AS HEARD ON TV: “Orange Sky,” Alexi Murdoch on The O.C.

Thankfully, I started watching The O.C. a few years after *spoiler* Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton) died, so I was prepared to cry while she was carried out of the rubble and Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” played in the background. I did not however anticipate the extent to which I would fall for Seth Cohen (Adam Brody). The story lines were dramatic, the houses were insanely expensive, and there were too many cocktail parties that ended in a physical altercation to count. I feel a sort of kinship with other teens of the early 2000s because I watched and subsequently became overly invested in this iconic, yeah I said iconic, show.

Seth Cohen listened to Death Cab for Cutie when he was moody, so I did too. Spoon’s “The Way We Get By” set the tone for the easy California livin’ theme of the show, so of course I wanted to experience that too. Needless to say, The O.C. influenced my current music knowledge as well as my desire to move out west in a huge way and one of the great discoveries I made along the way was Alexi Murdoch. His song “Orange Sky” is the only six-minute track that I can just play over and over again without respite. Murdoch’s voice is the dreamiest and the repetition of the line “in your love, my salvation lies in your love” is enough to instill hope in anyone that someday those words could be applicable or with many lucky folks, maybe they already are.

-Emily Hirsch

VOTD: Tweedy, “Summer Noon”

Tweedy, the new band from Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy and his son, Spencer, will drop their debut album Sukierae on September 16th. The album will feature a whopping 20 songs with “Summer Noon” as its second single, which they performed for their The Tonight Show debut.

The video for Tweedy’s “Summer Noon” is as beautifully simple as the song itself. Following a single red balloon as it floats through (what one would only suspect is) noontime on a summer day, this video really captures what summer is often all about: calmly taking in the the world as it just floats on by.

The gorgeous animation is what makes this minimalistic video work — which goes to prove that you don’t always need glitz, glamour, and complexity to make a captivating video. This great song with its simple, but beautiful, video is able to genuinely hold your attention for the three and a half minutes that it lasts.

While it may not be your typical summer song, “Summer Noon” certainly captures the serenity of these sunny months.

-Dylan Singleton 

Are you crazy in love? Send proof to contests@930.com and maybe we’ll get you some tickets to the show!

Are you crazy in love? Send proof to contests@930.com and maybe we’ll get you some tickets to the show!

MUSIC MONDAY PLAYLIST: Lauren’s Picks

These songs are from ten awesome bands that I have been able to see throughout the summer (or am able to see in the next few weeks!) From seeing The Strokes at one of their first shows in years to Jack White’s solo act for the second time, these artists all have put on great shows throughout the summer of 2014. One thing’s for certain, with this playlist you are sure to wake up and get your week off to a great and loud start.

-Lauren Rosalanko

SHOW PREVIEW: Sir Sly & Wolf Gang

If I told you that you could see two amazingly talented bands co-headline in a super intimate space, would you be pumped? Of course you would be. Well, it just so happens that two super awesome bands, Sir Sly and Wolf Gang, are teaming up for a rad fall tour. Sir Sly is a three-piece indie-pop band from Los Angeles which has found considerable success in its short two years together. The song “Gold” has reached 27th on the US Alt Rock charts and was featured in commercials for the popular video games Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and MLB 14: The Show. Sir Sly’s debut EP Gold is dark but still distinctly pop and singer Landon Jacobs’ unique voice shines. Wolf Gang is a four-piece from London, England and has opened for some of music’s biggest names like Coldplay, Keane, and The Killers. The band’s debut album, Suego Faults, cracked the Top 100 on the UK Charts and singles off the record were featured on hit shows like Gossip Girl. Right now, Wolf Gang’s Black River EP is out everywhere and the second album is set for release this year. Now, seeing either of these bands live would awesome but both on one stage is a once-in-a-lifetime event. So what are you waiting for? Get on these tickets before it’s too late!
-Janice Freeman
Sir Sly & Wolf Gang will perform at U Street Music Hall on September 8.

