Episode 195: Caveman - Otero War

Episode 195: Caveman - Otero War

Kanye West. He can't, he won't and he don't stop...being an a-hole. (We) Discuss.

Caveman is a killer f@#@ing band who has made couple of killer f@#@ing albums. Their latest effort Otero War continues this trend with a little bit of sci-fi epic for good measure.

Do you love rock and roll? The Mystery Lights looooove rock and roll and they're here with a savage new track to testify for you. Dig it.

Best Of 2013 (So Far): Kevin's Picks

10. Kanye West – Yeezus

Dark. Aggressive. Complex. Offensive. Kanye West’s 5th album is all of these things, but most of all it’s his most creatively risky effort to date. Sonically, Yeezus is operating on a completely  other level then anything released this year — in fact it makes most records sound lazy in comparison. But a funny thing happened on the way Yeezus becoming the stuff of legend: Kanye got in the way. What could have been a juggernaut of an album is sidetracked by West’s overly misogynistic lyrics, and his continuing lack of self awareness. Social commentary is a hard trick to pull off in any arena, but when you present yourself as the American dream — because you pretty much ARE the American dream — and then attempt to attack that in any measure, the results are at best trite, and at worst laughable.

To be clear, this is an ongoing issue that West suffers, and he is at his best operation as the fairly unchallenged master of pop that he has made himself into. But for now (and this opinion is constantly shifting) Yeezus remains more Zooropa* and less Achtung Baby. It’s clear that there is a masterful artist at work here who is willing to sacrifice the end result for the sake of experimenting with his art, but the attempt is only half of the secret recipe: You’ve gotta stick the landing.

*For the record, I freaking LOVE Zooropa. LOVE. IT.

9. Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer, Different Park  / Ashley Monroe – Like A Rose

Why two albums? Because both perfectly represent the struggle that “modern country music” faces in 2013. Deservedly maligned by the discerning music fan since the days when the thunder rolled, there’s been a shift over the last few years away from the assembly line nature of what hits the airwaves, back to the more personal, less manufactured music that is the bedrock of a large portion of the American songbook. Musgraves “Merry-Go-Round” and Monroe’s “Like A Rose” are at once eloquent and utilitarian in their assessment of small town living, and rivalJason Isbell’s acumen for commentary of the human experience.

Unlike Isbell though, both artists go slightly off the rails by the end of their song cycles, giving in to the machine’s need for a “hit.” And in doing so they both keep what might have been a duo of timeless, universal records tied to a genre that both artists very clearly can, and should, rise above. That having been said, if you can push past the autotune and the straight-from-the-80’s “redneck” power chorus singing that ultimately takes control of these records, you’ll be rewarded by the work of two of the finest songwriters working in popular music today.

8. Kingsley Flood – Battles

The holy grail for most bands is to be able to match massive performances with equally massive songwriting chops. On Battles, Kingsley Flood took that idea and injected their already successful formula of bar brawl Americana with a double shot of adrenaline to produce one of the most satisfying records of the year to date. Grounded in singer Naseem Khuri’s explorations of what it takes to get by in today’s America, this mostly Boston based five piece (Khuri resides right here in the District) walks the razor’s edge of serious and seriously entertaining, and they do it all with an ease normally reserved for bands twice their age. Successfully bridging the gulf between folk, power pop and punk, Battles finds its power in its unflinching honesty and sincerity, regardless of the delivery method. This is a new Americana, and one that, if this release is any indication, is very quickly going to take over the world.

Rogue Wave - "Sirens Song"

Rogue Wave - "Sirens Song"

SOUNDS LIKE: A little bit of 80s pop, with a layer of 50s vocals that blend with a Muse-like interlude
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE:  A complex but hook-filled breakup song about that nonetheless leaves a hopefulness about the tough decision to end things

On its surface, “Siren’s Song” is a catchy pop song with a lighthearted-sounding chorus, but like the Siren it’s named for, once it draws you in, it changes tune into something different – a quiet plea, then a howl against fate.  But instead of shipwrecking you at the shore, “Siren’s Song” releases you from its depths in a joyful cacophony melting all of the previous elements together in hopeful resolution to move forward.

Rogue Wave is based on the West Coast, with two consistent members, singer Zach Schwartz (aka Zach Rogue) and drummer Pat Spurgeon and a rotating band. “Siren’s Song” comes from the band’s fifth studio album Nightingale Floors, released June 4 on Vagrant Records.


Rogue Wave playse with Caveman TONIGHT at the Black Cat. Tickets are still available right HERE!

TRACKING: Caveman - "In The City"

SOUNDS LIKE: The 80's had a kid with a moody Radiohead and gave it up for adoption to The Cure and My Bloody Valentine who then lost it to The War On Drugs on a bet. 
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: From the get go Caveman has been one of the best bands around, and with this new single and album they are poised to conquer all. 

