Episode 315: On The Rocks - Midland

Episode 315: On The Rocks - Midland

If Country Music is king in 2017, then the gentlemen of Midland have got their eyes on the throne. Kevin and Marcus K. Dowling (Vice, Decades) are diving deep into the debut album from one of Nashville's latest, and greatest exports. They've got the song of the year ("Drinking Problem") but are Midland one-hit-wonders, or is there more to this band than the machine that they are a product of typically turns out.

PLUS: Positive No is BACK, and sounding better than ever. Hang out as we spin "Y.A.A.Y.Y.," their most excellent new single from their most excellent new album, Partners In The Wild!


"Come Tumblin' Down" - Colin Hay

"Come Tumblin' Down" - Colin Hay

For a few years in the early 1980s, Colin Hay and his band Men At Work ruled the pop music charts, with a string of hits that brought the "land down under" to the imagination of the world. The band unfortunately fell apart during the recording and release of their third album Two Hearts in 1985 and it was never promoted properly, which lead to its commercial failure. The most popular songs still remain at the heart of numerous 80s playlists, but what all but the most dedicated fans may not even realize is that Hay began a solo career almost immediately after the band split with the release of his record Looking For Jack in 1987, and has continued on non-stop since.


Phoenix @ The Anthem - 10/16/2017

Phoenix @ The Anthem - 10/16/2017

It’s been over three years since French indie-pop maestros Phoenix last graced a stage in Washington, DC, and eight years since they ruled the indie dance charts with “1901” and “Lisztomania.” And so a booking at DC’s new 6,000-capacity club The Anthem on the venue’s first full week open may have seemed ambitious. But the their latest album, Ti Amo, released in June, is a significant return to form after their somewhat lackluster and confusing previous record Bankrupt!, and tracks like lead single “J-Boy” show a band that still knows how to write a pop hook. To the fans who crowded the venue to dance away their Monday evening, that was more than enough.


LCD Soundsystem @ The Anthem - 10/17/2017

LCD Soundsystem @ The Anthem - 10/17/2017

LCD Soundsystem has become a part of the musical zeitgeist. One could gather as much based off their countless festival headlining spots, their sold-out Madison Square Garden “farewell,” and the amount of pages dedicated to James Murphy and company in the 2017 oral history book Meet Me In the Bathroom. The phrase ‘going out on top’ is a nice ideal for those that idolized the rock-meets-electronic outfit in the 2000s, but Murphy couldn’t help but come back to the thing he did best: make music. So here we are in 2017 with a new LCD Soundsystem album, American Dream. Murphy has now become an icon of sorts for the aging hipster population. (Even a T-shirt at the band's merch table alludes to this observation. Among other conversation-starting merch choices - a baby onesie that proclaims "I might be gay" in rainbow colors.) For this demographic, the excitement was understandably high at The Anthem, where the band kicked off their North American tour. After a long, anticipated wait (seven years have passed since their last DC-area show), LCD Soundsystem kept it as down-to-earth as the band has always done. Aside from the massive disco ball, of course.


Episode 314: Dialogue - Aaron Abernathy

Episode 314: Dialogue - Aaron Abernathy

On 2016's Monologue, soul man Aaron Abernathy explored his journey from a boy to the man he is today. Abernathy had every intention of continuing that story in his next song cycle, but a funny thing happened on the way to that follow up: The world went crazy... and Abernathy began asking questions. LOTS of questions.

A spiritual heir to Marvin Gaye's What's Going On, Dialogue finds Abernathy looking at the world around him, and searching deep inside AND out for answers to the daily horrors that seem to have taken over the zeitgeist. What does it mean to be decent in a world that seemingly only rewards depravity? How can an African American survive in a society that continues to not just perpetrate, but ostensibly celebrates systemic white supremacy? Do even the smallest of human actions matter?

These questions and more provide the framework for that rarest of things, a true soul record that trades as much in heart as it does universal truth and meaning. Join Kevin, Marcus K. Dowling, and Eduardo in the basement as they have their own dialogue about the world today and one of the most relevant and powerful albums to date of this new American landscape.


Alex Cameron @ Songbyrd - 10/2/2017

Alex Cameron @ Songbyrd - 10/2/2017

There are two sides of Alex Cameron that fans need to know: the calm, collected leader of a six-person band, and the schlocky, insecure character he channels in his music who wants to stuff losers into school lockers. Why? If you haven't listened to "Marlon Brando" yet, off of Cameron's latest album Forced Witness, you'd probably get the wrong idea: "So I'll tell you something sister, I'm feeling mighty fine / You tell that little faggot call me faggot one more time." It's strange hearing lines like these in 2017, but it’s all part of the hilariously insecure persona he’s crafted for these songs. His lyrics are so pointedly sharp that if you didn't know any better, you’d assume he was an internet troll who decided to make some music about it. But if you dismissed him, you'd be missing out on one of the funniest and most straightforwardly 80s pop albums of the year, drawing inspiration from the likes of Rick Springfield or Eddie Money to great effect.


