Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Huge Weekend

Another summer weekend with a boatload of shows to check out. Here's what's going on.

Summer is the time for festivals and this Saturday the Download Festival rolls through the Philly area for the only east coast date of this three city festival. It is a huge line-up featuring The Killers, Iggy Pop & The Stooges, Ghostland Observatory, The Parlor Mob, The Duke Spirit, Colour Revolt, Louis XIV, Sia, The Whigs, The Airborne Toxic Event, Eli Reed, and Philly's own Man Man. It'll be a hot one, so go prepared. For all details of what you can bring to the Susquehanna Bank Center (The E-Center, Blockbuster, whatever you called it), check out the festival website.

mp3: The Parlor Mob - Cant Keep No Good Boy Down
mp3: Colour Revolt - Naked and Red
mp3: Sia - Electric Bird
mp3: The Airborne Toxic Event - Sometime Around Midnight

As far as the rest of the weekend goes, a huge number of local and national acts are playing the area.

The minimalist acoustic sounds of Bon Iver are joined by Bowerbirds, who are re-releasing Hymns for a Dark Horse, for two shows. Thursday they are in Philly at the First Unitarian Church, then head on down to DC for a show at the Black Cat.

mp3: Bon Iver - Skinny Love
mp3: Bowerbirds - In Our Talons

Dubbed "The thinking-mans Wilco", Earlimart are on tour and making two stops in the area, starting in Philly Friday at Johnny Brendas. They are joined by Philly locals Sunshine Recorder and JJL (otherwise known as Like A Fox). Saturday, check out Earlimart at the Ottobar in Baltimore.

mp3: Earlimart - Song For
mp3: Sunshine Recorder - Hemmingway
mp3: JJL - Vertical Dance

Aimee Mann is playing quite a few shows over the next few days. You can catch her with The Submarines at the 9:30 Club on Saturday, then she plays back-to-back shows at the World Cafe starting Monday.

Priscilla Ahn is also making a run through the area, starting Saturday at the Tin Angel in Philly, then heading to Jammin Java Sunday where she hooks up with Willoughby. Those two are also at Rams Head in Annapolis for a Tuesday show.

Before gracing us with their presence for our Saturday Anniversary show next weekend, Bellman Barker are pulling a two-for. They will be at the Metro Gallery Saturday with Baltimore's The Courtesy Line and then travel to Philly to perform with DC-mates The Caribbean and Brooklyn's Soren Well.

mp3: Bellman Barker - Charles Kil
mp3: The Courtesy Line - Make It Up
mp3: The Caribbean - The Go From Tactical
mp3: Soren Well - Black Transmissions


It's very light on Thursday. Other than Bon Iver/Bowerbirds, Philly's own The Extraordinaires are playing Johnny Brendas.

mp3: The Extraordinaires - The Chicken The Egg or The Song


The Duke Spirit is playing a Free at Noon at the World Cafe before their performance Saturday at the Download Festival. Also, Hello Tokyo are performing at The Fire.

mp3: Hello Tokyo - Kiss Me Good-bye (remix)


The World Cafe seems to be the happening place this weekend, this time with The Apples In Stereo.

Down in DC at the Black Cat, Virgin Records artist We Are Scientists are touring in support of their new album Brain Thrust Mastery. They are joined by Oxford Collapse, who also have a new album BITS coming out Tuesday.

mp3: The Apples in Stereo - Energy
mp3: We Are Scientists - Chick Lit (remix)
mp3: Oxford Collapse - The Birthday Wars


Finishing off the weekend is Philly's The Bee Team. In the midst of a I-95 tour with DC's Deleted Scenes and The Never, they are at Millcreek Tavern, then start the week off in DC at Black Cat.

Across the river at IOTA, catch locals Prabir & The Substitutes and Greenland.

mp3: Deleted Scenes - Fake IDs
mp3: The Never - Cavity
mp3: Prabir & The Substitutes - Slow
mp3: Greenland - Shipwreck on the Watery Eye

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This Week's Releases

This week is a fairly short list, with only a few quality releases. Wild Sweet Orange finally released their full length We Have Cause To Be Uneasy. Other releases I can recommend are the digital release of You & Me from The Walkmen and Takka Takka's Migration. George Carlin's last comedy album before his death, also finds its way to this week's release list.

