Here's a phrase you probably haven't heard before: "German techno marching band." Enter MEUTE.
MEUTE in a nutshell: they take songs that exist firmly in the world of EDM and bring them to life as an 11-piece marching band. Marimbas, saxophones, trumpets, bass drums, even matching red jackets. The works. The group has gained an impressive following in Europe over the last few years, starting out in public city squares and eventually graduating to massive headlining shows and massive festival crowds. With their performance at U Street Music Hall, the Hamburg-based group continued their worldwide conquest with their first-ever concert in North America.
Part razor-sharp condemnation of our modern world, and part journey through Jana Hunter’s recent reidentification as “they/he,” Lower Dens’ The Competition utilizes the power of the dance floor to make a case for love and acceptance not just in dangerous times, but as the law of the land. It’s a powerful and ultimately uplifting statement from this revered Baltimore-based band and not just the best album of their careers, but one of the most essential listens of 2019.
K. Flay took the stage at The 9:30 club crouched in the dark on top of layered rectangular platforms that illuminated as she launched into her hit "Not in California." Her setlist, which featured every song off of this year's Solutions, plus her biggest hits from 2017's Every Where Is Somewhere and 2014's Life as a Dog, mixed elements of rock, pop, and hip hop, highlighted the multifaceted nature of her career.
While Hoboken’s Yo La Tengo has been around for almost 30 years, it’s been 15 since the release of the seminal, I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One. Ever since that genre-hopping mix tape disguised as an album came out in 1997, the trio of Ira Kaplan, his wife Georgia Hubley, and James McNew have continued to release consistent, satisfying releases about every three years. It’s not a bad thing to know what you’re going to get from these encyclopedic minds of rock -- albums filled with nods to favorite bands or songs, lauded by indie critics while getting overlooked by the mainstream, albums that upon release have every fan asking where it stands in relation to the total catalog. Enter Fade, their 14th entry into the “what does it all mean” derby, and fans are once again left with something truly meaningful, if a bit melancholy around the edges.
SOUNDS LIKE: Emotional The Hold Steady, early Replacements, thrasher Bruce Sprinsteen WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Punk rock has never sounded so good or used as many big words
One thing that you’ll never be able to say about Titus Andronicus is they’re afraid to go full on epic. On 2010's The Monitor, most of the songs come in just under the eight minute mark, with closing track “The Battle of Hampton Roads” clocking in at a whopping fourteen fist pumping minutes. This group from New Jersey loves to show us their chops, and on the new single "In A Big City," they're just warming up for a new installment of raucous ballads and lots of yelling.
While their approach to music is simple, front man Patrick Stickle’s songwriting is full of complex story lines and developed musical interludes. Piano breakdowns and poetry readings frequented The Monitor, and "In A Big City" finds the band as literary as ever, delivering mouthfuls of lyrics over has your plethora of in-your-face vocals and driving drum tracks: "I grew up on one side of the river/ I was a disturbed dangerous drifter/Moved over to the other side of the river/ Now I'm a drop in a deluge of hipsters."
In releasing this single and revealing the album artwork for the upcoming Local Business earlier this week, the band stated "For those of you who would prefer to judge a record by its cover, well, we are prepared to accommodate you too." That punk spirit runs deep through Titus Andronicus’ music and with anticipation is officially building for Local Business, out October 22nd, all we have to say is bring it on boys. Bring it on.