Yelle @ U Street Music Hall - 9/26/2017

Yelle @ U Street Music Hall - 9/26/2017

The French are known for great dance-oriented musicians like Daft Punk, Phoenix, and Justice. Yelle is no stranger to this group. Starting with their breakout hit “Je veux te voir” in 2008, Yelle has been entertaining audiences on our side of the Atlantic to rave reviews. It’s been a few years since we've been graced with an album from the duo of Julie Budet and GrandMariner. All signs are pointing to an imminent album announcement very soon. Over the last few months,  they've released three new songs, "Romeo,” "Interpasion," and “Ici & Maintenant (Here & Now)” that continue to bridge the pop and electronic gaps in new and exciting ways that span continents and languages.


OTHERFEELS Presents: Next Up @ 9:30 Club - 9/15/2017

OTHERFEELS Presents: Next Up @ 9:30 Club - 9/15/2017

Since the days of Black Broadway and DC punk, Washington, DC has always provided loads of options to catch up-and-coming acts. But in 2017, it seems like the options are limitless, whether it is in someone's house (Bathtub Republic, Casa Fulano, Paperhaus), a hollowed-out former restaurant (Uptown Art House), or any random spot across town (Sofar Sounds). And then, of course, you have the heavy hitters like Merriweather Post Pavilion and 9:30 Club. So it was surprising to hear that 9:30 Club offered a platform to Mount Pleasant DIY space OTHERFEELS - a prime Friday night slot, too.


Booker T. Jones @ Pearl Street Warehouse - 10/12/17

Booker T. Jones @ Pearl Street Warehouse - 10/12/17

In 2009 Booker T. Jones teamed up with Drive-By Truckers and Neil Young on the scorching, Grammy-winning LP, Potato Hole. It was a late-career triumph that brought a whole new audience to Booker T’s music and reinvigorated his undeniable sound for the modern age. For those who were lucky enough to catch the music legend’s set at the Grand Opening of Pearl Street Warehouse in the Wharf District in Washington, DC, it was clear that Potato Hole, and the two albums he made after that, were no fluke. More importantly, the now seventy-two-year-old soul man shows no time of slowing down anytime soon. 


Foo Fighters @ The Anthem - 10/12/2017

Foo Fighters @ The Anthem - 10/12/2017

The Foo Fighters are arguably one of the biggest rock bands out there today, regularly selling out stadiums and arenas across the world. But when it came to the city’s newest (and, with a capacity of 6,000, largest) club venue, The Anthem, IMP founder and venue co-owner Seth Hurwitz knew there was only one band fitting to play the opening night. Dave Grohl had grown up in Springfield, Virginia, just outside of the city, and had spent his teenage years attending shows at Hurwitz’s original venue the 9:30 Club before going on to fame himself, first as the drummer for Nirvana and then as the frontman and leader of the Foo Fighters. And so, the band began their US tour for their latest album, Concrete and Gold, in DC at The Anthem last Thursday, ringing in a new era in the DC music scene.


Episode 313: Harmony Of Difference - Kamasi Washington

Episode 313: Harmony Of Difference - Kamasi Washington

Bolstered by the success of Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly and his own, uh, epic 2015 release, The Epic, saxophonist Kamasi Washington, along with the rest of The West Coast Get Down have spent the past few years popularizing jazz to a whole new generation of fans. On Harmony Of Difference, Washington is digging deep and exploring smaller themes like the meaning of life and our place in the universe. Kevin and Marcus K. Dowling (Decades, Capitol Wrestling) sit down to discuss Kamasi's latest masterpiece and consider a few universal truths of their own.

PLUS! Aaron "Ab" Abernathy's new album Dialogue, is a potent statement about the state of America today as seen through Abernathy's unique perspective, and is one of the best, and most important albums of 2017. We've got a listen to one of its highlights, "Generation," which is sure to be a rallying cry for the struggles in this "new" America for years to come.


