WE LOVE OUR PARTNERS: Gibson Guitar Showroom
Gibson Guitar’s DC Showroom, nestled amidst the hustle and bustle of Chinatown, is a place of rock refuge. Lined with gorgeous guitars and filled with natural sunlight, the showroom invites visitors to reflect on the music of Gibson-wielding greats, such as Les Paul, Johnny Cash, and David Byrne. The space is primarily reserved for private concerts and special occasions, so if you’re ever invited to attend an event there, be sure to cancel all other plans.
The rockin’ Gibson folks are currently giving away tickets to Boris at 9:30 Club on Saturday, August 2. For your chance to win, visit the Showroom’s Facebook and Twitter pages. 
-Madelyn Dutt (@MaddyDutt)
Boris will perform at 9:30 Club on August 2. 

WE LOVE OUR PARTNERS: Gibson Guitar Showroom

Gibson Guitar’s DC Showroom, nestled amidst the hustle and bustle of Chinatown, is a place of rock refuge. Lined with gorgeous guitars and filled with natural sunlight, the showroom invites visitors to reflect on the music of Gibson-wielding greats, such as Les Paul, Johnny Cash, and David Byrne. The space is primarily reserved for private concerts and special occasions, so if you’re ever invited to attend an event there, be sure to cancel all other plans.

The rockin’ Gibson folks are currently giving away tickets to Boris at 9:30 Club on Saturday, August 2. For your chance to win, visit the Showroom’s Facebook and Twitter pages. 

-Madelyn Dutt (@MaddyDutt)

Boris will perform at 9:30 Club on August 2. 

SHOW PREVIEW: Bryan Ferry
Former Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry brings his powerful vocals and finely tailored suits to the Lincoln Theater for performances on September 28 and 29. Expect a dose of infectious ‘80s grooves, paired with a layer of distinguished elder statesman gravitas.
Ferry started Roxy Music in 1971 in England, combining elements of art rock and glam. The group included, among other members, Windows 95 startup sound composer and all-around musical legend Brian Eno. Their debut was 1972’s self-tiled album, which contained the UK hits “Virginia Plain” and “Re-Make/Re-Model.”
1975’s Siren saw the group earn its first US hit with the bouncy “Love is the Drug”. Rolling Stone named Siren one of its 500 greatest albums of all time, calling it a “delicious LP of lounge-lizard ennui”.
In the early ‘80s, Ferry turned to a solo career. His first record in this era, 1985’s Boys and Girls, brought a number of durable tunes. The slinky “Slave to Love,” wistful “Don’t Stop the Dance,” and shimmering “Windswept” all stand out.

Come on out to the show and you’ll get a fair helping of these hits and more. A look at setlists of late indicates that Ferry’s giving his audience the material they know and love. And a glance a recent live sets shows that he’s still giving it his all. Bring yourself back to a time where snare drums had the amount of reverb they deserved and join us for what will be a great experience!
-Joe Ciccarello
Bryan Ferry will perform at the Lincoln Theatre on September 28 and September 29.

SHOW PREVIEW: Bryan Ferry

Former Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry brings his powerful vocals and finely tailored suits to the Lincoln Theater for performances on September 28 and 29. Expect a dose of infectious ‘80s grooves, paired with a layer of distinguished elder statesman gravitas.

Ferry started Roxy Music in 1971 in England, combining elements of art rock and glam. The group included, among other members, Windows 95 startup sound composer and all-around musical legend Brian Eno. Their debut was 1972’s self-tiled album, which contained the UK hits “Virginia Plain” and “Re-Make/Re-Model.”

1975’s Siren saw the group earn its first US hit with the bouncy “Love is the Drug”. Rolling Stone named Siren one of its 500 greatest albums of all time, calling it a “delicious LP of lounge-lizard ennui”.

In the early ‘80s, Ferry turned to a solo career. His first record in this era, 1985’s Boys and Girls, brought a number of durable tunes. The slinky “Slave to Love,” wistful “Don’t Stop the Dance,” and shimmering “Windswept” all stand out.

Come on out to the show and you’ll get a fair helping of these hits and more. A look at setlists of late indicates that Ferry’s giving his audience the material they know and love. And a glance a recent live sets shows that he’s still giving it his all. Bring yourself back to a time where snare drums had the amount of reverb they deserved and join us for what will be a great experience!