SHOW PREVIEW: Sir Sly & Wolf Gang

If I told you that you could see two amazingly talented bands co-headline in a super intimate space, would you be pumped? Of course you would be. Well, it just so happens that two super awesome bands, Sir Sly and Wolf Gang, are teaming up for a rad fall tour. Sir Sly is a three-piece indie-pop band from Los Angeles which has found considerable success in its short two years together. The song “Gold” has reached 27th on the US Alt Rock charts and was featured in commercials for the popular video games Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and MLB 14: The Show. Sir Sly’s debut EP Gold is dark but still distinctly pop and singer Landon Jacobs’ unique voice shines. Wolf Gang is a four-piece from London, England and has opened for some of music’s biggest names like Coldplay, Keane, and The Killers. The band’s debut album, Suego Faults, cracked the Top 100 on the UK Charts and singles off the record were featured on hit shows like Gossip Girl. Right now, Wolf Gang’s Black River EP is out everywhere and the second album is set for release this year. Now, seeing either of these bands live would awesome but both on one stage is a once-in-a-lifetime event. So what are you waiting for? Get on these tickets before it’s too late!

-Janice Freeman

Sir Sly & Wolf Gang will perform at U Street Music Hall on September 8.

HOW DID I MISS THIS: Seapony, Go With Me

Getting in touch with your innermost feelings is a terrifying concept; it’s one that takes time and patience. Seapony’s 2011 release, Go With Me, was an album created to embody just that. For all of those times you looked aimlessly out the window trying to see the world for what it really was.

The album kicks off with the most energetic and catchiest tune in the bunch, “Dreaming,” creating the allusion that the album is carefree and optimistic. The first three songs are of the same vein, but just as we assume that we have Seapony figured out, they take us on a journey down a beaten path, where confusion and uncertainty make the destination cloudy. The excitement and dreaminess that was so evident in the first half of the album, which slowly began to fade, is almost completely lost by the end of “So Low,” as they repeatedly sing, “I miss you everyday, I wish you’d stay.”

The drums set the tempo as a melodic and mournful guitar riff enters, creating the breathtaking intro to “What You See,” which could easily be the best and most underrated song on the album. The song in itself is quite simplistic, but it embodies the feeling you get when you are trying to figure out the person you love. You stare at them as they gaze off in the opposite direction, and all you want is a small inkling of the thoughts streaming through their mind as you sit in silence. 

The transition into “Nobody Knows” is flawless. The two songs need each other, as much as we need those blissful seven minutes of music. It’s the representation of overcoming the nights where you stayed up til four wiping your eyes and looking up at the ceiling, bringing us to a time where we are able to accept the unknown for what it is, and embracing it.

Seapony is most comparable to Wild Nothing, with lazy melodies and twinkling guitars at the focal point, with the only main difference being a female vocalist. As fall is almost upon us, there is no better album to have in your life.

-Katie Cheyne

<5K: Volume 3

There’s an xkcd comic that exposes the secret coalition to make certain YouTube videos go viral: they have to get exactly “300+” likes from the committee, and are then certified to spread like the plague onto innocent newsfeeds worldwide.

In that vein, I present you with <5K: exposition on bands that have less than 5,000 likes online. Perhaps one of them will be the next to pass that mysterious threshold into the world of fame and fortune… after all, once you get 5,000 likes, you sell out every show and your records go gold. That’s how it works, right?

*Submissions* If you’re in a band, your friend is in a band, or you just know a band with less than 5,000 likes, send a link to asher.meerovich@gmail.com. If I like it, I’ll put them in an upcoming edition of <5K!

Cartoon Weapons (234 likes) is a newer project of a group of virtuoso musicians from College Park, MD, notorious for their high-energy house shows. Emerging with a full, precise sound is “Crawlspace,” the first single off of Cartoon Weapons’ upcoming debut Last Rites of a Living Legend. Channeling their riotous energy into jaw-dropping musicianship, Cartoon Weapons is the sound of true prog-rock wizardry at its most confounding. Without exaggeration, these are the most skilled musicians this author has ever seen perform. The album comes out soon; for now, the single serves as a teaser to what is sure to be a mind-melting odyssey. Listen to “Crawlspace” above.

Apollo’s Din (257 likes) sounds like the folk-grunge lovechild of Why? and The Dandy Warhols. Written and recorded by Alex Kushon on his own Iron Orange Records, the self-titled album is a deeply weird, entirely fascinating romp through harsh riffs and art-rock absurdity. “I feel out of comfort when I sit in this position,” Kushon sighs, “and no one wants my deep-fried kisses.” There’s a punk simplicity to the vocal delivery, as if to offset the angular oddities of distorted acoustic guitars and screeching harmonics. It’s an enthralling trip through the outer reaches of conventional music. Listen to Apollo’s Din here.