Wild Sweet Orange

We Have Cause To Be Uneasy - "Ten Dead Dogs" & Full Album Stream

Other Notable Releases:

The Walkmen

You & Me (Digital Download) - "In The New Year" & Full Album Stream

Takka Takka

Migration - "Everybody Say" & Full Album Stream


Heavy Meadows
- "Out In The Sand" & Full Album Stream

George Carlin

It's Bad For Ya

James Jackson Toth

Waiting in Vain - "Doreen" & Full Album Stream

Dave Marsh

The True Love Rules - "I Know Nothing Anymore"

Dead Heart Bloom

Fall In (Free Download) - "Our Last Martyr"


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Noah and the Whale

Noah and the Whale claim themselves to be “a magical band hailing from London, who find inspiration in the films of Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach and sound a little like Neutral Milk Hotel, The Kinks and Belle and Sebastian.” Surprisingly, they’ve summed themselves up perfectly and I won’t mess around with a less apt description, except to say that their latest album, Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down, comes out September 16th and it's a simple, catchy mix of everything a listener could want from a minimalistic British collective. They’ve thankfully moved up from playing in the corners of tiny bars to touring all across Britain, which makes me wish I was a little bit less in Washington, D.C. and a little bit more in London.

mp3: 5 Years Time


Jeff Hanson

Jeff Hanson releases his third album, Madam Owl, on Kill Rock Stars this August. The record, like its two predecessors, contains a smooth set of pop-music symphonies so catchy it seems that each one could be the record’s single. I confess that I first thought Jeff Hanson was merely the musician and writer on a project sung by The Weepies’ Deb Talan (compare the vocals), but I’m both wrong and ashamed. His consistent voice has a handcrafted quality that perfectly matches his choice in acoustic guitars.

mp3: If Only I Knew


Kelley McRae

Highrises In Brooklyn, the new album from Brooklyn’s neighborhood belle, Kelley McRae, drops August 19th. Resonating with the twang of Brandi Carlisle and the sweet spirituality of Mindy Smith, McRae does a pretty good job of standing on her own two feet thanks to her honest lyrics, believable voice, and touch of classical composition. She tours her songs of burden, homesickness, birds and Johnny Cash, through our area this summer.

7/26: The Wonderland Ballroom, Washington, DC
7/27: House Concert (check website, Baltimore, MD
7/30: Circle of Hope, Philadelphia, PA
8/23: Jammin Java, Vienna, VA

mp3: Highrises In Brooklyn


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Sons and The Daughters of the Mamas and the Papas

When was the last time that you had some truly kick ass harmonizing in your rock 'n roll diet? Yeah, it's been a while for me too. And quite frankly, all of this sugary pop is hell on the teeth and waistline.

Fret no more, as the Austin sextet Brothers and Sisters can help you shed those unwanted pounds with their contemporary take on some of the dulcet sounds of the '60s. Led by actual brother and sister Will and Lily Courtney, the band meshes the glorious harmonizing of such bands as the Mamas and the Papas with the indie sensibilities of Modest Mouse on their new album, Fortunately. Essentially, we're talking lush, gorgeous vocalizing peppered with some gritty guitar and just a hint of California surf rock and alt-country goodness. It might seem like a bit of a mushy mixture, but damnation, it's some good stuff.

mp3: You're Gone
mp3: The Air Is Getting Thicker



The vast majority of emails we get at IA, pushing various bands, like to compare said act with someone else, typically somebody with a higher profile. Personally, I like the touch, as I'm pretty sure I have no desire to hear anyone that sounds like "an indie Yanni" or "a harder version of David Hasselhoff." By making these comparisons, a lot of crap is filtered for me right off the bat. Fortunately, it works the other way, too. If you sound like somebody I already dig, odds are I'll at least give you a listen.

So when the PR flaks for Montreal's Duchess Says came forward pimping their debut full-length, Anthologie des 3 Perchoirs , I was instantly pleased when names like the Kills and the Gossip were dropped. The good news is that the comparisons are pretty spot on. The bad news, for me at least, is that we're talking Standing in the Way of Control Gossip and Midnight Boom Kills, not their earlier, bluesier stuff. Oh well.