-Joe Ciccarello

Bryan Ferry will perform at the Lincoln Theatre on September 28 and September 29.

NEW TRACKS: The Weeknd, “King Of The Fall”

Though the lines between genres often seem arbitrary, certain musicians stand out as landmarks between the mainstream and the alternative. One such figure is The Weeknd, a key figure in the community of “PBR&B,” or ‘hipster hip-hop.’ Since his endorsement by fellow Canadian crooner Drake, The Weeknd (real name Abel Tesfaye) has been earning massive acclaim for his dark, emotive hip-hop and his crystalline falsetto. His new song, “King Of The Fall,” is a jagged, sensual come-on, showing off a more lyrical side to Tesfaye than much of his previous work. The synths swirl around a dramatic half-time beat, as he leaps into a hook worthy of being blasted in dim, dangerous clubs across the nation. The Weeknd’s King Of The Fall Tour with Jhene Aiko kicks off in September, and based on the tracks he’s already released, we can be certain that he’ll pull no punches.

-Asher Meerovich (@Bummertime)

FOREIGN EXCHANGE: Gorillaz (Pt. 1)

Surely almost everyone reading this column knows of the Gorillaz. The virtual band, with Blur’s Damon Albarn and visual artist, Jamie Hewlett at the center, has fascinated music fans since the release of their eponymous record in 2001. Combining a bewildering array of disparate genres from trip-hop to electronic to punk, Gorillaz and follow-up album, Demon Days, set a new standard of genre fusion and ended up selling more than 15 million combined copies by 2007.

But I’m not here to urge you revisit big singles like “Feel Good Inc.” or “Clint Eastwood” or “On Melancholy Hill” (even though I love them all). Nah. This Friday, we’re gonna explore a few oft overlooked deep cuts of each of the three big Gorillaz records: Gorillaz, Demon Days, and Plastic Beach.

The Tracks: Top 3 Deep Cuts

1. Gorillaz - “Tomorrow Comes Today”

The most obvious choice of our Gorillaz deep dive, “Tomorrow Comes Today” is the forgotten lead-in to the middle school anthem and first rap song that everyone wanted to memorize (good work Deltron), “Clint Eastwood”. Take one part pounding drum sample, two parts hypnotic melodica line, and three parts stunning lyricism and you’ve got a musical cocktail that’ll get you to the blues like that (insert snap or snare sample here for emphasis). 

2. Demon Days - White Light”

"White Light" is basically the anti-song of Demon Days. While the rest of the album bounces along to tracks like “Dare,” “Feel Good Inc.,” and “Dirty Harry,” “White Light” hammers a bass line into your brain while Damon whisper-chants right next to your ear until you believe yourself mad. Just when you think you’ve had enough, a lovely acoustic breakdown pops up. And is swiftly beaten back down. Rad. 

3. Plastic Beach - "Empire Ants"

"Empire Ants" didn’t capture my attention on my initial listening spree of Plastic Beach, which I was admittedly super disappointed by at the time (I like it better now, please don’t hate me), but then I heard a house DJ at U Street Music Hall spin the track. As soon as I heard the song in isolation, it struck me as delicately balanced and thematically brilliant in classic Gorillaz overwhelmingly dancey fashion. Put this one on your next party playlist and wait for the head nods. 

References: Portishead, The Flaming Lips, & LCD Soundsystem

Next week we’ll go one level deeper into the Gorillaz catalog (and try not to make too many Inception references) by exploring the band’s lesser known B-sides and remixes in part two. Until then, enjoy more thorough listens to this cartoon band’s three immaculate full-lengths. 

-Spencer “I was wrong about Plastic Beach.” Swan

HOW DID I MISS THIS: Blank Dogs, Under and Under

Summer is a time for music that is happy, carefree and emotionless; basically sunshine in song form. This summer has been a bit different; one of the most inspiring and experimental bands I have ever heard has been my soundtrack: Under and Under by the hauntingly beautiful, Blank Dogs. 

I was initially drawn to Mike Sniper’s one-man project because he was signed to Captured Tracks while he was still active. The band has undertones of Women and The Wake, but has developed their own distinctive lo-fi/post-punk style. The most identifiable aspect of Blank Dogs’ music is the muffled vocals. Multiple times throughout the album, the lyrics are absorbed by scuzzy guitars and prominent bass lines, which make it nearly impossible to understand what is being sung. This is where some shoegaze musicians create a disconnect with their listeners, but Sniper uses it to his advantage, crafting a captivating masterpiece in a low-key way. His strained words will find the entrance to your heart.