The Technicians (1,257 likes) are a band that slams together alternative rock and post-punk to a dramatic effect that has already caught the attention of moshing crowds throughout DC. Drawing influences from such varied sources as Faith No More, Rage Against The Machine, and The Cure, the four members add up to a fast, furious wall of sound that comes on loud and hard. They only have three songs officially released so far, but the size of those sounds promise big things for these hard-rockers, standing out in a crowd of bands who wish they sounded more like The Technicians. Check them out here.

Shark Shark (not even on Facebook!) is the new band of Theo Hilton, known for his work leading bands like Defiance, Ohio and Nana Grizol. Their self-titled demo is the only proof of their existence so far, and it’s terrific. From lovely melodic hush pop like “New Jersey,” to more emotive tracks like “Galaxies” that harken to Hilton’s Elephant 6 affiliations, Shark Shark show that they can cover a wide swath of musical ground with sweet, intimate lyricism. Listen to the Shark Shark demo here; recommended tracks include “New Jersey” and “Watching Blues.”

Watermedown (1,608 likes) is the multifaceted project of Maryland’s Jonny Mays. It started out as Mays’s solo acoustic outlet for his raw, deeply heartfelt lyrics about personal failure and struggling to overcome a bleak world. After touring hard and handing out custom-drawn tapes with a touching smile, he’s begun to take his songwriting to its next level. On his latest EP, Perfect Is Pointless, drums and a full sound make Watermedown a force to be reckoned with. The songs come alive with the additional instruments, transforming Mays’s jagged songwriting into heartwrenching emo rock. It’s as immediate as it is sincere, and can only get more powerful as he gains experience and recognition. Listen to Perfect Is Pointless here; recommended tracks include “Nothing Yet” and “My Every Imperfection.” 

-Asher Meerovich is a writer and musician in College Park. He likes to be near water. Read more of his musical explorations at http://hire-me-rolling-stone.tumblr.com/

CRATE DIGGIN’: Elvis Costello, My Aim Is True

It was 37 years ago this month that my absolute favorite musician released what is, in my humble opinion, one of the best albums of all time. My Aim Is True, Elvis Costello’s debut album, is a 12-song beauty that perfectly melds incredible songwriting and stick-it-to-the-man punk with some blues thrown in for good measure. This combination of genres and Costello’s unique style came to define the New Wave movement and turned him into an inspiring musical heavyweight. His lyrics are clever and biting but still imbued with raw, real emotion while his instrumentals are experimental and daring.

"Watching the Detectives" demonstrates Costello’s ability to fearlessly meld any and every musical genre in his music. The track has a reggae beat which coolly contrasts Costello’s spitting lyrics. "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes" is an upbeat gem which opens Side 2 of the record with a pop. Ripping political commentary highlights Costello’s lyrical genius and punk rock leanings on "Less Than Zero" while "Alison" proves he can write a damn good love song. And let’s be honest, Elvis Costello’s one-of-a-kind voice shines on every track.

What really makes me love this album so much, however, isn’t Costello’s amazing lyrics or devil-may-care style. It’s the grit and the realness that flows through the entire record. My Aim Is True was recorded in 24 hours and the lack of do-overs allows the listener to truly connect with his music and words. His voice isn’t perfect and neither is the music but the imperfections make listening to the record a journey and an experience. For those of you that have never listened to (or even heard of) Costello’s debut album, do yourself a gigantic favor and please give it a spin.

-Janice Freeman

REASONS TO COME EARLY: Hamilton Leithauser 

Don’t spend too long mourning over the hiatus of The Walkmen because former lead singer, Hamilton Leithauser, is not putting the brakes on his musical career in the least. His June release, Black Hours, is incredibly solid for a debut full length LP. It features the single, “Alexandra,” which you’re sure to fall in love with even if your name is not Alexandra or any variation of that. The album also boasts “11 O’Clock Friday Night” which has a full minute of instrumentals and lots of Leithauser’s longing vocals. For a glimpse of what he brings to a live setting, take a listen/watch his most recent NPR Tiny Desk Concert. With that you can see up close how great a performer he really is. While I will always be a devotee to The Walkmen, the voice of Hamilton Leithauser on its own has quite a commanding presence.

-Emily Hirsch

Hamilton Leithauser will open for Spoon at the Lincoln Theatre on September 2-3.