If angry, loud, electro-tinged nu-punk is your thing, I'm fairly confident you'll dig Duchess Says. Fronted by a frequently screaming Annie-C, the immediate comparisons are the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Noisettes. As for me, I'll keep searching.

mp3: Ccut Up


A Rollicking, Good Time

Being an English major who spends far too much time trying to discern the perfect meaning for particular words, I've long struggled with the quintessential occasion to use "rollicking." I believe Andy Mullen's latest, self-produced, DIY masterpiece, The Toenail Jar, has afforded me the ideal opportunity to use that word in describing his music. Gross title aside, the self-proclaimed "Folk Music's New Bad Boy" has put together a great folksy, country-esque gem that bounces and bounds like a tipsy tornado. What sets this work far beyond the competition, however, isn't the music itself. Don't get me wrong, Mullen is a strong guitarist with tight finger picking skills and the required half-dulcet, half-whiskey-soaked pipes to garner praise enough. No, it's Mullen's skills as a lyricist that take the package to the next level.

From somber tracks like, "So Does the Beer", to fun tunes like, "Quit Quittin'", to the heady, "Stream of Consciousness", this CD has a little something for everyone. I suppose that counts doubly, if you like a bit of real country (not this current country pop rock crap) in your mix.

I know we posted on our “favorite albums of the year thus far” already this year, but this one definitely now makes my list. Hell, the amount of garbage I’ve done in airports alone makes "I Cracked at the Airport" resonate with me far more than it should and for that alone, I’d probably put it in my top ten. The fact that "Quit Quittin'" and "Stream of Consciousness" are two of my favorite tracks of the year, doesn’t hurt the situation much either.

Fortunately, Mr. Mullen has made this album available to anyone that wants a copy. Snag yours here.

mp3: Quit Quittin'
mp3: Stream of Consciousness


Monday, July 28, 2008


After years of getting drips and drabs - albeit those drips and drabs were wonderful nuggets of goodness - fans of PAS/CAL finally got to add a full length release to their collection when I Was Raised on Matthew, Mark, Luke and Laura dropped last week.

Long-time fans will be pleased with the continuing evolution of their sound, balancing the poppy sweetness of You Were Too Old for Me with an unabashedly ambitious move towards an even more epic, arty, and occasionally weird sound.

I'm still working out whether I like the album as a whole, but I'll let you decide for yourself.

mp3: Glorious Ballad of the Ignored


XX Teens

It's a fine line between clever and stupid, but an even finer line between disturbing and catchy (all thanks to David St. Hubbins for the quote). XX Teens seem to have carefully toed both of these lines on "Darlin'," the first single from their debut Welcome to Goon Island.

It took me three spins, but on that third try, the scary combination of accordians, fuzzed-out bass, and surf rock guitars all came together for me. I won't even attempt to throw out the usual comparisons with other bands, as I've got no easy ones to make. Suffice to say, it rocks.

Give a listen and book your tickets to Goon Island (and check out the Maurice Sendak on a bad acid trip graphics, just for an added kick to the head).

mp3: Darlin'


Podington Goes to Town

Here’s a secret about me: I harbor intense obsessions. We all know about the whole Lykke Li obsession that I have, but the love I have is wide and deep and encompasses a lot of other fixations. There's pineapple, hand-crafted greeting cards, new types of candy (do not try chocolate Skittles) and This American Life. All I want to do all day is have Ira Glass tell me about how interesting every day Americans are. It is through this love that we come to an introduction of Podington Bear, a previously hidden artist haunting TAL’s Showtime program soundtrack. After just releasing a 10-CD box set, the Bear has put out both The Lost Album and Remixes Vol. 1 for our pleasure and light techno enjoyment, free of charge, thanks to HUSH Records.

The originally anonymous musician, now revealed as Chad Crouch, made his musical den on the internet in the beginning of 2007, announcing he intended to write, record and release three songs a week, via podcast and blog, for a grand total of 156 songs. While moonlighting as an internet musical curiosity, Crouch also ran HUSH, a small but fruitful label with a roster of mostly regional talent, and a release history of over 80 albums. Check him out as fast as possible.

mp3: Proof
mp3: Misfit Toys


Friday, July 25, 2008

This Week's Mix

This week's mix doesn't really have a theme. It's really just a little bit of everything. Have a great weekend.