Between 2008 and 2011, the band released an album every year, all of which received unbelievably positive reviews by critics, but were not easily accessible to listeners. Under and Under was the second of the four to be released. The album can only be fully understood during the nighttime; every song exudes darkness. On paper Blank Dogs appears to be just another avant-garde shoegaze-esque punk band, using typical instrumentation. However, their distinct brooding, yet strangely uplifting style lies at the heart of how the band has become such an experimental project. 

This album is one that every song should be listened to, in no particular order. There isn’t a weak tune in the bunch, but two have made my heart ache in the most enjoyable and unique way: the hit, “Tin Birds,” and the underrated closing track, “From Here.”

Captured Tracks has continuously signed artists that speak to music fans in a way that is not colored in black in white; Blank Dogs is the epitome of this theory. It is what makes music such a magical attribute to our daily lives.

-Katie Cheyne

SHOW PREVIEW: Bleachers
   "I Wanna Get Better," the hit single by Bleachers (solo project of Fun.’s Jack Antonoff), seems to be everywhere these days. The track is perfect for summer and is impossible not to sing along to. But, Bleachers’ catchy creations don’t stop there. Antonoff’s recently released album, Strange Desire, is a fun romp through 1980sesque pop that still feels distinctly modern. The album is full of powerful pop anthems like “Shadow,” a love-affirming song that is just begging listeners to dance. Past the Duran Duran vibe and catchy fun, however, Antonoff’s lyrics are one of the most incredible parts of each Bleachers song. He bares his soul on his tracks, letting people see his emotional struggles and find joy in his victories. This combination of soaring pop and intimate lyrics creates an unique musical experience that is both a fun and emotionally affecting. So, even if you’re not a Fun. fan, check out Bleachers on the upcoming Strange Desire Tour and you won’t be disappointed. 
-Janice Freeman
Bleachers will perform at 9:30 Club on September 3.

SHOW PREVIEW: Bleachers

"I Wanna Get Better," the hit single by Bleachers (solo project of Fun.’s Jack Antonoff), seems to be everywhere these days. The track is perfect for summer and is impossible not to sing along to. But, Bleachers’ catchy creations don’t stop there. Antonoff’s recently released album, Strange Desire, is a fun romp through 1980sesque pop that still feels distinctly modern. The album is full of powerful pop anthems like “Shadow,” a love-affirming song that is just begging listeners to dance. Past the Duran Duran vibe and catchy fun, however, Antonoff’s lyrics are one of the most incredible parts of each Bleachers song. He bares his soul on his tracks, letting people see his emotional struggles and find joy in his victories. This combination of soaring pop and intimate lyrics creates an unique musical experience that is both a fun and emotionally affecting. So, even if you’re not a Fun. fan, check out Bleachers on the upcoming Strange Desire Tour and you won’t be disappointed. 

-Janice Freeman

Bleachers will perform at 9:30 Club on September 3.

HOW DID I MISS THIS?!: Eels

I feel like every HDIMT installment should begin with a sincere apology to the universe and the band in question, followed by an admission of severe embarrassment. I have no idea how I avoided Eels for so long – fear of a new obsession? Sheer laziness? Even after all the recent hubbub over them singing with Steve Perry, I still managed to duck and cover. (In my defense, there are a CRAP TON of bands to listen to out there. Ever rifle through a $1 vinyl bin? It gives me the sads.) But after hearing “Flyswatter,” my god, have I seen the light. Though I’m only just beginning my journey with Daisies of the Galaxy, I’ve come to a few conclusions thus far: Eels , Beck, and The Apples In Stereo would be the best of friends; Mark Everett is nothing less than a bonafide musical genius; despite the annoying 43-second intro of silence and feedback, “Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues” is quite possibly the most awesome song EVER. What I love about 90s/00s wacko indie songwriters is their ability to cover topics more diverse and intellectually stimulating than “Mwah, my girl/boyfriend broke up with me” (take The Dismemberment Plan’s thrilling loony tune “Bra,” for instance). And judging by my endless Spotify scrolling, I’ve got plenty of wacko discography to dig into. Cheers, Mr. Everett.

