In the midst of all of the chaos going on in the world, we turn to music to soothe our minds. Luckily, three of those soothing voices play in a band together. The Wild Reeds are made up of Mackenzie Howe, Kinsey Lee, and Sharon Silva. Aided by a widely-shared Tiny Desk Concert in 2013, the trio (backed up by a drummer and bassist) have broken out since their 2014 debut, thanks in part to a widely-shared 2015 NPR Tiny Desk Concert with almost 700,000 views and counting. With their latest album, The World We Built, they continue to put out confident songs for our uncertain world to hear and sing their hearts out to, including at their recent show at Rock & Roll Hotel.
If there’s one thing the band Kingsley Flood knows about, it’s change.
In 2012, their album Battles took them back and forth across the country and all the way to the mainstage at the legendary Newport Folk Festival. It was an album that dealt with the everyday struggles of an “everyday guy”, and the songs reflected front-man Naseem Khuri’s struggle with issues of equality, a running theme in most of the band’s work.
North Carolina-based alt-country rockers Mount Moriah released their third album, How to Dance, on Merge Records recently. The record doesn’t deviate much from what has, at this point, become their well-established sound, but it serves to solidify their position as one of the strongest , most consistent new bands to appear in the genre in a long time. On Friday night, the band brought their Southern Gothic stylings to the Rock and Roll Hotel.
Singer-songwriter Jessica Pratt writes the kind of tranquil, meditative folk music that feels equally at home on a snowy winter afternoon or a calm summer evening. Her music has a retro feel to it, steeped as it is in the influences of artists such as Karen Dalton or Vashti Bunyan, yet like those artists it is so far removed from the tropes of anything that might be considered “popular” that it feels almost timeless. Her sophomore album, On Your Own Love Again, released on Drag City at the beginning of the year, continues down the musical path that she started on with her self-titled first album in 2012. Last Thursday evening, she brought this new album to the Rock and Roll Hotel.
Last Friday, The Districts made their way to the District to play for a sold-out crowd at the Rock and Roll Hotel. The young four-piece from Lititz, PA were touring for their latest album, A Flourish and Spell, released in February on Fat Possum Records. On album, many of their songs are a lo-fi, mid-tempo affair that find their place somewhere between the indie rock edge of The Strokes and the brooding Americana of Wilco. On stage, they become more urgent, with vocalist guitarist Rob Grote jumping around the stage energetically, channeling a youthful emo angst which is only hinted at in the recorded versions of the songs.
The past few years have been good for shoegaze fans. The genre may have seemed like it had all but disappeared in the late 90s, but the recent reunions of My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Chapterhouse, and more have met with a large amount of enthusiasm, signaling that the world is ready for the genre’s return. Oxford, England’s Swervedriver (one of the groups fitting the “more” bill) were one of the last to break up, in 1998, and also one of the first to get back together, a decade later in 2008. Since then, they have toured the world several times over, proving that the reunion was not just a quick cash grab, but rather that they were back to stay. The band finally cemented that in January with the release of their fifth album, I Wasn’t Born To Lose You.
Wednesday, the band brought that new album to the Rock and Roll Hotel. The opening song form the album, “Autodidact,” filled the room with a wash of guitars, serving as notice that the band has not compromised on their wall-of-sound approach with age.
On Sunday night at the Rock and Roll Hotel, English folk-rock band Dry the River made the long-awaited DC stop on their tour supporting their second album, Alarms In the Heart, which was released last year. The show was a long time coming, as the band had not made an appearance in the District since 2012.
Opening the performance with the title track, the band played through a set that featured most of the new album, interspersed with tracks from their first record, Shallow Bed. Although the new album is noticeably more rock-oriented than that first effort, new tracks like “Med School” fit in seamlessly beside older ones such as “History Book.” The vocal harmonies for which the band has become known were abundant, with bassist Scott Miller and guitarist Matt Taylor frequently adding their voices to that of lead singer Peter Liddle.
On Thursday night, Scottish post-punk band The Twilight Sad came to the Rock and Roll Hotel in support of their latest album, Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave. While the band was just here in November opening for We Were Promised Jetpacks at the 9:30 Club, this was their first headlining show in the District in quite some time (a previous scheduled show at the Rock and Roll Hotel in 2012 was cancelled at the last moment due to visa issues).
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.
Jeff the Brotherhood jams. Diarrhea Planet shreds. The difference may seem slight – but go see both of them live and it’ll shine through in buckets of sweat and glistening guitar tech.
Both bands are from Nashville and are signed to Infinity Cat, a label that Jake and Jamin from Jeff the Brotherhood have run for the past 12 years now. Both bands make loud, gritty rock that incites mosh pits and beer guzzling “fuck yeahs!” from largely male fan bases. On paper, they're almost the same band, but at the 400-head capacity Rock and Roll Hotel on Friday night, the difference in energy and fan base was overwhelming. So much so that each set felt like a different concert.
Last year when the members of the Richmond, Virginia six piece AVERS got together to jam, they had no expectations for anything except to have a good time and make some noise. All members of already well established bands, J.L. Hodges (Farm Vegas), Alexandra Spalding (Hypercolor), Tyler Williams (The Head And The Heart), Adrian Olson (Hypercolor), James Mason (The Mason Brothers), and Charlie Glenn (The Trillions quickly realized off-the-charts creative chemistry between them, and inside a month they had knocked out the material for what would become one of 2014’s best releases, Empty Light.
Before their recent show in Washington, DC at the Rock & Roll Hotel, Kevin and Quinn sat down with this “super group” to talk about the creation of that album, their accelerated creative process, what the future holds for this nascent powerhouse of a band and more.
Hailing from Leeds, England, Eagulls have been making quite the stir as of late. Between the critical/fan reaction to their debut album and their antics penning open letters to the bands at SXSW about “Disney character-looking "frontmen” there’s been a lot to talk about. Before their debut performance in Washington, DC, the guys sat down with us to chat about the new album, the tour so far, future plans for the Eagull’s dynasty, and, of course, meeting Bill Murray.
Casey Dienel, aka White Hinterland, has been making gorgeous, slightly off-kilter indie pop since 2006, but it was on 2010’s Kairos that the masses began to really take notice of her eclectic talent. Hitting the road armed with a new record, Baby, her tour stopped through Washington, DC a few weeks ago, and Andre sat down with her before the show to talk about her musical upbringing, the new album, and more. Settle in for a great conversation with one of 2014’s most innovative artists, White Hinterland on Episode 57 of ChunkyGlasses: THE PODCAST!