Passion Pit - Sleepyhead
Wallpaper - TRex
Lymbyc Systym - Truth Skull
El Ten Eleven - Every Direction Is North
Kuroma - Alexander Martin
Starfucker - Rawnald Gregory Erickson The Second
What Laura Says - July 23
Eels - Mr E's Beautiful Blues
We Were Promised Jetpacks - Quiet Little Voices
The Turn-Ons - Cold Boys

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From Behind the Scenes to the Front of the Stage

It's nice to see the guy behind the scenes step up into the spotlight every now and again. Gus Seyffert, the man who's worked with everyone from The Bird & The Bee to Junkie XL, has a band of his own now, Willoughby. I'm pretty sure I've seen the guy play guitar with Sia, too, though I was pretty far in the back. Anyway, Willoughby's debut, I Know What You're Up To, is out now and I'd like to spread a little love in his direction.

He's graciously decided to share the first single, "Story", with us, and now we do the same with you. Telling the story of a guy named Story (how's that for deep?), it's a hushed, down tempo track, pretty mellow and melodious at the same time.

If you like what you hear, the band has a ton of regional dates in the next couple of months.

Aug 03: Vienna, VA, Jammin Java *
Aug 05: Annapolis, MD, Ram's Head Tavern *
Oct 01: Philadelphia, PA, World Cafe Live #
Oct 03: Vienna, VA, Jammin' Java #
Oct 04: Annapolis, MD, Rams Head Tavern #

* = w/ Priscilla Ahn
# = w/ The Bird and The Bee

mp3: Story


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thursday In The Area

Shows are light this Thursday. Here's what to check out:

It's a CD release party at Johnny Brenda's in Philly for Aderbat. Due out today is We Belong To The Sea, "a missive on longing, memory and the experiential Life". Joining the party are Philly bands East Hundred, finishing on a new album themselves, and Bitter Bitter Weeks. If you miss Aderbat tonight, they will also be releasing at The Factory in Doylestown Friday and down at the Lo-Fi Social Club in Baltimore Saturday.

mp3: Aderbat - Pilgrim
mp3: East Hundred - Killing Moon (Echo & The Bunnymen cover)
mp3: Bitter Bitter Weeks - Terrified

Also in Philly, for a more danceable groove, Gang Gang Dance is at the Manhattan Room. You can also catch them at the Ottobar Friday night.

mp3: House Jam (XXXChange Remix)

Over in the District, another all local show is at DC9, featuring Kitty Hawk, Richmond's Hot Lava and Texas transplants Sweet Teeth.

mp3: Kitty Hawk - Bear In The Morning
mp3: Hot Lava - Apple Option Fire
mp3: Sweet Teeth - We Shake (live)

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State Bird

How can you receive a press photo like that and not post on a band? Once I listened to their music and realized how fitting that picture actually is, it was a done deal. Just like the picture indicates, Ohio's State Bird makes music that reminds you of a bunch of painted men running around in the woods. You have hollering, chants, horns and intermittent walls of sound. Throw in some Pilgrims and you'd have one hell of a party.

mp3: I Saw The Light


Yes, This Woman Is A Simple Man

Well, I'm not so sure a woman with a deep voice should be singing in the first person on a song called "Simple Man", but it seems to work for Jihae. The chanteuse recently put out a remix album of her debut, My Heart Is An Elephant, with the aforementioned track as the only "new" one.

Jihae's style is light electronica with touches of everyone from Nico to Grace Jones. Her throaty vocals add a layer uncommon in a lot of today's pop females. It's nice to hear something that doesn't sound like everything else these days. With Liz Phair having fallen off the talent charts lately and Juliana Hatfield's new one not coming out for a few weeks still, this is a nice little surprise.

mp3: Simple Man


Wednesday, July 23, 2008


UK chamber pop/ folk artist Windmill (Matthew Dillion) has started showing off his latest collection of tracts, Puddle City Racing Lights, on Friendly Fire. The best way I can think to accurately describe Windmill, is to say that he is the high-pitched, piano-based love child of Joanna Newsom and Daniel Johnston and no one can convince me otherwise. I, in fact, prefer to live in a world where this procreation is possible and actual. The untrained ear starts off thinking he’s a little creepy and then suddenly everything goes blank and you’re Googling and You-Tubeing “Windmill, Matthew Dillion” as fast as you can.

mp3: Plastic Pre Flight Seats


The Winter Sounds

Athens, GA's The Winter Sounds have been hard at work on a new album. In advance of it, they will be releasing a split EP with Austin's The Lemurs. They have leaked a demo of one of the new songs and if it is any indication, the album will be worth the wait. Check it out and see them on their huge tour. They currently only have one date scheduled in the region, but I'd bet that more are coming.

