Friday, November 14, 2008

The IA Area Weekend

Another weekend in upon us. Of course that means great shows playing the area. Here's what to check out.


The Oranges Band are set to release their new album The Oranges Band Are Invisible upon the masses and to celebrate the new disc, they are having a little shindig at the Ottobar with a few friends from the area. Also on the bill are Gary B & The Notions, Deleted Scenes and Dead Mechanical. Great local line-up to start the weekend.

For those of you up in Philly, another stellar local show is at Johnny Brenda's. The Swimmers continue their Mid-Atlantic dominance, this time joined by Missing Palmer West and Bitter Bitter Weeks. I highly recommend this show.

The District is not letting Baltimore and Philly have all the fun. Wilmington's The Spinto Band, with new album in tow, are joined by our favorites Middle Distance Runner and Title Tracks at Black Cat. Saturday, you can catch MDR for free at the 8x10.

Current insurance shillers Cloud Cult (love the commercial) are up at Lehigh University at the Zoellner Arts Center with locals Exit Clov. Sure to be a great show for those who make the trip.

Matador Records artist Brightblack Morning Light are still out in support of their September release. Catch them at Talking Head.

If singer-songwriters are your thing, you got a couple of choices to sate your appetite. Brett Dennen is on tour with a new album. You can catch him at Ram's Head Tavern in Annapolis. Philly's Tin Angel hosts him Saturday. The Tin Angel also has a good set Friday with William Fitzsimmons, Slow Runner and Caitlin Crosby.

mp3: The Oranges Band - ArtStar
mp3: Gary B & The Notions - Lori
mp3: Deleted Scenes - Fake IDs
mp3: Dead Mechanical - New Alchemy
mp3: The Swimmers - St. Cecilia
mp3: Missing Palmer West - God Knows I'm No Saint Paul
mp3: Bitter Bitter Weeks - Terrified
mp3: The Spinto Band - Summer Grof
mp3: Middle Distance Runner - Top of the Stairs
mp3: Exit Clov - Working Class Hero
mp3: Brightblack Morning Light - Hologram Buffalo


The trend for local shows continues Saturday night at the Rock & Roll Hotel. Get your dancing shoes on and get ready to party when The Dance Party hits the stage. Joining them are Ra Ra Rasputin, Greenland and Nunchucks.

Southern rock didn't die with Skynyrd. It is alive and well with Kings of Leon. Playing back to back nights at the Electric Factory, they unleash their Nashville sound with help from We Are Scientists and The Whigs.

Elsewhere, Luego is at the Red & the Black Saturday. Sunday, Swedish pop band Fredrik play the Khyber.

mp3: The Dance Party - A-List
mp3: Greenland - Sorrow in the Snow
mp3: We Are Scientists - Inaction

Don't miss the other acts playing this weekend that played elsewhere earlier this week.

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Dent May Is

At first glance, one might be struck by the overwhelming lack of hipster coolness pervading from Dent May. He wears goofy specs, doesn't dress to the nines and, most perplexing, doesn't appear to be the least bit concerned with any of this. It is for precisely this reason that Dent May IS the coolest cat you're bound to meet this year.

It's no secret that I'm not much of a purveyor of videos, and I was pretty sure I wasn't going to come across anything like Lykke Li's Little Bit quite possibly for the rest of my life. And then Dent May came knocking.

All I can say is "wow."

Mr. May's debut, The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele, doesn't drop until next year, but I was able to secure an advance copy when I informed his PR folks that I was considering giving up my career and simply going to parties where I thought Dent might be holding court. Assumedly not wanting their client to have to deal with that kind of hassle, they must have decided free press of the CD review nature was a far better kind than any that might result from a stalking incident.

Dent's ukulele is magnificent, indeed. And there's something captivating about his voice, too, that I'm still trying to pinpoint. It's just a tad too nasal to call it velvety, but it's close. May's voice has the quality of tree sap; once you settle into the groove, you're bound to be trapped by it and the next thing you know, you're featured in some crazy dude's cane handle in a movie about bringing humans from extinction. Yeah, it's exactly like that.

You'd think that after a couple of tracks, you might start to get tired of that uke sound. To the contrary, May has gone to great lengths not to come across like Tiny Tim and the results speak for themselves.

The topics, along with the sound, make me think of times spent amongst learned men amongst the dusty halls of academia. To put it another way, this is music for tobacco pipe smokers that are comfortable using the phrase, "lovey." I'm not sure how to make it any clearer than that. Check out the track below and listen for yourself.

mp3: Meet Me In the Garden


Friday, November 07, 2008

The Weekend in the IA Area

The middle of fall, nothing like it. It is also a huge weekend for shows in the area. Quite a few big names are rolling through the area and pulling multiple city stops. Here's what to check out.