-Kelsey Butterworth

SHOW PREVIEW: The Strypes
   So, what were all of you guys doing when you were 17 years old? Were you playing in a rock band, traveling the world, and performing on David Letterman? Didn’t think so. But, for the four members of The Strypes, that is exactly how they’re spending their teenage years. Formed in 2011 in Cavan, Ireland, The Strypes are singer Ross Farrelly, guitarist Josh McClorey, bassist Peter O’Hanlon, and drummer Evan Walsh. Their sound is gritty, fast-paced, and draws inspiration from 1970s rock bands like The Rolling Stones. Their genuine, unvarnished sound is particularly surprising given their young ages. Farrelly’s swagger is mesmerizing and gives the impression he’s been a frontman for much longer than 3 years. The band’s single “What a Shame” is a growling condemnation of major record labels set to a fun, danceable track. The Strypes’ debut album, Snapshot, is a short (only 35 minutes) but incredibly memorable raucous trip that leaves you wanting more. 
-Janice Freeman
The Strypes will perform at 9:30 Club on August 19.

SHOW PREVIEW: The Strypes

So, what were all of you guys doing when you were 17 years old? Were you playing in a rock band, traveling the world, and performing on David Letterman? Didn’t think so. But, for the four members of The Strypes, that is exactly how they’re spending their teenage years. Formed in 2011 in Cavan, Ireland, The Strypes are singer Ross Farrelly, guitarist Josh McClorey, bassist Peter O’Hanlon, and drummer Evan Walsh. Their sound is gritty, fast-paced, and draws inspiration from 1970s rock bands like The Rolling Stones. Their genuine, unvarnished sound is particularly surprising given their young ages. Farrelly’s swagger is mesmerizing and gives the impression he’s been a frontman for much longer than 3 years. The band’s single “What a Shame” is a growling condemnation of major record labels set to a fun, danceable track. The Strypes’ debut album, Snapshot, is a short (only 35 minutes) but incredibly memorable raucous trip that leaves you wanting more. 

-Janice Freeman

The Strypes will perform at 9:30 Club on August 19.

JOE’S JAZZY JAUNTS: Jeff Ballard Trio & Jenny Scheinman

Supergroups are a long held tradition in rock, but they have their place in jazz as well. In some cases, we can look back at the members of an ensemble and say “That was a great lineup!” (The quintets of Miles Davis come to mind) In others, a cast of musicians will look around and see who they’ve always wanted to play with, then unite. Drummer Jeff Ballard’s trio is a recent example of this.

Ballard, at age 50, has been on the scene for some time and played with a variety of important figures. He is probably best known for his work in the trio of Brad Mehldau, a versatile pianist. That group has tackled everything from Charlie Parker to Soundgarden, with an equal amount of precision.

In 2006, Ballard formed his own trio with alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón and guitarist Lionel Loueke. Both of them come from outside the US— Zenón from Puerto Rico and Loueke from Benin—and bring in elements of their native traditions.  All three musicians are adaptable to the point that they can draw from that reserve of knowledge for the purposes of conversation, rather than competitive showmanship. I heard Ballard speak a few months ago, and it was particularly clear that learning from foreign cultures excites him.

In January, the group put out its first album, titled Time’s Tales. It’s truly a melting pot, bouncing from style to style. The first track, “Virgin Forest”, features extended jams over a bed of skittering African rhythms. Ballard gets to show off the drum kit he put together for the occasion, mixing traditional percussion with more regional fare. You know that peppy sound you loved when Vampire Weekend mixed it with indie rock? Come here for the source.

Zenón showcases the Caribbean with an arrangement of “El Reparador de Sueños.” The song, by the Cuban composer Silvio Rodríguez, is a catchy little burst of sunshine. Loueke provides a soft repeating figure, while Zenón’s melodic line lounges over it. Ballard moves in the background, going from hi-hat taps to a martial snare beat.

The most intriguing inclusion on the album is a cover of Queens of the Stone Age’s “Hanging Tree,” which comes roaring in out of nowhere. Even with limited instrumentation, the group does a convincing hard rock impression. Loueke, usually reserved, lays on the distortion and Van Halen-esque shredding. Zenón’s sax measures up pretty evenly with Josh Homme’s vocal range, and he lets loose an impressive solo of his own.