8/22: The Third Floor, Fredericksburg, VA w/ The Dance Party

mp3: Trophy Wife (demo)


The Millionaire's Salad

Somewhere along the way and without anyone hipping me to the fact, Hearts of Palm became the go-to vegetable of indie rock band names. Denver has their own Hearts of Palm that recently released a free, four-song EP, but that's not who we're here to talk about today. No, we're discussing Hearts of Palm UK, Los Angeles' electro-pop, multi-instrument trio. HoP UK, incidentally, are not British and apparently refuse to give any explanation of the mysterious suffix. Oh well.

For our purposes, Hearts of Palm UK bear a striking resemblance to the Hot Toddies, I suppose proving that girl groups named after non-standard food and beverages continue to have something in common in this day and age of food snobbery run rampant. There is a contingency here at IA that particularly appreciates the band because their debut album, For Life, was mastered by Henrik Jonsson, the same Swede who worked on IA cover girl Lykke Li's debut. That alone would have had those of us in the LL cult stand up and pay attention.

Fortunately, Erica Elektra (vocals, keyboard, guitar), Frankie Rose (glockenspiel, keyboard, percussion) and newest member Billy Kaye (cello, autoharp, keyboard), bring a bit more than that to the table. Their first single, "People & Logistics", is an amalgam of bleeps and blips interspersed between a catchy beat and engagingly warm vocals. Plus, the girls in the band are tatted up, and who amongst us doesn't dig that?

mp3: People & Logistics


The Prairie Spies

A Prairie Spy is a big, delicious apple. That said, it has a short stem that seriously limits it's serviceability, so it has a rather limited market. Now that I dropped my daily useless knowledge on you, I'll get to the point.

The Prairie Spies are a solid up and coming band from Chicago and they are named after the previously mentioned apple. They recently dropped their debut, Surplus Enjoyment, and they are now out on tour. The band will be swinging through the region for a couple of shows this week. Check out an mp3 and if you enjoy it, you know where to find them.

7/23: The Khyber, Philadelphia, PA
7/24: The Red and The Black, Washington, DC

mp3: Murder, She Said


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bound Stems Vs Imperial China

Bound Stems’ Bobby Gallivan and Imperial China’s Brian Porter owe each other a little gratitude. Porter has housed the Bound Stems Chicago collective at his home in Washington, DC on the few occasions that the band has come through town on tour. Likewise, Porter is indebted to Gallivan for the name Imperial China, which was a history class Gallivan took while in college, where the two met almost 10 years ago. The two friends reunite on Friday, July 25th, when Bound Stems and Imperial China play DC's Velvet Lounge with Pittsburgh’s The Seeing Eyeballs and DC’s Len Bias.

In celebration of their reunion, they each reviewed their friend's new record and interviewed each other. Check out the finished product below, followed by tour dates and mp3s.

Brian Porter on Bound Stems' The Family Afloat

I really enjoyed Bound Stems' first record. The quirky melodies, off-time signatures, and experimentation with song structures, was packaged together to create a sprawling interpretation on pop music. With Bound Stems’ new album, The Family Afloat, the band has done exactly what good bands do on sophomore efforts: narrowed their direction to create a concise, well-crafted group of songs that flow together seamlessly. Despite the differences between the first album and this one, not everything has changed. The bouncy sing-alongs of songs like “Cloak of Blue Sky” and “Passing Bell” demonstrate that band can obviously still write melodies to put anyone in a good mood. Gallivan’s lyrical prowess with themes about gratitude, family, and friends also return. Even the simple statement “I’ll take you everywhere I go” from the opening track, “Taking Tips From The Gallery Gang,” has a bigger impact: the band wants to make their mark and they want you to be there when they do.

Bobby Gallivan on Imperial China's Methods:

When I first heard Imperial China’s EP, Methods:, I recognized the sound as inherently DC. I’m not really sure what that means, but it seemed like it hit my ears that way right off the bat. The songs immediately jumped out at me and seemed so full for a band with only three fellas. They were dancey, complex and unpredictable. There are moments that challenge the listener, as well as short bursts of catchy melody that serve as a pay off (please listen to how perfect the melody for "Space Anthem" works against the delay guitar). The recording is really impressive for a band that has just made its start (relatively speaking). I’m excited to see these songs translated in a live setting and see if the audience dances as hard to "Radhus" as I imagine they will. Kudos Imperial China!