All Things Go Fall Classic 2017 @ Union Market - 10/6/2017 - 10/8/2017

Last year, DC-based music blog All Things Go went bigger with the Fall Classic, their day-long music festival, by moving from Union Market to Yards Park and booking well-known talent like Sylvan Esso and Empire of the Sun. (Of course, the incessant rain caused some major mud pits and annoyances, but that’s beside the point and beyond their control.) But with the exception of local rapper Ace Cosgrove, the day was a synth-pop-heavy affair. This year, though, the organizers expanded the event to three days, and more interestingly, aimed to curate a more diverse lineup by day, which meant bringing in some diverse tastemakers from around town. With some know-how from electronic/dance tastemakers Nu Androids (who regularly host dance parties at spaces like Flash and Soundcheck) for Friday’s lineup and hip-hop/R&B-focused Broccoli City (who throw a DC music festival of their own in the spring) for Saturday, the All Things Go crew brought the music back to Union Market in the hopes of bringing the various music scenes together for one weekend.

Foster the People performing on day 3 of the All Things Go Fall Classic (Photo by Mauricio Castro / @themauricio)

Foster the People performing on day 3 of the All Things Go Fall Classic (Photo by Mauricio Castro / @themauricio)

Union Market is an ideal place to put on a festival in comparison to Yards Park - the former truck docks provided a great vantage point for those that don’t want to get deep into the crowd of rabid fans. And, of course, the asphalt festival grounds assured a mud-free weekend for attendees. As for the music, The Knocks were an obvious fit for Friday - having DJed at U Street Music Hall and performed at 9:30 Club countless times over the past few years, their combination of live instrumentation, vocals, production, and lasers were reliable party-starters for the night’s headliners. The Swedish duo Galantis proved to be as energetic and entertaining as fans were hoping for a Friday night by bringing together the best of house and pop music for an hour. They brought all the smoke machines and beat drops that you’d want from an EDM set.

Broccoli City’s curation on Saturday was also spot-on - from start to finish, every performer brought an intense level of energy, from DC’s Innanet James and offbeat electronic producer Cashmere Cat all the way through to Young Thug (who showed up an hour late, causing the back half of the crowd to dissipate by the time he made it on stage). Vince Staples was the true standout that day, though - his silhouetted performance and take-no-prisoners cadence made the case for him to be the real headliner that day.

Vince Staples on day 2 of the All Things Go Fall Classic (Photo by Mauricio Castro / @themauricio)

Vince Staples on day 2 of the All Things Go Fall Classic (Photo by Mauricio Castro / @themauricio)

Sunday’s lineup was classic All Things Go, featuring some of the best synth-pop and general pop talent out today. The highlights of the day included the keytar solos and dance moves of Great Good Fine Ok, an arena pop-like performance from Betty Who and her backup dancers, and an especially Springsteen-esque, reach-for-the-skies pop music from Jack Antonoff of Bleachers. Foster the People closed out the weekend with songs that drew from their three albums as well as some covers, like The Ramones’s “Blitzkrieg Bop.” The band didn’t play their biggest hit “Pumped Up Kicks,” likely in light of the Las Vegas shooting, and after explaining their sentiments of the political and social climate of today, they played a cover of John Lennon’s “Love.” But in a day that featured some great music and (unfortunately) very humid weather, one of the most memorable moments came during “Coming of Age” as the rain started to fall. The combination of the song with the refreshing rain and the coming end of a long weekend at Union Market brought the crowd’s spirits even higher. Unlike last year, this rainfall was a lot more welcome.

It remains to be seen if All Things Go will continue to follow through with this unique three-day, multi-genre format, but with the 10,000 people that came and went this weekend, all things hopefully point to likely.

 

Photos by Mauricio Castro
Click to embiggen




Epidsode 312: Go-go As History, Volume 2

Epidsode 312: Go-go As History, Volume 2

On August 15, 2017, Marcus K. Dowling convened the second in a series of panels entitled "Go-Go as DC History," a DC Public Library Go-Go Archive series intended to study the history of the Nation's Capitol through go-go, it's underground-to-mainstream beloved percussive and soulful sonic export. Dowling is joined on the panel by a mix of journalists and musicians with significant awareness of the history not just of the city, but of how the five iconic songs chosen for conversation in context with DC's history, are relevant.

The songs chosen to be discussed in the conversation are listed below, and cover a socio-culturally transformational era in Washington. They are as follows:

Chuck Brown - Run Joe
Junkyard Band - Sardines
Northeast Groovers - The Water
DJ Kool - Let Me Clear My Throat
Backyard Band - Hello

For more information on the DC Public Library's Go-Go Archive visit https://www.dclibrary.org/chuckbrown.

For the first edition of the "Go-Go As DC History Panel, visit http://www.chunkyglasses.com/content/episode-261-go-go-as-dc-history-wmarcus-k-dowling-part-


Paul Weller @ Lincoln Theatre - 10/7/2017

Paul Weller @ Lincoln Theatre - 10/7/2017

Paul Weller has been in the music business for over four decades now, and shows no sign in his ever-growing catalog of work. The singer and guitarist started his career as a member of seminal mod/punk rockers The Jam, who released their first album In the City five days before his nineteenth birthday in 1977. Since then, his output has been steady – six albums with The Jam, six albums with his follow-up band The Style Council, and a solo catalog that extended this year to his thirteenth studio record, A Kind Revolution. On Saturday Weller came to the Lincoln Theatre, where he and his band played a lengthy, 29-song set to a roomful of devoted fans.


