Today there is snow. Today is a celebration. Join us in a super kick ass Music Monday Playlist, won’t you?
Inbox us your favorite tracks on Spotify and you might see it included next week!
What are you jamming today?
SUNDAY STAFF PICKS SIX: Bands Discovered on TV Shows
Sydney: The Vaccines on GIRLS
I first discovered The Vaccines because “Wreckin’ Bar (ra ra ra)” was featured on the GIRLS soundtrack. They’re a great post-punk garage rock band, and “Post Break Up Sex” remains one of my favorite songs.
Kelly: Alt-J on Private Practice
Private Practice is one of my many TV guilty pleasures. The sappy story is always good, but the music is always great. One of the best finds from the show was when they used Alt-J’s Breezeblocks as few years back. Still one of my favorite songs!
Nick: Local Natives on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
I discovered these guys when they performed ‘Wide Eyes’ on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon back in 2010. Been in love ever since.
Emily: The Shins on Gilmore Girls
In my awkward middle school years, Gilmore Girls became my first love. Then, in probably my all-time least favorite episode when Paris and Rory go on Spring Break, The Shins performed at a gross dive bar and thus, my second love affair began.
Kelsey: Junip on Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad’s creator Vince Gilligan is a pretty detail-oriented guy – one of the many reasons BB is considered by some (myself? most? universe?) to be the greatest television drama of all time. Gilligan chose Junip’s song “Line of Fire” for the series finale’s preview “Felina”. For BB fans left emotionally devastated by a roller coaster of a 5th season, Junip’s airy southwestern mystic vibes gave the ad the perfect shade of nail-in-the-coffin black. The song instantly made an impression on me because, paired with flashes of broken families and utter misery, the song was so profoundly beautiful and sad at the same time.
Janice: The Rubens on Supernatural
"Heard "I’ll Surely Die" by The Rubens for the first time on Supernatural (my favorite show ever) last season. Still can’t get enough of their bluesy-rock sound.”
Share your story! What bands have you discovered from one of your favorite television shows?
SHOW PREVIEW: GEMS
GEMS, formed in 2012 by Cliff Usher and Lindsay Pitts, began this leg of their music career through the wide and wonderful world of the internet. Instead of releasing albums, they focused on releasing singles via music sites like SoundCloud where listeners could give feedback, easily share what they liked, and also express complaints. Having trouble with getting previous band Birdlips off the ground, the two had plenty of experience so that the second approach with GEMS was streamlined.
Their music has been absorbed under umbrella of dream-pop. DREAM POP. This genre is crazy yet subtle while still bass heavy and eerily hopeful. I was a bit skeptical when I heard the genre name before listening to the band. I mean…Dream? Pop? The first thing that comes to mind is My Little Pony. But contrary to my initial judgments this band is so much more than rainbows and pastel colors. Their sound perfectly encapsulates both dreams and pop, in the most beautiful ways.
GEMS is not just about making ethereal music that will sell to ambitious hipster kids pining to weasel in (the most) unknown artists into their repertoire. Rather, their music is well composed, rhythmically encompassing, and lyrically profound. In the realm of music, there exists mechanical appreciation and emotional understanding; the word ethereal applies to those emotional conceptions and reactions to music that captivate and motivate. Although this band sounds ‘soft’ in both name and genre, it’s that dulled edge that gives the music such substance.
When I encountered the band GEMS and decided to write about them, it took me a different direction and gave me a better perspective on dream-pop the (apparent) opposition to what I loved about music writing. It’s clear after learning about their musical approach, sound, skill, and image that this Duo from DC have something very special brewing. The lyrics are real; they are pertinent and heavy. Paired with the dramatic reverb, capricious lyrics, and comforting bass, GEMS is the band to see if you can appreciate good sound and thoughtful musicians.
Catch them TONIGHT at U Street Music Hall!
VOTD: Bombay Bicycle Club - ‘Luna’
The luminescent single of the recently released album gets a video! Hooray!
Gentle splish splashing, possibly strangely over eager swimmers, a treatment similar to a Wes Anderson flick. Let’s do this. Prepare to move your hips while being treated to a lovely little routine. Happy Saturday, everyone!
WE LOVE OUR PARTNERS: Getting to Echostage
We were excited enough to start presenting shows to you guys at Echostage, and we’re even more excited to tell you how our awesome partners are helping you get there! You have so many options, some of which you might not be aware of! There is a shuttle that runs from the NOMA Metro Station. If you want to be a little more 21st Century about it, turn to your smartphone and download Hailo and Uber. Hailo will give you $20 off your first ride with the promo code above, and Uber will give you $25! And if that doesn’t incite you enough, Rock and Bus will pick you up from Chinatown or Dupont Circle and drop you right at Echostage. See? That was easy.