Bound Stems

Questions by Brian Porter for Bobby Gallivan

BP: As I said in my review, I think the songwriting of the new album has a more narrow focus than it did on the first album. Was this your intention? What were you trying to accomplish with the new album?

BG: I think structurally, the new album is as shifty as the last. I just think there is a bit more clarity to this one. It wasn't necessarily intentional. We're just three years removed from the writing of Appreciation Night and it feels like we've made a natural jump. The new record differs mostly from the last in that all of the sounds on The Family Afloat are our own. Appreciation Night had a great deal of studio manipulation, which gave our live show a much different feel. The Family Afloat is definitely more "live-friendly."

BP: Having seen you guys live a few times, I really enjoy the playful onstage relationship between you and multi-instrumentalist Janie Porsche. Janie joined the band after much of the first album was finished. How did her joining the band impact the songwriting?

BG: Janie has a real understanding of music, that the rest of us sort of lack (with the exception of Fleury). She works in chord structures, classic melodies, and harmonies. That being said, she doesn't necessarily write that way, she just brings that ability to a band that works primarily from an instinctual base. But having her involved in the process, was really fun. She really does a nice job of molding her thoughts and ideas to parts and making a song fully realized.

BP: Having only been playing shows for about 8-9 months, Imperial China is fairly young in its development. Any words of wisdom you’re willing to impart?

BG: Play as many shows as you can and keep in touch with the bands that you play with. That includes playing shows out of town. Booking this current tour, we've really benefited from friends we've met along the way. Oh and keep writing!

BP: This is your fifth time touring through DC. What are your thoughts on the city and its music scene?

BG: I'm not really familiar with the current DC scene, but we've really enjoyed our shows here. I think the last show we did here was at DC9 with Bishop Allen, as part of a festival. I believe it was sold out, which is always a plus. But yeah, folks seem to be interested in what's going on here and we've met some really good folks out here. Plus we always have a comfy place to crash when in DC, which is nice.

Imperial China

Questions by Bobby Gallivan for Brian Porter

BG: How do you guys write your tunes? It sounds like a democratic process. Is that the case?

BP: Yeah, all our songs are written in practices by the three of us together. I can’t think of one situation where one of us has come in with a song already laid out. In fact, most of the time nowadays, I don’t even try and write two parts together on my own anymore, because I’ll be fairly certain that we’ll ditch one of the parts. Usually, somebody comes in with a single idea (a guitar part, keyboard part, loop or sample, etc), and we’ll just start with that and see if we can string a couple parts together. Sometimes we’ll try and think of other ideas we’ve written and see if they could be incorporated too. I think it’s easier to do this with three people (fewer cooks in the kitchen, so to speak), but it’s important for all of us to being heavily involved throughout the entire writing process. Personally, I don’t know if I’ve become a better songwriter or a worse one, because now I don’t even know if I’d be able to write a whole song by myself. We’ve always just depended on each other so much.

BG: From an outside perspective, it seems that DC is a great music city. Do you guys feel that way? Are you finding other bands that are in the same position as you, and coming from the same reference point?

BP: DC is definitely a really good music city. There are a lot of bands, and the bands are definitely very supportive of one another. You often see a lot of people from other bands at your show. So we’ve been really happy with that. My only complaint with DC is that there aren’t as quite as many local experimental acts playing some of the bigger shows around town. I don’t know what’s driving that; if it’s a lack of bands or a lack of interest from DC’s concert-goers. That being said, we definitely have seen and played with a lot of DC bands who play great music and are fun to watch live. And really, what more can you ask for when playing and going to shows?!

BG: Favorite DC venue?

BP: It has to be the Black Cat. We haven’t even played there and it’s our favorite venue! It’s just that much of a DC staple. It’s big, it gets a lot of really good acts, and it's location is hard to beat. We’ve got a show there in August, so hopefully we’ll get to play there even more in the future.

BG: What is in store for Imperial China? Full length? Any touring?

BP: Since we just released our first EP this spring, I think we’re going to hold off on recording anything else for awhile. We’re still in the process of really trying to promote the EP, get some press, and try and play out of town shows. Not necessarily big tours, but some weekend trips. That’s the really nice thing about being on the east coast. It’s a lot easier to string a couple shows together in different cities in one weekend.

