THROWBACK THURSDAY PHOTO CONTEST:
What big timer did this bright-eyed boy become? Answer correctly and you could win tickets to see him with his new band at 9:30 Club!
To enter, send your answer to contests@930.com. Winner picked 12PM tomorrow!

THROWBACK THURSDAY PHOTO CONTEST:

What big timer did this bright-eyed boy become? Answer correctly and you could win tickets to see him with his new band at 9:30 Club!

To enter, send your answer to contests@930.com. Winner picked 12PM tomorrow!

JOE’S JAZZY JAUNTS: Farmers by Nature - Love and Ghosts

Free improvisation in jazz music can be an off-putting and seemingly impenetrable concept to outside observers. The lack of a clear formal structure and tonal center can read as self-indulgent. But, in a way, that’s the beauty of it. It provides a venue for the performer to dive into an idea with a long leash and willingness to act on impulse.

A prime example of this is the new album Love and Ghosts by piano trio Farmers by Nature. The group - consisting of pianist Craig Taborn, bassist William Parker, and drummer Gerald Cleaver - stretches out over a two-hour run time. They let pieces develop organically, not rushing into any climaxes. The fairly specific titles suggest that there was some concept in mind for each track, meaning that the improvisation was not completely without restriction.

A clear indication of the sonic palette is given right from the outset, on the title track. Taborn strikes a dissonant chord, which then branches out in a bluesy figure. Cleaver asserts himself with a contrasting series of clacks and rustles. Parker first plucks out an insistent riff, then transitions to playing with a bow for an eerie effect.

There’s no tune here, no hook to get stuck in your head. Instead there is a mood and a collection of personalities. The players use all the available resources within the framework of a piano trio to share their impressions of an idea, in this case “Love and Ghosts,” and push each other into a deeper exploration of it. They bring a wealth of varied experiences that result in unique contributions.

Taborn was the player that I was most familiar with before listening. In listening to his own trio’s 2013 album Chants, I formed a conception of him as someone who liked to methodically construct something and then undercut it. Love and Ghosts made clear to me that he possesses incredible technical dexterity as well. These traits are evident on the 18-minute “Comté,” in which a riff is repeated ad nauseum while Cleaver explores the far reaches of his drum set. Around the five minute mark, Taborn introduces a freewheeling and dissonant solo while maintaining the riff. He lets forth with incredible flurries of notes with his right hand while his left somehow remains its independence. The display reflects a notion he puts forth here, asking “How free can you be, and still hold to the structure?”

Parker is the free jazz veteran here, having played the music since the ‘70s. He worked early on with pianist Cecil Taylor, whose influence can be felt on Taborn here. He has also spent time with reed-shredding saxophonists like David S. Ware and Peter Brotzmann. From reading interviews, it seems that he is very interested in all the sonic capabilities of his instrument. An obvious example of this would be the haunting bowing used throughout “Les Flaneurs.”

These talents combine to form a complex and diverse work. At different times it can be beautiful, vulgar, groovy, or ethereal. Think of it like punk rock - a group of people committed to an idea and navigating it with exciting spontaneity.

-Joe Ciccarello

SHOW PREVIEW: We Are Scientists & Surfer Blood at U Street Music Hall
Sometimes there exists a lineup so delectable, so wonderfully crafted, it would be a huge bummer to pass it up. This is one of those times. Friday, October 3rd at UHall will feature not only the tried-and-true pop rock of scene vets We Are Scientists, but the (sort of) fresh-faced Floridian guitar slacktivism of Surfer Blood.
Surfer Blood made waves (sorry) with 2010’s awesome Astro Coast, created the ole-fashioned way – as lo-fi as possible, in a dorm room. They then released 2013’s Pythons, a display of maturing songwriting that sacrificed none of the band’s love of loud guitars, the ocean, and weird cryptic metaphors. Their live shows flawlessly translate their crunchy shoegaze, swirling around in deep sea blue light. There’s also the occasional weird choreography. But if maritime shoegaze isn’t your thing…
We Are Scientists’ great 2014 release TV en Français is filled with smart, personal pop tunes dusted with cynicism. Unsurprising given their 14-year career. But don’t let that fool you into thinking they’re not in the prime of their lives. As the recent tour-shot video for “Sprinkles” shows, they’ve never had more fun playing live shows. You, yes YOU, could witness the same spectacular events captured in the video, simply by buying a ticket! We can’t outright promise strip teasing singers or crowd surfing bassists, but we can strongly hint.
-Kelsey Butterworth
Catch We Are Scientists & Surfer Blood at U Street Music Hall on Friday, October 3!