The first time we encountered Brooklyn's Caveman was opening for The War On Drugs at DC's now defunct Red Palace. Lead singer Matthew Iwanusa pounded a floor tom, while his fellow Cave-men Jimmy Carbonetti, Stefan Marolachakis, Sam Hopkins and Jeff Berrall wrapped the room in a wall of sound that seemed to come from just about everywhere in the universe at once. Jaws were dropped, and lifelong fans were instantly made...and this was all before their masterful 2011 debut Coco Beware even hit the shelves.  

Now Caveman is back with self titled sophomore effort and it's first single "In The City." From the sound of it, by trading in some of the darkness for bright synths and a slightly more retro sound, Caveman seems to have found their perfect balance, making the wait till Caveman's release on April 2nd that much harder.

ChunkyGlasses THE PODCAST - Episode 5: Taking Off The Sock

In which the team seeks answers to universal mysteries like catfights at a Magnetic Fields show, Star Wars disco, and  Kevin offers up tips on how to prevent a bear attack PLUS new music from M. Ward, Alabama Shakes, Eidolons, Chromatics and Colorado's Lumineers. 

So grab a seat, grab a beer and strap in, because this might get ugly.


All words/pictures by ace contributor Suzanne Wnek

I just attended my first SXSW and I got everything wrong. But even if you get everything wrong at SXSW, it’s an experience you cant’ help but love, and hey, there’s always next year.

First things first: if you’ve never been to SXSW, it’s not like a huge park with 2 or 3 stages and the acts rotate through while you decide in which field you’re going to sit. Instead, it’s as if all your favorite bars and music venues in the world relocated within a one-mile radius (give or take…someone out there was probably wearing a pedometer).  In those 100s of venues, 1000s of bands can play 40-minute sets over the course of 5 days, and they will.

Best of 2011: Kevin's picks

I've heard a metric f@#@-ton of music this year. More bands than I can even remember have gone in one earhole and out the other. I'm sure in the process of checking out absolutely everything I could get my hands on a few bands might have slipped through the cracks, and to them I can only hope to catch up with them again at a later date. These next 10 bands are the ones that didn't slip through the cracks though. They're the groups/individuals who managed to make their magnificent noise rise up above the rest, and in the process make 2011 a quite exceptional year for music.

#10 Caveman - Coco Beware

The simple act of discovery can color one's opinion of a band, and it certainly has in Caveman's case...for everyone that's ever heard them apparently. I "discovered" Caveman opening up for The War on Drugs at The Red Palace here in DC earlier this year, and from that instant I was hooked. This record is drenched in moody, dreamscape inspired Radiohead-esque harmonies and sounds, and yet plays like something only Caveman could create. I know, I know, that sounds circular, but when a band this early in their existence can so well define who and what they are as a band, borrowing liberally from everything around them and somehow managing to put forth those collective influences as something better is the sign of a great artist. They've already got the attention of the music-nerd set (including NPR) and in 2012 they're the band to keep an eye on, because with a debut this good, sooner or later everyone is going to catch on to Caveman's fire. (Yes, I just wrote that)

"I Have TWO Phasers": The War On Drugs w/Caveman @ The Red Palace - 9/2/11

First of all, I have to give it up for the NYC band known as Caveman. It’s embarrassing that I’ve never even heard of them, but after witnessing their opening set Friday night, you can be sure that I won’t be forgetting them. Floating around somewhere between Radiohead and the sound of America in the 70’s (think Midlake’s Trials of Van Occupanther, but a little more out there) the band is one of the best you’ll see this year.  Their debut album Coco Rises will be out September 13, so make sure you pick it up. You’ll thank me, promise. More to the point though, when Caveman comes to your town, at all costs GO!

Caveman turning noobs into fans

Now. Onto The War On Drugs.

Take some Bob Dylan, add a little Tom Petty, then throw in a wall of guitars and not one but TWO phasers, and you’ve pretty much got The War On Drugs at The Red Palace last Friday. But those comparisons may actually be selling the band short

Daily Listen: Caveman - "My Room"

Sometimes you get lucky.

In this case, REAL lucky.

The opening band slot can be hit or miss. Sometimes it's a truly fantastic band that you wouldn't have heard of otherwise, and sometimes it's a truly bummer of an experience that is just tacked on to give the audience a little something extra for their money.

On Friday, lucky us, the opener for The War On Drugs Friday (review coming soon) was the former. It was a sold out show at The Red Palace, but nobody was coming upstairs at that point. So Caveman proceded to play their fan-f@#king-tastic set to a little over half full room. But that will likely be the last time that happens. 

Staking claim to much the same territory as Midlake did on 2006's The Trials of Van Occupanther, this band from New York City owes as much of it's sound  to 70's legends like Fleetwood Mac or America as it does to Bjork and Radiohead.

If that combo sounds bizzare, then you need to expand your imagination a bit, because as strange as it may be, it works perfectly. And when you take that sound and marry it with some damn good songwriting,'ll just have to take our word for it that the results are some of the most exciting music we've heard all year.

Caveman's debut album, Coco Beware, will be released digitally on September 13, but you can check out the first single from the album right now to hold you over till then. 

It's been great year for music already, but if this band is any indication, the biggest surprises may still be yet to come.

Caveman - "My Room"

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