BG: Who do you think would win in a 3 on 3 hoops game vs. Bound Stems’ top 3? Please explain why you feel this way.

BP: Is this a challenge?! If so, we have a basketball court near my house. You just tell me when. Unfortunately, I think we might be at a slight disadvantage. Not all of us are former basketball players. In fact, Patrick (our drummer) is a hockey player, so he might show up with a hockey stick and skates. Wait, that might be our secret weapon....Patrick could throw a hit on anybody that comes into the lane!

Bound Stems' Regional Tour Dates

7/23: The M-Room, Philadelphia, PA
7/25: Velvet Lounge, Washington, DC

Imperial China's Tour Dates

7/24: Fort Reno, Washington, DC
7/25: Velvet Lounge, Washington, DC
8/02: The Third Floor, Fredericksburg, VA
8/27: Black Cat, Washington, DC

mp3: Bound Stems - Happens To Us All Otherwise
mp3: Imperial China - There Is No Translation

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For the Record, This is Not Hyapatia Lee

I'll admit it, what first drew me to checking out Seattle's Hypatia Lake, was my initial misreading of their name. "Hyapatia Lee, everyone's favorite Native American '80s porn star, has a new CD out?!," thought I. Well, as interesting a project as that undoubtedly would be, Hypatia Lake has put together something inarguably more out there with their sophomore release, Angels and Demons, Space and Time.

For those of you who aren't hip to the band (because everyone knows the porn star, right?), Hypatia Lake is a made-up community and all the songs revolve around the lives of its fictitious populace. On this outing, listeners are treated to a chronological set of scenes as Joseph Bigby lay dying on the floor of the Candy Factory. It might help the confused to point out that ol' Joseph led a rebellion of factory worker on the band's debut, Your Universe, Your Mind. All I can say is to buy a program, folks. You can't tell the players without a program.

To me, the concept is intriguing, but I was an English Lit major, so I eat up this kind of weird junk. The bigger issue, though, is how is the music? Well, let me tell you, this thing is more all over the board than a Yahtzee player on crack. You've got everything from your plaintive melodies to your standard classic rock to your flat out, spastic, reverb-and-feedback drenched noise. If you're looking for experimental, look no further. Do you like The Animals? "Of Brains and Stars" sounds damn near to their take on "House of the Rising Sun." Into Flaming Lips' style of rock? Look no further than "The Patterns of Orion." How about early, Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd? Then "Yuym" is the track for you. Personally, I could have done without the nearly 15 minutes of noise that came courtesy of the songs "Upon Their Meeting, They Embrace", "Your Rate in Time" and the bonus track, but to each their own, I suppose.

And if you, like me, were hoping for Hyapatia Lee, take solace in the fact that there's a naked fairy of some sort on the cover. I'll say this for Hypatia Lake. They certainly have a bit of something for everyone.

mp3: The General's Gleaming Edge


Dan Dyer's Got Your Soul

2008 has been a slow year on the old iPod for new soul music - not "neo-soul","garage soul", or "R&B soul" - but just plain SOUL, a la Solomon Burke, Stevie Wonder and Curtis Mayfield. And just like that, a friendly note gets dropped in my inbox with a link to Dan Dyer and his current self-titled release.

Dyer's command of soul, gospel, jazz, latin, and country blues is uncanny, even for an artist springing from the always fertile Austin, TX music community. Although Mssr. Dyer isn't currently slated to make any stops on the East Coast this summer - though he's opening for the Roots for a few special gigs - pick up the album now and get cozy with it. Learn those tunes kids, cause you're going to want to sing along when you catch him live - which you're going to want to do - just check out the clip showing off his live chops. After that, enjoy an mp3.

mp3: Love Chain


Monday, July 21, 2008

The Apple War

Seattle's The Apple War have a brand new video for "Alarm Bell City." The video was directed by filmmaker Jesse Harris and it was their prize for winning Virgin America’s “Land the Gig” competition in April. The band will also be heading out on a West Coast tour.

mp3: Alarm Bell City


Deleted Scenes

DC/Brooklyn band Deleted Scenes have been laying low for awhile. Now, they have a new album ready to go (though the release is TBD) and a big tour planned. Their new material for Birdseed Shirt is definitely bigger and more experimental. Check out a couple of tracks.

