In 1994, when Sleater-Kinney arrived on the scene, grunge/alternative rock had, for the most part, seen its swift yet potent “golden age” come and go. With the doors flung wide open, radio-friendly imitators were swarming in in droves, much to the disdain of early fans, yet simultaneously to the immense satisfaction of label heads and radio programmers. Yes, the mid-to-late-90s made weird with the “rawk” as it packaged it into more and more consumer-friendly parcels. But rock ‘n roll can never truly die, so it was up to bands like Sleater-Kinney to do what any good rock and roller would do: Get weirder.
With a driving beat, churning guitars, and double-tracked vocals, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back into the 90s – but despite the clear influence of now-classic bands ranging from The Breeders to Elastica, the music feels current and vital.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE:
Wolf Alice has been receiving a ton of buzz since the release of their Creature Songs EP in the middle of last year, and now they’re set to release their first full-length album, My Love Is Cool, on June 22nd. While that first release drew a lot of grunge comparisons, the band has already expressed a desire to break out of that box, recently telling NME that “It’s 100 percent not a grunge record. It’s much braver than that.” If this first track is any indication, the album is going to ROCK.
On this week’s podcast it might get loud when we review new albums from rock and roll powerhouses Screaming Females and “New York’s loudest band” A Place To Bury Strangers. Plus!! Kevin, Paul and Patrick discuss the pros and cons of the secondary ticket market, reveal why no matter how you slice it stealing gas to do your tour DIY style is some really big BS, and then take a moment to reflect on this week’s announcement that Condè Nast has named our home Washington, DC the number one city for music lovers in America! Time to turn it up, it’s Episode 104 of ChunkyGlasses: The Podcast!
When it comes to stringed instruments, guitars dominate the world of pop music, and it is unusual for the violin to take central focus. Yet for Kishi Bashi (the stage name of K Ishibahsi, who is classically trained in the instrument), it’s the implement of choice. It is perhaps for this reason that his songs lend themselves so well to adaptation to a more classical form. Washington, DC witnessed this transformation last Thursday, when Ishibashi came to the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue to play a show backed by a string quartet.
From the opening strains of “Manchester” from his first album 151a, the audience knew that they were in for a special evening. While many attempts to adapt popular music to classical form fall quickly into the sort of music that one might expect to hear in an elevator or a grocery store, there was none of that at this performance
Eardrum cracking missives from the midnight hour on WHLL, the ONLY station that broadcasts to the second AND fifth circle of the greater Helltropolitan area; Joy Division by way of Ministry (or possibly Ministry by way of Joy Division); Jesus and Mary Chain on ‘roids.
Why You Should Care:
We first encountered NYC’s A Place To Bury Strangers back in 2012 opening for the Joy Formidable we saw a decidedly less aggressive but considerably more innovative take on industrial shoegaze, and at that time the only appropriate response was “HO-LEE-SHIT!” Smoke machines, glaring lights and a speaker cabinet set center stage where a front man would all but scream “strap in motherfuckers” and if you didn’t, it’s not clear how you survived that pummeling assault of sight, sound, and aggressively sophisticated rock and roll.
A road trip to Richmond may seem like a long way to go just to see a band, but when it’s The New Pornographers, you know the show will be worth the drive. The group brought their distinctive power pop riffs and vocal harmonies to The National this past Saturday on their second leg of US touring for their latest album, Brill Bruisers. Like their shows in DC back in November, their lengthy 23-song setlist leaned heavily on tracks from the new release, but also featured several pulled from each of their earlier albums.
Anyone who has seen The New Pornographers before knows how the shows go, and perhaps marvels that something that could so easily erupt into chaos, given so many members with such strong personalities, comes together so well every time.
Over the past year, Sturgill Simpson has gone from being a relative unknown operating on the fringes of Nashville, to not just one of the year’s biggest success stories thanks to his Meta Modern Sounds In Country Music, but potentially one of music’s biggest artists. (For the sake of discussion, let’s put the ‘country’ label down for the time being.) With multiple gigs on Letterman under his belt, an exponentially growing fan base, and a year-end feather in his cap of signing with Atlantic Records, it would seem that Simpson has arrived. That last point may give those who cling to the “outsider” image that’s been cultivated in the press (and, to a lesser extent, by Simpson himself) pause, until they consider that in 2014 the world came to him, not the other way around.
When we reported on Simpson’s also-sold-out performance at the Birchmere last year, the entire review could have been summed up as “jaw-dropping.” Even though the locale might have changed, not much else has.
On this week’s podcast we’re doubling down on the album reviews to make sure no good record gets left behind in 2015. First up, Björk is back with what many are calling her best album in years, Vulnicura. An eccentric, esoteric journey through heartbreak and loss, is it everything a Björk fan could want, or something…else? Then we take a look at On Your Own Love Again, the sophomore release from acclaimed lo-fi folk artist Jessica Pratt. PLUS!! Grammy talk, timeless musical mood-setting advice for your college experience,and the last word on a story that has gone too far: Jack White’s guacamole. Get ready to have your heart strings tugged and your romantical skills enhanced on Episode 103 of ChunkyGlasses: The Podcast!
His Name Is Alive, the musical brainchild of songwriter and musician Warren Defever, came to the Black Cat last Thursday night on their 25th anniversary tour. When the band released their first album, Livonia, in 1990 on 4AD, they seemed to be the American analog to label boss Ivo Watts-Russell’s This Mortal Coil project, with a similar sound that melded ethereal vocals with synthesizers, acoustic guitars, and occasional bursts of noise into a dream pop soundscape. The band’s sound has shifted greatly over the years, following Defever’s muse with forays into experimental music, soul, and even free jazz.
On the just-released Pattern Matching, the sophomore album from DC-based indie-folk outfit Stranger In The Alps, main man Steve Kolowich and friends have built upon the foundation he laid with 2013’s Honey If You’re Lucky to produce a record that is as willingly playful with its songwriting and use of language as it is with the boundaries of the genre which it operates in. For our latest podcast Kevin sat down for an in-depth discussion with Steve to discuss the making of the album, the art of songwriting, the DC scene through his eyes and much, much more. It’s a double-sized, music-nerd extravaganza on Episode 102 of ChunkyGlasses: The Podcast!