SHOW PREVIEW: Fanfarlo
So what exactly is a Fanfarlo? While the band’s name was derived from 19th century French poet Charles Baudelaire’s novella “La Fanfarlo,” this indie pop five-piece from across the pond boasts tunes that are far from old and stuffy. Orchestral pop brilliance ensues when old tired instruments such as mandolins, cellos, and clarinets are beautifully blended with a rousing guitar and a touch of good old stompin’ and clappin.’ Formed in London circa 2006, Fanfarlo consists of main songwriter Simon Balthazar (a dude blessed with an awesome last name and killer vocals), Cathy Lucas, Leon Beckenham, Justin Finch, and Amos Memon. For fans of The Head and The Heart, Freelance Whales, and Broken Bells, Fanfarlo’s infectious folk-pop beats are sure to inspire. 2014 is set to be one hell of a year for the five-piece, with a brand new album: Let’s Go Extinct fresh on the shelves, and a hot spring tour underway. If you’re looking for a good time, be sure to check out Fanfarlo live at U Street Music Hall April 26.
Fanfarlo will perform at U Street Music Hall on April 26.
SHOW PREVIEW: MØ
Whether you know it or not, you’ve probably heard MØ before. The Danish singer has lent her hypnotic voice to big name electronic musicians like Avicii and Diplo throughout 2013, making her a contender for the queen of cool collabs. Fueling the success, 2014 is going to be MØ’s biggest year yet. The songbird just released her debut No Mythologies to Follow, a powerful, dance-infused album full of soon to be hits. For fans of AlunaGeorge and/or Quadron, MØ’s got a similar vibe, you’ll dig tracks like her popular “Don’t Wanna Dance” and the funky cool “XXX 88”. If you’re as fond of this wonderful lady as we are, be sure to check out MØ live at U Street Music Hall.
MØ will perform at U Street Music Hall on May 20.
Ahh, how we’ve missed the youthful punk rock energy in which Washington D.C. was steeped in the 1980s and 90s. We can thank The Orwells for bringing it back.
These youngsters, fresh out of high school, captivated the crowd with their wild disposition and grungy garage punk. Stage diving and crowd surfing? We love it!
Click here to see our full photo set, including shots of openers Twin Peaks and Silver Palms, on our Facebook page. A big thank you to house photographer Nicholas Karlin for capturing all the craziness!
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!