as a singer-songwriter. So it was no surprise when, on Tuesday night at the 9:30 Club, his show was a sparser affair than when Junip last played at the venue in 2013.
On this week’s podcast, Kevin, Carrie and Patrick explore the often hilarious, and hilariously verbose world of Australian singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett and her debut LP sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit. But not before dishing all of the dirt on Jay Z’s Tidal, the newest player in the streaming landscape. Artist owned and curated, will Tidal, with its “hi-fi” stream and no free tier subscription, follow through on its promise to save the music industry, or is it just more of the same with megastar backers.
PLUS!! Richmond, Virginia’s AVERS has been hard at work on their sophomore album and we’ve got the first single, “Vampire” for you to put in your ears, where it belongs! Get ready to tune in and rawk out on Episode 111 of ChunkyGlasses: The Podcast!