For jaunt number two, I’m going to jump over to something completely different, and cheat a little. Violinist Jenny Scheinman has done some excellent work in a certain corner of the jazz world, focusing on original compositions and integrating a folk sound. She’s also worked with everyone from Wilco guitar wizard Nels Cline to Metallica.

Scheinman’s latest album is this year’s The Littlest Prisoner, which isn’t really jazzy but has the mitigating factor of being really good. She does more singing than on previous albums, displaying a restrained but focused vocal approach. She also has some excellent collaborators, including guitarist Bill Frisell and drummer Brian Blade.

Lead single “Run Run Run” provides an even mix of elements. Blade provides a quick patter on the snare, serving as a perpetual motion engine. Frisell gives minimal but effective harmonic support, as is his wont. Scheinman’s lyrics carry knowing words of caution for a lover who’s scared to commit. She busts out an instrumental solo in the middle, and it’s callback to those days when players had to package their best ideas in 16 bars or less.

If the current trend of Americana in popular music is your thing, give this one a shot. You won’t get massive anthems, but you will expert playing and quiet intelligence. And an exploration of Scheinman’s career will lead you in all sorts of interesting directions.

-Joe Ciccarello 

THIS ONE TIME AT BANDCAMP: Volume 4
This week’s picks are for the melancholy in all of us.
<a href=”http://fakeblood.bandcamp.com/album/lame-death” data-mce-href=”http://fakeblood.bandcamp.com/album/lame-death”>lame death by fake blood</a>
Fake Blood - Fake Blood is the bedroom project of a nineteen year old from New Jersey named Laura. The cool indifference of her monotone vocals and simple guitar tracks are somehow pregnant with raw emotion. There are a lot of lo-fi recordings on Bandcamp that sound very much like Fake Blood, but something about those three songs on lame death has me completely enamored and interested to see what other music she will put out.
<a href=”http://cigarette.bandcamp.com/album/gush” data-mce-href=”http://cigarette.bandcamp.com/album/gush”>’gush’ by cigarette</a>
Cigarette - These DC natives put out folky lo-fi psych-rock full of a melancholy that’s easy to sway to. Their album gush is an easy listen that you could get lost in for hours. The tracks are long (one nears the seven minute mark) and layered with a complexity that slowly builds. The music is beautifully sad, but with that all-important glimmer of hope.
<a href=”http://flashlighto.bandcamp.com/album/the-truman-sho” data-mce-href=”http://flashlighto.bandcamp.com/album/the-truman-sho”>The Truman Sho by Flashlight O</a>
Flashlight O - Earlier this spring, I saw Flashlight O perform an in-studio session at WMUC and instantly fell in love. Not only is he pretty cute, but his fuzzy lo-fi tracks commanded attention through the power of minimalism. The solo project of Colin Alexander of Spook Houses uses sparse production and deep vocals that remind me vaguely of Jeff Mangum. He croons from our backyard in Baltimore, and his latest album is called The Truman Sho.
-Sydney Sanial (@sydneysanial) 
Suggestions or submissions for the next “This One Time at Bandcamp”? Send them in!

THIS ONE TIME AT BANDCAMP: Volume 4

This week’s picks are for the melancholy in all of us.

Fake Blood - Fake Blood is the bedroom project of a nineteen year old from New Jersey named Laura. The cool indifference of her monotone vocals and simple guitar tracks are somehow pregnant with raw emotion. There are a lot of lo-fi recordings on Bandcamp that sound very much like Fake Blood, but something about those three songs on lame death has me completely enamored and interested to see what other music she will put out.

Cigarette - These DC natives put out folky lo-fi psych-rock full of a melancholy that’s easy to sway to. Their album gush is an easy listen that you could get lost in for hours. The tracks are long (one nears the seven minute mark) and layered with a complexity that slowly builds. The music is beautifully sad, but with that all-important glimmer of hope.

Flashlight O - Earlier this spring, I saw Flashlight O perform an in-studio session at WMUC and instantly fell in love. Not only is he pretty cute, but his fuzzy lo-fi tracks commanded attention through the power of minimalism. The solo project of Colin Alexander of Spook Houses uses sparse production and deep vocals that remind me vaguely of Jeff Mangum. He croons from our backyard in Baltimore, and his latest album is called The Truman Sho.

-Sydney Sanial (@sydneysanial) 

Suggestions or submissions for the next “This One Time at Bandcamp”? Send them in!