The Pacific northwest has produce numerous indie acts. One of the biggest, The Decemberists are playing two shows this weekend with fellow Portlanders Loch Lomond. You can catch them at the Electric Factory Friday and Rams Head Live in Baltimore Saturday.

mp3: The Decemberists - Shiny
mp3: Loch Lomond - Carl Sagan

The Sea & Cake have a new album coming out. Hear the full album streaming on their myspace page. Also, see them at First Unitarian Friday and Black Cat saturday with Death Vessel.

mp3: Death Vessel - Deep In the Horchata

Former Talking Heads front man and world music guru David Byrne is at the Tower Theater in Philly Saturday, then heads to the Warner Theater in DC to finish out the weekend.

Murder By Death is heading to Baltimore for a show Saturday at Ottobar with Baltimore's own J Roddy Walston and the Business and William Elliot Whitmore. Philly gets the pleasure Sunday at First Unitarian.

mp3: William Elliot Whitmore - Does Me No Good (Daytrotter)

The Bloodsugars are joined by The Lisps for a couple of shows in the Baltimore/DC metro. Friday head over to the Metro Gallery. Then saturday you can catch them at Dahlak.

mp3: The Bloodsugars - Purpose Was Again
mp3: The Lisps - I'm Sorry

William Fitzsimmons is on tour with a new album. He headlines at Jammin' Java Friday night with Slow Runner and Caitlin Crosby. Saturday, The Chameleon Club in Lancaster is the venue for a great show.


Always an entertaining show, The Mountain Goats bring their diary pages turned songs to the TLA in Philly. Folk songtress Kaki King opens.

Messiah College always gets great shows. This Friday is no different as Conor Oberst shares the stage with Texas native and killer live act Ben Kweller. Rig 1 kicks it all off.

The Gutter Twins are still riding high off of their release earlier this year. They are at the Black Cat with Italians Afterhours.

Illinois is kicking off their new 6 part album with their Chapter One show at The Fire. Making it an all region lineup is Aderbat and Drink Up Buttercup.

Down at the 8x10, Eureka Birds are having a CD release party for their new self-titled disc. Joining the festivities is The Lonely H and The Names.

Also playing Friday night is Nicole Atkins with Salt & Samovar at Rock & Roll Hotel and Scott Miller with Vandaveer at IOTA.

mp3: The Mountain Goats - Sax Rohmer No. 1
mp3: Kaki King - Gloves Off (Daytrotter)
mp3: Rig 1 - Dirty Little Sica
mp3: The Gutter Twins - Idle Hands
mp3: Illinois - Hang On
mp3: Aderbat - Pilgrim
mp3: Drink Up Buttercup - Young Ladies
mp3: Eureka Birds - Goodbye Space and Time
mp3: The Lonely H - The Meal
mp3: Vandaveer - However Many Takes It Takes


Huge show at the Electric Factory when The Hold Steady comes back through Philly, this time joined by southern-fried rockers Drive-By Truckers.

The Capitol Theater in York, PA is getting some huge names. This weekend songstress Kathleen Edwards and former X member John Doe take the stage. I sure hope my little hometown is ready for it.

Husband and wife combo Mates of State make a stop in Philly at The Troc with Brother Reade.

For something more local, Like A Fox is release a new CD at Johnny Brenda's. BC Camplight shares the bill. Also on the local scene, Adam & Dave's Bloodline are in West Chester at The Note.

mp3: The Hold Steady - Chips Ahoy
mp3: Drive-By Truckers - Zip City
mp3: Kathleen Edwards - In State
mp3: Mates of State - My Only Offer
mp3: Adam & Dave's Bloodline - Where You Are


Only a few one-nighters for Sunday. Catch The Shaky Hands and The End of the World at DC9. Over at the Rock & Roll Hotel, Stellastarr* headlines with US Royalty in support.

mp3: The Shaky Hands - We Are Young
mp3: The End of the World - I Don't Wanna Lose
mp3: US Royalty - Every Summer


Sunday, November 02, 2008

New Illinois Song Book

Most bands come into a recording session with around 20 songs, then make the tough choice of which songs to cut to make the usual 12 or so song album. Not so for my favorite inaccurately named Bucks County band Illinois. They took the extreme approach and introduced 114 songs to +1 Records. Instead of being the typical label, +1 has decided to release all of them! How in the world do you do that? By a pretty novel approach, I think. Starting this Tuesday (11/4) and continuing once a month until April, a new chapter of The Adventures of Kid Catastrophe will be unleashed upon the masses along with a part of a short film. Here's a little something from the first chapter.

mp3: Hang On

Release dates:

Chapter 2: 12/2
Chapter 3: 1/13
Chapter 4: 2/3
Chapter 5: 3/3
Chapter 6: 4/7

Not resting on their achievement, the band will also be hitting 4 cities in sequence around each release date. The mini-tour starts in DC, heads to New York and Boston and finishes back home in Philly.

Chapter 1 show dates:

11/3: DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel
11/5: NY @ Mercury Lounge
11/6: Boston @ Great Scott
11/7: Philly @ The Fire

Chapter 2 (12/2-5) & 3 (1/13-16) shows will be at same venues in the same order, except for New York, which will relocate to Rehab.

To go along with this craziness, Illinois and their friends at People-Food made a trailer. These guys are going all out for your vote. Make it count!