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.
Rocket From the Tombs formed in 1974 in Cleveland, Ohio, existed for less than a year, and in that time never made a studio recording. But somehow in the intervening decades, the band achieved near mythical status, due in no small part to having spawned two bands which went on to have a much larger impact – singer David Thomas and guitarist Peter Laughner formed infamous art rock legends Pere Ubu, while guitarist Cheetah Chrome and drummer Johnny Blitz formed the short-lived but highly influential punk band The Dead Boys. Both took songs from the band with them – “30 Seconds Over Tokyo” and “Final Solution” became classics of the early Pere Ubu catalog, while The Dead Boys made “Sonic Reducer” and “What Love Is” into two of their best known tracks. Rocket From the Tombs lived on only in legend and in bootleg recordings of live performances passed around amongst those in the know.
When we last caught up with DC’s Ex Hex back in April, they were just about to launch their first official tour, then head down South to record their debut album Rips, due out October 7th on Merge Records. Armed with largely untested material, the trio was visibly excited by their immediate future.
And they were right to be. Last Thursday’s show at the Rock & Roll Hotel showed the Ex Hex is anything but untested, but rather a tight, feisty, and amazingly FUN rock and roll machine. With a sound that pulls in equal parts from the Ramones, the poppier end of the riot grrrl sound, and the guitar driven stadium rock of the 70’s, it’s clear that the band hasn’t just tightened up, they’ve learned how to utterly and completely…ahem…rip.
As Laura Stevenson and her band The Cans finished tuning up last week at the Rock and Roll Hotel, a disembodied voice came over the PA from the soundboard. “Don’t make music -- Make history,” it said, getting a chuckle from band and audience members alike. But by the end of their high energy set, it would be damn hard for anyone to believe these musicians didn’t take that advice to heart.
Riding a double-barrelled wave of buzz -- having been named one of the must-see artists at SXSW this year stacked atop the glowing early press on their new album Wheel -- the five piece band took the stage to a packed room that hung on to every word uttered by the diminutive yet hugely-voiced Stevenson. From note one, the audience sang along to old songs, and amazingly even the brand new songs were already in the fanbase rotation. Wheel tracks “Runner,” which is as perfect a pop gem as one could imagine, “Bells & Whistles,” and “Renee,” the album’s sweeping opening track, were greeted with as much enthusiasm as older favorites “Barnacles” and “Mouthbreather” off of their 2010 7” Holy Ghost!
Playing to a completely sold out crowd, Futurebirds delivered set that was quite simply a marvel of modern rock. Fellow Athen-ites, The Drive By Truckers used to deliver shows like this back in the day (seek out some of the Richmond shows from around 2001 to 2003...FACE.MELTING) and it’s clear that they guys of Futurebirds have at the very least taken a class at the university of Hood and Cooley. See, for a lot of rock bands, it’s enough that they wrote a few songs, and they get to tour those songs around, maybe even making a little cash on the way. That’s the business of rock and roll. Futurebirds are into the LIFE of rock and roll, and, it would seem, are on the verge of a massive career.
Sounds Like: Ryan Adams, Wilco, Luke Temple,Mumford and Sons... did we mention Ryan Adams?
Why You Should Care: This singer/songwriter from Chicago has crafted one of the better albums you are likely to hear this year.
Not gonna lie...hearing the name Musikanto out of context brings to mind a mulitude of possible horrific musical experiences, most of them involving Yanni, John Tesh or BOTH. Luckily, any and all of those fears are allayed the moment the man behind the name, Mike Musikanto, opens his mouth to sing.
Familiar, comforting, exciting and masterful — Musikanto's latest effort Sky of Dresses is all of these things — but most of all it’s a damn entertaining record. Recorded in Milwuakee, WI at a friends home studio, Dresses is the result of countless late-night drives to Brew City from Chicago, during which time Mike had the chance to pour over the demos he had cut that night and find the heart and soul of the music he was trying to create.
The results fairly speak for themselves, as Sky of Dresses has turned out to be one of the best releases of the year thus far. Haunting, heartbreaking, and most of all heartfelt, it’s an album that is going to keep you warm as Fall turns into the dark days of Winter and beyond. Check it out here if you haven’t had the chance, or just check out the video for the first single, “Every Which Way”, below.
Like it? Love it? Well you’re in luck, because Musikanto is opening for Truth and Salvage Co TONIGHT at the Rock and Roll Hotel. We’re gonna be there, and we hope you will be too! If the album is any indication everyone should be in for a fantastic night of music with an artist that clearly is just starting out on their path to total (folk) world domination.
When you're talking about live music, it really comes down to one thing, the energy that a band and the crowd create in the moment. You’ve either got or ya don’t. So this is an opportunity for other bands to take notice, because everyone walked out of the Rosebuds/Hospitality/Moderate show with a yearning for when that will happen again.
I’m a newbie to the Rosebuds and their music, having only seen them as the opener for Bon Iver earlier this year, where the venue was filled mainly with his fans, not theirs. So it was great to walk into the Rock and Roll Hotel for their show where the North Carolina to DC-based band The Moderate was already rolling through their set. Utilizing a guitar heavy sound that nods to Built to Spill and Modest Mouse, this group has also really focused on their skills as a tight melodic pop unit. And one of the most exciting parts of their driving set was when they would let the songs open up and breathe with an occasional jam, leaving the audience wondering where they might go, by which they guided us all in for a chaotic, but controlled landing. This really set the tone for a fun night.