SHOW PREVIEW: We Are Scientists & Surfer Blood at U Street Music Hall

Sometimes there exists a lineup so delectable, so wonderfully crafted, it would be a huge bummer to pass it up. This is one of those times. Friday, October 3rd at UHall will feature not only the tried-and-true pop rock of scene vets We Are Scientists, but the (sort of) fresh-faced Floridian guitar slacktivism of Surfer Blood.

Surfer Blood made waves (sorry) with 2010’s awesome Astro Coast, created the ole-fashioned way – as lo-fi as possible, in a dorm room. They then released 2013’s Pythons, a display of maturing songwriting that sacrificed none of the band’s love of loud guitars, the ocean, and weird cryptic metaphors. Their live shows flawlessly translate their crunchy shoegaze, swirling around in deep sea blue light. There’s also the occasional weird choreography. But if maritime shoegaze isn’t your thing…

We Are Scientists’ great 2014 release TV en Français is filled with smart, personal pop tunes dusted with cynicism. Unsurprising given their 14-year career. But don’t let that fool you into thinking they’re not in the prime of their lives. As the recent tour-shot video for “Sprinkles” shows, they’ve never had more fun playing live shows. You, yes YOU, could witness the same spectacular events captured in the video, simply by buying a ticket! We can’t outright promise strip teasing singers or crowd surfing bassists, but we can strongly hint.

-Kelsey Butterworth

Catch We Are Scientists & Surfer Blood at U Street Music Hall on Friday, October 3!

VOTD: Haim feat. A$AP Ferg, “My Song 5”

HAIM IS JUST SO GOOD AT MAKING MUSIC VIDEOS. If you haven’t noticed by now, I like writing about them. “Falling” was set in the middle of a forest, “The Wire” had boys crying, and now “My Song 5” is a Jerry Springer kind of talk show with a slew of celebrity guests. This version of the bass-intensive track from Days Are Gone includes an A$AP Ferg verse and oh so much more. SNL comedian Vanessa Bayer plays the flighty interviewer, Kesha is in love with her cat, A$AP Ferg’s girlfriend is leaving him for another girl, Artemis Pebdani from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has a cotton ball phobia, Este Haim has a thing for mimes, Ezra Koenig and A$AP Rocky watch the madness from the audience, and Grimes chills backstage because she’s cute or something. That is a lot of amazingness to fit in a video, but Haim did, and it is hysterical.

-Emily Hirsch

ALBUM REVIEW: JJ - V

JJ do their own thing. Always have, always will. (I assume.) 

Confusingly enough, V is only the third official album for the swedish duo, but like its predecessors, it continues to bring their signature sound: hip-hop-inspired ethereal music.

For those of you unfamiliar with JJ, on the surface, their fragile sound might seem like a weird thing to mix with rap music, but the duo have been doing this, and doing it well, for five years now. Their past recordings have included covers, references, and adaptations of everything hip-hop from Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop” to Diddy’s “Dirty Money.” 

From Drake quotes to a song called “All White Everything,” the hip-hop influence on V is quite apparent. Part of JJ’s magic is their ability to seamlessly adapt their influences directly into their own music. On V, we hear this constantly throughout the record. In “Dean & Me,” singer Elin Kastlander’s tender voice recites, “it’s my party and I’ll get high if I want to” in a way that both openly references Drake (and even his inspiration, Leslie Gore) and yet truly feels like an organic piece to the song. On top of that, “Dean & Me” is as beautifully haunting as a song can come.

For the rest of you, V continues exactly where JJ left off: creating beautiful, fun, and unique music. It’s a welcome addition to the duo’s catalog and goes to show that sometimes sticking to the same formula is just as smart as deviating from it.

All in all, with V, JJ show absolutely no signs of quitting on their old ways — and why should they? They’ve practically perfected their unique blend of sound and story, and in such a fascinating way, to boot.

