This week the gang takes a break so Kevin travels back in time all the way to March of 2013 to bring you an interview with Kingsley Flood front-man Naseem Khuri, who reveals the genesis and deeper meaning of his band’s music and more. Plus hear Khuri perform stripped down versions of two of Battles best tracks, “Waiting On The River To Rise” and “Sun Gonna Lemme Shine”!
All photos by Joy Asico (firstname.lastname@example.org | www.asicophoto.com)
The slot of the opening band can be a weird space to occupy. Sometimes it’s filled by the headliner’s label mates, sometimes it’s their friends and sometimes, and perhaps more cynically, it’s a package put together by a PR firm to maximize ticket sales. However the pairing happens, the end result is usually a show that opens with a satisfying but obviously “greener” act that you may catch if you get there early enough, but one that fulfills their duty of warming up the crowd in fine fashion, albeit little consequence. In the case of David Wax Museum’s latest stop through DC though it was clear that somewhere, someone gets it, because the pairing of the mexi-folk outfit from Rhode Island with up-and-comers Kingsley Flood proved to be a winning combo that played more like a high octane double bill than the average tour package that many have come to expect.
Kingsley Flood took the stage to a half empty room and proceeded to take no prisoners – which is what they just seem to do these days. The DC / Boston based band – lead singer Naseem Khuri resides in the District (watch our interview with him here) while the rest remain up north – has been rising through the ranks of the music world over the past few years, and their live shows in support of their latest release Battles is a huge reason why. On record and on stage the band has a bigger-than-life rock star personality that leaves the audience feeling like they just witnessed a stadium-worthy show instead of a barely-out-of-the-bar-band from Beantown, and last Thursday’s performance was no exception. Much like headliners David Wax Museum, Kingsley Flood takes musical inspiration from a wide variety of influences – folk, punk, gypsy, even British Mod – to craft music that is helping to shape a new Americana, one that’s about a whole lot more than an acoustic strum and a torch song.
Earlier this year DC/Boston based band Kingsley Flood relased Battles, an album that is proving to be one of 2013's best. We had the opportunity to sit down DC based lead singer Naseem Khuri in advance of their show at the 9:30 Club this week for an in depth discussion of the band's history, concept albums, what their songs mean to them, and much much more. Plus! Solo performances of Battles tracks "Waiting On The River To Rise" and "Sun's Gonna Lemme Shine"
Don't miss Kingsley Flood opening for David Wax Musuem at the 9:30 Club THIS THURSDAY in one of the best double bills, from two of the best bands, that you're gonna see this year. Tickets are available HERE...we'll see you at the show!
Kingsley Flood’s music is frequently referred to as “Americana,” a label that may have worked early in their career. But comparing them to a band like Mumford and Sons is like comparing a 1967 Mustang to a 2009 Mustang: there’s some things that look the same on the surface, but you don’t have to look to hard to find the differences. Putting it another way, one is a fake, plasticized replica of something; the other is Kingsley Flood.
Their new record, Battles, is certainly more electric than their 2010 debut Dust Windows or last year’s Colder Still EP, but the core rock sensibility has always been there. And to say that a Strokes-esque rocker like “Down” is Americana does a disservice to both the genre and the band, since it’s extremely difficult to pigeonhole them into such categories.
Battles was built on a successful PledgeMusic campaign, and comes as the band is riding a wave of attention. Late last year their hometown saluted them with a Boston Music Award for Americana act of the year (there’s that word again), Rolling Stone and American Songwriter streamed new songs, and MTV dubbed the leadoff single from the album, the blues-rocker “Pick Your Battles”, as “buzzworthy.” (Yes, apparently this is something MTV still does.) (While most of the band has remained in Boston, Singer/guitarist/songwriter Naseem Khuri has taken up residence in the District, meaning our area can now lay at least partial claim to the budding stars.)
Make no mistake, the accolades foisted upon Kingsley Flood are well-deserved. Battles offers a clinic in top-notch songwriting, from the quiet, introspective leadoff, “Don’t Change My Mind” to the country-rocker “Strongman” to the Springsteen-tinged “The Fire Inside,” there isn’t a weak link to be found among the albums twelve songs.
What was looking to be an incredibly bleak week for releases has turned out to be surprisingly strong..and fun! Look, I'm not the biggest dance/indie-pop fan on the planet. In fact you could say that for the most part, I think it's crap. But sometimes a band trandscends that awful, awful label and delivers something that is ultimately just damn good music. So who did that this week?
What do you get when you mix fun with some fun and add a little more fun in just for good measure? Why the new Cults album of course. This duo from New York manages to mix 50's girl group do wops and hand claps with a more modern, danceable undercurrent that doesn't dial back the fun for a single instant. Think B-52's for the modern. This is the album that both She and Him albums should have been, so take notice "superstars", this is how you can make music from the past sound relevant and hip without boring your audience to death.
Sondre Lerche has been many things over the span of his career. He's been jazzy, indie poppy, even Dylan-y. All of this adds up to a somewhat inconsistent track record,which makes it all the better that on Sondre Lerche, the Norwegian songwriter plays to all of his strengths rather than indulge only a few of them. This album will sound familiar to his longtime fans, but it's focused craftsmanship resulting in a collection of infinitely catchy tunes will be what brings the new fans in.
Loud Planes Fly Low
Cribbing from the play books of bands like Blondie, The Cure and Echo and the Bunnymen, The Rosebud's Loud Planes Fly Low has one purpose and one purpose only: to get you to dance it out 80's style. By making this record more reimagination than rehash, The Rosebuds pull a neat trick here. Pulling from just about every single 80's band you ever loved, they somehow avoid sounding like anyone but the Rosebuds. It's refreshing and sentimental at the same time, and fits perfectly into this weeks apparent theme of really fun records.
And here's some other notable releases for this week:
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - It's A Corporate World
I don't know why this is good, because they were pretty damninsufferable when we caught them live last month*, but it is. Sorta.
Battles - Gloss Drop
So far, this record is sort of scaring me. In a good way. I think.
Elisapie - There Will Be Stars
Ever wonder wtf "polar pop" was? Well now is your chance to find out. This is a nice little record from WAY up north.
Tedeschi Trucks Band - Revelator
HOLY GIANT F@#@ING BLUES SUPERGROUP BATMAN!!!
*In all fairness, Generationals opened and completely killed their set, so that might have jaded our opinion of the headliner slightly.