Manchester Orchestra @ The Fillmore Silver Spring - 10/3/2017

Manchester Orchestra @ The Fillmore Silver Spring - 10/3/2017

Atlanta indie rockers Manchester Orchestra followed up their 2014 double release of Cope and its stripped-down companion piece Hope this year with the release of their fifth proper album, A Black Mile to the Surface. The album takes the band further into the soaring, anthemic direction that they’ve become known for, while reaching a new level of cinematic intensity in its themes and its storytelling. It’s been three years since the band last played in the DC area, but their latest tour finally brought them back again to the Fillmore Silver Spring, where they played a long, forceful set to a packed room.


Episode 211: Wildflowers - Tom Petty [Discologist]

Episode 211: Wildflowers - Tom Petty [Discologist]

David Bowie was from Mars. Prince was from another universe. But Tom Petty? Tom Petty was one of us. And now he's gone.

Joining us in the basement to celebrate this legend's passing are our good friends Marcus K. Dowling (Decades, Capitol Wrestling), the National Museum of African American History and Culture's  Timothy Anne Burnside, and...Timothy's Mom.

It's a bittersweet episode of ChunkyGlasses: The Podcast as we eulogize one of the greatest storytellers of the modern era by celebrating Wildflowers, Tom Petty's career-defining "solo" album that isn't just one of the best of his career, but one of the best LP's of all-time.


Trashcan Sinatras @ Jammin' Java - 9/27/2017

Trashcan Sinatras @ Jammin' Java - 9/27/2017

The Trashcan Sinatras reached their 30th anniversary this year, and to celebrate, the Scottish indie-pop group have gone on a US tour in just about as low-key a way as possible, as a (semi-)acoustic trio. The core trio of singer Francis Reader and guitarists Paul Livingston and John Douglas announced plans to play their entire catalog over the course of the tour, treating fans not only to the hits but to many rarities and obscure tracks that they don’t regularly play live. The band started their tour here, playing the first night at a sold-out (and completely packed) Jammin’ Java.


Episode 310: Wide Open - Michael McDonald

Episode 310: Wide Open - Michael McDonald

Between the domestic terrorist attack in Las Vegas that claimed the lives of over fifty people and injured some 500 more and the passing of music legend Tom Petty, it's been a pretty rough week. Kevin has some thoughts about both. 

Michael McDonald is a legend and a virtual Zelig of the music industry. He has sung and played on your favorite hits, your favorite band's favorite hits, and delivered a few of em all on his own. Now he's back with Wide Open, his first collection of songs in nine years, and Kevin along with friends Marcus K. Dowling (Decades, DC Radio) and Casey Rae (author, 'The Priest They Called Him: William S. Burroughs and the Cult of Rock 'n' Roll') are heading down to the basement to give it a listen.

PLUS! Washington, DC's The North Country is back with a new album, In Defense Of Cosmic Altruism, and we've got our favorite track for you to shove in your earholes!


The Cribs @ U Street Music Hall - 9/23/2017

The Cribs @ U Street Music Hall - 9/23/2017

UK trio The Cribs have been playing their own brand of anthemic punk and power pop for fifteen years now, and show no signs of slowing down. Consisting of twins Ryan Jarman on guitar and vocals and Gary Jarman on bass and vocals, along with younger brother Ross Jarman on drums, the band released their latest, Steve Albini-produced record 24-7 Rock Star Shit in August. For this album, the brothers chose to do away with the production and multi-tracking that they’ve engaged in with their more recent releases and go back to the raw, straight-to-tape sound that defined their early years. Their US tour brought them to U Street Music Hall precisely two years two the day after the last time the band played at the venue.


Episode 309: Poor David's Almanack - David Rawlings

Episode 309: Poor David's Almanack - David Rawlings

David Rawlings has made a career out of being the literal best. His work with Gillian Welch and under the moniker of The Dave Rawlings Machine isn't just a shining example of how "pure" music can succeed; it is peerless. With Poor David's Almanack,  Rawlings and crew are growing up (the Machine is no more) and digging deep into the traditions that continue to shape their musical direction and legacy.

PLUS! The duo of Penny & Sparrow is taking Nashville, and the world by storm with their pop/folk sensibilities and stunning harmonies. Get acquainted with the track "Double Heart" off their latest LP, Wendigo, out now!