-Dylan Singleton

VOTD: Chet Faker, “Gold”

Nick Murphy, also known as Chet Faker, released his first full-length LP, Built on Glass, in April of this year. This is the only other release since his first EP, Thinking in Textures, which earned him the “Best Independent Release” award from the 2012 Rolling Stone Awards in Australia.  Now, in more recent news, Murphy has released his second music video from the album for his second single, “Gold.”  On this track, he stays true to his electronica production style while also showing off his R&B side in his vocals. This video will most likely catch you off guard… It starts out with a camera view, riding down the middle of the road in the middle of the night along the middle double yellow line, with a light coming out of the back of the car. Then you see something entering the light! …A woman riding on rollerblades?! And then, there’s two more! So while you’re still watching, you start to get over the fact that you’re watching three girls rollerblading in a music video, and you start to notice that their choreography along with the song is actually pretty entertaining! Especially since they are all definitely attractive, as well. The camera then turns 180 degrees and finally, there’s Chet Faker, singing along in a busted car in the middle of the road with a deer right beside him. Not sure from where director Hiro Murai struck this idea, but I can’t complain… quite the opposite actually.

-Alec Moss

SHOW PREVIEW: Big Star’s Third
Boy, oh boy, are we in for a big treat this Saturday at the Club!
Most music buffs are by now familiar with Big Star’s delayed success story, but here’s a quick recap. The Memphis power poppers were initially active from 1971 to 1974, during which time they recorded three albums: #1 Record, Radio City, and Third/Sister Lovers. None of the albums achieved commercial success upon their releases, and Big Star soon disbanded. It wasn’t until 1978, when Third had a proper, widespread release through PVC Records, that Big Star’s genius was finally noticed. 
Although Big Star was at that point inactive, Third became a cult classic and eventually landed a spot on Rolling Stone's “500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list. Numerous bands formed in the early 1980s, including R.E.M., The Replacements, and The Jesus and Mary Chain, were inspired in part by Big Star’s newfound eminence. Now deemed "Memphis’ answer to The Beatles,” Big Star’s legacy is undeniable, as depicted in Nothing Can Hurt Me. 
To further the legacy, as well as commemorate Big Star mastermind Alex Chilton, founding drummer Jody Stephens, along with Chilton-collaborator Chris Stamey (of The dB’s), hatched “Big Star’s Third” tour. Stephens and Stamey called upon friends, including Mike Mills of R.E.M. and Pat Sansone of Wilco, to embark on a four-day stint of performing Big Star’s two most celebrate albums, Third and #1 Record, in their entireties. 
This Saturday’s Club stop on the once-in-a-lifetime tour features, in addition to the above star-studded list of musicians, special guest Lesa Aldridge (Chilton’s muse for much of Third) and a twelve-piece chamber orchestra. Bring tissues, because the experience just might make you misty-eyed.
-Madelyn Dutt
Join us this at the Club this Saturday, August 23 for Big Star’s Third. Send your ticket confirmation to contests@930.com by 6 p.m. today (August 20) for your chance to win merch signed by Jody Stephens!

SHOW PREVIEW: Big Star’s Third

Boy, oh boy, are we in for a big treat this Saturday at the Club!

Most music buffs are by now familiar with Big Star’s delayed success story, but here’s a quick recap. The Memphis power poppers were initially active from 1971 to 1974, during which time they recorded three albums: #1 Record, Radio City, and Third/Sister Lovers. None of the albums achieved commercial success upon their releases, and Big Star soon disbanded. It wasn’t until 1978, when Third had a proper, widespread release through PVC Records, that Big Star’s genius was finally noticed. 

Although Big Star was at that point inactive, Third became a cult classic and eventually landed a spot on Rolling Stone's “500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list. Numerous bands formed in the early 1980s, including R.E.M., The Replacements, and The Jesus and Mary Chain, were inspired in part by Big Star’s newfound eminence. Now deemed "Memphis’ answer to The Beatles,” Big Star’s legacy is undeniable, as depicted in Nothing Can Hurt Me

To further the legacy, as well as commemorate Big Star mastermind Alex Chilton, founding drummer Jody Stephens, along with Chilton-collaborator Chris Stamey (of The dB’s), hatched “Big Star’s Third” tour. Stephens and Stamey called upon friends, including Mike Mills of R.E.M. and Pat Sansone of Wilco, to embark on a four-day stint of performing Big Star’s two most celebrate albums, Third and #1 Record, in their entireties. 

