It’s been six years since we’ve heard from Teenage Fanclub, but after what seemed like an eternity in which the Scottish group teased fans with occasional posts about the ongoing recording process on Twitter and Facebook (no doubt slowed down by members of the band now being spread across two continents), they released their tenth album, Here, on Merge Records in September. The album doesn’t break new ground the way that some of the band’s early releases did, but as a solid, 45-minute slice of the band’s classic Beatles- and Byrds-infused indie pop, it’s an instant classic. We’re fortunate to still have Teenage Fanclub in 2016, and on their first real US tour since 2010 (the band played the Merge 25 festival and NYC only in 2014), they proved that they still reign over the genre after all of these years.
It’s been a while since we’ve heard any new music from Blonde Redhead, who released their most recent album Barragán in 2014, but the indie rock trio has been busy this fall taking a look back. First, there was the release of Masculin Féminin, a box set covering the period of their first two albums, put out by Numero Group in late September. Then, in October, the band embarked on a brief tour playing their 2004 album Misery is a Butterfly (almost) in its entirety, backed by the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME). For their DC stop, the band returned to the Howard Theatre, where they last played in 2014.
On October 30, 1974, Muhammad Ali fought George Foreman in the famous “Rumble in the Jungle” boxing match in Kinshasa, Zaire. Regarding the fight, Ali’s loquacious corner-man Drew “Bundini” Brown noted about Ali fighting in Africa that the bout symbolized the icons going “f]rom the root to the fruit, that's where everything started at. This is God's act, and you are part of it. This is no Hollywood set, this is real.”
Washington, DC-based Aaron Abernathy and his backing band Nat Turner’s performance at quaint, underground Nation’s Capital venue Tropicalia was as rooted in music’s historical traditions and as long as four “Rumbles in the Jungle,” plus similarly as “real” in presentation. Just like Ali, at the end of his 90-minute set, the soulful singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/composer who has just released his first, critically-acclaimed album Monologue emerged exhausted, yet victorious in winning over a jam-packed room of R & B fanatics.
Friday nights were meant for dancing. The work week was through, the weekend had just begun, and the 9:30 Club was open late so Classixx and Neon Indian could play great synth-pop/disco house tracks. Both bands have a bit of overlap with one another, so it made sense that both groups would embark on a tour and play a sold-out 9:30 Club.
The LA-based duo known as Classixx have made a name for themselves with their dancefloor-ready songs, recruiting singers like Passion Pit’s Michael Angelakos, LCD Soundsystem’s Nancy Whang, How To Dress Well’s Tom Krell, and even T-Pain on tracks that predate the tropical house music movement, but embody many of the genre’s ideals - laid-back, fun songs that anyone can groove to.
Tom Krell is a very emotive man in every sense of the word. The How To Dress Well singer has been courting alt-R&B lovers for a few years now with his heartfelt lyrics, but with his latest album, Care, he honed in on the emotion of joy with this glossier collection of songs. And at U Street Music Hall, he made sure that everyone in the room was having just as much fun as he was.
At a time when music festivals are appearing out of every corner, it’s nice when organizers know the demographic they’re aiming for. The DC-based music blog All Things Go put together an event that emphasized all things synth-pop: bands that love a bit of electronic music to go with their guitars, drums, and vocals. And with the move from Union Market to Yards Park, they ran into issues both predictable and unexpected, but things are looking up after the third iteration of the All Things Go Fall Classic.
Over the course of her career, Sara Watkins (I'm With Her, Nickel Creek) has stretched the boundaries of bluegrass, toured the world, and collaborated with legends of the music industry, all the while continuing to shape her own formidable legacy.
Right now, she's sitting down to chat with us about her new album Young In All The Wrong Ways, how she got hooked on music and more.
Like a sexier version of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, you can now mix your Tinder with your Spotify. Join us as three middle-aged men discuss the implications, you've obviously come to the most qualified source for these sort of things.
Scottish indie-rock legends Teenage Fanclub are back with a new label (Merge!) and a new album (Here!). Kevin's neighbor (and lifelong Teenage Fanclub fan) Michael Zwirn joins us in the basement to get to the bottom of what makes their latest power-pop gem tick.
Stronger Sex is a band from Washington, DC. Stronger Sex is a band you should KNOW from Washington, DC. Good thing we've got their latest track, "Dating", for you to hang all of your hopes and fears on...or just dance to.
Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós has, for their two decade-long career, defied easy description. Resting somewhere in the space between pop, experimental rock, ambient, and sometimes even classical music, the group creates soundscapes which evoke images of other places and of alien worlds. The band released their most recent album, Kveikur, in 2013, the same year that the departure of long-time keyboardist Kjartan Sveinsson turned them into a three-piece. Though they currently have no new record to promote, they embarked on a short US tour again this fall, including a stop at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia.
