The start of the Major League Baseball season means the beginning of spring, the crack of the bat, the call of the announcer, and, for the last few seasons at least, time for another tour from The Baseball Project. The band, started by Scott McCaughey (The Minus 5, The Young Fresh Fellows) and Steve Wynn (The Dream Syndicate) as a one-off side project celebrating their mutual love of the sport, has taken on a life of its own, appearing on ESPN and even, last Saturday, playing a show at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. The day before that, on Friday, they played a show in Harrisburg, PA at the Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center. The roster for the band was rounded out with Mike Mills (R.E.M.) on bass, Linda Pitmon on drums, and Josh Kantor (organist at Fenway Stadium) on keyboards.
This week on the podcast, Louis Weeks returns to the basement with his friend/collaborator Noah Berman in tow to talk about their upcoming release, haha! Recorded with a live band and greatly expanded instrumentation, haha builds on the the fantastical foundation laid down by 2014’s Shift/Away, and launches Weeks’ musical horizons into the stratosphere.
Tune in to hear Louis and Noah tell all about how the album was made, what it’s like transitioning from being a largely solo musician to the leader of a seven piece band, bass drops, and get a taste of one of 2015's best albums. It's all happening on Episode 117 of ChunkyGlasses: The Podcast!
Laibach, one of the longest running and most influential bands of the industrial music scene, has defied categorization for 30 years now. Hailing from Slovenia, the group is best known for their militaristic sound - which ranges everywhere from industrial metal, to experimental noise, to neoclassical dark wave - and unique visual style. They’ve been central founders of a political art movement (Neue Slowenishce Kunst), they’ve done numerous covers, including an entire an entire Beatles album (Let It Be, Laibach’s version released in 1988), as well as being the subject of controversy and even bans in their own country. With the release of Spectre, their eighth album of original studio material last year, the band once again subverted expectations, with a more melodic synthpop sound than the band is usually known for, due in no small part to the addition of singer Mina Špiler’s voice to the familiar spoken growls of Milan Fras. The resulting album is more accessible, but at the same time feels almost more subversive.
The Replacements were never supposed to amount to anything. Born in a basement in Minneapolis as the day-glow excess of the ‘70s sputtered to its end, the quartet of Paul Westerberg, Bob Stinson, Tommy Stinson and Chris Mars initially gave more fucks about getting fucked up than about whether or not their craft, their art, was any good. But a funny thing happened on the way to their fate of common Midwestern self-destruction: They became legends.
Tapping into the same juice that powered bands like The Ramones, The Sex Pistols and The Rolling Stones, they crafted hurricanes of noise, angst and ultimately beauty out of raw who-gives-a-shit fury. The raw stuff. The dirty stuff. The human stuff. It was all in there. Blasting off with the explosion that was Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash, The Replacements eventually mellowed out, ultimately fizzling out, burnt to cinders by the heat of their own impossibly bright flame.
This week on ye olde podcast we’re strong with indignation, curmudgeon, and wonder. First up, Prince’s “surprise” show in Baltimore last Sunday was billed as a “Rally 4 Peace”, but with millions in potential monetary donations to be generated, and only a “portion” of the proceeds going to charity, should “good vibes” really count as currency? We resurrect our fan favorite “Prince is a dick” segment to investigate.
Next up, tune in as we review new records from power-pop wunderkind Mikal Cronin and Montreal’s masterful Patrick Watson. Both albums are two of the mostly hotly anticipated albums of 2015, but do they deliver the goods?
PLUS!!! Are you a Dylan Fan? Ryan Adams? How about just a great song? If the answer is yes “The Jester and the Queen” by Chicago based singer/songwriter PM Buys is the track for you!
Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan has been in the music business for 26 years now (his label, Merge Records, celebrating its 25 year anniversary last year), yet somehow he’s never released a solo album under his own name. While much of his earlier output as Portastatic was a largely a solo affair, this year’s Non-Believers was the first album to bear his name on the front cover.
Kicking off the tour at the Black Cat in Washington, DC, Carrboro, NC garage punks Flesh Wounds opened the show. The band, consisting of Montgomery Morris on guitar and vocals, Laura King on drums, and Geoff Schilling on bass, released a 7” last year on Merge Records. Through a furious, high energy set, Morris shouted and made menacing faces while King and Schilling held down a pounding rhythm. At times it seemed like a stark contrast to the pop-punk sound that McCaughan is known for, but it was easy to tell why he had signed them to his label and brought them along on his tour.
On Sunday night, Lord Huron brought their sophomore album Strange Trails to DC for the first of two sold out nights at the 9:30 Club. Singer and guitarist Ben Schneider led the indie folk band through a 16-song collection of tracks from both of the band’s albums. Schneider is a storyteller in his lyrics, and through a series of energetic songs at times reminiscent of a more polished rockabilly and at other times of the country rock of Springsteen, punctuated by his signature yelps and warbles, he sang of characters existing in the sort of tales that made up the pulp anthologies of yesteryear. While the polished pop shimmer of many of the songs often belies the darker narratives driving them, it’s clear that there is something interesting going on behind tracks such as “Dead Man’s Hand” and “Fool For Love.”
This week on the podcast, we’re still talking about TIDAL, questionable streaming service Grooveshark bites the dust, and DC finally has their very big-time music festival. Will Landmark save the mall or unleash hordes of angry custies upon our nation’s capital? PLUS!!! We review the heartbreaking final album from Rhode Island’s Brown Bird, and take a trip into the surreal with the latest from sax-man Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire). It’s the only podcast you’ll hear this that features a Henrietta Porkchop – it’s Episode 115 of ChunkyGlasses: The Podcast.
On Wednesday night, Dustin Kensrue of post-hardcore band Thrice and Andy Hull of indie rock band Manchester Orchestra brought their co-headlining solo tour to Sixth & I, in a format very similar to that followed by Kevin Devine and Evan Weiss earlier this year. Each played a solo set, accompanied by only by his own acoustic guitar. As with that previous show, the synagogue turned out to be the perfect setting for such an intimate performance, giving the artists the chance to showcase their strong vocal talents and songwriting away from the much noisier surroundings of their respective bands.
Although Thirce announced a return from an extended hiatus earlier this year, with appearances set for several festivals throughout the summer, Kensrue also released his second solo album, Carry the Fire, two weeks ago. Much like his earlier solo work, 2007’s Please Come Home, the new record is a departure from the heavier sound of Thrice, venturing in pop and folk directions, which lent itself well to the solo acoustic format.
For a brief period in the 1980s, a musical movement known as New Romanticism ruled the music charts. Artists such as Duran Duran, Culture Club, and Adam Ant were the big musicians of the day, and slick production values and feathered hairstyles were the staples of MTV (back when they played music videos!) and FM radio. In the middle of all of this madness was Spandau Ballet. They usually weren’t quite as flamboyant or outlandish as many of their counterparts, and they didn’t see as much success in the US (despite being hugely popular in Europe). Despite this, several of their songs, including “True” and “Gold” have come to epitomize the decade for nearly everyone who hears them.