U STREET HAPPENINGS: Restaurant Marvin
What’s going on? Are you in need of some sexual healing? Well come check out Marvin, located at 2007 14th St. NW. Named for the smooth crooner we all know and love, Marvin Gaye, this bistro offers a food range that satisfies just about every palette. Chef Angel Franco specializes in Belgian and soul food creations allowing for a unique dining experience.
Thievery Corporation’s Eric Hilton has created a restaurant specific soundtrack comprised of rare funk, soul, ska, and jazz. This might cause minor grooving and head bobbing while you munch away on dishes like the free-range, country fried chicken served with waffles, gravy, syrup and of course collard greens.
Drinks are priced reasonably with most cocktails priced $6-8. The restaurant offers a large wine and beer selection as well. Grab a drink on the heated outdoor deck before going in to eat!
The ambience of this local joint is warm and up beat! Sure to put a smile on your faces in this chilly winter weather!
Sweet Deal! Get a 15% discount on pre-show dinner - 2 hours before doors for each Lincoln Theatre show. Just bring your ticket to the restaurant!
9:30 INTERVIEW: Devin Gallagher, Typhoon
Sydney [9:30]: I know that the big think about Typhoon that you’re probably sick of hearing about is that you guys are so big. Are there any weird problems that you run into when touring that smaller bands wouldn’t?
Devin [Typhoon]: I don’t really notice the downsides anymore. It’s really more of an advantage. Anything that needs doing, there’s twelve people who can do it.
Do you guys have any rituals that you perform before you get one stage? How do you get everyone all in the same mindset to perform so cohesively as such a big group?
Before we play, we gather in a big huddle and do a group cheer. Sometimes we’ll talk a bit in the huddle before cheering. We’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember. We might all be in different places psychically before hand, but when we cheer we’re all there together.
Typhoon seems like a big family, and that certainly comes across in your music. Do certain members in the groups play different family-like roles in your group? Who would you title with band mom or band dad?
We joke about that, but it’s probably more like twelve kids who’s parents left them the house while they’re traveling in Europe- brothers and sisters.
When the lineup of the band is constantly changing, what kind of challenges does that present to the songwriting and touring process?
Since we released “Hunger and Thirst” in 2010, the lineup has been the same, except for the departure of two members (our cellist and a backing vocalist). The twelve of us have been writing, playing, touring, and living together for over three years, and continue to grow stronger as a band.
You all are a pleasant departure from the recent trend toward minimalism in indie music. Where do you draw your influences? What other bands do you identify most with in terms of style and band structure?
Most of us were classically trained in addition to playing in garage bands, and seeing how orchestras and large jazz ensembles function probably gave us a good background for what we do now. When we were in high school and college, people like Sufjan Stevens, Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, The Polyphonic Spree, and Sigur Ros were experimenting with larger ensembles as well as utilizing strings and horns and more varied percussion- I think that influenced us quite a bit.
Plane malfunction takes you down and leaves you all stranded on a desert island together. You can only rescue one of your tour items before you make it to dry land…what would it be?
Probably the whiskey.
If you could sit down and have a drink and a chat with any musician, living or dead, who would it be? You don’t have to be a fan of their work—maybe you just want to pick their brain.
We’re super excited to have you guys on our stage in DC. Being from the west coast, is there anything you’re anxious to see or do when you’re back in the nation’s capital?
DC is just fun to be in. I have been meaning to check out the James Adkins University campus.
Typhoon performs LIVE at 9:30 Cub on March 19th!
ALBUM REVIEW: Beck, Morning Phase
Let’s go back to 2002. Beck, who had established himself as the king of eclectic sounds (and videos) with Odelay and Midnite Vultures, released Sea Change. The album was squarely in the folk rock and sadcore genres with such classics as “The Golden Age” and “Lost Cause.” The types of songs that I’ll never forgive Zach Braff for not including on the Garden State soundtrack. It threw out all expectations, as did its subsequent tour which featured the Flaming Lips as his backing band.
Morning Phase can be seen as both change and return for Mr Hansen. Although this is his first release on new label Capitol (and first not with the Universal family in over 20 years), Morning Phase feels like a coming home to that 2002 sound that produced one of his best albums. Self-produced, the album is strong throughout, and may be Beck’s best album since Sea Change, which is saying something considering the strength of his output in the 00s (my favorite being the Nile Godrich-produced The Information). Beautiful strings glisten throughout, orchestrated by Beck’s father, David Campbell. The guitar work and rhythm section give a nice country/folk vibe. And Beck’s vocals are on point.
Normally I would give suggested tracks. Maybe the second track “Heart Is a Drum”? Oh, wait, no, the lead single “Blue Moon”! Oh, but I forgot the closer, “Waking Light”… This album has too many great tracks just to really choose a few that are above the rest. Morning Phase cannot be recommended more highly.