Scottish-born musician Midge Ure first came to prominence as the frontman of 80s synthpop band Ultravox, a role which he took on when former lead singer John Foxx left the band in 1979. He led the band through their biggest years, during which they had a string of five albums make it into the top ten in the UK. Along with Bob Geldof, Ure organized charity supergroup Band Aid in 1984, whose song “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” raised more then $24 million for famine relief in Ethiopia. After the dissolution of Ultravox in 1988, Ure went on to concentrate on his solo career. Though the band reunited in 2008 and released a new album, Brill!ant, in 2012, he has also continued to perform as a solo artist, and released his own most recent album, Fragile, in 2014. While his fan base in the US has never been large compared to the UK, he’s never forgotten about us, and his recent tour brought him to the DC area to perform at Bethesda Blues & Jazz.
A free tier is all fun and games, until you start getting served malware in it's ads. We're getting to the bottom of this so-obvious-we-can't-believe-it-hadn't-happened-yet "crisis" so you don't have to.
On her latest album Day Breaks, nine time Grammy winner Norah Jones is returning to the jazz sound that made her famous. Join us as we dig into this modern greats' newest chapter.
Moses Sumney is rad AF. But don't believe us. Check out the track "Lonely World" of of his new EP Lamenatations, and join the converted.
Leave it to an English singer how to show Americans how to do electro-soul the right way. With two critically-acclaimed albums and a highly-anticipated third album, The Colour in Anything, on the way, crooner James Blake had no problem selling out the Lincoln Theatre the same day tickets went on sale. And it’s easy to see why: His one-of-a-kind vocals combined with live instrumentation, an LED backdrop, and the occasional chest-rattling bass made the Lincoln Theatre show a multi-sensory experience.
Levellers released their second album, Levelling the Land, in 1991. The album put the British folk-punk band on the map, going as high as number 14 on the UK charts and setting the band on a long and successful career. The band has had several albums go gold in the UK since, and since 2003 have curated their own annual Beautiful Days Festival in Devon, England. While they never had quite as much success in the US market, they still managed to cultivate a small but loyal fan base. The band last toured in the US in 2003, but finally returned this year for a short run of east coast dates as part of their celebration of the 25th anniversary of the album, making their last stop in DC at U Street Music Hall before heading off to Australia.
Britpop reached its commercial peak in the mid-90s, and after the runaway success of Oasis’s second album, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, labels sought to replicate the achievement. One of the bands that best captured the feeling of the era was Kula Shaker, who brought together the swagger of Oasis, the psychedelic Beatles-esque riffs of The Charlatans, and the retro electric organ sounds of Inspiral Carpets (to name a few), and added their own Indian-influenced sound to the mix.
With A Seat At The Table, Solange Knowles hasn't just made the best album of her career, she's made one of the most compelling, and most important albums of 2016.
PLUS: Daveed Diggs' band Clipping. latest album Splendor & Misery is out NOW, and we've got a taste for ya.
The unique jungle-inspired sounds of UK band Glass Animals’s debut “Zaba” struck a chord with many people, so much so that they sold out 9:30 Club last year and played for an even larger crowd this year at Echostage. In support of their sophomore album, the well-received How to Be a Human Being, the band put on a high-energy performance deserving of Echostage’s 6,000-capacity crowd.
The Legendary Pink Dots are one of the most prolific bands that you may never have heard. In 2016 alone they’ve released a new studio album, Pages of Aquarius, a double-disc release in their long-running Chemical Playschool series of soundscapes (this one numbered 19 & 20), and several live recordings. And that’s a fairly typical (somewhat slow, even) year in Pink Dots-land. Existing somewhere in a hard-to-categorize space between psychedelic rock, post-punk, avant-garde experimentalism, and industrial noise, the band has built a small but faithful following over the three and a half decades of their existence.
EDM is a catch-all genre title that has caught a lot of grief over the years. Some of it well-deserved.
The genre has its share of lazy button-pressing DJs and unnecessarily over-the-top antics. But childhood friends Tom Howie and Jimmy Valance, collectively known as Bob Moses, combine the energy and structure of house music with live instrumentation and conventional songwriting, providing a solution for those longing for a mature take on house music. Performing on a spotlight-adorned stage with a full set of instruments, their performance filled the room with energy that can’t be replicated by a DJ just telling the crowd repeatedly to “put their hands in the airrrrrrrr!”
In the 21st century one of the greatest scourges on the music industry is piracy. Time was though that Seymour Butts could get twelve albums for one shiny penny.
M.C. Taylor's Hiss Golden Messenger is back with his follow up to 2014's critically lauded, Lateness Of Dancers. On Heart Like A Levee, the North Carolina singer/songwriters second album for Merge Records, Taylor is going deeper into questions of faith and explorations of country soul, and we're tagging along for the most excellent ride.
Because everything is better when it's country AF, we're taking a look at a new track from Atlanta, GA's Chris Stalcup and The Grange off of their latest album Downhearted Fools. Country. A.F.
One could say that demand was higher than expected - after all, not many bands can say they've been able to sell out 9:30 Club three nights in a row. However, when you have alt-rock mainstays Young the Giant and Ra Ra Riot on the billing, it becomes much easier to fathom.
Appearing on the flag-adorned stage, Young the Giant used night 2 of their three-night 9:30 Club stay to play their latest album, Home of the Strange, in its entirety, saving older songs for the encore. They had the crowd’s attention from the start thanks to singer Sameer Gadhia’s fervent moves on stage and guitarist Eric Cannata’s equally-energetic strumming.