8/03: Milcreek Tavern, Philadelphia, PA
8/04: Black Cat, Washington, DC

mp3: Fake IDs
mp3: Ithaca



Kenny Florence, at all of 20 years old, is a driving force behind one fantastic project, Annuals, and the creative mastermind of Sunfold, featuring the same members, but delving more into a sweeter pop rock sound, while maintaining the folky prog curiousness.

On Toy Tugboats, Sunfold's debut release, Florence and co. come at their songs from all angles, weaving together guitars and drums with everything from lap steel and cello to hammered dulcimer, organ, and pedal steel.

Sunfold will be bringing all of that musical ambition and more to the region this week, as they continue their summer tour. I'm sure they'd love to see you...

7/22: DC9, Washington, DC
7/23: The M Room, Philadelphia, PA

mp3: Sara the American Winter

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These United States Commit Crimes

IA favorites and co-headliners of our Second Anniversary Shows, These United States, are dropping a bomb on all of us. Just 7 months after releasing their long overdue full length debut, the band is releasing a second one. On October 7, Crimes will be commited. Check out lead track "West Won" and if you want to see them live, well, let's just say that there will be plenty of opportunities to do so.

8/08: IOTA, Arlington, VA w/ The Apparitions & The Cotton Jones Basket Ride
8/09: IOTA, Arlington, VA w/ The Apparitions & Bellman Barker

mp3: West Won


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Early July Releases

I got backed up again, so here are the first 3 weeks of July...

July 1st Releases

With the holiday, the month started out pretty slow.


Hymn and Her - "Song For"

Golden Animals

Free Your Mind And Win A Pony - "Try On Me"



July 8th Releases

July is rocking now. Some stellar releases dropped this particular week, leading off the second half of the year. I am split between my folk-pop favorites and my classic electronic album, so I will just recommend all of them.

Ratatat comes back with their third studio album that is only a minor detour from their first two, so fans will instantly feel at home. Albert Hammond Jr. has released his second solo album to the delight of myself, Ashleigh and many others. Finally we have a group that is new to me, Paper Route. This album seems right at home on my heavy mp3 player rotation and I am sure it will fight for a place on my favorite albums of the year. There are plenty of other remarkable and quality releases, so don't limit yourself or your wallet.


LP3 - "Mirando" & Full Album Stream

Paper Route

Are We All Forgotten - "Are We All Forgotten"

Albert Hammond Jr.

¿Como Te Llama? - "GfC" & Full Album Stream

Other Notable Releases

Matt Keating

Quixotic - "St. Cloud"


Women - "Black Rice"

Abe Vigoda

Skeleton - Full Album Stream

The Dutchess & The Duke

She's The Dutchess, He's The Duke - "Reservoir Park"

Ron Sexsmith

Exit Strategy Of The Soul - "Brandy Alexander"

Architecture in Helsinki

Like It Or Not EP

Beau Jennings

Holy Tulsa Thunder - "Tulsa Thunder"

Feral Children

Second To The Last Frontier - "Spy/Glass House"


Canadian Tuxedo - "Obvious"


Nude With Boots - "Nude With Boots"

The Black Ghosts

The Black Ghosts - "Any Way You Choose To Give It"

The Old Believers

Eight Golder Greats - "There It Is"

July 15th Releases

This week presents us with a magnificent list of releases. It is not as long as last week, but even better because it is quality from top to bottom. I had a hard time picking albums to recommend, because I liked so many of them.

However, based on what I have heard, I think I can safely say that everyone would be wise to get the new albums from Sunset, The Boy Bathing and Negativland. All three songs offered from the album are crafted exceptionally well and bode well for their respective releases. There is also a release from Philly natives Dr. Dog, so be sure to spend some time checking that out.


The Glowing City - "When Perfect Flames Expire"

The Boy Bathing

A Fire To Make Preparations - "The Beaches Meet The Sea"


Thigmotactic - "Richard Nixon Died Today"

Other Notable Releases


Object 47 - "One Of Us"

The Hold Steady

Stay Positive - Full Album Stream

Dr. Dog (Philly)

Fate - "The Old Days"

Death To Anders

Ficticious Business - "Camera Lens"

Brian Lord

We're Changing (Free/Legal Download) - "There Are A Million Of Us"

Natalie Portman's Shaved Head

Glistening Pleasure - "Slow Motion Tag Team"

Hypatia Lake

Angels And Demons, Space And Time - "The Lucifer Rebellion"