This Saturday’s Club stop on the once-in-a-lifetime tour features, in addition to the above star-studded list of musicians, special guest Lesa Aldridge (Chilton’s muse for much of Third) and a twelve-piece chamber orchestra. Bring tissues, because the experience just might make you misty-eyed.

-Madelyn Dutt

Join us this at the Club this Saturday, August 23 for Big Star’s Third. Send your ticket confirmation to contests@930.com by 6 p.m. today (August 20) for your chance to win merch signed by Jody Stephens!

VOTD: Big Ups, “Justice”

“Everybody says it’s getting better all the time, but it’s bad! It feels bad!” 

These are the screamed words in the chorus of “Justice,” the third track from Big Ups’ full-length, Eighteen Hours of Silence. It’s a sociopolitical commentary on the dangers of fighting the system. Frontman Joe Galarraga alternates between Cake-like mumbling and full-force screaming, as churning guitars lash out over drums nearly too tight to be ‘just punk.’

In the “Justice” music video, one woman looks into the face of government officials and sees the all-controlling forces of evil for what they truly are. She flees as they pursue her, led by their leader, who has earwigs coming out to take control of her brain. It’s Big Brother in the information age, with every few frames cutting out to randomized bars of color - a broken television playing a legal drama turned deadly.

“If I had just one wish, I’d wish for this, I’d wish for justice,” Galarraga pleads, and in the final moments of the video, the running woman stomps on the earwig, splattering corruption into a bloodstain on the floor. If only it were that easy in real life.

-Asher Meerovich (@Bummertime)

SHOW PREVIEW: Benjamin Booker
Who’s Benjamin Booker? Well, he’s a 25-year-old blues rocker from Tampa Bay, FL, and his self-titled debut album hits stores today! The album was produced by Andrija Tokic, who has also produced albums for Alabama Shakes and Hurray For The Riff Raff. The opening track is his single, “Violent Shiver,” and the first thing you’ll notice is the extremely catchy blues riff that recurs throughout the song and leads straight into his noticeably raspy vocals. The whole album consists of plenty of fast-paced blues rock with several tracks that slow down a bit without losing your interest. 
So, he nailed down a good producer for his debut album. Pretty good start, right? Welp, there’s more. Over the course of the summer, Benjamin spent much of June opening for Courtney Barnett, as well as eight dates in July with Jack White (!), arguably the best in the biz right now. Not only that, but he scored slots in the lineups of Lollapalooza, Newport Folk Festival, and Austin City Limits… And all of this happened before the guy even released an album! This guy’s on a roll, and it’s only just the beginning. 
After all of these huge shows, now he’s playing U Street Music Hall, and seeing him in that intimate of a setting is an absolute steal.
-Alec Moss
9:30 presents Benjamin Booker at U Street Music Hall on Monday, October 20!

SHOW PREVIEW: Benjamin Booker

Who’s Benjamin Booker? Well, he’s a 25-year-old blues rocker from Tampa Bay, FL, and his self-titled debut album hits stores today! The album was produced by Andrija Tokic, who has also produced albums for Alabama Shakes and Hurray For The Riff Raff. The opening track is his single, “Violent Shiver,” and the first thing you’ll notice is the extremely catchy blues riff that recurs throughout the song and leads straight into his noticeably raspy vocals. The whole album consists of plenty of fast-paced blues rock with several tracks that slow down a bit without losing your interest. 

So, he nailed down a good producer for his debut album. Pretty good start, right? Welp, there’s more. Over the course of the summer, Benjamin spent much of June opening for Courtney Barnett, as well as eight dates in July with Jack White (!), arguably the best in the biz right now. Not only that, but he scored slots in the lineups of Lollapalooza, Newport Folk Festival, and Austin City Limits… And all of this happened before the guy even released an album! This guy’s on a roll, and it’s only just the beginning. 

After all of these huge shows, now he’s playing U Street Music Hall, and seeing him in that intimate of a setting is an absolute steal.

-Alec Moss

9:30 presents Benjamin Booker at U Street Music Hall on Monday, October 20!