Last Sunday night British singer/songwriter Ben Howard brought his latest album, I Forget Where We Were, to the 9:30 Club for the first of two sold out shows. The show focused mainly on this recent material, with only a few tracks played from his Mercury Prize-nominated first album, Every Kingdom.
Harmonious 90’s pop with just a hint of fuzzy, buzzy feedback; a tinge of The Beatles by-way-of Oasis; The Connell’s for people who aren’t, uh, wusses*
Why You Should Care:
There’s no reason that the East Coast should get all of the rock n’ roll fun (see The Trillions) and this five piece hailing from Austin, Texas is all the proof you need. On the kickoff track from their most recent EP Crocodile vs The Mutant Alligators From Space the band channels some good ol’ Gallagher brothers angst (complete with Beatles-esque “telephone-mic” vocal effect and a killer lyric hook - "I got strangers in my head that won't ever go away"), but there’s more to this band than a healthy respect for history.
Hamilton Leithauser returned to Washington, DC on Friday night for an intimate hometown show at U Street Music Hall. With The Walkmen, his band of over a decade, on indefinite hiatus, Leithauser has stepped forward to prove himself more than capable as a solo artist. These skills were fully on display in an energetic set performed to a roomful of fans who braved the threat of bad weather to see him.
Leithauser’s sound as a solo artist is an anachronism – the energy and urgency of The Walkmen is still there, but along with it he has cultivated the laid-back image of the crooners of old. The songs are modern, but it’s not hard to imagine him singing the same songs a smoky jazz lounge, microphone in one hand and cocktail in the other (a look which he even adopted during an encore cover of Tom Paxton’s “Annie’s Going To Sing Her Song”).
On our latest podcast, Astra Via’s Jarret Nicolay joins the gang in the basement to talk about the The Phosphorescent Blues, the latest album from prog-grass forerunners Punch Brothers! PLUS! Bjork tells the pirates where they can stick it by officially releasing Vulnicura months before it was due, and new music from much hyped up-and-comer Natalie Prass! The curmudgeon flows strong in Episode 99 of ChunkyGlasses: THE PODCAST!
The US may finally be catching on to Israel Nash. For an artist so thoroughly steeped in Americana – born and raised in the heartland of Missouri and now living in Dripping Springs, Texas (a small town which proudly bills itself as the “Gateway to Hill Country”) – success in Europe has proven easier to find. His second album, Barn Doors and Concrete Floors, took the number one spot on the Euro Americana Chart in 2011, and his third (and current) album, Rain Plans, was released overseas nearly a year before getting an American release.
In fact, as he noted early in the performance, Wednesday’s show at DC9 was his first headlining show in Washington, DC.
Your favorite Deer Tick and the Black Lips songs. With horns.
Why You Should Care:
The best supergroups don’t take themselves too seriously. A loose, laid back vibe is best. Diamond Rugs is a rollicking party hosted by John McCauley (Deer Tick), Robbie Crowell (Deer Tick), Ian Saint Pé (The Black Lips), Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), Hardy Morris (Dead Confederate), and Bryan Dufresne (Six Finger Satellite). (Yes, the same Six Finger Satellite that gave us the amazing “Coke and Mirrors.”) Although Diamond Rugs traffic in a relaxed, boozy vibe, their songs are deceptively precise and exhibit a well-blended mix of punk, Sun Records, British Invasion, and Stax influences.
It’s 2015 and time to dig into the slew of huge new releases coming our way. First up: The gang reviews this year’s most anticipated comeback albums, Sleater Kinney’s No Cities To Love! Kevin, Paul , Quinn and Tori dive deep into the band’s history, their re-emergence and how the trio fits into the modern music scene nine years after calling it quits, and more. PLUS! Richmond, Virginia’s pop shredders The Trillions are back, and we’re debuting their frenetic track “Extinction Blues” from their electrifying new album Superposition, due out at the end of January. So strap in and get ready to get rocked on Episode 98 of Chunkyglasses: The Podcast!
Cowboy Junkies; Caitlin Cary; Sneaky egg shakers; Four part harmonies that don’t just work…they kill.
Why You Should Care:
With last year’s Lean Into The Wind, Miss Shevaughn & Yuma Wray raised enough of a ruckus that Chicago music critic and Sound Opinions host Greg Kot took notice, citing them as not only one of 2014’s buried treasures, but including their song “Blue Dream” on his 2014 mixtape of best songs of the year. Now the California-based quartet which, besides it’s namesakes features DC stalwarts Ben Tufts and Derek Evry is out to impress another group of music luminaries with their new track “Magnolia” as a submission for NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest.
An outtake from Big Star's Third, sent from the future; Feels. Deep, deep, feels; Proto-Avers.
Why You Should Care
If you're thinking to yourself "Wait a minute! This song...it's not NEW! This song came out in 2012!" then you would be absolutely correct. But good music never goes out of style, especially when you're talking about the pop sensibilities of Richmond, Virginia's the Trillions. (Their new record, Superposition, will be out January 31, and we’ll probably write about that one, too.)
Cosmic folk-pop from the weird side of the tracks; Patrick Watson's poppier neighbor; Bowerbirds; Andrew Bird; a naturalistic dreamscape that carouses effortlessly with both the wonder AND the dread of it all.
Why You Should Care:
Hauntingly elegant, this track from singer-songwriter Ryan Hobler stands out in an already rich album as an example of the power and range that is currently at this New York native’s command. The Elusive Yes playfully bounces back and forth between Dylan-esque revelry (“Bob vs. Jack vs. The World”), near-Buckley croon (“I Fell Deep”), and [Andrew] Bird-ian musings (“Down Came The Fourth Wall”), but it’s the dive into the darkness of “See What You’re Doing To Me” that makes the most compelling arguments for Hobler’s considerable talents.